Our Dark Duet – Victoria Schwab – Review

32075662This Savage Song and Our Dark Duet ask the reader to rethink how you define the word monster. Is it a definition that applies to everyone or does it change based on the person and the circumstances they find themselves in? Our Dark Duet was a great end to a duology that makes you wonder about the grey areas in morality.

Our Dark Duet picks up 6 months after the conclusion of This Savage Song. Kate is in Prosperity hunting monsters and trying to start a new life. August is in Verity trying to salvage what is left of his life and city. Sloan has taken over for Callum and is letting the monsters rule and terrorize the North Side of the side.

Kate is drawn back to her past in Verity when she encounters a new threat, a shadow monster that is wreaking havoc. After an encounter with the new threat Kate knows she has to return to Verity and confront her past actions and choices.

August is trying to redefine himself. He is trying to become what the city needs, someone who can fight and can put his emotions aside. He believes that trying to become human is useless and futile now. He can only protect the people if he accepts who he is and uses his power to help instead of hurt.

When Kate returns home she finds a new August, a city falling apart, mistakes from her past in corporeal form and a threat she can’t name or see. She realizes that to save the innocent people and fix the mistakes her father made she has to accept her own mistakes. She also has to help August figure out that he has to find a balance between the two sides of himself to save the city.

What attracted me to this series initially was the idea of violence creating literal monsters. In this last book the definition of monster was explored, showing that a label does not always give you a full picture of the person you are dealing with. Labels are one way of classifying the people and world around us but it is a heavily flawed system.

This book took off from page one and didn’t slow down until the last page. We were on this constant chase to not only find the new monster but also to put a stop to it. Through the chase we learned who our characters were as full people and just what they were capable of.

Kate and August’s stories wrapped up in just the right way. Kate, who spent her life trying to prove her worth and strength, found an inner strength inside of herself. She realized she is flawed but that does not make her a bad person. She learned that you get to decide who you are. You will make mistakes, that is inevitable, but in the end it is about what you learn from those mistakes that matter. You can’t run from them and you can’t hide from them.

When danger and chaos is staring you in the face you fight and you fight without losing yourself. You can be strong without hurting the people around you. You define strength. You define who you are.

August spent much of the first book trying to fight who he was. He wanted to be human, didn’t want his power or to use that power. In the end he learned you can’t rum from who you are. Like Kate he learned it is about what you do more than what you are.

August learned he can find a balance between the park and light. He is a “monster,” which comes with power and responsibility but he is also human. He eats, sleeps, breathes and feels. He loves and that love, he learns, is not a weakness.

I loved that this book challenged the idea of labels and highlighted the detrimental power they can have. August was labeled a monster which made people fear him. They didn’t know him but that one word made them think that they did. Same thing happened with Kate. She was a “Harker,”which caused people to assume they knew what she valued and wanted.

Labels do nothing but gives us a simpler way to define things and people. Unfortunately we think that labels tell us all that we have to know. We think by hearing a few words were know a person or a group of people. In reality we know nothing but a preconceived notion. Labels won’t give you the inner person they will give you what people assume about a group or a person. In the end we have to learn that we need to approach people with an open mind and allow them to define themselves to us. Once we do we can learn that people are diverse and difficult to place into small little boxes.

The ending of this book was perfect. It was tragic but it was how this series should have ended. There were two paths one that was easy and predictable and another that hurt but was poetic and created hope. Victoria Schwab took the second path. We saw that the world is not doomed. Despite the dark that surrounds the city there is light and that light can be seen through the people you may have believed were capable of nothing but darkness. I like that the book ended on hope and showed that anyone can save everyone. You just have not allow yourself to be scared and to let your heart decide the way.

Why I think the Dursleys are afraid of magic.

House-editions-of-Philosophers-Stone-all-four-hardbacks_0.jpgMy obsession with Harry Potter is not a secret.  When Pottermore announced that they were going to start a Harry Potter book club a few months ago I was excited. One of my friends saw the announcement and passed it on to me. It sounded like a perfect place for me to geek out about Harry Potter with fellows Potterheads.

The bookclub officially started in mid-June, unfortunately for me it is limited to a Twitter chat (as of right now). The chat takes place on Friday at 11am which is when I am at work (damn bills needing to be paid!). So I can’t take part in the official chat. I glanced through the feed though and saw that some of the questions they asked were interesting.

After looking through the chat I decided that, once in a while, I am going to do blog posts on the questions that I really like or have a strong opinion about. It won’t be something I do every week, just when I like the questions asked. I figured this would be a fun way for me to still take part in the idea of the bookclub in some way.

The way it appears to be working is that they are going to break the books down into small sections. Last Friday was the first few chapter of the first book. They had three questions that they asked and the question that I found the most interesting was “Why do you think the Dursleys are so afraid of magic?”

From the first chapter I knew that the Dursleys were going to be people who feared and detested anything that was different or unexplainable to them. I knew that they were going to be people who liked life one way and one way only. Vernon came off as the worst of the three of them.

They are the kind of people who believe the world should run in a way that they can define and understand. If something different happens or comes up that is beyond their comprehension they want it gone. The last thing they want to do is learn a new way of life. For Vernon, especially if he can’t define it, it is dangerous.

