Kill God then We’ll Talk: Reviewing Waking Gods (Book Two of the Themis Files) by Sylvain Neuvel

Hello everyone! It only took forever but I’m finally back with more book reviews. I’m starting to get my life back in order so I’ll have more time for this blog now. Okay, enough with the excuses. Here is my review of book two of The Themis Files, Waking Gods. 

Dr. Rose Franklin is supposed to be dead but she’s not. She is surrounded by the mystery of Themis as well as the mystery of her own existence. When Earth is brought under attack by another giant robot, Rose realizes that she is even closer to the truth about herself and the robots than before. As major cities are coming under attack, Rose and the Earth Defense Corps must unlock the secrets of the ancient alien technology that will let them win the battle for Earth.

One of my favorite things about the first book and this one is how Neuvel keeps a balance between character development as well as the action-filled parts of the story. Building character development in an unconventional story structure is difficult but Neuvel manages it. The novel doesn’t fall victim to “sequel-itis” as the stakes are higher, the mysteries go deeper, and the characters are faced with tougher choices. I was taken on many twists and turns that I did not even begin to expect when I started this novel. It kept me on the edge of my seat and I had a hard time not skipping ahead to see what would happen to my favorite characters. Waking Gods keeps the thrills going in this adventure that is perfect for sci-fi fans.

So I’ve Graduated! Now What?

Hello everyone! I know its been taking me forever but I finally found time to write here. It’s been taking me forever to finish what I’m reading but I’ll get there soon enough. In the meantime, I wanted to reflect on college graduation and get the conversation going. I officially graduated from Kent State University on May 12th. It was a wonderful ceremony. Also, it was actually the first college graduation I’ve ever been to. The iconic Michael Keaton was our main speaker and he was hilarious and inspirational. The weather was nice except, because I’m so pasty, of course I left with a beet red face. Now, I have returned home with little to no idea of what the future holds. Because I like making lists, I’m going to do a pros and cons list of being an official graduate.

Pros:

  • Free from the general pressures that come with academia
  • Don’t have to deal with dorm living
  • Don’t have to deal with the hectic atmosphere of the college campus
  • Don’t have to pay for things like textbooks, parking, etc
  • Not having to go to any obligatory events like meetings in the dorms
  • Finally feeling like a truly independent adult (even though I still live at home)
  • Not having to travel back and forth two and half hours to get home
  • Being able to feel settled in my own space
  • Not having to go to lecture classes (I hated those especially)
  • Being able to partake in my own hobbies
  • Not being overwhelmed by classes
  • Finally having home cooked meals
  • Having a new found freedom

Cons:

  • Not having the convenience of a college campus
  • Not having my friends close by
  • Having to deal with “adult things”
  • Missing some of my favorite spots on campus
  • Not having my clubs
  • Not having a routine with classes
  • Not having my fun classes
  • Having roommates to talk to
  • Being able to go to events with free food
  • Free stuff, in general
  • Not feeling as productive as I used to be (working on changing that though)
  • Having a new found freedom

I’m sure I’m not alone in how I feel now. I certainly feel accomplished and I can’t wait to get my diploma in the mail. It is hard to not feel apprehensive but I know that I have a lot to look forward to. I’m excited for the future and I can’t wait to share what I experienced with all of you. While I’m at it, I’m going to post a picture of my Harry Potter-themed graduation cap below.

Just Some Updates

Hello everyone! It’s been a hot second since I have posted anything but I just wanted to do some life updates. If you don’t care, then I completely understand but I would appreciate if you stuck around to read this.

First thing I wanted to talk about was my lack of activity. I am about to graduate college the week after this (!!!) so I have obviously been super busy with that. The build has been chaotic but fun, nonetheless. I’m prepping for finals week so it hasn’t given me time to finish any books. I’m currently trying to finish book two of the Themis Files, Waking Gods and I know that the third book is going to be released tomorrow. I’m also reading Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone. That one is a bit longer but I’m very excited to share my thoughts on it. There are some new book releases I’m very excited for that I will be sure to share with you since I will have more time. In the meanwhile, please forgive my on-and-off social media presence. Speaking of that, I do have a twitter now so you can follow me @capt0bvious96 and I will follow you back, I promise.

Next thing I wanted to address was doing more requests. I really want to start engaging more with all of you and would love to start reviewing suggested books. I also really want to start doing movie reviews, if you are interested. I’m really glad you all like my Current Favorites articles so I will definitely do more. The next thing I want to talk about is my favorite tv shows. If you have any suggestions for me, though, feel free to leave them in my comments or now you can tweet at me if you so wish.

