Mulan Live Action Film Rant

I recently got Dinsey+ and I decided to watch Mulan today. The live action remake, that is, and it was so bad. The best thing I can say about it is that it was very visually beautiful. There will be spoilers ahead.

Okay, so they turned this funny animated film about a girl who goes to war disguised as a boy in her father’s place. Took 98% of the comedic value of that story and replaced with some weird, pseudo-Chinese magic plot line. Where instead of having a girl who overcomes the challenges  of being physically smaller and weaker than the other soldiers through cunning and hard work, you have a girl whose “chi” is strong. Except apparently girls can’t have chi (even though the film also defines it as something that everyone has but I mean okay) because… it gives them magic powers?? I’m really confused about this bit cause we have another woman with “strong chi” who’s been exiled as a witch? And she can turn into a hawk? Or a flock of birds. Yeah… anyway. Mulan is magic now. 

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And that’s honestly all there is to the film. That, and a phoenix metaphor. It was boring, man. It was boring and it made no sense. They got rid of Mushu, first and biggest mistake they made. Then there was a bunch of talk about honor this and honor that and then she decides it’s not honourable to lie so she lets her hair loose (literally) and gets rid of her armour (because I guess armour is not feminine enough and was restraining her chi???) which are the two least logical things to do when you’re about to head into battle but girl power amirite? 

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Anyway, then she saves the day and goes back to her family to make amends and then the emperor gives her a sword and she becomes a legend. The end. It was just such a disappointment. It didn’t do anything right except cinematography. It was pretty. I’m not Chinese, so I’m only saying what I think, I may be wrong, but I thought even the rep was awful even though the cast was all Asian. And I’ve read some own-voices reviews that concurred. So, in the words of the great Mushu himself…

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The Toll by Neal Shusterman – DISCUSSION

This has spoilers. You have been warned. I do also have a spoiler-free review of the series if you want to check that out instead. This is mainly a discussion for the final book, but I will also be talking about the series in general.

I didn’t like this book. I loved the first two, but I hated the ending. It’s so unsatisfying. The problem that we spent two books on, namely Goddard and the New Order Scythes is not solved. At all. Sending a bunch of people into space to possibly set up colonies and start over IS NOT A SOLUTION!!!!! I am so mad at that ending. It’s rubbish. It’s utter rubbish! I know that Goddard did die, but it still wasn’t a solution. It just happened because Rand was fed up. But the resolution of the plot was to send a bunch of people into space and hope. Which was a stupid solution.

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Especially with the whole fail-safe thing. Scythes were cancelled, basically. So the Thunderhead could have intervened. He could have like supplanted the New Order Scythes. Or it could have let one of its copies that didn’t have the stupid no-intervention rule to supplant them. Or something. I don’t know, literally anything would have been more satisfying than what we got. They could have dealt with Goddard and THEN tried colonising space. That would have been fine. And if the colonies were successful, they could cancel the fail-safe too and then it would have been even more utopian. I don’t understand why do it this way. It’s stupid and totally unsatisfying and it ruined such a great series.

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Also the fail-safe was so anti-climactic. We spent so much time building up to it and then it all resolved in like one chapter. We barely got to see any repercussions for it. Everything was just left open ended and I hate it. I don’t always mind open ends, but this one sucked. And it didn’t make sense. If it had made sense, I think I’d have been okay with it, but it just didn’t. There were so many better solutions to all the problems. And I just find it hard to believe that the Thunderhead, who supposedly was never wrong, figured that this was the only viable option.

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I also didn’t like where most of the characters ended up and how their stories developed. Wasn’t a fan of Greyson’s story arc in the final book. He could have been so much more interesting based on the first 2 books. The whole Toll thing was just… meh in my opinion. I didn’t hate it… but I just found myself uninterested whenever his chapters were on. I didn’t think he really evolved in this book and he was annoying at times when interacting with the Thunderhead. To be fair, the Thunderhead was being infuriating as well.

