BOOK: The Magicians Trilogy

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The Magicians Trilogy is easily my favourite new series. 

If you know me, you most likely will have heard me go on about it. I found the recommendation in a random list of ‘If you like Harry Potter you might like these’ books and wrote it down on a note on my phone. A few weeks later, I decided to start a book club with a few of my friends (granted, that kinda crumbled and didn’t really work out but ah well) and I suggested we start with this! I knew very little about it but we wanted to try and start with a book that none of us knew much about! I knew it was fantasy, and that it was aimed at a late teenage/early adulthood audience.

Then whilst waiting for my first book to arrive, I was researching and realised that it was a show that had only just begun streaming on SyFy in America! I was so excited and it motivated me to read faster hahaha.
I have a separate blog post on the show so if you wanted to go on over to that, it is under ‘TV Shows’ and by the way, yes, I loved it.

I don’t want to say too much about the books because I really don’t want to spoil anything! But what I will say is that this series constantly surprised me! At first, I noticed that they kept referring to other fantasy worlds, namely Narnia! I wasn’t sure how to feel about it at first because usually just on instinct I despise when books make contemporary references. I’m not even sure why I totally hate it, but I totally do! I prefer the exact timing and place in the world where the story takes place remain vague.
However, once I realised that the tongue in cheek attitude was completely intentional and the references weren’t so copy cat as they were satire, I began to love it.

In the first book, ‘The Magicians’ I had so many ‘what the actual f***’ moments where I wondered 1. Are they serious? and 2. How the hell are they going to pull this off in the show it is WEIRD.
It was funny, strange, dark, mysterious and had those ‘holy hell’ moments along with the chest fluttering ‘eeeee’ moments that go along with romance. I really loved it.

The second book, ‘The Magician King’ went full fledged 110% fantasy and it let the characters grow and develop and the story take on a differently coloured strangeness. Quentin, the main character, began to grow up and mature from the whiney self centred ‘cmon man’ character he could sometimes be in the first book and this made me so happy.

By the third book, ‘Magician’s Land’ Quentin had really developed, most of the main characters: Julia (holy crap did she develop,) Alice, Eliot, Janet, Penny and the new characters had totally changed and flipped and moved to new dimensions and matured with their fucked up magical issues. I really loved it.

I have a serious issue with endings and was really worried that I would be completely dissatisfied with this one, constantly thinking ‘oh no, don’t end here, I can see where this is going, I’m not going to love it.’
And then… It ended. And I thought… I did not hate that. I kinda loved it. It totally thrilled me and I swear I just sat holding the book in my arms and staring around the room.

Basically, I let myself become completely obsessed with this story and it’s rich deep characters and strange new world. I love the originality, the attitude, the fun it pokes and the dark it bleeds into and I cannot wait to re read the whole thing!
I definitely recommend these books to any Fantasy lover! It is definitely NOT YA, these books are for a slightly more mature audience, but it’s not totally thick political craziness alike ‘Game of Thrones’ either. Get it and see for yourself, and if you love it, dear god talk to me about it haha!! ❤

Sorry that this post/review is all over the place, I really don’t want to spoilt absolutely anything! But I’m thinking when I reread I might do a break down of my thoughts in each book for people who have read it and want to talk about it and see what others think!

HAPPY READING AND MAGIC-ING GUYS!

☾CHALEESI☽

 

 

BOOK: SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE ✎



Slaughterhouse Five is Vonnegut’s most popular novel- an anti-war satire, based around the bombing of Dresden in World War Two.

Now one thing that always GRINDS MY GEARS is when the 16/17 year olds in teen dramas, whether it’s TV shows or YA novels, claim that their favourite books and writers are old American classics. For a start, I never believe it. The author was just trying to make them seem clever and interesting. Maybe it’s just because I’m reading the classics mostly in my twenties, but I just think, shut the hell up, be honest, your favourite author is NOT Jack Kerouac. IN SAYING THIS: (there was a point after all) the first time that I remember thinking ‘hmmm I need to read Vonnegut’ is when I was reading Looking For Alaska by John Green and Alaska in all her pixie dream girl/beautiful mess glory, reads this acclaimed author.

I didn’t know what to expect from Slaughterhouse, as I never knew too much about it. Thus, when I began and discovered the protagonist Billy Pilgrim becomes ‘unstuck in time’ and begins to shift through various moments in his timeline, I was thrown into something I did not foresee. I’ll admit, there are those ‘great American novels’ that make me roll my eyes. When I read them, I cannot help but think ‘what a pile of wank.’ Perhaps it is because some GREATER MEANING has simply gone over my head. However, I felt like Slaughterhouse was a touch different. There were bits that I felt like skimming, like all the excerpts from the books every character was reading, or mentioned, or picked up. But the style of Vonnegut’s writing kept me there.

