I had often been recommended by friends to read Chris Riddell's Goth Girl series of books, and decided that I would make the attempt lately having bI had often been recommended by friends to read Chris Riddell's Goth Girl series of books, and decided that I would make the attempt lately having been to the bookstore and managed to pick up all three books. Logically, I started with the first.
These books are kind of little slips of genius.
On one layer they're sort of a parody of different types of stories for children. On another layer, it's a wonderful dip into a Regency-esque world that happens to have the fantasic run right alongside the mundane. On yet another layer, it's just a way for Chris Riddell to show off his great illustrations. Ada Goth is a very likeable protagonist, filled with the usual cliché of being motherless you would expect a Gothic heroine to have. Ada does not brood over this, and instead does her best to be a nice, polite, girl. Because she wants to be.
I'm finding myself at a bit of a loss for works as to how to explain this. Lord Goth is clearly Lord Byron, but I wouldn't say Ada is much like the famous Ada Lovelace. Then again, Ada was very sensible in comparison with her father's madness.
If I had to put it plainly, I think I'd say that yes, these books are worth picking up no matter what your age. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series, now. ...more
Crimson Peak is a movie I discovered this year and promptly fell in love with. I devoured the novelization of the movie, due to the backstory and fuCrimson Peak is a movie I discovered this year and promptly fell in love with. I devoured the novelization of the movie, due to the backstory and further rounding out of the characters, and was delighted to learn that there was an 'Art of' book associated with it. After all, the look of the movie was one of the things I greatly enjoyed, so to read more about how that look came to be would be something to delight me.
Crimson Peak: The Art of Darkness is more than just your typical 'Art of' book. It can be referred as the bible of Crimson Peak, with detailed information on the characters themselves as well as the sets, the history of each place, motivations and so much more. In less than 200 pages there is an entire mythology set up that makes me... well, yearn for a return to the world, and a return to Allerdale Hall. Do you think del Toro could be convinced into doing a sequel? You may think I'm joking, but I'm really not.
Guillermo del Toro is one of those directors whose personal projects - which could be suggested as being the bulk of his work - always fasincate me because he puts so very much thought and creativity into them. With this in mind it can be argued that this book is a testament to that creativity. The hints of the character biographies that, while not necessarily needed, help to reveal so much about these characters with whom you can sympathize even if the actions they have taken are far from your own personal taste. Yes, I am thinking mostly of Lucille there. Poor, broken girl.
I'm trying to find the words, here, to help explain just why this book is sticking in my head as being just so amazing as to gain five stars but the best way I could do this is just to hand it over and ask you to read it. Actually read it, and look at the sketches of costuming they provide, the snippets of biographies, the prints of in universe material... When I referred to it as the bible of the movie, I don't think I was being too out of turn. The Art of Darkness contains everything a Crimson Peak fan could ever want to know about the movie, the world of it, and the characters that inhabit it.
And, on the shallow side? It's an entirely gorgeous book that will look amazing on the bookshelves or even as a coffee table piece. I will personally stick with the bookshelves. I just need to work out how to arrange it to show it off best......more
This book proved to not only to be as good as the film, but perhaps even better as it provides more detail that allows the horror toGreat Novelisation
This book proved to not only to be as good as the film, but perhaps even better as it provides more detail that allows the horror to build, creating more suspense for the reader. The characters are more nuanced and there is a greater depth of emotion available to us as the audience. Well worth the read.
Crimson Peak is primarily the child of director Guillermo del Toro, who personally rates it as one of his best movies. Having watched it? I would probably list it equally with Pacific Rim, but that's my own personal choice. The movie follows young aspiring writer, Edith Cushing, as she meets, falls in love with, and eventually marries the handsome, quiet, and charming English baronet, Thomas Sharpe. She then moves from her home in Buffalo to Thomas' ancestral home in England where he lives with his elder sister, Lucille. From there... Well, I can't explain it without giving away some twits, turns, and amazing imagery. I had seen the movie prior to reading the book and was admittedly slightly skeptical of how the book would stand up to what I was sure would only work in a visual format. I am glad to say I was entirely wrong
Nancy Holder, an author who's work I was familiar with through novels relating to Buffy the Vampire Slayer primarily, manages to take what must have been an early shooting script and del Toro's extensive background notes. This novelization manages not only to keep the horror of the movie, but add to it with excellent descriptions of the ghosts that haunt Edith, and the evolution of the house itself as a dangerous entity, the feeling of which is present in the movie but made better use of in the book.
Learning more of the characters made the horrors somehow clench tighter in the stomach, and drove the pain of their actions that little bit further home. These are not just the characters you would expect to see in a horror - or even in a gothic romance, which is what Crimson Peak is - these are fully rounded people, with hopes and dreams and wishes that we can relate to. We can empathize with even the monsters of the story, and somehow that makes everything so much better, and so much worse.
