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Sunday, May 29

Joint Discussion: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

This month Blodeuedd and I will be discussing "Red Rising" by Pierce Brown

Author: Pierce Brown
Title: Red Rising (Red Rising #1)
Genre: Sci-FI, Fantasy, & YA
Pages: ebook
First Published: January 28th 2014
Where I Got It: Borrowed from library

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity's overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society's ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies... even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.  

B: Ok, let us begin. I can start. First I just HAVE to complain..I mean really have to. See for me the first 100 pages were pure torture. It was such a DNF. I had been trying to read it for days and then came today when we were supposed to do this and I had read...20 pages! Yikes. So skimmed most of those first 100 boring pages. Then half skimmed the next 50, then after 150 it picked up somewhat, like to Grade 2 territory. Then after 200 it started to get semi interesting. Them after 250 I sat down and paid attention and it ended with a bang. But really, if this had been a normal book for a normal day then it would have been a DNF! However got it got to be in the end.  You? ;)

C: I honestly didn’t have a hard time. I actually enjoyed the first 200 pages! I enjoyed the slow journey and then everything exploded once they were forced to battle and all that. Yes, the beginning was slow, but I liked it. However….some things seemed SO ridiculous at times. Like the “Passage”. 

B: I guess the Golds are just fucked up people. But I really do not get how the can function as a society. If I made it through the passage fine, but then, the rest, there were rapes. One would think women would not want to send their daughters their, or fathers their sons. If I made it through I would have just gone killer crazy when I graduated. And no one does? Damn, people would have to pay, in blood!

C: Precisely! They tried to compare themselves to the Spartans, but hell, Spartans still have rules and didn’t have half the crazy notions the Golds do. It just seems….crazy. If I was part of this world I would wanna be a Pink or something. Too much for “power”. 

B: But weren’t all pinks whores? I think I would want to be Green, creativity, at least that would get people off my back. I could never be red. Golds are insane. Green I do not know them, but yikes, what a world.

C: I can’t remember who the Greens really were….I would need to learn more. I know for sure I do not want to be a Red or a Gold. Being a Pink (aka prostitute/whore) would be the best of the three until I learn more about the negatives of the other colors not really discussed. Yeah…..poor Darrow. 

B: I know not all Golds go through that horrible horrible place. But as a parent I would not want my kid there to become some crazy mofo. 
Also, the Reds, I know the upper management makes them marry young, but hello, if you want more kids then the answer is not to marry at 14. Bodies are not really meant for that and if you want like 20 new slaves then like wait a bit. 

C: Yeah. Agreed. My question is… did the higher-ups keep the city a secret from the LowReds. How? I don’t get it. There are a lot of people flying just seems impossible. 

B: I could believe if it had been a generation or so, but hundreds of years? And no one spilled the beans? No, I can not believe that. I just can not

C: There were a lot of things I questioned….lots of plot holes for my liking. Maybe some of these will be answered in the next book(s). I think this is my only complaint about this book. The journey was fun, the characters interesting, the storyline addicting, but the plotholes? Too many for me. 

B: My complaint, make that complaints, are of course it was so boring, oh my god, so effing boring in the start. I did not care. I do not even know why he was taken prisoner, I just did not care. I only got into it when the killing started, yes, I am dark. But it went from blergh to interesting when they tried to build their effed up society and some did realise the flaws. Like that matters. And that end, BOOM! Oh yes, that was a good one. That made me want to read the next book, I just hope the beginning will not drag there too, I just can not handle that

C: I think it’s funny we disagree on this. ;) But yeah - the best part was for sure the killing and darker part. I think it’s insane how seriously they all took this “schooling”. WTF? It is like High School on steroids! I can’t even fathom what is going to happen the next. I do want to read the next book, but I am scared it won’t be as good. There are three books. I feel the events in the second one will be bleh, while the last book will be epic. 

B: And that is why we are not Golds..well actually those pixie golds would more be my thing. I’d eat cake and more cake and could not stop. Let the rest kill themselves stupid buggers. 
Let me think, I should say something more. Damn that end was epic, I can not get over it. If the book had been all way through like that then it would have been a 4. Now it’s a mercy 3 because of a boring dnf beginning.

 Oh oh let’s read all 3 together. Mouwhahahahahahahahahaha

C: LOLLLL a pixie gold wouldn’t be a bad fate. I must say kuddos to the author...he took the story to a whole different level and direction!! I expected more politics and etc….not death and war and the like. Major kuddos. YES. The ending was good! Loved it and totally worth the “slower” parts ;). We should read the next one together! I’m game. 

