Monday, September 29, 2014

Kyrin Altair--Ilyon Chronicles

Yes, I'm back to Resistance again. It's a great book with some really great characters. My favorite character is Kyrin Altair. She's the main girl in Ilyon Chronicles, and the one I relate to the best. She is one of the handful of characters whose story I have acted out in my bedroom. I like to do that, but the characters who have made it to that are few. Resistance spoilers follow.

Kyrin has an unusual ability that places her in service to Emperor Daican: She remembers everything. Ever since she was four, she has remembered everything that happened. She and her twin brother Kaden are both very smart, and so they were taken from their home at a young age and brought to Tarvin Hall, the emperor's school for exceptional children. All Kyrin and Kaden had was each other, so they were very close. I want a Kaden. He's a great brother. Kyrin depends on him a great deal.

Though young, Kyrin is chosen to be in direct service to Emperor Daican. She is required to "read" people, to tell Daican if people lie to him, or if he is in danger. It may not seem like a bad job, but when one considers that Daican is an idol worshiper who will kill people for faith in the one true God, you realize what Kyrin is really being asked to do.

Kyrin in the palace. She is insecure, hates the fancy dresses and make-up they insist she wears, is trying to figure out if Daican really is who they thought he is or if he is the kind personable man he acts like, hiding her faith, and bearing with the guilt of seeing people in dire circumstances and doing nothing to help them. One incident in this section of the book really resonated with me. Prince Daniel vented his frustration about his father to Kyrin, even going so far as to voice doubt about Aertus and Villai, the false gods Daican makes everyone worship. She was presented with the perfect opportunity to tell Daniel about Elom, the true God, but she was scared, and she missed it. She feels terrible about it. It always makes me remember the time I had an opportunity to share the Gospel with my cousin and didn't because I was too scared.

But when her faith was tested, Kyrin stood up for it. Though she faced death, she held firm. I can only hope I would be as brave. It was not the end for her. Though she faced execution, Elom provided a way out. She became a refugee, but going to Trask's refugee camp presented her with a new mission: Jace.

Kyrin always wanted to help those less fortunate. Her care of little Meredith at Tarvin Hall was a part of that, something else to which I can relate. I'm always wanting to help take care of children, and there are many people with whom I wish I could share my life because theirs is miserable. Jace evoked that sympathy in Kyrin. He was different from everyone, being half ryrik, and despised. He hated himself for it. He was mourning the deaths of two people very dear to him, and struggling with an immense amount of doubt as to whether he even had a soul. Kyrin saw him struggling and was moved to help him. He needed her, he really did, and she needed him.

And that isn't quite the end of Resistance, and certainly not the end of her story, since there are five more books to come.

I think I like Kyrin so much because I see so much of myself in her. She is a well rounded character. She isn't perfect, but she's kind and compassionate, brave and faithful, and a character whose full story I can't wait to read.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Giver Movie Review

Reposted from Shire Reviews.
Yes, I'm being a lazy blogger again. My sister had her wisdom teeth out and then I got a cold, so I didn't really feel like writing a new post. I know, it's not a good reason, but it's a reason. But, if you don't follow Shire Reviews, you're in luck because you won't miss my review of The Giver movie after all. And if you do, well, hopefully I'll have a new post next week.
The Giver

Recommended for: Ages 10 to Adult

Rating: PG-13
    I'm not sure why it was PG-13. There wasn't any adult content,  just a few short kisses, even the brief mention of "the Stirrings" was way less detailed than in the book, and the war memory wasn't even that friend speculated that it's because they think kids can't think deeply enough to understand it, and cited Common Core math as proof of the attempt to dumb down Americans. :)

In a seemingly perfect Community, 18-year-old Jonas is selected to be the next Receiver of Memory. But as he receives memories of how things used to be, Jonas begins to realize that all he has ever known may not be as perfect as he once believed.

Pay no attention to the trailer for The Giver. I still think the trailer for The Giver makes it look like all the other dystopians out there. So did my friend. That was what made me not want to see it. It made it look like a completely different story. But my friends at church made me curious about it, and when another friend expressed interest in going to see it, we did. Fortunately, not only was the trailer a misrepresentation of the story from the book, it misrepresented the movie. Yes, they changed a lot. No, even as a book purist it didn't ruin it at all. I liked the movie quite a bit, and am hoping the DVD comes out in time for Christmas because I want it. Ignore the trailer. Watch the movie. Don't expect it to be just like the book, because it can't be. Do read the book first, of course. The book is better, duh, but the movie is really good.

