Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

Kingdom Hearts Review


It feels like I’ve been reading this novel for months, but I have finally finished! As you can probably guess, this book covers the plot of the first Kingdom Hearts game. It does a good job of going through all of the important events and really covering the worlds. This does come at the expense of the fights which is unfortunate, but it’s a great way to catch up with the series if you’re not really a video game player. After all, the plot is fairly engaging on its own and with the movie/TV series probably not coming for a long time, this is your best bet! (Perhaps the manga as well, but the novel seems to handle it with greater detail)

The plot of this story revolves around a kid named Sora. He lived on a peaceful island with his two friends Riku and Kairi. Unfortunately, he wakes up one morning to find that the ocean has turned to darkness and a tornado is ripping the island off the ground. Riku vanishes in the waves and Kairi also disappears. Sora tries to keep himself together, but then he also fades away. He wakes up in a mysterious town where he meets up with strange people who tell him that all of the worlds are connected…and dying. Sora shakes this off and meets up with Donald Duck and Goofy from the classic Disney movies. They explain that they are looking for King Mickey and were told to travel with Sora in the meantime. This is because Sora is the chosen Keyblade Master of destiny who will find the keyholes in all of the planets and restore balance to the universe. Sora gets his game face on and prepares for this endeavor, but it’ll be tougher than he dared suspect.

It’s a pretty fun story that works well enough even if you switched out the Disney characters for made up ones. That being said, it certainly has more of an impact when you throw the crossover angle into the mix. It’s pretty fun to see the characters show up and help Sora out in each world. Sora gets to travel to Aladdin’s world, Peter Pan’s, Alice in Wonderland’s among others. It can be pretty nostalgic to see them and while those characters can’t fight all that much, Sora doesn’t really need any help.

As I mentioned earlier, the one drawback to this novel is that the fights are very short. Most of them are over in a couple of hits and don’t usually last more than a couple of pages. Some of them seem to be over in a single page. I hope we can get some longer fights in future adaptions, particularly Kingdom Hearts II since that should have quite a lot of fighting in it. I don’t mind if they have to skip a few worlds as a result, the action will be worth it.

Sora’s a likable protagonist and a good kid. He loses confidence a little too easily at times which is his main character flaw, but I’ll certainly take that one over most. He seemingly gets over this by the end of the novel, but it’ll be difficult to say for sure until we actually get there. There are quite a few plot twists and villains who like their mind games coming up so that could rattle Sora quite a bit.

I didn’t like Donald or Goofy though. They showed their true colors when they chose to leave Sora after the keyblade vanished. Friends shouldn’t just leave each other so easily. While they eventually went back to Sora’s side, it feels like he can’t really trust them as much as he thought. That test of loyalty was one that they failed. It’s not as if they’re great fighters either. Goofy’s shield and Donald’s magic will never be quite as effective as Sora’s sharp keyblade. It’s just the ultimate weapon.

Riku also shows up and part of the drama with him is that he has been tempted to the dark side. He thinks Sora is having too much fun as he goes on side trips while Kairi is still in a coma. Riku decides that he’ll have to save her on his own and goes through a lot of dangerous quests to get to this point. The darkness starts to overwhelm him by the end though and he loses sight of his goals to an extent. With his character arc coming full circle as Sora convinces him to join the light once more, he should make for a good ally in the coming volumes. While he may have had a point initially with Sora, he was also pretty unfair about it since Sora did try to find Kairi and just failed to do so. Riku had the advantage of having an evil witch on his side….if you can call that an advantage.

Maleficent is one of the big villains here, but her role is greatly reduced from the game. She gets to appear a few times, but comes across as an underling who was being used the whole time. Unless she redeems herself in the sequels, I’m going to say that the author probably wasn’t a big fan of hers. Ansem shows up at the end of the novel as a fun final boss and he makes for a good opponent. We certainly haven’t seen the last of him. Once Organization XIII shows up, it’ll help the series as it will finally have recurring villains who will last for a very long time.

This novel is of a pretty good length so it should last you a while. It’s about 300 words and the font isn’t all that big either. A lot of stuff happens over this time and as I mentioned, the book was able to fit in a lot of worlds. Each of the Disney worlds gets a good amount of screen time. While the Beast may have only gotten to appear without his world, he still looked pretty good since he was able to follow Belle when all of the other main heroes failed to do so. Following someone through a portal is rare no matter what medium you’re in. Characters just tend to hesitate a little too much when the going gets tough.

Overall, It’s fun to revisit the original Kingdom Hearts story and to finish another book in general. It’s been a long time since I played the first title so this is always nostalgic. I remember the series very well so it’s not as if it’s new to me, but it is fun to see how the series was before the deep plot started. Make no mistake, the seeds had sprouted for the plot with hintings all around. The writers likely had a good portion of the sequel all planned out and that’s one of the fun things about the franchise. It’s all connected and you always feel like it’s planned out well. I’ll be reading the sequel right away, but it’s a lot longer than this one so it could take a while to finish. I definitely know it’s going to be fun as well and it may even be better since Chain of Memories had a more engaging plot with higher stakes than this one. If you haven’t played the game, I highly recommend reading this book to get you into the franchise. Alternately, you should take the plunge and finally buy the original game.

Overall 7/10

4 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Maximum Ride Review


Maximum Ride may have been a really popular book series back in its hay day, but that doesn’t mean that it was destined to get a big budget film. On the contrary, the film got a really low budget title instead. The effects in this feature look worse than some fan made projects that I’ve seen and I’d expect a lot more out of it. Parts of the film show glimpses of hope and potential, but on the whole it is simply not a great adaption. Ah well, maybe it’s for the best that it ended here since an adaption of the last few books would have been dicey even with a big budget. Hopefully the inevitable Daniel X Netflix pilot gets a higher budget.

The film starts off with Max and the rest of her flock. She is a human who has had wings grafted onto her and the same applies to her friends. They escaped from the villains thanks to the help of a scientist there. It’s been many years and the scientist never returned for them. He is either dead or imprisoned. Max and her flock have been hiding at a hut during this time, but the Erasers (Wolf hybrids that were created by the villains) show up one day and kidnap Angel. (The youngest of the group) Max and Fang (The “tough” rival) decide to go after her while they leave the little kid, the blind one, and the fashion girl to fend for themselves. Is this a wise move? Probably not, but Max has to save Angel as soon as possible. The clock is ticking after all.

