Movie Review: Power Rangers (2017)

Power rangers

Plot:A group of high-school students, who are infused with unique superpowers,harness their abilities in order to save the world.

Rating: 7/10

The world has seemingly not run out of the need to reboot franchises. Before I get started about what I think is the ridiculously unnecessary reboot of Spiderman, I will just talk about Power Rangers. I really never thought I’d say this, but this film handled its’ source material in such a way that I didn’t want to laugh out loud in the cinema because of the cheesy factor.

I never saw the original Power Rangers series, that was on MNet in South-Africa and my parents didn’t really see the need for us to have that luxury. I somehow survived my youth without being too scarred about that admission and as a result I have no attachment to the Power Rangers. Hell, I thought there was only one girl Power Ranger so I was pleased when yellow was also a girl.

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This 2017 adaption is full of youths who have some or other trouble – Zac Efron-esque Dacre Montgomery plays Jason Scott, the Red Power Ranger. He’s been kicked off the football team after a cow incident – the exact incident remains quite unclear. He’s been sentenced to detention for the rest of his natural born life and there meets Kimberly Hart (Naomi Scott). He and the cheerleader barely know each other which is complete BS because we all know that cheerleaders and jocks all know each other because rules of society. Kimberly is in detention because she was an awful person and slut shamed another girl via social media. Joining them in detention is Billy Cranston (RJ Cyler). He has some sort of behavioral problem and likes to blow up things, hence detention.

The three all end up at an abandoned mine, where they meet Trini Kwan (Becky G) and Zack Taylor (Ludi Lin). Billy causes an explosion and they discover their respective discs, and they are all bemused to find themselves alive and powerfully strong after a truck accident.

First and foremost I’d like to impress that I was impressed with the inclusivity of the film. Unlike the current administration in the States, the world has a need for inclusivity and for children to understand that they can be superheroes with any skin color. I liked that they didn’t make the black kid the black Power Ranger. Would have felt strange.The inclusion of a gay character was also necessary – because again, perhaps we should understand that people of all genders, races and sexual orientation want to see themselves represented as strong and capable.

The movie is not without humor and it is well placed and paced. RJ Cyler provided the majority of quips and he is very well suited. However, for a kid with behavioral problems he sure didn’t exhibit them too much. Naomi Scott and Becky G were very girl power and I liked them for it.

They only played the song Go-Go Power Rangers once. I think the producers couldn’t help themselves. It’s okay, I’ll forgive them as it was only once. It was included for nostalgia, and even I knew its importance and relevance, though I did laugh at it.

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Elizabeth Banks impressed me as the villain. She is actually quite the diverse actress when she wants to be. Her take on the villain was very one sided, but she can take some applause for the creepy way she handled herself throughout the film.

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The last part of Power Rangers is just one big spectacle, with motorized dinosaurs and burning Krispy Kremes (by the way, I will love to know what they paid for that product placement). The Power Rangers realize up until the very end that if they aren’t working as one team, they have no chance to save their city and ultimately the entire world – because if we are dealing with teenagers, let’s make it even more dramatic. This part was really a lot like Transformers. I don’t know about you, but I am not a Transformers fan for a very specific reason – it is stupid. I think a stronger message could have been passed with the team defeating their enemy without machinery present.

I  enjoyed Power Rangers. I never thought they’d be able to bring such ridiculous source material to the big screen in a remotely respectable fashion. I was wrong. The cast worked well together and the graphics were done really well.

PS: I will return in April with regular posting. I am just currently in a cold war with my service provider about data usage. See you soon!

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Movie Review: Zodiac (2007)

zodiac

Plot: A San Francisco cartoonist becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac killer.