The Dursleys are the type of people who don’t want to learn anything new. They don’t want to find out that their way of thinking may be wrong. To them the “other” is wrong and thus dangerous. Unfortunately today this attitude is all too prevalent.

I feel like Vernon was always this type of person from when he was a child. I feel like he grew up thinking he was superior and looking down on anyone different than him. Whereas Petunia was more open-minded at one time but jealously and resentment clouded that aspect of her personality. She was so hurt to not be a witch and to be rejected by Hogwarts that she internalized that anger and turned it into fear.

She met Vernon who thought in that narrow minded way and it fit in with her anger. He allowed her to build this wall and then hide behind it. She didn’t have to deal with why she was upset and angry, instead she made it so that the wizarding world and magic were to blame. She fell into this blackhole of fear and anger. It became so deep that it took having to hide and leave Harry behind to even begin to crack that exterior.

Dudley is his parents son and we know he inherited their narrow-mind set and fear of the “other.” Though his parting words with Harry showed that redemption is possible; if he wanted it.

Why do you think that the Dursleys fear magic?

The Magicians Land – Lev Grossman – Review

51Z4SYyeUSL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgThe Magicians series did not end up being the series I was expecting when I started it. I thought it would be more of an epic tale, one where someone learns they can do magic and have to go on grand adventures exploring their new power and saving their new lives. It ended up being snippets of  Quinten growing up and finding out who is as a person. Each book could have stood alone. There was the loose thread of Fillory wound throughout but I felt like if I had read them out of order I wouldn’t have missed too much of the story. I liked this element though and I think the last book The Magicians Land was my favorite of the three books.

The Magicians Land picks up not too long after the last book ended. Quinten has been thrown out of Fillory and he is trying to find a new path in his life. After a short stint as a professor at Bakebills he gets caught up in a robbery plot.

Quinten and a number of others are hired to steal a cae. They don’t have any idea what they are stealing, just that they will get a big pay off when the job is done. Most of those involved need the cash to start a new path in life and are willing to take part even without much information.

The heist goes wrong and Quinten finds himself having to make some tough choices. Choices tied to his past and figuring out if he should save that past or let everything go. Quinten spent most of the series trying to find his path in life, trying to figure out if what has happened should influence what will happen later in his life.

Quinten was an interesting character. I never could quite determine how to read him throughout the series. He always seems lost and unsatisifed. I got a bit frustrated at times wondering when he was going to stop looking for something new. Every time he got what he wanted he felt empty. He became a magician but didn’t feel like he had a purpose as a magician. Then he became a king of Fillory and wanted epic quests. He didn’t want to just rule, he was always searching for something just beyond his reach.

At the end of the last book I felt like I finally understood him. Quinten was someone who grew up being told a number of things were impossible; magic and Fillory. Then he learns they are all real and he is part of them. He is in awe of this new way of life but reality quickly tramples over him.

Fantasy worlds and magic are complciated. It isn’t the utopia we all imagine it to be. We want to fall into our favorite stories, thinking things will be much better, easier. What Quinten learns is that these worlds and this way of life is just as complicated and difficult to process as the one he has walked away from. Nothing is simple. No land is perfect, no story has the perfect ending.

I loved this look into fantasy and fiction. Stories are our escapes but that is because we get to close the book. We don’t have to actually live those lives. The characters make the decisions and we get to watch safely from behind the pages. I love the Harry Potter series but living in that world would probably disenchant me with the whole series. Once you enter the world you see the flaws and the issues and if you live the story you have to live with the choices and consequences.

This series explained how it would be if we fell into those stories. Quinten learns quickly that there is no such thing a s perfect life and land. You, the one living the story, make the story itself. You make the turns and choices. Wanting that escape is natural and important but getting stuck in that idea will leave you feeling empty and lost. You have to find yourself outside of the story as well.

If you never find your place you will always feel lost. You need an identity that is real and solid. Life is complicated and stories can be difficult but once you find your place they have unmeasurable worth.

I enjoyed this series once I put aside my expectations. It was a fun story. It was a great look at life inside a story and see how finding a balance between fantasy and reality is essential.

Rapid Fire Book Tag

I wasn’t tagged for this but I saw it on Fandomly Bookish and thought it seemed fun and something quick to do. I wanted to get a quick post up because my review for the last book in the Magicians series is going to take a minute to write. So enjoy this quick look into my reading life!

Question 1: E-Book or Physical Book? 

Physical Book. I can’t get seem to get lost in an e-book. There is just something about being able to hold the book and being able to put it on my shelf that I love.

Question 2 : Paperback or Hardback?

Paperback. It is cheaper, which means I can buy more books and easier to carry around. 

Question 3 : Online or In-Store Book Shopping?

In-Store Book Shopping. Being able to browse the shelves and have a cover catch my eye and fall in love with a new book is the best. I do online shop though when I want to buy a single book and can’t empty my bank account on other books that catch my eye.  

Question 4 : Trilogies or Series?

Series. Though I guess it depends on the story. If a story is enthralling and has more story to tell then it works. If a story is drawn out just to make a series that can be annoying sometimes.

Question 5 : Heroes or Villains?