It is one of those stories that I highly recommend everyone check out, though I should warn there is a fair amount of emotional abuse, domestic abuse, and straight out violence described in the story and visible in the movie. Those who are triggered by these may wish to avoid.
A Pride of Poppies is a GLBTQI+ anthology which focuses on the period of the First World War. The aim of the stories in this anthology is to give us aA Pride of Poppies is a GLBTQI+ anthology which focuses on the period of the First World War. The aim of the stories in this anthology is to give us a look into how it would have been for these marginalized groups of society to live, work, and even fight during one of the bloodiest wars known to mankind.
Personally? I found all the stories to be incredibly moving, though each in their own way of course. Some made me laugh a little, some made me cry, and some just had me sitting quietly and staring at a wall for a little while. There is no doubt that all the authors in this book have done their very best to be as historically accurate as possible - even to the slang used by the characters in stories.
This is a book that is well worth reading no matter what 'group' of people you belong to. At the end of the day, the stories all are telling the lives of people who are simply people, trying to get by in a very hard time, and somehow just trying to manage. And that can be very important indeed.
Five out of five, and I still think I'm rating it too low....more
Dodger by author James Benmore was a book that I had found entirely by chance. A friend and I were discussing what we term as 'published fan-fictionDodger by author James Benmore was a book that I had found entirely by chance. A friend and I were discussing what we term as 'published fan-fiction' and both the works of Dickens and Victor Hugo entered our discussions, prompting a search to see what we could find. Needless to say, I came across Dodger.
Before reading the novel, I decided to look into a little bit about the writing process and was pleased to see that Benmore had given himself the challenge of keeping the characters as in-line with their Dicken's given fates while creating a new chapter in the Artful Dodger's life. Something for which I thank him, as it is so easy for people to use other interpretations to allow for some sort of shock twist which usually ends up being not that shocking at all.
Dodger begins with the return of Jack Dawkins - the Artful Dodger himself - to England, after six years in Australia, working on the farms. In face, through this farm work, Jack has become a respectable gentleman, and is merely traveling to London to take care of business affairs there. Along his travels he is joined by a Vicar and his family, and encounters the new Police Force for the very first time.
If, at this point, you have already guessed that we learn that Jack has not changed all that much, then well done to you. While he has an official pardon from the Governor of New South Wales, he is only allowed in England to do the business of someone else, and had only been chosen to do such business because of his youthful connections. Returning to London and discovering many of these connections dead or gone is a shock to Jack, but he is always able to adapt and continue on, determined to finish the task - it's his neck if he doesn't.
When I first went into this novel I had expected something that could be considered along the lines of a penny dreadful - a quick, cheap thrill using familiar characters to lure in the readers. Something that you would enjoy, but might not find yourself deeply engrossed with. Happily, my expectations were not to be true. Though Dodger is no where near the length of it Dickensian origins, Benmore manages to fill each page with exactly the right amount to keep you going. The characters we know have changed and are yet still familiar and characters new to us feel as though they could have found their own place among the original work.
The one downside - if it may be called that - is that you will see nothing of the grim that Dickens showed of London. It is not that it is no longer present, but simply that we are seeing London from the point of view of a person who was considered part of that grime, and counts it as the happiest times of his life. Jack Dawkins loved the underclass of London, and in Dodger we see it as he sees it - a life of surprising freedom, if you know what you're doing.
The next book is Dodger of the Dials. I look forward to reading it, and I hope that Benmore has managed to keep up the same feel of London and the same excellent writing which he has produced with this novel.
Five stars because it genuinely deserves more praise - and fans - than see available to it....more
Blackadder: the Whole Damn Dynasty, I've got to admit, it struck me as something to read just from the title alone. Primarily, this is just a book oBlackadder: the Whole Damn Dynasty, I've got to admit, it struck me as something to read just from the title alone. Primarily, this is just a book of all the scripts of all the episode - excluding the one-off special for the millennium, because that had't been made at the time. However, it deviates from being just a script book, into being something quite different by the fact that it fills in the gaps of all the Blackadder family members that we don't see, but are sometimes referenced in episodes. We find out how the line survived to when it did, and how each generation seemed further down the pecking scale than the one before, each story being told with the same humour you could expect from an episode proper
All in all, the book makes for a great read. Somehow just reading through the scripts brings the voices of all these fantastic characters jumping back into your head, and you can't help but grin at some of the stage direction as well. In my opinion, it is a book that's well worth getting a copy for any fan of comedy in general.
Also, if possible, can someone explain to be how "Goodbyeee" is somehow more poignant written down?...more
Great read and update of the classic R&H Cinderella. Since I don't stay near Broadway, this is especiallt good to help my inrerest in thw show. GoGreat read and update of the classic R&H Cinderella. Since I don't stay near Broadway, this is especiallt good to help my inrerest in thw show. Good for fans of musicals...more