Rating: 8.5/10

I’ve always been more than a little fascinated with serial killers. It’s interesting to wonder why they turned off the normal path and went ballistic, what experiences and impressions turned them into what they are. I once read this “50 most notorious serial killers” type of book, and it was sooo good. I had to read some really light books before I went to bed after I read this book, but the  point is that I enjoyed it and found it fascinating. 😀

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Zodiac is aptly named for telling the story of the Zodiac killer, a mysterious and unresolved case of a series of murders that plagued America in the 1960’s and 1970’s. I was thrilled and really entertained and kept suspecting everyone. Mark Rufallo, Robert Downey Jnr. and Jake Gyllenhaal were all really impressive. I especially enjoyed the young Mark Rufallo. Being a cop in the seventies never looked that good. Jake Gyllenhaal didn’t annoy me as much as usual, which I’m sure my bestie would approve of (he’s not so bad, I just can’t for the life of me like the guy). RDJ is also such an amazing actor. Lately he’s Iron Man even when he isn’t Iron Man, and it seems such a shame that this is now what he’s destined to be his entire life.

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As for the serial killer, the events are just sufficiently shrouded in mystery to keep you hooked. I suspected everyone, even the cameraman filming the movie. The story is well laid out. This particular killer had no real modus operandi, it was just that he really liked killing. It didn’t have to be a certain way, it was just about the murders. I naturally would have liked if they included the killer right from the start, or have him part of the police force (I thought that the entire time!). However, this is based on true events, so I guess my story didn’t really go as I wanted it to for a reason.

Another thing that really impressed me was the pacing. The story kept going, it wasn’t dragged out to death, and every scene had a point, no silly plot fillers or anything. As I’ve said, the acting was particularly good and I really loved how authentically 1970’s everything seemed. The only thing is that I would have enjoyed perhaps a dramatic showdown with the killer, but that really the only thing I thought lacked. This is undoubtedly some of David Fincher’s best work, and I will go as far as to say it’s one of the best movies I’ve seen this entire year.

I think it is safe to say that I really enjoyed this. I’ve watched two really great movies so far this month (the other being Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), and it makes me so happy when movies are this well done. It’s definitely a serious movie, so don’t expect anything else, but it is one of the best films I’ve seen this year.

Have you seen Zodiac? What did you think?

PS: Here is Young Mark Ruffalo with a shoulder strap. Delicious.

mark-ruffalo-zodiac

Book Review: Key of Valour (Nora Roberts)

Book: 90/100

Zoe McCourt has witnessed her two new friends, Malory and Dana, successfully find the keys they were assigned to release the souls of three demi-goddesses that were captured by the evil sorcerer Kane 3000 years ago. Rowena and Pitte, the daugters’ teacher and guardian caused their souls to be stolen because they were too busy falling in love than doing their job. Back in Key of Light, Rowena and Pitte, who were sent to earth to find the three mortals that could release their charges, requested the three ladies to go on the quest in return for a million dollars each if they succeeded in their tasks.

Zoe watched both her friends succeed and knows that she as the last one will have to face Kane in all his power. She is supported by her two friends, their respective partners, her son Simon and Bradley Vane, a powerful and rich man who seems very attracted to her. She needs to deal with her insecurities around successful men – Simon’s father was one and dumped her when she fell pregnant – but Bradley is determined to win her over. His charm, good looks and obvious connection to her son wins her over and they start dating.

Kane is determined to stop her and goes after her from the start. He visits her in dreams, makes her see things, prey on her insecurities and frighten her, but she fights back every time, comforted by the knowledge that Rowena and Pitte put magical protection over Simon so that he would be safe from all attacks.

Will Zoe succeed? Will she learn to trust Bradley completely? Will Rowena and Pitte be allowed back into their world when the souls are released?

Rating: 7/10

Key of Valour was my favorite book in the series. It is a really good end to the story and clears everything up. I liked how Zoe ended things, how she didn’t lose hope even when she was running out of time and how she always put her son first. Her life is much better explained than Dana’s and Malory’s and you understand her insecurities much better.

Read my reviews of Key of Light and Key of knowledge here and here

Book Review: The Rescue (Nicholas Sparks)

Book: 84/100

Taylor McAden meets Denise Holt the night her son Kyle goes missing. Kyle, who has an auditory processing problem, wanders out of the car during a storm when Denise crashes her car into a tree. Taylor is one of the first responders to the site and he and the rest of the volunteer firefighters set out to find Kyle. Denise is taken to hospital and she and her son are reunited hours later when Taylor finally finds him on a hunch.

