Vicious || V.E. Schwab

Friday, 13 October 2017


The name V.E. (Victoria) Schwab is one which I have heard since the moment that I found the realm of Booktube. Her name has crept up in a vast majority of videos that I have watched and mentioned by practically every Book-tuber that I have come across. She's practically a legend. With so many novels out there to choose from and with each one sounding just as amazing as the one before it, I was at a loss to which one to pick up first. Then I heard the plot of Vicious and I was sold. 
Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. 
Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?
It sent up vibes for Sanctuary and Deadpool

It rang the Deadpool bells because of the interest in adrenaline. If you've watched the Deadpool movie that was released a couple of years ago, you will know that Wade Wilson developed his abilities when Ajax subjected him to all number of experiments to test the limits of his body in an attempt to provoke a survival response from the body. It resulted in his infinite regeneration ability. That is exactly what Victor gains from his near-death experiment. Eli, likewise, gains an ability from a near-death experiment. His ability mirrors that of Deadpool's rival in the movie, Ajax (Francis). He is immune to pain, or rather, he can control pain in himself and also in others. It practically read as Deadpool in reverse; Ajax is the good-guy (with Deadpool's personality) and Deadpool is the baddie (with Ajax's personality). . . Sort of. 

With the premise of it being like Sanctuary, I instantly felt as if Eli and Victor were a smaller version of The Five; the group that Magnus helped form in which they experimented with what humans could become if given the chance, aka superpowers, aka, experiment with and injecting themselves with vampire blood. The typical college experience, right? It had a number of intersecting common threads with Sanctuary and that TV show was and still is an integral part of my life. That made it all the more enjoyable for me.


The characters in Vicious were unlike anything that I expected to encounter. I thought I knew who I was going to root for going into the book. Schwab basically patted me on the head and said, "Oh honey . . . no." Who I thought was good was more than likely a baddie and who was the baddie was probably a goodie. I loved that about this book. Even with secondary characters, Schwab only gives the reader tantalisingly small nibbles of information about them before ending the chapter and skipping time-frame or person.

Yes, time-frame. The chapters jump throughout time ranging from ten years in the past to the present, last year or four hours previously. Well, something along those lines. At first, it was confusing when trying to establish what was actually happening in the book. When I felt as if I was making sense of the time period that I was in, I would be taken to the present where I would have to establish myself and the characters again. It didn't take long before I adjusted to the time jumps but it was nevertheless disconcerting, especially when the chapter ended on a cliff-hanger and I wanted to find out what happened next and I would have to wait for several more chapters to find out. 


I loved Schwab's writing style. It was one of the few books that I've read recently that was set in the present day, on this planet and in an English speaking country. That's what happens when you're a fantasy junkie, folks. Schwab had a fascinating way of grounding her characters in the present in a relatable way. The characters often referenced something that I'm a fan of too and so I could relate to them and really appreciate them all the more. With books set in the present day (or within my lifetime), I find that cultural references make it all the more fascinating and all the more probable if that makes sense. The characters make reference to Marvel and here I am comparing it to Deadpool which is another Marvel creation. Sadly, Sanctuary wasn't referenced but I'm still making that connection. 


I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I'm glad that I choose this as my first foray into V..E. Schwab's writing. Schwab uses the pseudonym of V.E. when writing adult novels and then 'Victoria Schwab' when writing for the Young Adult genre. Despite the aforementioned initial confusion and frustration with the time jumps with each chapter, I grew to love this book and could not put it down because I had such a need to find out what happened in the past and what was going to happen in the future. I absolutely loved it and would recommend it to anyone that loves Marvel, DC Comics, Sanctuary or similar shows like Warehouse 13.

REVIEW || Star Trek: Discovery 1x04 - 'The Butcher's Knife Cares Not For The Lamb's Cry

Thursday, 12 October 2017


It's that time of the week, folks. It's Star Trek: Discovery review time. I am later than I have been previously with these reviews. I simply became occupied just hadn't found a chance to sit down and watch it. Better late than never.