Villains. More often villains are the characters that go through a longer, more complex journey. They are able to live in a grey area, which I always find interesting. I love a good villain where you learn their background and realize that hating them isn’t as easy as it seemed at first.

Question 6 : A book you want everyone to read?

So many! I would have to say either We are the Ants or The Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson. They are great books with strong messages disguised in sci-fi stories. They are fun, with intriguing and deep characters and make you think without being preachy.

Question 7 : Recommend an underrated book?

Everworld series by K.A. Applegate. I loved this series as a teen. It was fun, the characters were strong and relatable. I loved this series and think it would be a fun read.

Question 8 : The last book you finished?

The Magicians Land by Lev Grossman.

Question 9 :The Last Book(s) You Bought?

Just went on a book shopping spree. I bought Dark Duet by V.E. Schwab, The Darkest Promise by Gena Showalter, The Angle’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Question 10 : Weirdest Thing You’ve Used as a Bookmark?

Post-it note. I rarely use a bookmark. I usually bend the corner of the page (I know some people find that monstrous ). I can never keep a bookmark. I always lose them between books for some reason.

Question 11 : Used Books: Yes or No?

Sure. Usually I buy new but nothing wrong with a good used book!

Question 12 : Top Three Favourite Genres?

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Thriller/Adventure

Question 13 : Borrow or Buy?

I always buy. I don’t borrow because I don’t like to read on a timeline. I like to not have to worry about turning a book back in. Plus I love adding to my bookshelf!

Question 14 : Characters or Plot?

Characters. I love to feel like I could be best-friends with a character. I want to feel connected to them. Good characters make the book. The plot can be convulted and all over the place but if the characters are strong and have depth I will be interested in the story.

Question 15 : Long or Short Books?

The more pages the better!

Question 16 : Long or Short Chapters?

Depends on the book. Sometimes shorter chapters are needed and sometimes the chapters need to be lengthy to tell the story.

Question 17 : Name The First Three Books You Think Of…

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.k. Rowling

Is There More By Brittney Rz. (Casual mention of my book there 😉

Where the Sidewalk Ends  by Shelf Silverstein

Question 18 : Books That Makes You Laugh or Cry?

Laugh. I don’t cry easily and don’t like to cry. If a book can make me laugh it gains bonus points for me.

Question 19 : Our World or Fictional Worlds?

Fictional Worlds without a doubt. Real World is too complicated. Fictional Worlds are just much more interesting and fun.

Question 20 : Audiobooks: Yes or No?

Maybe? Haven’t ever listened to one other than parts of the Harry Potter books. But I would be willing to try.

Question 21 : Do You Ever Judge a Book by its Cover?

Yeah, the cover has to catch my attention before I will pick it up.

Question 22 : Book to Movie or Book to TV Adaptations?

Book to Movie. Most of the time with Book to Tv there are too many changes that make it hard to recognize the book used as the source material.

Question 23 : A Movie or TV-Show You Preferred to its Book?

Mocking Jay. The book was disappointing and hard to follow. The movie I understood much better.

Question 24 : Series or Standalone?

I oscillate between the two. Sometimes I need a standalone after a long series.

 

I am not going to tag anyone but if you are looking for a quick and fun tag to do, consider yourself tagged! What is everyone reading this weekend?

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare- Review

tumblr_ogwcviAKSN1r3oy4vo1_500The second book in a series can be difficult to pull off. The first book tends to handle setting everything up. We learn about the world and the characters, we get a hint at the who the greater foe will and we set the stage for other side story lines. The last book in a series is the ultimate climax, everything ends and all of our questions get answered. The second book is the awkward in-between point. It has to continue the plot, develop the characters and make sure everything is set for the finale. A lot of the times this second book gets bogged down by a treading water feel. A lot of the times as a reader I feel like the second book is slower and stagnant.

Unfortunately that is what happened to this second book in Cassandra Clare’s Dark Artifices series, Lord of Shadows. There was plenty of set up but not much actually happened. We get to know our characters better but that is hindered by the lack of communication by almost every character. While the pieces are placed on the board, everyone  spends the book just hiding secrets from each other.

Lord of Shadows picked up a few weeks after Lady Midnight left off. Emma is fake dating Mark because she can’t be with Julian. She won’t tell Julian about the curse for his own “protection.”

This is the part of the book that I had the most difficult with. I have written a full post about why this type of storyline drives me crazy, here. So I won’t go into a full rant. Emma keeps saying throughout the book that she can’t tell Julian about the parabati curse because he could get hurt. She never specifies how he could get hurt or why that would be. She just uses that as her justification for not telling him.

This makes little to no sense to me. Julian has two main priorities in his life; his family and Emma. He will do anything to protect them, but ultimately his family comes first. This was well established in the last book and throughout this book. Julian would NEVER do anything that would end up hurting his siblings. If he had to choose between them and Emma, he would choose them in a second.

So why can’t Emma tell him about the curse? He isn’t going to throw away his family and say, “Screw it, I don’t care what happens. I still want to be with you.” He isn’t going to throw away everything that matters to him. He may want to find a cure or way out, but that does not mean that he will end up hurt. Julian loves Emma but he is sensible. He is smart and he thinks through his decisions. He won’t let the curse hurt his family, period.

