‘And The Ocean Was Our Sky’ by Patrick Ness [Spoiler-free Book Review]

“For who needs devils when you have men?”

And The Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness was very much inspired by Moby Dick, though you definitely do not need to have read the book or seen the movie to understand ATOWOS because it is a book in its own right.

The protagonist of the book, Bathsheba, is a whale. She is also a hunter; hunting humans, whilst they hunt whales. It has been this way for a while. This book follows her journey on the Alexandra (appropriately named after their captain) towards a goal that no whale or human has ever achieved before: defeating Toby Wick (yes, Toby Wick, great name, right?) despite the fact that they have no clue what or who Toby Wick is.

This book is also illustrated throughout — beautifully, I may add. The illustrations definitely add to the book and make the hard to imagine story just a little easier to envision.

ATOWOS is a very quick read, in my opinion. You should be done in a few days, if you don’t read it all in one go. Even though I finished it quickly, there is a lot of description that makes the world more real. I found myself trying harder to imagine a story than I ever have before (because how can you imagine whales going hunting?) but I liked the extra challenge. It made it all the more special when I did imagine it.

It’s a story not about friendship but about loyalty. The apprentices on the Alexandra will stick with the captain until the end. It’s pretty amazing what lengths they are willing to go to for the captain and I find myself envying such eternal loyalty. I’m not sure that many of us would be able to do what these whales did and not because we’re not whales but because of how much courage and determination it takes. Knowing that there’s a good chance you will fail, but doing it anyway because you believe in your captain.

If you read this book, I am sure that you will be mesmerised. It’s such an enthralling concept that you will not want to stop reading! Throughout the entire book, suspense will be at the forefront, as you race through the book to try and see whether they accomplish their goal or whether they fail. The hook will not leave until the last page.

I loved this book, and am an avid fan of Patrick Ness. Although it is not officially released yet, I really recommend you buy it when it is released in early September! You will not be disappointed.

 

A Monster Calls in Theatre!

So I am an avid fan of Patrick Ness and managed to win a competition run by him and his publishers; it entitled me to a series of prizes, including two free tickets to see A Monster Calls in theatre, which I saw on Saturday.

I have read the book and seen the film but I honestly didn’t know what to expect from the theatre play. The concept of it, in the most spoiler-free way, is that a boy’s mum has cancer and he starts seeing a ‘monster’ who tells him various stories. It’s an amazing story, very emotional. However, it’s easy for the monster to be portrayed in book and film form. In theatre form, I was wondering how they’d do it! They used stilts, ropes, and humans, in various ways — it was very artsy and I loved it.

One negative of it was that in the book and film the mum is an artist but there is absolutely no mention of this in the play. I relate to it a lot because my mum is an artist and a cancer survivor so this disappointed me slightly.

That’s the only negative though. The rest of the play is astounding and the music was brilliant too. In the top right hand corner of the back of the stage, there was a box which opened up, and in it were a few men who made the music. It was really great.

The play had a 4 star performance for me. I was very impressed by the acting, as well as how simple the set-up was yet how beautifully they portrayed the play. It was honestly stunning.

Goodbye Christopher Robin

Today I went to see Goodbye Christopher Robin in cinemas, which is about the life of the real Christopher Robin (referred to as Billy by those closest to him). Despite the fact that it was also about the origin of Winnie the Pooh (which I once chose as the wallpaper for my room), it was a very sad story in my opinion. It was about a boy who couldn’t really be himself because he had to always be Christopher Robin, not Billy. He was forced into the limelight and made to take pictures. He once even had to take a picture next to a bear!

After doing some research online, as well, I found that the story was even sadder than what was seen in the films. He grew to loathe his father and, although he visited him occasionally, I don’t think he ever forgave him. His mother refused to see him once he married his first cousin because she was on bad terms with her brother, and kept refusing to until the day she died. He also had a daughter with cerebral palsy and a heart abnormality, which ultimately cost her to die earlier than she should have, at the age of 56. I think this was probably linked to the fact he married a relative, as it is usually bad for the children’s health if you do so.

