The Chronicles of Narnia

September 1, 2014 @ 11:16 am (Permalink)

The Chronicles of Narnia

When I was in elementary school, through the Scholastic book orders or book fairs, my dad bought me the box set of The Chronicles of Narnia. Back then I’d no clue about the publication order. I was only familiar with the chronological order that was displayed in the box set, with the The Magician’s Nephew being the first title. Needless to say, my foray into Narnia involved me reading that first book.

It. Bored. Me. I had no idea what was going on. I think I skipped it and then tried The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and that kept me a bit more interested, but not by much. I only know for sure that I’d never got beyond the first two books in my elementary, middle, and high school years. Even in my uni years, I just couldn’t really get into it, despite watching the film adaptation of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (of which I enjoyed!).

I finally read about how one should read the books in the publication order as opposed to chronological order, and that made me decide to tackle the series that way. It took a couple of months, but I’ve read the entire set, and I must say that the publication order made a lot more sense and it kept me interested. Here are my spoiler-free thoughts on the series.

The Goods
– REEPICHEEP. He’s the best character ever. That is all.
– Edmund also won me over. Going from a selfish little prick to a fine King is certainly a huge change for him.
– Puddlegum is about the only thing that made me enjoy The Silver Chair. His pessimism cracked me up.
– The entirety of The Horse and His Boy kept me fully interested. The plot was just amazing, with a good pacing for once. This is my favourite out of the series.
– My next favourite is The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I love how it’s based off of The Odyssey, but I really love how it sets a major potential for Caspian/Edmund as a pairing, haha!
– Much like Tolkien did with his books, I love how Lewis created the world of Narnia. Everything about it fascinated me, and I just kept wanting to know more about the world. And I think that’s why I really liked The Horse and His Boy, because I got to see more than just Narnia — I saw how the world was like in Calormen and Archenland.

The Bads
– I know these books are for children, but the pacing drove me nuts, especially in Prince Caspian.
– I still have no love for The Magician’s Nephew. I mean, this time, I understood what I read, but I think the effects of my earlier attempt with that book remains lingering, so it’s affecting my bias.
– I don’t know how I feel about the ending. I do feel like I’ve been cheated, but at the same time the ending fits the series very much.
– As an Atheist, I didn’t care for the Christian themes, but I still respected them as being plot points.

The Uglies
– JILL. In The Silver Chair. I absolutely could not stand her. Thank goodness she improves in the last book.
– In fact, I enjoyed The Silver Chair the least. I think it’s because there weren’t any Pevensie siblings, and Eustace just couldn’t replace them.

The Conclusion
That was a satisfying read. It took me what — over two decades? — to read the series, but I’m glad I did. The world of Narnia definitely fascinated me to where I could overlook all the religious undertones. I’m not sure if I’d ever re-read the whole series, but I know I’ll re-read the ones I really liked, like The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

1 Comment » | Filed Under Books

Monotonous Life

May 19, 2014 @ 7:36 pm (Permalink)

My life these days is monotonous. I wake up, go to work, come home, and do my hobbies. Dun, dun, dun! Throw in hanging out here and there, and that’s my life.

Last Saturday, I took my boss and her daughter to Hongdae area. I’m trying to expose them to more of Seoul while they are here. It’s good for me as well since it gets me out of the house and out of my own neighbourhood. But otherwise, if I’m not out and about, I’m at my favourite coffee shop or am taking takeaway from one of my neighbourhood’s restaurants. Or I’m home wasting time on the Internet, reading on my Kindle, or playing video games.

Gaming-wise, I’m near the end of Final Fantasy X HD, and I’ve started on Sweet Fuse: At Your Side yesterday. Book-wise, I’m reading a lot of non-fiction history books, with mangas on the side.

Really, I’m a boring person. And I’m a creature of habit who likes to escape with her books and games. I think part of the reason why I lead a very monotonous lifestyle is because my job is demanding. Most days I enjoy what I do . . . but I’m an introvert who has to act like an extrovert at work, so that takes up a lot of my mental and physical energy. One of my job requirement is to talk. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I have my days where I do not want to talk, but I’ve got to talk at my job. Well, I do grunt, too, but talking is more preferred in my occupation.

Anyway, that’s my monotonous life, everyone.

4 Comments » | Filed Under Books, General/Babbles, Korea, Video Games, Work

Tomoko the New Kindle Paperwhite

January 28, 2014 @ 7:40 pm (Permalink)

ETA: Found a dead pixel or something 30 minutes after I blogged about this . . . Looks like I’m returning this. Tomoko was not meant to be with me! :(

Kindle Paperwhite Kindle Paperwhite

Guess who decided to get the new 2nd gen Kindle Paperwhite? /o\

I couldn’t resist. It’s been something I’ve been thinking about since a couple of weeks ago when I saw them at the PX. I couldn’t really justify getting the new one because my 1st gen Paperwhite works fine, but I still wanted it just because it’s a newer model and the screen looks so much better. My co-worker finally said to me “It’s okay to upgrade. You don’t have kids. And consider this to be like your super early graduation gift to yourself.” Luckily, I already have two people who wants to buy my old one for $40, so that makes me feel better about this purchase. And oh, wow, the screen is so much brighter and better. No idea if it’s faster yet, but I imagine the page turn speed won’t really make a difference to me. But the screen, the screen is so amazing! asdfjkl;asdfjkl;

Anyway, I named it to “Tomoko”, which follows the trend of naming my Kindle devices with Japanese name :D I love it so far. Just whee! Too bad grad school is already sucking up my life, though. That certainly cuts into my reading time! Just gotta look forward to April!