All in all, I was intrigued by the story. For most of it, I was wondering if the whole alien-abduction-time-travel thing was the main character actually going completely senile from an emotional trauma. I still haven’t decided. The time line is fractured and disjointed and this causes the book to lose the linear plot line with a rise and fall, coming into a crescendo. This one of the things that makes the book the little gem that it is.

It does not have an obvious plot line, but the message is clear in the description. It is an anti-war book. Though, as somebody says in the foreword to Vonnegut, you may as well write an anti-glacier book. War will not cease due to protest. The foul remnants of it’s destruction will know kneel for novels and sadness. Perhaps this is why Vonnegut set out to write a book about the Dresden bombing and actually produced a satirical story of a passive protagonist that only touches upon the Dresden bombing. He survived it, just as Vonnegut himself survived it.

It is a novel that I am willing to discuss. I spent a while researching the story, making sure nothing went over my head. It is intriguing and it is obvious why some high school’s still study it. I’m almost jealous. It’s an insight into the crippling times some men went through, with just enough black humour and crazy fantasy to keep the reader from being overcome by revulsion for war and boredom from the tedious recollection of it.

☾CHALEESI☽

▲FILM/BOOK: THE MARTIAN

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So I just finished the novel ‘The Martian’ and then immediately after, went to see the new film adaption. It is one of those stories that make me grow very very agitated when somebody complains about it. Straight after seeing the films I heard comments from people I know saying it was ‘predictable’ or ‘the script could have been better.’ I just DISAGREE. Maybe it’s just because I get annoyed when somebody criticises something I like. But also it’s because I know IT’S JUST VERY GOOD.

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So let’s break it down. Mark Watney (a bloody brilliant character in my opinion) is part of NASA’s third trip to Mars. His crew is caught in a terrible storm which means they have to abandon their entire mission and leave the planet. Mark gets hit by a loose satellite (I think its a satellite) and the crew think they have lost him to the crazy temptress that is Mars. They leave him. Turns out he is indeed alive, and now stranded on Mars with not enough food, or water and no way to contact anybody living.

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SCIENCE! This book has been acclaimed for the accuracy of the science used within it. Something that viewer’s have to have nowadays in science fiction is believability!
‘Andy Weir, the son of a particle physicist, has a background in computer science. He began writing the book in 2009, researching related material so that it would be as realistic as possible and based on existing technology. Weir studied orbital mechanics, astronomy, and the history of manned spaceflight. He said he knows the exact date of each day in the book.’

Yes, I took that from Wikipedia. But it’s great. Andy was one dedicated author! NASA invited him to tour the Johnson Space Center and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory upon publication of the book, and when Ridley Scott began production of the film, Weir contacted NASA about their potential involvement. Key NASA staff members that joined the partnership were James L. Green, the Director of the Planetary Science Division and Dave Lavery, the Program Executive for Solar System Exploration.

NASA answered hundreds of questions on a weekly basis, they sent hundreds of photos of Mars and the control centres for the production team and have timed marketing with the theatrical release. It is said that NASA has had more involvement with The Martian than any other film, as it also serves as a plug for a manned mission to Mars. I just think that is so cool. I have always loved NASA, not that I dare to comprehend most of what is involved in anything space related. I am definitely one of those people who are endlessly fascinated by anything SPACE. But when I let my brain grasp too far, I feel it physically turn to moosh.

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Now can I also just compliment the cast? Being a stranded astronaut on Mars and the sole protagonist, Matt Damon was alone for most of the film. However there were many supporting actors! Jessica Chastain, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan and Aksel Hannie play Watney’s crew: Lewis, Martinez, Johanssen, Beck and Vogel. They spend their time in the ship returning to Earth. Then there’s the crew at NASA who are busting their asses to get their astronaut back home; Kristen Wiig- as Annie Montrose: NASA spokesperson, Jeff Daniels- as Teddy Sanders: head of NASA, Sean Bean- as Mitch Henderson: mission director, Chiwetel Ejiofor- as Vincent Kapoor: mission director, Benedict Wong- as Bruce Ng: director of JPL, Mackenzie Davis- as Mindy Park: satellite planner in mission control and then there’s Donald Glover (aka Gambino) as Rich Purnell: astronomer.