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I think Scythe Rand was done a huge disservice. There was so much potential for character development with her. I loved the parts about her and Tiger and I think way, way more could have been done with her, but she was just kind of relegated to the sidelines. At least she kills Goddard I guess, but more could have been done.

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I would have been… okay with how Citra and Rowan ended up. If it had been under any other circumstances. But considering how much I hated the space thing, I was not happy with how their story developed either.

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I didn’t really care much about the two new characters. The captain and the former nimbus agent. I forget both their names. I didn’t really like the captain, I found him/her annoying on several levels, but at the same time, I could very easily ignore that because I just didn’t care about him/her. I have no opinion whatsoever on the nimbus agent. I think she was bland, to say the least.

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I think the only character I was okay with how they ended up was Faraday. I think that all things considered, he’s the only one who got a somewhat satisfying ending.

So yeah, I’m very mad at this book. I have strong feelings, which just goes to show how much I cared. It’s such a great story and I’m really mad that it got such a crap ending. It deserved better.

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas – DISCUSSION

***SPOILER ALERT: THIS DISCUSSION CONTAINS SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK AND DO NOT WISH TO BE SPOILED, READ MY SPOILER FREE REVIEW HERE.

As I mentioned in my review, this book was a bit of a disappointment for me. Not that it was bad. It was by no means bad. I loved it, of course. However, it did not live up to the awesomeness that was ACOMAF. And there were actually a few things that I didn’t like about it at all, that I felt were not executed very well. This is going to be both a rave and a rant in one. I have a feeling it will be very long. So prepare for gifs.

I’m going to fist start with things that bothered or annoyed me. Some are more significant than others, mostly it’s just me being an irascible old lady, but anyway. One thing that really annoyed me were the sex scenes. There were just so many of them particularly in the first half and I found them to be boring and unnecessary. Like, we get it. You two like doing the hanky panky. Can’t blame you. However, I do not need to know every single instance when the deed is done, or when you think about doing the deed. Especially that it’s so repetitive. Feyre’s toes always curl in her boots, her “core goes molten” all the time, Rhys’ ding dong is always proud and velvety and just ugh. WE GET IT. Now let’s talk about something more interesting please.

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The word “mate” was abused so much, it probably needs counselling. Can’t you just refer to people by name. “My mate” here, “my mate” there just… get a goddamn dictionary and find some other words.

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That’s about it in terms of writing. In terms of plot… I thought the book wasn’t very well paced. I feel like it would have done better as two 500 page books instead of one 700 page one. Some things were very rushed, particularly in the second half. Like… the whole ending with her dad and Drakon and the Phoenix queen was just dropped pretty much out of nowhere and just seemed like a convenient way out of the shit they were in. There wasn’t that build-up to it that Sarah can do so well. And I feel like that’s because there just wasn’t time. There was so much going on with Feyre and the squad, that there wasn’t time to focus on Lucien and what went on beyond Prythian. I would have really liked a few chapters from Lucien’s POV throughout to sort of learn what went on there properly, instead of having it explained in two pages at the end. The whole ending seemed very rushed and not that well executed, particularly knowing what Sarah is capable of.

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Her dad suddenly becoming useful and with enough foresight to go out and seek reinforcements before he even knew what had happened with Feyre… I didn’t really buy it. It didn’t seem very plausible to me and just… meh.

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I didn’t like Feyre as much in this one. I felt like she was becoming Aelin. And I like Aelin. But Feyre is not Aelin, you know. It felt like the two characters were sort of merging with each other and I didn’t like that. It’s like writing both series at the same time kinda took its toll and they’re bleeding into each other.

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I did like the scene with Feyre looking into the Ourobouros and accepting herself at last. That felt very empowering.

This is probably the thing that bothered me most in this book. Mor’s “secret”. Just no. It felt so wrong to me, so completely out of character. It made no sense. I hated it. I absolutely hated it. I was so angry reading that part. I mean… you’re telling me that Mor, who is so completely unapologetic, was afraid to tell the people who love her beyond everything for 500 fucking years that she was into girls more than guys? And why? So her family wouldn’t find out and make fun of her? What? What? Just… What?