I had always had suspicions that the Winnie the Pooh characters were metaphors for mental illnesses, but after watching this film, I have come to the conclusion that they were emotions that A.A Milne felt when serving during the war. He obviously suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Although this was never mentioned, I think it makes sense, and is a clever way to address war in a subtle manner, as he always wanted to write something anti-war. He did eventually do a proper book on it, but before then, Winnie the Pooh was a way to express how he felt.

I really liked the film because it gave insight into the origins of a well-loved story, and I remember it being a big part of my childhood. It was still sad though, and Billy/Christopher Robin did get bullied for it at school, until he took up boxing. I think if his parents had shown more affection to him, maybe they wouldn’t have had such low relations later on in life. I think it is every child’s dream to be the main character in a book, but the fame that comes with it probably isn’t. It’s overwhelming and isolating. This film made that clear.

Thanks for reading!
Lia 

Game of Thrones [TV Show Review]

This is mostly spoiler-free. There are slight glimpses into the show but nothing that reveals a lot about it.

I have been watching Game of Thrones for not that long, but I am already three episodes into season five, because it’s one of the most addicting things I have ever watched. Every episode features several cliffhangers that you might not see the result of for a few more episodes, so you have to watch on, to find out what happens.

 Without including too many spoilers, I will state that there are characters you love and characters you hate, but all play a part in the story, so it is still unpleasant when a horrible character dies; though somewhat satisfying. And characters will die, whether you want them to or not. They will all die. Even characters you thought were safe because they’re such an integral part of the story. Sorry, nope, dead. But new characters are added too and then you become attached to them — and they die as well. It’s just the circle of life, somewhat sped up.

 One of my favourite characters is Tyrion Lannister, whom is often belittled and made to feel worthless because of his smaller stature (due to dwarfism) and because his birth resulted in his mother dying, but he is one of the wisest characters in the series and it is very saddening to see how little some members of his family think of him. Another favourite is Daenerys Targaryan, who, for the majority of her life, was made to feel like nothing more than a little girl that her brother could do with as he pleased.  So she knows what it feels like to feel insignificant as well, yet she becomes a strong female ruler and someone who is worshipped, something that her brother never had. No one ever willingly worshipped him, because they didn’t love him like they do her. And then, following in the pattern of being perceived as lesser of a human, we have Jon Snow, a bastard. He had a loving father and loving siblings, but he was never the Stark that he wanted to be. His step-mother was cold to him because he wasn’t hers, and he would never carry the family name, but he becomes a leader in his own right too. A leader without formality. You don’t need to be a king or a queen to be a leader. Jon Snow is a natural leader. There are a lot more characters that I love, and have loved (before they were ripped away from me), but this post would be very long.

 The storyline is wonderful and I actually haven’t had a favourite season, but perhaps Season One wasn’t so good because you weren’t expecting the deaths. Now, you know what to expect. Back then, it was like WHATNODONTDIE. Season five has been good so far, with another cliffhanger wanting me to watch the next episode tomorrow night.

 Actually, the actor who played Olly was at school with me — in the year below, but I don’t remember him leaving much to go do Game of Thrones, so perhaps he did it in the summer holidays. I didn’t actually know that he was in it at the time, as I didn’t watch it, but my friends did.  He was in my house and became head of my house and then, when I left school, he became head of the year. I just thought he was a smart and popular boy, but he was also in Game of Thrones. That’s quite cool. 

I really love this series now and am sad that it won’t last forever, because I would be willing to watch 2000 seasons of it. I love the intro too; very catchy music, and every episode I notice something new on the map. It is so cool! Just the entire series is really.

Thanks for reading,

Lia

Pizzaface Restaurant Review

So yesterday I went to Pizzaface, which has recently opened a branch in my town. They currently have only three places (two in Brighton, one in Worthing) but I am so hoping they continue expanding as they are awesome!

