Prodigy Review

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After reading the last page in Prodigy, I felt my heart being ripped open and stomped on. Any reader can empathize with this feeling of reading a book with a heart-wrenching cliff hanger. Thanks to Marie Lu for putting me in a state of despair after reading Prodigy. As much as I loved Prodigy, I did feel the book moved a bit slower than I had anticipated. There was a lot of build up to the plot, but it was somewhat boring to read about. Once I was about half way through the book, I became entranced with seeing the events unfold. I’m hoping to finish this series in 2019.

Prodigy picks up immediately after Legend with June and Day wandering through Las Vegas after escaping the Republic. Day’s still injured as June is trying her best to drag him along to seek shelter. They’re picked up by the Patriots, a rebel group with aims to protest against the Republic. The Patriots give June and Day a deal: help the Patriots successfully assassinate the new elector and the Patriots will personally see to Eden (Day’s brother) being released from the Republic. Day’s leg is patched up and June is sent into the Republic to initiate the assassination attempt.

The beauty in Marie Lu’s writing is the way she writes her action sequences. As I’m reading the action packed paragraphs, it reminds me of the Bourne movies. Day’s ability to climb balconies and leap across buildings reminds me of something Jason Bourne could do. June’s skill in hand-to-hand combat is also exciting to read about considering without June, Day probably wouldn’t have made it far in his quest to free his brother.

One disappointment I had with this book is how a certain character’s death is treated. I won’t say who they are because I don’t want to provide spoilers, but I felt it wasn’t seen as being a big deal. I wish they would have shown a proper funeral. Another possible scene I would have liked to see in the book, is how this character death would have impacted June and Day. This character’s death scene felt quick and undeserving.

Honestly, I did prefer Legend to Prodigy. Part of this is due to the cliff hanger appearing in the last couple pages of Prodigy. The series went in a direction I wasn’t expecting. I feel for Day because of everything he went through, I wanted him to have a happy ending. I’m not sure if this will be the case, but I can’t quit the series now. All of the Legend trilogy can be purchased wherever books are sold.

 

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Star Wars Canon Timeline

The Star Wars universe encompasses so many various media including the movies, TV series, books, comics and board games. There’s so much to devour that if you stick with the movies, you miss out on other stories. Kristin at Super Space Chick made a pact to try and read more “Star Wars Canon” in between the release of episodes VIII & episode IV. I made a decision that I wanted to read more “Star Wars Canon”. I also want to take another stab at watching Clone Wars because even though I have tried to watch it twice without continuing on, I have heard too many good things about the show to completely abandon it. I plan on posting my Star Wars Canon Project which I did adapt from Kristin’s list, so credit goes to her for putting it all together.

The Star Wars Expanded Universe has had various changes as to whether or not the books were “canon” or not. When something is “canon” it means it’s existing in the same universe. When Disney acquired LucasFilm, they set out to make a standard as to which Star Wars books would be considered “canon”. On April 25th 2014, the Expanded Universe was retconned, meaning all the books published before this date weren’t technically considered canon. These books still were written, but technically are considered almost fan-fiction versus actually occurring in the Star Wars universe. This may have angered fans who fell in love with the books only for them to not be considered in the main Star Wars saga.

One summer, I had walked to a library near by my house. I spotted sitting on a shelf Maul Lockdown by Joe Schreiber. Darth Maul is easily one of the most underused characters in the Star Wars saga. I enjoyed Maul Lockdown as it adds to his story that we don’t get to see in the Phantom Menace. However, this book was released before April 25th, so therefore it’s not strictly canon.

The question becomes. . . what is considered canon in the Star Wars Universe? The movies are always going to be number one. Followed by both Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels. The books help provide fans with much needed character development taking place between the movies. Comics also help to fill that void.

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In the above picture, I crossed off in blue what I have read or watched already. The list is about five pages on it’s own including every TV episode, movie, comic, book that’s been created. I’m also going to include a link to Kristin’s video where she gives even more resources for fans to utilize when reading the extended universe.