I feel like this secret thing was put int place in order to create angst throughout this book. We go on this continued back and forth, Does she/he love me?, for hundred of pages. It wasn’t needed. This same feeling could have been conveyed better and more naturally if they both knew about the curse.

Their communication is one of their strongest points. They talk through glances, they know each other better than anyone else. They even have a special way of tracing letters on their arms or backs, to spread messages. They would have been able to handle this secret, I wanted to see them fight it together. Having this secret kept felt like cheapening that connection between the two of them. Instead of building their bond, the bond was weakened throughout the story.

While Emma is busy keeping her secret they learn that Kieran is going to be put to death for killing Iralath. Julian, Emma, Mark and Christiana go to Faire to find and rescue Kieran. In the process they make a deal to find The Black Volume.

While this is happening in the background we have a whole storyline with The Centurians and Cohort. There is a set up for a scary way of treating Downworlders and those who aren’t Shadowhunters. This storyline hit close to reality and was a bit hard to read at times just because I can see so much of it happening in our world today. I think I know where this part of the storyline is going and it is going to aggravate me in the next book.

Tucked into all of this there is the storyline from the last book about raising Annabel and her backstory. This was the storyline I thought we would stick with from the last book but it kind of got lost in the pages of the number of other plot lines going on.

One of my favorite parts of this book was what we learned about Kit. Kit is an interesting character and a type we haven’t seen yet in this series. Kit knows the mundane world, the shadowhunter world and the downworlder world. He has a connection to them all and he was raised with one way of thinking. Throughout the story we see Kit begin to change how he thinks and how he sees the shadowhunter world.

I loved his connection to Ty. Kit understands Ty because he know the mundane world and mundane medicine. I like that he never felt disconnected from Ty, he actually connected best with Ty. I am interested to see how the connection builds after the events of the finale. I have a feeling that the two of them are either going to enter into a relationship together or become parabati or both if the curse is broken.

Kit was the character that grew throughout the book. He development felt natural. He is accepted into this family, though he at first doesn’t want to be. He begins to understand how they operate and he sees that he may have a place in this world if he wants it. I am eager to see what happened with him in the next book.

I didn’t hate this book at all. I was just expecting more from it. I think the secret keeping is what made this book difficult for me. It might just be me and my dislike of that particular storyline. I felt like it was used in order to force storylines instead of finding ways to do it naturally. Emma and Julian could have had strife in their relationship without the secret keeping. Christina could have gotten closer to Mark without Diego keeping secrets from her. I just wish this idea wasn’t the main point of this book.

I am interested to see how this story ends. Julian is going to be interesting in the next book. After the way the book ended i think we are going to see a very dark side of his character. I hope we see his dark side, I hope he loses it and has to be brought back. That will be interesting and will give us an interesting moral gray line to focus on. I have hope that this series will end in a satisfying way, but we will have to see.

At the Edge of the Universe – Shaun David Hutchinson – Review

edge of universeShaun David Hutchinson’s books are going to be stories that have one thing going on the surface and another thing in the deeper story. At the Edge of the Universe is about moving on in life, not letting one soul or one event become the center of your universe. You have to see the world is larger than just you. Take one step beyond your personal circle and the world opens up.

Ozzie and Tommy have been best friends since they were young. They have been dating since 8th grade. One day Ozzie wakes up and Tommy has disappeared. No one remembers he existed at all, no one but Ozzie.

Ozzie is set on finding  his lost boyfriend, desperate for him to not be truly forgotten. Though complications arise when he falls for his physics project partner, Calvin. Can he let Tommy go? What should he do about the universe that is literally shrinking around him? No one else notices Tommy’ disappearance or the shrinking universe. Does it matter in the end? Was Tommy even real at all?

The plot of the universe shrinking and Tommy not being remembered are secondary to the fact that Ozzie has had an issue seeing the world beyond himself. At first he seems selfish. HIs parents are divorcing and he keeps speaking about in terms of how it will effect him. His brother is leaving for the army and he again centers the issue on how it connects to him. Things at first surround him, the universe is about him.

As the universe begins to shrink, Ozzie begins to understand that he isn’t the only one in the world. Everyone has their own problems, some much serious than his own.

I really liked the way these two ideas were juxtaposed with each other. The universe is literally shrinking just as Ozzie is learning that the world is much bigger than he initially thought. Just as he is looking around, wanting to experience more he is losing it all. He learns quickly not to let life center on one thing and one thing only. Just as he is learning all of this he becomes the literal center of the universe and it is the last thing he wants.

Just as with we are the ants the side characters in this story are well developed. No one came off as flat. I would say that we are the ants does a bit better job of it but I did appreciate that we learn about everyone in this book and not just Ozzie, Tommy and Calvin. Also this book has a very diverse set of characters.

Lua, one of Ozzie’s best friends, is a genre fluid character. This is the first time I have ever read a book with this type of character and I loved the inclusion. I also like the explanation, it is simple and succinct. Lua tells her friends that the pronoun to use with them can be based off their clothing. If he is dressed in a more masculine type outfit than everyone can use “he,” pronouns. If she is dressed more traditionally feminine then everyone can use “she” pronouns. It was easy to follow, and understand.

