Ash Princess, by Laura Sebastian

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Ash Princess, written by Laura Sebastian, is the first in a trilogy. It follows Princess Theodosia, who is a prisoner of the Kalovaxian court after her home kingdom of Astrea was invaded. From the beginning, Ash Princess was an unoriginal, cliché-filled fantasy. There were certain elements I enjoyed, which I’ll discuss after I list the bad.

A few days before I read Ash Princess, I read a book called Amber & Dusk by Lyra Selene, which I’ll be reviewing soon. When I think back to Ash Princess, I find myself mixing both books together, which isn’t a good thing because the goal is to write an original book, especially in an industry where the majority of YA fantasy tends to surround a strong female lead in a kingdom and trying to defeat the ruler. You could compare the plot to almost any young adult fantasy book because it follows the same layout. One of the largest similarities I found was when Theodosia was being whipped, she repeated her full name over and over, which was almost exactly what happened in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, a much more popular series. As a young adult writer, I would assume the first thing you would do would be read the most popular books in the genre you’re writing so you can try and be as original as possible. This author either read the books and decided that the similarity wasn’t too close, or she never read them and just so happened to write a very similar scene. This really stuck out to me because the Throne of Glass series is eight books long (including the novella), therefore being reminded of a specific scene is not a good thing.

The author chose to include a love triangle in this book, and not a subtle kind like in Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas, or Shatter Me, by Tahereh Mafi. The subtle ones are when there are two characters that the main character finds attractive, but she only focuses on one at a certain time, which makes it seem like less of a love triangle, hence, less frustrating. In this book. Theodosia chose to be romantically involved with them both at the same time. She would kiss one and then kiss the other, which angered me and made me dislike the lead character more. To continue, the romances moved much too fast for the time the characters spent together. The only relationship that was believable was the friendship between Theodosia and Crescentia, a girl who has her sights set on marrying the crown prince. Their friendship is believable and developed naturally throughout the book.

This story would have been saved had the male characters been developed more. She had a strange relationship with a boy from her childhood who managed to survive the mass murder of her people and showed up in the palace with a small rebel team. His name was Blaise, which I had to look back at the book to find despite him being the main love interest (I think?) in the book. They hardly had any time to flesh out a romance or relationship of any kind, therefore the reader had to rely on a relationship they had built ten years prior, which isn’t believable because people change and grow a lot in that time.

My favorite character was the crown Prince Søren, who really got beat up throughout the book physically and emotionally. He showed real emotion, which was good, but I found myself wanting to read the whole book from his perspective, which would have been a much more interesting and original book.

I did enjoy how diverse the cast was; the main character is from Astrea where everyone has darker skin. There were some similarities with history, and I think she tried to make connections to slavery but there wasn’t much of a point to it as the idea wasn’t fleshed out. The plot twist was something I saw coming and I found myself groaning in wait for the characters to execute their plans.

If you don’t mind the similarities to other books (maybe you haven’t read much YA fantasy), I would still suggest you skip this series and find another. I would rate this book 4/10 dragons and I will not be reading the sequel.

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Celeste Review


Celeste, an Indie game made by Matt Makes Games Inc., is a precision platforming video game with easy-to-learn controls and a great, relatable story. With a 97% recommendation rate on Steam and over 500,000 total sales on PC, Switch, and PS4, it is obvious that the community loves this amazing game. Furthermore, it was recognized as the best indie (non corporate) game of 2018, and many critics believed that it could even take the award for the best game overall.

Other than moving around with the arrow keys, Celeste has three main controls: jump, dash, and climb. Jump does what you think it does, dash allows you to “dash” a short distance across the ground or through the air before touching the ground again, and climb allows you to hang on and climb up/down walls. Also, you can combine controls by dashing upwards after a jump to go higher, jumping upwards off of a wall to go over a spike on the top, or even try advanced movement such as jumping at the end of a dash across the ground to jump very far and still keep your ability to dash (also called dash cancelling). Although individually these are very simple mechanics, each level uses them in so many different and original ways that it is just remarkable. For example, there are green crystals that allow you to dash a second time in the air (before touching the ground), blocks that move in different directions when you touch them, blocks that allow you to dash through them (and even let you jump out of them for a speed boost), blocks that throw you in a direction based on where you touch them, feathers that allow you to fly through the air as a ball, and much more. Furthermore, after introducing each new mechanic, the level slowly gets you used to them by building up the difficulty while also introducing unique ways to use these new mechanics.

Celeste’s story is a whole other topic. The main character, Madeline, travels to Celeste Mountain to try to reach its summit. Although it is infamous for its insane difficulty and deadliness, Madeline’s only reason to climb the mountain is because she just needs to. With a cast of relatable characters and an amazing story about a struggle against oneself (both figuratively and literally), Celeste creates a story that is, in my opinion, the best story in the history of all platform games.

