November readings | Adventures on Land and Sea

Title: The Eye of the World
Series: The Wheel of Time #1
Author: Robert Jordan
Genre(s): Epic, High Fantasy, Adventure
Page count: 814 pages
Published: 15 November 1990

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: Fable
Series: Fable #1
Author: Adrienne Young
Genre(s): YA, Adventure, Romance, Fantasy
Page count: 357 pages
Published: 1 September 2020

My review | Book | Audiobook

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Fable | Adrienne Young

For seventeen-year-old Fable, the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home she has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one, and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father, and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father.

But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him, and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive.

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How was it? Well it took me a little over a year to finish this book. I know that sounds bad but some books are like that, they take me months to finish them. I read half of it in one sitting and was enveloped in the world building but just has everything was set up – because that the first half is mostly that – I stopped reading.

As much as I ended up liking this book, it has some aspects that are eye roll worthy, bringing the quality down. I paused right in the middle of an action sequence, which is odd for me, but the book was getting to a point where I felt that most of the world building was done. The setting of this book is one of the best thing about it. I loved learning about it, the different places, what made up the crew of a ship, the trade guild or the idea of Gem Sages, the author does a great job at laying all that out. It’s not too complicated and it feels real.

However, when the focus was shifting more to other characters and tried to move the plot forward, the story lost its shine a bit. The problem is part of the plot is vague and the other is predictable; as for the other characters – mainly the crew of the Marygold – the further you got from West, the less you knew about them. I can barely remember their names and am not sure how many of them there were. Also as charming as these characters were, they’re not believable as the crew of a ship. Their young age might make them seem like underdogs compared to the other ships but given how these other crews are described it’s a wonder that they’re still alive and retained their ship.

There’s also some romance in this book, thank goodness it’s doesn’t take much space but it’s USELESS. It seemed liked an obligatory added on thing, as if it can only be a YA novel if someone catches feelings. I don’t mind romance, in fact I read a lot of it but it was unnecessary here.

Besides the world building, the other aspect of the book that I liked is Fable. She’s driven, brave and a great character to follow. I may not have liked all of her choices but I enjoyed going on this adventure with her.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Fable is available on The Book Depository, Amazon, Audible and other book retailers near you.

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Station Eleven | Trailer

  • Writer: Patrick Somerville (Creator), Emily St. John Mandel (Novel)
  • Director: Hiro Murai
  • Stars: Mackenzie Davis, Himesh Patel, Nabhaan Rizwan, Lori Petty, Daniel Zovatto, Philippine Velge

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Hawkeye (Pilot) | The Hero’s Apprentice

Review: Before I got a chance to watch this show for myself I was told to lower my expectations, which made sense because by nature Hawkeye is just human, not enhanced. Unlike WandaVision, Loki, or even Falcon and The Winter Soldier – that has one non-enhanced character out of the two title characters – this TV show is more grounded and realistic because it deals – so far – with regular street level antagonists.

Although it starts in a very cinematic fashion with a clever link to The Avengers (2012) in the opening scene. The show gradually gets scale down to a point that out of all the MCU TV series – so far – Hawkeye feels like a step down in quality but it’s not. The quality is fine, even great considering what the show tackles when it comes to Clint or even Kate, but the spectacle is for sure not as grand – at least not in the first two episodes – as one might expect. It’s not reality bending, multiverse breaking, or world-wide terror attacks in Hawkeye but low level street fights.

The series show focuses more on Kate, her family life, her skills, and then on Clint’s grief, regrets, and the toll avenging has had on him. It’s actually where the strength of the series lies, when it’s heavily focused on Kate or Clint it’s amazing. The two characters are interesting and they have great chemistry but as soon as that focus retracts from them, most of the secondary characters seem plucked out of a CW and/or Marvel Netflix show. It’s not necessarily a bad thing but it adds to this feel of a downgrade I got at times. The story is average and lacks the complexity of previous MCU projects.

However this show has enough personality to make it fun and entertaining to watch.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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The Wheel of Time (Premiere) | Fast Paced and Engrossing

Rafe Judkins (Showrunner), Robert Jordan (Novels)

CAST
Rosamund Pike
Daniel Henney
Zoë Robins
Josha Stradowski
Madeleine Madden
Marcus Rutherford
Barney Harris
Michael McElhatton

Review: I think I became aware of “The Wheel of Time” book series at about the same time that I started to read Brandon Sanderson‘s “Steelheart – I was not even half-way through that book that I was trying to find out what else did Sanderson wrote, and found out that he penned the remaining three out of the 15 books of The Wheel of Time after Jordan’s death. Anyway, since I’ve read “The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time #1)” I was glad to see this world come to life because there are a few things that I was looking forward to and this show delivered, faster than I expected them to.

The first three episodes are good, not only they look great, the cinematography on some of those wide shots are stunning, but we’ve been presented with most of the main players in a digestible and quite comprehensive way.
In the pilot episode alone we’ve seen a few Aes Sedai from different Ajah – I think that’s the right word, though they haven’t said it yet, it’s the name for the different groups of Aes Sedai, each one having their own purpose and rules – The series has already given us an inkling as to what the red Ajah Aes Sedai stand for. We’ve then even seen a Dark friend, Whitecloaks, a special prisoner and of course a particular gleeman. The show is also…sexier than I would have guessed with some characters are already in a relationships – and I can already see the ensuing drama they’ll bring – others take baths together. Let’s hope the drama is used wisely.

The Two Rivers five also got a decent chunk of screen time enough to give us a sense of who they are, but the focus is on Moraine – and her Worder, Lan, who’s got a nice tush BTW. There are changes from the books but that’s no big deal. However I was surprised about Perrin’s situation, I figured something would change that but I did not expect it to go like that. Rand seemed brattier at some point and I did not miss that he’s got the bow and arrows as well as his sword while Mat was stripped of a lot. Egwene is fine but Nynaeve is really striking, mostly due to Robins who easily pulls focus. She also needs to drop that hair care routine because I’d be bald if it was my hair.
I get expediency but the way the group do easily followed Moraine and Lan didn’t make much sense particularly when they didn’t know they were in danger before the attack. It’s not like they felt watched or something. They were rounded up and convinced to go on that journey quickly. I wouldn’t have been convinced that the Trollocs were specifically after me given how the events unfolded.

There are clever little moments throughout the show, for one they’ve showcased the Whitecloaks’ hypocrisy, they hunt and kill Aes Sedai and yet they advise you to seek one if you’re wounded by Trolloc poison?

I like how Moraine is portrayed here – Pike is amazing in the role – whether through action or words she is more in the gray area, which makes for an interesting character. She’s as much of a badass as the others, in fact I also loved that the villagers weren’t helpless and too afraid to defend themselves. Moraine’s action scene in the pilot was just awesome, great VFX and an impressive display of her powers.

The Wheel of Time‘s pacing goes from 0 to a 100, which works extremely well in most areas, they’re nailing almost everything in this adaptation. The show’s captivating and what’s to come seems promising.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

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