Currently Reading

Currently reading: Vulture by Bex Hogan.

Friday 28 November 2014

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 [Review]

Hi guys! So it has been a little while since I've actually posted a review or anything like that apart from the Doctor Who feature a few weeks ago which was a lot of fun! I've been busy with work and also combatting some pretty nasty pain that I am hopefully now, with the help of my doctor, in the process of conquering! I have also, as I mentioned in my previous post, been trying to get out myself out of a colossal reading slump that I didn't think would ever end, but thankfully it has! So I am back and hoping to post a lot more regularly!

A week or so ago now, on the actual release day, I went to see Mockingjay Part 1 and boy oh boy was it amazing. So amazing in fact that I decided to write a review. I never really review films, but I am thinking of reviewing adaptations every now and again. Comparing them to the books, what I thought and whether I liked it or not. There are a lot coming up soon (Roald Dahl's Esio Trot has been made into a tv movie and will be on over Christmas, the same for David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress) so it is just something I wanted to try...

Anyway, yes... MOCKINGJAY!! Please be warned that there may be spoilers ahead. If you haven't read the books or seen the movie then read at your own peril! You have been warned!!

Oh man! I knew this movie would play with me. I knew that it would leave me a complete and utter mess, just like the book itself did. I personally feel like the book is HUGELY underrated. Yes, it wasn't as action-packed as the first two, but something that does annoy me is that people seemed to be expecting another games. I don't think some people, especially people who haven't read the books, realise that after what happened at the end of Catching Fire there was no going back and things were going to be completely and utterly different. Katniss was now at war. Both with herself and her choices, and alongside the rebels against President Snow. The book, for me anyway, is an emotionally charged story of war that highlights the consequences you can face both with your decision making and your actions. Having re-read the book prior to going to see the movie this was only re-iterated to me and I really noticed it this time around more so than ever before I think.

The first half of the book was more about the build up to what it so come in the second half, so naturally Part 1 was always going to be more story driven, more narrative driven, more emotionally driven, as things were being laid out in plain sight ready for the final showdown to come in Part 2. Personally I do not think Part 1 was lacking in the action department. I mean the scenes in District 8 literally had me on the edge of the seat and I bit down all my nails right to the quick. I was rapt and could not even for a millisecond drag my eyes from the screen. Then there was the blowing up of the hydro dam in District 5. STUNNING scenes! Stunning, beautifully executed and well placed as well.

I feel like the pacing of the film was done really well. The action sequences were nicely placed so that just when it might of started to feel slow, BAMN, action, BAMN, explosions and death and loss of electricity. BAMN BAMN BAMN!

And the MUSIC!!!! Can we talk about the score for this film! Lorde (pun intended) have mercy! James Newton Howard has done another stellar job with the score. They just keep getting better and better! I like that he keeps the same sounds but builds on them. Makes them more and more menacing, more and more haunting, every film and this time it is simply stunning. I have purchased all of the movie scores for the series so far and as soon as this one popped up on iTunes I just had to have it! Not least of all because of The Hanging Tree... Oh god! The Hanging Tree! What were once just words on the page, read like any normal sentence, not with a melody in mind or anything like that, have been transformed into what is now a stunning and haunting and infections song that makes you want to weep buckets and yet listen to it over and over again on repeat... Something that I haven't been doing... I swear... Okay... Just A LOT! It's been on repeat on my iPod so much the last week it is insane! But it is so good! JLaw says she cannot sing - well JLaw lies!

And it isn't just The Hanging Tree music that is incredible. It's the whole thing. I love the music that played along with the air raid scenes in District 13. The music when Katniss goes back to District 12 on her own and the bit where she finds the bodies... It's just so, so perfect and I cannot wait to see how they build upon it for Part 2!

The scene with The Hanging Tree has to be my favourite part I think, or at least one of them. It was so well done, so well filmed and the mockingjay just perched on the rock was such a nice touch. I love how it kept going and transformed from just Katniss, to Katniss and the people in the districts. It was so powerful, so beautiful, I may of had a tear or two.