A few days later Taylor finds Denise and Kyle in the grocery store and gives them a lift home. Taylor realises that mother and son is in need of some help and his hero instinct kicks in. He starts driving Denise to work, plays with Kyle and helps around the house. He and Denise’s relationship continues to develop but there are some areas – particularly the way his father died when Taylor was a child and his risky stunts as a fireman – that he won’t discuss with her.

Taylor’s best friend Mitch and his wife Melissa welcome Denise into the community with open arms. It is Melissa that finally tells Denise how Taylor’s father died – in a fire while saving Taylor. When Denise tries to discuss it with him he gets angry and even when they resolve the fight Denise realizes that Taylor is pulling away from her. Nothing she seems to do is able to bridge the gap and she watches her relationship fall apart.

Denise finally draws the line when Taylor forgets to take Kyle to a game as promised. Kyle is disappointed and seems to regress in his talking-abilities progress, and she feels that it isn’t something she can allow as a mother.

Taylor and Mitch have a huge disagreement when Mitch realize that Taylor let Denise slip away. Taylor leaves with angry words between them and that night they are both called to a fire. Mitch dies and Taylor is haunted with grief. He heads to Denise and she is kind enough to hear him out. He tells her everything – about Mitch, his father and how he feels responsible for both deaths. He asks her to allow him back into her life and she says she needs to think about it. Will Taylor get past the deaths of the two people he was closest to his entire life? Will Denise be able to trust him again?

Rating: 6.5/10

Nicholas Sparks always writes well, but some more than others. This book wasn’t his best or most entertaining, and I often felt that he wasn’t really into the story. It is written in his typical southern-style romance. I appreciated that Denise focused a lot on her son and not only on her relationship with Taylor. She seemed to realize that even while she didn’t plan to have the kid, once he was there he became her primary concern.

Taylor was an interesting character but also a bit annoying at times. He obviously had many issues to work through and that was a central plot in the book, but he seemed ridiculously emotionally immature for a grown man.

This is obviously a good choice if you are a big NS fan, but if you haven’t read his books I would recommend other books of his (like the Notebook)

Book Review: Rachel’s Holiday (Marian Keyes)

 

rachels holiday

Book: 83/100

Rachel is outraged when her sister and her husband arrive in New York to take her to the Cloisters, a rehabilitation centre in Ireland. She stubbornly maintains that the overdose that nearly killed her was accidental, and that she has her life under control. Not even her flatmate Brigit or boyfriend Luke will side with her. She is horrified when Luke dumps her before she goes back to Ireland, even though she ignores his insistence that she has a serious problem.

The Cloisters isn’t the star-studded spa-resort Rachel expects. The mundane lifestyle quickly gets to her, and more than once does she try to leave. The first time Dr. Billings, her psychiatrist, tells her that she signed a legal contract to stay, and the second time she realizes that she indeed might have a problem.

Rachel sits through group session as her therapist systematically breaks through every barrier the addicts there seem to have. For homosexuality to being molested or abused as a kid, every addict there struggles through their past demons and their current struggles. Until a few days before Rachel is able to leave, Rachel is fully convinced that everyone around her is deluded, not she. When Luke shows up, her world crashes down on her. Listening to him describe the horrible person she became, she realises that she is a drug addict and can never take drugs even socially. Will she be able to beat drugs down? Will she and Luke ever reconcile and will she ever see New York again?

Rating: 7.5/10

As you folks know, I am very fond of Marian Keyes’ books. She is an incredibly writer able to make you feel personally attached to all the characters. Rachel’s Holiday, which is part of the Walsh family series, is exactly the same. Rachel is a hilarious character. She has a warped view of the world and sees everything that happens in a different light than the rest of us. She is also very sad – as a middle child she constantly felt neglected and unloved. Her childhood memories caused her great pain even though the way she saw the things that happened were very different from actual events. As

Marian Keyes always writes in different ways. In many of her books she jumps between central characters. This one she only wrote in first person and I think it suited the book very well. It enables the reader to experience everything that is wrong with Rachel and why she is the way she is.

