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So I saw Age of Ultron last night, and posted a long and rambly post over at my Tumblr about how I felt like they'd dropped the ball on characterisation. I didn't even get to how they dropped the ball on plot. Suffice to say, while I was there with many good friends, so I still had fun, I am reasonably sure that goes at the bottom of my Favourite Marvel Movies list, down after every other Marvel movie I have seen.

Here's the Tumblr post, if anyone is interested. There are spoilers, so read at your own peril.
alasse_irena: Photo of the back of my head, hair elaborately braided (Default)
I have just been reading Justine Larbalestier's Razorhurst.

Credit to her: I enjoyed it a lot. It was much better paced than some of her previous books, which have on occasion got a bit rambly. There was only one tiny romantic subplot, I was invested in the characters, and it was very readable.

But, there are also problems. So, our main character, a plucky street kid named Kelpie, can see and talk to ghosts. That's great. I love fantasy. Except the ghosts played so small a part in the plot that it would not have changed anything for there supernatural element to be absent altogether. There were only a handful of ghost characters. Only one of them did something that could not have been done by a living character, and the piece of information he imparted was never used by anyone, never caused anyone any sort of conflict (even though it had to do with things the main character's father-figure had done, and could've provided an ethical conflict of a sort), and was fairly obvious to the main characters with a bit of thought anyway. The rest of the time, he spent following the main characters around interjecting and correcting people when they spoke about him, and the only two characters who could see him ignored him for most of the book so that no one around them would figure out they could see ghosts.

Second thought: can somebody, one day, give me a plucky street kid who isn't that one urchin who had the opportunity to learn to read. It's like the authors consider reading and writing so much a part of themselves that they can't deal with having a main character who can't do it. I have no problem with characters teaching themselves to read, or managing to find someone to teach them - but it's just so prevalent, even when the character never has to use the skill, the author still manages to squish an explanation of how they learnt to read and how much they love books in there.

Also in starving orphans who don't behave like they ought to: "...but then they'd make her go to school, and she'd have to wear shoes that pinched her feet..." Seriously, author, you've mentioned a) how starved and cold this girl is, and b) how much she wants to learn things numerous times - it seems improbably that she'd turn down an offer of a place to stay on the grounds that she'd have to wear shoes to school...

It's a lot easier to go long about criticisms than it is about a books good points, so don't see this and think, wow, most of what she had to say was bad. All up, a good read full of people I cared about and historical details that made sense and were well researched - it just had those two little niggly issues...
alasse_irena: Photo of the back of my head, hair elaborately braided (Default)
In the last week, I've seen two movies - in reverse chronological order, The Hobbit, and Les Miserables. This is unusual for me, as I have a short attention span, and generally tend to watch movies in locations where we can talk over them and throw popcorn at the screen undisturbed. (This is not to say that I don't like going to the cinema. I do. I just prefer to keep it as a novelty.)

So, in honour of this auspicious occasion, a pair of reviews, or something.

Vive la République! )

Speak, friend, and enter )

In other news, I’ve been trawling Yuletide 2012 and putting together a list of recs, but I don’t think they’ll be appearing for another week or so at least.
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