Action, Books, Comic/Book Adaptation, Fiction, Films, Reviewing, Stephen King, Two Star Rating

Friday Film Chat- ‘The Dark Tower’ (With Spoilers)

the dark tower

 

I have been a MASSIVE fan of Stephen King since I was about 14 (so a few years now…….maybe…..), but ‘The Dark Tower’ series had passed me by. That was until this summer, when I started reading these novels in preparation for the ‘Dark Tower’s’ release.

I’m now on the third novel of the series and completely hooked, so I was excited to watch this film. I had seen a few bad reviews of this, but decided to go to watch it, in order to make up my own mind about this film.

There are some good elements about this novel which I really enjoyed. The depiction of Mid-World was absolutely spot on and although Idris Elba doesn’t fit the physical description of the character in the book, I think the attitude he conveys is perfect. I also really liked Tom Taylor as Jake.

Now, for the problems. There were quite a few elements which let this film down. I didn’t think that Matthew McConaughey played a convincing role as The Man In Black AKA Walter O’Dim. In my opinion he was a generic, slightly pantomime villain, rather than really embodying the character, as Stephen King had written it.

This novel is packed with mythology and back story which mostly revolves around Roland, his family and friends and how he became a Gunslinger. There were moments in which the characters started to talk about these things during the film and I was excited to think that the film was going to get to the essence of the first novel. However, I felt frustrated that any back story or mythology which was mentioned through the film’s appalling dialogue was simply glossed over, instead of expanded on.

For me, it actually felt like the producers and scriptwriters simply skim read the novels and then decided to make up the majority of this film. I can only think of two or three instances where any of the story from the first book, was transferred into the film. The rest, was completely untrue. These included: Jacob’s entrance into the story, the ending, the way in which The Man in Black was trying to take down the Dark Tower and Jake’s family and the list goes on.

Now I know film adaptations can’t always feature every single element of a book, but to be honest, I struggled to find ANY similarities between the book and the film.

Doing a book justice in film form is possible. A good example is Peter Jackson’s adaptations of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy. You can tell by watching those films, that Peter Jackson loved the novels and wanted to do them justice. So it annoys me to think that the producers and screenwriters in charge of adapting ‘The Dark Tower’ series, simply didn’t care and were only concerned about making money. In fact I think this would have been received a bit better than it has been, if the producers had taken their time and allowed the plot to breath a bit more. Stephen King was consulted during the making of the film, so it’s also disappointing that he passed this film as acceptable.

If you haven’t read the novels, you may mildly enjoy this forgettable film. If you are a fan of the novels however, you will be sorely disappointed.

My Rating: ** 1/2

Have you watched this film? What did you think of it?

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Books, Fiction, Reading, Reviewing, Three Star Rating

Review: ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ by Jodie Picoult (Contains Spoilers)

my sisters keeper

 

Anna Fitzgerald doesn’t want her sister to die. But she’s sick of helping her to live.

Anna was born to be a perfect genetic match for Kate, who at just two years old was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. For thirteen years, she has acted as donor to her sister.

Now, Kate needs a kidney, and nobody is asking Anna how she feels about it, they’re just assuming she will donate.

Until the Sheriff serves the papers that will rock their family’s world: Anna is suing her parents for the rights to her own body . . .

My Thoughts:

Seeing as my last book review was of ‘The Tenth Circle’ by Jodi Picoult, I thought that I would jump start my reviews, with another one of Picoult’s novels.

The premise of this novel seemed very interesting and grabbed my attention straight away. I think that Picoult’s attempt to tackle controversial topics, is something which drew me to her books in the first place.

This book approaches the idea of genetically modifying a child in order to save another sibling, with diverse writing.

Each of the chapters are dedicated to the points of view of several different characters; Anna Fitzgerald the main character, Kate Fitzgerald, Anna’s sister who has a terminal illness, Jesse Fitzgerald, their brother and their parents Sara and Brian  Fitzgerald.

