Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Villains (Part 2)

Happy Wednesday everyone, and here is another Top 5 Wednesday, and the topic is:

October 10th: Favorite Villains
— It looks like we last did this topic in 2016, so I encourage you to pick new villains if this is not your first time covering this topic! (also, as before, try not to just use HP characters…)

Top 5 Wednesday is a group in Goodreads and was formerly created by Lainey at gingerreadslainey and is now done by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. It is open to everyone.

I did one for villains already, but there are so many villains, but I also want to add from other medias as well.

Perry Wright from Big Little Lies

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He abuses his wife, Celeste which almost affected his twin boys. He also rapes another woman, and fathers that child while using a different name in order to seduce that woman. He plays the loving husband one second, and an evil abuser another second, and tries to apologize before the cycle repeats itself.

Darth Bane from the Star Wars Darth Bane trilogy

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Some would argue that he is an anti-hero. But reading the first two books of the series, you start to see a person’s slowing descending into the dark side, but at times it is almost understandable. He is just trying to survive the best way he knows how. He also challenges the Sith way of thinking and reestablishes the rule of two.

Xifeng from Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

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Sort of like, Darth Bane, it was nice to read a story from a villains perspective, and also seeing a story in which there is a sort of villain origin story. She spends most of book trying to manipulate her way into becoming empress, that it is almost impressive.

Eli from Vicious

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Part of me, almost don’t really consider him a villain, but more of a self appointed protagonist of his own story. Following his story in both Vicious and Vengeful, you start to see his way of thinking. He believes himself to be this religious zealot, who believes he is doing the right thing.

AIDAN from The Illuminae Files

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An AI, who only believes in binaries and code. His thinking lead to the deaths of several people, because his system doesn’t take into account humanity. He makes decisions based on statistics and nothing else. While he is very fleshed out, he basically operates like a HAL system.

Those are some of my favorite villains. What are some of your favorite villains? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

 

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Big Little Lies (Book/Adaptation Review) By: Liane Moriarty-Also spoilers

This is something that I always kinda wanted to do for quite sometime now, in which I discuss both the book and its adaptation in the same review.

Also this will contain spoilers for both the show and the book.

For Big Little Lies I watched the show first last year when it was on HBO. I always would see the book at stores but never really would pick it up because it was never really a genre that I would grab towards which is mystery novels. My girlfriend would sometimes read mystery novels and they could either be really good or really bad. I also borrowed this book from my girlfriend for almost a year before reading it (sorry Julie).

I am first going to review the show.

Big Little Lies

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The show premiered on HBO last spring in 2017. It starred Nicole Kidman as Celeste, Reese Witherspoon as Madeline, and Shailine Woodly as Jane.

It started with a mystery of what happened on a school’s trivia night and a dead body that came with it. Was in an accident or murder? That is what the book is trying to figure out.

It felt as if I was watching a very long movie, with nice and solid pacing. It was written by David E. Kelly who I have been following since his legal dramas, The Practice and Boston Legal, and it really paced out the book well.

What they left out/Changed

Since it is an adaptation, there will always be changes to fit the narrative. A major change is the setting. While the book took place in Australia, the show took place in California.

Also Madeline had another son, and so did Reneta who weren’t in the adaptation. It wasn’t a big change since those characters didn’t really add a lot to the plot.

Also there was an affair that Madeline had with her musical director in which she worked at, that wasn’t in the book, and I sort of didn’t like the subplot in the show. But it did give Madeline more to do.

There is also the character of Bonnie. Who in the end, was the one that pushed Perry during the trivia night. Her character was a lot more fleshed out in the book, and it actually gave reason as to why she pushed Perry off.

How it is as an adaptation

I watched the show, before I read the book, and I had the book for months because I borrowed it from my girlfriend. The show did follow a lot of the beats as the books.

It starts with the trivia night, and is told mostly through interviews of the other parents and teachers who were there, and starts from the first day of school. In which an incident occurred involving two of the children and Ziggy the son of Jane is accused on bullying, and from there it deals with the fallout from, party invitations, to wars between parties and gossiping moms all around.

It also deals with a semi civil war between the career moms and the stay at home moms. Especially with Renata and Madeline. The book dived more deeper into that situation.

