Books, Four Star Rating, Reviewing, Science Fiction

Review: ‘I am Legend’ by Richard Matheson

i am legend

 

Publisher: SF Masterworks

What the ‘blurb’ says:

Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth…but he is not alone. Every other man, woman and child on the planet has become a vampire, and they are hungry for Neville’s blood.

By day he is the hunter, stalking the undead through the ruins of civilisation. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for the dawn.

How long can one man survive like this?

My Thoughts:

I’m not the biggest fan of vampire novels, neither have I much reading experience with the Science Fiction genre. I did join the ‘Twilight’ bandwagon a few years ago and it put me off this genre for a lot of reasons, those of which I won’t go into now.

The main reason I picked up this novel, was because I have watched the film adaptation with Will Smith and was curious to see how the book differs from the film. As it turns out, it’s VERY different from the film.

That’s not to say that there isn’t anything wrong with the film, I quite enjoyed it, but the tone of the novel, is dark, disturbing and very psychological.

The novel is told from the first person. I think the effect this has, something that the film was unable to do, was to centre the novel around the psychological effects, and loneliness that a person could experience in this type of situation, rather than provide suspense and action to the story. This novel mainly focuses on the coping mechanisms and survival instincts, that are built within human nature.

That lack of action, differs from the film; this book only really has a couple of exciting parts within it, but I was really compelled by Robert’s fight for survival and to discover a cure for the virus, destroying the humanity.

If you’re expecting a romantic, sparkly portrayal of vampires, forget it. Also, if you’re in a bad mood, then ‘I am Legend’  isn’t going to lift your spirits. This is gritty, psychological and at times, downright depressing.

So you would assume that I didn’t enjoy this novel, but I really did. It made a change from the stereotypical romantic vision of the vampire and was a novel which (pardon the pun), I could really get my teeth into.

If you like Sci-fi mixed with horror and grit, then I would recommend this novel.

My Rating ****

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

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Action, Comic/Book Adaptation, Films, Four Star Rating, Friday Film Chat, Reviewing

Friday Film Chat about ‘Spiderman: Homecoming’ (Contains Spoilers)

 

Spider-Man_Homecoming_poster

 

I love the Marvel Film Universe. With the exception of Wonder Woman, who is within DC Comics, I’ve always favoured films and TV programmes featuring Marvel characters such as The Incredible Hulk, X-Men and Spiderman.

Spiderman’ is my favourite film franchise but also for me, the most problematic. Why? you may ask.

Well it’s not that I haven’t enjoyed any of the ‘Spiderman’ films, but what has frustrated me is the fact that with every new actor who has taken on Spiderman (Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield and now British actor Tom Holland), this has meant a re-telling of the story of how Peter Parker becomes Spiderman.

Andrew Garfield’s take on the origins of Spiderman actually worked very well in my opinion, better than Tobey Maguire’s, but when it was announced that Andrew Garfield was no longer reprising the role, my heart sank at the thought of another rehash of the same, old, story.

‘Spiderman:Homecoming’ was a pleasant surprise. The film already assumes that you know about the pesky spider biting Peter Parker, thus giving him his Spidey sense. So the story starts, at the point where he is getting used to his relatively new powers.

The timeline of the story has also been pushed back. to show a 15. Instead of a Peter Parkers, who is just about to go off to college, as in the previous films, Peter is now 15.

This version of Peter is a nerd, who lives with his Aunt May (played by Marisa Tomei) and loves nothing more than building Lego Death Stars with his best friend, the hilarious Ned and taking part in Academic Decathalons. Their relationship throughout the film is warm and extremely funny. It is one of the things that I like best about this film.

Obviously this doesn’t make Peter very popular and he is often bullied by a teen called ‘Flash’ (not sure if this is a reference to ‘The Flash’ of DC comics).

Despite his nerdy appearance, Peter has a secret identity and holds a secret crush on Liz, a little known character who appears in the ‘Spiderman’ comics.

This film doesn’t just feature Spiderman though. Peter’s main concern throughout the film, is whether he can prove his worth to Tony Stark AKA Iron Man, so that he can join ‘The Avengers’. He also investigates and tries to defeat The Vulture, who likes to get gun happy with crazy alien weaponry, played by Michael Keaton.

What I liked about this film was its fresh, exciting approach to the franchise. It didn’t feel like something I had completely seen before. British actor Tom Holland does a fantastic job at playing a teenage, slightly awkward Peter Parker. I’m also relieved that his american accent was pretty decent. One of the things I hate most in films, is when an actors can not pull off a decent accent, different from their own (I can just about forgive Dick Van Dyke’s Cockney accent in ‘Mary Poppins’).

There are only two small criticisms that I would like to make about the film. Firstly, I felt like this film felt a tad too long. This film lasts 2 hours and 13 minutes, which is pretty standard for most Marvel films. However, the last 20 minutes dragged for me. This is probably because it felt like it was going to end, but then we were presented with a twist, which kicked things off again.