GET READY WITH ME || Cruise Formal Night [2017]

Friday, 6 October 2017


September was such a lazy month for me. I'm only now finding the motivation to edit the videos that I wanted to create from my cruise in August. I still have one more to go but when people are outside cutting down trees, it really puts a buzz kill on filming. Therefore, I decided to edit the footage from the Get Ready With Me that I filmed. I hope you like it. 


REVIEW || Star Trek: Discovery - Context Is For Kings 1x03

Tuesday, 3 October 2017


It's that time, folks. It's the day after a new Star Trek: Discovery episode has been released and so that means that it is time for my review. I actually watched this episode on Monday instead of Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. My enthusiasm was quite unexpected considering how scared I was of watching the first two episodes. Nevertheless, Discovery was never far from my mind for the past week. I'm serious. I've been thinking about it quite a bit this week. Plus, this week was the introduction of Jason Isaacs' character, Captain Gabriel Lorca

Undoubtedly, I will be correcting his name several times in this post. I seem to type 'Garbiel' instead of 'Gabriel'. So if you spot one that I missed, please tell me. So without further adieu, let's get started...

Context Is For Kings takes place six months after the events of 'The Vulcan Hello'.

My 10 Favourite Episodes of Star Trek: Voyager

Sunday, 1 October 2017


It is no secret around these parts that I love Star Trek and that Star Trek: Voyager owns me in mind, body and soul. Voyager has been a part of my life since I was 11-years-old and it continues to be a big influence in my life today. It is my happy place. I have a plethora of happy memories tied up in all 172 episodes. More than likely, I have a story for every one of those episodes. For the sake of not boring you too much, I'm going to share with you my top 10 favourite episodes (plus some honorary mentions).

A little warning... If you don't like Janeway or Janeway and Chakotay....this may not be for you. 


Daughter of the Pirate King || Tricia Levenseller

Saturday, 30 September 2017


When a book has a blurb on the cover saying, "Readers should rejoice, because we now have a Lady Jack Sparrow on our hands," you better believe that I am jumping up and down in anticipation, grabby hands in want and asking, "Where do I sign?


I needed this book in my life and it seemed that a lot of other book bloggers felt the same way because Daughter of the Pirate King was frequently included in hauls, TBRs and Most Anticipated Reads videos. How could I resist it? The cover is gorgeous! Just look at it! It has a freaking pirate
version of Brave's Merida! Even the summary had me intrigued.

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship. 
More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.



Doesn't that sound cool? It sounded very exciting. It sounded like it was going to be full of adventure, action and excitement. I thought that it was going to be the perfect read for when I went on my cruise. Ship. Pirate ship. Sailing. Seas. You get the picture. I was looking forward to sitting by the pool, a beer (or cocktail) in hand and reading this book.


The first chapter grabbed my attention. I felt that Alosa was definitely the cut-throat pirate princess that I expected from the summary and the cover. I was champing at the bit to find out what happened next. Sadly, that excitement and anticipation did not last into the next chapter or through the rest of the book.

I did not connect with the characters at all. There were moments when I felt like I was beginning to like Alosa; I believed in her strength but then she would do something that I felt was completely out-of-character and not something that she should or would be doing. I enjoyed her back-story more than her present-day story. Alosa's secret was intriguing, albeit no surprise, and it made me like her character a lot more when she used it but I became rather fed up with her reluctance to embrace it. I disliked how reluctant and unsure Alosa was despite claiming to be such a fearsome pirate, trained by the King himself. I doubt the King had such hesitations.

The enemy pirates themselves were feeble and flat in my opinion. The only pirate that I remotely liked was Draxen. I felt like he was the only one that actually was a solid pirate. Riden was confusing. When he was supposed to be interrogating Alosa, I felt that he was far too gentle. I didn't believe the scenes at all where he and Alosa were together. I even hated the romance that was blooming. It didn't feel natural.

 

I will say that I did enjoy Levenseller's writing. I felt that she had a good command of language and conveying this world. However, her execution of her characters and their use of language faltered in my opinion. 