I was very happy with the casting. As I read the book after I had seen the trailer for the film, Matt Damon was already Mark Watney in my mind. Regardless, I think I would have believed he was a perfect Watney. Watney is the genius, easy to love guy that never takes anything quite too seriously. Instead of having a meltdown at the prospect of being entirely alone on an empty and desolate planet, Watney decides I am not going to die here. With that decision, he remains himself, the botanist/engineer that can get himself out of any situation. I read a review that said it was not believable because Watney cracked a joke at every turn, making himself seem like a character stitched out of cheesy one liners. I wholeheartedly disagree because that is just Watney’s character- the loveable idiot who keeps it light. He keeps himself sane because he can remain himself. I’m sure that inside, he is absolutely fucking terrified most of the time. But he doesn’t let it kill him.

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One of my favourite parts of the book is this line which shows how hilarious Watney is, even when he is faced with almost certain death. The script changed the line of course, but I was still happy with the adaption. It conveys the humour just the same, and although I think the book is funnier, perhaps it would not have come across the same.

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Back to the rest of the cast, aside from being far more attractive than reality would have it, the NASA crew were just great. I feel like they each conveyed their characters in a pretty fine way. I had Johanssen down in my imagination, but had not seen the rest of the cast as their characters properly. Apart from only brushing over Johanssen and Beck’s blossoming relationship, I was happy that the film referenced it at all. I was excited by the presence of Sebastian Stan, because like many many others, my eyes and ovaries just bloody love him, and I hadn’t realised that he was in the film at all!

I also fell completely in love with Mackenzie Davis as Mindy. She is so bloody gorgeous and I loved Mindy’s character, somebody so low on the NASA food chain who just gets swept up to play with all the big fish. Also, I hadn’t realised GAMBINO was in it! And I imagined Rich Purnell as an overweight older male, so I found this quite humorous. I loved Glover’s portrayal.

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(Also I just have to mention… LOOK AT MARA’S DRESS! IT IS BEAUTIFUL. I NEED IT. Sorry.)

So basically- I loved the book, and I loved the adaption. I liked the book better, as one usually does, because I just think it works better as a book although the ways they pulled it off in the film I very much applaud. Of course, there are a few things left out and a few things added, but I was impressed by how much of the story is straight out of the original. Yay! I recommend that one reads the book first, but if you haven’t already and just want to see Matt Damon and his beautiful body- I mean- acting skills, in a cinema, then I will forgive you. But as is my philosophy with everything, one is always more invested when they read the book first!

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Go and see/read/feast your eyes on the ‘surely a whole team of scientists can’t all be that good looking that’s it I CAN’T BELIEVE ANY OF IT NOW,’ the beautiful science, the emotional suspense and humour of the The Martian.

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The Martian. BOOK: Andy Weir, 2011. FILM: Ridley Scott, 2015.

☾CHALEESI☽

BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS✎

“WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK?” 

My reply: I think I’m still waiting to read it. I’m a huge lover of books, a (hopeful) future novelist, and a typical hater of any kindle type digitalised version. Yes, yes, I can see the appeal, it makes sense, but I adore the physical pages too much to ever buy into it. KEEP THE INDUSTRY ALIVE, I scream!

SO. I love Young Adult novels, all that trash with teenage love and vampires and witches etc etc; but I also read the classics, and any other fiction novel I find that piques my interest. In this list, which is me trying to narrow it down to just the few favourites that I can think of without getting too carried away, I am going to leave out the obvious ‘HARRY POTTER.’ I think this is my favourite ‘world,’ and I will always cherish it so so much. So it’s not on the list because it’s a bloody given. If you haven’t read it yet- WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?

1. SAVAGES: Don Winslow, 2010.
Part-time environmentalist and philanthropist Ben and his ex-mercenary buddy Chon, run a Laguna Beach-based marijuana operation and Ophelia is their girl. The best friends share a lover and a lifestyle, and their life seems almost perfect, before they come up against the Mexican Baja Cartel.

Savages was made into a film in 2012 starring Aaron Johnson, Blake Lively and Taylor Kitsch. Yes, I also love the film. My only problem with the adaption is O’s voiceover, which mostly seems unnecessary and like a good percentage of voice overs in films, I found it a bit cringey. Still, I would recommend the book along with the adaption. Savages’ story is gritty, unapologetic and ‘cool.’

I loved Winslow’s style of writing, and within the book, the layout of the words/paragraphs is clearly purposefully unique. There are breaks in sentences and a whole page dedicated to the words ‘Fuck you.’ I ate that shit up.

The relationship between O, Chon and Ben is sexy, real and captivating and something that I really loved about the book. Chon and Ben ‘share’ O, with little jealousy, and they are effectively a ménage à trois. They all share a house on Laguna Beach and their marijuana business, which O helps out with. The boys are fierce friends, and as one character states, they must love each other even more than they love O, to be able to share her.