The last thing I will talk about is my writing. I’m starting to really get into the swing of this new story I’m writing. If you are at all interested, I would definitely like to do some writing challenges in order to keep myself on track. I’d like to know what writing challenges any of you have done in the past. I am trying to be more consistent with my writing schedules and I will have more time on my hands to do that.

Thanks for sticking around to read this whole thing. I truly appreciate. I know that realistically most of you aren’t too invested but, to those who are, I want to give you my biggest thanks ever. If you are reaching the end of your school year, then I wish you the best of luck on your finals.

 

Be Strong, Saith My Heart: Reviewing Circe by Madeline Miller

Hello everyone! I am beyond excited to talk to you about Madeline Miller’s sophomore novel. I have reviewed her debut novel, The Song of Achilles. You can check that out on my blog. Anyways, I do absolutely love mythology, in particular Greek mythology. I also enjoy these particular stories that are classic tales retold with a new angle. Novels likes Wicked have shown how popular this trope is and how it is really great when done well. I shall continue on and tell you all about Circe by Madeline Miller. (Quick note: Circe is pronounced as Sir-See.)

During the fall of the Titans, Circe was born to Helios, a god of the sun and a powerful force. From her birth, Circe realized she was different that the other immortals and turns to mortals for comfort. Circe then discovers her true talent: witchcraft. She is banished by Zeus and Helios to a remote island for eternity. There she hones her powers and crosses paths with many icons of mythology, with the most notable being the cunning Odysseus. Circe, however, soon finds herself in danger after angering the gods and Titans alike. Circe must prove her true powers or else lose everything that she loves in this thrilling and vivid story.

I was absolutely hooked on this book from the first page. Circe herself is a relatively lesser known figure in Greek mythology who is only really known for having an affair with Odysseus. Miller, however, saw this character and turned her into a force to be reckoned with. The first thing I wanted to talk about was the mythology backdrop and the godly characters. They felt equally as human as they did divine. The competition between the Olympians and the Titans felt very much like Game of Thrones, which I enjoyed. With that being said, the novel did present a certain harsh reality within the mythical world. Circe herself embodied what it meant to be a survivor, in my opinion. Despite her familial history, she still goes through many struggles with little to no help. The novel certainly carries a feminist message throughout, which I found very empowering. Her voice, thoughts, and feelings are all very strong and honest. Miller certainly proves that even gods struggle but that there is hope through survival and perseverance. You probably know I’m going to highly recommend this novel to you. Circe was an exciting and emotional reading experience that is impossible to put down.

Note: I got the title of this review from The Odyssey. I do actually really enjoy that epic.

Build God, Then We’ll Talk: Reviewing Sleeping Giants (Book One of the Themis Files) by Sylvain Neuvel

Hi everyone! First of all, I want to congratulate myself for posting two days in a row. Second of all, the title is stolen from a Panic! At the Disco song (which they probably took from something else) and I’m not ashamed because it works really well with the review. I am really excited to talk about this particular novel. A lot of reviews compared it to The Martian and World War Z, two books which I love. It pretty much hit all of the marks on something I would be interested in. Now I shall tell you more about Sleeping Giants. 

When she was a child, Rose Franklin stumbled across a giant metal hand in her town of Deadwood, South Dakota. Years later, Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist who dedicates her life to finding the mystery behind the origin of the hand and how it works. Dr. Franklin and her team must work against powerful forces stronger than any government in order to learn whether the world will ever be the same after discovering that we are not alone in the universe.

The first thing I want to say about this novel is I love the narrative style. Like The Martian and World War Z, it is told through things like interviews, articles, and journal entries. Some people don’t particularly like this style of story but I really enjoy it as it makes me feel immersed in the story. Sleeping Giants felt like diving down a rabbit hole of conspiracies. It felt so real and unreal at the same time as the story navigates between the science fiction elements and the global political crises caused by the discovery of the hand. I find conspiracy theories fascinating so this really piqued my interest. The writing itself felt very real. The transcripts of the interviews helped to develop the characters as well the story itself. I liked the balance between the forces driving the plot. Neuvel doesn’t sacrifice character development for the sake of the alien element. There’s more than enough humanity in this novel. What is also nice about the novel is it doesn’t get involved with jargon to the point that you don’t even know what anyone is talking about. Since most of the characters are involved in science, the military, and the government, it can get overwhelming at times but the unnamed interviewer helps to serve as the one who clarifies all of it. Speaking of that, the book has an overall suspenseful feel as everyone has their own agenda and it makes the story even more interesting. I found myself not wanting to put the book down at all. If you couldn’t tell by my long review, I am absolutely going to recommend Sleeping Giants and I look forward to getting my hands on the rest of the series.