Ultimately, my goal is to read as much as I can before the end of the year. That may only be one book or it can be finally finishing Clone Wars. I like this organized guide because it feels like a check list and I’m a list making person. In Kristin’s above video, she links to her original google doc which I then used to make it my own. Episode IX comes out this year and reading more Star Wars will get me excited for December.

 

Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire Re-Read

Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire is the pivotal book in the series where everything becomes much darker. This may still be a “children’s” book, but these adult themes become much more present. Voldemort arises out of the mist ready to take over the Wizarding World with his bigotry towards Mudbloods. As an adult, I find re-reading the Harry Potter book series to be completely different than when I read it as a child. It’s the same material, but I pick up on different themes that have relevance to today’s society. As always, I’m going to post details I completely forgot about from The Goblet of Fire:

  • The difference between Wormtail in the book versus the movie is vastly different. In the book, Voldemort makes numerous comments about Wormtail’s devotion due to his endless fear. In the movie, Wormtail is seen as a normal follower willing to do Voldemort’s bidding.
  • I wish we would have seen Dudley’s tongue turn purple and grow a foot in length. Instead the movie starts right at the Quidditch World Cup.
  • Apparation requires passing a highly challenging test. This is also the first reference to “splinching” which becomes important later in the series.
  • Portkeys need to be objects a “muggle” wouldn’t touch. An example would be litter.
  • Ways in which Amos Diggory is such a jerk: He talks about how Cedric beat Harry in the Quidditch match last year EVEN THOUGH Harry fell off his broom due to the Dementor’s presence. Amos Diggory also accused Harry of conjuring the Dark Mark during the World Cup.
  • The Quidditch World Cup seats 100,000 people.
  • Veelas were women who put men into a trance. They performed at the Quidditch World Cup which almost prompted Harry to dive out of his seat. Fleur is part veela which is why she’s seen as irresistible.
  • A break-in is reported at Mad Eye Moody’s house which Arthur Weasley investigates. More excellent foreshadowing by J.K. Rowling.
  • Professor Snape forces Neville to disembowel toads as punishment. That’s extremely messed up.
  • During the Defense Against the Dark Arts lesson with Professor Moody, he puts everyone under the Imperius Curse and Harry is the only one to fight it off. This becomes extremely important later on as Harry is able to resist Voldemort’s Imperius Curse during their battle after the third task.
  • Triwizard Champions are exempt from end of year tests.
  • Sirius Black has such an important role in the book. He’s the one who informs Harry about Karkaroff’s past as a Death Eater and about Barty Crouch Sr.’s ruthless ways in punishing the Death Eaters during the First Wizarding War.
  • In the book, Harry stays near the arena while fighting the dragon. The whole Hogwarts castle show down with the dragon is purely made to make the sequence more thrilling.
  • DOBBY MADE HARRY QUIDDITCH SOCKS! How cute 🙂
  • Moody mentions to Harry about how he would make a good Auror.
  • “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors not his equals.” This quote from Sirius is spot on.
  • Sirius was sentenced to Azkaban without a proper trial, all thanks to Barty Crouch Sr.
  • During Moody’s time as an Auror, he never tried to kill Death Eaters if he didn’t have to. Barty Crouch Sr. gave him special permission to use the three unforgivable curses, but he still avoided using them.
  • In Hagrid’s class they studied Niffler’s! They even had a contest with the Niffler’s to see which Niffler would find the most coins. Ron ended up winning. Harry even describes the Niffler’s as being cute.
  • During a divination lesson, Harry has a dream where Voldemort tortures Wormtail after he makes a mistake. This further describes Voldemort and Wormtail’s volatile relationship that wasn’t demonstrated in the movies.
  • Ludo Bagman was on trial for giving information to Rookwood [Rookwood was convicted of being a Death Eater].
  • The torture of the Longbottom’s shocked the Wizarding World. Frank was a popular Auror and the timing happened right after Voldemort fell from power. This means that Harry’s parents were killed in July and the Longbottom’s were tortured shortly after that.
  • Imagine being in Neville’s position: leading the legacy of his parents who have no idea who he is. This is compounded by the fact that his real true strength is in Herbology and not necessarily in other forms of magic like his parents. That’s a lot of pressure for Neville.
  • A phoenix song plays when Harry and Voldemort’s wands connect. They are also raised in the air and float over the Death Eaters.
  • Bertha Jorkins is released from Voldemort’s wand encouraging Harry to keep their wands connected.
  • Fawkes heals Harry after the battle with Voldemort. This is after Barty Crouch Jr. is apprehended.
  • Fudge doesn’t believe Voldemort’s rise to power due to Harry’s apparent “mental instability” which was written about by Rita Skeeter. In this article, it’s revealed Harry can talk to snakes which was unknown to Fudge. It’s one reason why Fudge launches a smear campaign against Harry and Dumbledore.
  • During the argument between Fudge and Dumbledore, Professor Snape reveals his “dark mark” to everyone saying how his mark is darker on his arm. Snape is a lot of things, but he at least believes Harry’s account of Voldemort’s return.
  • Towards the end of Goblet of Fire, it’s revealed that Sirius is the black dog that’s been following Harry around. Dumbledore insists Sirius and Snape need to work together. This is the beginning of the formation of the Order of the Phoenix.
  • Dumbledore makes a comment to Snape, “You know what I must ask you to do. If you are ready . . . if you are prepared . . . then good luck.” I wonder if this was the moment that Snape contacted Voldemort to become his double agent.
  • Ron in the end got an autograph from Krum
  • The last sentence in Goblet of Fire is fitting to what happens in the series. It is, “What would come, would come. . . and he would have to meet it when it did.” This is written from Harry’s view and how Harry has accepted Voldemort’s return.

