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Cold as Ice!

As I had announced earlier, my friend The Introverted Schmuck and I are doing a Book Blogging Challenge Thingie in 2015 (not to be confused with BookBlogWriMo I did in November of 2014. Yeah, some people did get confused) where we recommend one book to each other every month and then write a post about it when we’re done reading it.
It could be anything! A review, a rant- whatever suits our fancy! (I keep mentioning this because I’m not really a review person)

The book she gave me to read for January was Ice by Sarah Beth Durst.

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So here are my thoughts on the book:

★ First half of the book was fantastic! 😀

I began reading the book and it was so gripping that I just read on and on and on and I didn’t even realize that I had already finished half of it- and it was only about 2 hours!
Loved reading that.

#Second part not so much! 😦

As quickly as I had read the first half, the second half was just as slow.
It dragged on and on, and got so boring at places that I simply put off reading the book for a while because I didn’t want to read those parts.
One of the reasons for this, according to me, was:

#Too much description

The entire book is full of descriptions of places the protagonist is at, at that time.
In the first half of the book, the descriptions were (or at least seemed) shorter and simpler.
The second half was full of long descriptions that went on for pages!!

I realize that some of it was essential to the plot. Since the protagonist was travelling to various places all the time  in all kinds of climates and landscapes (especially in the second half), the reader needed to know about her surroundings to better understand the story but it was all a bit drab. I’m sure the writer could’ve atleast done a better job of writing the descriptoons- making them sound more interesting perhaps?

I’m not a huge fan of descriptions of places in the first place, but this book was literally testing my patience.
I did not quit reading the book, nor did I skip a single page but at a few places in the second half of the book I read out the words that described the ice or forest or whatever but I didn’t process it all in my mind. I simply wanted to move forward in the story and get to the non descriptive parts pronto!

★ Strong and courageous protagonist

Cassie, the 18 year old protagonist, is shown to be extremely brave.
She is headstrong, doesn’t listen to her dad (when she feels she’s right) and is not even scared of the forces of nature!
Once she makes up her mind about something, there’s no looking back.

#Couldn’t connect to the protagonist

You know how when you start reading a book, you instantly start feeling like the main character is your best friend?
First chapter in and you’re already rooting for him or her.
Well, I don’t know what causes that but somehow that special magic was lacking in this book.
I didn’t root for Cassie.
I wasn’t feeling her feelings.
At no point of time in the book did I go- Ha! I knew she’d do/ say that! Because that’s the Cassie I know.
Truth is, I’m still not sure what kind of a person she was really.
Other than the whole courageous thing, I know nothing about her!
She didn’t even have a good background story.

Bear was interesting

Notice how there’s neither a ‘★’ or ‘#’ before that remark, and my choice of words is “interesting”.

I’m still undecided about how I feel about Bear (that’s the name of the guy Cassie *spoiler alert* eventually falls in love with- if you couldn’t help but read it, don’t worry it wasn’t much of a spoiler, that’s not what the book focuses on)

He is really sweet, apparently also very good looking in his human form, and I adored him at the beginning of the book!
But when I got to the end (something I had been waiting for with baited breath, and something for which I endured all the descriptive parts for)
I was kind of disappointed!
He is barely even there.
He plays no part in the climax scene.

And the book is over so abruptly, I was like, “What??? That’s it?!?! After all the pains Cassie went through (not to mention the efforts I took to read so much of description), that’s the end I get?!?”

But then again, once I was done reading the book I got that nice warm feeling in my heart which I get everytime I read a good book- so I think it was worth it.
I realize that my thoughts about the book are confusing and they probably sound all contradictory to you (even to me they do, now that I’ve written them down) but that’s just the thing.
I’m very confused about this book.

On my Goodreads, I’ll be giving it 3 ★★★.
Maybe I’d give it a 3 and a half- but that’s not an option right?

Have any of you read the book? What were your thoughts on it?
If not, did my ramblings make you want to read the book or drove you away from it?

I’d really like to get some perspective on this book here.

Aaand I watched Divergent…

13th April-

I, along with a few (very few, because some of them are clearly not Abnegation and didn’t even wait for us to make some plans :/) of my Petites Potterheads, am gonna watch Divergent tomorrow evening.
I’m very excited obviously.
But there is still more than 24 hours to go.