This movie definitely doesn’t bother to explain a whole lot to the viewers, but that’s okay. It gave you enough to make piecing the puzzle together pretty easy. It gets right to the plot, but unfortunately it isn’t executed well. Maximum herself is one of the big issues here. Now, the film did do a good job of casting her so that she actually looks like my interpretation of Max as opposed to the manga. (Worst design for Maximum ever) That’s where the positives end for her. She talks a really good game and is constantly making threats, but always ends up losing. She loses in one hit to a minion and then loses to an ordinary guy with a gun. She even loses to Ari when they meet up. It makes her confidence seem very hollow and undeserved. Max is definitely a lot more reasonable than the other characters, but that’s a very small consolation when you are still losing left and right.

The other characters are mostly just around to make bad decisions. Nudge is more interested in fashion than in keeping up with the others. She nearly jeopardizes everyone’s safety over a sweater and also takes the time to browse while Angel is in trouble. I certainly couldn’t sympathize with her at all. Gazzy likes explosives and messing around with them even after being told not too. He’s essentially your average kid and isn’t all that likable as a result. Iggy isn’t a bad character, but being blind is his only personality. Beyond that, he’s just an everyday guy who can talk a decently tough game, but doesn’t do a whole lot beyond that.

Ari is the main villain of this film or at least the guy with the biggest role. He’s a minion who has a personal grudge against Max. He snarls a lot and makes faces to be intimidating, but I can’t say that the act was all that convincing. It was hard to ever respect him as a villain either since he came across as really petty. He just got jealous of Max and that’s why he decided to become a villain. Certainly not the best reason eh? Jeb shows up and acts as shady as possible. I never trusted this guy from the start and I’d advise you to do the same. No matter what his reasons are, he did leave the heroes alone for years and didn’t seem all that broken up about it. Yeah…the guy seems suspect to say the least. I never liked him in the books either though.

Fang was horribly miscast, but ignoring that…he’s just not a good character. His romance feels very artificial and he always gives Max bad advice. Telling her not to help people and to actively just ignore trouble is something you’d expect a villain to say. It’s hard for Fang to get past this and he comes off as very self centered. Finally, there’s Angel. She’s not nearly as shady as in the books (yet) so she’s a good character. I do question how she was captured so easily when mind reading is her own gimmick. I mean…..it just didn’t make sense. She could even hear the thoughts while she was still far away from the villains. Naturally, the movie cut away so you couldn’t see what happened next since nobody would have believed it otherwise.

I’ll give the film some props for the dynamic opening credits. It sounded like something out of a video game adaption or a Tron kind of movie. Was it totally fitting for this film? No, but it should have been. How I see it, a good novel adaption can be mainstream like Harry Potter or it can be more of a niche product that aims at the hardcore fans. The theme fits the latter and I feel like the film was going for that, the execution just wasn’t there. There wasn’t much of a soundtrack otherwise and the writing is pretty generic.

One noticable issue is the bad special effects. It’s not as if special effects is a huge deal, but they are so painfully bad that you have to wonder who was handling this. I’ve seen fan projects with better effects or at least flashier ones at any rate. Whenever the characters fly around, it looks like they’re just jumping in front of a background as if we’re back in the 60s. It was scary just how unrealistic it all looked. I’m sure the film tried its best, but the result just wasn’t very good. If the effects were gonna be bad anyway, then I would have liked to have had some big fight scenes along the way. Not having any real action in the whole film is a bit of a let down. The film’s not all that bad as a drama adventure I suppose, but it’s hard to take the heroes so seriously when they’re this weak. If they can’t even beat a thug with a gun, then how can they hope to stop this whole organization? You really have to stretch your disbelief with this.

The heroes also take a little long to get to Angel. While she’s being repeatedly zapped, they’re busy getting knocked out, spending time at a hospital, and flirting instead of going full steam. It made them seem a little unemotional when they should have been going full blast constantly. Naturally, Fang kept saying that they should take a break and rest since that’s all he’s good for during the film.

Overall, Maximum Ride isn’t a really good adaption. The heroes are too weak and all of the villains are as generic as can be. Considering how young Angel is, it’s also a little grating to see her getting zapped over and over again as she waits for the heroes. The cliffhanger for the possible sequel is definitely not much of a draw either. The dream came out of nowhere and didn’t really help much. My final pet peeve is the opening scene as well as when it comes in at the end. Max jumps off of a cliff to escape the villains. It’s a dramatic moment and I figured it wouldshow her taking out the wings and flying off. It didn’t happen either times so I’ll assume she just died in the dream world. Maybe the budget ran out, but everything in the scene pointed towards her being ready to fly and it just didn’t happen. It was fitting I suppose.

Overall 4/10

Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

Attack on Titan: The Harsh Mistress of the City Review


There are some series that can start out on a high note and keep that level of quality intact. Look at the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. It has the super emotional song from the first film, but still managed to get by just fine in the sequels without it. That’s because the writing and characters were on point. Other titles like Skip Beat can start out decently interesting and go into the gutter. It’s not about how you start a race, but how you finish it. That’s true in life, cooking, platformers, pie eating contests, and anything else that is worth your while. This novel may have started out to be pretty good and a contender for best novel in the franchise, but crashed and burned in the second half. The title should have been a giveaway I suppose.

The plot of the book takes place in a small little town in the Titan World. The bridge collapsed so everyone is kinda sorta trapped in the town. They can go outside though so I guess they aren’t really trapped at all. I don’t know exactly how the layout is since it doesn’t make much sense, but essentially all of the other villages have left them for dead. All of Rita’s bosses end up getting bumped off so she is suddenly the leader of the military. She goes from being a really nice person to a corrupt dictator and decides that the only way to give the people peace is to murder them and anyone who falls out of line or looks at her the wrong way is subject to death. She will destroy anyone who defies her wish of a Utopia!

Meanwhile, Mathias is the other main character. He was a rich guy who never had to work for anything and was ignorant of the ways of the commoner. He was good friends with Rita, but he ended up murdering her other best friend so he had to go into hiding. He must now find a way to take her down and considers that he may have to use lethal methods. Friendship and camaraderie is thrown to the winds in this tale as everyone does what they feel they have too. Things get a lot worse before they get better and they never really get better so just focus on the first part.

This adventure is two novels long and the first one was actually pretty decent. It was a fun enough tale about Rita and Mathias and how they lived very different lives, but did their best to connect with each other. It wasn’t a bleak and gritty story the way that most Titan adventures were and it was cool to just have a happy scene for once. It figures that this wouldn’t last right? The story started to get a little more grim as Mathias made a deal with some bandits to rob his father in exchange for getting him to the town where Rita was trapped. It didn’t go very well so the bandits murder a bunch of soldiers and then Mathias panicked so he blew up one of the young workers who was helping Rita. He panicked again after that and ran off. This basically happened in the final pages of the first book so it was quite a downer.