And the ending. Oh wow! The ending. Controversial opinion alert... I with they had finished it the first time the screen blacked out. I think it would of worked better as a cliff hanger and would of had people in uproar demanding to see or read what happens next. I just think it would of been ten times more epic. But at the same time I do like they way it actually did end. Coins speech does feel like a definitive closing point and did make sense.

And the acting! Oh my the acting has ramped up a bit hasn't it? JLaw as per the usual was incredible but in this one... Man! If she doesn't get an Oscar for this one I will be furious. This is without a doubt her most Oscar-worthy performance yet. She shows just how damaged Katniss is, both by the games and by the weight that is being placed on her shoulders as she becomes the Mockingjay. I thought that Josh was immense in this one and even though he doesn't have that much screen time, his performance is so memorable and moving and dark and just so good. I loved Effie even more in this movie despite my reservations that she was being put in the film when she wasn't in the book. I like that she replaced Fulvia who I wasn't that much of a fan of in the book, and did it really well. The "they're either going to want to kiss you, kill you or be you line" had me shivering! So good!

The sight of Johanna and Peeta as well at the end, seeing what the Capitol had reduced them to was almost too much! It made me feel so sad and sorry for them! And the strangling scene! OMG IT WAS EVERYTHING I EVER DREAMED OF! It was incredible and had me squirming in my seat! Literally, hearing the whole cinema scream in shock especially when the screen blacked out was INCREDIBLE! So good, so well done!

I have to say that Francis Lawrence is doing an INCREDIBLE job! I love that he is so adamant that the films need to stay as close to the books as possible. It's so reassuring as a fan to have him at the helm and I can only say that I am so glad that Lionsgate chose him to close out the series! He just has this knack of getting it and the last 2 have been so beautifully filmed and pieced together. It's very reassuring!

So overall I think it's safe to say I enjoyed Mockingjay Part 1! Ha! Who am I kidding, I freaking loved it! I think that it's the best of the films so far and reject that the lack of action makes it boring. Boring it most definitely is not. All the action has been saved for the finale to offer up a slice that is going to literally slay us all! Mark my words. Part 2 is going to wreck us even more than Part 1! I'm not going to lie I was close to tears watching the movie and knowing what is to come only makes me nervous for next November. But as well as being nervous I simply cannot wait! Bring it in Lionsgate! Bring it on!

Rating: 5/5.

The Never Ending Reading Slump of Doom

Hey guys! 

Wow it's been a little while since I posted on here properly! I was honoured to have been asked to take part in the Doctor Who 12 Doctors, 12 Stories blog tour to celebrate the release of a new set of the 12 stories written by some of the biggest names in childrens books today! It really made me realise that I missed blogging and reviewing so so much!

My break wasn't intentional but as you can probably guess from the title of this post I have been suffering the worst reading slump I have ever experienced. I've never known anything like it. It started about a month ago when I finished reading Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (which I intend to review soon) and just hasn't got any better at all! It doesn't matter what I have tried reading. It doesn't mater what genre it is, who it's been written by, what the cover looks like - nothing could shift the slump and I am not going to lie it has been getting me down! As someone who has never gone more than a few days without reading something at least it has been totally disheartening. I hate not reading - it makes me feel weird, like I'm being unfaithful or something! Ha!

I don't know why it has happened but it has so I'm just dealing with it. It may be a result of working a heck of a lot. I don't know. It could be that I have been dealing with chronic pain in my shin bone for the last six months which is draining me beyond belief (thankfully this is now, I hope, in the process of being sorted... fingers crossed!) I just do not know! This year has been my most disappointing reading year for quite some time. Not because I haven't enjoyed what I've read. Quite the opposite! Some of the books I have read have been so incredible I have fallen in love with new worlds, new characters and new authors! I discovered the wonder that is Sarah J. Maas and her epic Throne of Glass this year so it hasn't been all that bad! I mean in numbers. I've read fewer books this year due to slumps like this one but this has to be the worst!

