Showing posts with label fan fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fan fiction. Show all posts

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Recommendation: Geekerella - Ashley Poston: Star Trek and Conventions

In GEEKERELLA, Elle enters a cosplay contest to win tickets to meet the star of the reboot of her favorite TV series.

What intrigued me: I was craving some more classic takes on fan fiction tropes and stories!

Super cute!

GEEKERELLA is an intensely fun story about a fangirl falling for the new actor who was cast in the reboot of her favorite series, and whom she despises. If you love a good enemies-to-lovers story with You've Got Mail elements and lots of nerdy references, you will absolutely adore this. 

GEEKERELLA is sprinkled with references from Star Wars to Princess Bride, and is definitely one of those happy-go-lucky reads that will make you feel all fuzzy inside. GEEKERELLA follows the tradition of a couple similar books that pay hommage to fandom culture, but remains wholly original through the fairy tale spin. As you may have guessed from the title, this is a Cinderella retelling, complete with mean stepsisters and all. If you love Jenny Han and Rainbow Rowell, and want a cute contemporary, you will absolutely adore this. 

Fabulous Writing and Characters

Poston is a very talented writer that immediately managed to catch my interest through the fabulous dual narration. As we all know dual narration is pretty much always hit or miss and requires an immense talent to pull off. Poston definitely possesses that. Love interest Darien is absolutely my favorite character in this and I loved him so much that I wished the whole story was told from his perspective. You'll definitely play favorites when reading GEEKERELLA. Elle, who lives with her vlogging bratty stepsisters and stepmother, is completely different than Darien, teen heartthrob and secretly just as much of a Starfield geek. It makes for such a great almost-starcrossed lovers story to read about these two secretly falling for each other. 

It should also be noted that Darien is a man of color, he's Indian if I'm not mistaken. Poston generally managed to gain a bazillion sympathy points with the way she handled adding characters of color into this story. GEEKERELLA is for the fans out there who love obsessing about TV shows. It's spiked with little references to the age of technology with a blogger protagonist and an online romance. You'll love this.



Rating:

★★★★

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

GEEKERELLA is a super cute love letter to fangirls and fanboys out there. Especially if you love Star Trek, you'll adore this.



Additional Info

Published: April 4th 2017
Pages: 320
Publisher: Quirk Books
Genre: YA / Contemporary
ISBN: 9781594749476

Synopsis:
"Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise. But when she disappears at midnight, will he ever be able to find her again?"
(Source: Goodreads)


What's your favorite geeky read?

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Monday, January 16, 2017

[Review] The Graces (#1) - Laure Eve: Witches, Racism, and Biphobia

In THE GRACES, River is new to town and immediately grows obsessed with the town "celebrity" family Grace, who are said to be witches.

What intrigued me: Witches!

Carbon Copy of TWILIGHT

Many reviewers note that THE GRACES bears a lot of similarities to TWILIGHT. Which - well if you've been here for a while you know that I certainly wouldn't mind that. But it's very much a carbon copy of TWILIGHT, just interchanging vampires with witches. This is exactly the same reading experience, I don't even know what to say about the plot beyond that. 

The Grace family is exactly that brand of pretentious characters that speak in pseudo deep sentences that really makes you feel detached from the narration. None of the characters feel real, rather almost like a parody, because THE GRACES takes itself so, so seriously.
Eve has this poetic quite dreamy writing style that surely showcases her skills but it absolutely doesn't work in combination with that plot.

Beyond that we have our typical Mary Sue protagonist that's not like other girls and so special and different - can we just retire this already? There's nothing wrong with being exactly like all other girls. Girls are awesome.