Technical: 5/5

The technical aspects of the film were extremely well done. The memories were pretty neat. For the longer ones they actually put Jonas in them, and for shorter ones, there were clips and pictures that just sort of made you think. The biggest cool part of the technical aspect I will put in a spoiler, because, well, it's not as big of a spoiler in the movie, it can't be, but it is big for the book.

SPOILER Color. We don't appreciate color like we should. The way they handled color was brilliant. I expected no less, after the conversation I had about it after church, and I wasn't disappointed. It starts off fully in black and white, and gradually brings in bits of color as Jonas discovers it. The reds are first, of course, and come in muted. It really was pretty amazing how the community ever so gradually gained its color until it was fully vibrant. And then the later scenes without Jonas being in black and white made such a stark contrast. Driving home at sunset, I was really struck by how colorful everything was, and how much I take it for granted. END SPOILER

Setting: 5/5

The Community. A place where everything is perfectly organized, no one ever has to make choices, or worry about where their next meal is coming from, or worry if you'll lose your job because it has been assigned to you by the Council of Elders and they rarely if ever make mistakes, everyone's personal space is respected, you have a safe dwelling to go home to each night...all you have to do is follow the rules and nothing bad will ever happen to you. Or will it? Is it really the paradise it seems? Very little about the setting was changed from Lois Lowry's book, and it was brilliantly done. The Community is portrayed just as it should be. Everything seems clean and perfect, but is it really? Can utopia really exist?

Plot: 4.5/5

Jonas is nervous about Graduation. He has no idea what Assignment he will be given. So when he is chosen as the next Receiver of Memory, it is quite unexpected. There is only one, and being the Receiver of Memory is nothing like anything he could ever dream of.

The plot followed the book fairly well. They made the ending more exciting, but the basics were all there. To be honest, the plot isn't really all that complicated, and they didn't add complication to a simple but very powerful storyline. I didn't see any plot holes, and the slight inconsistencies in the book were either resolved or made irrelevant. It's a tale of discovery, but if I say too much about what that discovery is, it would be a spoiler, and I mustn't give spoilers about this story. I'm very adamant about that, strangely enough. Though that makes it difficult to say much. It was excellently done, and the running time was perfect for it. It didn't seem rushed, nor did it seem dragged out. The changes didn't bother me too much either, but I wasn't entirely without mental, "It didn't happen like that in the book." After watching it a few more times, I may be able to drop any quibbles and give it a full rating for plot.

Character Development: 4.5/5

I thought Jonas was perfect. Aside from making him older and giving him some sort of birthmark on his wrist instead of light eyes, he was almost exactly like the Jonas I know from the book. He was just a great character, a flawed human, but still a good person. I really liked Fiona too, despite them giving her a larger, more prominent role. Actually, I kind of liked her role in the movie. It wasn't so different that it made me cringe, so it was good. And yes, there were a couple of kisses between Jonas and Fiona, but it made an opportunity for a funny but at the same time horrible line, an elder saying "What are they doing?" The Giver was awesome, you could really tell he was weighed down with the memories, and he was just a great character. My biggest quibble is with Asher. He was a great character in the movie, and he fulfilled the role given him, but he just wasn't as funny. He wasn't as clumsy with words. Still, he was a well developed character, so it's only a book fan quibble that makes me have a slight problem with him. Only slight, because I strangely didn't mind the changes that much. I have to also mention the baby Gabriel. He's a baby, so there's not much character development involved, but he was so super cute. And I loved the part when Jonas was trying to make him laugh.

The Giver was a very good movie that translated the source material into a movie as effectively as was possible. I do highly recommend it, just read the book first.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Doctor--Doctor Who

The primary reason I like a story is generally the characters. Doctor Who is no exception. Actually, I liked the characters before I started liking the show itself . . . strange, because the show revolves around the changing of characters. But the one character that is the same, though he changes his face and, to some degree, his personality, is the Doctor. Doctor Who? No, just the Doctor. And he's quite an interesting character at that. Note: I haven't seen much Classic, and I can't yet watch Twelve, so I'll be focusing on the ones I do know, Nine, Ten, and Eleven.

Ninth Doctor.

"I give you air from my lungs."

"I'm really glad that worked. Those would have been terrible last words."

"Rose Tyler, you were fantastic. And you know what? So was I."