When reading this book, I could not bring myself to be enthusiastic about it. I would read a chapter and then would happily set the book down. I could have happily left the book sitting instead of picking it up again. I simply did not like it. I thoroughly disliked the vast majority of the characters beyond Draxen and the Pirate King. I didn't care for any of them and so I do not care what will become of them in the sequel. I did finish the book on the aeroplane journey back to Ireland. Once finished, I gave it a 1✮ rating. With regard to the sequel, I know that I will not be reading it. 


This book was such a bitter disappointment. With that anticipation that Alosa was the Lady Jack Sparrow, I expected so much from this character. Alosa is no Jack Sparrow. In the first chapter where she is staging her capture, maybe she is like Jack. She could have been a female version of Sparrow but throughout the rest of the book, she is no Jack Sparrow. I have watched The Pirates of the Caribbean movies multiple times over and I feel like I know Captain Jack Sparrow's character very well. Alosa is not that character. Alosa is more a Will Turner. And I hate Will Turner. Or Barbosa because he changed tremendously post-trilogy so much so that I don't even recognise the original Captain Barbosa in him (don't get me started on Salazar's Revenge!). Like Barbosa, I did not understand Alosa. The whole repetition of 'escape from cell - search the ship - return to cell - stage escape - get caught - escape from cell - search the ship - get caught - stage escape' became tedious very quickly. That pattern took up a vast majority of the book with little or no result to show for it.



To round it all up and to bring this somewhat scathing review to an end, this book was a massive disappointment, the characters were weak and uninspiring and I am still on the hunt for a Lady Jack Sparrow. Have you read Daughter of the Pirate King? Is this on your TBR? Let me know your thoughts on this book. If you liked it, that's great. I'm thrilled that you did. However, my opinion is that I didn't like it at all. 


** All gifs in this post are from Giphy.com

FIRST IMPRESSIONS || Star Trek: Discovery 'The Vulcan Hello'

Wednesday, 27 September 2017


There is new episodic Star Trek on television again! I am ridiculously excited that I no longer have to wait years for new Star Trek to get to me. Thanks to the Gods of Netflix, I have Star Trek: Voyager, The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine at my fingertips (even though I do have Voyager on DVD) and now I have the newest incarnation, Discovery, coming every Monday. 


Once Discovery's opening two-parter was released, I have to admit that it did take me a lot longer than I expected to watch it. It was released on Monday and I didn't watch it until Tuesday night. As the release date approached, I found myself becoming apprehensive and somewhat afraid of the new series. I have only gone through the whole 'New Star Trek Series' hype once with the end of Voyager and the release of the next series, Enterprise. I was excited for Enterprise and lapped up all of the information that I was getting for the series from the Star Trek Magazine that I was subscribed to. This was before the Internet was such a focus on marketing and social media wasn't a thing.





With every article, blog post, tweet, video, and interview about Discovery, I found myself becoming scared of it. I was wondering if it would be the Star Trek that I knew and loved or would it be more on par with the J.J. Abrams universe or be something completely different that I didn't even recognise. While Star Trek veterans were tweeting their praise about Discovery and how it fitted into the Star Trek niche, I still found myself becoming nervous.





So, I pulled on my pyjama bottoms, curled up in my purple fluffy blanket, donned my commbadge and signed into Netflix and tapped on PLAY for Star Trek: Discovery




The first thing that I want to talk about is the cast and characters. I was instantly sold on Michelle Yeoh being the captain. A Bond Girl as a Captain? Hell yes! That sounded amazing. I was expecting great things from that. She didn't disappoint and had some amazing moments. Though I will say, that Yeoh is rather diminutive against some of the other cast members. What she lacks in size, she makes up for it in brawn. Georgiou is a soldier-turned-Captain and they explore that dichotomy in the first two episodes. I loved that it gave a nod to the same dichotomy that was shown in Star Trek Beyond. Starfleet is essentially the space army. They may be explorers but they are Earth's frontline as well. They see casualties, casualties of war, prisoners of war and they have to fight that soldier versus diplomat mindset. I loved how Georgiou handled that. 