The film has a different ending to the book, which I personally preferred in some ways, but it really depends on which kinds of endings you are into. I won’t give anything away- so you’ll have to go read/watch it yourself!

“‘I don’t recognize myself. I don’t know who I am anymore.’ 
And it’s all fun and games until someone loses an I.”

2. GOOD OMENS: Neil Gaiman/Terry Pratchett, 1990.
A comedy about the birth of the son of Satan, the coming of the End Times, and the attempts of the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley to avert them, having become accustomed to their comfortable situations in the human world. A subplot features the growing up of the Antichrist, Adam, and his gang, and the gathering of the Four Horsepersons of the Apocalypse.

This story, this collaboration, these characters and this humour are JUST. GREAT. If you’re a lover of either of these famous fantasy writers, then I will assume you know of this book. If not, you should hurry up and read the damn thing!

I adored the style of writing and the humour really got me. Both of these authors are fantastic in their own right, and I am so grateful that they collaborated. I really enjoyed the entire book, from start to finish, even the times where I had to take a moment and think ‘what in the hell is going on?’

The character of Crowley is pretty brilliant, the typical corrupted Demon, swinging things his way and deceiving everybody. The entire book I just couldn’t help but picture Mark Sheppard, who plays the King of Hell aka Crowley on Supernatural. And when the book crossed to Satan’s son, a pretty innocent kid growing up in a boring part of suburban America, and then soon the four horseman come to join the party… it’s just such a fabulous combination of fantasy/religion fantasy and humour, which has a great balance of dark and light. Just like the friendship of these sworn enemies, Aziraphale and Crowley..awww.

Good Omens was made into a BBC Radio 4 show, starring Neil Gaiman himself among others, this year. I haven’t figured out how the hell to listen to this yet, because I am stupid. 🙂 But I will, and you should too.

“God does not play dice with the universe; He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players [i.e. everybody], to being involved in an obscure and complex variant of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won’t tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time.

3. THE BOOK THEIF: Markus Zusak, 2005.
Liesel Meminger is a nine-year-old girl living in Germany during World War II. Liesel’s experiences are narrated by Death, who details both the beauty and destruction that life in this era brought. During her time in the home of her new foster parents, Hans and Rosa Hubermann, she is exposed to the horror of the Nazi regime. As the political situation in Germany deteriorates, her foster parents hide a Jewish man named Max, throwing the family into a state of danger.

I am unable to pick a favourite quote from this book, because the whole darn book is my favourite quote. Zusak’s writing is POETRY. The fact that the story is narrated by Death, is so brilliant, and gives such a heart tugging aspect to the story.

There are many war stories concerning Nazi Germany, and this is truly best fictional account I have come across. The friendship between Max and Liesel is so gorgeous, and the childlike innocence that she portrays throughout such a horrific time, is truly beautiful.

The imagery is poignant, the balance between beauty and the cruelty of humanity just grabs and claws at my heart, and the complexity of all of the main characters makes them real and easy to love.

You’ve probably heard of it because the film adaption came out in 2013. I did really like the film, but the book is a thousand times better, because the way it was written can only be appreciated through reading the words. And the narration of Death is lost in the film.

I would recommend this book to anybody, if you haven’t already read it. Or just read it again.

“It kills me sometimes, how people die.”

4. NIGHT CIRCUS: Erin Morgenstern, 2011.
A phantasmagorical fairy tale set near an ahistorical Victorian London in a wandering magical circus that is open only from sunset to sunrise. The circus serves a darker purpose beyond entertainment and profit as the magicians Prospero the Enchanter and the enigmatic Mr. A.H— groom their young proteges, Celia Bowen and Marco Alisdair, to proxy their rivalry with the exhibits as a stage. The two beguile the circus goers and each other with nightly wonders, soon falling in love despite being magically bound to a deadly competition with rules neither understands.

This book is a brilliant fantasy, that reels you in, twirls you around, confuses you and then when your head is all dizzy, embraces you warmly as it holds onto your heart.

The story flicks through time, places and characters every chapter, which may mean it takes you a while to catch up to it; but also keeps it really enticing and shows people and places from different aspects of the story.
It follows, mostly, Celia and Marco- the young prodigies of the forever battling magicians Prospero and Mr. A.H.- two very different minds with different grasps on real magic.

The circus is so fucking cool, I cannot express. As a deep lover of all things ‘magic’ and ‘illusion,’ this book made me wish very hard that this circus was real. Each tent is unique, and the layout is twisting and winding, so that the circus go-ers may always be lost and never truly know where they are headed. The circus arrives unannounced, and operates only when it is dark. The world of this story is flawless and the magic is so bright it’s almost blinding.

