dimarts, 25 de febrer de 2014

Liebe geht durch alle Zeiten (Edelstein-Trilogie)

I'll admit it: I started to read them because of the covers. I mean, look at them! I'd read about them in several blogs before but I thought it would be just another novel for teenagers and wasn't that interested. And, while that's exactly what this trilogy is, it has a very enjoyable story.

Rubinrot (Ruby Red), Saphirblau (Sapphire Blue), and Smaragdgrün (Emerald Green) are the original titles of the three books written by German author Kerstin Gier. They tell us the story of Gwendolyn Shepherd, a 16 year-old girl from London who has the ability of seeing ghosts since she was a child. Her family does not believe her despite the fact that her cousin, Charlotte, is thought to be the twelfth time traveller mentioned in Count Saint Germain's prophecies.

So when it's Gwen and not Charlotte whose powers are revealed after she unintentionally jumps in time, Gwen is taken to the Lodge of Count Saint Germain, a secret society that has been gathering the blood of the twelfe time travellers, as they are supposed to be the key to the salvation of humanity. Gwen is the last of them and also the Ruby, the one time traveller that plays an essential role in all of this.

However, Gwen is sent to travel to the past on several missions to gather the blood of her cousin Lucy and of Paul de Villiers, who stole the chronograph, the instrument that allows time travellers to control which point in the past they are jumping to, in order to close the blood circle. And she won't be alone: the arrogant but handsome Gideon de Villiers is going to be her partner. Could love get in the way of their mission?

I actually enjoyed this trilogy. I've always liked the whole time-travelling idea and fantasy in general. While the main plot is not the most innovative plot ever, the author brings to life a creative setting and some very lovable characters. The lodge, which reminds of a sect, has a very interesting back-story. It's good that the author includes excerpts of the Annals of the Lodge, as they give us not only "factual" information, but also clues to what is happening without the main characters knowing. 

The time-travelling itself is not bad, although deep down I wished for Gwen and the other characters to be involved in main historical events, at least indirectly. Or that they were mentioned, maybe? However, this is justified by the fact that time travellers are not allowed to change the course of history.

But I didn't like some other things. Gwen herself, to begin with, at some points was annoying, being more preocupied with how handsome Gideon is and also what a big a-hole he is most of the time and how much she hates him and how badly she's falling in love with him. I don't think I'm spoiling it for anyone here by saying that it's obvious that, despite the first impressions, they are inevitably going to become an item. Their romantic involvement becomes too big of a sub-plot, especially in the third book, during which more lodge-related action should be happening. I know it's a novel for teenagers, more specifically for girls, but still...

I actually didn't mind that the books are somewhat predictable. Some major plot points that are supposed to be big, shocking revelations, were easy to figure out in the first book. There are some parts of the time-travelling chronology that had me confused, especially in the second book. And I don't understand why Gwen's family, who is perfectly aware that "supernatural" things happen in that universe (they are carriers of the time-travelling gene, for crying out loud!), fail to believe her when she claims that she can see dead people... especially when this is mentioned in the prophecies. Oh well, I guess our main character needs to be some sort of outcast/socially awkward penguin because that's how female protagonists roll these days. Apparently.

And I didn't like Xemerius. Nor Gideon. There, I said it. But I declare my inconditional love for Leslie Hay. YA literature needs more best friends like her.

However, my inner 15-year-old enjoyed this trilogy enough and I know that I would have loved it and obsessed over it at said age. It's not really meant for adult readers to give it a go, so if you do, don't expect something very deep and mature. Maybe it will help you find out if love really stands the test of time.

dimecres, 5 de febrer de 2014

Express Reviews (5)

It's movie time again! I saw all of these in the cinema and they are listed from least recent viewing to most recent.

Andi and I risked yet again seeing another sneak preview and we got this kind of spy film about a young man who is accepted for a job position at a company and is sent to spy on the competitors. 

For a spy thriller with Gary Oldman and Harrison Ford, I expected a lot more, but it's very forgettable. Actually, it is so forgettable that I've had to go to IMDB to refresh my memory on what exactly the film was about.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

[SPOILERS if you haven't seen or read The Hunger Games]
Katniss and Peeta have survived the Hunger Games but they might have started something that is beyond their control.

I loved the second book because it showed the tension that Katniss's final act in the Hunger Games was having in Panem. The movie also takes us there with images, although not having read the book might make newcomers feel a little bit lost with details that seem unimportant. Definetely worth watching.


Queen Elsa of Arendelle has ice powers that she cannot control. After she accidentally covers the whole kingdom with snow, her younger sister Anna goes out to look for her.

Oh, Disney. I probably hadn't loved a Disney movie like this since Beauty and the Beast. I loved the story, I can't stop listening to the soundtrack, I have no words to express how happy I am that the story does not really center so much on the romantic interest of the main character. And it has the best line ever in any princess film, especially a Disney film:

Thank you, Elsa.

Also, the morale of the story? Disney movies are full of bad parenting. Although if the parents had done their job right, there wouldn't be a conflict and there wouldn't be a movie.

Inside Llewyn Davis

After his musical partner and friend commits suicide, Llewyn Davis tries to keep his music career going. We spend a week following his pursuit for a recording contract while also struggling with having almost no money left.

I have mixed feelings about this movie. While it was an intense and interesting story and the music had a very important role, I kind of expected a faster pace. It's a good film, though, so check it out.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Walter Mitty's existence is mediocre, to say the least, so he has escapist fantasies with himself at the center of it. Among these are that a female co-worker that he has been interested in for a long time falls in love with him. His grey life gets an unexpected twist when he learns that his company will probably fire him soon and he embarks on a trip to Greenland, Iceland, and Afghanistan.

Another movie I have mixed feelings about. As a "road trip", it's cool and so unrealistic that you'd totally buy it. But that's the main problem: it's so unrealistically typical Hollywood that the moral of the story gets placed in a second or third term, right behind predictability. It's not a bad movie, but it could be a lot better. Apparently it's a sort of remake of another film that is based on a short story.

La vie d'Adèle 

Based on the French comic Le bleu est une couleur chaude (Blue is the warmest colour), it narrates the coming-out of a teenage girl after meeting the blue-haired Emma and their love story. According to what I read in Wikipedia, they changed certain details from the comic, like Adèle's name, which is actually Clémentine in the comic, or the way that their relationship ends (don't read the Wikipedia article if you want to avoid spoilers).

I liked the movie but it has a couple of major problems: 1) it's TOO LONG! I mean, the story is intense and almost nothing felt superfluous, but it lasts THREE hours, and that "almost nothing" takes me to point 2): the sex scenes seemed out of a lesbian porn flick (apparently the author of the comic book complaied about this too, if we're to trust reviews and Wikipedia articles), and they were so long that they could have cut them shorter and use that time to: 3) develop the non-sexual part of coming out of the closed a little bit more. We find out that Adèle's parents nor her friends are not precisely the most open-minded people in the world. Ok, so what happens with their relationships when they find out that Adèle is a lesbian? It's never showed on screen because it's more important that we see the actresses perform oral sex on each other. Right. (Don't worry, it's nothing too explicit). I think someone missed a point somewhere. Also, I know it's supposed to be for intensity's sake, but is it really necessary to have such close close-ups? And does the fact that it's called "Chapitres 1 et 2" mean that there's going to be another movie?

And that's all for now. Let's see what other movies 2014 will bring.

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