These aren’t even all the comments I wrote about Goblet of Fire. I’m keeping a word document of every little detail I find interesting as I re-read the books. I’m already at 13 pages of little tidbits from the series I had forgotten about. Re-reading Goblet of Fire brought out more emotion than I had prepared for. It means I’m one book closer to reading the Deathly Hallows and all the character deaths that occur from the Battle of Hogwarts. I’m still looking forward to reading the other three books and I hope to start Order of the Phoenix sometime this week.

Also as an added side note, I did schedule my Harry Potter themed tattoo for this September. I’m thrilled to finally set a date as this tattoo means a lot to me. I will write a blog post sometime in the future detailing more of this.

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Yes, I did buy one. It’s sitting on my Harry Potter shelf with my other Harry Potter Collectible toys. 

Rainbow Rowell’s Runaways Vol. #1

 

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When I read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, I was a junior in college Reading Fangirl allowed me to reflect on my own college experience. My freshman year was an intimidating experience where I had to make new friends from scratch. I related to Cath in her devotion to Simon & Bazz. I have the same devotion to Harry Potter especially since re-reading the books this year. When I found out Rainbow Rowell was transitioning into writing comics, I was invested in whatever property she became attached to. Runaways: Find Your Way Home is an adventure story centered on the relationships between friends.

Before reading Runaways, I never knew the premise behind the team. The Runaways is a comic series published by Marvel that debuted in 2003. The series stars a group of teenagers who interact with each other every time their parents have a dinner party. The teenagers discover the dinner parties are a front for their parent’s criminal undertakings. The parents are apart of a group titled “The Pride” with the ultimate goal of wiping out the planet and starting fresh. The teenagers are forced to team up and go against authority and stop “The Pride” from unleashing hell on Earth. As I did my research of The Runaways, I learned that they were created by Brian K. Vaughn. This name may sound familiar because he is a main creator on Paper Girls which is one of my favorite comic series. Vaughn worked on Runaways until the series was cancelled in 2009.