Current Favorites: Movie Edition (Part 2)

Hi everyone! I’m getting close to publishing my review of Sleeping Giants but I wanted to do something else in the meanwhile. I mentioned before that I am a huge movie buff and I already posted a list of favorite movies. Most were pretty mainstream but I still felt they were somewhat under appreciated. I decided to do another one in the same vein. So here are some more movies that I love and recommend to you all.

pacific rim

Pacific Rim – directed by Guillermo Del Toro, 2013

I’m a huge fan of science fiction and Guillermo Del Toro so I couldn’t resist adding another of his movies to a list. I already talked about The Shape of Water but I wanted to talk about this particular movie. Pacific Rim delivers on amazing visuals and classic robot vs. monster action. It’s a delight to watch as it doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a fun sci-fi romp. It also stars Idris Elba, who I have a massive crush on. It really is just a fun movie to watch. Sadly, I heard the sequel isn’t that great but at least the first one is good.

Cap_2_poster

Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Directed by the Russo Brothers, 2014

I already mentioned one Marvel movie in my previous list and I didn’t think I would mention another one as most of you are more than aware of the MCU. I, however, cannot fail to mention how much I adored this movie and I will even go so far as to argue that it is one of the best Marvel movies or at least it is one of the best sequels. The action sequences in this movie are so well done and I loved the emotional stakes this movie brought. This movie also introduced two of the best MCU characters: Bucky Barnes as the Winter Soldier and Sam Wilson as the Falcon. This movie is just so wonderfully composed. It has a perfect balance between action and emotion. Also the cast is just wonderful. MCU is really great at casting in general. If you haven’t seen this one yet, I cannot stress enough how good this movie is.

heathers

Heathers – Directed by Michael Lehmann, 1988

Now, it’s time to take a sharp left turn from sci-fi/action to dark teen comedy. I have never been a fan of teen movies and that includes the slew of movies that the 1980s produced but Heathers changed my mind. Winona Ryder is probably more relatable in 2018 than she was in 1988. I enjoy the dark, twisted humor in the movie. It definitely bends the classic teen genre in more ways than one. I also enjoy the “girls with guns” trope in this movie. I don’t think it is for everyone but it is still a good movie for anyone with a sick sense of humor. It’s also incredibly quotable. (Note: I know that this isn’t the original poster for the movie but I liked it better. Also the musical adaptation is really great.)

call-me-by-your-name-movie-poster-15x21-in-2017-luca-guadagnino-armie-hammer

Call Me By Your Name – Directed by Luca Guadagnino, 2017

Let’s get into some romance, shall we? When the Oscar buzz was going around, I heard this movie come up a lot. I was very bored one Friday night and decided to see if I could find it. I was very glad that I was able to watch this sweet and unconventional romance. The movie has a very intimate vibe that fits the beautiful aesthetic of the Mediterranean. Timothee Chalamet deserves recognition for his wonderful performance. The relationship between the two main characters is touching and understanding. I know a lot of people have gripes about the age difference in the relationship but it is in no way portrayed in a creepy Lolita-type way. This is a wonderful story about two men uncovering the truths about themselves through each other. I should note that this is based on a novel that I would love to read one day.

the imitation game

The Imitation Game – Directed by Morten Tyldum, 2014

I still remember seeing this one in theaters because it was the only one available that particular night. The theatre was super busy so my mom, sister, and I decided we might as well see this one because we all love Benedict Cumberbatch. Anyways, I ended up becoming incredibly invested in this movie, which is about mathematical genius Alan Turing and his struggle to crack the German Enigma code in order to help the British forces during WWII. If you don’t know who Alan Turing is, he essentially paved the way for artificial intelligence. Sadly, his life was tormented as was on the autism spectrum and he was a gay man during a time when you could go to jail for that. This movie is more about humanity than it is machines, which makes it so enjoyable to watch. It is dramatic and heart-breaking. Cumberbatch and Knightley both give award worthy performances. I would recommend this movie to the history buffs out there.

Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die: Reviewing Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

Hi everyone! I’m back from a much needed Spring Break and I am counting down to graduation at this point. I had a different review planned as I wanted to do a review of Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. That one will come eventually but I managed to get a hold of the electronic version of one of Thompson’s most famous novels. Hunter S. Thompson has always fascinated me and I really wanted to read one of his novels. I can’t do any justice explaining what Hunter S. Thompson was like as a person so I will leave some links below with information on him. In the meanwhile, I will tell you how I felt about Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. 

Based on real events in Thompson’s life, this novel follows the drug addled and lurid journey of Raoul Duke, a jaded journalist, and Dr. Gonzo, his erratic attorney with a penchant for getting in trouble with the law. The two begin an odyssey to the Mint 400 motorcycle race in Las Vegas and find themselves in the midst of the ugliness hidden in Sin City. Thompson’s semi-autobiographical novel examines the fall of the counterculture of the 1960s and the reality behind the infamous “American Dream.”

Thompson’s novel was just as wild to read as I thought it would be. It’s not necessarily a stream-of-conscieneness type novel but it isn’t terribly coherent as far as the plot goes. Granted, the narrator is on every single recreational drug that he and his attorney could get their hands on. Within the drug-fueled action of the novel, there are some slow and thoughtful moments that offer an excellent insight into the culture of the early 1970s with Las Vegas being the perfect backdrop for American consumerism. Its fascinating how Duke deals with his inner turmoil as well as the navigating a landscape that doesn’t accept his authenticity. The one thing I truly enjoyed about the novel was how authentic it felt. Thompson’s feelings are made loud and clear with Duke as his mouthpiece. This novel is definitely hard to read at times as it jumps about and has some graphic descriptions of Duke’s hallucinations. If you enjoy unique narrations and an honest look at the American landscape, then I recommend this novel for you. I can definitely see myself reading this again and I might want to check out the movie. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a wild ride that delivers in its emotional and mental depth.

General Information on Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson’s Daily Routine

Interview with Hunter S. Thompson

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

 

Types of Literary Narrators I Hate

Hello everyone! I am currently catching up on the last new novel I got so, hopefully, I will be giving you a review of that soon. I’m coming up on spring break so I might wait till then. In the meanwhile, I’ve been thinking about certain story telling styles I don’t click with. These mostly apply to first person narrators but there are some things in third person stories that I can’t stand. There are certain things writers do when it comes to their narrators that just piss me off and make the story less enjoyable. Now, I’m going to share with you the kind of narrators that I am tired of reading about.

The Skeptic: The is narrator mostly shows up in horror or science fiction. From the beginning of the story, they have to remind you that they don’t believe in the paranormal or supernatural. This narrator has to remind you every other sentence that they have always thought ghosts were stupid. You don’t have to remind me every five seconds that your are skeptical. This is when the “show, don’t tell,” rule should come in to play.

scully

The Philosopher: This narrator loves to ask sweeping, broad questions or statements in order to get the reader thinking about the meaning of life or something like that. When a story begins out with some line like, “since the dawn of time, there have aways been things hidden from humans…” then I start to roll my eyes. If you want to incorporate philosophy in your story, that’s fine but there’s a way to include without immediately boring the reader.

philosophy

The Romantic: This narrator has the biggest crush on another character in the story and they will stop everything to go on and on about the love of their life. Their crush breathes and the world stops turning. Their crush has the most amazing eyes in the whole entire universe and not a single other person’s eyes compare to it. Listen, I like romance as much as the next person but there’s a better way to convey a relationship between two characters.

romance

The Pessimist: Life sucks and this narrator won’t let you forget it. This narrator is hard to read because you start to feel depressed over fictional things. I want to enjoy a book to a degree and I can’t do that when the narrator won’t give me anything to enjoy. Believe it or not, there’s always some sort of “silver lining.” Don’t let this narrator get you down.

eeyore

The Narrator Who Is Not Like Other People: This narrator is just so unique and different. They are not like average people. They are so extraordinary because of whatever talents or features they have. You mostly find this narrator in YA novels because teens want to live vicariously through this super special character. The author takes great care to let you know how different their character is from the rest and it’s exhausting. Again, “show, don’t tell” is a good rule here.

special

The Hardened and Angsty Soul: This narrator is a step up from the pessimist. This narrator has seen some sh*t in their time and everything they do comes back to whatever traumatic even they experienced. They always refer vaguely and bitterly back to this event and all of the other characters tell them that they need to move on but they just can’t because angst. I’ve seen this one pop up in plenty of detective stories and it’s pretty common in action movies as well. You’ll probably know who I’m talking about.

angst

Note: This is not meant to shade any specific authors. These are just observations I have made while reading. Feel free to debate me or agree with me in the comments. I like to hear your feedback.