It also dealt with the issue of domestic violence and how while Celeste and her husband Perry seem like an happy normal couple, who goes away on extravagant vacations all the time, but underneath there is violence among the marriage and Celeste tries to hide under all of that.

The show did a good job at highlighting the various degrees of a domestic violence perpetrator in which there are scenes of Perry being a loving and caring Husband and father, and then becomes the monster that he is.

I also liked how both the show and the book, had the same twist in which Perry was Ziggys father. The book was Jane saying his fake name and revealing that he was her rapist, was very chilling in both the show and the book.

As an adaptation I thought the show did an amazing job with the characters, and most of it lies in its performances especially by Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailine Woodley. Aleksander Skardgard and Laura Dern. Those performances elevated the characters and its now suprise that Nicole, Laura and Aleks all won Emmys for their peromances.

Image result for big little lies show emmy

Both the show and the book was amazing. I usually don’t read contemporary books and especially mysteries for that matter but loved it any way. I may read more of Lianne Moriarty’s work.

 

 

Wildcard by Marie Lu

Summary:

Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Now that she knows the truth behind Hideo’s new NeuroLink algorithm, she can no longer trust the one person she’s always looked up to, who she once thought was on her side.

Determined to put a stop to Hideo’s grim plans, Emika and the Phoenix Riders band together, only to find a new threat lurking on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. Someone’s put a bounty on Emika’s head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. But Emika soon learns that Zero isn’t all that he seems–and his protection comes at a price.

Caught in a web of betrayal, with the future of free will at risk, just how far will Emika go to take down the man she loves?

The Review:

This book, just proved why Marie Lu, is one of my favorite authors. I was also lucky to get an ARC of this book, while at a Sabaa Tahir event.

Wildcard picks up pretty much where Warcross left off. In which Emika found out about Hideo’s plan to use the Neurolink to basically control the population. What made it great was the act that it was one of those things that really makes you think whether or not that Hideo was right.

Emilka also joins Zero’s gang in order to take down Hideo, while also simultaneously trying to avoid Hideo at all costs, because some tried to kill her, and that’s where the plot gets moving. A major strength is how fast paced this book was, and I felt that there was never a dull moment in the book.

Also there is Zero’s story. His story arc was amazing, while in the Wildcard he was mainly a background character who speaks to Emika secretly, he really has some great development, and you find out about his backstory and all that has happened to him. I also loved seeing some Black coats especially Jax, who was one of my favorite characters.

Also Hideo’s story arc was great as well. He was a very complex character, and while he wants to use the Neurolink to basically control the population and destroy the notion of freewill. What made it great was how what he believed what he was doing was right, and was driven my the kidnapping of his brother. I always feel that best antagonists believe that they are the protagonists of their stories.

Also like a Marie Lu book, there is some twists and turns that I did not see coming. There is also the fact that the Neurolink was a small part of a bigger issue. That is all I am going to say because I do not want to spoil anything.

If there was a negative, I felt that I wish I saw more of the Phoenix Riders because I loved those characters so much in Warcross, and I wished they were more fleshed out in this book.

In the end, I loved Wildcard. It has everything that I love about Marie Lu’s books. With its amazing characters and a non stop plot. It takes some great twists and turns with a an amazing story to go with it.

Grade: 5/5

Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killen

Summary:

After her mother is shot at a checkpoint, fifteen-year-old Sarah–blonde, blue-eyed, and Jewish–finds herself on the run from a government that wants to see every person like her dead. Then Sarah meets a mysterious man with an ambiguous accent, a suspiciously bare apartment, and a lockbox full of weapons. He’s a spy, and he needs Sarah to become one, too, to pull off a mission he can’t attempt on his own: infiltrate a boarding school attended by the daughters of top Nazi brass, befriend the daughter of a key scientist, and steal the blueprints to a bomb that could destroy the cities of Western Europe. With years of training from her actress mother in the art of impersonation, Sarah thinks she’s ready. But nothing prepares her for her cutthroat schoolmates, and soon she finds herself in a battle for survival unlike any she’d ever imagined. 

The Review:

I remember seeing this book at a lot of book stores. The cover, first of all really intrigued me because it looked liked a great spy novel dealing with Nazis in WWII, and I always love a good undercover story.