Rainbow Rowell’s Runaways: Find Your Way Home takes place after the teenagers learn about their parents background. What I like about Runaways: Find Your Way Home is how it hints at the original story, but I don’t need prior knowledge of the Runaways to comprehend the story. The protagonists of the story are: Nico Minoru, Chase Stein, Gertrude Yorkes, Karolina Dean, Molly Hayes and Alex Wilder. Each teenager has special abilities which contributes to how the Runaways team up in battle. One of the positive attributes of Runaways: Find Your Way Home is the diversity between the characters. This doesn’t include race, but also diversity in body type. Gertrude is one of my favorite teenagers because of her sassy personality, but she’s also drawn as being plus size. In comics, women are often super thin, curvy and muscular all at the same time. As someone who’s body type doesn’t fit that mold, I’m happy to see characters in comics with a variety of different bodies.

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As I mentioned, Gertrude is one of my favorite characters because I think her character arc is dynamic. Without giving spoilers, she has to contemplate how the Runaways have grown apart since she felt they would always be together. Also Gertrude has a pet dinosaur named Old Lace who’s her partner in crime. I’m also intrigued by Nico’s magical abilities since it seems she can’t create the same spell twice. I would hate to have this ability because I wouldn’t be creative enough to come up with different spell names every time.

I can’t talk about Runaways: Find Your Way Home without referencing Kris Anka. Kris Anka has worked on many of Marvel’s properties including X-Men, Captain Marvel and the redesign of Spider-Woman. Kris Anka’s art makes this story shine. I feel he is perfect for Rainbow Rowell since her writing usually is lighthearted and clever.

As I typed this review, I didn’t realize I would have so much to say. I do highly recommend this series because of the story, but also the diversity between the characters. You really don’t have to know anything about the original Runaways to start this series. However, now that I have read this, I would love to find the original run of  Runaways back in 2003. Go to your local comic book store and pick up Runaways: Find Your Way Home, you won’t be disappointed.

Manga, Good Omens and Comics in My Latest Book Haul

As a consumer, I try to support local businesses when I can. There’s a book store about 10 minutes away from my apartment that serves local beer on tap along with black coffee. I’m planning on purchasing more of my books there versus Barnes & Noble, however, I had two Barnes & Noble gift cards to use up from the past holiday season. I made my purchases and I wanted to share what’s next on my reading list.

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Prodigy by Marie Lu

This is the second book in the Legend trilogy. I wrote a book review of Legend a couple of blog posts ago where I raved about how much I liked the book. The main reason I had avoided reading this series for so long was because of the whole dystopian, young adult novel craze that hit bookstores. I needed a break from the constant book to movie adaptations we had been seeing. I’m only about fifty pages into Prodigy, but so far it’s been pretty fast paced.

My Hero Academia by Kohei Horikoshi

I have been trying to get into reading more manga and watching anime, but I haven’t found a series that clicks with me. My Hero Academia is a top rated manga and anime series about a young boy who’s obsessed with super powers even though he isn’t powered himself. Eventually he gets into contact with a superhero which may help him become the hero he’s always wanted to be. I’m looking forward to diving into this.

Comics Will Break Your Heart by Faith Erin Hicks

This book is a contemporary novel combining romance and comics together. Miriam’s grandfather created a successful comic series in the 1960’s, but sold it to his co-creator. Now, the series is worth millions and Miriam’s family is left with nothing of that legacy. The guy she falls in love with just so happens to be related to the co-creator who robbed Miriam’s grandfather of a successful comics career. Comics plus romance automatically makes this a must-read for me.

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.

I must confess I have never read any book by either of these two authors. I know that’s a travesty, but this will be my first dip into both of these science fiction / fantasy authors. I’m also looking forward to the TV series with David Tennant & Michael Sheen. I want to have prior knowledge of the show which led me to purchasing the book.