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How the hell does that make any sense? First of all, she has free reign from Rhys to slaughter her entire family if she so chooses, so why the hell would she care if they don’t approve of her proclivities? Secondly, she lived in a city that had been hidden from the world for a thousand years. Her family would never have found out. Rhys and the others would sure as hell not have told anyone if she had asked. It just makes no sense and it’s so unlike Mor.

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What’s more… she strung poor Az along for 500 years because she didn’t want to tell people she was gay? What the fuck? I mean… okay… keep your secret, but don’t be an asshole and string along the poor guy. At least have the balls to tell him no. Instead of dangling shreds of hope in front of him for centuries, and then whenever he inches a bit towards you, sleep with another guy to remind him that you don’t want him? What. The. Fuck. That’s such a cruel, douchebag thing to do and I was so angry. That took down Mor in my eyes so much and I’m so pissed, because I really loved Mor.

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Also… I’m kind of confused about the whole Elain-Lucien-Az thing… is it even a thing? I can’t tell.

Okay, I think I’ve exhausted the things that I didn’t like about the book. Now let’s move on to some of the awesome things that happened.

Feyre learning how to fly! Loved that. Particularly that we got to see more of Az, and I love him to bits. Something that I really liked about this, and it seems insignificant, but I really liked that it was so hard for Feyre to learn how to fly. So many times in books, heroes learn of a new ability and then instantly master it and that just seems so unrealistic. But Feyre absolutely sucked. And Az volunteering to teach her because he knows what it’s like to learn how to fly later in life… just… GAH. My feels!

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Feyre stealing Ianthe’s moment at the Summer festival thing. Feyre undermining Ianthe and making her look like a fool. Feyre rescuing Lucien from Ianthe. Feyre making Ianthe smash her own hand. Feyre feeding Ianthe to The Weaver. SO MUCH YES!

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Lucien. Just Lucien. I would have been so pissed if he had not come with Feyre. Also, surprisingly… Tamlin. I actually thought he had a very good arc. Probably the best character development in this book. It just made sense and it felt right. I was pleasantly surprised.

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Cassian and Nesta. They were so fjhsgwepruijeknvdswfenvk PRECIOUS LITTLE UNICORNS I CAN’T JUST KISS ALREADY!!! Me every time they were in the same room vvv

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Cassian going all primal warrior and becoming a vortex of hotness and death. Rhys fully giving in to his beast form and becoming a vortex of hotness and death (I wish we had gotten a better description of his beast form. I imagine a sort of black griffon type creature with bat wings). Helion giving in to his beast form and becoming a vortex of hotness and death (I imagine him like a golden white griffon).

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Seeing all the other High Lords and learning more about them. Also learning more about Amren and the Weaver and Bone Carver. Just learning more about the world and characters in general. Amren and Varian. The Weaver, the Bone Carver and Bryaxix being released upon Hybern’s army and Feyre and Rhys watching them like

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Rhys dying and being brought back to life like Feyre was. I thought it was a nice circle. Very satisfying. I wonder if now he has all the different powers as well.

The Suriel. So many feels!

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Elain and Nesta killing the King of Hybern! The viciousness in Nesta decapitating him. So much win. Just Nesta in general, actually.

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Alright, well I think this is more or less what I have to say about it. This post is already gigantic, so I’ll leave it at that. Let me know what your thoughts were.

 

Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige – RANT

WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK AND DO NOT WISH TO BE SPOILED, CHECK OUT MY SPOILER FREE REVIEW.

This is my second one star review in as many months. To be fair, I started reading this book AGES ago. Like, 6 months ago. Yes. I hated it that much! I actually have the perfect gif to sum up my feelings about this book.