Racism, Ableism, and Homophobia Galore 

THE GRACES is littered with slurs and insensitivity. So much so that I could basically educate you on what not to use just by using quotes from this book. Because it's just so much I'll use a list format.
I won't use any verbatim quotes here in the following in order not to clutter things up (and also because it's so much that going back and checking page numbers would take a century.)
  • Questionable POC/Asian rep. There is one non-white character in this book, mean girl Niral who engages in frequent homophobic comments and slut shaming. It's absolutely irresponsible to make your single POC (South-East Asian) character a despicable human being. It's even worse to include this in the first place if none of her horrible action are ever addressed and/or correct. This equals condoning her behavior.
  • Biphobia. THE GRACES uses bisexuality as a plot twist. If I tell you which character is bisexual, this would spoil the story. This is not how you represent LGBT* characters. Beyond that it's stigmatized and seen as disgusting and horrifying when the character is forcibly and violently outed. THE GRACES also features a hate crime on the basis of sexuality that is normalized and encouraged. 
  • Queerbaiting? Protagonist River has an obsession with Summer Grace that comes across more like a misguided crush. This book could've been so much more interesting if the romance was between two girls and not about running after a boy who doesn't really seem interested.
  • Homophobia. Mean girl Niral spreads rumors about a side character being a lesbian. I don't know in what world being a lesbian is a negative thing, but THE GRACES makes sure to portray it like that. Earlier on before the bisexual character is outed him being bullied by a boy is described as '[the bullied boy] seemed to enjoy [getting bullied] a little too much'. 
  • Casual racial slurs. You'll find g*psy and many more in this book as casual descriptors that are never addressed. Normalizing slurs is unacceptable. Racism isn't cool or quirky.
  • Casual ableism. The lovely line 'their parents divorce hung over them like lepracy' and calling a boy 'too strong to faint like that' are always quite lovely to read.
  • Straight-forward ableism. There's this lovely dialogue between two characters fairly early on where they talk about a supposedly mentally-ill character and say 'well you can't be friends with someone [...] with mental problems.'
...and this isn't even a complete list. At some point I just grew so emotionally exhausted that I just wanted to get this over with and stopped keeping tabs. Most of the things I mentioned can be found within the first 80 or so pages. 

It's extremely disappointing to not only see a racist homophobic and ableist book like that published, but also to see reviewers and bloggers recommend this happily. I was hurt by this book. And so many other marginalized readers in the future will be.

So yeah. That was THE GRACES. If you plan on reading this, be extremely careful.

Rating:

★☆☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

THE GRACES shocked me through the frequent insensitivity, homophobia, biphobia, and racial slurs. It's extremely horrifying that all of this ended up in the final version. Marginalized readers, please be very careful. Beyond that it's a typical Mary Sue moves to new town story that has so much in common with TWILIGHT that you can only call it fan fiction.

Trigger warning for: racial slurs, slut shaming, homophobia, biphobia, hate crimes (LGBT)


Additional Info

Published: September 1st 2016
Pages: 415
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Genre: YA / Paranormal / Witches & Wizards
ISBN: 9780571326808

Synopsis:
"Everyone said the Graces were witches.

They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair.

They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different.

All I had to do was show them that person was me.

Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?"
(Source: Goodreads)



What's your favorite book about witches?

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Mary Sues and Why We Need More of Them | YA Talk



What is a Mary Sue?

The term originated from fan fiction I guess. It typically refers to characters who are beautiful, loved by everyone, super powerful, super smart, but usually don't recognize their beauty.

They're loveable because they're sometimes even insecure, but they can kick everyone's butts if they wanted to. Also, every guy that meets them falls in love with them.




Mary Sues typically also have:

  • a super tragic backstory
  • a hidden talent/skill that makes them special
  • been "chosen" by a higher power to be the only savior/ are the only person who can resolve the plot
  • an exotic hair or eye color that makes them stand out
Readers always joke about Mary Sues, but in fact they do still exist in YA. The thing is, most people don't seem to realize that their favorite novel involves a Mary Sue heroine.


Typical Criticism and Why I'm not having any of it

1. They are self-inserts of the reader, even author, into the story

They don't really have a personally besides being flawless and perfect, almost inhumanly perfect.

... so? The term self-insert implies that it's easy to identify with them. There's a lot of characters that I think don't have a personality and still are the driving forces of big franchises. We all want to identify with the main character when we're reading. Because we're all different, it's absolutely impossible to please everyone. So of course the books with less opinionated characters are more likely to appeal to the masses. It's easy to interprete if the author is vague about their portrayals.

2. They're an unrealistic reflection of everything that everyone wants be: beautiful, popular, perfect, strong and loved. 

And that's hella good! We want to read about the things we don't have. Reading is a way of escapism! We want to travel to places that we'll never see, we want to read about situations that we'll never experience. So yeah, for once we want to read about someone that has it all, is popular and loved and beautiful.