The few reviews that I read scattered all over the internet were not exactly scintillating (well far from that). While some believed that Shai’s performance was the only thing that saved the movie, some thought Theo did great.
Then there were some who said Shai’s Tris is no match for JLaw’s Katniss (Do not ask me why there are constant comparisons between THG and Divergent! They are both dystopian with strong female characters but the similarity ends there) while others thought Tris left Katniss far behind when it comes to dystopian heroines.

Well, I’ll form my opinions tomorrow.
My first impressions of Shailene Woodley as Tris weren’t very good (there are several things wrong with the casting, all of it. Their ages to begin with) but she won me over as Hazel Grace Lancaster and now I’m biased towards her.
As for Four, well nothing against Theo James, but my expectations had bordered on Greek God and as far as the trailer is concerned- I’m not all that happy. To be honest, I don’t know if I’d ever be- with any casting for Four.
But I’m gonna go tomorrow with an open mind and hope for the best.

One person I’m waiting to watch in the movie is Ansel… as Caleb. Yeah I know … but Ansel be my Gus, so I love Ansel. *dreamy look in eyes*

My friends are really excited too and they randomly mentioned a few scenes and I was all- Wait a minute! When did that happen?

And that’s when I realized that it has been over 15 months that I read Divergent.
Which means I don’t remember most of the little things.

And that’s a good thing for various reasons.

— I won’t be shouting and swearing at the producers/directors/ script-writers and being generally pissed off at them for changing what’s in the books, because I don’t remember!

— The movie is supposedly not so good, so I might just enjoy it because I don’t remember the books which means I’ll be like one of those people who just watch the movies.

(Although I am getting a feeling, a niggling but persistent little feeling at the back of my mind, that once the movie starts, it’ll all come back to me!
I mean I’m pat with the basics. I know all factions, their colors, their qualities but I’ve sort of forgotten the story line and I don’t know in my head where Divergent ends and Insurgent starts- or who dies in which book)

— It’ll be awesome to get the thrill of Divergent again… because inspite of Allegiant, I had really loved Divergent and Insurgent- in fact, before Allegiant came out I had sort of liked it better than THG (well, I hadn’t been able to stay away from giving an opinion on that THG vs Divergent debate myself).

Okay so all my plans have an uncanny ability of getting cancelled at the last moment.

Fingers crossed and hoping for the best!

14th April [15.30]:

It’s not yet time.
More than an hour to go.
The ray of hope that was the Divergent movie was the only thing that kept me alive in the dark pits (nope, not the Dauntless Pit) of boredom the last 7 hours while in classes.

I am so excited right now!
I wasn’t all this excited until, like 2-3 days ago, but now I am!!!!

Wow! I so cannot wait! 😀

I’ll be back with an update in a while.
Probably after the movie.

An hour and a half for the day to end:

Yes! I watched it!
And for the first time in my life I find myself in the position of writing a review.

Like, an as-close-to-unbiased-as-possible review.

Because…well.. the movie left a lot to be desired.

The first half of the movie– Pretty much by the book.
I only got slightly annoyed when I saw random people wearing clothes in the combinations “red and blue” or some weird shit like that.
And of course they didn’t put some major scenes but I guess that part is always a given.

The second half– Whoa! I don’t know where to begin with the criticisms.

I went from mildly irritated at the scene where Tris shoots people after killing Will when in the book she clearly doesn’t pick up a gun for like the whole of the next book (Insurgent) to being outright pissed off at the scenes where there are too many Erudites openly involved in all the goings-on (especially Jeanine Matthews) to hysterically laughing at the climax.
Yes! Don’t believe me, do you?
I said that I’d go for the movie without any expectations but the least I could expect from it is to not make me laugh during the climax scenes!

After I got used to the fact (somewhere 20 odd minutes before the movie ended) that they have changed major parts of the book (yes, most of it did come back to me) I couldn’t help but find the end hilarious.
I’m sorry but I did.
A Divergent fan who has read the book can have only two reactions to the whole scenario that took place between Tris and Jeanine- they either cried a lot or laughed a lot.

Involuntarily, I went with the “laugh a lot”.