The second novel is where it really goes off the rails though. Rita was apparently traumatized after seeing her best friend murder her other friend so she decided to go down a dark path. She forces people to get eaten by the Titan she planted in the city and tortures others until they get her some intel. Nobody is safe now and she murders her father and is prepared to do the same to Mathias if she can find him as well as her best friend Amanda. The novel shows us in great detail just how insane she has become. It gets about as bad as the main Titan series in that regard and there’s no way she can come back from this.

This is why the ending of the book is rather hard to swallow. The author suddenly tries to make her sympathetic as she was only trying to help and she’ll be a nicer person now. She has this 180 character development in the span of 2-3 pages as Titans attack the city and suddenly we’re supposed to see her as a nice person again. Mathias also forgives her for murdering everyone and putting the townspeople in jeopardy every day since it just doesn’t matter now. Never mind the fact that one of Mathias’ main allies was poisoned to death right in front of him on Rita’s orders. She may claim that it was for the greater good, but she stepped well over the line of vigilantism and became an evil villain during this book. It was far more extreme than the book and characters acknowledge afterwards and it was just puzzling the whole time. It was an even more drastic character arc than Shu’s from Guilty Crown and that’s pretty scary. It may not be in Black Butler levels quite yet, but Rita is easily one of the most evil main characters that I’ve ever seen.

It goes without saying that I didn’t like her. Regardless of how good she was in volume 1, she nullified it all in the sequel. I didn’t care for Mathias either as there is no way he should have panicked so much upon seeing the scout and he handled the situation as badly as possible. It was hard to take him seriously as the rebel leader since he was always terrified of everyone and got tricked so many times. He was just annoying to see. The rebels were also a bit much as they were all too overconfident and full of themselves even though they could never do all that much when it came time to fight. The super hyped leader of the Rebels went down in the worst way possible as his drinking habits finally got to him and poison ended his career. You’d think that he would have been a little smarter about something like that.

In the end, the only real good character was Amanda. Even she was a little fishy as she took forever to make a move and just allowed people to be tortured and eaten. At least she did something about it though. She also got a lot of hype as being the best fighter in the squad, but naturally once she turned good, Amanda was surpassed by Rita. So much for the hype eh? She still put up a good fight though and was probably the only character who actually stayed true to herself. Again, the book kind of glossed over the fact that Rita was so evil in the end as she gets Amanda back her gear and they team up again. It just shouldn’t be so smooth. If anything, I think the ending should have kept Rita as a villain, it certainly makes more sense than suddenly making her a hero again.

Even the ending doesn’t offer much hope though as the heroes lost their town to the Titans. Their plan is to head to the next town, but they already know for a fact that the Town doesn’t want them and will attempt to slay the group. It’ll come down to yet another fight and that should give the Titans an opening to move in and take them all down. It’s Attack on Titan though so you should never expect anything even remotely happy for the conclusion.

Overall, What started as potentially the best Titan novel ended up being the worst one. It’s why I always say that you can’t really tell these things ahead of time. A whole novel (or 2 in this case) is more than enough time for a story to turn rotten. You won’t even recognize the characters by the end as they could basically be other people. In the end, what really destroyed the book was that it was way too dark and violent. If you thought the other novels were gritty, this one is far more intense. The novel could have made Rita’s character transformation a little less drastic and it would have worked a lot better. There’s no good reason for her to become a full fledged mass murderer. She should have just gotten more obsessed about the rules and we could have had the town be under a curfew with a lot of punishments handed out every day. The situation didn’t need to jump all the way to 10 so suddenly. Had the book showed some restraint, it would have been a lot better and glossing it over so much at the end didn’t help either. If you want a good Attack on Titan novel, I suggest checking out Before The Fall. It’s the only good one at the moment and shows you what Titan novels should be like.

Overall 1/10

Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

Attack on Titan Kuklo Unbound Review


After that last Titan novel, I was beginning to wonder what had happened to the franchise. It’s not exactly known for churning out quality content so was something changing here? Apparently not as this novel goes back to the Attack on Titan that I grew up with. Violent, Edgy, and Unfair. While the story is fairly engaging, the novel gets off to a very bad start and a scene near the middle reminds you that things will never turn out too well for the heroes. The place is just too corrupt.

This story takes place a few years after the last novel. The Titan who broke through the city last time ended up murdering someone, but her kid lived on. People began calling him the Titan’s son so he was sold into slavery and endured a rough life. He eventually escaped thanks to the help of Sharle and now calls himself Kuklo. He wants to join the Survey Corps so that he can murder the Titan who tried to eat him, but many obstacles stand in his way. Does this kid really think he can handle the pressures of the outside world?

Lets get into the basics of why this novel was just no good. First off, the start of the book is just way too dark. Kuklo is trapped in a cage for years and tortured the whole time. By the time Sharle is able to save him, it’s basically too late for his childhood. Attack on Titan does love its edge though and that continues in the next novel that I’ll be reviewing soon. It’s just not a fun way to start a novel and the staff behind Attack on Titan are just too obsessed with giving everyone tragic backstories. You can make a character have an emotional backstory without making it quite that bad.

The main bully through these years was a guy named Xavi. The novel doesn’t handle his plot very well either. For starters, he doesn’t really get any consequences for his actions as he just gets promoted higher and higher through the ranks. When Kuklo finally makes it to the army and finds Xavi, it doesn’t go over so well. Xavi’s flunkies hold Kuklo down while he gets beaten to unconsciousness once again. Keep in mind that these are the heroic soldiers that we’re supposed to be rooting for. Where were Kuklo’s friend and his boss? They were just watching and basically said that Kuklo was asking for it. There were dozens of witnesses, but they all just stood by and let it happen. Again, there’s no consequence for Xavi and Kuklo just has to endure the whole thing. The novel tries to paint the situation in a way where Kuklo was in the wrong there, but I’m not buying it.

This continues as Xavi sneaks into Kuklo’s locker and sabotages his equipment. This leads to Kuklo almost dying during a training exercise. His response to this? “It doesn’t matter” Kuklo was just happy that he lived through it and it helped him improve his balance. That’s okay, but he should have told the commanders about this so they could punish Xavi. Instead, Xavi is free to make another attempt on Kuklo’s life as he takes out a knife and tries to finish him off old school. Kuklo beats him again and decides not to mention it. Ultimately, Xavi somehow turns good and after nearly getting the whole team knocked off by going on a crazy charge against a titan…the others are cool with him. Kuklo’s even going to teach him how to fight.

It was definitely a very unsatisfying resolution to a poorly handled plot line. The less said about it the better. Still, Attack on Titan is a series that thrives on the notion that humans are just as bad as the Titans, if not worse. The manga has a lot of speeches about this were the characters are proud to be evil if it means that they can win. It’s easy to see why there are so many bad apples in the series, they’re encouraged to be like that from all of the speeches and pep talks.