I also loved how everyone reacted to them. I never felt like anyone was preaching about it to the reader. This was who Lua was. No one fought with them. There was a bit confusion from some of the more antagonist type characters but once we find out why, it all makes sense. I like the inclusion that felt natural. Lua wasn’t forced into the story to have representation, they were included because that is who this character was. I like this type of inclusion, when it just feels like the character is anyone else, nothing different or special but just a person.

Lua wasn’t the only character of diversity. One of Ozzie’s friends is described as asexual and Tommy is black. The story doesn’t focus on just one of these characters, but they are included to show the reader that the world around is much more diverse than you may think. I appreciate books like this because, especially now, we have to see how diverse and beautiful our world is.

By the end of the book I wasn’t sure if Tommy was real or if that really mattered. What mattered was if Ozzie could see that the universe is this larger thing and we have to find a way to balance ourselves in it. If you don’t find that balance you may end up losing yourself.

I enjoy Shaun David Hutchinson’s stories because they are not only diverse but deep. He uses surface level fantasy to delve into deeper issues and ways to see the world. He is able to explore difficult topics with making you feel bogged down or preached at. The reader is comfortable as they read, eager to see how things turn out. You feel connected to the characters no matter how different than you they may be.

Closing One Book and Opening Another – Once Upon a Time (Season 6 finale)

images-6I was prepared to be done with Once Upon a Time after the season finale. This season was tough, disjointed and all over the place. It has felt like the writer’s were grasping at straws, desperately trying to find ways to keep the show going. I stuck it out because I knew that there were rumors this could be the last season. I wanted to see how they ended it.

The season finale was a great way to end this story. We spent six seasons with our set of characters and the season finale was the time to close that book and open a new one. I had no idea going into the finale how they were going to wrap up the storylines and then set up a new, fresh season. The last few minutes left me intrigued. I wasn’t going to watch season seven, but I now have to at least give it a shot and see where they are going.

The finale started in “The Enchanted Forest, During a Time for Great Upheaval.” This should have been a tip off that something was odd because this show always gives a time period when doing the flashbacks. We see a man run and wake up a little girl. He hands her the storybook and tells her she has to run and to protect the book. We see him take a stand. We assume that he dies in the battle.

We then jump to our present “timeline,” right after The Black Fairy’s curse has taken affect. Henry wakes up on the roof where Hook and Emma’s wedding took place. He has the book. He goes down into the town and quickly learns what the curse did.

The Black Fairy’s curse sent Emma to a timeline where she is in a mental asylum. In this time she came to Storybrooke but there were no Charmings and no one was from The Enchanted Forest. She is found to be crazy for her believing Henry and is forced to an asylum to help with her supposed delusions.

Henry is desperate to find her and make her see that she is being tricked. Of course, The Black Fairy intervenes and tells Emma that she has to stop believing in the stories in order to help her son. She centers her argument on that Emma is only making it so Henry can’t live a normal life.

The rest of the group has been sent back to The Enchanted Forest. They are desperate to find a way back to Emma. We quickly learn that all the storylands are falling apart and disappearing. Since Emma no longer believes, the stories are starting to fade.

I loved this idea. I wish this was the idea that was the theme throughout this whole season. This main problem with this season was that there was no overall theme. We had too many stories going on at one time. This idea, that without belief there are no fairytales or stories, is an interesting idea. I think a lot could have been done with it.

This show has always been about the power of belief, hope and stories. Without belief no story can exist. If ,as you are reading you don’t believe what you are reading or don’t feel like the characters could be people you could ever meet and talk with, then the stories haven’t done their job. You have to believe the story could be real, that the situation could happen. You have to get lost in a story or else it is just words on a page.

The Final Battle that has been spoken about all season is not a huge battle between The Black Fairy and Emma. It is a battle for Emma’s soul. The Black Fairy knows that if Emma stops believing and leaves all that she has gained behind then The Black Fairy can win. Emma can’t fight her, she will no longer be The Savior.

Henry refuses to give up on his mother though. He starts to play the game of the world and figures out ways to convince Emma that all of the stories are true. He takes her to where her and Hook got married. For a minute she gets flashes of memories.

Emma tells Henry she has to get away. She needs to start over and get away from Storybrooke and everyone thinking she is insane. Henry agrees to help her escape, though he has a different plan.  He finds The Storybook and decides to take it back to Emma, though gets caught by The Black Fairy.

She knows that Henry is in her way, so she decides to push him down the steps. She injures him in order to convince Emma that she needs to stop believing in order to protect Henry. The Black Fairy is able to convince Emma that the way to save Henry is by burning The Storybook.

As the book burns the Enchanted Forest (the last of the story lands) begins to crumble. Emma walks away and returns to Boston. As she runs, our group is desperate to find a way to save themselves but they quickly find out that there is no hope. They can’t stop the destruction.

Emma gets back to her old apartment (though why it has been kept for her, untouched, is a mystery). She is willing to restart her new life, but finds a new storybook written by Henry. It tells her, her life story. It is the story of everything that happened to Emma since she came to Storybrooke.