A very enjoyable book to read.

 

Books Reviews: The MacKade brothers (Nora Roberts)

Hi There! Today I am putting four books into one post – it seems a lot but it is an entire series and just seems easier that way. Enjoy!

Book One: The Return of Rafe MacKade

Book: 79/100

Rafe MacKade leaves the small southern town of Antietam to get a grip on his life and to find out who he really is. Years later, he returns to the place he grew up with big plans – to restore the old Barlow house and open it as an inn. His brothers Jared, Devin and Shane are equally as headstrong as he and they are all known around town with a bit of dark glamor.

Regan Bishop is new enough in town to have never met Rafe. She meets Rafe when she has coffee with her friend Cassie Dolin. Cassie is one of the people who have known the MacKade brothers from childhood because she also grew up with them. Regan constantly tries to get Cassie to leave her abusive husband Joe, but it is only until he nearly kills her that she has him arrested and files for divorce. Rafe seems like a rough guy but Regan immediately notices his kindness towards Cassie and realizes that he is more than just a man with a short temper.

As owner of an exclusive Antique shop in town, Past Times, Rafe contracts Regan for redecorating the inn once finished, and they work together on ideas. They stumble across the ghosts of the inn, who have been there since the Civil war. The ghosts are never violent, but it still leads to some entertaining times.

When Cassie files for divorce Joe is furious and heads to Regan’s apartment where Cassie and her children are temporarily living. He nearly rapes Regan but she manages to escape. She goes to the Rafe’s brother, Police Chief Devin MacKade and he arrests Joe. Rafe is furious with her for not going to him first, and says it is because she needs to prove that she doesn’t need him in her life.

Will they be able to get through their differences and clashing personalities? Is this the last of Joe Dolin?

Rating: 5.5/10

None of the books in the series was a bad read. It was nice enough, just very basic and no surprises anywhere. These are all very manly men, and it is obvious the books were written in the 90’s, where most men were still adjusting to women being able to take care of themselves and having “little lady” thoughts. I found all four MacKades a bit ridiculously written – big, manly men who love to fight with each other and for family honor.

I enjoyed the first book in the series even though nothing ground-breaking takes place. It keeps a steady pace and is a quick read. Joe Dolin was a well written bastard and I have to admit I enjoyed all the times Rafe and his brothers punched him or wanted to punch him.

Book Two: The Pride of Jared MacKade

Book: 80/100

Jared MacKade, the suave lawyer, meets Savannah Morningstar when he does a favor to a colleague and contacts her with regards to her father’s will. She is the most beautiful woman he has ever seen, but she is surprising uncooperative and rapidly annoys him. She doesn’t want money from her deceased father – after he threw her out when she became pregnant as a teenager, she never contacted him again. She raised her son Bryan and did an excellent job – he is outgoing, confident and intelligent eleven year old boy. He becomes friends with Connor Dolin, Cassie’s young son who is severely withdrawn because of his abusive upbringing, even though his father is now in jail. She promises Bryan that they are in Antietam to stay, and he blossoms in his new life. It is Bryan that eventually gets Savannah to accept the money – it means that she can start a college fund for her boy.

Savannah constantly feels unworthy in Jared’s world.  Even though she is outrageously beautiful, she never finished school and feels like the village idiot compared to his lawyer degree. She works through her insecurities, but she isn’t the problem – Jared is. He is constantly tortured by the thoughts that she prostituted herself to make ends meet. He assumes this, never verifying facts, and Savannah is horrified and angry when she finds out what he thinks of her.

Will their relationship survive Jared’s Pride?

Rating: 5/10

Of all the male leads in the series, Jared MacKade was the pits. So he wouldn’t love a girl who had had many sexual partners? But it was okay for him to seduce in his youth? NICE double standards there, mister.