3. They're the result of very poor writing.

You can have a Mary Sue main character and still built a kick-ass world and have a great plot. Best example? Caelena Sardothien from "Throne of Glass".  If you've read the book, take a moment to think about it yourself and then we'll talk.


Actually: We need more Mary Sues

Being called a Mary Sue is neither a death sentence nor an insult. There are some characters that are wildly loved by everyone who reads certain books and to me, they're absolute Mary Sues. I'm not going to call names, but there's a lot of undercover Sues that people don't even recognize. They look up to them, especially female characters that are great at fighting, beautiful and getting all the attractive guys.

Featuring unapologetically strong and kick ass female characters has been a recent trend. I mean if you look the most popular movie -to-book film adaptations you'll rarely encounter female characters that are strong, beautiful and super scary while still being feminine. The fact that the term Mary Sue is mostly used to refer to female characters and points out character flaw that have existed for YEARS in literature (not only YA) with male main characters is just flat out ridiculous.

Just look at popular action movies and characters like Indiana Jones, Chuck Norris, Superman, Batman - all those guys are classic Gary Stus and these are only the most popular ones. If you think in terms of movies, I can hardly tell you a single Mary Sue character in a similar franchise. It's a blessing that it's become a trend in YA to show merciless fighter-type heroine main characters and I am absolutely in favor or bringing all those books to the big screen and finally getting some gender equality in the medium.

So yes, I want more Mary Sues. Do you?


Continue Reading...

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

[Review] Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell




Cather and Wren are twins that are complete opposites. Cather is an extroverted party girl and Wren is an introverted bookworm and hobby fan fiction author. 

When they both go to college, they deal with the experience very differently. 


What intrigued me: I love pop culture references and I did write a fair share of fan fiction back in the day. I had to read this.

Difficult Premise for People 
Who Don't Know Fan Culture

Someone that has never been in contact with actual fan culture on websites like tumblr, livejournal and ao3, will not understand what's going on here. Why write stories about characters that already have stories? Why not just reread the book? To everyone who doesn't understand fan culture, Cath will look like a lunatic, because Rowell doesn't really explain the appeal in writing fan fiction. 

Of course most readers do know what's going on because they most likely fangirls themselves, but you can't just assume stuff like this. You go ahead and try to explain to a stranger on the bus what the appeal is in writing made-up stories that will never get published or appreciated by professionals and then bend their plot lines so much you don't even recognize that it's these characters half the time. 
Looking at you, Coffee-Shop!EverybodyLives!m/m-category. If you take a specific topic like this, you just have to be a bit more careful and explain things. 

Yeah, I skipped parts of her actual fan fiction. Didn't even try because after the third passage that turned out to have no impact on the story, I didn't see any sense in torturing myself with that. I just didn't have the patience or emotional investment in Cather's fictional story that Rowell probably aimed for.

Great Characters + Boring Plot

Aside from the fact that I didn't care about Cath and her writings, I loved Reagan, loved Wren and was indifferent about Levi. At least her characters show some diversity! But boring protagonists without  a drive/goal in the novel just … why would I want to read about the everyday adventures of some random girl at college? Already have that in my life, I don’t need a novel about it. The certain spark that makes me want to get to know the character is just missing. I’d rather have read about Wren or Reagan. 

In regards to the plot: loose ends everywhere, random people making short appearances that have no impact on the entirety of the novel and important characters just having cameos. I’d love to have seen more of Wren’s boyfriend or the girls' dad. Instead I get a squeezed in story with a stupid douchebag aka Nick that is oh so rude to Cather to force the readers to like Eli. Also Love-Triangle. Don’t you think I didn’t see that you were implying it, Rainbow. 


Rating:

★★☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?



Yeah, I guess. Just because I know that the idea probably intrigues a lot of people. But I just couldn’t handle the novel. These unnecessary passages about Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy  Simon Snow and Whatshisface just made me wish I could fast forward because they had no impact on the novel. Also a horrible loose ending that just made me think - wow, somebody just wanted to get this thing over with.



Additional Info

Original Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Published: September 13th 2013
Pages: 445
Medium: ebook
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Genre: YA / Contemporary
ISBN: B00BMKH5NW

Synopsis:
"Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan...

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?"(Source: Goodreads)



 Have you read FANGIRL?





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