Search Results for Fear the Fantastic

Fear the Fantastic – Everworld #6 – K.A. Applegate – Mini-Review

Christopher, April, David and Jalil are once again on the run. They made their escape from Fairy Land and are on the hunt for a way home. A few missteps and they end up in Hewten territory. There they meet Dionysus and Ganymede, two Greek gods. They need to rescue their new friends and make it out alive, a task that is easier said than done when you have to travel through Ka Anor’s territory.

(This is a mini review for the 6th book in the Everworld series. There may be spoilers for the previous five books).

When I started reading this book I realized that I remember very little of this one. I knew it was Christopher’s story and that it involved a lot of the Hewten. The issue I see is that I don’t feel that attached to the Ka Anor or Hewten storyline.

This book should have made me afraid. It should have been tense and made me scared of this threat. Instead I just felt bored. I like the other books and the other stories because it is all about different gods and these teenagers trying to navigate this world. This one was kind of boring.

I found myself just wanting to get out of the area, knowing that they would and move on to Olympus. I didn’t care about the Hewten city. I didn’t care about the fact they could get eaten alive. The threat felt minimal. Even when we see Ka Anor (which I can’t really picture at all) I still didn’t feel that scared or upset at the situation. I think it is because it was so abstract and nothing much truly happened.

The saving grace of this book was Christopher. I have always like his character and this book solidified why. Christopher is the type of character that appears one way but is deeper and more considerate underneath. He hides his insecurities under humor and makes some off color jokes but in this book you see who he truly is. He is a guy who just wants to live and have fun. He doesn’t want to be bogged down with responsibility and moral codes. But he realizes that sometimes you have to make decisions that will haunt you.

I forgot how many deeper issues these books touch on. In this one we see that Christopher has to choose between what he knows is right and his job. He realizes some may seem him as this hard, racist and sexist guy when in reality he is just someone who makes a joke but doesn’t mean them. He begins to realize the face he is showing to the world and the person who truly is are getting confused and misconstrued. I came away from this book wanting to see how far his character grows and who he becomes.

February Wrap Up

This month felt like a slower month for me. It was a slower month in terms of blogging actually. Reading wasn’t as bad, though apparently according to my Goodreads challenge I am 2 books behind. I am not going to get too upset about that yet.

This month was busier than I planned on it being. I didn’t have as much time during the weekends to read or write as I am used to. Hence why I had much fewer posts than I have in the past. I plan on trying to make that better in March but we will see if I am able to that or if things pop up again.

Books read:
I was able to read 3 books this month. It was a decent reading month. I enjoyed this months books.

Crucible – James Rollins – I love this series. This was a good addition to the Sigma Force series. It didn’t focus on who I thought it should focus on though. I did enjoy that it made me more afraid for the main characters than the any other ones have ever done.

Black Wings Beating – Alex London – I was expecting more from this book. It was interesting but didn’t spark enough for me to anticipate the next one.

Fear the Fantastic – K.A. Applegate – I didn’t remember this one from my first readings. It was interesting but it felt kind of boring compared to the other ones.

Blog Posts:
The Crucible – James Rollins – Review
Black Wings Beating – Alex London – Review
Fear the Fantastic – Everworld #6- K.A. Applegate – Mini-Review
Down the TBR Hole #13

(Not only do I plan on making sure to post more I also will get back to reading and commenting more.)

Books I Bought:
Past and Other Things that Should Stay Buried – Sean David Hutchinson
Here and Now and Then – Mike Chen
The Masked City – The Invisible Library #2 – Genevieve Cogman
In an Absent Dream – (Wayward Children #4) – Seanan McGuire
Nevernight – Jay Kristoff

Writing:
My writing group is going well. I have found it is helping me stay on track with writing. I may be writing random things and not necessarily my novel but the drive is there. At this point that is what I needed.


Love, Simon – Movie Review

59de56d04dfe8.jpgI have been wanting to see the movie “Love, Simon,” since I finished the book. I adored the book and you can read my review about it here. This review is going to be more about the difference I noticed between the movie and the book and what I thought about them.

I am not going to get into the cultural significance of the movie much, mostly because as a straight person I don’t think I am the right person to talk about that. Though I will state that my brother, who is gay, adored the movie and stated that he wished it had been around when he was younger to help him understand his sexuality better.

I thought this was a fantastic adaptation of the book. I noticed minor changes but I none that took away from the story. The main story, Simon building a connection with Blue and his coming out journey remained the same. We still saw the struggles he went through, the emotional journey was very much the same which was great. I don’t think anything significant was left out or changed. It still ended up being a heartfelt story that made me just as happy at the end as the book the did.

One of the main difference I noticed was the way I felt about Martin in the movie. In the book I wrote him off, honestly really hated him. I couldn’t find any relatable or redeeming qualities about him. I despised him for blackmailing Simon and hated how he outed Simon. Even his apology in the book fell flat for me.

The movie version of Martin I found a little bit more understandable. The fact that we spent more time with him and saw him as a geeky, awkward guy who was just trying to get a girl to like him made him a bit more human for me. The whole homecoming scene really made me sympathize with him. I felt bad for him, I saw him as someone with the need to fit in and feeling like he wasn’t enough. Whereas in the book I felt like we didn’t get any of that.

That is not to say that what he did to Simon still didn’t seriously piss me off. I just didn’t hate him as much. I think there was a significant line in the movie that didn’t stand out as much for some reason in the book. Martin states that he didn’t think it was a big deal (him outing Simon) and that people still did stuff (be homophobic) like that after Simon is humiliated.

Again this may have been just because of the visual element but I think this made me realize how much of a teenager in a bubble Martin is. There are plenty of people who don’t realize how homophobic and cruel the world can be. They see their circle and think everyone is similar to them. They don’t think that anyone could be hurtful because they don’t know anyone like that. Martin was hurting and humiliated and he took revenge without thinking.

None of that in any way excuses his behavior but I felt like the movie made me understand his character better and despise him a little bit less.

rs_1024x759-180315120056-1024-love-simon-movie-long-overdueOne of the other differences in the movie that I liked was how we went through a small list of people to find Blue. I liked how they hinted at someone and then had them writing the emails. It kept you guessing. It also made you feel a deeper connection to Simon. You felt his elation when he thought he had figured it out and then felt that harsh disappointment when something showed him how wrong he was. I thought that was done well and made the story move along well for the movie.

Another thing I liked was his mom’s speech to him. I loved the way she talked about him holding his breath for years and finally being able to breathe and exhale out. I thought it summed up the whole idea really well and showed her support and her own struggle with trying to find out how to help him. I thought that was a great addition to the story.

I did love the reveal at the end. I knew who Blue was and had read that it was the same as the book yet I still felt nervous watching that scene. I was anxious and felt my heart beating waiting for him to appear.

I liked that it was a more public reveal as well. In the book no one else is around when his finds out who Blue is where as in the movie it is almost a whole school thing. We see the school and the people he feared telling he was gay be so supportive and excited for him. It was nice to feel that connection and joy.

I am someone who will almost always love a book more than a movie but I thought this was a great adaptation. It changed some elements and cut others (such as my favorite scene at the end of the book when they go on their first “date.”) but in the end they kept the story true to its original purpose and gave us a sweet, romance with a gay main character and a happy ending.