I liked confident little Bryan. He was the best match for Connor as a friend, and it is sweet to see how they become friends.

This was definitely my least favorite book in the series, thanks to the serious and irritating pride of the idiotic eldest brother of the MacKades.

Book Three: The Heart of Devin MacKade

Book: 81/100

Devin MacKade’s first love was Cassie. As a teenager he was too late to tell her and she married Joe Dolin – who was abusive and nearly killed her. After her divorce and Joe’s imprisonment, she’s been working on improving her confidence and being a good manager at the MacKade inn. Even though Devin still has feelings for her he fights it because he knows she still needs to remember that not all men are bad.

When she becomes more stable their relationship blossoms. Devin has to deal with Cassie’s misconception about love and life, and then there are her children. Her son Connor adamantly states that he has no desire to have a dad after just escaping from his terrible one. Even though he likes Devin he is still not interested in acquiring another male in the house.

Joe Dolin is on a mission. He deliberately became a model prisoner to get out on the work release program. There is nothing reformed about him – he wants to teach his wife a lesson for leaving him. When he escapes, he immediately heads to the Inn and shoots Devin. Will Devin be able to save Cassie and her children? What will happen to Cassie when Joe escapes? Can Connor realize that not all men are abusive?

Rating: 6/10

My favorite in the series. Devin is certainly a better lead than Jared (still bitching yeah). He was able to love Cassie even after her abusive marriage, and was capable of accepting another man’s children as his own.

Book Four: The Fall of Shane MacKade

Book: 82/100

Shane MacKade has watched all three his brothers fall in love. He is the only one of his raucous siblings to not have taken the plunge, and he is quite cheerful about it. His world changes when he meets Rebecca – Regan’s incredibly smart college friend who has come to visit. He is fascinated by her – and her cool rebuff of his advances just makes her more alluring. Rebecca is there to study the ghosts in Antietam – and that leads to disagreements. Shane is scared of them (although he won’t admit it) and claims they don’t exist. As Rebecca starts proving that they do, in his farm house as well, things heat up between the two. Will the two end up together?

Rating: 5/10

As female lead, I liked Rebecca most. She is smart and sassy, able to reinvent herself and intelligent enough to be open to the thought of the supernatural. Shane’s interest in her was amusing because she was so vastly different from his other choices.

Not a bad series, although not the most ground breaking one out there. Pretty obvious stuff.

Book Review: Blue Smoke (Nora Roberts)

Book: 72/100

Catarina Hale is part of a big Italian family. While boisterous and prone to dramatic fights, they are a tight unit. They also run an Italian pizza parlor in the area where she lives. One day, her life literally goes up in flames. After Reena is attacked at school by Joey Pastorelli and saved by her younger brother, Reena’s father goes to discuss the situation with Joe Pastorelli Snr. Things get heated and they end up shouting at each other in the street. Siricos, the restaurant, is torched by Joe Pastorelli one night and he is soon arrested.  As the restaurant burns, the Hales are supported by their friends and family and quickly make plans to rebuild.

Reena uses the event that should have destroyed her youth as a direction in life. As she grows, she heads to University with the plan to become a firefighter/arson detective. At University she meets Josh, a sweet journalism student who is in love with her. He dies in a fire in his apartment, and no one will listen to Reena when she insists he doesn’t smoke – who will listen to the girl josh was determined to impress and might have lied to about smoking?

Years later, Reena is a firefighter. She’s dating another firefighter, but he too is killed by fire – this time in a botched high jacking. Once again, her life is ruined by fire. The next bump in the road comes when Reena dates someone she wouldn’t usually date – a slick city mogul. When he starts to slap her around, she kicks him out of the door, but when his car is set alight it seems like she is the angry girlfriend who did it. She is eventually cleared of charges, but once again, fire is messing around with her.

