Short Story Review: Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Friday, 10th November 2017

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Story Title: Young Goodman Brown

Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne

Date of Publication: 1835

 

The story begins with Goodman Brown leaving home reluctantly for unknown reasons, though it is implied it is something questionable. On his travels through a wooded area he meets a man, who is possibly the Devil. At first he wants nothing to do with the mysterious man. Time passes, the two continue on their path, despite Goodman’s desire to return home. People from his town pass through the forest on their way to a Devil worshiping ceremony. This leads Goodman to a sort of epiphany – that people are not as good or pious as they seem. He becomes bitter and frustrated for the remainder of his life.

 

I’ll include a link to the story, here.

 

What did I like?

This story is fairly ambigious in nature, and is – in my opinion – open to quite a significant amount of individual interpretation. I liked that it left a lot to the imagination and there was no force-feeding of exact information. In a weird way, I almost felt as though I was walking down a dark wooded path with a mysterious and somewhat dubious character.

 

What didn’t I like?

On the other hand, as I read the story I felt the story was very vague. Goodman Brown leaves home to do something – it’s never clearly stated – and meets a man en route. Did he intend to meet this man all along? (I got the impression he didn’t) If not where was he going? What was he doing? What was so bad about it? (As part of his inner monologue he feels what he’s doing is not a particularly good thing). Who really is this man? As the reader I can only speculate. What’s his interest in Goodman Brown? What does he want? There’s no clear motive for anything. The ending is a particularly gloomy ending and actually quite underwhelming. Goodman has this huge (at least for him) epiphany and it ends with him dying a miserable old man. It almost felt rushed.

 

Would I recommend it?

Yes, I would recommend it. It is an interesting story.

 

My Personal Rating: 3/5

 

Until next time,

Warm hugs

Morgenstern!

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Short Story Review: The Damned Thing By Ambrose Bierce

Friday, 3rd November 2017

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Story Title: The Damned Thing

Author: Ambrose Bierce

Date of Publication: 7th December 1893

 

 

The Damned Thing is a short story written by Ambrose Bierce in December 1983. It opens in a small room in a cabin in a remote area (which is never specified) with 8 men, one of whom is dead. The purpose of the gathering is to determine the cause of death of the… well… dead man. The coroner shows the body, with all it’s gruesome injuries, and questions at witness in front of a jury. Ultimately the jury determine the death was caused by a mountain Lion. However, the dead man’s journal reveals killer was something else…

 

I’m going to include a link for a free pdf of the story, click here.

 

What did I like?

I like the element of mystery in it. Towards the end of the story we discover that whatever killed the deceased wasn’t a Mountain Lion and all we have to go on is the speculation of a man’s journal and his speculations. There’s no conclusive answer as to what killed him and in a way it’s left to the imagination of the reader.

 

I think it was interesting that there was some ambiguity as to location. I think when reading it, it’s fairly certain it’s the Western US, but not once does it explicitly say. Like the implied location there are things about the story that seem to be implied or suggest

 

What didn’t I like?

There isn’t much I could say I really disliked about the story. I could argue it isn’t particularly ‘action packed’ in a way I’d be expecting or perhaps used to, especially from a more horror-esque text. It does follow tropes of the genre (as would be expected from any story or movie in any genre.

 

I would say that describing away the killer as something we can’t see or hear because we’ve limited senses at the very end of the story as potentially rushed. Bierce, arguably, may not have considered what had killed the man until the end. Maybe he realised he had to add in something like this for closure or maybe this was the plan all along. It was somewhat underwhelming though. It felt almost like a ‘oh, yeah, we will never know what killed this fella because… because… we can’t perceive it with our limited senses… yeah… that…’ (Though I do like the notion that there’s more to this world of ours than we could ever possibly imagine. Sort of gives a spark of intrigue to life, I think.)

 

Am I being nit picky? Yeah, probably.

 

Would I recommend it?

Yes, I would definitely recommend it. It’s a very interesting story and is short. It is well worth the short amount of time it takes to read it.

 

My Personal Rating: 4/5

 

Until next time,

Warm hugs

Morgenstern!

 

P.S: hopefully next time will be much sooner. Sorry!

Book Review: Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2) by Sarah J. Maas

Thursday, 8th June 2017

How’s it shakin’, bacon?