The character of Commander Michael Burnham is a bit of a mystery to me. Aside from the fact that she has a typically male name, she also reminds me quite a lot of Commander Riker from The Next Generation and the movie franchise, James T. Kirk. She reminds me of Riker in that she's ready to step up and take command yet hasn't which was a major talking point when it came to Commander Riker. Picard had that conversation with Riker a number of times. Then she reminds me of Kirk in that she takes risks and isn't afraid of a little adrenaline rush. With Burnham, I find that the writers have managed to sneak in a few nods to previous incarnations and characters. I look forward to finding out more about her. She definitely has piqued my curiosity. 

With regard to other members of the cast, I had no clue of anyone (beyond Michelle Yeoh) except for Doug Jones who to me is Abe Sapien in the Hellboy movies but he is no stranger to elaborate prosthetic makeup; Abe Sapien and The Angel of Death (Hellboy), Pan's Labyrinth, The Silver Surfer (Fantastic Four: Silver Surfer) and Billy Butcherson from Hocus Pocus! Yes, he was Billy! As I was watching Discovery and Jones as Saru, all I could hear was Abe Sapien. That may take some time to work its way out of my system.



The characters themselves are different to the world of Star Trek. They don't follow the typical start for a Star Trek crew. They all know each other. They all love each other and they've already established their relationships and friendships. In previous Star Trek incarnations, the crews are meeting for the first time and heading out on their first mission together. Discovery's crew is already established which I found interesting and quite refreshing. I particularly loved the relationship and connection between Captain Georgiou and Commander Burnham. You could just see the trust, comradery, admiration, and affection between the two. 



The credits were visually stunning. It incorporated nods to a number of previous things to hold the name Star Trek. The visuals reminded me of Enterprise's credits with the blueprints and the science aspects and the music reminded me of the movie franchise and The Original Series. It also differed by having its own stamp in that it had the names of the series' technical crew in the credits, alongside the cast, writer, and director. Previously, the credits were solely for the cast's names, character names and the series name. Discovery is different because it has the cast first, the production team and then the series name. It also had a distinct vintage vibe to it when the show itself is so technological and bright. It was such a juxtaposition. I'm not sure how I fully feel about it but I like it so far. It's been a while since I've watched a television show with a fully-fledged credit and start-up sequence. Most shows these days simply have a graphic shown and then display the names of the cast and production crew as the action takes place. 



Now, the uniforms. From the hips up, I love the uniform. I adore the design of the jackets. They look comfortable and something that I wouldn't mind wearing when out shopping. I like that the different divisions have their distinguishing colours. Gold for Command, Silver for Science and a Bronze/Copper colour for Operations/Engineering. That may take some getting used to because I'm accustomed to seeing Red, Gold and Green. Even Enterprise had those colours established on their uniforms. Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't Discovery set after Enterprise but before Kirk?

From the hips down, I don't like the uniform. The strips of metallic fabric on the trouser leg doesn't look very flattering. It makes the characters look like they're wearing fancy trackies from the 90s. They just look wrong and make shorter characters appear even shorter. I do love how they fit the actors but the stripe doesn't do anything for me. Additionally, the boots that they're wearing. I really do not like the way that they look. The white sole seems to cheapen them. Plain black, possibly matte, boots would have done a better job. It may take some getting used to. 



Star Trek never disappoints when it comes to the prosthetic makeup for alien races. The makeup for the Starfleet crew and the Klingons was incredible. The Klingons being even more elaborate than ever known in Star Trek history. I loved that about Discovery. With the Klingons, the writers have opted to have them speaking completely in their native language which they would naturally do amongst themselves and then speak English when addressing the Federation. I enjoyed that for the first couple of scenes but eventually got bored with it because I was reading the screen instead of watching what was happening on the screen. I felt as if I was potentially missing out on the acting nuances of the actors on screen or the intricate makeup and set design. 



I did enjoy the storyline in the beginning two-parter. I loved the Klingon storyline on how they're going to unite the Houses. I loved seeing the burial ritual of the fallen warriors. It appeared to me to be a blend of Greek and Egyptian rituals which I found fascinating. 