Reena moves into her own house. Her friends and family are settled and married, and she is the only one who hasn’t made the leap. She doesn’t tell anyone why – that Josh’s death and her subsequent disastrous relationships have scarred her. Her new next-door neighbor is carpenter Bowen Goodnight. He seems slightly crazy when she meets him, and he has to quickly explain his oddness when she threatens to arrest him. He tells her a ridiculous (but true) story how he saw her at a few points in his life, and every time he was awestruck, but she disappeared before he could reach her.

They start seeing each other casually, with Reena’s entire family approving. When Reena starts receiving threatening messages, and buildings are set alight, Reena knows that someone is out to get her. Bo nearly dies a few times, but refuses to go into hiding until everything is sorted, which naturally leads to a few entertaining fights. Who is after Reena and her family? Will Bo and Reena’s relationship survive, or more importantly, will they survive?

Rating: 7/10

Again, Blue Smoke is a book well done by Nora Roberts. She is mostly an entertaining writer, and doesn’t disappoint this time around. I am impressed by Blue Smoke because it really captures the essence of family. The villain is an evil mastermind, and his tricks leave you horrified. You know who he is – it is fairly obvious from the start – but the escalation of his crimes and brutality is shocking. I’ve read the book a few times, and have to say that I’m enjoying it more each time around. Go try it out!

Book Review: The Last Sacrifice (Richelle Mead)

Book: 62/100

Richelle Mead - Vampire Academy Last Sacrifice

Rose Hathaway has been framed for the murder of the Moroi Queen, Tatiana Ivashkov. She has damning evidence against her – the Queen was murdered with Rose’s own stake after Rose threatened her before the entire Moroi Royal Court. Set for trial and a definite execution, she relies on her father, the shady Abe Mazur, to get her out. He manages to buy more time for his investigation by enabling her to escape from jail, with the help of her friends, and her current and former boyfriends, Adrian Ivashkov and Dimitri Belikov, the Dhampir who was forced to turn into a Strigoi and then returned to his Dhampir form by Lissa, a Spirit user and Rose’s best friend. Dimitri runs away with her, because he is the one already under suspicion, and clears her other friends. They meet up with Sydney Sage, a friend of Rose who is an Alchemist, people working to keep the supernatural world secret. They go to a remote location to hide while Abe clears Rose’s name, but she isn’t content to just sit and wait. She tells them the letter she received – a letter by Tatiana herself, telling Rose that Lissa has an illegitimate family member somewhere. This crucial information means that Lissa can run in the election for the next Queen, which wouldn’t have been possible without other family members.

When Adrian visits Rose during a Spirit dream, she tells him that they should nominate Lissa as a candidate, certain that the shock in their world will slow down the hunt for herself. She is right, the people are furious. They feel that she is only eighteen, linked to the previous’ Queen killer and her Spirit magic makes her unstable. Lissa starts doing the tests, and she does them remarkably well, gaining support as she goes further. For her, it is a promise to keep her family’s name high where it belongs, and a matter of pride, but to the Moroi she is a valid and loved candidate.

When Rose causes a scene at the motel she is hiding with Dimitri and Sydney, they are forced to leave their location. They head to a secret community, the Keepers that is composed of humans, Moroi and Dhampirs who are very primitive. There Rose gets another follower and has to make it clear she isn’t interested. While there, they realize that the only person who might know of Lissa’s illegitimate family member is Sonya Karp, Rose and Lissa’s old teacher who turned into a Strigoi to get away from her Spirit induced insanity. Dimitri uses his old connections to find out where she is living, and they go to find her. They are soon joined by Victor Dashkov and his half-brother Robert Doru, a crazy Spirit user. They turn Sonya back into a Moroi, and she is able to help them track down Lissa’s family.

Rose is shocked when it turns out that Jill Mastrano, a younger Moroi and one of her friends is Lissa’s half-sister. Jill agrees to head to court and openly admit it, but she is kidnapped by Victor and Robert, and the Guardians storm the Mastrano’s house after Victor tipped them off.