Wildcard by Marie Lu

After I finish reading Prodigy, I will read this one next. Warcross was one of my favorite books I read last year and as a gamer, I connected with Emika Chen more than I ever have with any other character in books. I wish I was as skilled with technology as she is. I have read some book reviews saying Wildcard isn’t as good as Warcross which makes me slightly anxious. I will certainly write my own review once I finish Wildcard. 

My latest book haul has made me excited for what I’m reading. Everything in this pile is something I’m excited to read which means I have been reading books at a faster rate than I have in the past. My goodreads goal is 40 books this year which seems attainable based on the books I’m reading. Let me know what books you recently purchased in the comments below.

 

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Re-Read

My goal for 2019 is to re-read the whole Harry Potter series. I’m making good progress as I’m on the Goblet of Fire now. However, the Goblet of Fire is the first Harry Potter book that’s more than 500 pages. The length of the Harry Potter books isn’t intimidating to me because I’m infatuated with the series. The Prisoner of Azkaban is a pivotal book in the series because of what’s revealed regarding Harry’s parents, but also more about how Harry’s parents were left vulnerable to Voldemort’s wrath. Here are my notes I wrote regarding Prisoner of Azkaban: 

  • Ron yelling into the telephone when calling Harry over the summer.
  • Harry being gifted a sneakascope from Ron. Goes off constantly when Scabbers is with Ron. Wonder why.
  • The Firebolt can go 150 MPH in 10 seconds.
  • Hermione’s birthday is in September.
  • Neville and Ginny were also in the cart when Harry was first attacked by the Dementor. This isn’t shown in the movie
  • Hagrid had more than one hippogriff in his class. He had a bronze, pink, chestnut and black hippogriff besides Buckbeak.
  • Snape completely humiliates Neville in the book. He feeds his potion to Trevor hoping to kill it. He also tells Lupin in their first lesson how it’s a pity that Neville is in his class. However, Lupin being the heartwarming character that he is, has Neville go first with the Boggart. Neville also teams up with Lupin to capture it in the chest. Lupin must identify with Neville because of the isolation Lupin feels about his identity.
  • Red Caps are goblin like creatures lurking where blood shed occurs
  • Kappas are water dwellers who try to strangle people.
  • The Grindylow is mentioned in Lupin’s class. Nice foreshadowing of what’s to come
  • You can’t apparate in and out of Hogwarts. Comes up when trying to deduce how Sirius Black is getting into the castle.
  • Cedric Diggory is the current Hufflepuff seeker… 😦
  • Impervius is the spell Hermione uses on Harry’s glasses to repel water.
  • Sirius Black was James Potter’s best man.
  • Dumbledore long suspected there was a spy in the Order of the Phoenix, but couldn’t prove who it was.
  • Within a week of the Fidelius charm / secret keeper being cast, James and Lily were murdered by Voldemort. That’s extremely depressing.
  • In the book, Hagrid is with the professors in Hogsmeade where Harry overhears his parent’s history with Sirius Black. This makes Harry distrustful of Hagrid.
  • Harry receives the Firebolt in the Gryffindor Common Room versus the Great Hall in the movie. This leads to McGonagall confiscating the Firebolt because of the fact there might be jinx’s attached to it.
  • I didn’t realize Dementor’s actually use their mouths to clamp on to their victims to deliver the kiss. In the movie, it looks like the Dementor’s just suck the soul out of the person without having to actually be attached to them.
  • Cho Chang is referenced as the Ravenclaw seeker.
  • The Slytherin match where Harry helps to win the Quidditch Cup is extremely dirty. The Slytherin players were deliberately trying to take out all the Gryffindor players.
  • Animagus do have to register with the Ministry of Magic including their distinct markings.
  • All the Maurder’s Map friends were unregistered animagi which explains why no one knew how Sirius was getting into Hogwarts.
  • The Wolfsbane potion is used to allow a werewolf to keep their mind during the transformation.
  • Pettigrew was passing secrets to Voldemort for a full year before the murder of the Potters. The movie seems to play it off like Pettigrew was forced into working with Voldemort. In the book, it’s much more clear how deep the betrayal was between Pettigrew and the Potter family.
  • Pettigrew is actually in danger because of the repercussions from former death eaters. Pettigrew’s information of the Potter’s location is what allowed Voldemort to become powerless. His death eaters have reason to want to kill him.
  • Walden Macnair (the man who executed Buckbeak) is referenced as a former Death Eater.