Overall, I would highly recommend Celeste to anyone who likes platforming games and a good story, and even if you aren’t one of those people, I still believe that you should try it out.

Mary Poppins Returns: Movie Review

Mary Poppins Returns is a sequel Disney’s beloved Mary Poppins which came out 54 years before it.

It follows Michael Banks and his struggles after the death of his wife. His three children Anabel, John and Georgie have been forced to grow up and do work for their dad to keep the house orderly. When Jane Banks visits, the bank’s lawyers come by and tell the Banks family they have until Friday to pay the loan they took or their house would be foreclosed.

As Michael and Jane look for the shares their father left in the bank years before, the children are put in charge of buying the food. On their way to the market, the youngest child Georgie see’s a kite and grabs a hold. A strong wind pushes him upwards and he is pulled into the sky. Before he can float away, Mary Poppins floats down on her umbrella, saving him.

Just as Mary Poppins did in the first movie, she begins to teach the kids to be responsible but to have fun doing it. While visiting the bank to give their father his suitcase that he left at home, they overhear the president of the bank. He says that they’re basically stealing houses and the revenue of the bank is skyrocketing.

Can Mary Poppins and the Banks stop the bank or will they have their house taken away? Find out in Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns.

Pros: The songs are very well done, Emily Blunt and Lin Manuel Miranda were very pleasant to listen to, and the story is perfect for children.

Cons: The story was a little bland and the acting seem forced occasionally.

Rating: 8/10

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse Movie Review

 

The Spider-Man franchise has been one of the most successful ones to date. Even the worst Spider-Man movie (Spider-Man 3, which us Spider-Man fans refuse to talk about) made a giant load of money at the box office. Now, we have Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. It’s been getting very good reviews from critics and audiences alike, and I’m here to share my thoughts on the movie. Is it as good as people are saying? This is my review of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

Plot: When a villain creates a machine called the Super Collider, all of the Spider People are put into the dimension where Miles Morales, a teenager who is on the path to become the next Spider-Man, lives.

Acting: All of the voice acting is great. No real complaints here. 9.5/10

Animation: The animation in this film is amazing. It feels like a comic book, and even has little comic book noise bubbles that pop up occasionally. The animation is  a sight to behold. 10/10

Action: The action sequences in this movie are well made, and you can actually tell what’s going on, but this is a given considering it’s most likely easier to animate action scenes than to film them. 9/10

Overall, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a Spider-Man fan’s dream. With a great cast, well thought-out characters, and great animation, I highly recommend you watch this movie.

Overall score: 9/10

Charming Academy Series (book 1) – Review

 

 

The Charming Academy Series is written by Jessica L. Elliott, and consists of six books, including Charming Academy, Finding Prince Charming, Prince Charming’s Search, Becoming Prince Charming, The Ultimate Prince Charming, and Prince Charming’s Quest. Yes, that is a lot of Prince Charmings. I know.

The first book, Charming Academy, is the beginning. As the title suggests, this is at an academy for young princes who are on their path to become a Prince Charming. In this fairy tale reproduction, the name “Prince Charming” is more than a name, it is an honorary title that the young men receive after completing their quest. Yes, that is not very detailed, but you can’t expect me to give everything away right now, can you?

Our main character is a young prince named Lucian. He is mainly the character followed throughout the first book, and the following books are centered around each other main character’s quest after schooling. Now to the actual book.

A little organizational information that you will learn in the book, but I can’t very well explain without describing a little (Don’t worry, I won’t give away anything super important): Prince Charming Academy for Boys is a school that works in association with Fair Damsels Academy for Young Ladies. Lucian is enrolled at the boys’ school to begin his schooling and preparation for his quest which will take place at the end of his sixth year.

Within his education, he learns about all the things a prince must do on a typical quest. He learns to fight dragons and about spell breaking, the ins and outs of hunting and survival, languages of dragons and mermaids along with his normal math, science, and language arts classes. He and his friends must overcome the challenges of being teenage boys, learning to get along with their princesses, schoolwork, and staying on the right side of the witches in charge of punishment at the school. With magic surrounding them, they must prepare as best they can to make a wonderful fairy tale out of their quest.

The Charming Academy Series is a retelling of some of our most well-known and loved fairy tales, including Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, the Princess and the Frog, and many others. I greatly enjoyed the series, as I love fantasy. The books show both the prince and princess’ views of a fairytale, with plenty of humor, challenges, and romance to keep the story rolling. I think it is a very good series for middle school kids, because of the interesting tale, the age of the characters, and length. The series shows all of the adventure that is sometimes skipped in retelling. This is so much more than the common “a beautiful princess was locked in a tower and waited and waited for a long time till her Prince Charming rode in on a majestic horse and saved her with true love’s kiss the end.” It includes everything needed to be sweet and adventurous at the same time, with lots of entertainment as the characters and their growth as individuals as well.