10 Comments » | Filed Under Books, Materialism

Divergent and Legend Trilogies

January 21, 2014 @ 6:00 pm (Permalink)

Divergent Trilogy

In May 2013, I read The Hunger Games trilogy, and minus the third book, I was riveted by the dystopian world, something that has not happened to me since reading The Giver and “Harrison Bergeron”. I couldn’t stay away from the realistic portrayals of Katniss’ world, and I wrote a status update on Facebook expressing my awe on the books. Couple of people recommended me the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth, and JJ suggested the Legend trilogy by Marie Lu. Hungry for more YA dystopian novels, I put them on my backlog, and last week, I began reading the books and finished both series yesterday.

To compare the two series wouldn’t be fair, but since I read them back-to-back, I can’t help but compare them. Overall, I really liked the Legend trilogy over Divergent. The former proved to get better from book one to book three; the latter went downhill after the first book. The world building was more believable in Legend, and I really could see the correlation to the Republic to North Korea, and I could only wonder if a similar experience is occurring there like what Day and June went through.

Legend Trilogy

Character-wise, I like Four over June and Day because something about him calls to me. I think I admired him for the way he was shown as a mentor. Tris and June were both strong female characters, but I ended up liking Kaede and Cara over them both. In fact, I really loved the secondary characters moreso than the main ones. I have a newfound love for Metias, Uriah, Cara, Johanna, and Anden. Seriously, I have this humongous crush on Metias, and I keep wanting him to be paired up with Day and Anden in an alternate universe, haha!

Which brings me to another point I noticed about the two series — the inclusion of LGBT characters in non-LGBT mainstream YA novels. Just, WHOAH. I swear that surprised me since I’d have never seen LGBT characters in mainstream non-LGBT YA novels when I was in high school! The inclusion makes me happy because it shows just how much time has changed to where it affects literature now. I am certainly not complaining about these subject matter being in the books!

But going back to the series, I really liked Legend better for the more believable plot and the better writing, and I am still struck by the possibility of the Republic being something akin to North Korea. Divergent gave me Four, and I did like the world building, but the series as a whole was just not as good as Legend. I do not regret reading Divergent, but I’d definitely recommend Legend over it.

4 Comments » | Filed Under Books

Mini Book Reviews

January 13, 2014 @ 6:50 pm (Permalink)

After finishing The Book Thief, I began reading this monstrosity known as The Second World War by Antony Beevor. That took me about ten days to read, to where I came to the following conclusion:

The Second World War by Antony Beevor gave me a comprehensive overview on WWII from the European and the Pacific theatres, both of which demonstrated complex and convoluted events where leaders backstabbed and mistrusted each other. Not to mention the rape. God. Rape happening with both Allies and Axis soldiers. It’s like, really? I know the soldiers suffered and all, but it’s bloody ridiculous. Aside from that, I enjoyed reading about Winston Churchill and his relationships with the other leaders, Joseph Stalin and his generals that developed rivalry with each other, Adolf Hitler and his thousands of cronies who I could never keep track of (Himmler, Goring, and whoever? Don’t ask me who did what.), and Franklin Roosevelt and his military officials. Oh, and I learned a lot more about the Holocaust. And Patton. He rocks. That is all.

After finishing that 850+ page book, I decided to continue on with my backlog, of which I am devouring YA novels. Over the weekends, I read three and started on a fourth. I read:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. It was a good read. I admit, I read it with wariness because I wasn’t sure if it’d lived up to the hype. It didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the book, but it wasn’t a book that made me go asdfjkl;asdfjkl;!!! Plus, I didn’t really cry with this book. I guess after reading all those Lurlene McDaniel’s books growing up, stories about cancer and terminal illnesses are familiar territory for me. The snark level and the black humour in this book was perfect, though. And the character interactions were done well.

Fan Art by Sarah Tregay. This LGBT YA novel was another great read, one of the better LGBT YA novels I’ve read recently. In fact, this is actually and ARC, and I wrote my full mini-review at Goodreads. TL;DR ~ Loved the characters and the interaction, but felt like the overall plot was just bloody convoluted to the point where the last half of the book dragged on forever.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. Aside from wanting to type “Roswell” for “Rowell”, I didn’t really like this book. I did like how Park was half-Korean, but I feel like the author (who’s not Asian) didn’t capture the Korean heritage well through Park and his Mum. I kept wondering things like, “Where’s the effing kimchi?” Yes, they lived in Nebraska, but a lot of Koreans I know will figure out a way to make kimchi with American ingredients, but I digress. Going back to the book . . . I didn’t feel like the romance really worked in this book. If anything, I think I’d like this book better if Eleanor and Park had just remained friends.

And with that said, I am now reading Divergent. I expect to be done with the trilogy in a few days because I can’t put the book down. HOMG. It’s like Hunger Games/Percy Jackson/Leviathan series all over again! My only problem: not having enough time to read!

3 Comments » | Filed Under Books