Nine was the first Doctor I knew. He was the Doctor. Having regenerated out of the Time War, he had a lot of pain to deal with. He was funny and quirky and alien, saving people all throughout time and space, but underneath, there was something darker, a time he deeply regretted. He tried to bury it, but meeting a Dalek brought the Doctor's ghost to the forefront. He destroyed his people to end the Time War. Rose, and the viewer (unless you have spoilers or I just missed something) didn't really know much about the Doctor's past before this. He doesn't like to talk about it, why would he? but having it out in the open makes it easier for him to heal. And Rose Tyler was there to help him. And she could, because he loved her. In the end, it was love that caused him to regenerate. When Rose absorbed all the energy of the Time Vortex by looking into the Heart of the TARDIS, Nine sacrificed himself to save her. It was because of love he regenerated, and that love defined the man he became.

Tenth Doctor.


"[Time is] more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey . . . stuff."

"I don't want to go."

I have to admit, Ten is my favorite. I love all the Doctors I know, but Ten is still my favorite.
He is more sympathetic than Nine, he is funnier, and so much happier. He has Rose. He still deeply regrets his actions during the Time War and mourns his people, but he is able to be happy with Rose, having adventures and saving countless lives . . . until Canary Wharf. "Doomsday:" one of the saddest episodes ever. The Doctor, Rose, Mickey, parallel Pete, and even Jackie a little tiny bit, successfully stop an invasion of Earth by the cybermen and Daleks. Unfortunately, events transpire so that Rose and her family are trapped in a parallel world and the Doctor is not.

Throughout the next series especially, the Doctor mourns Rose. It's hard for him to go on. He lost the girl he loves. He has Martha with him because he is lonely, but she can't replace Rose, nor should she. He still manages to be quirky and hilarious, while mourning Rose, but there are times when it really gets to him. He is better with Donna, they get along well, are just friends, and can really be funny together. They're especially funny when they meet Agatha Christie. But he has not forgotten Rose, or the terrible things he has done in the past. As the parallel worlds collide and the Daleks attempt to destroy all of reality with a reality bomb, all of the Doctor's companions (the ones who appear in the new show up to this point) come back to help him, even Rose. He is so happy to see Rose again, but she can't stay forever. A half human version of the Doctor is created by a human/Time Lord biological meta-crisis with Donna and the Doctor's hand, full of regeneration energy. Born in battle, as Nine was, the human Doctor kills all the Daleks, though the Doctor would have preferred to fix things without bloodshed. The human Doctor has to stay with Rose in the parallel universe, because he needs her, as Nine did. The real Doctor is then forced to be alone . . . Martha, Mickey, Sarah Jane, and Jack all have lives of their own to go live, and the meta-crisis caused Donna's memories of the Doctor to have to be erased so her brain wouldn't burn up. The Doctor doesn't do well alone, which meant he started to go crazy, which developed into the Eleventh Doctor.

Eleventh Doctor.

"Beans are evil!"

"This is a fez. I wear a fez now. Fezzes are cool."

"I will always remember when the Doctor was me."

I've seen many things saying Nine is a tiger, Ten is Tigger, and Eleven is an uncoordinated cat who falls off the sofa and then claims he meant to do that. He really is that way. Eleven is crazy and goofy. But that's his way of burying the past, as he confesses in "The Day of the Doctor." He has a fresh start at life with Amy Pond, then brings her fiance Rory along to keep from breaking up their relationship. Which works, since they get married. He gets more careless, it sometimes seems that Amy and Rory have to look out for him instead of the other way around. And he runs. All the Doctors run, it's one of their favorite things to say, but Eleven even runs from his own death. And, though a fixed point in time, he manages to fake it anyway, and get married to River Song, Amy and Rory's daughter.

He has another bout of depression after he loses Amy, Rory, and River, which Clara, the Impossible Girl, helps to pull him out of. Then he goes back to the Time War, with the Tenth Doctor and the War Doctor.
And he doesn't destroy Gallifrey, but instead sends it out of our universe. After that, though, he ends up living for hundreds of years in one town, protecting its people. Finally, he regenerates again. I can't wait to find out what Twelve is like, coming after living hundreds of years to protect one town, and thus the universe.

why do I like the Doctor? He's funny and quirky, he has a soft heart (well, two of them, actually), and he's a hero, though trouble follows him wherever he goes. He's lonely, and so I feel sorry for him, but he helps people and makes people love him. Except the mums. They tend to slap him. "All the mums!" (Though Jackie Tyler did like him later.) And . . . he's the Doctor.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

"You have a little shop. I love a little shop!"