I do have to admit that while this series is one of my favorite reading pastime series, it does get a little boring sometimes. The plot will drag or get repetitive sometimes, which is understandable, and I also think that the copies I have at least are her rougher versions. I don’t know if the author has had more edits and publication recently, but my copies of the series do have some grammatical and spelling errors, and the detail is sometimes far too much or little given in some sections, in my opinion of course. As frustrated as I get by these errors sometimes, I also appreciate them greatly, because I think it shows that the author did not necessarily write the series to be pretty and perfect and sell for lots all over the world, but really so that she could share the basics of the fairy tales she so loved as a child that she worked to make “cool enough” for her brother (this is how the series was first created, her brother told her that fairy tales were for girls and she set out to change that). It shows that she really just wanted to share her stories. To be completely honest, the books are rather unpolished. But they are lots of fun to read as the normal fairy tales we all know take a new perspective.

A Review of Supernatural

Introduction

Supernatural is a TV show that is on Netflix and airs on TNT. Starting in 2005, It now has 13 current seasons, but is most likely making more. Each episode runs for about 30-45 minutes.

The show is produced by Eric Kripke and Robert Singer (Kripke Enterprises Wonderland Sound and Vision [2005–13] Warner Bros. Television).

The show starts by following two brothers Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) Winchester quest to find their father (Jeff Morgan). Their father is a ghost/demon/ monster hunter and Dean follows his father’s foot steps, but Sam left them both for college until he reluctantly helps Dean find their father. After Sam and Dean’s little search, he returns home to find his girlfriend dead, murdered the same way his mom was when he was little, both the women were killed by a character called the yellow eyed demon.

Thought out the seasons the family faces different hardships and major demons, while also solving minor mysteries along the way. They also make new allies and enemies each season. A fan favorite example would be Castiel (Misha Collins) who plays and angel originally sent to assist Dean, he is introduced in season 3. Another favorite is Crowly, (Mark Sheppard) a demon acting as a temporary stand in for the king of hell, who is a comedic character introduced in season 5.

Overall Review

The first season starts off slow, the episodes are more repetitive and focused much less on the over arching theme then I would have liked. But with each season as the plot thickens and the characters develop more the show becomes a really great experience. All the actors are incredible and have grown close through their work, which makes the show feel all the more real. It’s a perfect balance of comedy, drama, mystery, and fear.

If you are not a fan of graphic content, this show is not for you. I myself, would originally skip the graphic scenes but they are not as bad in the later seasons.

The show has a very large fandom, and I am over all happy to be apart of it. I love when they break the fourth wall, it’s like the fans are in the show and interacting with the characters!

If this show sounds fun or interesting to you I suggest you give it a try, I love to watch it in the background of my homework or art because it is just so good!

Marvel’s Spider-Man PS4 Review

Marvel’s Spider-Man is an action-adventure game developed by Insomniac Games and released on September 7th, 2018, to the PS4, receiving praise from both critics and gamers alike.

The question I am here to ask is: does it really live up to the praise? Is this truly a genre-defying game? That’s what I am going to answer. This is my review of Marvel’s Spider-Man.

Quick note: this is just my opinion. If you disagree with me, that is completely fine.

The story of this game revolves around Spider-Man, who beats Wilson Fisk, a crime lord he has been dealing with for years. Spider-Man’s triumph over this does not last long, as he is plunged into a uprising of criminals.

Story-wise, this game is superb, with a plot that will keep gamers engaged and Spider-Man fans squealing for its roughly 10-hour completion time. The story also has some events that may surprise you.

The game also explores Spider-Man’s life as a regular person, Peter Parker, and shows that he has his everyday struggles, just like all of us.

Without giving anything away, the story is absolutely amazing. 8.5/10

Gameplay: The game’s combat system involves battling the AI with normal fist to fist combat, and gadgets and upgrades you get as you progress through the campaign and complete side tasks.

The focus bar is a bar that fills up as you battle your enemies, and you can use it to heal yourself or, once the bar is full, perform a takedown on an enemy.

Stealth combat involves performing perch takedowns or web strike takedowns on enemies who are safe to take out. If an enemy is not safe to take out, another enemy is very close by and can see the other AI. You can lure the enemies out with web shooters, making it safe to take down the other AI.

Finally, stealth sections with other characters are present in the game. These are definitely the more mundane parts of the game. These consist of sneaking around to an objective, and not getting caught by enemies by interacting with the environment.

Gameplay: 8/10

Overall score: 8/10

My answer to the questions earlier is: Yes. This game is absolutely spectacular, and I hope other superhero games can be as good as this one.

This is starwarsguy124, signing out.