Firstly, the layout was great. It’s mostly wooden and I like the design. It is also bigger than you first expect. I didn’t actually go into the toilets myself but my mum remarked that they were wonderful.

The menu had so many options. Whether you’re a meat-eater, vegetarian, vegan, or even want a pizza with fish on, there’s something for you! There were several vegan choices which made me happy.

The waitress was so attentive and thoughtful. She asked if we wanted water first and made sure to let us know that our orders could be switched around as we liked. I just had a vegan Margherita (without having to bring in my own cheese!!) and some vegan garlic bread, which I shared with my mum. She had a vegetarian pizza called The Woodsman, which she added anchovies to.

Her pizza cost £10 and mine cost £7 (but would have been £6 if I wasn’t a vegan), and the garlic bread and drinks were cheap too. It was £23 altogether and we made sure to give a big tip.

The food itself was lovely! My cheese melted great, just like normal cheese, and it tasted amazing. It was massive as well, for £7!? My mum said hers was good too. We had plenty of water if our drinks weren’t enough and the garlic bread was wonderful too.

We were so pleased with the service and the food, which is something so rare, that I just couldn’t help recommending this place to anyone who lives in Sussex. I will definitely be going there again!

We even got two vegan mints to end the evening and a lovely talk about the vegan and non-vegan ice creams offered, which they change around every 4 – 5 weeks, hence no menu for them.

Lia

Game Review: Life is Strange

*Slight spoiler warning*

So, this game was such a massive trend amongst the Steam community that I just had to give it a shot. And I was not disappointed!

The first thing I just have to talk about is the sound track — it is so beautiful and wow and everything and I just love it! Honestly, it is the best game soundtrack I have possibly ever heard.

The graphics are pretty nice too, but the main thing I need to get at is how brilliant the story is.

This game is split into five episodes. You play the game as Max, a nerdy, aspiring photographer who’s just a little bit nosy. She finds out she has these crazy rewind powers and the ability to literally change time. It’s more than just some superhero story though; some terrible stuff goes on at Blackwell. A missing girl, a suicide attempt, and later, the discovery of the dark room…

It’s a game where your choices do matter. They can change a lot of the story but, ultimately, you discover that there’s one thing that cannot be changed: destiny. It was such an emotional thing too. Like, when you discover who the real psychopath is. That’s pretty darn shocking.

To be honest, I would love for the company who made this game to make so many more games like this because they are so brilliant. This game was brilliant. It was so moving and the story was the best part.

I wish I had rewind powers, to be honest. That’d be cool.

Do you want more posts like this? Or not? Comment below 🙂

Lia

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness [Book Review]

So, I finished this book last night and I just had to write a review for it! It was astonishing! It’s the last YA book by Patrick Ness that I’ve read, meaning that I’ve read all of his YA books and so I don’t have any left to read. 😦

‘A Monster Calls’ is about monsters and it’s more of a psychological thing than a physical thing; even though the monsters are very much present, it’s sort of to do with the monsters that Conor, the main character, hides within himself, and is really intriguing. It’s a really sad story, in all honesty, and I felt my heart sink at the end of it.

It’s wonderfully illustrated too though, and the pictures really add to the story. The story probably wouldn’t have the same feel without those illustrations. They definitely add to the words surrounding them.

I had strong emotions about the characters too, getting annoyed at Conor sometimes because Patrick Ness is the best author at creating realistic, flawed characters. Without giving too much away, I will say that Conor definitely grows throughout the novel, despite other aspects of his life being crushed. The monster makes him see and that is the real beauty of the story. Conor is blinded by his hatred of himself but then he realises that there’s something more important… something that can make him see… This is with the monster’s help, of course.

I am just filled with love for this story! I wasn’t surprised, though, as it is by my favourite author. I can’t think of anything to criticise in this tale of relationships, truth, and realisation.

☆☆☆☆☆

I hope you enjoyed this post!

I would love book suggestions too. 🙂

Thank you, 

Lia