I mean, what else was I supposed to do?

You know what they needed on the sets?
This.

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Like FOUR of these!

One of my Petites Potterheads (quite accurately, I suppose) pointed out that the reason that that happened is because Kate Winslet had to be given at least a semi-important role in the movie (owing to the fact that she’s a big star and all), which frankly she wouldn’t if they stuck to the book plot.
But what they fail to realize is that Insurgent (the next part they will- hopefully- make) is pretty much  Jeanine-Tris.

My verdict on Theo James: Although he comes nowhere close to the Four I had imagined, I understand that it isn’t his fault, and I expressly declare that not only is he a good actor but a very very competent Four.

That on Ansel Elgort: Conflicting emotions much?
On the one hand, I know he is betrayal personified and I should hate him with my guts (there are a few things too messed up to be fixed with a Peter Gabriel song).

But then again, that was Ansel Elgort.
All the time I was thinking, ‘that be my Gus’
In a few months’ time, I’m gonna watch him onscreen being one of my favourite fictional guys ever!

How am I supposed to hate him?

In fact, at one point when Tris goes to meet him at the Erudite headquarters I leaned into my friend and whispered “I’d find it perfectly normal if he jus kissed her now!”

My anti- incest friend said “Eww! Shut up!”

But I really couldn’t shake off that feeling.
I guess I was hoping that, with some supernatural help, this movie would gradually fade to black and TFiOS start in its place.

What can I say? I’m dying to watch that movie. Never in my life have I been so excited to watch a movie.

Anyway, back to the movie at hand.

So, Shailene’s performance: For one thing, I really like her voice. It’s a bit nasal, and I like how it sounds.
And her eyes… wow! Her eyes are really amazing. I’m surprised I didn’t notice before.
But today they were splashed across the screen for me to look into them.
42 points for guessing the movie that I really really really cannot wait to watch now.

What else should I be saying?
Tris’ mom? I loved that lady.
I don’t know why- I had imagined someone very different but I prefer the movie one!

Eric? I hate him with every fibre of my body for being such a bully.
No change there then.

Oh and the few quips which were totally not there in the books?
Like Christina saying “What? Like one, two and three were taken?”
Or the mini verbal showdown between Four and Eric about the new rules and old rules?

I loved them.

Conclusion: While I’ll definitely be watching the next movie no matter what I say here (I mean c’mon, who are we kidding?), it wasn’t something to write home about.
Everything was pretty mediocre but to some extent that could be because the book was the more information based itself.
I hope Insurgent will be better- that’s all I can say.

P.S. Since I have mentioned TFiOS numerous times up there, I suppose one more time won’t hurt.

Go watch this if you haven’t already.

DON’T PANIC

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Go grab your towel and sit down to enjoy this pseudo-review of The Hitch Hiker’s Guide Series by Douglas Adams. 
For a bit of convenience (Whose, you ask? Well that is currently being investigated by the species that inhabit Argabuthon), I’ll first list all the books in order:

1. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy
2. The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe
3. Life, The Universe And Everything
4. So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish
5. Mostly Harmless
6. And Another Thing…- Written by Eoin Colfer (I haven’t read it, so my review doesn’t include any comments on it)

For a large part of the first novel, I was feeling pretty much the same as Arthur Dent.

I will write this review while drawing parallels from Arthur’s life to better explain my feelings while reading this book.

The day I started the book was nothing extraordinary, little did I know that the book was this bulldozer that would demolish the house that was my general belief of what books contain (or the yellow Vogon ships that would demolish my planet of beliefs!) 

Sure, the reviews were on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet, but I never thought to look.

At least Arthur got a fair warning saying, “Don’t Panic”- I never got one that said “This trilogy of five books is about to change your life”

Anyway I went with the flow, just like Arthur. Saying stuff like “What?”, “Where’s the Tea?” and “So this is it, we are going to die.” and taking help from The Guide occasionally to brush up on my facts.

I learnt early on too, not to question things too much because the answers will make you wish you had never asked.

Although I was always grateful about knowing the questions because, well, 42 is one answer where I’d rather have the question.

But by the fifth book I got a fair idea of how things worked here, and went beyond my state of perpetual confusion to enjoy the books.

The best part about the books, according to me, is the writing.