They hunt Victor, Robert and Jill down, and Rose kills Victor. She is terrified that she is going crazy from her bond with Lissa, and it takes a while to calm her down. She and Dimitri sleep together afterwards and head to court to take Jill in. Adrian realizes that Rose cheated on him and things are very awkward, but he is still kind towards Jill.

Rose, Dimitri and Lissa enters Court, where Lissa is one of two candidates left for the Monarchy. She declares Lissa has a sister, meaning she can be Queen if she gets voted in. Rose reveals herself, and tells the Court the evidence clearing her name – how Tasha Ozera framed her after killing the Queen, how Tasha hated the Queen and Rose as well, because Dimitri had only ever loved Rose and not her. Tasha is furious and denies it, but it is obvious that she is guilty. She tries to shoot Lissa, but Rose does one last heroic deed and just in front of her best friend, and getting critically injured.

Days later, Rose wakes up and discovers that 1) she’s alive 2) Lissa is Queen and 3) when she was shot and her body repaired itself, the bond she had with Lissa disappeared. She is reunited with the love of her life Dimitri, and her best friend is not only safe, but the ruler of their world.

Rating: 7/10

I enjoyed the last book in the series, even though it felt like I had to run a marathon to get through it. Last Sacrifice manages to tie up loose ends, finish off the appropriate people stories and leaves a few things untouched that gets picked up in the sister series, Bloodlines.

Once again, Rose is her single minded self. It is unfair to claim she is selfish, because she offers up so much of her time to protect her closest friend. She can rather be perceived as someone who only cares what happens to the people she loves the most – Lissa and Dimitri. I felt very sorry for Adrian at the end. He is already fragile of mind and then instead of dumping him when she knows it won’t work, she strings him along with false promises and then cheats of him. Not very nice.

Lissa was much more enjoyable in the last book. She finally found pride and a little backbone, which is a huge improvement from the fragile thing we met in Vampire Academy.

The series Vampire Academy is in my opinion something worth reading if you like YA fiction. It is better than most material out there, original and exciting.

Have you read the series? What did you think?

Book Review: Spirit Bound (Richelle Mead)

Book: 61/100

After learning that there might be a way to return Strigoi to their mortal state, Rose Hathaway realises that she needs to break her archenemy, Victor Dashkov, from prison. She enlists the help of her friends Lissa Dragomir and Eddie Castile, and they set of to break him out. They miraculously manage it, and end up in Las Vegas, where Victor wants to meet his half-brother, Robert Doru. Robert tells them that to save a Strigoi, a Spirit user needs to stake it with a silver stake that has been charmed with all the Moroi elements – earth, fire, water and spirit. Lissa wants to do this, but Rose knows allowing her might mean her friend’s death. Adrian Ivashkov arrives in Las Vegas, and he is understandably upset when he realizes Rose’s plan to bring her ex-boyfriend back from the dead. Dimitri attacks them while in Vegas, but once again Rose is unable to kill him, enraging Eddie, the other Guardian there. She confides in him that Dimitri was more than a teacher to her, and while he is sympathetic, he remains firm that she should have staked him. Robert and Victor escape, turning the trip into a complete disaster.

Back at the royal court Rose and Eddie gets into trouble for taking Lissa into dangerous surroundings. Rose gets stuck with paperwork, something she really hates. She meets Mikhael Tanner, another Guardian who lost someone he loved when she turned Strigoi. It turns out that his love was Sonya Karp, Rose and Lissa’s teacher who went crazy from being a spirit user.

Lissa and Christian Ozera is captured by Dimitri when they leave court for a college tour, and tells Rose through her and Lissa’s spirit bond he expects her to come and save her friend. She and other Guardians attack them, and Lissa manages to return Dimitri to his original Dhampir state. He is taken captive because no one knows what to believe, and Rose is stunned when he doesn’t want to see or speak to her.

The Queen of the Moroi, Tatiana Ivashkov, is known for despising Rose. When she asks Rose to tell her story of Strigoi hunting, Rose is stunned but complies. When she realizes Tatiana plans to use it to force Guardians to start working at sixteen, she openly threatens the Queen. When the Queen is found murdered with Rose’s stake, things doesn’t look good for her. She is taken into custody.