The CGI never disappoints when it comes to Star Trek. It does boggle my mind in that the CGI makes Discovery far more advanced than Voyager. They had elements that weren't featured in any other incarnation which seemed a bit anachronistic. It made me wonder if this series is even set in the same universe. I'm not sure anymore. With the CGI, it allows for better and more interesting angles for the camera which seemed to be an homage to J.J. Abrams shots from the movies. The CGI for battle sequences were phenomenal and I loved the writers weren't afraid to completely batter the ships senseless. Without giving spoilers, THAT scene with the reveal of a cloaked Klingon ship was amazing and freaking genius! I do understand that technology has come a long way since Voyager was on the air and so they can do all of these amazing things. It just boggles the mind. For now anyway.


For the next section, I'm going to discuss a few things that will be spoilers so if you want to read it, highlight the section between the markers. 

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I loved the way that Burnham used the Vulcan Neck Pinch against Georgiou so that she could get her way in delivering a 'Vulcan Hello' which the episode is named after. I didn't know that the Vulcans had the Klingons under 'control'. There hasn't been a lot of interaction between Vulcans and Klingons in the early years of the Federation. They're included more in the latter seasons of Deep Space Nine because then they are allies against the Dominion. I enjoyed that in Discovery. I will ask that I thought that the Neck Pinch latest longer than what Discovery showed. Georgiou gets knocked out and Burnham countermands her orders and then Georgiou is awake all in a matter of minutes. Perhaps Burnham didn't administer it correctly or didn't want Georgiou out for too long but I still find that difficult to believe considering she was raised by Vulcans.  
With the credits, I was surprised to see that Michelle Yeoh is a 'Special Guest Star'. I thought that she would have had a more pitvotal role than just a Special Guest Star. She's in the primary photos and all the marketing images. Just by having her classed as a Special Guest Star, was such a 'Yup, she's gonna die' spoiler. The audience will know that she's not going to be around for long and will possibly be killed either at the first episode cliff-hanger or the end of the second episode. It was the latter, by the way. I didn't expect her to be killed off. However, when I saw her facing off against T'Kuvma, it was like Samson versus Goliath. She did hold her own which I was impressed by. But to have her stabbed and killed, I wasn't expecting that. I thought it might have been a Pike situation (see, Star Trek (2009) for that reference), not a dead Captain.  Plus, I'm pissed off about that because Georgiou was becoming my favourite. I hope she stays in and appears in flashbacks... I hope anyway. 
I really am annoyed that they killed Georgiou off so early. Michelle Yeoh is such a badass. She's one of few female actors that Jackie Chan will allow to do her own stunts. Yes! That Jackie Chan! He allows her to do her own stunts. Ergo, she's freaking amazing! She's epic which is why I was pretty damned impressed by her fight with T'Kuvma. No stunt-double required. (I don't know if one was but seriously. Yeoh wouldn't need one). I feel like Yeoh has not used to her full potential. The franchise could have had a legitimately epic, kick-ass captain. And they freaking kill her! WHAT?! I was bitterly disappointed because Michelle Yeoh has been utilised so much in the promotional material for the series. I'm talking interviews, photoshoots and magazine covers and they kill her? I'm beyond confused. If they cast her as Georgiou just to have the name to draw people in, I'm going to be thoroughly disappointed in Star Trek. That's not what Star Trek does.  
The court-martial at the end and Burnham's subsequent incarceration clearly is not the end and I'm very excited to see where it goes from there. 
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There were a lot of things that I absolutely loved about Discovery and it was a solid opening for a new Star Trek series. It answered a lot of questions that I had from the trailers and left me with a lot of new questions which I hope will be answered throughout the upcoming season. With the cliff-hanger part 2 left off at, I'm intrigued to see where it goes from there and the introduction of Jason Isaacs. Am I the only one excited for Lucius Malfoy as a captain?

With all that being said, I think Star Trek: Discovery is a solid 8 out of 10 and one of the strongest opening two-parter for Star Trek that I have seen. 




The next episode will be released next Monday on Netflix. I'm not sure yet if I'm going to make these episode reviews a regular thing throughout the series. Let me know in the comments below what your thoughts on Star Trek: Discovery are and whether or not you'd like me to continue these reviews. 




** All gifs used in this post are from Giphy.com and Tumblr.com respectively.

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