Another observation I made in this film, was that at 53, Marisa Tomei was a very youthful looking Aunt May. So much so, that it felt like she was more Peter’s older sister, than his aunt. She provides the only background for Peter in this film.

It was surprising that neither Peter’s parents nor Uncle Ben were particularly mentioned in this film. It makes me sad to think that the writers of this film, decided not to include the close relationship which Peter had with his uncle which was an important emotive element within the previous ‘Spiderman’ films.

Being a fan of Marvel in general, I think that my review was always going to be slightly biased towards the positive. However, I think if you enjoy films packed with action and comedy, then you will enjoy ‘Spiderman: Homecoming’, regardless of whether you have seen the previous ‘Spiderman’ films or not.

My Rating 4/5

Have you seen this film? 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, Four Star Rating, Reading, Sin categoría

REVIEW-‘The Truth’ by Terry Pratchett

 

the truth

 

What the ‘blurb’ says:

William de Worde is the accidental editor of the Discworld’s first newspaper. New printing technology means that words just won’t obediently stay nailed down like usual. There’s a very real threat of news getting out there.

Now he must cope with the traditional perils of a journalist’s life – people who want him dead, a recovering vampire with a suicidal fascination for flash photography, some more people who want him dead in a different way and, worst of all, the man who keeps begging him to publish pictures of his humorously shaped potatoes.

William just wants to get at THE TRUTH. Unfortunately, everyone else wants to get at William. And it’s only the third edition…

My thoughts:

Before reading this novel I had only read one of the ‘Discworld’ novels, so wasn’t entirely sure whether 1. I was going to enjoy this 2. Having jumped out of the sequence of ‘Discworld’ novels (‘The Truth’ is 25th in the series), whether I was going to understand anything.

I was pleased to find that this novel can be read as a stand-alone book and I really enjoyed it.

The world where these books are based is concise and well rounded,  and the characters are believable; considering the fact that there are vampires, wolves and talking chairs in this! The plot was engaging, although did get a little too silly towards the end.

The main attraction for me, was the writing style in itself. It’s so deliciously quirky, that I chuckled through a lot of the book. The play on words and satire of the media industry, made for a refreshing change. This doesn’t take itself too seriously and is so much fun to read. If you don’t have a silly sense of humour, don’t read this book. If you want to read something fun, read ‘The Truth’.

I’m looking forward to reading more ‘Discworld’ novels in future.

My Rating ****

 

Ann Shreve, Books, Fiction, Four Star Rating, Reviewing

REVIEW- ‘Sea Glass’ by Ann Shreve

seaglass

What the ‘blurb’ says:

Anita Shreve’s new novel Sea Glass represents a remarkable advance. She previously caught the attention of many readers with Fortune’s Rocks and The Pilot’s Wife, beautifully crafted novels with rich and subtly observed characterisation. But however impressive those books were, Sea Glass has the same adroit creation of character, but the prose is even more rich and allusive. This is a story of the human heart, of the demands of the past, and of the necessity for pragmatism in human relationships. It’s 1929, and Honora Beecher and her husband Sexton are enjoying their new marriage in a cottage on the coast of New Hampshire. Honora is renovating the rundown property and searching for pieces of coloured glass washed up on the beach. Sexton attempts to buy the house they both adore, but with disastrous results: like many other Americans, he is a victim of the stock market crash and is financially wiped out. He is forced to work in a nearby mill, where a labour conflict is having violent results. The couple’s struggle to maintain their marriage in the face of dangerous forces that threaten to overwhelm them is vividly and poignantly told.

Shreve has written nine novels and throughout her work she has painstakingly honed her storytelling skills with elegance and intelligence. She is particularly skilful at depicting interlocking lives, as in Sea Glass, and adroitly invests each with its own portion of love and tragedy. If you want to be one of the “early adopters” of Shreve’s cherishable novels, now is the time:

In the wet sand by her foot, a bit of colour catches her eye. The glass is green pale and cloudy, the colour of lime juice that has been squeezed into a glass. She brushes the sand off and presses the sea glass into her palm, keeping it for luck.

My Thoughts:

Having never read any novels by Anita Shreve, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I embarked on ‘Sea Glass’. What I’ve discovered, is a writer who has an incredible talent for description. The landscapes and details within the novel are so beautiful, it’s like she is painting a picture in your mind, by only using words.

I must admit that it took me a while to really settle down into this novel. Due to the story being told through several different characters, all of which are completely different, I wasn’t sure where this novel was going. With a bit of persistence it became clear.

This novel isn’t exactly a complete story. What I mean by this, is that it is complete (it is a book with a beginning, a middle and an end), but ‘Sea Glass’ focusses on one period of time, in which the characters find themselves dealing with different issues. The characters within this novel are believable, well rounded and vivid. Through them, this book perfectly encapsulates the glamour and struggles people faced, within the 1920’s. The love story also isn’t over sentimental and fits within the book as a whole.

The only criticism I could give about this novel, is its slower pace. Then again, this may be just personal preference. Nevertheless, I think that ‘Sea Glass‘ is a beautiful novel and I look forward to reading more novels by Ann Shreve.

My Rating ****