How will she possibly survive this? Who murdered the Queen? And will Dimitri ever be able to face her again?

Rating: 6/10

Once again, not a bad read. There is still some unnecessary things that happen, silly subplots that distract from the overall storyline. The series is very original, although the love triangle certainly isn’t. I think Rose was completely wrong looking at Adrian while she wasn’t over Dimitri, and even thinking that it could work. Tatiana’s murder was a surprise, and made the seventh book possible (once again supporting my theory that the series didn’t need seven books)

I would recommend this book to people who love YA fiction. It is a really good book, although if you want to read it it is advisable to read the series in correct order.

Book Review: Blood Promise (Richelle Mead)

Book: 60/100

Blood promise img

After an attack on St. Vladimir’s, a school where living vampires and half vampires train and live, Rose Hathaway watched her teacher and lover become an evil, undead vampire. Remembering the promise she made to him when they first met, Rose starts hunting down Dimitri with the hopes to kill him and free his soul from his present monstrous state.

Rose heads to Russia and meets Sydney Sage, an Alchemist. The Alchemist’s are a secret group that works to hide the supernatural world from humans. They themselves are human, and regard Moroi, Strigoi and Dhampirs pretty much the same – evil, unnatural creatures who shouldn’t exist.

For a human with such a strange perspective, she isn’t that bad, and she helps Rose go to the Dhampir village where Dimitri grew up. There she meets his family, and tells them of his turning into a Strigoi. She also meets another Spirit user and their Shadow Kissed partner, and learn that with enough practise the Spirit user can heal the Shadow Kissed.

Rose leaves the village with a Strigoi hunting group, and is captured by Dimtiri. He takes her captive and makes her addicted to his bites. He also wants to turn her into a Strigoi herself, but Rose manages to keep saying no to him. She stays there a long time, not really captive anymore because she is so addicted to him. She can still read Lissa’s mind, and sees that she has made a new friend, Avery Lazar. Avery is a very bad influence on Lissa, making her drink and party, and that brings an ever widening gap between her and Christian. Lissa accidentally kisses her ex while she’s drunk, and Christian breaks up with her.

Rose finally manages to escape and kill Dimitri. She helps save Lissa through the help of the other Spirit user, and they realise that Avery is also a Spirit user who wants Lissa to be bonded to her – that means Lissa has to die first. Rose intercepts this and they manage to defeat Avery and her cronies.

When Rose arrives back at school, they take her back without much questioning, and she promises to give Adrian a chance. She tells Lissa that she learnt that you can restore a Strigoi to its original state by some obscure way, but they first need to break out Victor Dashkov from prison as he is the only person that knows how.

Once again, Rose’s world crashes down when she receives a letter from Dimitri telling her that he didn’t die and is coming after her. Will Rose manage to break Victor out from prison and save her great love?

Rating: 5/10

This was another book in the series that seemed unnecessary. Dimitri holding Rose captive took ages to reach a conclusion, and their fight afterwards was so ridiculously long that it might have stretched over fifty pages.

Dimitri didn’t inspire fear as a Strigoi for me. He wasn’t scary, he seemed like he was a kid playing a big game. If he was so strong and ruthless, why did he just not turn Rose into a Strigoi without her permission?

The inclusion of Avery Lazar was exceptionally redundant. She doesn’t even feature later on the books and her tale has no significance to the storyline.

The few good things that happened in the book:

Abe Mazur’s introduction

Meeting Sydney Sage, which is extremely important to Bloodlines.

The tip that a Strigoi could be saved (although that could have been worked into the beginning of Spirit Bound)

I did like the fact that Rose finally did something for herself, and not because Lissa wanted or needed it. She walked away to go free the man she loved, and did it on her own terms. Nothing her best friend tried would stop her, and I really respected that. She still isn’t my favorite lead of all time, but as the series progresses, she does grow, and so does her control on life.