All I know is that it is looking like it has passed. This week I have been off work and despite starting new medication for my leg and being quite busy besides sorting various different things out, I have managed to read three quarters of a book and that is something a few weeks ago I can only of dreamed of! I intend to keep it going and of course get back to the blog properly! 

Christmas is my favourite time of year to blog! There are so many exciting things going on! So many amazing books released and ready to review! Lots of books as presents! End of year lists! Anticipated books for next year. So, so many things to look forward to and I cannot wait to get stuck in!

In the meantime I am also now on instagram a lot and I mean A LOT! I post pictures on there of books I get in the post, books I buy, books I am reading, books I want, books I dream about... All sorts! So check it out and follow me on there! I'm under @empireofbooks so I'm not too hard to find! :)

Thursday 13 November 2014

Doctor Who: 12 Doctors 12 Stories Blog Tour - NOTHING O'CLOCK

It has been a MASSIVE 12 months for fans of all things Doctor Who, what with the 50th Anniversary special last year and Peter Capaldi's inaugural season as the titular character himself, and now it's getting even bigger! With the release of a new collection of short stories, which were published last year individually as ebooks leading up the the anniversary and in a bind up, but now with a new and exclusive story written by Holly Black to celebrate the twelfth (official) Doctor.

To celebrate the release of the 12 Doctors, 12 Stories box set, Puffin arranged this blog tour which has taken us right the way from the first Doctor and will take us through to the final stop on the tour tomorrow.

I am honoured to have been asked to be a part of this, as a fan of Doctor Who (although I still have to watch half of the most recent series - so little time!!) and the fact that it is a story based on my favourite Doctor, Matt Smith's incarnation, makes it all the more exciting!

First off a little quick fire round of questions the bloggers are being asked to answer...

1) Do you have a favourite Doctor?
Yes, I do! I think I just answered that a second ago. It was a real coincidence that I was asked to review the story based on Matt Smith's incarnation of the Doctor and I could not of been happier with that suggestion! I just loved how funny he was and mental he seemed, even more so than previous incarnations. 

2) Describe the Doctor in one word.

3) If you had a TARDIS where would you go?
Speaking from a purely personal point of view I would go back to life as a teenager. Life was so much simpler back then. Oh how hindsight is a wonderful thing. Plus my grandparents were still alive and I miss them like mad so it would be nice to be able to go back and see them, if only for a little while.


Nothing O'Clock by Neil Gaiman.

"Thousands of years ago, Time Lords built a Prison for the Kin. They made it utterly impregnable and unreachable. As long as Time Lords existed, the Kin would be trapped forever and the universe would be safe. They had planned for everything . . . everything, that is, other than the Time War and the fall of Gallifrey. Now the Kin are free again and there’s only one Time Lord left in the universe who can stop them!"

I have a bit of a funny relationship with Neil Gaiman. I cannot decide if I am madly in love with him and his work or if I don't like it at all. I sway from mindset to mindset every time I read a piece of his work. But luckily I loved Nothing O'Clock from start to finish! 

I have already said Matt Smith is my favourite Doctor, and the only problem I had was Amy Pond. I am not a massive fan of her as a companion.

The baddies in this little short story are the Kin and to start with they sounded like your plain old baddie, omnipresent and dare I say it, generic, but as the story develops and you get to see more of them they actually scare you. I was actually scared. They sound disgusting and what they are doing is insane! They are literally buying the world, piece by piece.

I have to say that I think this would of made an amazing episode and given that Gaiman has written for the show previously I cannot believe this idea has not been pitched. It is so clever and so well thought out that even in such a short space of time (50 pages or so) it feels like you know all you need to know and nothing has been missed out!

A must read and a short story that has now made me want to read them all! 

The new slip case edition is out now, and it feautures new and exclusive artwork. The above image is the cover for Nothing O'Clock and isn't it amazing? Each one is the Doctor's outfit! So cool! I'm looking forward to getting my hands on this set at some point!