While he may be lacking in common sense, Kuklo is a good main character. He still makes most of the good calls and does his best to help people out when they need it. While his goal for revenge may not be the most heroic out there, he is helping the cause in the end. His physical abilities are pretty impressive and while he is certainly not meta human at all, he’s one of the better fighters in the series by the end. A little training can definitely go a long way.

You already know my thoughts on Xavi so we can skip that. Sharle is a good heroine. While she almost made a pretty big mistake, she logically thought the situation through fairly quick and came to the right conclusion. Her dagger came in handy quite a few times during the novel. Another heroine appears towards the second half as the third main member in the Kuklo squad. She’s pretty tough and makes for a good training rival to Kuklo. While she isn’t as crazy about breaking the rules as he is, she isn’t a super stickler for the rules either. Once the main character gets into danger again, she brings the squad out to help. Cardina is a good ally as well, but one that tends to get on your nerves a lot. Not helping Kuklo against Xavi and the others was pretty bad. It was hard to get over that. Beyond that, he’s a good Yes Man type character as he goes along with whatever Kuklo is doing without too much resistance. He’s a little quicker on the uptake than Kuklo when it comes to government matters so it certainly is handy to have him around.

One thing I still like about these prequels is that the author makes it a point to say that the Titans don’t really bleed. Whenever you slice a limb off, only steam comes out. If the anime had followed this logic, season one could have easily been a 7. The novel is decently long at around 300 pages and that gives it time to include a lot of events. As you may know, the manga version of this is quite long. I’ve been reading it as well and can’t remember almost any events from the book. It’s either an incredibly loose adaption or that’s how much they’ve stretched it out. Either way, reading this book will save you a lot of time over reading the whole manga.

Surprisingly, Angel from the first volume doesn’t show up here. I thought he’d have some kind of big moment, but instead only the rival showed up. The rival looked pretty good as he openly defies authority and fears no one. I can certainly get behind that character and it’ll remind you why the last novel was more engaging. It easily had the superior cast. The two commanders here weren’t great either as they constantly put the heroes at risk for no other reason than to test their resolve. It’s no wonder the Survey Corps were disbanded for so long.

One thing that I have to note is that the Titans shouldn’t be seen as a huge threat anymore after this volume’s climax. Now that the heroes have finally mastered the Vertical Maneuvering Equipment and can slay Titans, that should have completely changed the dynamic of the series. In the main title, the Titans still outnumber them greatly and the heroes never make any strides, but it doesn’t make sense to me. If you’re taking them down so easily, it should be a simple matter to start reclaiming the Earth. That would stop once the Colossal and Armored Titans show up of course, but the normal ones shouldn’t be a threat at all. I dare say that the series could have ended with this novel if not for the super types.

Overall, Attack on Titan is a series that is usually doomed because it loves being grim dark way too much. It goes out of its way to show you how rough life is under these conditions because you have to worry about Titans as well as your fellow humans. It’s hard to root for either side when you know that the majority of the citizens are also pretty bad. While it’s an interesting read, the negatives are certainly large enough where it ends up making the novel bad in the end. I’d highly recommend reading the Before The Fall novel instead. At this rate, that one could end up being the best Attack on Titan novel. It’s just going to be hard for the series to top that one although I’m sure that they’ll try. I’ve still got more novels to go so things could change…possibly. It is cool that I’m finally reading more books though, it feels good!

Overall 3/10

Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

Naruto: Sakura’s Story Review

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It’s time to review the final Naruto novel that I’ve read so far. Sakura gets to be the main character of this adventure. While she is probably the weakest of the three personality wise, (The first two novels were led by Shikamaru and Kakashi) Sakura manages to have a pretty good novel. The villains are nothing to write home about, but they do their best to cause some destruction and mayhem. It’s a fun little story in the future of Konoha.

Sasuke is as distant as ever and Sakura has been having doubts about how their situation is going to work. It never made any sense from the get go and was squeezed into the lore for no reason anyway, but now Sakura is finally being forced to deal with all of this. It gets worse when Sasuke is framed for murdering a bunch of people and declaring war on Konoha once more. Sakura believes that there is no way that Sasuke could do this and Naruto doesn’t buy it either….but what if it is him? Sakura will be forced to slay him and that would definitely make her home situation very complicated.

Considering that Sasuke is being framed, nobody is taking it too seriously. Some villages are getting into a fuss as usual, but lets face it…what are they gonna do about it? If Sasuke truly is evil once again, he could destroy them all rather easily. By the end of the series, Naruto and Sasuke were light years ahead of everyone else. A confrontation involving one of them and anyone else would not even be close. There would be no fight, only a massacre. Luckily, the Sasuke impostor is not nearly as powerful as Sasuke. Sakura and Sai are able to handle the villains easily enough. It’s a good chance for Sai to save his rep considering that he didn’t look very good in the Shikamaru novel.

Kido is the main villain here and he’s mainly able to be a threat because he has his own 9 Tails Cloak. It’s mostly fake as he got it through DNA and a lot of science speak, but it does give him a very real power boost. It’s enough to almost put him on Sakura’s level, but she’s gone through a lot of training of her own and is ableto handle him. It’s a fun climax and it is always good to have an actual fight to finish things off. The first two novels had some issues with this. It’s why I’d like to see a Sasuke or Naruto novel at some point with more aliens like Kaguya which could make for epic fight scenes.

Aside from Sai, who did most of the heavy lifting here, the other supporting characters didn’t help much. Tsunade was just around to make Sakura more insecure and gave out bad advice. Ino mostly just fueled the romance angle and Kakashi didn’t really do anything. All he could do was talk a good game from his throne. The other villages spent their time panicking so in the end, it was really up to Sakura. They say that times of peace can make a place a little sloppy, that may be happening to the village. All these small villains are popping up now. They’re no threat in a face to face fight, but from the shadows they can be tricky.

These novels are fairly short and easy to read. You can easily finish in a day as you just cruise through the chapters. That’s a good sign that the novel is good since you’d otherwise be forcing yourself to get through it. The writing may not be great at times, but that could also just be because the characters are a little annoying. If the book has a weakness, it’s that you can’t really get attached to any of the characters. Sakura is too distracted by Sasuke the whole time and Tsunade really does her best to put Sakura on the wrong track. Kido’s as generic as they come, but there’s only so much you can do in just one novel. That’s why you should take that into account as you read through the book.