I have an announcement to make. From the title you might guess: I have a little shop. To be more clear, I now have an Etsy shop. It is called Shire Stitches and I have baby and little girl clothes listed on it. And I have a website for it that has a little more info on it than my Etsy page does. Here's what my website looks like, and those are the items I currently have listed. More will be on the way.
The biggest dress in the middle is one that my five year old cousin really liked. When she saw a picture she said, "It's beautiful! It's my dress." This dress was too small for her, but I made a special trip to Hobby Lobby to pick up more fabric to make her one, that she loves. When she put it on, she kept looking at herself in the mirror.

If you are interested in any of the above outfits, head over to Shire Stitches on Etsy. Feel free to share this post wherever! I won't mind. :)

Yes, I know I've named two things "Shire" lately, but the street we live on is --shire Drive (I can be like the classic authors too), and so when we watched and read Lord of the Rings, it became our joke that we live in the Shire. And the post title is a quote from the Tenth Doctor, Doctor Who, Series 3, Episode 1, "Smith and Jones." It keeps running through my head whenever I think of a little shop, so I couldn't help using it. So many words and phrases have joined "precious" as tainted by stories, like "precision of language."

Monday, September 8, 2014

Jonas--The Giver Quartet

I was wavering between The Doctor and Flynn Ryder for my next character post, but, Lord willing, my sisters, and friend, and I are going to see the movie of The Giver tomorrow, so I decided Jonas would go next. However, if you have not read The Giver, PLEASE do not read this post. I love spoilers, but the full effect of The Giver is dependent on it being unspoiled. Go read the book...really, do...and then come back. Due to that, I will give ample warning of spoilers from the sequels.

Jonas is just like any other boy in the Community. He goes to school, volunteers around the Community, and looks forward to the Ceremony of Twelve where he will be assigned a role in the Community. But yet, Jonas is not like everyone else. He has the ability to See Beyond, first manifesting itself as an ability to see color in a colorless world. And this ability to See Beyond is what enables him to become the next Receiver of Memory.

As he receives memories of Elsewhere and before the Sameness, and knowledge of true emotions, Jonas begins to see that the "perfect" Community he grew up in, is really far from perfect. But at first it's the joy. The true joy and love that everyone is missing. Jonas wants to share it with his friends. He wants Asher to see color. He wants his sister Lily to know that there really were animals once. And he wants to be able to make choices.

At this point, Jonas still believed in what he had been taught. That it's dangerous to let people make their own choices. But still, he has inner conflict over it all. He knows the joys that are missing. He wants to be loved by his family. And he realizes that without true pain and sadness, one cannot truly have happiness and love. He tries to justify the Community, but it's just that: justifying. And I know that if a thing has to be justified, it's probably not a good thing.

And then he learned what Release really is. Death of the undesirable. The Old, who have lived their lives. The repeat rule-breakers. The newchildren who fail to thrive properly. It was the Release of the twin newchild that really woke Jonas up to how bad the Community really was. But he didn't want to stand passively by and see it continue to happen. Jonas cared. He and the Giver were the only ones who could care. And he does do something. He rescued Gabriel from Release and let the Memories he held escape.

I'm not sure why Jonas stands out. Some books fade from memory soon after being read. Some books I still remember the story, but the characters fade away. Jonas hasn't done that. Maybe it's because you really experience everything with him. Funny how an author can create that in 3rd person past tense. (Just so you know, I hate present tense narrative.) The Giver is a powerful story. Jonas is the perfect character to experience it through. Because despite believing the lies, he is good. He knows right from wrong, and wrongs really affect him. The horror of war affects him so that he cannot allow the other Twelves to play war, meaningless though it is to them. And he wants love returned to the world. You feel that yearning with him, that horror when you realize his parents don't even know the meaning of the word "love."

Messenger and Son SPOILERS
Jonas's story doesn't end with The Giver. He finds a new home, with people who have love and freedom. Jonas has become the Leader of his new home, because he has the qualities necessary to be a true leader. Not a dictator, but a Leader. And he even gets married and has at least two kids. (I hope he has more, but it doesn't say.) Things aren't always perfect. Matty gives his life to heal the forest. Gabriel has to defeat the Trademaster. And of course, Jonas still suffers the consequences of having lived in the Community as a child. It's impossible for it not to have affected him. But still, Jonas gets a happy ending.
END Messenger and Son SPOILERS
The last three books aren't as good as the first, naturally, and they somewhat spoil the effect of the ending of The Giver, but I got attached to Jonas and wanted to know what else happened to him. Because when you have experienced the disillusionment of this "perfect world" with Jonas, you cannot help feeling that he is a part of your life now.