I Partridge: We Need To Talk About This Book

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Why am I writing the review like this?

Because this is how the book starts.

That’s very meta- will you do the whole review like this?

No cos that’s not how Alan does it.

I notice you call him Alan- do you actually know him well enough to use his first name?

Ermmm next question…

Sooo what did you think of this book then?

I’m glad you asked. This book was killer- almost like that time Alan killed someone on live TV (something I’ll admit he’s a bit touchy about in this memoir). But seriously- this is the funniest book I’ve ever read. It stars Alan Partridge- the nation’s *ahem* favourite broadcaster. This book was stuffed with every kind of humour, from satire to silliness to literal toilet humour. Prepare to belly laugh your way through four hundred pages of pure comic genius- where “needless to say I had the last laugh” (not just a random quote- that came from the book- he says it *a lot*). Jam packed with clichés and awful puns, this book embodied the character we all know and love…

Wait a sec- I don’t actually know who Alan Partridge even is?!

AHA! Well then you have not lived! Be prepared, because you are about to go down a rabbit hole of TV from which you will not recover any time soon, starting with his flagship show Knowing Me Knowing You:

And don’t worry, even though that show was not picked up for a second season, you can still watch Alan’s time at North Norfolk digital on the I’m Alan Partridge and of course the full length feature film Alpha Papa. When you’re done with all that come back and read this book. You’re welcome! 😉

(Yes I have just sorted out your free time for the next year)

What do you know- I did do the whole review in Q&A form! “Back of the net!” (another Partridge gem). And of course I’m giving him a whole bunch of bananas

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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So I’m not even gonna ask if you’re gonna read this- I know you will 😉 What’s the funniest book you’ve read lately? Let me know in the comments!

Eek Game of Thrones is back!!

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Hello all! Exciting news today: as I did last year, I will be reviewing all the Game of Thrones episodes now that it’s back! This will be full of spoilers because, dudes and dudettes, if you haven’t watched it three days after the premier, I don’t know what you’ve been doing!? Go away and come back when you’ve watched it!

Righty ho…

shall we begin

Let’s get straight onto what I loved about this episode, namely… THAT OPENING! Man, only in Game of Thrones do you get a payoff in season 7 for something that happened in season 3- but it was so worth the wait. That line “winter has come for house Fray” was literally killer. I mean, I knew from the fact that the recap alone gave me chills that I was in for a thunderstorm of emotions, but I didn’t expect for it to blow me away so quickly. Five minutes in and it was already the best TV I’d seen in a year.

There was of course that same old recap element to the first episode of the season. And even though it felt like I’d been grabbed by the throat by that beginning, the pressure did ease off a little as other characters were reintroduced.

That said, I enjoyed the initial character development you got in this episode. I do appreciate how dark Sansa has gotten- but, and I say this with the utmost respect for her character, her advice was shit. It almost reminded me of all the times I’d groaned at Catelyn Stark’s bad advice. I know I might get flak from her super fans, but Jon’s plan just seemed far more sensible- especially when you want to unite the north and don’t want lasting grudges to distract you from killing the Night King.

I did feel like there were probably more people crammed into this episode than was absolutely necessary- you had everything from a glimpse of Jorah Mormont’s arm to a cameo of Ed Sheeran (no joke!). And then there were a few story arcs that just slowed down the pace considerably. The middle lagged- especially when the Hound got his moment in the spotlight. I’m also struggling to get excited about Euron Greyjoy as this seasons’ big bad- unless he does something especially egregious (I mean worthy of Ramsey Snow egregious) I don’t think I’m going to buy that he’s so dastardly- only time will tell. Couple all that setup with a number of scenes of Samwell Tarley cleaning up bodily fluids and my attention started to wane.

Fortunately, the ending did perk me up again. With all the build up and talk of Dragonstone tying the episode together, I did have a hint this was where it was going- but there was always that worry that it would take weeks for Dany to cross the narrow sea. Luckily we didn’t have to wait that long! No- just wham bam thank you mam, she’s in Dragonstone.

And that’s where I’ll leave you too! All I will ask you today is how excited on a scale of 1-10 are you feeling about this show?! Let me know in the comments! (even if your answer is zero 😉 )

Welcome to the Ninth Circle…

*I received this on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

ninth circleWhere things are not as they seem…

Okay that sounds distinctly ominous. But it kind of sums up my feelings, because this book defied my expectations. A huge part of why I picked it up was because I was on a serious Supernatural bender and the blurb sold me on its similarities- so you could say it fell into my lap when I was in exactly the right mood. Weirdly enough, however, the reason I decided to read it ended up being the source of some serious agitation- whereas what I ended up liking about it was completely unrelated and unexpected.