I highly recommend the movie if you enjoyed the book, you definitely will not be disappointed.

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child Review (Spoilers!)

Harry_Potter_and_the_Cursed_Child_Special_Rehearsal_Edition_Book_Cover(This is full of spoilers. If you have not finished The Cursed Child yet then stop reading now. I couldn’t find a way to talk about it without spoilers. You have been warned!)

When I heard there was going to be a Harry Potter play I was excited yet sad at the same time. The possibility of me actually being able to see the play was next to nothing. There is no way I can afford to go to London and I had no idea if/when it would come to the U.S. And when it does come here who knows if it would be possible to get tickets or if they would be affordable. So when I heard they were going to release the script in book format I was super excited. I have been anticipating this for months now. All I wanted was to be able to read the story.

I went to a midnight released event for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I felt like I had gone back ten years to the release of the final book. I went with my best friend, mom and brother. I was once again surrounded by Harry Potter enthusiasts and it was a great feeling. Not only have I missed the Harry Potter world but I have also missed the air of excitement and anticipation for a new story/book.

I read the whole thing in one sitting. I have many thoughts about the story so this does get a bit long. This will probably be one of my longest reviews, but I have so much to say about this story.

I wanted to start off by saying that I ultimately loved this story. I loved the greater depth we got to some of favorite old characters as well as meeting some new ones. I thought the story did a great job of introducing us to the next generation of Hogwarts students. One of my favorite aspects of stories is the characters and this script delivered on that. There were some plot points I had some trouble with but more on that later.

I do think that there is something missed from this story by just reading the script. Plays are meant to be watched not just read. I think portions would have had a bigger impact watching the action take place. I got a good feeling for the story but I think it would truly come alive seeing it performed. I hope that one day I am able to see it live and then compare it to my reading of the story.

Cursed Child takes place exactly where the seventh book ended. The opening scene is actually part of the epilogue. Albus Severus Potter is off to his first day at Hogwarts. He says good-bye to his parents and he and his cousin Rose head off down the train to find somewhere to sit. They encounter Scorpius Malfoy.

Rose is reluctant to stay around him. Both her and Albus know the history their parents have with the Malfoys. They also know the rumors about Scorpious being Voldemort’s child. Rose doesn’t want to stay but Albus does. Albus and Scorpius become fast friends.

Albus gets to Hogwarts and he is sorted into Slytherin which creates a rift between him and Rose as well as the rest of the kids in the school. The play does a quick pass through time going through Albus’s first four years at Hogwarts. We learn quickly that Hogwarts isn’t a sanctuary for Albus like it was for Harry. Albus is ignored and bullied. His only friend is Scorpius.

Albus is not popular like Harry. He is not a great student and he is not athletic. He is an outcast at school and at home he doesn’t feel much better. Him and Harry do not have the closest relationship. Harry is having trouble understanding Albus.

After a huge fight between Albus and Harry, Albus decided he needs to right a wrong of Harry’s past, which hopefully will change his relationship with his father. Albus decides that they need to save Cedric Diggory.

Albus and Scorpius steal the last remaining Time Turner and use it to go back and try to save Cedric. As always happens with trips through time, things do not go as planned. They try two different times to save Cedric and end up making a bigger and bigger mess. They work to fix it and in the process learn that the whole thing was being manipulated by a woman called Delphi, who they think is Cedric’s cousin. Turns out she is actually Voldemort’s daughter and she is intent on saving him and meeting her father. Albus, Scorpious, Harry and the others all work together to stop Delphi and in the process Harry and Albus learn how to understand one another and begin to repair their relationship.That is the basics of the plot.

At the end of the seventh book Harry and Albus have a discussion about Albus’s fear of being placed in Slytherin. After their talk I thought that Albus would ask to be in Gryffindor just like Harry did. I did not expect him to end up in Slytherin, but he did. I love that Albus is in Slytherin. That is probably one of my favorite parts of the story.

People have a misconception about Slytherin, one that J.K. Rowling is constantly trying to change. The idea that Slytherin is full of dark or evil wizards is warrented. In the books we are told that the most dark wizards have come from Slytherin. Many of the characters we dislike are in Slytherin. But Slytherin house is not a bad house, there is nothing inherently wrong with the people in that house.

Slytherin-Crest-slytherin-17304074-250-284.jpgSlytherins are ambitious, stubborn, and cunning people. They will do whatever they have to do in order to get what they want. They do not back down easily. None of those are bad traits. They are traits though that can be used in the wrong way if they are allowed to go in that direction. Because Slytherin’s have some more extreme traits they tend to be the darker wizards but making Albus a Slytherin does a lot to change this idea.

We get to see that there is nothing wrong with this house. Albus is not evil. Scorpius is not either. It helps to show that each person is an individual. Just because your family has a certain leaning toward a house or set of traits does not mean you have to be same way. Everyone is different. Albus is a good kid, and him being in Slytherin will help adjust the attitude that may permeate about that house.

One of my new favorite character is Scorpius Malfoy. Scorpius is funny and has some of the best lines in the play. He is not like Draco, a lot like Albus is not that much like Harry. Scorpius is the smarter one of the two of them, he is a bookworm and has great grades. He is the perfect pair to Albus. I love their friendship. I also love what their friendship does for Draco and Harry’s relationship.

Draco and Harry have not become friends over the last 19 years. They tolerate each other’s presence. Throughout the story they have to work together in order to find and help their children. They have arguments, but in the end they realize that they have some things in common. Both are having trouble relating and reaching their sons. Both have certain expectations for their children and both are having an issue connecting to their child.

l-r_Harry_Potter_(Jamie_Parker),_Albus_Potter_(Sam_Clemmett),_Ginny_Potter_(Poppy_Miller)-large_trans++P642x9a4zXQRkyaVdo3I2TWirqIBi3L-jQ5m0Ctq1moParents tend to envision certain lives for their children. They see them as a certain profession, or see them getting great grades and having lots of friends. Some see their children as hugely successful or similar to themselves when they were children. One of the most difficult things for a parent is to take a step back and see the child they have in front of them. Some can do this (my parents did a great job at it) while others have trouble reconciling their imaginary child and the child they have in front of them.

This is the main thing Harry is dealing with in this story. Harry has three children, James, Lily and Albus. He seems able to connect with James and Lily. Albus is an enigma to him and they can’t find common ground. Not only is Albus a Slytherin but he hates Hogwarts, is not popular, not a great student and is not athletic. He is a loner and Harry can’t understand how Albus go to this point.

One of the problems is Harry doesn’t listen to Albus. He keeps getting frustrated with his son and he thinks he knows best. He doesn’t understand why Albus won’t listen and do what he says. He can’t reach his son and he makes some bad decisions along the way.

By the end of the play he has to put his expectations and images of Albus aside and see Albus for who he is. They are in fact much more similar than either is willing to admit. Harry is not perfect. He has always had trouble adjusting his opinion about someone or something. He tends to get an idea in his head and won’t let go. In this play we see that this is something he continues to struggle with no matter how old he has gotten.

Cursed Child also gives us a new way of seeing Draco. Draco’s wife passes away early in the story and he is now a single father. He is struggling to connect with his son just as Harry is. Draco was a character that got much deeper in the last few books and this play just adds more depth to his character.