There are many intriguing characters- a clock maker, a mysterious contortionist, the red headed twins who were born in the circus, and the two confused prodigies who are following and disobeying their instructors as they learn what this game really means.

If you like magic or fantasy, definitely read this book. You’ll eat up it’s bittersweet pages in seconds.

“I have been surrounded by love letters you two have built each other for years, encased in tents.” 

5. FANGIRL: Rainbow Rowell, 2013.
Cath is a Simon Snow fan. The whole world is a Simon Snow fan… But for Cath, being a fan is her life. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere. Cath’s twin sister Wren always joined her in this, but now that they’re going to college, Cath is on her own, and where Wren has grown out of it, Cath just doesn’t want to. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

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Rainbow Rowell is one of my favourite authors of Young Adult literature, and really, I would recommend all of her books. Eleanor & Park is probably a tied favourite with this one, so if you think you’d enjoy this book, definitely go and read that one as well. Brilliant young characters, brilliant dialogue- LOVE it.

Fangirl’s central character, Cath, is clearly very relatable, as she is obsessed with the series ‘Simon Snow.’ This is Rainbow’s own version of Harry Potter, (the most obvious comparison) starring wizards Simon Snow, his nemesis Baz and a girl they both pine for. My favourite part of ‘Fangirl’ is little snippets of the fictional series throughout the book, as well as snippets of Cath’s fan fiction ‘Carry On Simon’ that she is internet famous for; (anonymously of course,) which ships Baz and Simon as lovers instead of enemies.

‘Simon Snow is “an 11-year-old orphan from Lancashire who is recruited to attend the Watford School of Magicks to become a magician. As he grows older, Simon joins a group of magicians–the Mages–who are fighting the Insidious Humdrum, an evil being trying to rid the world of magic.”‘ One of the most exciting things, is that Rowell announced that she is releasing a spin off novel titled ‘Carry On’ later this year, which will be an adaption of the fan fiction that her character in ‘Fangirl’ writes… about the fictional series that Rowell made up. Brilliant. I am very very excited! 🙂

The love story in this novel is sweet and real and gave me those girly fluttery feelings because ‘I am one of those.’ Unapologetically, I am a sucker for happy endings and loves stories, especially when they contain characters like these!

“You’ve read the books?”
“I’ve seen the movies.”
Cath rolled her eyes so hard, it hurt. (Actually.) (Maybe because she was still on the edge of tears. On the edge, period.) “So you haven’t read the books.”
“I’m not really a book person.”
“That might be the most idiotic thing you’ve ever said to me” 

6. NAME OF THE WIND/WISE MAN’S FEAR: Patrick Rothfuss, 2007, 2011.
The book is divided into two timelines: the first in the present, described in third person; the second in protagonist Kvothe’s past, narrated by Kvothe himself to a renowned ‘Chronicler’. The story begins introducing the innkeeper Kote and his assistant Bast, and revealing that Kote is the hero Kvothe: an unequaled swordfighter, magician, and musician, rumored to have killed a king and somehow caused the present war. His assistant and student Bast is a prince of the Fae. Kvothe saves Chronicler, a traveling scribe, whereupon Chronicler asks to record his story. Upon consenting, Kvothe tells Chronicler that this will take three days (corresponding to the planned trilogy of novels).

I was not going to include any series in this list, but I just had to stick this one in there. The first two books of the ‘Kingkiller Chronicles’ were recommended to me by my boyfriend (I take credit for making him read again though 😉 ) who found them on a search for the best fantasy novels. They are absolutely brilliant and I cannot handle not knowing when the third is going to be released.

This world is a very thick fantasy, alike Tolkien’s novels and the Song of Ice and Fire series, wherein there is a map of the world, and so many minute details of this ‘old worlde’ magical land. Kvothe (pronounced Kwothe) is the kind of protagonist that you can trust will always win. However, there lies the storyline in the present, where he is seemingly a different man to this fantastic youth he is describing to the scribe.

There is so much to the story, but the bulk of the two novels lies at ‘The University’ where Kvothe travels to, and upon being a genius student who achieves things younger than many before him, learns the types of ‘magic’ that is available in this world.

Rothfuss’ writing is so bloody brilliant. He has the perfect balance, managing to describe his complicated world without totally losing the reader and all the while being incredibly beautiful and poetic. There are so so so many layers to this story, which I cannot begin to relate. So if you love fantasy and you haven’t yet heard of this brilliant author- GO GO GO.

“Clean, quick, and easy as lying. We know how it ends practically before it starts. That’s why stories appeal to us. They give us the clarity and simplicity our real lives lack.”

☾CHALEESI☽