Outside of the Fitzgerald family, chapters are dedicated to expressing the points of view of Julia Romano, who acts as Anna’s guardian during legal proceedings and Campbell Alexander, Anna’s lawyer.

Whilst I liked the idea of reading the situation from different perspectives, at first, I found the individual chapters, took a bit of getting used to. I frequently had to keep going back, in order to remember who each character was. Despite that, I think that Picoult’s characters are equally believable and well rounded. Each character had its strengths and weaknesses and I think this helped me to invest in the story.

I even thought that the romantic element between Julia and Campbell fitted in very well with the book’s very heavy topic.

The main problem for me about this book and it was a pretty big one, was the ending.

Due to the fact that this novel asks you to believe and invest a lot of time and emotion in the characters, the ending left me feeling furious and cheated. ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ goes into great detail about the proceedings of a court case and is very thorough at presenting a realistic representation of the law. Therefore, to simply put all of her characters through all of this heartache and stress in the court case, to come to a decision and yet write an ending which just felt convenient, I feel that Jodi Picoult demeans her readers by giving them that ending. I was so annoyed by the last few chapters, that I actually wanted to throw the book out of the window in frustration!

It’s not the first time this has happened with Picoult’s novels. So far, I have read two of her books and both have had endings which have nicely wrapped up the story, but have not tackled the gritty topics she focuses on, in a satisfactory way.

I’m willing to give Jodi Picoult one more chance, but after that, if her novels still continue to offer the reader a patronizing, ‘warm and fuzzy’ ending, then I will not continue to read any more of her novels.

‘My Sister’s Keeper’ starts with promise, but falls very flat at the end.

My Rating ***

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Books, Fiction, Four Star Rating, Reviewing

‘The Tenth Circle’ by Jodi Picoult (May Contain Spoilers)

the-tenth-circle

Description:

Trixie Stone only goes to the party that night to get her boyfriend back.

By morning, Trixie is under police protection and Jason, her ex, has been arrested on suspicion of date rape.

There are no witnesses. The physical evidence is inconclusive. It is her word against his.

Who is telling the truth?

My Thoughts:

I’m one of those people who, when a friend recommends a novel, I’ll give it go, despite whether the books’ genre isn’t something I would usually read. In this way, I’ve discovered some fantastic novels.

I had never read anything from Jodi Picoult until ‘The Tenth Circle’ was recommended to me but overall, I thought it was a good read. However there were some elements that I feel could have been better.

Firstly, the positives. I liked the fact that a sensitive issue such as rape, wasn’t just focused on through a female’s perspective, but how a father would feel, if their daughter were a rape victim. I could identify with the characters and thought that they were believable. I cared about them enough to find out what was going to happen to them.I also thought that the interweaving of the comic book the male character is working on, as a metaphor for the events and feelings the characters were experiencing throughout the book, was an interesting concept, particularly being a Marvel fan myself.

The main problem for me though, was towards the end. Whilst at the beginning of this novel I thought that this was going to be about how each member of the Stone family dealt with Trixie’s rape, it kind of unravelled into being something that you would see in a cheesy tv movie. The journey in which the characters were taken on, seemed over sentimental and just a bit too convenient, rather than dealt with the real issues at hand. It felt like Jodi Picoult had given up trying to finish the story and gave us a half hearted one, rather than a strong and gutsy ending that I think this story deserved.

All in all, I wouldn’t say that I hated this novel. I will probably read more Jodi Picoult novels in future, but I hope that any future novels I decide to read have better endngs than this book.

 

Rating: ****

 

Books, Fiction, Films, Life, Reading, Reviewing, Sin categoría, Writing

6 Months!

It has been 6 months since I last posted on ‘The Avid Reader’!

That’s not to say that I haven’t been reading, I’m as avid as ever ( In fact,  I’m currently getting to the end of my third re-read of ‘The Hobbit’,), but I lost my mojo for writing. Not just writing blog posts, but writing more of the detective novel that I’ve been trying finish for the last 3 years or so.