Emma returns to help Henry. She tells him she may not remember her past life but she believes in it.  That it is the life she always wanted and she is willing to believe in the possibility of that life. That is the moment where everything stops falling apart. Emma decides that she believes her son. She believes that there is something else to life then what she has been fed. She decides to take a chance and see where it leads her.

IMG_3906-1200x675-1200x640While Emma is deciding what path to take, Rumple is also making a huge decision for himself and his family. In this alternate timeline Rumple has his son but Belle has supposedly run off and left her family. Rumple doesn’t believe this and he knows that The Black Fairy did not keep her word. She did not give him his family.

Rumple has his own decision to make. He can either buy into what his mother tells him, that with her new, grand power she can give him back Bae, and put his family back together or he can fight her influence on him. She offers him a new life but he knows that all magic comes with a price.

Rumple is done letting his family suffer for his choices. He decides that he does not buy into his mother’s schemes and he ends up killing her. Once The Black Fairy is dead the curse is lifted. Emma remembers who she is and everyone is brought back to Storybrooke.

Unfortunately before The Black Fairy died she commanded Gideon (whose heart she still had) to kill Emma. The Black Fairy learned that darkness cannot snuff out light. Only light can destroy light. She forces Gideon to do her dirty work.

Rumple rushes to find Gideon’s heart to return it to him. As he is picking it up he is given one last choice. The devil on his shoulder tells him that he can have all that he ever wanted; power and family, if he only puts down Gideon’s heart and lets him kill Emma.

Rumple decides that he is done betraying his family. He tries to stop Gideon. He tries to command him to not hurt Emma, but it doesn’t work. The Black Fairy’s spell cannot be undone that easily. In the end Emma knows what she has to do and that is to let Gideon kill her. She sacrifices herself for her family and her home.

She falls and appears to be dead. Everyone rushes to her side and in an echo of Season 1 Henry kisses her and wakes Emma up. True love’s kiss wins again.

The storybook returns and we learn how the final battle was actually won.  The last page says “When good and evil both did the right thing, faith was restored and the final battle was won.” Snow then gives a sweet speech about what comes next. That this is not the end of their story. It is not about the happy ending but believing in the possibility of the happy ending. Now, they live on. They get to see what happens next in their lives and they get to do it together.

The final scene shows all the worlds we have seen throughout the last six seasons coming back together. Then we get to see how everyone gets to move on with their lives. Snow and Charming have a farm. Snow goes back to teaching. Henry goes back to school. Emma and Hook work together. Rumple and Belle start new with a baby Gideon.  And Regina is once again mayor, or as the dwarves put on her door, “Queen.”

That proves the perfect ending for this series or at least this “book.” All of our characters get to move on and actually live their lives. They get to see where their stories go now, no longer having to fight. They get to live this next chapter with one another, in the life that is meant for them. To me it was perfect. It was literally closing this book and that is what this show needed. Life moving on with joy and togetherness.

The last few moments gave us a hint as to what is to come in the next season. We find out that the man from the beginning, the one that sent the little girl away, was actually adult Henry. His daughter arrives at his door step (much like Henry did to Emma’s in season 1) and tells him he has to save his family.

She is carrying a new storybook, one that contains our old story but will start a new one. After that last scene I am intrigued to see where this story is going. I was so set on letting this show go. Especially after this finale. It all ended so well!

Now I want to know what is going to happen. I feel like this is the only way for this show to move on. It is time to move our focus to a whole new set of characters, a new theme and a new story. This will only work though if this “book,” feels new and fresh. We need to have new themes, something other than the power of love and family. We need to have new characters and brand new stories.

I know that Regina, Hook and Rumple are supposed to play a part in the next season but I am hoping they are side characters. I am hoping this will feel like a sequel to a book series. New story but with cameos from people we know. It needs to find a way to get us hooked on these new characters and I think this time jump may just be the ticket.

I don’t know if I’ll do reviews for the next season but I am interested to see how this show handles this new turn. It could go very well or it they could get stuck. It will be interesting to see.

Quotes:

“Curses have never stopped us before.” – Snow – It was nice to see this end to a curse. I hope that in the new season we stay away from curses. Curses are the tool used in this book, time for a new way to stir things up.

“Belief in something, something that isn’t real, can be dangerous” – Black Fairy – This is what she wants Emma to believe. She wants to her to think having firm belief is a bad thing. When the opposite is true, having belief in what you can’t see will give you hope and provide a driving force for you to take risks and do the impossible.

 

 

 

Song in Your Heart – Once Upon a Time – Review

1200x630bbThis was the long anticipated musical episode as well as Hook and Emma’s wedding. I was hesitant about the whole musical idea. It can either go really well or really wrong. I think this one fell in the middle. I liked the songs but the story was just too Disneyeque for this show. Some of the plot points actually made me laugh out loud.

The episode started with us in the past. Snow is desperate to find a way to save her unborn daughter from the curse. She desperately makes a wish on a star, praying that her daughter can get her happy ending. The next morning the whole kingdom finds themselves signing.

At first they are confused and scared but then the number hits its crescendo and they figure out that they can do anything with love. Their whole song is about the power of love and the power of music and songs. They have this new feeling of determination and power in their souls.

Back in the current timeline Snow gives Emma her wedding dress only for The Black Fairy to show up and reveal she is still alive. She gives Emma one more chance to turn over her heart and to surrender. Emma refuses. The Black Fairy promises that she will regret that choice.

