Vices And Virtues

This was quite a simple anthology, centering all around vices and virtues. Except that it is often twisted, incredibly twisted and different from the original form.

The first story caught my attention by being all about cannibalism, and the idea behind it. As well as the thrall that the main character feels when she does it, eventually to becoming too much. Unique and memorable.

And so were some of the others. Such as Chandler and his tale, regarding him becoming a servant, when he sinned with sloth. Often becoming one of the most intriguing in its concept, and the way it was executed. That there is no way out and he is responsible. He simply learns to deal with it.

Some of the others never made much sense to me. Such as about Humility, and some just faded into my memory. But this does something different, which I don’t see quite often. About the idea of vice and virtues.

Another was Hurricane Evelyn, and the tale behind her. The story that made her be, and the way that she grew when she simply did things her own way. Leading her here.

But the ones which were unforgettable had been mostly vices, which is certainly true. As the spin it takes, are quite gruesome, different and often not something those with a light heart should read.

Overall, I liked it enough. Some of the stories were memorable, but most faded from my memory as it does with most anthologies. A surprising thing was that all of the writers here were all Wattpad writers, which made memorable tales to say the least.

Rating: 3 out of 5


Why I Dropped Princess Agents

By half of it, the only thing which motivated me to continue watching sadly was Yan Xun. The eventual main villain, because his transformation was the most believable out of all of them.

And his was the most entertaining. Understandable, and even made me root for him. Because of everything that he lost, I understood. The lengths he went to achieve it was morally questionable but I understood and cared.

But unfortunately, the rest of the characters were not remotely as entertaining. Yu Wenyue was everyone’s ideal of a perfect guy, willing to die for Chu Qiao, mysterious, jerky, brooding. Incredibly cold.

While Chu Qiao lost her agency by the middle of the story. And it got worse and worse. By every episode.

I had sympathy for the side characters more than anything else. I liked Xiao Ce, that ridiculous prince who dressed in red, only listened to women and no one else. Yuan Song remained as a likeable person, even towards the end. That really sad moment when he realised that in actual reality, Chu Qiao didn’t care for him.

It was a moment where he showed that he was a nicer person. And one with logic. Unlike his sister, when she was raped, she blamed the one person she shouldn’t have. If she had guts to face that Yan Xun was a jerk who abandoned her. But in her case, I still could understand her and the fact that she simply couldn’t face up to the truth.

As for the villains, the creepy pervert who killed girls. He has no depth, not at all. All I can remember is his incredibly perverse ways of defiling girls. Nothing else.

His grandson was someone that I did like better when compared to the upper one. A jerk to the very end, but showed rare moments of humanity, and was never willing to be a lapdog for his grandfather.

However, the leading main reasons why I still dropped was the fact that the end was anticlimatic, even by reading the recap. And the story took way too long to tie up the loose ends, such as ones which were balant from the first few episodes. That when it’s done, it seriously loses all the surprise.

Since the story moved on from it long ago. And the incredibly nonsensical romance, which never developed properly. Cheap scenes to make it feel real, which turned me off.

And despite the fact that I cared about some of the characters, I didn’t give a damn by the end as they simply weren’t enough to carry the story. And I won’t see the second season, they could have done it all in one and made a great drama. But for profit, they chose to sacrifice that.

Vengeance Road

This was incredibly okay. I didn’t like the entire book, but I don’t hate it either. The story was predictable in some way and not in another.

I guess it is just something about the setting. There will be a lot of travelling, and a lot of moments where nothing happens. And also, they always seem to run into hunks. It is a trend, which I think is really compatible, given that this was the era of cowboys. And it just doesn’t work too well with me.

The story was somewhat predictable. Her father having a secret that deals with gold, check. But the surprise all comes later. Certain things which happen in the latter book was incredibly surprising, and still made Kate understandable and reliable.

Although I wished that it could have been stretched longer, especially given the potential of the villain. Whose entire personality and character will be about greed, and this is someone who has been around, and Ross is simply a red herring here.

Jesse was okay. I found them quite a nice couple, but it just didn’t make me addicted to the story at all.

There wasn’t anything that really stood out, unlike in Revenge and the Wild. But nothing which was irritating, and neither was there anything which made me tear my hair out. The writing was an added bonus, which felt so completely western and brilliant. It represented the culture and the style of speaking, and I just liked it. Even if the story could be better in my opinion. Other than some pretty clever plot twists, nothing was all that special.

Overall, this was pretty decent. Nothing which really shocked me, and it was done quite well. That counts for something. But it just failed to have that something extra to make me like the series immensely. But will I check out the next book, pretty much.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Slowing Down Updates

Anyway, with me settling down into my new school in April, I will be slowing down my updates. Book reviews will take no more than three books per week, while writing posts will be around twice a month. Since I have finally settled and made my choice in how I will be viewed as a writer. I will share more of my experiences as a writer.

And mostly, to allow myself to devote more time to my writing and studies. But I still will be reading books, and also anime and manga reviews twice a month.

And I have reduced the number of books I am requesting from Netgalley, as well as getting the library books down to a size that I’m comfortable with.

These few months had some of the most intense book reviews I have done, which I will cut down on once I get back to school and this is no longer as easy to manage.

Posting everyday was tough, and not something that I wish to try again. And I will be doing some posts about chinese dramas, mostly about the situation as it is in the Chinese media.

The Cruel Prince

This was one big surprise and met all the expectations I had on the book. Not to mention worth every cent that I spent on it. If you think this is another book about fairies, you’re wrong. Dead wrong. This is all about intrigue, the political plays. There isn’t even that much magic here that affects the outcomes. Neither is there any insane battles. Despite the fact Jude is a human, she is so involved in the plays. And she makes the major decisions, through use of her wits rather than anything else.