Part of the reason that I lost my mojo, is that life has got in the way. I won’t go into any details of that (I don’t want to use this blog for whining and whinging, I feel very lucky with what I have) but over the last week or so, I’ve found the joy for writing again hurrah!

To be honest, I’ve probably read too many books in the last 6, to properly catch up with reviews on the blog but I will try and post my thoughts on a few of them shortly. Let me know about your best reads of the last 6 months.

I’m also going to see ‘Bridget Jones Baby’ next week, so I with review it after I have seen it. I’m not a big fan of Chick-Lit, but I have enjoyed the ‘Bridget Jones’ series. To wet your appetite, here’s the trailer:

 

Books, Fiction, First Paragraph Tuesday, Sin categoría

First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday

‘First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday’ is hosted by ‘Bibliophile by the Sea’, where bloggers share the first paragraph of a novel they are currently reading or want to read in the future.

This week’s paragraph comes from ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ by Steig Larsson:

‘The trial was irretrievably over; everything that could be said had been said, but he had never doubted that he would lose. The written verdict was handed down at 10.00 on Friday morning, and all that remained eas a summing-up from the reporters waiting in the corridor outside the district court.’

Would you continue reading?

Books, Fiction, Reviewing, Sin categoría, Three Star Rating

Review- ‘We need to talk about Kevin’ by Lionel Shriver (Warning- Contains Spoilers!)

kevin

What the ‘blurb’ says:

Eva never really wanted to be a mother; certainly not the mother of the unlovable boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker and a teacher who tried to befriend him. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood and Kevin’s horrific rampage in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her absent husband, Franklyn. Uneasy with the sacrifices and social demotion of motherhood from the start, Eva fears that her alarming dislike for her own son may be responsible for driving him so nihilistically off the rails.

My Thoughts:

Firstly, forgive me if this review is a bit all over the place. It has been more than a week week since I finished reading this novel and I still haven’t been able to exactly pinpoint my thoughts on this! Warning though, this review has spoilers.

The story plot from the point where Eva meets her husband, through to motherhood and finally the present day.

The reasons why I can’t pinpoint whether I enjoyed this novel or not, are varied. Firstly, I wasn’t too keen on the writing style. At times the writing seemed forced and too formal. Considering the fact that the book was supposed to be constructed in an informal letter style, in my opinion each chapter would start almost in letter form and then jump into regular prose. However, I felt like the writing improved during the novel.

Secondly, I didn’t really like the main character Eva. She was cold, selfish and in some ways, just as bad as her son…I think.

At times, this felt wrong to even be reading this book, both main characters were twisted and the subject matter, dark. However, I found some of the psychology highlighted within this novel, fascinating. I also enjoyed the tale unfolding. I’m not much of a fan of slower paced books, but I think that the slow unfolding of events to be effective during this novel. I also liked the twist at the end.

As I said at the beginning of this review, my thoughts on this are messy. ‘We need to talk about Kevin’ isn’t exactly the most enjoyable book I’ve read this year, but it’s the most interesting and thought provoking.

My Rating ***

I would love to know if anyone else who has read this book,  felt as conflicted when they read this book as I do.

Books, Fiction, First Paragraph Tuesday, Sin categoría

First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday

‘First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday’ is hosted by ‘Bibliophile by the Sea’, where bloggers share the first paragraph of a novel they are currently reading or want to read in the future.

This week’s chapter comes from ‘Water for Elephants’ by Sara Gruen.

water for elephants

I’ve seen the film adaptation of this novel and, despite it starring Robert Pattinson, I enjoyed it. So I bought the book, to see how it differs from the film.

Here’s the first paragraph of the book:

Prologue

‘Only three people were left under the red and white awning of the greasy joint: Grady, me, and the fry cook. Grady and I sat at a battered wooden table, eadch facing a burger on a dented tin plate. The cook was behind the counter, scraping his griddle with the edge of a spatula. He had turned off the fryer some time ago, but the odor of grease lingered.’

Would you read on?