So let’s start with what I didn’t like: the “oh my goodness this is such a rip off of Supernatural” moments. Because, man, there is no way of getting round the fact that it starts off really fanfic-y. Though it may have plenty of action, good levels of description and snappy dialogue, a lot of that felt too similar to the show. Here are some of the parallels:

  • The sibling dynamic could have been copied and pasted. And while there are technically three sisters, it mostly focuses on two- who are basically female versions of Sam and Dean
  • Plot points- like constantly getting captured and having to save each other and even the missing relative at the start which brings them together
  • The chapters, while there’s nice attention to detail in their organisation, are literally episodic
  • Demons, sirens, hellhounds… you name it- if it’s a monster in the show, it’s made it into this book. There was even a reference to an “orange eyed whelp” (yellow eyed demon anyone?).
  • And worst of all, even though the dialogue frequently made me chuckle, lines like “here I thought you were like Ken dolls” were virtually lifted from the show.

I wanted to give this the benefit of the doubt, cos yes, I know the show too damn well to pick it apart this way, buuuut it shouldn’t have been that closely related. Even the nine circles seemed shoehorned in to make it seem less unoriginal.

Fortunately, that all changed somewhere in the middle of the book. Just when I was thinking of giving up on this Supernatural-with-girl-power deal, the plot totally changed gear and switched direction.

And that point when it started to diverge away from the show, I actually started to enjoy it. All of a sudden, it became imaginative, explosive, thrilling. I absolutely loved the colourful new mythology that came into play and it completely upped the tempo to deliver a phenomenal conclusion. In the end the strengths lay in the differences, not in the similarities. I’d imagine you’d enjoy it more if you are not particularly well versed in the show to be honest. In the end, I’m a little conflicted about this one- but I gave it:

3/5 bananas

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Expected publication 22nd October 2017

So are you planning to read this? What books are you conflicted about? Let me know in the comments!

Fanfiction Vs Plagiarism – The Epic Battle (/Discussion)

Going into this post was a bit like staring down a can of worms that didn’t even belong to me. I had no business taking it, no desire to touch the thing and cracking it open will probably be considered grossly out of order. Because here’s the deal: I’ve no vested interest in fanfic. I don’t personally care whether people do or don’t write it and I won’t be branching into that territory any time soon. That probably means I should leave well enough alone and not try to discuss it, right?! WRONG! Cos I’m an opinionated SOB and I’m taking a metaphorical can opener to that can of worms right now- you have been warned!! (also- eww- why did I pick that metaphor?!)

So what even is fanfiction? Well for the uninitiated here’s a quick definition:

fiction written by a fan of, and featuring characters from, a particular TV series, film, etc.

(Quite a loose definition- but for the purpose of this discussion, I’m not going to go down the “all art is fanfic” route. Let’s not stretch the term till it ceases to be useful here- savvy?)

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Alrighty then, I’m pretty sure that people already know that a lot of people are divided into the *love* and *hate* camps when it comes to fanfiction (and if you didn’t know that, welcome to the internet, where everything is tribalistic as fuck). Defenders of fanfic like to say “what’s the harm? it’s just a bit of fun!”- and for the most part I am inclined to agree- writing fictional things about an already fictional world is hardly something to get your knickers in a twist over. Plus- a lot of great (Mortal Instruments) and not so great (*cough* Fifty Shades of Grey *cough cough*) work started out as fanfic. Not to mention the fact that parodies, which in a broader definition might get included in this genre, would not exist without it. Would we want to be deprived of so much literature? Okay- I can already picture the people screaming at the computer screen “YES!” at the examples I just gave- but you get the idea. It has some upsides- so who is anyone to judge if this makes some people happy?

And yet… the detractors do make good points too. There is a major downside to fanfiction in that it is decidedly not original work. And therein lies the rub- because this so easily crosses into plagiarism issues and many not-so-easily-answered questions arise. At what point does the character become yours? Where does the original story stop and yours begin? What can you use this writing for?

For the last question there is a seemingly straightforward answer. Currently you are not allowed to sell/profit from fanfiction without the author’s permission. Pretty simple right? Well no. As we’ve already established from the other questions the lines are not so clear to begin with. And what makes it worse is that people have always and will always tiptoe up to these lines and try to cross them- like Cathy in Fangirl, unable to see that getting a good grade on her paper for work based on another writer could fairly be deemed as “profiting”. It doesn’t matter to her that universities have very strict rules about plagiarism- to encourage good practices and for you to think for yourself- this is an *injustice* and the professor just does not understand fanfiction (or *muh feels*).

Now here’s the kicker: plagiarism is not okay. I know that things tend to be oh so chill on the internet and we can’t always be responsible for remembering everywhere our ideas came from all the time- but man, wilfully taking a piece of work and passing it off as your own… Not cool dude. I’ve seen people flip out over someone pinching their artwork (and rightly so). I have personally gone a little bananas when a youtuber decided to pass off Roland Barthes work as her own (sadly she also decided to do the sneaky thing and delete all the comments pointing this out, rather than address criticism…). Plagiarism is theft- simple as that. Stealing ideas is a bit like stealing a piece of someone’s soul.