Overall, Sakura’s Story is a good way to wrap up the Naruto novels for now. It had more action than the Shikamaru adventure and less comic relief than the Kakashi story. It’s a better all around book and we’re getting closer to the action that I want to see from the Naruto series. I definitely recommend checking it out if you’ve finished the manga. It expands the universe and allows you to see the characters again. Any chance to revisit an old universe is usually a good one to utilize. The characters also look less shady and semi evil here than they did in the Shikamaru novel, where they decided to do things right under the Hokage’s nose. That’s not the best way to operate a village since you need to have trust in order to succeed. Things were done more by the book here, which was definitely an improvement. Nobody would try sneaking past Sasuke if he had been Hokage…I’m just saying…

Overall 7/10

Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

Naruto: Kakashi’s Story Review

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I finally got around to finishing the first Naruto novel! Reading the next two should definitely not take as long so you can expect reviews to be published for those much quicker. Unfortunately, I can’t say that the Kakashi story sets them off on a high note. Crude Humor, large amounts of plot hax, and sketchy writing hold this one back from being a hit. I honestly wouldn’t really want to see this one animated unless some significant creative liberties were taken. That being said, the anime writers could be up to the task since I’m sure that they’d be tempted to change things anyway.

A long time has passed since the end of the Naruto manga and people are pressuring Kakashi to take on the mantle of Hokage. He doesn’t want to do this though since being Hokage is a large responsibility and he’ll be held accountable for everything. Nonetheless, the choice isn’t his and the whole village continues to pester him about it. To take his mind off of this, Kakashi goes to guard a large boat. It will be the first ever flying boat (Blimp basically) in the world. The builders want to use it to revolutionize travel, but at the expense of a whole industry which will result in thousands of people being out of business in the long run. That’s a bit of a heavy price to pay, but at the same time, innovation always replaces the old way of doing things. If people resisted change because of how it would affect the job market, many inventions would simply not exist at the moment.

However, the main villains of the novel aren’t pleased. Kakashi notices that someone has sneaked into the blimp and gives chase, only to find out that it is Might Guy. He really wanted to go for a ride so he snuck in, but unfortunately, so did the villains since there weren’t any real guards around by this point. The Leaf Anbu Black Ops are taken down instantly so Kakashi and Might Guy will have to save the hostages in the Blimp and defeat the Rogue Shinobi. Time is not on their side either as these guys aim to free their master from Hozuki Castle and the other neighboring lands ar weighing in on the conflict. If the Blimp isn’t back on the ground before it crosses the border…then it will be destroyed. Moreover, Tsunade wants Kakashi to destroy the Blimp if it gets to close and murder every last one of the passengers. Kakashi’s not a cold blooded killer like Tsunade so he aims to find another way.

This should be easy right? Kakashi is one of the strongest fighters in the Leaf so he can crush some random rogue ninja. Not to mention that Naruto’s just a phone call away. With his final form abilities, he can move at hypersonic speeds and virtually fly. He can use his arm extensions to gently force the Blimp down or simply grab all of the villains and then escort them all away. Well..the first moment of plot hax happens here as Tsunade forbids anyone from telling Naruto about this. In her defense, everyone else goes along with this terrible plan including Kakashi. All right, back to the Kakashi plan right?

Wrong I’m afraid. Kakashi decides to go for a frontal assault and walks up to the villains. Guess he forgot about the hostages right? The main villain destroys a handful of them and then breaks Kakashi’s fingers so he can’t pull off any real ninjutsus. To add even more injuries, his right hand woman freezes Kakashi’s chakra so he can’t do anything with his ninjutsu or he’ll freeze over. Rahyo is the leader of the villains by the way and Kahyo is the ice ninja. Kahyo’s abilities are fairly impressive as she just needs to make contact with someone once to freeze their chakra whenever she pleases. Rahyo is more generic as he can punch people with super strength.

Kakashi is at a disadvantage from the start because Kahyo already made contact with him at the very beginning of the book when she pretended to fall and Kakashi helped her up. Unfortunately, Kakashi was already out of character as he fell for her instantly. So much for professionalism. As for Rahyo, he should be easy to defeat, but Might Guy looks incredibly bad here. Due to his injuries at the end of the series, he is still not at full fighting strength and I guess he’s back to being around Chunin level or something. Plus, his motion sickness has gotten even worse and it is at Natsu levels of terrible now. At least Natsu has a good reason for it though, Might Guy should be able to pull himself together.

His fight scene with Rahyo is actually very bad and even involves puking as a distraction. Might Guy’s also the reason why Kakashi’s first plan went so badly as well. If he hadn’t been around or if he could have just went to sleep for a while, the novel would have been very different. He’s comic relief, but not the good kind and he just holds the book down. Kakashi’s plan to throw up later on to trick the villains was also gross and definitely a large stretch of disbelief. These two scenes are the main reason why the book couldn’t get a positive rating in the end.

The fight scenes were good when Might Guy wasn’t around at least. Naruto’s fight in the intro was fun and I’m glad that only his Shadow Clone was hit since Naruto should be able to easily fend off these villains. In his current state, he should never lose to anyone ever again. Only aliens would be acceptable like in the movies, otherwise it is just too much of a stretch. Kakashi vs Kahyo was brief, but good as well. Hopefully we’ll get more action in the next novels.

Finally, my last complaint with the novel is just the fact that all of the characters are terribly unlikable to the point where I have to say that they are out of character. Not literally every character as Naruto is good, but everyone else is simply unreasonable. Everyone taunting Kakashi at the end of the novel is simply mean spirited. Shikamaru wanting to see if Ino has the same reaction while in another body is a really crazy scene that has no place in the novel and just makes him look terrible. Tsunade comes across as incredibly ruthless. Deciding to execute an entire group of civilians just to avoid an international incident is quite bad. It’s no wonder why Kakashi knows that he now has to accept the title of Hokage. He can’t let someone as unfit to lead as Tsunade take charge.

As for the two villains, they both want revenge on the cruel society. It’s easy to see why, but they really do lose themselves in the mission. They claim to not want to indiscriminately murder people, but that’s what they do the entire film. Both of them show remorse by the end and Kahyo always seemed to have more of a heart than Rahyo, but the latter’s big turn around I could not buy at all. He was way too evil and too unrelenting for me to believe that he simply lost sight of his original goal. At least for Kahyo there was a lot of foreshadowing and she did help the kid who really needed it while Gahyo was just going to let him die. I suppose that it’s still good to see Gahyo turn good, it just felt forced is all.

Overall, Kakashi’s Story was a weak first installment, but it shows signs of promise for future novels. There is still a lot more that can be done in these stories although I wish that Naruto or Sasuke would get one. Those two can easily hold their own stories. The next book is Shikamaru’s and since he isn’t much of a fighter, I’ll assume that the villains are even weaker than these two as I think that they probably would have crushed him. So long as the characters aren’t all super annoying and unlikable, the next novel should definitely knock this one out of the park. No more puking on the villains either since that was sad. If you’re a big fan of the Naruto franchise, then this is probably a good story to check out to make sure that you know all of the mythos. That being said, you may just want to skip this story. You won’t miss much and it tries to make Blood Prison canon which makes all of the characters look even worse so it’s best that the movie doesn’t become canon. Naruto’s chapter is definitely the best one in the book so at least you’ll start off on a high note.

