Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Book Review: Wintersong

Title: WintersongAuthor: S Jae-JonesPublisher: Titan BooksRelease Date:  7th February 2017 
Synopsis: Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.
All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.
But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.
Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

Review:  I know it says it about but I just need to reiterate: 

Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King

ALL THE FEELS! This was all I needed to sell me this book. This is a classic example of never judge a book by its cover. I more than likely probably wouldn't have picked this up if I saw it in passing unless curiosity got the better of me. But mention the Goblin King and I'm sold. I LOVE Labrynth as a film and in case you live under a rock and don't know what i'm talking about let me refresh your memory:

This book draws all the feels from the film, and every time I read the worlds Goblin King i got a little shiver. The book and film also share a lot of similarities. A weird and wonder twisted world. The ideas of isolation and solidarity. Of bravery and fight and the lengths you're prepared to go to.

The Goblin King was this enigmatic character, full of layers. He has light and dark moments where his cunning and mischievous side comes out. He has a deep rich history and is such a reserved character. You see him in different forms and faces but within all of these he still had (or at least i projected onto him) this air of authority that he carried with him. He felt like a trapped soul and so there was a lot of feeling for him wrapped up in the situation. 

I feel there is a little of Liesl in all of you, she is a vulnerable character that looks for adventure, that questions but that wants to love. She like the Goblin king had a guard and had a purpose and she has to be broken to grow and there were times when you wanted to sake her, to reach into the pages and say it's going to be ok, or to spur her on. 

The world below was in my mind this beautiful twisted creature, very earthy and of the ground,a whole underground world that broke all the rules, coated this this magic rose tinted gloss that hid its true nature. It was like a del toro scene unfolding the truth shattered and the world came to true focus. 

Some of the most beautiful moments here were the music. these rich scenes of them playing both individually and together and you just imagined the music playing and growing getting enveloped in its sound and being carried to another place altogether. Music holds magic and you could really feel this in the pages. Not only for the reader but for the characters and you could feel how it gripped them both.  

I thought this was a standalone but have just seen that Shadowsong is coming and I am here for that. I'm ready to go back into this world, to see how much further the characters are pushed and really get under the skin of the Goblin King. 

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Friday, 14 July 2017

Book review: If We Were Liars

Title: If We Were VillainsAuthor: M. L. RioPublisher: Titan BooksRelease date: June 13th 2017
Synopsis: Oliver Marks has just served ten years for a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day of his release, he is greeted by the detective who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, and he wants to know what really happened a decade before.
As a young actor at an elite conservatory, Oliver noticed that his talented classmates seem to play the same characters onstage and off – villain, hero, temptress – though he was always a supporting role. But when the teachers change the casting, a good-natured rivalry turns ugly, and the plays spill dangerously over into real life.
When tragedy strikes, one of the seven friends is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless

Review: I came in to this book on the wrong mind set. I don;t mind admitting that. I was sold on Shakespeare and Thriller and that took me back to a book i'd read years ago called The Shakespeare Secret and so i felt that's what I wanted and didn't get. But that's not what this book was or should be. 

If I was giving you my bookseller pitch I would say to you "This book does for Shakespeare what Black swan did for Ballet". It was an intense mind bender that just shows what happen's when you go too far down the rabbit hole. 

 What this book screams is Shakespeare, you can tell Mel studied Shakespeare and hard and this bled into the characters. They live and breath it ( as you hope you would if it's your in depth field of study), possibly for me a little too much. Only in that I at times felt overwhelmed, I like Shakespeare but its so rich and there is so much in his works, a lot of which I haven't seen, so that references and quotes were lost on me. Shakespeare for me is very much about the interpretation and inference of what is said and how its said and if you have to keep doing that when you;re trying to keep up with the pace of the book that I lost it's meaning. But that's more me than the book.

With anything Dramatic character is important and as in Shakespeare there was a range here and they all played their parts. This is where my love for this book comes into play. You can play a part and you can be given a part and often a book has to describe your part for you, to compliment how we read you as a reader. This book blended the character and their Shakespeare personas sooo well. right down to the flaws and the cracks. Then wrapped the whole thing up in a murder mystery. But this was just like in Shakespeare...lets go with Hamlet, a plot devise to unravel the characters and push them to the limit. This book was all about the character and personality, how it grew and got uglier, you picked sides, whilst wanting to know every perspective. Emotions got very raw and then that was projected onto the stage to play out in apt dramatic fashion.
I really gravitated to Oliver as a character he was a great pivotal point for me and i enjoyed his perspective throughout.  Each character held their own and for better want of an analogy played their part well. 

I saw this book on a crime table last week, and I don't agree with that because it sits in a lot of places and at it's core I don;t think its crime. I only mention this because I feel that this book has a wide appeal that a lot of different interests can enjoy. and because i like a bad cliche/joke i'll go out on one:

To read or not to read that is the question. I did and now you have to decide. Let me know what you thought! 

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Thursday, 13 July 2017

Theatre Review: Chicago Ambassador's Theatre New York City

Chicago, Ambassador's Theatre, New York City,
Directed By: Walter Bobbie
Choreography: Ann Reinking
Staring: Mel B as Roxy Heart and Amra-Feye Wright as Velma Kelly

Chicago is a show that i'm quite conflicted about. For me it is a very stripped back show, there is not a lot of set, or costume and so as a result everything has to be slick, every hand flick precise, and the performances to sell the music ON POINT. There are so many memorable songs in this musical and they need to be done justice. So I sat in my seat ( way back in February at the bequest of my friend) with some reserve and wanting to be blown away.

The show, set in the Jazz age of America, centres around two women; Roxy Heart accused of shooting her lover and Velma Kelly, murderer, both women using their new found fame to build themselves into stardom by the way of Billy Flyn, criminal lawyer to the stars. 

The show is very much about the ideals of celebrity status and plays up to this. The crimes are made trivial and boastful, playing on the strings of the media and their influence on the way the crimes are presented. It's an idea and a situation that is almost timeless with the amount of spotlight criminal cases get still and get dragged in and corrupted by the media. 

With this you almost become fond of both characters, though I was always more of a Velma kinda Guy, Roxy is nice and all but Velma has this grit to her that I love and isn't too airy fairy the way Roxy can be played and indeed how Mel B played her. She was an interesting choice...she wouldn't be the first person I woudl have thought of for the role, but I will admit that I was intrigued to see what she did. She gave it good welly I will give her that an that's almost where it ends. The singing was...ok she can carry the songs. The accent was passable most of the time but there were so many slips and cracks that takes you out of the moment.  

One of my favourite musical Theatre songs is the Cell Block Tango and as such I have a higher expectation from it. This time it was nice, but it just didn't completely do it for me. The song is fiery, a little sexy, and overall very stylish. Its a song that opens itself up somewhat to how you interpret it and this time it went most of the way there, without fully hitting my spot. We both reached for The Gun is again another standout song and is a fun part if the musical that gives the whole cast an opportunity to shine and its really where you see the slick and comic nature that is so expertly done. Mr Cellophane has to be mentioned her, because its a tone change and one of the more raw intimate moments in the show that completely turns around your opinion of Amos Raymond Bokhour did an amazing job and was a standout on the night and needs the credit for it. 

I've seen Chicago twice now, and I think I'm done for a while..I can still listen to the music but I most definitely do not need to see it again for a while. Its a nice show, but not a standout for me. People go at this point because they know what to expect. The music is fun and the dancing is different and you can have a good night out, but when I go out I generally want a bit more!

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