You do not believe although you have seen: Reviewing The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

Hi everyone! I want to begin out this post by saying thank you so much for your response to my post about anxiety. I’ve been doing a lot better and I hope that you have been feeling well too. Now that we are past that for now, I’m going to talk to you about one of the more famous horror novel, The Exorcist. I should note that I’ve never seen the movie but I have seen the more famous moments. In general, I’ve always been really fascinated with the paranormal. Some of you are already rolling your eyes but, if I’m being honest, my life would be just a little more boring if I didn’t believe in the possibility of ghosts or demons or whatever. I’ll talk about this more after I give you my review of The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

Chris MacNeil is a struggling single mom and actress whose only source of happiness is her young daughter, Regan. Chris realizes something is wrong after Regan begins spending time with an imaginary friend she calls “Captain Howdy.” When things begin to escalate to the point everyone in the house is in danger, Chris calls on the help of Father Damien Karras in the desperate hope that he might save her daughter. Soon, they are faced with a dangerous entity who wants to destroy everything dear to them.

I do want to give a bit of a warning. There are some very graphic parts in this novel that those who are sensitive may not want to read. With that being said, the novel delivers with all of the horror elements. It has just enough gore, scary real-life details, and the psychological elements. I liked the build up to the final event of the actual exorcism itself. It was a terrifying and interesting experience that didn’t feel too convoluted or drawn out. This is certainly a very plot driven novel if you prefer the that type of novel. If you aren’t familiar with horror then you might not enjoy this novel but horror fans should give this one a chance. I had a hard time putting this novel down and it is a surprisingly quick read. William Petter Blatty’s classic horror novel lives up to its reputation with plenty of scares and suspense.

Note: The novel is based on a real life event. If you are interested, I’m going to leave a link below. You might have heard of the Roland Doe case before. If you haven’t, it is an interesting read. You’ve been warned again as there are some graphic details.

So you’ve just had a panic attack? Here’s how to help yourself!

Hi everyone! I keep saying that I wasn’t planning to post more but I felt like this was something I needed to talk about and, hopefully, I can open up a conversation about anxiety. As of today, I have experienced probably the most severe panic attack that I’ve ever experienced in a while. It was bizarre. I honestly thought I was having an allergic reaction. It was that bad. I have had some bad panic attacks in the past but I’ve since learned better coping mechanisms and I wanted to share those with you. Whether you have experienced panic attacks before or you’ve had your first one, there are some useful things you can do before or after.

  • TALK TO SOMEONE!!! Honestly, the worst thing you can do while feeling anxious is isolate yourself. A tiny bit of alone time is fine but you need to reach out to someone and it doesn’t matter who it is as long as you trust them. This has been my biggest source of help.
  • Find a distraction. When you’re coming down from anxiety, your natural instinct is to analyze everything you’ve just been through. This isn’t the best idea. Turn on your favorite show, read a book, go for a walk, or do whatever your favorite hobby is. I find this to be very centering.
  • Get a “totem.” My mom stole this idea from the movie, Inception. If you remember, each of the characters in the movie had a distinct item that they used to help them tell if they were still in a dream or not. This is the same concept. Find a small item that you like  and keep it on you. If you start feeling anxious, find that item and use it to center yourself. My choice is a small Iron Man plushie. I like to keep him in my bag and he makes me a little happier.
  • Breathing exercises help a lot. You feel a panic attack coming up and your breathing starts to pick up. This can lead to a few more problems. Look up breathing exercises to use in order to prevent any shallow breathing or hyperventilating. This can also prevent you from feeling light headed or faint.
  • LET IT HAPPEN!! If you feel a panic attack coming on, the worst thing you can do is to try to fight it. I’ve had panic attacks in public places and it’s not a fun feeling. It doesn’t matter where you are when it happens but you need to let it pass. You will feel better when it is over. I’ve only felt better after a panic attack. It feels like a giant balloon bursting and then I’m just deflating. Afterwards, I just feel tired. Don’t be embarrassed. Just take care of yourself. Someone will understand, I assure you.

I’ve realized that I’ve started getting into lifestyle territory now but I’m going to connect this back to literature because I’ve read a few books that specifically tackle anxiety and other mental conditions. Some have been accurate and some are not. I’ve learned to incorporate some of my feeling in my writing. I hope that this helps some of you. Feel free to leave some of your tips in the comments. I’d like to keep the conversation going.