I wanted to share one of my favorite parts of this book. I completely forgot this part exists, but it’s towards the end with Harry and Dumbledore having a conversation after Lupin leaves Hogwarts. Harry expresses that he regrets saving Pettigrew’s life,  Dumbledore responds with, “the time may come when you will be very glad you saved Pettigrew’s life.” IF THIS ISN’T FORESHADOWING I DON’T KNOW WHAT IS. I CAN’T EVEN. Dumbledore also says how there’s a unique bond created when a wizard spares another wizards life.

Re-reading the Harry Potter books has been eye opening for me. I’m probably enjoying them more as an adult because of the little details I missed as a kid. The different ways Rowling foreshadows future events is well done. Hopefully you all are enjoying these recaps as much as I enjoy writing them. I will post my Goblet of Fire one as soon as I finish reading all 734 pages.

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Legend Review

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One of my favorite authors right now is Marie Lu. The first book I read of hers was Warcross which I discovered after watching Super Space Chick on her YouTube channel. I became entranced by the mixture of a digitally advanced city mixed with this virtual reality, World of Warcraft inspired game. I clicked with Emika Chen as I felt she was a strong, well crafted, independent female character. Marie Lu has many other successful series out now which is the main reason why I purchased Legend. Legend was SO good. I finished the book earlier this week and immediately drove to Barnes & Noble to purchase Prodigy the 2nd book in the series. I plan to finish reading the trilogy in 2019.

Legend describes a dystopian United States where the Republic forces young kids to participate in a test titled “The Trials”. If they pass, these kids will receive the best jobs, education and living situations. However, if they fail, they’re sent to work in the mines or another undesirable career option. Fifteen year old June was born into a privileged family with her father being a scientist and her brother Metias working in the Republic’s military. Day however, was born into poverty where he is seen as the “Robin Hood” in the story. His crimes include stealing medical supplies or disabling Republic military style vehicles. June and Day are brought together when Day is accused of murdering Metias in a medical operation gone wrong. June’s relationship with Day tests her knowledge of the Republic and whether or not she’s on the right side in this society.

One reason why I adored this book is all the themes being brought up in this society. First, is the “psychology of dictatorship”. One such example includes Thomas (a friend of her brother Metias) and how he blatantly kills people because of his orders. This upsets June. June is forced to rethink her position in the Republic and witnessing the deaths of these civilians allows her to start thinking for herself. Meeting Day was the force June needed to confront her abusive government.

Another theme I uncovered in this book is the prevalence of men asserting their wants on women. For example, June is in her room when Thomas tries to force himself on her. June rebukes at his advances and Thomas’s “ego” is hurt. He is mad at her for a couple days until he gets over it. This scene is realistic to today’s society. I can’t tell you how many times I have lost friendships with men because of their hurt feelings at how I don’t want to date them. June doesn’t owe Thomas anything and I’m glad she pushed him away and stood up for herself instead of letting Thomas get what he wants.

As I read this book, I liked June’s character growth throughout the novel. I won’t rehash what I stated above, but she starts to think for herself. She was a pawn of the government until she was forced to reflect on how the Republic has impacted her own life. I see myself in June because I as a cis, white woman have privilege in society. I used to be ignorant about struggles from other groups until I opened my eyes. June has this same character growth in the book.

I could keep going on about why I appreciated the themes in Legend, but if you haven’t read this series yet, I highly encourage that you read it. After I’m finished with Prodigy, I’m going to take a break and read the 2nd book in the Warcross series. Marie Lu’s writing is fantastic and I will purchase any book she writes.