Draco-ScorpiusDraco ends up opening up a bit to Harry in this story which made me like him more than I have ever done before. We see that Draco loved his wife and loves his son. He did not have the greatest example of a father to emulate; and like Harry he is making things up as he goes. Draco does not want to be stereotyped by his past decisions or for his son to suffer for his past.

Harry and Draco will never be best friends but the friendship between their children will help repair past wounds. They can be cordial to each other and even work together when necessary.

This was a great play for characterization. It evolved the characters we know and love and helped us form new connections to new characters. The main plot point, the whole time travel aspect, is where things got a bit complicated.

I love time travel stories. I also love stories that explore the idea of the repercussions of changing things in the past. I was excited to see that this was the main idea of this story. What I found though was my wanting of more details. I know a play can only give you so much detail and explanation to the story. You can’t have a huge amount of time dedicated to explaining how pieces work. I thought this story could have benefited from a bit more detail about how the time travel worked and how the consequences came about.

Albus and Scorpius change history twice trying to save Cedric. The first time they try to make Cedric fail the first task of the Triwizard Tournament. The effects of this one are subtle. Albus is now a Gryffindor. Ron and Hermione aren’t married. Hermione is not Minster of Magic, but a teacher and she is strict and just plain mean.

Harry is also a bit rougher around the edges. He threatens McGonaglla with legal action if she doesn’t do as he wants. He tries to keep Scorpius and Albus separate from one another, all which is very out of character for Harry.

The issue I had with this part was there was little -to-no explanation of why these are the consequences of that change in history. Why is Albus now a Gryffindor? How does his character change because of this? Yes, Hermione went to the Yule Ball with Ron instead of Krum but why did that have such a negative effect on their relationship? Why is Hermione so bitter now?

There is a base line explanation for everything but I felt like I needed a bit more explanation. That may be because I am so close to these characters that I need to know everything about them and how they change. These aren’t characters I just met. I believe I know their behaviors and thoughts and would know how things would change for them.

The second time they humiliate Cedric in the second task. Somehow this makes Cedric become resentful and in the end he becomes a Death Eater. At the Battle of Hogwarts he kills Neville, which means Nagini is not killed and Harry dies in the battle. Voldemort takes over and everything is horrible. Again, I had questions.

Why does Cedric being humiliated end up with him as a Death Eater? And how does that alone put things in place for Vodemort’s take over? Did Cedric blame Harry somehow? I think we do not know enough about Cedric alone to be able to reconcile these changes in a way that made sense to me. Again I think this would have benefited from more details about what happened and why. But I know that is difficult with the time frame of a play.

Then there is the idea of Delphi being Voldemort’s daughter. This was the part I had the most trouble with. It may be that for me Voldemort always seemed like a very asexual person. I did not see him having any real connection with anyone, not enough to create a child. I also can’t put Belletrix into a timeline where she would be pregnant.

This idea was interesting and I would have loved to explore it more. I would have loved to understand better how it happened and if it was just about creating an heir (which makes little sense since Voldemort never planned to die) or if there was more to it.  Again I think I desired more details because I am used to getting it with the novels. In a play you can’t do all of that or the whole thing would last hours. There has to be a cut off and some things get left out. The basics are explained for the plot line but I wanted a bit more.

Again I did not dislike this story. I loved the idea. I loved the growth of the characters and the introduction to the new characters. I just think this may have all worked better as either a novella or even a novel. I am also used to a certain way Harry Potter stories are told and this is very different so that may be me trying to adjust to this change.

In the end I loved this addition to the Harry Potter world. I have new favorite characters. I got to see how Harry as an adult, which is nice since I am now an adult myself. I got to go back into the world that I have always loved and adored. This was a great adventure and I do believe that anyone who likes Harry Potter should enjoy this additional story. You get to step back into the magical world and walk alongside some of these fantastic characters yet again.

Use of Fairy Tales Vs. Mythology in Once Upon a Time

tumblr_static_once-upon-a-timeI love fairy tales for a few reasons. First of all, I love that they have lasted over centuries of storytelling. They are stories that almost everyone knows, in some form or another. They are tales that have created characters that have lasted throughout the ages. They are tales that give us a glimpse into a life long ago while also allowing us to mold them to our present day lives. Many are basic stories that have grown over time. I also love the lessons they tend to leave behind, again lessons that grow as time goes on.

I also adore mythology as well. To me, mythology is very similar to fairytales. They both are stories full of fantastic elements, that take the reader or listener on an epic journey. They are also a great way of understanding what life was like in the distant past. Mythology gives us a glimpse how ancient peoples lived and ran their lives. They are also stories that again, can change and grow with time. Today we envision them in so many different ways. We can recreate them to fit our lives and fit our modern times.

Once Upon a Time is one of my favorite shows because of how they have taken some classic tales and breathed new life into them. They started the series by re-telling some of the classic tales; Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, and a number of others. The show started simply. The first season was just establishing the characters and how they all fit together. One of the best parts of this show is that all the tales do fit together in some manner.

Over the course of the show, many of the stories have taken on a life of their own. Snow White, a character I never put much thought into, grew into a character I understand and admire. I know that these are just their reimagining of these stories but they have given me a new way to look at tales that I have always loved. Characters that at times seemed very one dimensional; such as The Evil Queen, have gotten so much depth to them. Regina is not just The Evil Queen, she is a woman who has made wrong choices in her life and is striving to turn her life around. She is the epitome of the struggle between good and evil and how the fight is never over.

I have always admired the way the creators have taken inspiration from the originals of the classics. They don’t base their stories off the Disney versions. They are not afraid to take a character we thought we should always hate and make them grow into a character we love; such as Captain Hook.

I remember when they were going to introduce Elsa and Anna from Frozen to the series how worried I was. I was worried that they were jumping on a bandwagon and were going to lose the intricate story-telling they had used for so long. I was scared it was just going to be a re-telling of the Frozen story, which would have been a major disappointment.

I was pleasantly surprised to see them take elements of the Frozen movie and connect the original story of The Snow Queen into the story. Frozen is inspired by The Snow Queen but makes little reference to the original story. Once Upon a Time actually integrated The Snow Queen herself into the story, along with some great story elements such as the shards of ice entering the eyes and changing the characters. I loved that they were able to take these two stories and created a new one that was intriguing and fun to watch.

Once-Upon-a-Time-5x13-Labor-of-Love-Title-card-with-graves-in-the-UnderworldThey have always a done a great job of re-telling the fairytale stories (there are a few exceptions of them dropping a few story lines but in general they do a great job) which was why I was very excited to see them bring in the concept of The Underworld and Mythology into the show. Unfortunately, I was disappointed by how they did it.

First, I did like how they portrayed The Underworld. In mythology, The Underworld is not Hell. It is much as it was portrayed in the show, an in-between spot. It is a place to take care of any unfinished business and then move on. It is not a horrible place to be. It is more like a purgatory.

The show did a good job at making it clear that it was not Hell. The characters could move on to a “better place,” or a “worse place.” We get to infer for ourselves what that meant. I liked that element.

What disappointed me most about the storyline was the lack of character development for Hades. In mythology, Hades is not a horrible person. When the lots were drawn for the universe Hades got The Underworld. It was not a punishment. He was not angry or being doomed. That is just what he got.