The WWII setting within Nazi Germany, and with a Jewish protagonist going undercover at a boarding school in Germany with children of SS officers was a nice touch. Sarah, who was trained as an actress so she was able to infiltrate the school.

Sarah was a nice main character to follow, with her trying to hide her Jewish heritage, I also like that there was times she completely had to improvise her situation in fear that they may find out who she really is.

The boarding school was a very torturous school, with teachers who would beat their students for misbehavior, and with the worship of Hitler or the Fuhrer. It also sort of had what I almost wanted to call Mean Girls, the Nazi version. With the Ice Queen sort of ruling the school. Sarah would have to spend most of her time trying to beat in races and also in school in order to get close to her because her father was a scientist working on the bomb.

A negative I would have for this book, is that it kinda lacked the espionage that I was hoping for. Most of the book was Sarah going undercover at the school, while her handler did most of the heavy lifting. While it wasn’t a bad thing because I got to see Nazi Germany from the Nazis point of view. I also feel that the ending was very rushed, and it almost felt random. I think a sequel may be in the works in which we could see a lot more espionage because the ending left it open for that.

In the end, I enjoyed Orphan Monster Spy. I always like undercover stories set within the history, and WWII was a good setting. It should how dark Nazi Germany was and why Sarah wanted to follow her cause. I hope if a sequel was made it would have a lot more espionage.

Grade: 3.5/5

September 2018 TBR

Hello all,

Where did the summer go. I can’t believe that it is already September and almost time for fall weather.

Even though I haven’t really been keeping up with my Monthly TBRs I hope that September will be a good reading month.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

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I read Strange the Dreamer and I absolutely loved it. I also realized that I never read Daughter of Smoke and Bone, even though it was on my TBR for quite a while now. I plan on reading the trilogy to get me hyped for Muse of Nightmares.

Fables Book One

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This is a graphic novel in which fairy tale live within the modern world. It reminded me of the show Grimm, which was a highly underrated show.

The Queens of Innis Lear

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I saw this at a book store and I was already intrigued by a premise in which sisters battle over a throne.

Hunting Prince Dracula

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I read Stalking Jack the Ripper last year and loved it. I was very excited that a sequel was written, and I know the third book is about to come out . I really like the mystery aspect of the book, and it makes it feel like a film noir.

Fatal Throne

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I love the aspect of this book, which is basically the wives side of the story regarding Henry VIII, which we never really hear about in the history books and hearing from people like Anna Boleyn and Jane Seymour.

Thats my TBR for the month of September. It may be subject to change, I may add a few more. What do you plan on reading in the month of September? Let me know in the comments below.

Star Wars Darth Bane: Path of Destruction by Drew Karpyshyn

Summary:

Since childhood, Dessel has known only the abuse of his hateful father and the dangerous, soul-crushing labor of a cortosis miner. Deep in the tunnels of the desolate planet Apatros, endlessly excavating the rare mineral valued throughout the galaxy, Dessel dreams of the day he can escape—a day he fears may never come. But when a high-stakes card game ends in deadly violence, Dessel suddenly finds himself a wanted man.

On the run from vengeful Republic forces, Dessel vanishes into the ranks of the Sith army, and ships out to join the bloody war against the Republic and its Jedi champions. There, Dessel’s brutality, cunning, and exceptional command of the Force swiftly win him renown as a warrior. But in the eyes of his watchful masters, he is destined for a far greater role in the ultimate Sith plan for the galaxy—if he can prove himself truly worthy.

As an acolyte in the Sith academy, studying the secrets and skills of the dark side at the feet of its greatest masters, Dessel embraces his new Sith identity: Bane. However the true test is yet to come. In order to gain acceptance into the Brotherhood of Darkness one must fully surrender to the dark side through a trial by fire that Bane, for all his unquenchable fury and lust for power, may not be strong enough to endure . . . especially since deception, treachery, and murder run rampant among the Sith disciples, and utter ruthlessness alone is the key to survival. Only by defying the most sacred traditions, rejecting all he has been taught, and drawing upon the long-forgotten wisdom of the very first Sith can Bane hope to triumph–and forge from the ashes of that which he must destroy a new era of absolute dark power.