B: Before me go, I have to mention the whole, any book where kids are killed is compared to the hunger games. For me the hunger games was a sweet silly book where kids killed each other to survive..ahem. But this, these kids were sociopaths, I mean wtf! The raping, murdering, butchering, torture, some did it for fun! This was not a Hunger games book, more like Battle Royale.

C: Well - I have not read the Hunger Games books….I have seen the first movie *ducks behind barricade* This really is a Hunger Games meets Mad Max meets 1984. Dark and bloody.

B: Ha, we have most talked about one thing, but that is a discussion for you :) So the end?

C: Well, it's hard to really talk about other things without MAJOR spoilers ya know? LOL. But yes, the end. ^_^

B: Until next time then my lady

C: *Waves* Who’s turn is it next?

B: This was my pick, so you

C: *dives behind barricade again* OH NO!! Wish me luck!

B: Do NOT mess it up!

C: 0_0

This was way better than I thought it was going to be. The beginning was a hair slow, but I felt it was necessary and I didn't mind it. Strange! I know. It was a dark world....I have no idea why it was a YA....there was a lot of blood, rape, death, and war. Many compare it to the Hunger Games. I personally feel it is a mixture of the HG plus Mad Max plus 1984 all rolled into one. The ending had me drooling for the next one! In the end, I do recommend this for those that like books like the Hunger Games. Just be warned it is a darker version. I shall stamp this with 4 stars. 

Saturday, May 28

Guest Post: Movie Review - EQUALS

I would all like you to give another warm welcome to my guest here at CRR's! 

Maria is a writer interested in comic books, cycling, and horror films. Her hobbies include cooking, doodling, and finding local shops around the city. She currently lives in Chicago with her two pet turtles, Franklin and Roy. 

Equals: A New Type of Sci-Fi?

Equals is the newest cinematic offering from A24 Films and DirecTV that focuses on a star-crossed romance within a utopian society. The world we are exposed to throughout Equals’ is intended to show how an ideal society can be created, as well as the logistical flaws involved in such an endeavor. Equals comes across as a film that does its best to develop a unique identity, separate from other recent dystopian youth films like The Hunger Games and Divergent.

Director Drake Doremus and writer Nathan Parker have created the utopian world of Equals, in which a near-futuristic society reminiscent of The Giver has chemically neutralized emotions in all its citizens. This is referred to as the “Switch On Syndrome” or SOS and anyone showing any form of emotion is shipped off to the Defective Emotional Neuropathy (DEN) center. Lead characters, Silas (Nicholas Hoult) and Nia (Kristen Stewart), meet each other at the DEN center after Silas first manifests SOS. Silas senses a common bond in Nia, who seems to suffer from emotion but is skilled at concealing it.

Casting Stewart in this role seems to fit with the common perception that she has trouble emoting. Her style of acting, coupled with a muted color palette to her wardrobe only helps to emphasize Nia's emotional strain. Although Nia knows that society wants to purge her of her emotions, she's unsure as to why. After Silas and Nia interact with a support group, Jacki Weaver's Bess, another SOS "victim," offers a chance at escaping. Bess states that she once had an encounter with a man who offered her a chance to go to "The Peninsula," a land of total freedom. She turned him down and believes that the man's life was ended.

One quirk of this futuristic world is that any the intrusive eye of big government seems to have cataracts as Nia and Silas rebel with little punishment or obstruction. This may cause some to wonder why such an oppressive system would have so few people leaving the community if it seems like such an optional way of living. For all of Equals' interesting world-building, it only feels like the audience gets the briefest overview of each set piece and element as if large chunks of notes were left within the script's margins. One shining element of this film is that even when Parker's' script fails to make logical sense, it seems to strike hard and effectively at the one thing the audience is told the film's society purges itself of: Emotion.

John Guleserian’s cinematographic focus on a muted, steel-gray color palette and close-up shots helps to bring the audience in touch with the emotional weight of Silas, Nia and their struggles. This is especially poignant during the pair's first attempt at intimacy where Nia finds herself struggling to communicate her thoughts and simply begs Silas to take everything from her as if such an intense emotional surge were best handled like a hot potato.

The film's final set piece may remind some of a Shakespearean drama, in a positive way. The story of Equals is divvied up among several small, emotive segments that ratchet up to an overwhelming finale. The taste that this finale leaves in each viewer's mouth may vary from person to person. In summation, Equals is a science-fiction film that presents a world that tries to survive without emotion. The combination of Drake Doremus and Nathan Parker, as director and scriptwriter respectively, and Kristen Stewart's acting prowess helps to drive home the importance of emotion in any society.

Wednesday, May 25

Book Review: Depravity by MJ Haag

Author: MJ Haag
Titles: Depravity (Beastly Tales #1)
Genre: Retellings, Romance, & Fantasy
Pages: Ebook
First Published: June 10th 2015
Where I Got It: On my shelf (Amazon Freebie)

A classic fairy tale with a new twist, the Beauty and the Beast saga begins with Depravity... 