Over time society has vilified Hades because he resided over the land of the dead. We are scared of death and what it means and what comes after. Because of that fear we have made it so that Hades is a scary entity. He is equated with the devil. Our fear of death has created a villain out of him.

In the show, they worked with that idea, which was fine. What I was disappointed about was that we didn’t get to see him grow at all. All of our other villains, we have seen them change over time. We always gotten their backstories and we have gotten to see how they became the villain in the first place. Usually, there is some trauma that has created this person we have before us. We got none of that with Hades.

We never got to see why he was cursed by Zeus. We got a sentence about it, something about Zeus being scared of Hades’s want for power. Which is fine but in this show we are used to getting so much more. We are used to seeing our characters have depth, Hades lacked that.

I was disappointed because there was so much potential with the mythology storylines. We saw Hercules for an episode and we saw Zesus for half a second. That was all. I expected to get much more. With the plethora of material that was available to play with and expand it could have been very interesting to see it all develop and mix with the fairytales.

Now I know they may not have wanted to stray too far from the fairytales and get lost in this new storytelling. The issue is they are running out of fairy tales. They need to be able to move the stories forward without pushing the limits too much. The new “Land of Lost Stories,” may be teetering on the edge. I think they could have done a lot with the mythology and integrating the two together. Mythology is a form of fairytales (at least to me) and I think it could have been very interesting to see how these two forms of storytelling combined with one another.

I still love this show. I am interested to see where they can go from this point. I was just hoping to get a lot more from the mythology storylines than we got. There was potential there that was not realized as I was hoping it would be.

The Darkest Touch- Gena Showalter- Book Review (Spoilers)

TDTcoverfrontRomance isn’t my favorite genre of story in either books or movies. Just a plain romance novel generally fails to hold my attention; which is why I tend to gravitate toward paranormal romances. I do like the romance element but I need a more substantial story with some type of fantastic element to keep me from getting bored or distracted. I have read a number of authors and books that are considered paranormal romance but Gena Showalter happens to be my favorite. And The Lords of the Underworld is my favorite of the many series she has written and is writing.

The Darkest Touch is actually the eleventh (and newest) book in the series. The Lords of the Underworld are immortal warriors that used to serve Zeus. They were his elite guard. One day they decided to kill Pandora and open Pandora’s box, upset because Pandora was given the privilege of guarding the box. In so doing they released the demons inside and as punishment Zeus then puts the demons inside each of the Lords. Each Lord houses one demon from Violence and Promiscuity to Pain and Misery. For many centuries they a ravage and destroy the world because they do not have control over their demons. Finally they each are able to get control. They split into two groups, one wanting to destroy their enemies the hunters and the others just wanting to live their lives without problems any longer. They rejoin once again when one of them ends up in trouble. The series is about the twelve of them finding love while also searching for Pandora’s box, in order to rid themselves of their demons and live their lives.

Darkest Touch is Torin’s story. Torin is infected with the demons of disease. He can’t have any type of skin to skin contact with anyone. If he touches anyone they sicken with some horrible disease and if they are mortal, die. If they are immortal they may survive but then they become a carrier of that disease and cannot touch anyone themselves. Torin is responsible for many of the plagues that have ravished the world.

All the Lords are very different and have a variety of personalities. Many of their traits are emphasized by their demons. Torin is a loner, he is terrified of hurting someone or causing someone else to be the one to hurt others. Out of fear he locks himself away. He is in charge of the computers and security system keeping him out of action. He hates being left behind and not being able to be around his friends but he believes that it is for the best.

That is until he meets Keeleycael, Keys for short. He meets her in a prison where she is being held, the same prison where he watches, yet again, as his demon kills someone he has become close to. Keeleycael is known as The Red Queen and she strikes fear in every heart whenever they hear her name. She is kind of like a spirit that is in-tune and connected to the Earth. She changes appearances with the seasons and her power is unrivaled.

Like many of the Lord’s stories the two love interests start by either hating each other or highly distrusting one another. Torin and Keys are both out to destroy one another when the story begins. Keys wants revenge for Torin killing a friend of her, (because he touched her) and Torin needs to get rid of her in order to make sure his friends stay safe. For a while they play a game of chase and attack, but as always happens in these stories they realize they are attracted to one another.

Gena Showalter has a kind of formula for her romances, at least for this series. The two love interests are initially only physically and sexually attracted to one another. (An FYI for anyone who has not read this series and is wanting to read it; the series can get very risqué. If it was a movie I would give it a rating of R without a second thought. The sex scenes are very graphic, so be warned if you plan on reading). They berate themselves for the attraction but quickly they realize they can’t shake the feelings. They are drawn to one another and this attraction pulls them together generally forcing them to work together in some fashion.The physical/sexual attraction pulls them together allowing an emotional attachment to begin to grow. In this book especially the, “I want to touch you but can’t,” is played up because of Torin being literally unable to physically touch Keys without grave consequences.

Torin has never been able to let himself be close to a woman and is actually a virgin. He has always been a kind of awkward and solitary man. He doesn’t want to get close to Keys and he hates how he feels but he slowly realizes that he doesn’t care. He values her life above all others, even his friends who are his only family. The Lords are constantly struggling with the idea that they have these demons who can make them to do terrible things and they don’t want to put the women they love in the path of possible death or destruction. All of them are terrified of hurting the one they have come to love and Torin is no different. He knows he could kill Keys and he will not do that, no matter how much it hurts him.

Another aspect of these books I really like is how strong so many of the women are. They do not take no for an answer and they don’t let themselves be pushed around. They don’t do what the men want all the time and they fight them tooth and nail many of the times. (Especially Lucians (Keeper of Death’s), significant other Anya.). Keys has power beyond anyone’s imagination and she is not going to be pushed around or handled with gloves. She has her own doubts about Torin but she fights for him just as much as he tries to fight for her.

Keys is unsure if she can trust Torin at first. She has been in a few bad relationships and as been taken advantage of. She is cautious and doesn’t open up easily. She needs to make sure he loves her and isn’t just using her because she can help him and his friends find a few items and people. As their relationship grows she sees that he would sacrifice everything for her and she lets herself be open to him.

The love story is the main aspect of the books but there is a very detailed and intricate plot that has been twisting and twining its way through all the books. It started with trying to just take out the hunters and find Pandora’s box but a number of new elements were thrown in and the story has gotten too complicated to be summed up here. People are constantly being kidnapped and tortured, one item is found only for something else to go missing or a new thing to be needed. One enemy goes down while another one shows up who is stronger. I love not only the love story aspect but this plot as well. It is full of mythology, mystery and action and I can’t wait to see what is going to happen next.

There was only one aspect of this particular book I was disappointed with, which may be rectified later. Baden, a Lord who died centuries ago, is finally brought back to his friends but we don’t get a real reunion scene which was disappointing. His whole return actually felt very quick and for a series they has developed so much, this element felt forced and hurried. I hope we get more about Baden in the last few books, and even a book of his own would be nice.

As with many romance novels some of the writing does get repetitive, (you want to touch each other but can’t, we get it), but it doesn’t draw you out of the story. Just as it may get boring or too much a wrench is thrown in putting you back on the edge of your seat. Each Lord, their significant other, as well as some side characters all have unique personalities. No one disappears completely from the story, all of them come back with their lovers and even children.

This is a fun and captivating paranormal romance series that will have you thrilled and anxious while also making you awe at the love story.

A Feast of Crows – GRRM – Review (Spoilers)

afeastforcrowsI have loved fantasy books ever since I was little. Harry Potter was my true gateway into the genre and ever since I have been fascinated by the possibilities and extent that this genre can be used. The Song of Fire and Ice series is unlike any book series I have ever read before. I could spend pages analyzing pieces of the plot and going on and on about a number of theories I have; who will be the last ones standing and how I have no true clue where this whole series is actually going. Instead I want to concentrate on reviewing the characters and how complex they have become.

Diving into the psychology of characters is one my favorite aspects of reading and what I love to do as a writer. Understanding why someone behaves as they do is fascinating. Generally I learn the characters pretty well in the beginning and then spend the remainder of the tale predicting what their decisions will be or trying to analyze why they make the moves that they make.

This series has made that nearly impossible because of how much depth these characters actually have. I have no idea where this book is actually going because of the turns each character continues to take. The characters I hated in the first book are quickly becomes my favorites and the characters I loved I have found myself distrusting and becoming disappointed in. This is brilliant and exactly how a story should be because it is realistic. People are complex and layered, so layered that it is nearly impossible for us to ever truly know someone. George R. R. Martin exemplifies this with perfection.

There were four characters in this fourth book, A Feast of Crows, that really stood out to me. They were Cersei Lannister, Jamie Lannister, Jon Snow and Catelyn Stark. I still hate Cersei but I feel bad for her. I am falling in love with Jamie, Jon is making decisions that scare me and zombie Catelyn is just not right.

First let’s have a look at Cersei. She started the series as this very strong woman who was going to manipulate everyone and every situation until she has everything she ever wanted. She loved her children and Jamie, hated her husband and Tyrion and resented her father for forcing her hand so many times. She seemed pretty simple and almost like a cookie cutter villain character. She was the power hungry, manipulative bitch we were supposed to hate and despise. That idea held well until this last book.

Through this last book this woman has fallen almost completely apart. She slowly crumbles until the last moment when she is imprisoned. She has hit rock bottom, as she should, but I still feel for her. I thought I would get extreme satisfaction when she was locked up and had to make a desperate plea to Jamie to save her. I instead felt sadness and a regret for her, something I wasn’t really expecting.

Cersei is a woman in a world dominated and controlled by old horny men. She is sold to a marriage that is for her family and not herself. She is used by her husband whenever he feels like it. For so long she is a pawn, a play piece for all the men in her life.

The only thing she ever could control was her relationship with Jamie and her children. Despite how it could destroy everything she maintained her intimate relationship with her brother. He is her solace and her refuge. This relationship lets her feel meaningful and special. But that doesn’t last long, as nothing ever does.

When Jamie finally comes home, expecting a warm welcome and receives none, she loses her one and only alley and confidant. She alienates him and now she is completely and utterly alone. No one is on her side anymore.

Losing Jamie sealed her fate. As in Jenga she pulled out the wrong tile and the tower is now going to fall to pieces in front of her. She tries to do everything herself. She manipulates and frames everyone she can, not thinking past the immediate moment. She is so intent on succeeding alone, that she makes it impossible for her to ever win.

She is not a man, so she grew up having little self worth. She was set on doing her duty to her family until her trust was betrayed, then she gave up being the perfect little subservient woman. She wants to prove her worth and power so badly that she refuses to trust anyone, including Jamie. You can’t build an empire by standing alone. Someone has to hold you up and stabilize you or you will lose your balance and fall on your face.

She wanted to be in control so badly, to rule her own life, to forget how she has been used and abused that she refuses to trust anyone. That is the saddest part. She has no one to trust, to go to when she needs help. She is a lone island and the tidal wave is crashing down and eating away at her small piece of dry land. I don’t see anything good coming for this woman.

Jamie receives her raven and does exactly what I thought he would do, he ignores her.  She hurt him to his core and he can’t get over that. Jamie pretends to be this tough, hard man but he is really soft on the inside. I love these type of characters. The harder someone is on the outside the softer, kinder, gentler and more pleasant they are on the inside. My two favorite characters on TV right now are Damon from the Vampire Diaries and Daryl from The Walking Dead. They have to be hard to survive, but they don’t want to be that person. They want someone to see the real them, to pick off that outer layer and see the fantastic heart warming person that lies beneath that shell.

In this last book we see Jamie’s true nature and it is exactly like Damon and Daryl, a hard exterior with a soft and sweet center. Losing his hand I think really pulled this side out of this man.

He used to define himself by his power with a sword. He could defeat anyone in battle, everyone feared him and he drank that up. His family defines themselves by being in control, having everyone around them fear and pseudo-respect them. Jamie only knew that life.Then he is taken prisoner, makes a promise to rescue Cateyln’s daughters and loses his hand and his whole world changes.

First Jamie comes across a woman he doesn’t quite understand, Catelyn. He grew up believing that winning, power and land was what was important in life. Then he meets Catelyn and she frees him so he could help her to rescue her daughters. She cares little about the consequences of her actions for the war, what matters is that her family is safe. Family love is what rules her, something Jamie doesn’t quite understand.

Jamie sees a different side of life in this moment and it appeals to him if only slightly at first. He is led by Brienne, she is charged with protecting him and making sure he gets to Kings Landing safely. Then he gets to know this woman and he sees something else he never has truly seen before, devotion and unwavering loyalty. She does what she believes is right, no matter what is may cost her personally. She stands up for herself and what she believes in. Jamie is deeply affected by this woman, no matter what he portrays on the outside. He can say her hates her and he can call her ugly all he wants, but we can see the true feelings he possesses for this woman. He respects and cares about her, something that is yet again new for him.

He cares about Cersei but it almost feels like he had an obligation to love her. They fell for each other because they spent all their time together. Jamie was that kid who falls for the girl next door because he has no other choice. It was convenient, something taboo and exciting, forbidden. There was a sense of a thrill to it, but after he meets Brienne he realizes that his love for Cersei might not be what he thought it once was.

With Brienne it is about falling for a person for who they truly are where sex isn’t a factor. He respects this woman because she holds so many of the virtues he holds dear. They live for much the same reasons, to protect those they care about and to be loyal to those they trust. Jamie and Brienne are both very much true soldiers. Jamie has finally found someone who truly understands him, someone he can confide in because she would understand. She gets under his skin and it makes him uncomfortable and makes him lash out but deep down he is realizes what type of friend this woman could be.

He spent his life believing he was alone in how he thought and acted and now he has Brienne and it confuses him. He wants to protect her, he gives her a sword and with that comes power. Deep down he wants to see her succeed because of how proud he would feel afterwards. He wants to be proud that this woman he believes in haswon, and is now someone everyone respects. I am very curious to see how he takes the possible death of Brienne.

Jamie losing his hand is really what put the first true crack in his outer shell. In the beginning he defined himself by his power with a sword. Now he has to redefine himself and that is why I am really starting to love his character. I hated him at first because he was a smug ass, who liked killing, slept with his sister and walked around with a huge ego. I wanted him gone because he was annoying. That “I am awesome”, mentality is extremely irritating. But now he’s been knocked down and instead of raving and destroying the world around him; he landed on his feet, pulled his head out of the clouds and now sees how the world truly is.

The final blow to Jamie’s ego was Cersei’s rejection. She was too busy trying to rule the world and make a name for herself that she pushed Jamie aside and that cut him deep. He saw how his sister truly was and he wants nothing to do with her. He still wants to defend his families name but now it is on his terms and through his own decisions for himself.

Not responding to Cersei’s plea for help was a very telling moment. He could have run back to her and been her little pet once again but instead he stood on his own and said no. Now he is in charge of himself and I can see this being a turning point for his family. They are about to change how they are viewed, who they are and what they stand for because of Jamie.

Jamie and Cersei were first shown as the villains we are supposed to rally against. We see that, that idea is changing, the lines are becoming very blurred when it comes to good and evil. Even those we see as heroes are becoming hazy as well.

First there is Jon Snow. We don’t get his POV in this book, just his actions second hand through Sam, so making a full analysis of him is tough but what we see is very telling. He was my favorite person at the very start and now I am not entirely sure what I think of him. The Jon who first went to the wall was a man who as fiercely loyal to his family and wanted to prove his worth. He tried to run when he thought he was needed by his brothers, no matter what it would mean for himself. He was a strong man who let his heart make numerous decisions for him. His family still meant something to him, no matter what his vows said or what his “brothers” said he should feel. Then he went off on this trek through the mountains and he became a different man, which isn’t surprising because of what happened during that time.

He was forced to become a murderer and had to be play traitor to maintain his cover and gain information he needed. He broke his vows, fell for a woman, only to see her die. The man who was so emotional and used to let his heart decide things for him, has become much harder and colder.

It makes complete sense that Jon no longer holds the good of the one over the good of the many. He became Lord Commander and he has to protect the Wall, the only defense the kingdom truly has. That requires him to put his own personal worries and concerns aside and make decisions for what will help everyone not just the few people he holds close to him.

This change is worrisome to me. I liked the Jon who still had love in his heart. The man who cried for the death of his brothers and who remained loyal to his father to the very end. I am worried that this new position of power is beginning to harden Jon to a man who is all about strategy and not about saving actual lives worth living.

The old Jon would never have switched the babies. He wouldn’t have wanted to cause that much pain to Gilly. He would have figured out another way to save the children and to keep them with their mothers. He would have wanted to make sure that everyone was safe as well as happy. He wouldn’t have sent Sam away like he did. He would have talked it over with Sam, made him see that it has a purpose and if he still had protested he would have decided on another path. He needs Sam to learn trades, secrets and history so he can use the knowledge as an asset to them later. Keeping the wall standing is what matters now.

In war it becomes less about maintaining a way of life and it becomes about making sure life is still possible. In the process of ensuring everyone lives, the fighting and decision making makes life not worth living. I am afraid Jon is falling in this trap and I don’t know if he is going to be able to pull himself back out again. I am afraid he is going to lose his heart.

The other character that is giving me pauses this new reincarnated Catelyn, (which i will refer to zombie Catelyn from now on, because I can). Now I have no idea what this breath of life actually is and does to the people who are brought back by it. I can’t imagine this method brings people back as exactly as they were when they died. I am almost positive they are altered in some fashion.

Zombie Catelyn seems like a completely different person. She ignites fear and dread into everyone’s hears with only a few words. She can condemn anyone and she has a loyal following. She has complete power over the people, which is the opposite of who she as before she died.

She used to try so hard to get people to listen to her. She was only concerned with rescuing her family. Now she is no longer that person. She barely listens to Brienne. She gives her one choice and one chance to do as she commands and when Brienne refuses Zombie Cateyln condemns her to death. I was horrified at this. Catelyn would have never had done that before. She would have listened, would have understood where Brienne was coming from, and would have made a deal with her that would have worked for both of them.

I don’t like this zombie Cateyln and I am praying she has been altered in some way. I know she is angry and has a fire in her heart but I can’t believe vengeance would turn her so cold. Hopefully in the next books we will learn how she came back and who she really is.

George R. R. Martin writes such realistic and compelling characters. These are real people with real depth and dimension to them. If they walked off the pages they would be real and breathing people who we could meet anywhere. We all have these twists and turns to us, these deep desires and hard pieces that we struggle to live with and rid ourselves of. The true entertainment of these book is watching these characters rise, fall and change. I love that chapter by chapter my opinions change and evolve to the point that I don’t know who I want to win in the end.

Once Upon a Time- Midseason Finale Review- (Spoilers)

A/N: Finally posting this, holiday really got busy and put me behind.

The mid season finale did exactly what it was supposed to do, it ended story lines that were complete and left a basically clean slate open and waiting. It also left us in suspense, though being in suspense until March is a bit harsh.

I was nervous about this episode for a couple of reasons. The main one being the bringing back of the curse. I was very afraid that we would end up repeating season one all over again and that would not have been any good, it would have been very boring. I was afraid we would stay with what has worked and end up falling into repeat story lines such as with Regina and Rumple, struggling with their magic versus their hearts. We’ve seen that, we’ve seen it be settled and reach a very satisfactory conclusion for both characters. We have to end those points and move on or things get repetitive and stale. Thankfully they have very good writers who used this episode to nicely tie up all these long arching stories and set us up for something completely new and hopefully very exciting.

The episode was interesting in few ways but what I really liked was while they were trying to determine how to deal with the curse they kept jumping back in time to the real beginning of many of the characters. We got to see how far every one has come, we saw them then and we see them at this moment. It is amazing how far some of them have come.

We saw Rumple after he loses Bae and when he has Belle as a prisoner and hasn’t figure out his love for her yet. We see how he used to be this cold man, with no hope. We saw a man who regretted every decision he ever made, and held on constantly to one thing and one thing only, his son.

Then we snap back and see the Rumple we have today, a very different man. He is strong, his loves his son and Belle with all his heart and he fights for those he loves without thinking about himself in the process. He is not perfect but he is so much different then the man we saw in the very start of the show. The growth and development of Rumple’s character was fantastic. I loved this juxtaposition because it shows us what we have been watching for three seasons now. Rumple is no longer a man who is only worried about himself and only concerned with manipulating those around him. He is no longer a coward, hovering on the edges and clinging onto a past moment with desperation.

The prophecy he was told (Henry being his undoing) was true in what he initially thought and also what I thought. Henry came into his life and began to slowly crack the ice around his heart. Because of Henry and his drive to find the truth he forced Rumple into a situation where he had to change and grow to survive.

Henry helped him become reunited with his son. Henry was the reason he saw how much pain he had caused and how to right any of it he had to stand tall and fight because he needed to help someone else. Henry was the way Rumple saw what true love was like and how important it can be.

Henry made him confront his biggest fear and the catalyst for all his problems, his father. Rumple learned that his father was nothing but a coward who never wanted to grow up. He saw what selfishness and power could do to someone, and he realizes that is the last thing he wants to happen to him.

In the end, yes, Rumple did end up dying. But he died protecting loved ones. He died saving people he used to despise and hate. He died because he knew he had to, to protect the one person who allowed him to begin to undo years of greed and hate. Henry released the love inside his heart. (Though I am not entirely convinced that Rumple is completely gone).

In the end Rumple was right, Henry was his undoing. He did up getting him killed but he died with a heart full of love and with people beside him, people who trusted and cared about him and whostood trying to help hold him up. Rumple died a strong and honorable man.

We also jumped back to a moment with Snow and Charming. It is right as they are preparing to send Emma through the wardrobe to escape the curse. In this moment we see a very worried Snow and a not so worried Charming. Snow has little confidence in this plan and does not like the idea of her daughter going off on her own. While Charming refused to see this as a miserable end.

Snow is a very romantic character. She has these visions of a perfect life, where they have their daughter, raise her and live a life of pure happiness. Like so many of us, letting that idealistic vision go and having to live on with a life we don’t understand and can’t see the good in, is extremely difficult. She can’t see the outcome where things end well, why go in that direction? She can’t understand the idea of this not being the full story.

Charming on the other hand sees things from multiple angles. He sees this as closing one chapter and opening another. The one key thing the blue fairy and Charming tell Snow is she must have hope. As soon as hope is gone, so is everything else. We all know this, once you give up you have nothing to hold onto. You have only darkness and despair and that cannot move you forward.

In the present we see that Charming and Snow are the same yet they also have grown. They both still have grand ideas and visions of life but now they have this unwavering hope that they can never lose. They keep getting pushed around, losing the life they want every time it gets close. But they cannot and will not give up hope. They will not walk away and let life be dark and dreary. This is just one more door closing, but another door will open and they know that with all their hearts.

This hope and desire echoes loudly to Emma and Henry. We saw Henry’s past moment and it was very interesting. We are used to seeing Henry as a wide eyed child full of excitement and unwavering belief. But he was not always like that. Henry was a child who always felt out of place. He knew he didn’t belong in Storybrooke, that he was different somehow. He was a lost child, not sure who he was or what his purpose was.

Snow gave him the book and his life completely changed. His eyes were opened and he saw everything laid out before him. His heart was ignited and life began anew, exciting and full of hope (there is that word again). Henry became a child of a fairytale, full of wonder and possibility. Something that hopefully he does not lose now that he has no memories. Will his demeanor change now that these key moments of his life are gone?

Emma’s story came to an interesting pause here as well. Emma has always been lost, she never understood where she came from or who she was. She was a woman lost and confused. She had no belief in herself. Nothing that happened to her was ever good. She saw no joy or light in the world.

The Emma we saw at the end of this episode is still scared but not entirely for herself. She got this family and now she has to walk away from them. She has to be strong and she has to find a certain confidence in herself that has never had before. The seasons have all been leading up to this moment.

Emma has to take control and make a massive decision and that is she has to save herself and her son. She now has control and she has to use it. She knows it will hurt but she chooses it to save her son and make the best stand she can make. She is no longer a child, she now a strong and confident mother. But again will any of that change now that she is living a fake life? Did changing her memories change who she is now? Those moment that made her never happened technically so who is she now?

The last character we really concentrated on was Regina. Regina is the absolute best character in this whole series. She is perfectly written and has been given the best story in my opinion. She is the epitome of character development and growth. She has become my favorite because of how real she is as a character.

I love stories that center on taking a “villain” and really showing us who they truly are. Every villain has a story, they all have a reason why they are the way they are. A good villain is one we hate but understand and can sympathize with. They are a character we can look at and say “I get why you are acting this way, you have a right to be upset and angry. But you don’t have a right to handle it as you have.” We see there was another way and we desperately wonder why they choose the path that they choose.

When we first met her, Regina was a heartless witch who created a curse to destroy Snow’s life. She had no heart and hated everyone. We could barely feel any warmth and love from her when she was around Henry. She as clearly the villain and we began this series with no sympathy at all towards her. We liked blaming everything on her and watching her fall.

That image didn’t last too long though. Slowly we saw why she was the way she was. We saw the moment that broke her. Before that we saw that at one time she was a happy, idealistic young woman. A literally heartless mother destroyed all of that for her and she allowed darkness to consume her.

Henry was not only Rumple’s undoing but Regina’s as well. Henry let Regina feel again. She wanted someone to connect with, someone she could care about and love. That was all she ever wanted. She lost her true love, her mother never could love her and father was too weak to love her properly. She never had that one person to hold onto, that one person who meant more than anyone else. Henry put true love into her heart. It took time but eventually that love completely flooded her.

This episode showed how far Regina has come. She knows what he as to do, she knows she is the only one who can save everyone else. She started this and now she has to end it, no matter what she will lose in the process. She lets Henry go, letting him have a life of happiness. She does not fight for her own happy ending, she knows it is too late for her. Henry is the only one who matters now.

I loved seeing this completely human Regina. She has to give her son over to a woman who has been fighting so hard to get rid of this whole time. She now has to accept who Emma is and she has to trust her. She hands over the one person who means everything to her. She is no longer fighting, no longer struggling to force the world to obey her. She is resigned to her fate, she is okay as long as Henry is happy. This is a far cry from the woman who destroyed countless lives because she hated one woman.

It will be interesting to see what happens back in the Enchanted Forest. The Storybooke people know she has changed but no one else does. What will she be like with anger surrounding her again?

The previews showed that we are getting a new villain in this second half of the season, the wicked witch from Wizard of Oz. This tells us two things, Regina is no longer our primary antagonist and also we are stepping into a brand new set of stories. I am curious and a bit nervous how this will play out. The Wizard of Oz is a whole different genre of fairytale then we have been dealing with. We haven’t exhausted the original fairytales yet so it it will be interesting to see how well those stories are integrated into what we already have. I just hope it isn’t like the Dr. Frankenstein storyline that showed so much potential and was dropped without a single word.

Quotes:
“Our story will reveal itself to her,”- The Blue Fairy-This will mean a lot in this second half. Emma is no longer a lost child, she is a happy woman. She will really have to open herself up for her to believe in these stories.


“Stories [fairytales] are a reminder that our lives will get better if we hold onto hope”- Snow- I love this line purely because it sums up why fairytales and stories are so important.

“Villains don’t get happy endings,”- Rumple and Regina- Is this necessarily true? If villains make amends and work to live better lives can they not have some sort of happy ending? And how long is someone considered a villain for? Are these two really still villains?

Questions:
When and how will Emma and Henry remember their real lives?
Will having a different set of memories affect them in any way?
What will Storybrook characters be like back in their original home? Is that really still their home?
Is Rumple truly dead and gone?
Can Regina begin a new life?
Are we going to step aside and focus less on these characters?
What will happen with Robin Hood and Regina? Can that be her happy ending?
What will happen with Tink now?
What happened to make Hook come back for Emma?
How much of the Wizard of Oz will we see

Once Upon a Time-Episode 1 Season 3- Review/Examination- (Spoilers)

A/N: If you have not watched the episode yet do not read, major spoilers ahead

I have always loved fairy tales. I grew up living in their fantastic lands, watching the heroes and heroines defeat the villains in intense battles of strength or wits. I loved the way they pulled you into their world, where anything was possible, where good and love always triumphed.

When I got older I learned the origins of so many of my favorite stories. I found it fascinating how dark they were; Cinderella’s sisters cut off their heels to fit in the shoes and Ariel dissolves into sea foam because of a broken heart. These versions of the stories made me fall in love with the tales all over again. I loved how vastly different they all were and still do love that idea. Fairytales no matter how they are told, fascinate me.