The gang goes to the clock tower where they find the plan that The Black Fairy has set in motion. At 6, right after Hook and Emma get married, a dark curse will be unleashed. This curse will separate Emma from the people she cares about. The Black Fairy assumes that this will make Emma vulnerable and make it so she can’t fight.

The Black Fairy is trying to play on Emma’s insecurities, particularly her fear of being alone. Being an orphan made Emma think she wasn’t wanted for much of her life. Throughout the series we have seen her grow and realize that she is not alone. She has her parents, Henry, Regina and Hook. Emma will never be alone again.

For a moment though Emma is scared. She resolves to fight The Black Fairy and end the battle once and for all. She faces her enemy and gives up her heart. This is the point where the past storyline and the current one connect.

Once-Upon-a-Time-6x20-The-Song-in-Your-Heart-Blue-Fairy-puts-everyones-song-in-Emmas-heart-720x409In the past the singing spell gave Snow and Charming enough confidence to fight for their daughter and their kingdom. They face Regina in a strange singing dance battle. In the end Regina is able to reverse the spell.

Snow and Charming find that they lose their drive when they can no longer sing. The Blue Fairy comes to them and tells them that the song in their hearts never leaves. That this song will always be with Emma. They have to forget this moment in order for Emma to find that song again when she needs it the most.

This was the part that had me giggling. This was so Disney it was a bit ridiculous. Emma’s heart can’t be destroyed because she has the song of her parents and family inside of it. The song in her heart is what saves her in the end from The Black Fairy, this time. She literally sings her way out of the issue.

Emma learns that she is never alone. She will always have her loved ones in her heart, no matter what else is going on. She can take on The Black Fairy because of this love. Even as the wedding ends and we see the new curse taking over, Emma is confident she can defeat this evil and be back with her family.

The season finale is Sunday. It will be a two part episode and will also be Jennifer Morrison’s last episode. She is leaving the show, which means no more Emma. I am have no idea how they are going to continue the show without her. It has been picked up for a Season 7. I am not sure how they are going to continue the story but I am interested to see. Mostly because I feel like they have hit their creative wall and it can either go well and breathe new life into the show or it will be the ultimate end and kill it. We shall see.

 

Quotes:
“Cause love expressed through song is a weapon that the queen has never seen.” – Snow – This was the point of this episode. Somehow singing about their love and dedication to their family made them more powerful. I am not entirely sure how but it was the string that kept this episode together.

 

Questions:
Where will Emma end up?

Will Emma live through the final battle?

Will The Black Fairy be defeated?

How will the last episode set up the coming new season?

Will it feel like a series finale?

What will the show be like without Emma?

 

Self-fulling Prophecy – Once Upon a Time (6×19)

maxresdefaultThis episode gave us the backstory of The Black Fairy. We learned why she had to give up her only son and we also learned that working to avoid prophecies tend to make them come true. While Rumple learned why he was abandoned, Zelena finds out that she has worth outside of her magic.

The episode opened on Rumple’s birth. Just after he is born his fairy godmother (Tiger Lily) comes in and reveals that he is destined to be a savior. This was the biggest shock of this episode. Rumple, The Dark One, was at one time destined to be a Savior; destined to help and save the people around him. It is an interesting idea considering where he ended up.

The group watches as Rumple attempts to wake up The Blue Fairy. They are able to wake her up where she tells them that the rest of the wand needed to banish The Black Fairy  is at the heart of Storybrooke. Just as she is finishing her revelation The Black Fairy comes in and kidnaps her.

Rumple is upset and at a lost. Everyone heads off to find the wand but he needs to stop them. He needs to keep The Black Fairy alive until they find out where she has hidden Gideon’s heart. At this point Rumple cares about no one but his son. He could care less what his mother wants.  He doesn’t care what her secret is, he wants his family safe, nothing more.

In another flashback we learn that that Fiona (The Black Fairy) learns that there is a prophecy about her son. It says that a Dark Force, a great evil, is going to put her son in a final battle and kill him. She is terrified and can only think about saving her child, nothing more.

images-5Fiona becomes obsessed with protecting Rumple. She jumps at everyone who comes near her and she is willing to go to any lengths to save him. Tiger Lily thinks she is trying too hard and needs to let things happen as they are meant to happen. For Fiona this is not an adequate answer. Instead of sitting around she turns herself into a fairy thinking she can now completely protect her child.

While The Black Fairy is trying to get the information of the wand piece out of The Blue Fairy, Rumple uses dust to send him, Gideon and Emma into the dream universe. He needs to ask Gideon where his heart is being held, so he can find it before taking out The Black Fairy.

The dream realm isn’t Gideon’s dream though, it is Rumple’s. Rumple is haunted by his past but is at first unwilling to find out what happened. He believes he was never loved and he doesn’t care. All Rumple cares about is his own son. The problem is that Gideon has no idea where his heart is. He knows that to defeat The Black Fairy, Rumple needs to learn about what happened to make his mother leave him.