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Book Title: Crown of Midnight

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publishers: Bloomsbury

Date of Publication: August 15th, 2013

Ratings: 4.5/5 (Goodreads), 4.8/5 (Barnes & Noble) & 4.5/5 (Book Depository)

ISBN: 978-1-4088-3494

Link for purchase: Book Depository

 

“A line that should never be crossed is about to be breached.

It puts this entire castle in jeopardy—and the life of your friend.”

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie… and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

 

Celaena has become the King’s champion and has been tasked with killing those who stand in his way. Failing to do so would result in losing those who mean the most to her, but what are the consequences of following his orders? What does a long dead Queen want her to do? Why Celaena? Celaena must come to terms with who she is and accept what she must do, but can she?

 

What did I like?

I really like the way Sarah J Mass writes, how the plot unfolds and the way every last detail fits into the story. Questions are asked, eventually answered but more questions arise, but it’s not so complex that it can’t be followed. The plot progresses smoothly and doesn’t feel forced. Looking back on what I just read, it’s so clear that everything that happens is leading to the end – probably sounds stupid – but it’s as if it could never end any other way once everything in the story is considered – every line, every word seems to be pointing you, the reader, to that ending of the book – but also the series. It’s like following a string to it’s inevitable end. Side note: not gonna spoil the ending of the book but it was… pretty good. I expected this connection to be made, but none-the-less – it was interesting to watch it unfold as it did. Also, leaves me wondering where Chaol’s loyalties lie, or if he even knows himself.

 

What didn’t I like?

No book is flawless and I honestly found this love triangle grew very frustrating, very quickly. While I like the characters in the story, I don’t like a lot of their behaviors and a lot of Dorian’s and Chaol’s thoughts and feelings around the others mutual love for Celeana were petty. I can’t help compare them to Jem and Will from The Infernal Devices (honestly I thought the love triangle in that series was better executed) and maybe that’s where my problem lies – me wanting them to be more like Jem and Will, call me Captain Obvious, but their not. I try not to make that comparison, I really try! While their is increasing tension between the pair of friends, they whine a lot to themselves, in a tone that may suggest they feel they have some definite claim on Celaena as theirs and only theirs.

 

Would I recommend?

I’d highly recommend the book to anyone who enjoys fantasy novels. It’s well worth the time spent reading it!

 

My personal rating: 4.5/5

 

Until next time, warm hugs

Morgenstern!

Movie Review: Beauty & The Beast

Beauty and the beast

Trailer: Youtube

Duration: 2 hours 19 minutes

Release Date: February 23 2017 (London)

Starring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson & Sir Ian McKellen

Director: Bill Condon

Music Composed By: Alan Menken

Lyrics By: Howard Ashman and Tim Rice

Ratings: IMDb: 7.8/10, Rotten Tomatoes: 71%, Common Sense Media: 4/5

Summary: Belle (Emma Watson), a bright, beautiful and independent young woman, is taken prisoner by a beast (Dan Stevens) in its castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the beast’s hideous exterior, allowing her to recognize the kind heart and soul of the true prince that hides on the inside.

 

I want to begin by saying: I loved the animated Beauty and the Beast! So, I was both excited and somewhat weary about seeing the Live Action Remake, as usual going into movies like these I had high hopes (and admittedly fairly low expectations). I found that, to my pleasure, the movie blew my expectations out of the water and I was delighted.

 

The cast was perfectly chosen (though can one go wrong with Sir Ian McKellen?), the story stayed true to the original and built on it – it addressed the absence of Belle’s mother, why nobody knew about the prince or the castle or the staff within, characters were given more depth (like LeFou who, in the original, only served to bring attention to Gaston and boost his enormous ego, or the beast who was a fairly two dimensional character), music was great, and visuals were stunning.

 

As much as I love the music, I felt like that was the movies greatest let down. There seemed to be some inconsistencies in the vocals, as if some parts were heavily auto tuned, others were not, at one point I thought another person was singing.

 

I would highly recommend watching the film!

 

Personal Rating: 4/5

 

Until next time, warm hugs!

