Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.
Cinder is one of those books that I am constantly told to read while never actually getting around to reading it. It’s been highly recommended to me and I finally got a hold of a copy. I purchased it from my local book store, Wellesley Books, which is just down the street from my university, Wellesley College.
I must admit it has been a slow read so far, and I am still waiting for the story to pick up. Hopefully, it will deliver, as I have high expectations for such a widely-praised book.
The fantasy story follows Cinder, a cyborg, who falls in love with Prince Kai, as far as I can tell right now. What I find compelling about is that it’s supposed to be a sci-fi retelling of the classic fairy tale, Cinderella. I’m a big fan of modern twists to ancient fairy tale stories, such as Once Upon A Time, A Cinderella Story, Beastly, and Snow White & The Huntsman.
Here’s a teaser (page 6):
“She shoved back from the desk, her scowl landing first on a lifeless android that sat squat on her worktable and then on the man behind it. She was met with startled copper brown eyes and black hair that hung past his ears and lips that every girl in the country had admired a thousand times.
Her scowl vanished.”
Want to know what happens next? Well, you’ll simply have to get the book!
Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Ki Hong Lee
Transported to a remote fortified outpost, Thomas and his fellow teenage Gladers find themselves in trouble after uncovering a diabolical plot from the mysterious and powerful organization WCKD. With help from a new ally, the Gladers stage a daring escape into the Scorch, a desolate landscape filled with dangerous obstacles and crawling with the virus-infected Cranks. The Gladers only hope may be to find the Right Hand, a group of resistance fighters who can help them battle WCKD.
IMDB Score: 7.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 62%
I was super excited to watch the Scorch Trials this weekend it opens because I’d watched the Maze Runner last year and absolutely loved it. It had been a thrill ride from start to finish and I thought that the action/adventure was fascinating and ethereal. Naturally, I was highly anticipating the sequel, expecting it to be bigger and bolder than the last movie.
What I Liked
The cinematography was stellar. I felt like the entire movie fit an overall aesthetic of poignant desolation. The camera focus was sharp as knives and the silhouettes made on the desert landscape were outstandingly artsy. I got chills whenever more than one character turned their heads at the same time, because it was done with such synchronicity and meaning. I felt that the visuals were excellent and I was overall blown away by them.n It certainly had a darker atmosphere than the first movie.
Game of Thrones’ own Nathalie Emmanuel played such a BAMF (bad ass mother fucker) character, Harriet, in the movie. She was fierce, audacious, and exuded impassioned leadership. It was a delight to watch her instill awe in Thomas’s group and commandeer an army. It was such a far cry from her more gentle character on GoT, and I really enjoyed it.
My heart leaped with a multitude of intense emotion, from terror to despair to elation. I actually got teary eyed when that tragic event occurred, and I could feel my heart leaping out of my chest with a surge of horror as Thomas’s crew was attacked by zombies. I like movies that make me feel greatly, and The Scorch Trials did succeed in that way.
Brenda was pretty boss! She was totally self-assured and plucky, and I like her impetus. Her cool demeanor intrigued me. I think that she held her own very well and was very daring and dauntless.
What I Didn’t Like
So. Much. Running. I feel like the whole movie was just about Thomas, Newt, Teresa, Minho, and the rest of the gang just running away from the “bad guys” and being chased and shot at and attacked. Running from WCKD, running from zombies (too many zombies!), running from what ever attacker was there. It became ingratiating. Like Thomas said “I’m tired of running.” I’m tired of you running too, Thomas.
I didn’t feel like there was any real point to this movie. I left the movie theater not even sure if I knew if there was a plot to it. A lot of random crap just happened to Thomas et al and I didn’t understand the premise of it. The first movie very clearly showed that the objective was to find the way out of the maze, and the objective was reached by them leaving the maze at the end of the movie. It seemed like for the sequel, horrible stuff was just thrown at our heroes and we were left with more questions than answers. It was more a of an awkward in-between movie, and I hope the mystery will be truly solved in the third (and final) movie.
I didn’t like how Newt didn’t talk that much in this movie. I adore the actor, Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Nanny McPhee, Phineas and Ferb, Game of Thrones) and I wanted his character to be more important in the Scorch Trials, like he was in the Maze Runner. He kind of faded to the wayside in this movie, even though he was still Thomas’s right hand man. Plus, I really love his British accent, so I sorely missed hearing it a lot in the movie. I have a soft spot for Newt, which the Scorch Trials didn’t really deliver on.
Teresa was just kind of there. Her character didn’t add any value to the plot until the horrific twist at the end, which appeared to have come out of nowhere. She was more of just an accessory to Thomas.