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I was promised a Snow Queen retelling. This wasn’t no snow queen retelling. I mean, it had some elements, but it had elements of so many different things that it’s irrelevant. It was all over the place. What’s more, to me the Snow Queen was always quite dark and the magic in it was really dark. Especially the mirror. That is the best pat in the story and it was completely ruined in this book. Instead of being a mirror that reflected only ugliness and its shards taking away love and joy from people and all that, it was some weird weapony thing that wasn’t really explained, but everyone wanted it. I just… ugh, I hated it.

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When I first started the book and saw it was set in a mental asylum I was so excited. I thought it was going to be this dark, psychological type of story. And then a pretty boy came to our heroine in a dream and convinced her to go through a magical tree by promising to help her find another pretty boy who had been kidnapped and dragged through said magical tree. Or through a mirror? I think it was a mirror? (Yeah, I’m confused too)

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And that is when I knew there was going to be a love triangle. But I was wrong. Oh, I was so wrong. No, this wasn’t a love triangle. This was nymphomania. Our dear Snow was attracted to every. single. male. she. met. I wanted them all to die, just so I would not have to read one more agonizing second of her basically being like “Oh, Kai is so hot. But no! Bale, what about Bale?! But he’s so hot. I’ll kiss him, Bale won’t mind.” and then while kissing him “Oh, but Jagger had much softer looking lips.” UGHHHHHHH!

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This book made no sense. At all. So, you’re telling me that doctors with a medical license and like… any common sense… lock up a child in an asylum for over 10 years and put her on full blown medication BECAUSE SHE CRASHED INTO A MIRROR ONE TIME WHEN SHE WAS 6? Because fuck logic, right?

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And I’m not even going to go into the topic of how mental illness was treated in this book because… let’s just not go there. I will say only this… it was a disgrace. A fucking disgrace. All the patients in that hospital were basically a cardboard cutout of their illness. As if the only relevant thing about them was their illness, and to add grievance to injury, it wasn’t even a particularly accurate portrayal. I mean, I have very little experience with most of those conditions, but even I could tell they were inaccurately portrayed. Just… a disgrace.

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But the asylum thing wasn’t the only thing that made no sense. Just the whole book felt so discordant. I have so many questions. It was like Paige wasn’t really sure what she was trying to write. Like she couldn’t decide whether she wanted to do like a magical coming of age, training thing or a heist thing or what? Was her dad evil or not? I guess her mum was evil for sure? Bale was… I don’t know who Bale was, really? He ended up being the Enforcer, but what  does that have to do with him liking to set things on fire? And was he evil or being controlled? Greta was a werewolf? I guess? Why? Don’t know. Who exactly was Jagger? What about the witches? If hr mum was a witch, did the other witches know she was evil? What exactly was that prophecy thing? What exactly is it with the tree? I don’t know, it was just all over the place.

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There was no world building. I can sum up the whole world into one word: snow. There was a lot of snow. And the world building wasn’t the only lazy piece of writing in this book. Everything was. There is nothing in this book that is in any way original or interesting, or not a copy paste cliche. Lost princess? Check? Special, special, special snowflake? Check. Convenient family members? Check. Incredibly convoluted, but utterly predictable ‘plot twists’? Check. Insta-love? Check. I feel exhausted just writing this review. It drains me of life and joy.

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I hated Snow. Snow was such an entitled, special little snowflake, I could not even. She was supposed to be badass, but she was just a whiny, horny teenage girl who did nothing but throw temper tantrums and think about boys. Also, how exactly she went from having zero knowledge or control over her magic, to conjuring a pack of snow wolves in like a week?

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The writing was clumsy and bland and just… bad. It was bad. It felt like a first draft, rather than a finished novel. I don’t understand how this book got published. Honestly, what publisher bought this? What editor let this go through? It had no substance whatsoever. It was just an all around awful book. I was so disappointed. I’d heard only amazing things about Dorothy Must Die. And I have read so many reviews from fans of that series who were just shocked at how appallingly bad this book was. I still might give Dorothy Must Die a shot, but this was a hot mess of a book.