It is witty, funny, satirical, edgy, absurd and all that awesome kind of stuff that I love reading and can never write! So obviously this series became a favourite.

So it is science-fiction. And has a lot of quantum physics which I didn’t understand, I admit it (you people are smarter than me when it comes to Science- so you would enjoy it.)
But in spite of that I am saying I loved it! Doesn’t that mean it is really something?? 😀

Here is the basic overall plot of the series which I must give you because it is a review, although I’d rather you just dive into these books and experience all the craziness firsthand!

Never mind! Stick with me here and the best part comes towards the end.

So it begins with Arthur Dent, an Englishman lying in the dust in front of a yellow bulldozer that’s about to demolish his house to make way for a bypass. Just when he thinks it couldn’t get any worse than this, his peculiar friend Ford Prefect tells him some really bad news! 
The Earth is about to be destroyed by yellow Vogon ships to make a hyperspace bypass.

(Oh and BTW, Ford Prefect is actually an alien! 
Keeping up yet?)

But of course, Arthur and Ford being the pretty important characters here, they must stay alive and so they hitch a ride on one of the Vogon ships and thus begin their Adventures through the Universe!

By the end of the first book they have the Answer to The Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe and Everything (not the question, though. And in search of that, a couple of mice want to buy off Arthur’s brain!), Arthur gets to know about this book called “The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to The Galaxy (yes I’m talking about the one which is more popular than the Celestial Home Care Omnibus, better selling than Fifty More Things to do in Zero Gravity, and more controversial than Oolon Colluphid’s trilogy of blockbusters Where God Went Wrong, Some More of God’s Greatest Mistakes and Who is this God Person Anyway?), and also that Ford is one of the writers/contributors to the book. 
They are joined by Zaphod Beeblebrox (the President of the Galaxy who is also a relation of Ford Prefect), Marvin- the perpetually depressed android and Trillian (formerly known as Tricia) McMillian- another one of Earth’s survivors.

Towards the end of the first book, they leave for “a quick bite” at The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe. 
Well, there is the Creation of the Universe and then there is the End! 
Hungry? There lies a Restaurant towards the end of the Universe… and now this is a quest to get something to eat.
Add to this the Infinite Improbability Drive and there you have it, the perfect recipe for an absurd but absolutely entertaining book!

The inhabitants of Krikkit are unaware of the existence of life outside their planet. So when they discover it, they plan to destroy it. Life, The Universe and Everything is in danger!

Slartibartfast, who is a designer of planets, becomes the driving character of this book.

Things to look out for: Bowerick Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged who decides to insult everyone in the Universe in alphabetical order, Slartifartbast’s Bistromathematical spaceship, and the re-acquaintance of the sentient bowl of petunias from ‘Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’ that results in Arthur Dent glimpsing his own future.

And just when Arthur as well as I had started getting used to the leaps through time and space (I totally stole this phrase from The Time Travel Project), Arthur is transported back to Earth (thoughts such as “But the Earth was destroyed!!!” are petty details which should be overlooked for your own sanity): with no souvenirs of the last eight years! He almost starts believing that they never happened but he discovers that since his absence all the dolphins have disappeared with a message for the humans, “So Long, And Thanks for All The Fish”.
Arthur then falls in love with the mysterious Fenchurch- and both of them have a flying love story (that’ll only make sense if you’ve read the book- in fact, almost everything will make sense only after you’ve read the books- and not much of it even then!).
Marvin makes a small but memorable appearance, no Zaphod, and a bit of Ford- being his usual self!

Then, there is all the talk about parallel universes that are anything but parallel. Now, there is a Tricia McMillan as well as a Trillian McMillan. But we get to that later.
The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy had just two words for Earth: Mostly Harmless. 
But Ford is surprised to find that suddenly all his writings for Earth have been included! This leads him to discover that Megadodo Publications, has been taken over by InfiniDim Enterprises. 
Fenchurch (the love of Arthur’s life) disappears and now Arthur is depressed! 
This is also a story about Random (I don’t know if revealing her surname and thus who she is counts as a spoiler here or what, so Google it if you are very curious)- a teenager who wants to find a place to belong. 
This book gets very serious at places, it isn’t as funny as the other four books, but I really loved it! 
The end was abrupt, it could have been better.