Overall 5/10

Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

Alex Rider: Russian Roulette Review

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The prequel to the Alex Rider series came out a while ago at this point, but I only just got around to it. As with the Godzilla book, I had it here for months, but I finally renewed it 10 times so this was my last chance to wrap things up. I just made it and am glad that I did as it was a good prequel. The ending was a little rushed I suppose, but it was still a good novel through and through. The writing is much better than what I saw in the Godzilla book and reminds me that we’ve still got solid books out there. You’ve just got to know where to look.

The main character of this Yasha, but his name quickly changes to Yassan so I’ll just keep it that way. The adventure starts him off as a child, but a plague infects his village and his parents have just enough time to give him a cure. Yassan is now the only survivor of that village and it has effectively been wiped off the map. Yassan is now a non person who does not even exist according to computer records. This puts him in a pretty interesting spot as his enemies won’t know about him, but vice versa as well. He goes through many hardships and ends up working as a slave for the man who was responsible for the incident. Through the Alex Rider events, we know that Yassan ends up….well, I won’t say who he works for I suppose, but you should have read the other books already before checking out the prequels. Needless to say, we know the ending, but this book is all about how he gets there.

In that sense, I think that things get a little iffy. As the book is from Yassan’s point of view, we learn a whole lot about the character. He was actually a very nice person back in the day and he really just wanted to fly a helicopter. Unfortunately, the village being wiped out put him on the path to destruction from the beginning. Working as a servant was essentially unavoidable and getting out of the situation was difficult, if not impossible. Those were tough years and his decision to escape was certainly a good one. From there, things just go from bad to worse.

The book’s plot is constantly evolving and adapting because it has to cover a whole lot of plot in a mere 400 pages. (More like 370, but close enough) I don’t want to mention all of the plot developments so I’ll mainly try to keep it vague, but this is still a review so I need to touch on some things. The best part of the book was probably the training facility that he goes too in the second half. That sounded like a pretty interesting chapter in his life and it would have been fun to have seen it get some more screen time. That part is glossed over the most so that we can see him as a professional.

Throughout the whole book, Yassan is mainly trying to not cross the line. He doesn’t mind stealing or committing other such acts in order to survive, but taking another person’s life is something that he doesn’t want to do. Unfortunately, it gets harder and harder to do this as his situation continues to get more dire. One of the reasons why Yassan was such a great character is he continues to choose not to pull the trigger even when it may mean death for him. It’s one of the reasons why he was lucky not to have any friends or family left. The villains could not use anyone as leverage against Yassan and threatening the main character’s life doesn’t have the same impact.

That’s why the ending just comes so suddenly. There is treachery in the air and Yassan gets very upset at the final twist. That being said, it unhinges him more than you would expect and he essentially decides to become a mass murderer just to spite someone. That is the part that came out of left field for me. The whole book, his consciousness had kept him from crossing the line and while he got upset at the end, it still seems like a big leap in logic to just start destroying everyone. Destroy the guy who betrayed you for sure, but taking it out on everyone was a little much. Yassan wanted to prove a point, which is why he didn’t destroy the traitor, but it was still definitely a bit much.

I feel like the author was running out of time and didn’t want to stretch this out into multiple books and just wanted to end things. I would have been happy to have had more books about Yassan, but maybe the fast pacing is what ultimately made this such an enjoyable book. I can certainly say that I enjoyed it much more than any of the Alex Rider novels and this was one of the most interesting books that I have read. The ending is the one sour spot for me and I knew that it was coming of course, but I just didn’t buy it. You could almost say that the author was trapped by the Alex Rider books as he had to keep Yassan in line with his self in the books even if the personality was different.

The author should have almost made this prequel non canon to just let Yassan end out with an escape. Disappearing forever was the plan that he had been leaning towards and it made the most sense. I was almost expecting him to go through with it at one point and then we’d get a sequel to see how he got pulled into the madness once again. That would have made much more sense and I can’t stress enough how much a sequel would have helped the ending. There’s also a chance that a sequel would jump the shark though so maybe it’s better safe than sorry.

The actual writing is very engaging and the author certainly has experience with writing a compelling novel. The characters don’t all sound like generic movie protagonists and they have character. You will feel bad for Yassan as the whole book is basically one tragedy after the other, but the author doesn’t overdo it. It’s sad and you’ll feel bad for the guy, but it’s done naturally and not just brought up to constantly remind you that you should feel bad for him. There’s one quick scene of animal violence at the end involving a spider, but it’s also handled really quickly and I suppose that it is easier for that not to hurt the score in a book than other forms of media. Although, it still depends on how it is handled.

Quite a few characters show up including Alex Rider’s dad. The dad was fairly likable although it’s hard to know what to think of him by the end. I guess I’m not a fan and he could have handled things much better. I also think that Yassan should have been able to defeat him in a fight. Thinking about it, the book doesn’t really have much of a climax. There is action throughout and yet there are very few action scenes. The dialogue is just strong enough to hold the novel up on its own, which is neat. There are quite a few likable characters throughout the book just as there are unlikable ones, but it is a colorful cast. The book gives us some nice details on how Yassan gets ready for a mission without going overboard and it was nice to see him continue to make the right decisions.

Overall, This was an excellent book and just what I needed after finishing Godzilla. Godzilla wasn’t exactly the big return to novels that I had been looking for so I’m glad that I got to find an elite title so quickly. If not for the ending, I dare say that this could be the best stand alone novel that I’ve read. It’s part of the Alex Rider franchise of course and many places just list it as being in the series, but I like to think of the prequel as being its own separate thing. Still canon and in the franchise, but not to be counted with the rest of the books as being in the series. If Yassan had stayed true to himself and ended out on a positive note, I probably would have given this a 10. I’m not even sure which book (If any) I’ve given a perfect score yet, but this probably would have snatched it away. The ending should have just been Yassan walking away and we still could have gotten the moment where he was back in the future and the author leading us to wonder how he got to that point. Still, abrupt ending or not, I highly recommend reading this title. You don’t need to read the Alex Rider books at all to understand what is happening here although it will give you more insight. As with just about every prequel, you can read this before the main series or after it. Either way, it works very well and it’s an engaging piece to read from start to finish. I also read it in hardcover, which helped a bit since I love that format. I’m not sure when I’ll have another book review up as it could be a while, but it’ll be tough to pass this one. It would be cool if the book got a film adaption someday to bring the Alex Rider franchise back into the forefront, but I don’t see that happening for quite a while, if ever.