The Review:

I picked up this book on a whim, mainly because I always wanted to read more of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, especially from the Old Republic because it always fascinated me especially within the Star Wars lore.

This book sort of gives the origin story of Darth Bane, who started off as a miner named Dressel from one of the Outer Rim planets in which he works long hours and has to pay off a debt to gangsters. As he becomes a wanted man from the Republic and sneaks aboard a Sith ship and joins the Sith army and starts to become force sensitive.

What I like about the book, is that it really taps into the Dark side of the force and how the Sith operates.

Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me

Seeing a lot of how the Sith operates really makes them more complex. From their point of they see that the Jedi are evil, and it could be true from a certain point of view. You also see how the Sith Academy at Korriban operates. They believe in competition among their students and Bane has to sort of outwit and outmatch all of the other students in order to rise through the ranks.

A lot of his strength comes with his anger at the past. He was basically abused for most of his life and that’s where the strength of his power comes from. His anger basically becomes a gift through the dark side. As he rises through the ranks he wants to know more about the Sith, and the history how it ties in with Darth Revan.

Darth Bane is also an extremely complex character. His story arc and why he turns to the dark side makes sense. His turn was brought on my at first a need for survival and then for a lust for power, and he even turns on the Sith lords in order to get his goal.

As he is in the Sith Academy he deals with a lot of betrayal, and his relationship with Githany, a former Jedi who turns to the Dark Side. Her character was also very complex and really give how both sides of the war.

As this was written by Drew Karpyshan, he was the senior writer for Knight of the Old Republic and it really shows. There was a lot of references to the game and with it being one of my favorite Star Wars games that showed a lot of complexities with the force and how it is not always black and white.

In the end, Path of Destruction was a great introduction to the story of Darth Bane. It was dark, twisted and I loved everything about it. If you are a fan of Star Wars, I would highly recommend that you pick it up.

Grade: 4.5/5

Top 5 Wednesday: Other SFF Media Part 2

Happy Wednesday everyone, and here is another Top 5 Wednesday and the topic is:

August 15: Freebie
–In celebration of my birthday week (and because there are 5 Wednesdays this month), this is my gift to you. Pick any topic you want this week! We have years worth of archived topics you can look through if you are having trouble deciding.

Top 5 Wednesday is a group in Goodreads and was formerly created by Lainey at gingerreadslainey and is now done by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. It is open to everyone.

For the Freebie I wanted to do another Top 5 SFF Medias which are non book related. As a SFF I had a bunch and I would love to talk more about them.

Click here for my other Top 5 Wednesday.

Bioshock series

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This is a game series that takes us from the deep seas of Rapture to the city up above in Columbia. Its a first person shooter that has such an engaging world and rich storytelling. The first Bioshock had such an awesome twist and with Bioshock Infinite, Booker and Elizabeth are some of my favorite characters in gaming.

Saga

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Calling it a Romeo and Juliet set in space is pretty much an understatement. It deals with the marriage and relationship of two different species who are on opposite ends of a war being on the run, while caring for a newborn child. Also there is a bounty hunter who is after them who I believe is such a fantastic character.

The X Files

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I got into this series kinda of late but I have been watching it on Hulu. I would consider this a sort of precursor to shows like Supernatural and Buffy. Dealing with a monster of the week, while also dealing with long story arc. It deals with Mulder and Scully and they are tasked with dealing with sort of the strange cases that may deal with aliens. Even though I started late I do really love the show.

The Fallout series

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An open world game set within a post apocalyptic wasteland. This game series is amazing. Even with this vast wasteland it is filled with engaging quests, developed characters and a great use of setting. I also love the morality system that was presented in Fallout 3 with a decision to save a town or blow it up.

Star Wars: Knight of the Old Republic

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Even though this is based on an existing property such as Star Wars, I would call it the definitive RPG experience within the Star Wars universe. It is also the game that put Bioware, the makers of Dragon Age and Mass Effect on the map. It has such engaging characters that you follow including a homicidal droid. Part of me really wishes that we could get another Star Wars RPG experience but I don’t think that will happen.

Those are some other SFF medias that I like. Do you have any favorite SFF media? Let me know in the comments below.