Morgenstern

 

Game Review: The Wolf Among Us

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Release Date: October, 11th 2013

Platforms: Playstation 4, Xbox One, Android, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Playstation Vita, Microsoft Windows, iOS, Macintosh Operating Systems

Rating: 10/10 (Steam), 4.3/5 (Google Play), 4.8/5 (itunes)

The Wolf Among Us is a graphic adventure game, played from a third-person perspective. The player controls protagonist Bigby Wolf, who must investigate the murder of a woman. Throughout the game, the player will explore various three-dimensional environments, such as apartment buildings and a bar. When exploring an environment, the player may find an object they can interact with; when this occurs, they must move a cursor over the object to select and examine it. Items of interest are stored in an inventory, and can be used later in the story. The player may also talk with non-player characters, and the conversations presented in the form of dialogue trees.The dialogue options chosen during conversations will either have a positive or negative affect on how other characters view Bigby, and their perceptions will influence future events in the story. Some scenes are more action-oriented, forcing the player to respond to a series of quick time event (QTE) prompts. The player is not required to complete every QTE prompt, and skipping certain prompts may affect future events in the story.

 

I’ve been trying to figure out the, I dunno, best way to ‘review’ the game. I love Telltale’s art style in general is so cool! I also like how the story is shaped so much around the choices you make as a player. I think it’s a game that could easily be played multiple times, however as much as the choices influence the story there is a limit to how much the story is influenced, obviously.

 

What did I like?

I really liked the art style, as I’ve said, and the story. I love how they took the concept of Fables and brought them into a world we’ll all recognize. Each of the characters are made to feel so real.

 

What did I dislike?

There wasn’t anything in particular I didn’t like. Maybe this will sound a bit nit-picky, but as much as the story was altered by particular choices – I feel like it wasn’t as much of an alteration as I would have expected or imagined.

 

Personal Rating: 4/5

 

I know it’s not a very in depth review, and I do apologize for not posting anything in over a month.

 

Until next time,

Warm hugs,

Morgenstern!

Movie Review: Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them

Wednesday, 14th December 2016

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How’s it shakin’ bacon?

Yesterday, I went to see Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them with a friend. Overall, I enjoyed the movie. There may be a few minor spoilors but I shall endeviour to keep this as spoiler free. I mean, for anyone who might not have seen the movie yet. (Has anyone not watched it yet?)

 

I’m gonna start with the positives: it looked spectacular, the cinematography was so cool! The creatures in it looked great. One thing I particularly like about the world of Harry Potter is the creativity that went in to building it and making it real and enjoyable. I thought the cast was fantastic and there were so many amazing moments in the movie.

 

However, the movie wasn’t without it’s flaws: the overall plot of the story wasn’t particularly interesting and I felt like it lacked in mystery and quite often in context. A lot of things were mentioned fleetingly and weren’t given much context or explanation. Perhaps to fully follow the book you’d need to be fairly familiar with the book on which the movie is based – I haven’t read it, so I don’t know if that has any baring on anything. I also found certain characters weren’t particularly memorable – names at least. I think I spent a little too much time trying to remember character names *cough cough* Credence *cough cough* everyone except Newt *cough* … I may have looked that up… heh…

 

Personal Rating: 3/5

 

Until next time, warm hugs

Morgenstern!

Movie Review: Doctor Strange

Tuesday, 15th November 2016

How’s it shakin’ bacon?

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Dr. Stephen Strange’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) life changes after a car accident robs him of the use of his hands. When traditional medicine fails him, he looks for healing, and hope, in a mysterious enclave. He quickly learns that the enclave is at the front line of a battle against unseen dark forces bent on destroying reality. Before long, Strange is forced to choose between his life of fortune and status or leave it all behind to defend the world as the most powerful sorcerer in existence.

Today, I saw Doctor Strange! Admittedly, I had no prior knowledge of Doctor Strange as a character or what the film would entail beyond what I’d seen in the trailers (which seemed like a clusterfuck of confusion). I expected the character to be a Sherlock Holmes type, however I was pleasantly surprised. Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance was amazing, as if the character had been created specifically for him. The script was amazing (I generally love the scripts created for the Marvel Cinematic Universe), I loved the humor. The cloak reminded me of the magic carpet in Aladdin and sometimes the music was quite reminiscent of the Undertale soundtrack.

 

Overall, the character developments/arcs were, the script was amazing, the acting was on point, the effects and the plot were amazing. The movie is well worth watching and I highly recommend it!

 

Apologies for the short post.

 

Until next time, warm hugs

Morgenstern!