Sixteen year old Benella is concerned with two things–avoiding the two village boys who torment her and scrounging for food to help feed her family. Unfortunately, the best wild fruit and vegetables are near the walls of the estate, a dark misty place inhabited by an unforgiving beast. 

When her tormentors lock her behind the massive gates, Benella knows her fate is sealed. Yet, the fate isn’t one she expects. Her encounter with the beast starts a bizarre cycle of bargaining for her freedom, a freedom the beast seems determined to see her lose. 

With the police closing in and the blood feud threatening them, Alena and Enre must overcome their pasts to save their packs’ futures.

Well – this certainly was a darker and grittier version of the beloved story of Beauty and the Beast. It took me by surprise, because yes it does say “Adult Romance” in the summary and all that, but it went DARK at points. And I didn’t feel like this was a romance at all. At least not yet.

Benella (aka Belle) is a 16 year old who’s only worried about getting food/money for her family and avoiding two a-hole guys who are out to get her. Once in a while she sneaks into a dark and magical estate to steal food even though everyone knows if she is caught trespassing three times the “beast” will punish them. 

Not much is known about the Beast, but he JUST that…a beast. It’s pretty obvious he was the old lord of the land, who has been turned into a ghastly creature, but the villagers do not know that yet. 

I hated Benella’s family! The two sisters were horrible and her dad did nothing ever….and I mean ever. However, she still loves them and puts her neck-on-the-line to find food/money. In between escaping the pervy Baker’s advances and the pissed off beast at the creepy estates. 

Yes, this story does follow a 16 year old girl, but it is NOT a YA, it even says it in the summary. There are nude scenes, whorehouse scenes, attempted rape scene, sex scenes, and a sex scene that was for sure more rape than sex honestly (poor Sara). How Benella has maintained her virginity thus far is a surprise to me especially with that Baker guy. These sometimes were “WOAH” moments, but I honestly didn’t mind them. I feel it added to the reality to the book and added a certain darkness to it. Many people didn’t like it or think it was necessary. However, people are forgetting that this is a dark time in this world. There is no money and people are struggling to just get food on the table. Dark times = Dark deeds and Dark measures. 

I do agree I wasn’t a huge fan of the whorehouse parts and I didn’t see how it really fit into the story.

OOOOOOOOH the ending. No. No. You cannot end like that. Now I am forced to read the next one. I’m sure what will happen next, but now I need to know. GAH.

In the end, I liked this quite a bit. It was a darker version and I liked it. I hated the family, the townsfolk, and the whorehouse scenes were meh. This is NOT a YA and don’t let the young age of the heroine fool you. This shall be stamped 5 stars. More 4.5, but I rounded. 

Monday, May 23

B's Monday Review: Wedding Bells, Magic Spells by Lisa Shearin

You would think that after having successfully destroyed the Saghred (aka, a legendary soul-sucking rock) and sending an evil goblin demigod to the Lower Hells that I would get some time off to plan my wedding to my sexy paladin fiancĂ© Mychael Eiliesor, right? Wrong. Not only do I have to brace for meeting Mychael’s parents and cope with my burgeoning new powers, but it seems there may be another calamity brewing.

After the recent change in goblin leadership, the new—thankfully non-psychotic—king is willing to participate in an elf/goblin/human peace treaty. The Isle of Mid is the site of these delicate negotiations, meaning all hands on deck for Mychael and his Conclave Guardians. When the head of elven intelligence (and my wedding guest) Duke Markus Sevelien is nearly assassinated upon his arrival, I suspect my mother-in-law will be the least of my concerns. Sabotaging these talks may be only the first salvo in a treacherous and deadly new apocalyptic plot! 

My thoughts:
It's not the best time to read a book when you are cranky as hell, but at least it took my minds if things...for a few seconds, and then I was cranky again.

Anyway....Raine should be with Taaaam! Team Tam!!!! But no, she is marrying Mychael, always go with the nice elf. Noo, go with the goblin! Alas those days are over, but in my mind she in Tam will have goblin babies one day. I am so bad ;)

But before they can get married she must meet the inlaws *music of doom*
And they must meet her pirate family *music of doom*
She must deal with the after affects of the Sanghred *music of doom*
Someone is trying to kill everyone *music of doom*
And something bigger is music of doom, just a note to the author to write more books. pretty please.

It was fun to see Raine and the gang again, and seriously, one more book is so needed. Just one more. 


Paperback, 312 pages
Published February 16th 2016 by NLA Digital LLC
Raine Benares #7