And this is where I have the most discomfort with fanfic. I cannot deny that fanfic is a grey area. Changing the names and tweaking the plot may not be enough- especially if there are lines directly lifted from the original (or in the case of Cassandra Clare, other works). Even for something as light-hearted as fanfiction, it’s easy to get lost in the dark. All I can do is offer a word of warning if you do decide to tread these murky waters: the line may not be so clear, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there.

So what do you think of fanfiction? Are you wary of plagiarism? Let me know in the comments!

Also: challenge for those with a good eye- since we’re talking lifting lines- who spotted the Shakespearean misquotation? 😉 

Fangirling Over Fangirl (Mostly)

FangirlWIPGoing into this, I will admit I didn’t think it would be my thing. Don’t get me wrong, I have my fangirling moments, but I’ve never written fanfic, engaged in it or been properly part of any fandom. So when I heard of Fangirl, a book ostensibly about fanfiction, years ago, I just put it aside as “not for me”. That was until I read Rowell’s Carry On. In the end, rather poetically, my fangirling for that book pushed me to give this a go- and I’m glad it did!

To start with, like all of Rowell’s books, this was a perfect blend of wit and heart. I will be the first to admit that the plot was not all that exciting- but it’s not that kind of book. It’s more the sort of story where the characters take you by the hand and lead you through their world. You get to know them and you fall in love along with them.

And let’s face it: the romance is what you’re here for. It didn’t disappoint. Levi made me smile stupidly every time he talked or turned up. And, of course, any hint of Baz and Simon scenes and I’m gonna be right there- cheering it on! The interspersing of their story into the plot, while not for everyone, was just the dose of warm fuzzies that I needed.

Of course, it was also incredibly relatable. The love of books (even if they’re not real books) came across brilliantly. And while I think that everyone has their own style, so the descriptions of writing aren’t entirely universal, I did enjoy those parts too.

However, this subject also brought up the biggest problems for me. Because Rowell did bring up the question of fanfic and plagiarism in quite an awkward way. I might offend some people here, but there is an issue with repurposing someone else’s work for uni, and I don’t think that Cathy totally got that. The professor’s view was just seen as a bit old fashioned- when in reality universities have to be strict about plagiarism and you can’t use someone else’s work for profit (yes grades count). None of this was addressed. To top it off, there was another character who stole some writing and this was seen as categorically not okay (because it isn’t). It just felt like a bit of a double standard and, considering the juxtaposition of these two ideas, I don’t know why the main character didn’t consider comparing the two incidents. What was even more frustrating is that it was left pretty open ended and I never felt like this issue was actually resolved.

It left me thinking that this had never really been a plot point anyway… which brings me back to the fact that there really is very little in terms of story beyond the romance and relationships. In the end, issues like this receded to background noise. Even the “small matter” of finding oneself didn’t end up as being as important as finding a boyfriend. Ultimately that was enough for me and I found it an enjoyable read, though perhaps not something to go crazy over.

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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Have you read this? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!

Emperor of Thorns Was a Sharp One

*No spoilers!*

emperor of thornsI’m an endings person. I’ve mentioned this before- I’ve always thought there’s no point starting well and ending badly. That cathartic chord of a well struck conclusion is where it’s at for me. And I’m not the only one that thinks this- series are often judged on their endings- so there was a lot of pressure for this book, the last in a so-far excellent series, to deliver that perfect final note.

And boy- what an ending this was! To say that the tempo was raised in this book would be an understatement. So far the journey had been mental, but even then there was no way to see where the road was heading. The direction it took was on another plain (quite literally- it is fantasy after all). With more than one twist of the knife, this story skewered my heart and dragged it up through my throat. Every wild turn gave me palpitations. Lawrence said in the afterword that he wanted to end this series on a high- and by god did he do that. (And by high I mean: mind-blowingly, soul-crushingly good)

As you all know by this stage, I love Jorgy. But what was a marvellous addition to this book was having sections dedicated to the villainous Chella. Yes, that’s right, this book has villains to offset its anti-heroes. It added another dimension to the book.

And like always, it was amazingly well written:

“The scars of the briar mark me, a calligraphy of violence a message blood-writ, requiring a lifetime to translate”

“Careless words scattered like broken glass for the Brettan to pick a path through. Chella came to Kai’s aid before he cut himself”

“I’m only an echo and I feel only an echo of the love he would have had for you. But it’s a very loud echo.”

I mean that just speaks for itself!!

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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Do you like this series? Are you planning on picking it up? And which book do you reckon ended especially well? Let me know in the comments?

IT’S ALIVE!!

Well hello- long-time no see! I’m alive!!! Okay so I’m being melodramatic considering I only disappeared for half a week- but that’s why you’re all here ***DRAMA***. Now cos I am so super dramatic, I’m gonna tell you the oh-so-exciting news that I am now on Bloglovin…

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

(gawd- I hope I’ve got that right- tech is not my strong suit)

Just another way I can follow you/you can follow me and all the banana-ery goodness.

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