It was everything I didn’t think it will be. I was rather put off by fairies after the last book set in a court of fairies did (I’m looking at ACOMAF). But this was perfect. Absolutely perfect.

A lot of completely unexpected things. The struggles between two princes, Dain and Balekin. Both of which had questionable morals, the former will make a decent king, the latter, not so much. And what they will do to get the throne. One is willing to plot, scheme and kill to be named the heir, the other simply kills his family if push comes to shove.

And then, there’s Cardan. A prince that doesn’t just become king because there’s no other option, he doesn’t want to, and he wants to escape at all points. And he falls for Jude, but it isn’t instant and he never saves her. He is still far too mean, that he is going to end up hurting her rather than do the normal thing we see in YA. Or even what I see when it comes to books such as this.

Jude chooses, and plays. She isn’t the pawn. She is the mastermind in all of this. She is flawed, she tries so hard to fit in and be better. But fails to truly fit in, and fails to make a friend. She is the daughter of the High King’s General, and well I was utterly surprised how her role was.

In most cases, she might marry. She will have many fairy men swooning over her, but there isn’t any of that. Locke is questionable at best, even then he’s quite the playboy. While Cardan, just see the above paragraph. Dain isn’t even in love with her, he is simply using her.

The court isn’t a nice place to be. There are factions, there is actual bloodshed when someone wants the throne. And overall, it manages to make me like it even more. There are consequences, Jude knows them, and she isn’t afraid to get dirty to get what she wants. And this story shows it on detail, she murders, tricks, lies as well as keep everything a secret. She never tells even her sisters.

It is she who makes it work. When things become bad, she makes it good all over again. And for once, I found that so refreshing, given that she seems to have nothing in common. No ground with the court. But she makes it, because she cares about the realm of Faerie. Because it is still her home, even if she hates it most of the time.

And she doesn’t want it to affect the human world too. That is why she does. Her ambition is huge, she dreams of becoming a knight, when it is all but impossible. She seeks opportunities out with her own mind, none of them are handed to her. She isn’t chosen, but she makes herself important by the choices.

And well she is the core of the very story. A lot of the biggest reveals are found by her, and even the last plot twist was. It made sense, it was satisfying. It was unexpected, but it was the kind of choice I did think was possible. Given that it’s a struggle between three princes by the end, I’m not surprised.

It’s also not a book that is easy to read. I read it slowly, as the story slowly unfolds. As Jude grows up and the situation is revealed. It doesn’t get intense until later on. But it was still gripping, the court was not a nice place to be. If you’re a human. And Jude was relatable, understandable.

But the moment it did, I could not put it down. It isn’t much about action. But a lot on the maneuvering, a lot more on her relationship with her father. Which was incredibly satisfying. And the ending, it was shocking and done is a fabulous way.

But it worked. It just did for me. It was addicting, once I read it I rarely could forget what happened. The story was enticing, and Jude was the centre. If you don’t like her, don’t read this. But otherwise, if you want to read about good solid intrigue in a fairy court, this is it. It will take you on a journey, and test the limit of how much you can like someone who will do anything to get what she wants. And your mind too.

Rating; 5 out of 5

The True Definition Of Strong Female Characters

I don’t like them. I never did. Despite all feats of badassery they do, I rarely like them. Because they seem to always be cut from one mold, always being physically strong, sometimes outshining the male characters.

But they often fail to be real characters that I can relate to. To me, the definition of strength isn’t in how they break the mold of society. It is how they are true to themselves. Regardless of what the world thinks of them. Or expects them to think and behave.

That’s why for female characters, I want them to have diverse personalities. I want them to be as different as possible, and I seek to do it. Because I want to show that a girl can be herself, rather than try to conform to what we see or read. Because those standards are impossible, and not all will fit into the mold.

And that to me, strength is all about being able to do things the way you want it. Even with backlash, you make your own choices regardless of how others perceive you. And when others remove that right from you you choose to stand up. Not let yourself be taken over.

To me, being strong is all about able to make a choice that is what we want, and never fitting into the expectations of society. And being able to weather the consequences of our choices, face our inner demons no matter how large or trivial it is.

It is about not letting others dismiss us, belittle us just because we don’t make a choice that is either admirable or normal. It is about being ourselves, never letting society or another person dominate us, control us.

That to me is real strength. But not a lot manage to do it. Show a female character who breaks this reality, that we can and should act in a way that satisfy ourselves, because we have a right to do so. Even if it is not normal for them to do so.

So, what do you think defines a strong female character. Leave them in the comments below.

The Rules Of Magic

It just didn’t make sense after a certain point. It failed to make me invested when it really could have. It was pretty disappointing if you ask me.

Seeing as how the entire setting is a family with magic and a curse. Which should have drawn me in. And hooked me. But it never did, instead. The story was all about the mystery behind.

And it really couldn’t have been the disappointment, since I have enjoyed a lot of books about it. Sadly, this was the minority.

It all went downhill, the moment they left Susanna. Who was the mom who tried to control and ensure that they could have a normal life. And they didn’t, until then, it was entertaining and oddly bewitching. Which I never really undetstood, given how normal everything seemed.

But the moment they left, it was all but that. The story lost the spark that made me read it, and I just couldn’t convince myself to finish. Because something was missing, no matter what I did. And well, it was pointless to force something that was not there in the first place.

And well, it just didn’t work. The moment they began to leave Susana, it just didn’t. The oddly colourful lives of Franny, Vincent and Jet. Just fell flat.

And well, maybe it’s for you. But it wasn’t for me. Not at all.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5