But all in all, I must say it was a wonderful series of books! 
I am so glad I continued in spite of my confusion in the very beginning where I felt like quitting- and that’s the advice I’ll give you: Don’t Panic and Don’t Quit! 
This series is an absolute delight.

Now the best part (I promised you one and here you have it):

Here are some of the most funny, witty, wacky, sarcastic, satirical, absurd quotes from this series (the most enjoyable experience while reading the book was the writing and I rarely find such books so I cannot miss this opportunity).

The Hitch Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy

“Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.” 

“The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t.” 

“He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” 

“If there’s anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.” 

“A towel, [The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy] says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-boggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.” 

The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe

 

“The story so far:
In the beginning the Universe was created.
This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.” 

“Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.”

“It is worth repeating at this point the theories that Ford had come up with, on his first encounter with human beings, to account for their peculiar habit of continually stating and restating the very very obvious, as in “It’s a nice day,” or “You’re very tall,” or “So this is it, we’re going to die.”

“I’m up to here with cool, okay? I am so amazingly cool you could keep a side of meat in me for a month. I am so hip I have difficulty seeing over my pelvis.” 

“But what about the End of the Universe? We’ll miss the big moment.”
I’ve seen it. It’s rubbish,” said Zaphod,”nothing but a gnab gib.”
A what?”
Opposite of a big bang. Come on, let’s get zappy.” 

 

Life, The Universe and Everything

“He hoped and prayed that there wasn’t an afterlife. Then he realized there was a contradiction involved here and merely hoped that there wasn’t an afterlife.” 

“The Guide says there is an art to flying”, said Ford, “or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.”

“It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.” 

“Just believe everything I tell you, and it will all be very, very simple.’

Ah, well, I’m not sure I believe that.” 

“My doctor says that I have a malformed public duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fiber” 

“Trillian did a little research in the ship’s copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It had some advice to offer on drunkenness.”

“Go to it,” it said, “and good luck.

 

So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish

“Life… is like a grapefruit. Well, it’s sort of orangey-yellow and dimpled on the outside, wet and squidgy in the middle. It’s got pips inside, too. Oh, and some people have half a one for breakfast.” 

“He almost danced to the fridge, found the three least hairy things in it, put them on a plate and watched them intently for two minutes. Since they made no attempt to move within that time he called them breakfast and ate them. Between them they killed a virulent space disease he’d picked up without knowing it in the Flargathon Gas Swamps a few days earlier, which otherwise would have killed off half the population of the Western Hemisphere, blinded the other half, and driven everyone else psychotic and sterile, so the Earth was lucky there.”

“This man is the bee’s knees, Arthur, he is the wasp’s nipples. He is, I would go so far as to say, the entire set of erogenous zones of every major flying insect of the Western world.” 

“But the reason I call myself by my childhood name is to remind myself that a scientist must also be absolutely like a child. If he sees a thing, he must say that he sees it, whether it was what he thought he was going to see or not. See first, think later, then test. But always see first. Otherwise you will only see what you were expecting.” 

It is by eating sandwiches in pubs on Saturday lunchtimes that the British seek to atone for whatever their national sins have been. They’re not altogether clear what those sins are, and don’t want to know either. Sins are not the sort of things one wants to know about. But whatever their sins are they are amply atoned for by the sandwiches they make themselves eat.” 

 

Mostly Harmless

“A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.” 

“Nothing travels faster than the speed of light, with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws.”

“Protect me from knowing what I don’t need to know. Protect me from even knowing that there are things to know that I don’t know. Protect me from knowing that I decided not to know about the things that I decided not to know about. Amen.

Lord, lord, lord. Protect me from the consequences of the above prayer.” 

“What was the self-sacrifice?”
I jettisoned half of a much-loved and I think irreplaceable pair of shoes.”
Why was that self-sacrifice?”
Because they were mine!” said Ford, crossly.
I think we have different value systems.”
Well mine’s better.” 

“These muddles were as nothing to the ones which historians had to try and unravel once time trouble was discovered and battles started pre-erupting hundred of years before the issues even arose.” 

 

I hope you enjoyed it.
So Long, and Thanks for all the Views! 😉

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