The Scorch Trials was very aesthetically pleasing and showcased brazen female characters. It was fun to watch three Game of Thrones actors in one movie (Nathalie Emmanuel, Thomas Sangster, and Aidan Gillen). I think it was really thrilling to watch and it kept me on the edge of my seat. I thought that was excellent direction by Wes Ball in terms of visuals. Yet, it seemed pointless and meaningless, and I was left dissatisfied and disappointed.
Hypocrite or Saint: Should the US let in Refugees to Assuage the Migrant Crisis?
Oh, the hypocrisy of mainstream media. After weeks – months – of vilifying, demonizing, and dehumanizing refugees, it turns around and cries out at the injustice of children drowning. “For the children!” is the battle cry that rings out of the media. The tune has changed from the idea that the migrant crisis is an invasion of Western civilisation to actual sympathy for the migrants. It is abhorrent that it took a viral picture of a drowned child washed up on the coast of Bordum, Turkey, for the world to recognize the shared humanity of refugees fleeing war and oppression in Syria, etc for a better life.
At this point does the US even have a moral obligation to take in any refugees? A country of 53,041.98 USD as its GDP per capita is considering taking in just 10,000 refugees after months of the E.U. migrant crisis, whereas Germany, a country of 46,268.64 USD GDP per capita, has already welcomed at least 10,000 more asylum seekers than it already has just this previous Saturday. Germany affirms, “Our boat is nowhere near full” to the thousands of migrants making the perilous journey to the Western world from Africa and the Middle East.
How then can America, the land of the free, only deign to accept 10,000 asylum seekers/migrants/refugees? We consider ourselves the pioneers of the developed western democracies, and we should start acting that way. We can do better than 10,000 migrants. We have the resources and capacity to take in much more. We are the Home of the Brave, and if those refugees are courageous enough to risk their lives on a precarious boat on a quest for humane living conditions, they deserve to be welcomed into the United States with open arms.
There have been arguments that the EU’s migrant crisis is too geographically distant from the United States to expect us to get involved. Yet, this country has created a pattern and a history of getting involved in other countries’ affairs. Why is that, as the leader of the free world, we have a precedent of violently interfering with the business of countries that are geographically isolated from us, rather than extending a hand of peace and friendship to asylum seekers from countries in need?
After all, the United States of America was originally founded as a nation of immigrants, of men desperate to cross uncharted waters to find liberty and evade oppressive governments. Much of the United States’ history includes an influx of even more immigrants from countries such as Ireland and Italy who were seeking a good life of honest labor as well as fleeing persecution and famine. Ellis Island, New York, is notable for being a symbol of freedom for immigrants entering the Land of the Free via ships. What makes these migrants any different that we should turn our backs on our brothers and sisters in their time of dire need?
I call up on the Great United States of America to do the “right thing” and accept at least 50,000 migrants onto our shores. They, too, deserve life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They, too, are human beings just like us. They, too, are worthy of acceptance.
Los Angeles. It’s been five years since the events of the Mortal Instruments when Nephilim stood poised on the brink of oblivion and Shadowhunter Emma Carstairs lost her parents. After the blood and violence she witnessed as a child, Emma has dedicated her life to to discovering exactly what it was that killed her parents and getting her revenge.
Raised in the Los Angeles Institute with the Blackthorn family, Emma is paired as a parabatai with her best friend, Julian Blackthorn. A series of murders in the city catch her attention — they seem to have the same characteristics as the deaths of her parents. Could the murderer be the same person? And her attention isn’t the only one caught: someone has been murdering Downworlders as well. The Fair Folk make a deal with the Institute: if the Blackthorns and Emma will investigate the killings, they’ll return Mark Blackthorn to his home. The catch: they have only two weeks to find the killers. Otherwise it’s open war between faeries and Nephilim.
The Shadowhunters of the Institute must race against time to catch the killers, even as they begin to suspect the involvement of those closest to them. At the same time, Emma is falling in love with the one person in the world she’s absolutely forbidden by Shadowhunter Law to love. Set against the glittering backdrop of present-day Los Angeles, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches from the warlock-run nightclubs of the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica.
I am beyond excited for Cassandra Clare’s new addition to her Shadowhunter World: her upcoming series, The Dark Artifices. Lady Midnight will be the first book in the series.
It follows the life of seventeen-year-old Emma Carstairs, an orphaned shadowhunter, and her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn. She idolizes Jace Herondale and is a badass fighter. She aims to exact revenge upon whoever killed her parents, bringing comparisons to my mind to Arya Stark of Game of Thrones, another kick ass fantasy female character much loved by me.