Overall 9/10

Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

Godzilla Review

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It has been a very long time since I have reviewed a book. It may have even been over a year at this point. What better way to get back into the industry than with Godzilla right? The film was fun even though it certainly could have been better to say the least. I know that many people weren’t crazy about Ford Brody in the film and I always thought that he was a bit of a non factor. After reading the book though, I can safely say that the character isn’t very good.

The book follows the plot of the film. Essentially, a creature destroys Ford’s mother along with many other people simply by waking up. Over a decade later, the monster has woken up along with a second one. They are known as the MUTO creatures and their abilities are unparalleled. With the EMP bursts that they can generate, the army is essentially out of their depth here. Their only course of action is to allow the Super Kaiju known as Godzilla to step in and save the day. The question is…did the government have a choice in the first place and can Godzilla really win the 2 on 1 fight? Pondering these questions is what makes the book fun.

I had a hard time getting past the beginning of the book because it starts off a little slowly. To the book’s defense, that is typically the case for just about every book that I read. It’s simply hard to start off with an interesting beginning that will keep you ready for action. Another problem is that the book adds some unnecessary details. See, Godzilla ended up attacking the island in 1954 because some animals were being tested on and it was defying nature. The government nuked Godzilla and the animals were hit as collateral. It makes the humans look terrible once again and you can see why a lot of people just end up rooting for Godzilla here. The Kaiju is the hero here and the humans need to get their act together if they want to win.

I wasn’t particularly crazy about the writing either. As I mentioned earlier, Ford wasn’t necessarily a negative for me in the movie, but I didn’t like him in the book. Not only is he incredibly generic, but he’s simply an unlikable character. He panics a whole lot and is almost always on the verge of tears. He constantly has to “tear himself away” from his son and family because he has a world to save, but he’s always so overly dramatic about it. Towards the end of the book, he even gets annoyed when people come to save him from the nukes. Sure, he’s tired and fatigued, but he should be grateful. It’s hard to simply spell out, but Ford just wasn’t my kind of character. I much preferred his father in the book. That plot was typically a lot more interesting than Ford’s.

Of course, the Godzilla scenes are the reason why you will buy the book. As with the movie, he doesn’t get a huge role and misses most of the first 75% of the book, but then he gets a solid fight in the end. The author definitely seemed to like the MUTOs as they were crushing Godzilla in the initial fight. In the film they temporarily started to overwhelm him as well, but here…they flat out beat him. Ford has to (accidentally) save Godzilla’s life by distracting one of the creatures. Once the MUTO is gone, Godzilla is able to take out the other one. Then he manages to defeat the second and proves that he is the strongest Kaiju out there, but I would have liked more G domination.

I also have to question the fact that the MUTO’s were able to short out his Atomic Breath. It’s not exactly standard electricity so I don’t think that an EMP would knock it out. If it could, then that means that the Government could essentially use the same tactic against him. Godzilla is also able to use it at the very end so I guess that the normal EMPs that the MUTO creatures generate is weak enough for Godzilla to overpower it. I’m glad about that at least. The Godzilla scenes are certainly the highlight as its fun to see the Kaiju in action although he could have looked a little stronger.

Back to the negatives, the writing goes to horror film mode at times as Ford loves to swear when he’s in danger along with just about every other character. It’s something that I always bring up because you wouldn’t have seen it back in the 70’s or earlier. Dr. Serizawa is a character that I didn’t like in any version and I still don’t care for him here. At one point, the government is out of options and they ask the doctor if Godzilla can defeat MUTO. Serizawa essentially shrugs and says his “iconic nature controls arrogant men” (Completely reworded and out of context, but you’ll likely know the line if you’ve scene the trailer. before he says to just let the monsters fight. Cmon Serizawa, the government is looking for a serious answer at this point.

Of course, the government doesn’t look too good when they decide to send a Nuke after Godzilla and the creatures. The climax has them essentially admit that MUTO and Godzilla could easily tank the missile. The plan seemed to be pretty bad from the start and reeked of desperation. While they like to think that there wouldn’t be too many casualties by dumping it in the river, many people would still die through the fish and the radiation that the wind carries. Nukes are never a great measure.

Also, they were hardly necessary. Maybe against the MUTO creatures, but against Godzilla, the airplanes were actually doing well. The book implies that they could have ultimately defeated Godzilla had some more planes come on board as they were dealing a lot of damage to the King. Long time Godzilla fans won’t like that of course, but it’s nice for the government to get in some wins once in a while. It’s like the old saying, “It’s why I’m here.”

I didn’t like the format that the book was in although I suppose that this will vary if there are any other versions. The type is simply too small. It’s part of the style as it allows the book to be small as well, but it’s not worth it. I like the classic hardcover style so much more as the print is nearly double the size of the Godzilla book and it makes the reading so much easier. It’s one of the reasons why I’ve had the book since sometime in February or earlier. I’ve renewed it 10 times from NYPL until I finally read it now. (And just in time too!)

Overall, the book got better once I was past the beginning, but I’m still not crazy about the writing. The characters just felt unlikable for the most part and the animals part in the beginning was really not needed. Godzilla also should have looked more impressive like how he was portrayed in the film. The book had its negatives to be sure and the format also made it a little tougher to read through. If you’re a big Godzilla fan, this is still a book to check out. If you aren’t looking forward to the Kaiju fights then you should probably take a pass on this book. After all, the fights were the climactic parts. If you don’t care for those, then it’s Game Over time!

Overall 6/10

6 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Giver Review

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The Giver is a film that I definitely heard a lot as I frequented the world. The poster was just about everywhere, but it was not very informative so I never had any idea on what the plot was. Eventually, I finally saw the film and it’s certainly a pretty good one. I think that the plot works better as a TV show or a movie series, but if it had been the former I may not have seen it anyway…so it’s a mixed bag. Nonetheless, it’s good to see a film with an original plot like this one since that’s pretty rare nowadays.

It is the year 20XX and….well, I guess you can just pick a year. Humanity has erected a…would this count as a spoiler? Hmmmm……all right folks, watch out for spoilers! This probably counts, but it needs to be mentioned…anyway, back to where I started. Humanity has erected a large barricade that stands at the edge of their territory and nobody is allowed to go anywhere near it. It is what keeps them safe by eliminating all emotions and creative thinking. Humanity lives with their assigned roles right now and they don’t know what happiness and sadness are. It’s a world without fault, but without positives as well. That’s where Jonas comes in. He has been selected to be the Taker and the government may have taken too much of a risk here. Jonas’ job is to inherit the memories of humanity, but with these memories comes emotion, color….life! Will he really be content with keeping things at the status quo or will he decide to revolt…like so many figures in history?