Rumple gives in and we learn what happened with his mother. The Black Fairy is obsessed with defeating the dark force after her son. She first looks for the child she believes is going to be his downfall but can’t find him or her. Instead she decides to create her own spell. It turns out to be a dark curse that will send all the children possible as a dark force to a land without magic.

Tiger Lily tries to stop her unwilling to let her create something so dark. The Black Fairy won’t listen and pulls out Tiger Lily’s heart. This is the moment that turns Fiona into The Black Fairy. She has made an unforgivable move. Then we find out that making this mistake makes Fiona into the evil that will kill her son.

This whole thing shows again the issue with prophecies. Prophecies are just words. They have no power until someone acts on them. If Fiona had just left her son alone, watched over him and let him live his life; he would have been fine. Instead she was hell bent on preventing the darkness that she created it. Prophecies need to be left alone. Trying to prevent them always make them happen.

Fiona isn’t done destroying her son’s life though. She still believes she can save him. She takes the shears and uses them to sever Rumple from his Savior destiny. She believes that if he is not The Savior then she will not have to fight him and he will not die. This is unacceptable to The Blue Fairy. The Blue Fairy banishes The Black Fairy for her choice and gives Rumple to his father to care for. (And we all know how well that worked out).

In the end Rumple ends up facing off with his mother. He has a choice. He can use the wand to destroy her or he can work with her. He now knows that she loved him, that everything she did was to protect him. He hesitates, unable to decide if he can trust her or wants to work with her.

Rumple choose to let her live. He can’t kill her, knowing her secret. Unfortunately The Black Fairy wants to kill Emma. She needs Emma dead because of the prophecy. Emma is now The Savior, which means she can defeat The Black Fairy. I am not sure how this fight will go down, but Rumple again has proven that he can’t be trusted.

 

Quotes:

“The problem with Saviors, never quite as helpful as advertised.” – Rumple – Rumple was at one point destined to be one of these Saviors. Saviors are expected to live up to certain expectations and I wonder if Rumple could fulfill that role if he tried.

 

Questions:

When will the group learn that The Black Fairy is not dead?

Who will Rumple fight with in the end?

How will the final battle go down?

How will the musical episode work?

Will Emma and Hooks’ wedding be interrupted?

The Magicians – Review (Minor Spoilers)

220px-TheMagicians

I have been hearing about The Magicians series for a while. I saw it became a tv series on SyFy. It is just one of those books that I have seen recommended over and over again and I finally decided to give it a shot. When I bought the book, the cashier at Barnes and Noble told me, “Great choice, I love this series.” I went into this book with very high expectations and I was a bit let down, to be honest. There is potential in this book and I am going to continue with this series to see if that potential lives up to anything.

The Magicians book follows Quintin Coldwater as he attempts to find his purpose in the world. He is someone who is always on the outskirts and has never felt like he fits in. He adores a book series called the “Fillory,” series. They have a Tales of Narnia vibe to them.

One day after a college interview gone wrong he gets a mysterious note that leads him to Brakebills, a school of magic. After passing the entrance exam he enters a whole new world, one of magic and possibility. The first book follows his time through school and him finding out the land he has obsessed about his whole life, Fillory, is a real place

That is about all there is too this book. Quintin goes to school, studies and finds out Fillory is real and has a final battle at the end. Most of the book is just him going through school. Brakebills had a Harry Potter feel to it. A magic school, that is boarding school, that no one but those chosen can find. They are separated into school years and later into specialities (though Quintin never gets one).

The first two-thirds of the book nothing really happens. Each chapter is a vignette or a short story of some incident during his schooling. Everything happens and gets fixed inside of that chapter. Nothing last beyond the chapter, no conflict resonates throughout the entire book.

I enjoyed the chapters, but I found myself asking, “So what?”.  I wanted to know more, needed to know where the story was going. Was there some bigger danger they would learn to fight? Was Quintin going to lose the magic and have to fight to get it back? Where was the overall story heading? Did it have a destination or was it just a glimpse into this kid getting a new life? If that was the case how was that going to sustain 3 books?

It wasn’t until the last third that everything started happening. I won’t say what happened in order not to spoil it but the ending gave me a reason to keep reading. It was action packed, fast-paced and showed me that this story had potential. There was a purpose and it could go somewhere. If it wasn’t for that final part, I wouldn’t have picked up the next book in the series.

The other issue I had with this book was the magic system. I do not know how to explain the magic system. It has something to do with circumstances, which I am not sure what that means in the context of magic. It is complex, and it appears to be a difficult system to learn, which I liked but I wish I understood how it worked better. I felt like we had to trust the characters and just let magic, be magic. Which I guess is all right but makes it hard to follow sometimes.

Quintin is our main character and his is someone who cannot be happy no matter what. He is a type of person who drives me insane. He gets magic, but it isn’t enough. He finds out Fillory is real, but that isn’t enough either. I groaned every time he would take a step back and say something like, “I thought this is what I wanted but I feel like something is missing.” There was just always something missing, and I got super frustrated by his complaining by the end. I wanted him happy for five minutes.

I did not love this book, but the ending showed me that there is potential. I feel like a greater point is being made, and that it is just taking time to manifest. I am almost done with the second book at this point and I like it better. I am interested to see how everything plays out and if this long introduction was worth it or not.

%d bloggers like this: