Bleu Reviews: Renegades

 

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Rating: 4 out of  5

I have finally read a book written by Marissa Meyer and considering the page count, I’m very proud of myself.  I fell into a reading slump during this book, and had to switch to an audio book to actually complete the novel but I finished and i’m still on track for my 2018 Reading Challenge.

Renegades by Marissa Meyer is a YA novel all about superheroes. Very much in the way of X-Men, these “prodigies” (mutants, specials whatevs) were being persecuted for their gifts and were only free of that persecution after a revolt. What would later become the villains were originally the ones willing to fight to end the system that oppressed them. As usual with these sort of things, the power went to their heads and we were faced with a decade of anarchy.

My favorite parts of this book would be the plot and underlying message the book itself conveys. In Renegades, post anarchy, the Renegades are both the police force and  the governing body. Civilization has ground to a halt and prodigies are relied on for everything. It makes me think of the Powerpuff Girls, Too Pooped to Puff  (Season 2, Episode 3) it seems the non-prodigy citizens of Gatlon have fallen into the same boat.

The worst part of the read was really just the pacing, the action scenes were fast-paced, easy to get through but the delivery of backstory  d    r     a    g    g    e    d …  and it killed me at times to read. I finally caved and hunted down an audio book on YouTube.

20180624_152315I love that the two main characters have triple identities and that you can see where at times Nova truly believes in the intent of the Renegades mission while not necessarily agreeing with their existence.

Nova was my favorite character, her inner turmoil made getting through the slower parts more enjoyable. I especially love where the first book leaves her and I’m eager to find out what happens to her next. Sketch is easily overshadowed as far as characters go though he is very well written as the “all-american” golden boy, it feels pretty cliche at times and the only thing changing that was the introduction of the Sentinel.

There are definitely a few plot twists I hadn’t seen coming, but for now I’m only finishing the series because I started it and want to know what Nova plans to do next. I did hear that this was also going to be a graphic novel. I’m much more interested in seeing what the story looks like.
 

Who’s Your Favorite Villain?

Let Me Know In The Comments Below!

You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

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Renegades Read Along (Chap 1 – 15)

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Currently Reading: Renegades by Marissa Meyer

I was having some trouble getting through my read of Renegades and was hoping to add some excitement in hopes of finishing the book. So this is me trying to spice things up with what will hopefully be a new permanent addition to the blog. For more on what I thought about the first fifteen chapters watch the video below!

 

 

What Do You Think of The Book So Far?

Let Me Know In The Comments Below!

You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

Bleu Reviews: Chinese Cinderella

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Rating: 5 out of  5

I seldom read anything that is not made up. A choice that excludes news, and other great pieces of writing simply because these things actually happened. However, occasionally I find myself straying from my comfort zone to stare change in the face and to embrace something different. This time around it would be a memoir with a catchy title.

Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter

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Based on the life and upbringing of NY Times bestselling author Adeline Yen Mah, Chinese Cinderella,  shares her life and experiences from early childhood until around age fourteen when thanks to good fortune she is able to escape her family.

My initial thoughts were focused around how beautifully written yet highly infuriating  the story was.  I was drawn in by the title, Cinderella, being one of my favorite fairy tales and often used to describe a young woman forced into servitude of her family. I was half expecting a prince to be included and a royal ball to be her saving grace.

This tale was slightly different, still very much a heart-wrenching story of injustice. Reading this story I felt a great deal of sadness and anger on her behalf.  I found myself wishing I had a time machine, so I could go back and rescue the poor child myself.

This story reminds me of “A Child Called It”, by Dave Pelzer. Though Yen Jun-Ling isn’t adelinescleft in a shed or fed dog food, her banishment to a war torn boarding school feels comparable. She isn’t physically abused though the psychological and verbal abuse she experiences shapes her just as strongly in the end. Her familial isolation leads her towards the path of scholarship and literature and she excels despite having few people in her corner.

Her only refuge are her grandfather and aunt whom try to aide her as best they can but also become victims to Niang’s cruelty. I honestly felt both anger and sympathy for them. The once proud head of the family withered by age and illness forced to rely on his vapid son and his wicked younger second wife. I understood the hierarchy of things but still wished Aunt Baba could’ve popped Niang just once.

The book was a quick read, ending when Yen Mah was 14 and on her way to Oxford, to think that she came very close to being forced out of school and into the workforce by her father and stepmother is appalling. That she was only sent to Oxford after winning a literary competition and that even then her father decided she would go for medicine is equally disgusting.

Even though Niang was the primary villain of the book I think the true bad guy was her father. He was her FATHER for crying out loud, she was literally the fruit of his loins, yet he allowed this woman to divide his children, mistreat the originals and literally scar his last child by his first wife. Instead of holding onto her as the final memory of his late wife he treated her worse than the German Shepherd he’d purchased.

Best Part of The Book —> Her finally being free of the terrible family she had. Her second oldest brother was also a jerk. I don’t have fond thoughts of her family but luckily they believe in Karma so they’ll all be reincarnated as dung beetles.

It was a pretty interesting book, as a quick read I may add more memoirs into my collection of books to read throughout the year. I am hoping to get at least 4 non-fiction books into my completed pile before the year is out.

Name Your Favorite Memoir?

Let Me Know In The Comments Below!

You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

Bleu Reviews: Circe

 

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Rating: 5 out of  5

I spent the best part of my adolescence immersed in Greek mythology, it’s what started me down my path to fiction appreciation and is a large part of the genre I write. Whenever I can find a book that utilizes mythology, of course I want to grab it! I’d been hunting down  Circe  by Madeline Miller for months to add it to my collection dying to see if she’d keep true to the old myths. Though she definitely borrowed from bards I hadn’t even read up to this point Madeline Miller  was able to breathe new life into an old tale, her adaptation of Circe, elevating the character beyond her usual role as supporting cast.

With a cast as overbearing as the Olympians and the Titans themselves it is easy to see how she’s been relegated to clever witch of the magical isle. Even in the beginning of this tale she starts her journey as the plain, unimpressive eldest daughter of Helios and Perse. Circe is said to be named after a hawk or falcon as her voice sounds shrill to the ears of her divine parents. Overlooked and undervalued throughout the realms like a baby bird she wilts and shrivels beneath the brightness of her family; whom never see her as interesting, intelligent or crafty. She has a proclivity towards humans which to her family makes her weak. For a large part of the story she is often seeking love or approval, a desperation that makes her a target for the cruel whims of the Gods.

Circe through Miller’s eyes is less malicious and easily swayed as she appears in the tales of the Odyssey. She is neither damsel nor crone yet she is just as formidable, that peace of her Miller captures effortlessly.  Circe manages to hold onto her vulnerability wearing it around her the way the Gods wore their divinity. She rebelled against all things that made her divine and instead fought for her mortality every chance she got. Her refusal to conform to their societal norms where the Olympians were at present higher ranked and Titans bowed to their whims, Circe stood just outside of this bowing to no one and living in exile for it.

Throughout the book we see Circe test her boundaries with regards to her rebellion against her father and the Olympians. First when discovering her gifts and later in response to using them. She welcomes what they would call a punishment as a respite from years of internal isolation and grows into herself on the island of Aiaia. She clung to  fear hoping it would protect her from some untold wrath it was only when she released herself from those fears that she was able to finally free herself.

When the novel begins we see Circe as the abused eldest daughter who’s  eagerness to please and dote on strangers repeatedly becomes her undoing. She seeks out any form of connection because of the attention it provides despite how she is treated in return. Circe  endures these toxic cycles fashioned from her need to feel appreciated while others use her gifts, her insecurities and her hospitality to their ends.

On some level I feel we can all relate to the feelings Circe struggles with  especially afterfb_img_1528342945463658556408.jpg years of exile. The novelty of freedom wearing off she was faced with the abrupt and endless loneliness immortality forced her into. Couple that with years of eing mentally trained that you are worthless, useless and better off as a pillar of salt. That she found her inner power at all was a miracle.

Circe’s discovery of her powers is a pivotal moment in the book. Until this point she was a shrinking violet, withering away to nothing. Even the pace of the book was a bit slower during this period of her life. Until Circe meets Glaucos there is no real action. If Circe was a child before she begins a sort of puberty in the following chapters  experiencing her first crush, heartbreak and even envy. If it were not for this Circe may have never came into her powers and there would have been no tale.

Circe’s obsession with the mortality of humans is a motivation for her throughout the book. She seems always preoccupied with the withering years of the humans she encounters. It is the disposition that makes her the scapegoat. She is the most disposable or so they think. Circe’s discovery of her powers may have come as a happy accident but her evolution as a witch was a sheer force of will.

At first magic is described as means of bringing forth ones truest self. We see that Circe’s magic has that effect on everyone she seems to come into contact with. It revealed Glaucos to be as vile and cruel as any of the Gods. Showed Scylla for the monster she truly was. It even revealed the goddess herself to be more than the mere whipping-post her family had relegated her to .

Until that point, Circe  hadn’t bothered to stand up for herself or what she wanted in any way. She’d been a doormat, being browbeaten and berated endlessly. Her transformation of Scylla was the first time she did something out of spite and for her own benefit.  The aftermath of that one moment stayed with her throughout the book and it was considered her greatest regret. She was both physical punished and forced into exile because of this, yet her exile became her salvation.

It is on that island that she found her power.

The themes of women and power are heavily explored in Circe.  Throughout the novel there are several examples of women who use everything from looks to the ability to bear children as a means to carve out a place for themselves in the male dominated world they live in.

It is Perse’s womb that carried the witches, each child a new string of amber beads to brag about. Pasiphae uses both her magic and her womb to control Minos, a son of Zeus he is powerless against her succumbing to her will. Pasiphae in turn debases herself in unspeakable ways all in attempts to be remembered. All in pursuit of greater power.

fb_img_15283430110441541008710.jpgEven the Goddess Athena; who is as worthy an adversary as any male mentioned in this story, even mentioned more fearfully than males in this particular novel, requires the male heroes to do her bidding because it is there offerings she craves.

This novel also explores the varying concepts of power. There seemed to be a sort of Cold War between the remaining Titans and the Olympians which threatened to break into a new war at any minute. The Olympians understood that their victories were mostly won through the alliances forged with other Titans willing to stand by them. The Titans saw that they were greatly outnumbered at this point and for some they were fairly outmatched. Physical power and the power of wills are two very strong themes.

In witchcraft a spell is only as powerful as the will of the one casting it. The power to sway minds and souls. There are many striations of power and the lengths individuals are willing to go through to wield it. Circe seems to gravitate to her magic because it is the one thing that seems to make her less of a victim. She who spent all her life at the mercy of others was able to wield a power that even rivaled the goddess Athena.

If there was one thing that frustrated me with the character of Circe it was her love life. Even this trait is a testament to the development of the character, Miller did great work here in making her well rounded. Circe is a classic case of a young woman with “daddy issues”. Because she never received the love or compassion from her father, she takes any semblance of kindness towards her and runs with it.

We see it with Glaucos but we see it repeated with Hermes. Though she is aware he sees her as a novelty she entertains him anyway, losing herself in him for a time. He shares with her news of the world she is unable to experience for herself however for Hermes she is another story to tell.

She finds herself more interested in mortals.  First Daedelus, the talented builder, who was so enchanted by her he crafted the loom she’d kept in her home. Then Odysseus who’s stay on her island showed a different side to their encounter.

What’s most interesting is the way Odysseus himself is portrayed throughout the book, he is most certainly wily but there was a darkness in him that Circe seemed to quell. He brought her from the brink of darkness herself. They’d both been broken for so long at that point, she’d taken to converting any sailor unfortunate enough to grace her shores and he literally lost his way on the seas at the mercy of vengeful Gods. Their relationship29981ab05cb409815c35e0fce5b0d0fe1694326308.jpg was built on the hopes of a safe-haven.

Another really interesting turn in the book occurred when Circe discovered she was pregnant. Whether she intended to become that way or it was purely accidental i’m still not entirely sure. She chose to keep him secret finally having something of her own to love that couldn’t leave so easily. Circe had evolved many times up to this point but she  changes again. Motherhood made Circe her most fierce and her most fragile. She was willing to go to the depths of the earth and back for her son and to keep him she opened her heart and her home in ways she’d never expected.

Circe was so fearful of mortality despite coveting the human experience. She could walk with them sharing in their moments but never truly feeling what it was to be human. She possessed many of the qualities without realizing it, perhaps she finally comes to that understanding towards the end of the book. It may even be what inspired that final act on the island.

Circe’s exile seemed to be one of her own design. As her sister said once lapping at the feet of the Gods made her closer to their feet. When Circe finally abandoned the fear that held her back she was able to force her will and free herself from her exile. In some way her release of exile was like shedding the final layers of who she’d been. As she stepped beyond the shores she have truly evolved into her truest self. The best transformation was gradual but saved for the final moments of the book.

I have to give Miller special acknowledgement for her skillful remastering of heroes whom even Disney has had their hands on and still giving them an original flair worth reading further into. Every facet of this book was ingenious and it’s clear how this book made the NY Times bestseller List. It is definitely one of my many favorites, I’ve recommended more times than I can count.
 

What Is Your Favorite Modern Myth?

Let Me Know In The Comments Below!

You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

Book Con 2018

I’ve been  super excited about Book Con 2018. I almost forgot about it completely but I’m happy I was able to be in attedance. It was an amazing two day weekend and I plan to cover more of the details on Friday’s episode of the Podcast. I also wanted to do some form of BookTube video to show proper appreciation to all my free swag.

For now I put together a brief-ish video for all to see, please check back soon for more of the wonderful that was my BookCon weekend. Also be sure to check out my latest review for Circe… which will be up later today.