I’m super thrilled to read her story, especially since I can’t get enough of shadowhunters in general. It’s so exhilarating to have another girl to join the ranks of Clary Fray, Tessa Gray, and Isabelle Lightwood. I’m particularly elated for a main female character who seems to be a fierce warrior. I’m used to seeing that more from male characters like Jace and Will Herondale. Sure, Isabelle was tough, but I see her more as a femme fatale, than just a kickass fighter. I’m highly anticipating Emma’s badassery.
I can’t wait to explore Emma and Julian’s relationship as parabatai of the opposite sex. It’s cute how Emma is going to be crushing on, and I’m always a sucker for forbidden romance (parabatai cannot be together romantically). More so, I’m ecstatic to get to read an opposite sex friendship that also involves them being fighting partners.
Julian’s family, the Blackthorns, are going to be so much fun to read! I love reading about big families. I’m so interested in their family dynamic and reading the interactions between all the many different kids: Helen, Mark, Julian, Livia, Tiberius, Drusilla, and Octavian. I’m also particularly fascinated by the faerie blood in their family as a result of their father, Andrew Blackthorn’s extra-marital affair with a faerie producing Helen and Mark. I find it interesting that he named all his kids after Greek and Latin historical. I’m falling in love with this Shadowhunter family already.
Something that is really exciting about this series is that it is set in Los Angeles, which is a far cry from the New York setting in the Mortal Instruments series. It also continues Cassandra Clare’s portrayal of different big cities in her books, such as London in The Infernal Devices. I think that Los Angeles is going to be a fresh, interesting setting.
Mark is a character that I am desperate to know more about. I need to find out what happens to him after the events of City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6). He’s the second child and oldest boy of the Blackthorns, and his character really intrigues me. I don’t want to give away any events of CoHF, though. I suspect that he could also be a love interest for Emma, which I wouldn’t mind at all. Fingers crossed!
After reading about Emma Carstairs and the Blackthorns last summer in CoHF, I’m dying to read more about this enchanting bunch. I was drawn to twelve-year-old Emma’s impetus and outspokenness in CoHF, so I’m highly anticipating more of that in Lady Midnight. 2016 can’t come fast enough!
If you’re interested in kick-ass heroines, large families, and forbidden love, look no further than Lady Midnight, coming out in March 2016!
In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.
The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them….
The prequel to the thrilling Mortal Instruments Series comes The Infernal Devices. I would recommend reading The Infernal Devices after the third book in TMI, City of Glass, and before reading the fourth book in TMI, City of Fallen Angels, for optimum understanding and entertainment.
Clockwork Angel is the first book in this electric series, centered around a mysterious shapeshifter girl named Tessa Gray, who was tricked into going to London from America after her brother. Here, she stumbles and falls into the dark world of demons and witches and shadowhunters, the fierce race of angelic humans who fight demons. She ends up at the London Institute for Shadowhunters after painfully discovering her wondrous powers to shift into any person, as long as she has an item particular to them.
She meets the shadowhunter ‘family’ that live there: The small but mighty Charlotte Fairchild, the head of the Institute; her ditzy inventor husband Henry; the imperious and beautiful Jessamine Lovelace; the scarred and loyal pretty servant girl Sophie; the frail and dying yet delicately handsome Jem Carstairs; and the fiery, magnetic, passionate, bold, alluring Will Herondale.
Throughout the book, Tessa tries to figure out what exactly she is, while becoming aware of the growing attraction between her and the stormy Herondale. They both love literature and poetry, but it is clear that Will is twisted, racked with hidden inner pain. Tessa immerses herself in trying to figure this haunted boy out. Meanwhile, his parabatai (sworn fighting partner), Jem, is racked with actual physical pain, dying of a disease that destroys him from the inside out.
It is a powerfully urban fantasy novel, as Tessa steeps into the supernatural world hidden in the city of London. Yet, there is someone who wishes her nothing but harm, who desperately wants to get his hands on her for reasons the Shadowhunters do not know. He is the evil human Mortmain, who plots the downfall of all shadowhunters. Somehow, Tessa is the key to that downfall.
For lovers of the shadowhunters in The Mortal Instruments, this book is a must read! Meet the ancestors of the characters you love, and find out how the shadowhunters were centuries ago.
If you’ve seen one study about the state of diversity in Hollywood, you won’t be surprised by the results of the latest. A new study from UCLA examines the gender and racial makeup of nearly 1200 movies and TV shows from 2011-2012 — and the data show that minorities and women are underrepresented, compared to real-life U.S. demographics, both in front of and behind the camera.
Of course, film and television have never accurately represented how diverse America really is: Statistics show that there are three nonwhite people in America for every nonwhite character on the big screen; in terms of lead roles on broadcast TV comedies and dramas, there are seven nonwhite people in America for every nonwhite character. Similarly, there are half as many women in films as in real life — although the amount of female lead roles on broadcast TV is on the upswing.