When I saw the first preview two years ago for Once Upon a Time I knew I had a new favorite show, and I wasn’t wrong. This show takes all the fairytale characters and thrusts them into our world. They are forced to live beyond their feel good world and the constraints that come with it. The way all the stories interact, how deep the characters become and how much we learn about them is what keeps me watching this show.

I am not going to recap the first two season (that would be a whole set of posts in and of itself). If you haven’t seen the last two seasons, stop reading, get a comfy seat and watch, watch your childhood stories become living figures that we all know and can relate to.

Season three finds villains and heroes alike in a mission to rescue Henry from Tamara and Greg. This rescue mission is taking them to Neverland, a place no one seems to want to go. Neverland isn’t going to be this fun island where no one grows up and plays all day; Peter Pan isn’t some mischievous child out to befriend everyone. Form the first few minutes we know that Neverland is a scary place, a dark island where no good can be found.

The group is out to rescue Henry, a character that holds everyone together. The episode opened with the birth of Henry. We watch as Emma can’t even bring herself to look at her newborn son. The fact that we opened with his birth I believe is extremely significant for Emma’s character We see how broken Emma was at that point in her life, she can’t even look at her own child. Henry is taken away and she doesn’t see him again until she is thrust into this whole new world. She doesn’t begin to heal until that point, she has no hope in life until Henry returns to it.

Now I hope this opening scene is just the start of more to come about where Henry came from. The question of how Rumple got Henry for Regina has been on my mind from season one. How did he end up with this child? A child who’s birth was foretold long before Emma was even a thought, (as made evident when the lost boys took Baelfire hostage when he was young.) Henry isn’t a normal child as we continuously learn throughout the show. He has such a strong heart, one that never gives up. So where did Rumple get him and did he know who this child really was? Hopefully we get more answers as the series progresses.

Back in the present we are with our rescue group. It only takes a minute for the camaraderie of the group to disintegrate. At the end of last season they are all willing to work together to get Henry back and for half a minute it looks like they might actually be able to work together for once.

Then in the last half of that minute we see that team work isn’t going to be so simple to achieve. Emma lashes out at her parents, blaming them for the kidnapping of Henry. She can’t live in their happy optimistic world. It is an interesting juxtaposition between these characters. Snow and Charming hold onto their optimistic, everything works out fairytale mindset. They personify that full and happy feelings that fairytales are supposed to instill in us. Whereas Emma never lived in that happy, love conquers all world. She is reality, she personifies our lives when we close the book. Life doesn’t always end with the evil queen defeated and a royal wedding. This relationship is the summary of this show, fairytales aren’t always happy and perfect.

Rumple knows that this group isn’t going to work together and quickly takes his leave. He tells Emma that she doesn’t have what it takes to succeed in conquering Neverland and finding Henry. Rumple drives home how different Emma is from the rest of the group. He tells her she has little to no faith or belief, that her imagination is reigned in and doesn’t run wild like it should. A point he make to emphasize that Neverland is going to eat her alive if she doesn’t change. Neverland is a place that lives off imagination, a place you have to look beyond what you can and see and touch, something Emma has extreme issues doing.

In this season I think we are going to see a great change in Emma. It took a whole season and Henry’s almost death for her to believe in the stories and curse. To rescue and keep her son alive she is going to have to let go of some of her doubt and control. She is going to have to become like her son, she has to learn how to believe. She has this pessimistic, reality is reality, look on life so ingrained in her that unless she learns to let some of that go, this world is going to eat her alive.

Neverland is going to be a character in and of itself I can tell right now. It isn’t just a bunch of rocks; it is magic in and of itself. When Hook, Emma, Charming, Snow and Regina are all fighting over the mermaid (who I believe is Ariel) they cause a huge deadly storm. The island feeds off their emotions, the stronger it is the more violent the reaction. This is not the last we are going to see the power of this place. It feeds off the emotions of the characters and none of them are very good at keeping themselves in check. I think before long it will come down to them fighting the place and not just people.

We find Rumple after he runs into a lost boy and we learn this isn’t the first time he has been here. I found it interesting that he is given a pass, the ability to walk away, but without Henry; which obviously isn’t going to happen. He has been here before and whatever happened before didn’t make him and Pan friends, but Pan isn’t out for his head. This isn’t the last time we are going to see the result of Rumple and Pan crossing paths before. Pan scares Rumple but I also think Rumple scares Pan.

The moment that I loved in this scene was when the lost boy handed Rumple the doll; which I’m assuming was Balefires at one point. Rumple breaks down, not even trying to hide how sad and hurt he is. What the lost boy says to him, “Things we haven’t thought about in years still have the ability to make us cry,”(Lost Boy) really struck a cord with me. Rumple isn’t some heartless monster. Yes, he is consumed by his power and fears losing his life but he is still heartbroken over losing his son. This scene shows that Rumple still has his heart, one that still breaks at even the slightest reminder of the child he has now lost not once but twice. This rush of emotion is a breaking point for him, it makes us feel bad for him. We are given a way to emotionally attach to him.

Henry isn’t a prisoner of Greg and Tamara long, he escapes and befriends a rogue lost boy who turns out to be Peter Pan. Henry is very trusting, he wants to see the good in everyone, he can’t see the danger even when it is staring him straight in the face. This child trust is going to break Henry soon and I think we are going to see him having to deal with a less trusting side of himself. We learn Pan wants him for his heart, the heart of a true believer. Why though? What will his heart do? Pan is supposed to be the evil, sadistic character. What does Henry heart do?

One theory I have is that Pan wants out. He is done living forever and being young, (eternal life isn’t a blessing). Can Henry’s heat somehow end this prison he is living in? Can it be some sort of weapon against this island?

Henry is in major trouble and it is going to come down to everyone working together to save him. Emma says this at the end, that they all have some skills and they all are going to be needed to save her son. But I think not only are they going to have to work together and grow but so will Henry. He has to fight for himself, and that heart of his might have to break some for him to live. This place is going to be a true test of just how much Henry’s heart truly believes.

Just a few words on Neil at the end here. He ended up in the Enchanted Forest with Aurora, Philip and Mulan. He ends up meeting Robin Hood in his father’s castle. Neil’s struggle is going to be having to actually use magic to rescue his family. He going to have to see that magic isn’t all that bad, it isn’t inherently evil or good. It all comes down to the person using it. I think he is going to learn this lesson truly through the idea of blood magic. It will be interesting to watch Neil’s fight in this as well.

Quotes I liked:
“Villains don’t get happy endings”- Regina, but can they?

“Belief in love was not strong enough to overcome fear of rejection,”- Mulan’s observation to Neil, that also echoes her own issues with Philip

“Easier to get people to hate something then to believe”- Lost boy, I think this is going to be extremely significant for the show and also can resonate into our own lives.

Questions:
-How did Rumple get Henry?

-What will Henry’s heart do for Pan?
- Why did Rumble save Robin Hood?

How will that debt come back into play?

What happened last time Hook and Rumple were in Neverland?

How did Neil escape Neverland?

What exactly are the Shadows?

Why does death follow to those who lose their shadows?

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