Friday, July 22, 2016

On: VIKINGS (and serious fangirling)

Over the first part of 2016, I picked up a number of new television series, mostly out of boredom. I know, I know, I should have picked up Fairy Tail again or another anime series. But like, I really wanted to watch these shows ok? And along with Shadowhunters, I started to watch this amazing gem that I can't get enough of: Vikings. 

Vikings is produced by the History channel, but unlike other History channel shows, Vikings plays out like a drama, bringing to life the legendary tales surrounding Ragnor Lothbrok, the farmer-turned-king. At the beginning of the first season, we meet a young farmer named Ragnor who is an amazing warrior that has sworn fealty to Earl Harldson, for whom himself and his brother Rollo raid. But Ragnor is not satisfied raiding lands that he says, are often just as poor as them - he wants to travel West, a journey no viking has ever successfully completed. Undeterred by the Earl's dismissal of his attempts to sail West, Ragnor asks his good friend Floki to build him a ship. And using the knowledge he gained from a wanderer on how to sail West using the position of the sun, Ragnor sets sail on his own with a crew of men. The success of his raid will set him onto a path of power and politics as two languages and cultures - those of Christians and pagans - clash. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Book Review: A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

There are so many books that have already been printed in the world with many more being printed as you read this! So of course it's not uncommon for people to not have read "classics" in any genre. I for one, have tended to read more modern literature rather than the classics, but there is one classic that I have always wanted to read: A Wizard of Earthsea. 

A Wizard of Earthsea is fantasy at its best. Written for a juvenile audience, it nonetheless contains rich language and world building the likes of which can be compared to the Lord of the Rings. I picked up a copy at my local library that was added to our collection in 2004. The picture to the right is of the library book I checked out and you can see how its cover is very traditional, immediately marking it as an older release. I loved this book though because when you hold it in your hands you still get that "new book" smell and as a hardcover that was the size of a paperback, it was not only easy to carry, but still made a loud "thud" noise when I closed it. Yeah, yeah, I know, typical book geek details, but I couldn't help but point it out :p

A Wizard of Earthsea follows our hero Sparrowhawk, a young magician-in-training that has little patience with the finer details of the art. Rather than learn as much as he can, he's more concerned with learning greater and better things. His ambition eventually leads him to recklessly call upon a soul from the dead and unleash a terrible shadow in the world. Sparrowhawk must now learn all he can in order to defeat the shadow and prevent it from wrecking havoc in Earthsea.

On: Miyuki Watanabe: Confessions of a Fan

I'm a pretty big idol fan. If you look through my blog, I'm sure you'll realize this to be true. The groups I primarily follow are those from the 48Group and Hello!Project. So, as an idol fan, I've experienced a fair share of graduations. However, there are certain girls that I've grown to like so much, that when they leave, I feel like the entire group has changed completely for me because I've grown to care more for this one girl than I have the rest of the group: my definition of a kamioshi. One of these girls is NMB48's Watanabe Miyuki.

Miyuki or "Milky" as she is affectionately called by fans, is a first generation member of the group NMB48 based in Osaka, Japan. She is the original center of the group, and co-centered many singles with Yamamoto Sayaka. Together they were SayaMilky, NMB's 2top representatives and the first (and so far only) members of NMB to rank in the top 16 in the 48Group election. Milky didn't originally stand out to me. To be quite honest, I didn't care much for NMB when they were first formed. I enjoyed their songs, but I couldn't find a reason to like them. When NMB's top began to participate in AKB singles and tv shows, I began to learn more about them. I remember my first impression of Milky was that she was far too flirtatious. However, as I got to know her more, I realized that I LOVED this side of her.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

In 2017, the live-action Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson will (finally) be released. In the meantime, I sat down and read this little gem right here which turned out to be a retelling of Beauty and the Beast! I honestly picked it up because it was recommended to me, but I never even bothered to read what it was about. Imagine my surprise when I started reading it and began to make all of the connections between this story and that of Beauty (and imagine how silly I felt afterward when I learned it was literally pegged as a retelling. My bad.)

A Court of Thorns and Roses centers around Feyre, a 19 year old girl who is out hunting in the woods for food for herself, her two sisters and her father. When she was about to bring down a deer, a large wolf enters, also hoping to bring down the doe. Feyre is aware that the wolf could be a faerie and out of hatred for faeries, who mistreated humans for generations, she shoots the wolf and skins him. Her actions set off a sequence of events, starting with the arrival of Tamil, the high lord of the Spring Court, arriving at her door to demand payment for the death of his sentinel Andras. As payment, Feyre is taken to the land of Faeries, named Prythian where she will learn that the events she has set in motion extend farther than she ever imagined.

A Court of Thorn and Roses was a roller coaster ride. I thought that I kind of knew where the story was going and then had to quickly readjust. I remember originally thinking that it was so weird that a loss of magic would mean that members of the Spring Court couldn't remove their masquerade masks when magic was affected at a ball. I let its shaky premise go however, since this was a world of faeries and magic and where magic is concerned, much of it can be explained just with, "That's the way the magic worked." So I was quite happy when we finally (it took a while to get to this point in the story. I didn't mind it though), learned the entire truth of everything that had happened and was happening in the Spring Court.