This is definitely a very fascinating concept and it’s one that’s fun to think about. The lines aren’t so clearly divided into good and evil here as you can make a decent case for both. The case for why humans should have free will and emotions is a little more obvious so I will be brief on that. Living without free will is like not living at all and emotionlessly just accepting your fate is terrible. You are essentially told that you will be a mother at home or you will work in nursery for the women and the guys are thrown into a random job with no prior preparation or experience. They won’t like the job either, but at least they won’t dislike it right? No matter how you look at it, this existence wouldn’t be great and it’s also logically impossible. Of course, we’re ignoring that tidbit, but it’s unimaginable to not be able to see in color and not understand universals and emotion.

Scientifically speaking, I’m sure that it’s possible to remove the part of the eye rather painlessly that lets us see color on everyone. Removing emotions through a serum injection is certainly more sketchy. Also, you have to have the shot every day for it to actually work. Would the “rebels” really not “slip up” once or twice and then realize that something was amiss? Of course, this is ultimately still science fiction so trying to rationalize everything may not be very rational if you really think about it. I’ll just take this at face value for now.

Now, why would this be a good thing? Well, let’s start off with two of the big obstacles in the real. (“In the Real is a term used in Accel World to distinguish the real world from cool cyber worlds and I rather like the term so I may use it once in a while…for style!) World Hunger and Murder. These two things have been eliminated from the Earth entirely.* (*Unfortunately, babies are murdered every day in this world to keep the population stable, but they are simply “released” as far as the people know. They don’t know what death is and just believe that the person is gone…interesting. These guys better have perfect health tech or there will be unexpected releases sometimes…) Nobody wants to harm other people and billions of tragedies would simply never happen. If you’ve ever turned on the news you’ll know that millions suffer with every passing second. There is none of that here so that is an overwhelming positive that you simply cannot afford to ignore.

I think the fact that they were essentially murdering their own citizens at the end was where the film clearly starts to point to why you should be rooting for Jonas. It’s a painless death and typically it is willing since they cannot feel emotions. This was a one time exception because of what Jonas has done, but it definitely makes the others look more like villains. I’m still on the free will side for many reasons with the main one being that it is really what makes us who we are. It’s certainly a fun debate to tackle with in your head.

Jonas is not a great main character though. I just don’t like him and I felt like the writers were trying to make him a little too…over reactive. He was sort of showing us how we should be reacting to every scene and he didn’t seem to have any actual personality. He has a good excuse at first of course, but I still didn’t like him by the end. I felt like he really pushed his emotions onto Fiona. She didn’t know what romance is so she really couldn’t comprehend what was happening. Jonas had liked her from the start so it was different. It was just a romance that I really couldn’t get into and think that it was very unnecessary. It’s a sub plot that I definitely could have done without and it cost the film a star.

Fiona is actually a pretty good character as she stands by her friends (Unlike Asher) from start to finish. She is always looking out for Jonas and she risks her career and future to help him when the main hero is in a pinch. I do think that the romance was unnecessary, but this is one time where at least 90% of the blame should go to Jonas. Learning emotions for the first time can be a rather confusing experience after all. I imagine that it’s like trying to play a video game for the first time without a manual and holding the controller upside down. Now that would be confusing!

Is it just me or did the film try to make Jonas’ mother extremely antagonistic from the start? She would literally correct him every time he spoke and she seemed to almost despise him. Keep in mind that none of these characters actually have emotions. They demonstrate them a lot, but I guess that just shows that no serum can be 100% effective. The dad is more tempered and he seems to know more than he lets on, but that sub plot vanishes when he decides to go through with the releasing ceremony. He definitely didn’t know what that meant so maybe he just acted smarter than he was.

Asher is Jonas’ other friend and he definitely wasn’t good. Of course, he’s made to be unlikable since he represents the average person who quickly loses sight of all his aspirations and goals as he just follows what the government does without any questions. He has his big moment where he gets to try and stop Jonas, but let’s just say that he’s outmatched. None of the character even know what a fight is so they definitely can’t comprehend that the best way to stop an incoming punch is to parry or punch back.

The Chief Justice is another intriguing character since she has clearly been through a lot, but that isn’t really explained. We are left to guess and we are given pieces to the puzzle. We know that her heir suffered an untimely fate and it helped her to despise emotions, but then we have to wonder just how long ago the barrier was put up. I would guess that it was only recently from that (Last 20 years maybe) but other parts of the film hint that it’s been like this for many decades. It also makes sense since a big change like that could definitely not occur in such a short amount of time. She definitely has a lot of determination to help her keep things the way that they have been while her counterpart…The Giver has other ideas.

The Giver is the original keeper of the memories, but he doesn’t do a whole lot with his position. He could give everyone back their memories if he makes it past the barricade, but he’s old and he worries about what will happen to the town now if he should be away from it. Unfortunately, he’s a little sloppy and memories that he didn’t want to be shared are given pretty soon. He makes this mistake twice, which isn’t great for him. He’s ot a bad character, but I guess he’s not that good. He could have certainly done a better job during the memory transfers with Jonas and with his former pupil as well.

Now, I have mentioned that I think this plot would work better as a whole show or series. The reason why is mainly illustrated in the ending. After the barricade is breached…the film just ends. You can imagine that the world will quickly be plunged into chaos and it’ll be interesting to see what happens next. Will they go back to creating wars and become corrupt like the Chief Justice believes or will they unite and stand as one? The former is more likely, but it’s still an interesting situation to watch. Alternately, they also could have shown this emotionless world more so that we can really contrast it to natural life. Achieving all of this in about 90 minutes is a tough feat to be sure. I suppose that the concept itself is what’s important though and we can just put together the unseen pieces.

Overall, The Giver is a very interesting movie. As I mentioned, my main problem with it is the romance. I just found it distasteful and it certainly does impact how much you will enjoy the film. Beyond that, I definitely enjoyed it and the concept is certainly a winner. There isn’t really any action to be found besides a short scuffle and chase scene, but the writing is strong enough to hold the film together. I definitely recommend checking the film out since it will pose some nice philosophical questions for you to answer. I do think that the concept is a little too broad for a film, but I suppose that it did the best that it could. My stance on the ending is that most of the survivors were thrown inside of the barricade, but a few rebels managed to hide out in the outside world where they kept their memories and got to continue the human race as it used to be. That’s just my 2 cents on the ending so you’re free to speculate on it.

Overall 6/10

Books

Accel World

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I’ve only read the first book in the series, but it’s off to a decent start. Haruyuki is just as unlikable as in the TV show, but at least Silver Crow is (sometimes) decent enough to hold his own. I’m looking forward to seeing the fights escalate as things heat up in the plot. I shall have a review for this series when it finishes….so this could take a while!

Overall 7/10