If are more then a casual fan of this blog then you know that I am a huge Rick Riordan fan. I know he writes for kids but I find his writing to be so clever and charming. He has introduced to stories and myths that I didn’t know before or had forgotten. He has widen his universe to be the most inclusive in children’s literature. He uses his voice and privilege to ally and uplift other voices that don’t always get the spotlight. To put it simply. Rick is a good egg. He is also been one of the biggest critics of the movies of his own books. While the way he trolls them is amusing it does highlight the difference between the two mediums and how as much as we think Authors have a say in the movies based on their work, they don’t. We all have a favorite book that was completely ruined by it’s movie. For fans of Percy Jackson the movie is just terrible and almost unrecognizable to the books. The choices that the filmmakers chose made it almost impossible to make it a franchise. I think they realized it with the second movie and tried to fix it but it was already too late. A problem that Rick foresaw when the filmmaker’s asked for his opinion. Today, Rick posted a blog post where he details the email conversations with the filmmaker’s and how little power he had in the process. It’s an interesting read and I suggest taking a few minutes to read.
First, it kills any possibility of a movie franchise. I don’t know if you or your staff have had the chance to read farther than The Lightning Thief in the Percy Jackson series, but there are four other volumes. The series is grounded on the premise that Percy must progress from age twelve to age sixteen, when according to a prophecy he must make a decision that saves or destroys the world. I assume that XXXX would at least like to keep open the option of sequels assuming the first movie does well. Starting Percy at seventeen makes this undoable. I’m also sure that XXXXX (for) the first Harry Potter movie, some in the studio argued for making the characters older to appeal to a teen audience. Fortunately, they took the long view and stayed true to the source material, which allowed them to grow a lucrative franchise. This would’ve been impossible if they’d started Harry at seventeen. The same principle applies here.
I really don’t know the best way to describe this book or this series as it’s so lush and unique. It’s also kind of a hard read because pretty much every character is a victim of terrible abuse and trauma and the events of the book are the direct result of all the trauma. The people of Weep spent years under the threat of kidnapping and rape and even 15 years after they killed the “Gods” responsible the citadel where it all took place still stood as a reminder of what they endured. The Godspawn lived in fear of being discovered for fear of what happened to their fellow children would happen to them. This all came to a crashing half when our hero Lazlo discovered who he really was and brought them together. Even the villains of this piece were acting on their own traumas. You knew what they were doing was wrong at times you couldn’t really blame them either. In the end it was an act of compassion that saved them all. Sarai used her power to listen and understand what was the issue and finally talk them down. I highly recommend that everyone read Strange the Dreamer and the Muse of Nightmares because they are so lush in descriptions of Weep and the other strange lands. It’s truly beautiful story that is also timely to today’s me too movement.
The first time I read Sunshine was 10 years ago right after the release of Breaking Dawn. Let’s just say that Breaking Dawn left a lot to be desired. I can’t remember if it was Kate who suggested Sunshine or if it was our friend Elizabeth but it was one of those “read this if you want to read a good vampire novel after a really bad one”. I did and it is. I loved it as much now as I did back then. It was just as suspenseful, mysterious, funny and kind of sexy even if there isn’t much of a romance going on. Rae “Sunshine” Seddon is as normal as one can be living in New Arcadia after the Voodoo Wars. She makes the best cinnamon rolls at Charlie’s Coffeeshop. Her whole life revolves around the coffeeshop. Things change when she decides to take a drive out to the lake and is kidnapped by Vampires and is sucked into an old school feud between two very old and very different vampires. She also discovers that she isn’t so normal after all. She happens to be the daughter of a powerful sorcerer and has powers of her own. When she saves herself and Constantine with her sunshine power her life is turned upside down. She deals with it pretty well with a lot of dark humor and a great supporting cast. Constantine is everything that Edward is not. He doesn’t try to pretend he’s anything that he isn’t. He’s considerate and thoughtful. Many times he could have taken advantage of Sunshine but doesn’t. In the end he realizes that he needs her as much as she needs him. As for their relationship status, who knows. There is definitely a connection between them. It’s more than just the bond from healing each other but also surviving multiple traumatic events. They are definitely two friends who have a deep respect for each other and continue to challenge each other. Let’s go back to Sunshine. In someways it’s unfair to compare her to Bella because Sunshine is an adult and Bella is not. Sunshine has more life experience that when she makes decisions she knows how much is going to effect her and the people she cares about. She also sees that she is an impossible situation that doesn’t give her any good choices to choose from. She is self aware to know herself but also what is going on around her. While Constantine does take up a lot of time and thinking he doesn’t become the center of her life. She keeps her family and friends close and many of them actually help her to understand what is going on and give her the tools to defeat the evil vampire. Her support system is truly key. Not just to help her through killing vampires but also help her heal from her traumatic experience too. I think that’s important part of the story. Constantine is a powerful vampire but he couldn’t take on The Evil Vampire on his own. He needed Sunshine. Sunshine would not been able to deal with what happened to her without the support of her stepfather, Charlie, her boyfriend Mel, Her Mom, Her landlady, Yolande, her friend Aimil, her other friends and SOF agents, Pat, Jesse and Theo. Whether or not they knew it, they all played a roll in defeating The Evil Vampire and keeping Constantine and Sunshine alive. It was a group effort but also a reminder that no matter what is going on in your life. You are never truly alone. So yes, Sunshine is a great vampire novel and deserves more props.
I was first introduced to Kitsunes thanks to the TV show Teen Wolf (I miss that show) A japanese story of someone who can turn into a fox. Yumeko is only half-kitsune and has been raised by monks in a temple. Like foxes, she’s mischievious and curious. She plays tricks on the monks to some of their chagrins but the Monks also teach her how to control her kitsune powers, which will come in handy when it is revealed that the temple guards a piece of the dragon scroll. The dragon scroll when put together raises a dragon every 1000 years. The person with the scroll is granted one wish and depending on who making the wish it can be good or bad. It’s almost time to summon the dragon and many people are after the scroll. One of them is the master to the Demonslayer, Tatsumi from the Shadow Clan. Tatsumi has a very powerful sword that contains a dangerous demon. He has to control his emotions or the demon in his sword will take over him. Tatsumi and Yumeko team up to find the missing scroll. Well, Yumeko has one piece but needs Tatsumi to help her get it to another temple and keep it safe. Through their journey they meet other people along the way, including the delightful ronin, Okame and noble Daisuke. They are challenged by spirits and other supernatural beings who try to get the scroll away from them but they grow a bond that is unmistakable. For all the fear of the some of the monks that Yumeko’s fox side will take over her humanity, they shouldn’t have worried because it’s her compassion and quick thinking that often saves them. Her first time outside of the temple, she is often filled with wonder of her surroundings. Some of the most amusing bits is when Okame introduces her sarcasm for the first time. At first she is confused by it but soon begins to understand it. It’s wonderful. I really liked this book and can’t wait for the sequel. It’s full of lush descriptions of samarai’s and court life and nature that you can’t be helped to be sucked in. I highly recommend it.