Showing posts with label city of bones. Show all posts
Showing posts with label city of bones. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Do You Watch Movie Adaptations of Books You Didn't Like? | YA Talk

So this has happened quite a lot lately. I've seen many books that I've read and not necessarily liked get movie deals. 

While I'm super happy for the authors, I always end up with the question: Do I watch the movie?

See, I really love seeing fictional characters come to life. It's one of the most fantastic things that can happen to a reader, to see the people you imagined on the big screen. I love that, even if it's with characters that I didn't like or books that I didn't Granted this hypothetical movie adaptation I'm talking about isn't a problematic adaptation of an also non-problematic book, should I go watch it just for that effect alone? Or should I support movies and adaptations of books I know I'm much more inclined to enjoy instead?

That One Time It Worked Out

I actually have an example for you guys where doing just that lead to something wonderful. If you've been on my blog for a while you know that I've been trying to work my way through the The Mortal Instruments series and the entire Shadowhunters universe by Cassandra Clare quite reluctantly. Yes, before you mention it, I'm aware of all the drama and schebang surrounding her. If you aren't - google.

I did watch the first movie adaptation long before I read the books and found it quite intriguing, but when I actually read them? Yikes. I hated them. Like, really deeply found them problematic and unenjoyable. But then the TV adaptation came along. Shadowhunters, race-bending (if you can even call it that) major characters into people of color, giving more love and attention to the single gay couple in the series that the author ever did in their books. Also very attractive actors. 

And boy, I grew obsessed with that series. It's mediocre at best but the diversity really hooked me because TV shows are just -so white- these days. It's also a plus that I've heard rumors that the author receives minimal profit from the series because of some rights issues.

If It's Diverse I'm In

In that case it worked out great. I found something super worth my time and great to support by giving books I really dislike another chance. I'm not sure if I would do this again, it really would probably depend on the book series and if there is anything in them that I deeply dislike or not. But what I'm trying to say is - it really depends on who's adapting it. There are so many failed book adaptations out there, and there are so many ridiculously white adaptations out there, and just as many that do their damn best to white-wash anything and everything in the books even if there was great representation in the first place. 

If I see a diverse adaptation of a book I didn't like, I'm definitely more inclined to supporting it. See, I didn't care much for THE DARKEST MINDS by Alexandra Bracken but when I heard that they cast a black girl as the lead role for a character that's white in the books (or, not specified, which usually means white in our world), I made a mental note to go watch these books. Because representation matters. 

Is this a one in a million thing? Has this happened to you before? 

Let's talk YA.

Should We Separate Authors from Their Problematic Work? On False Representation and Whether Authors Deserve Call-Outs
Do We Owe it to Authors to Call Out Problematic Books Nicely?
What is POC rep to you? "Olive Skin", On the Page, and Non-#Ownvoices Authors 
Once You Go Diverse... Diverse Books are Better Than Non-Diverse Books

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Sunday, April 3, 2016

The 5 Shittiest YA Book-To-Movie Adaptations Of All Time

I'm always over the moon happy when I hear about one of my favorite books being optioned for TV or even a movie. But yeah, as the naturally critical person that I am, I almost always end up absolutely hating what they did to my poor fictional friends. Here are some of the worst book-to-movie adaptations I've ever seen. 

vampire-academy-posterVampire Academy: Blood Sisters [2014]
(based on VAMPIRE ACADEMY by Richelle Mead)
Starring: Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry, Danila Kozlovsky

I do love the idea behind all this and on it's own it's a great and entertaining film - BUT HAVE YOU READ THE BOOKS? The movie is a teen comedy whereas the novels are dramatic, full of angst, and indeed sometimes hilarious. 
I wish they hadn't focused on the hilarity part. The movie is a try-hard slapstick comedy that's really okay, but nothing like the book. They did follow the plot sort-of-closely, but the outcome is just nothing but a teen flick. It's not a bad film, but it's a godawful book-to-movie adaptation. 

The main couple, Rose and Dimitri, Romitri - they have maybe 2 scenes together before they confess their undying love to each other. Why, just why? At least the casting was alright.

City of Bones [2013]
(based on CITY OF BONES by Cassandra Clare)
Starring: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Lena Headey

For fans of the book, this adaptation was like a slap in the face. Starting with terrible casting and two lead actors who have the chemistry of two wet noodles, it just wasn't meant to be. 

The book is insanely complicated and trying to cram this into a decent length novel was just bound to end in failure. Even more so, because whoever wrote this catastrophic script decided to spoil story lines from the sequels along the way. Simply because they could. Ugh. 

The-Host-Movie-Poster-LargeThe Host [2013]
(based on THE HOST by Stephenie Meyer) 
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Max Irons, Jake Abel, Diane Krüger

I absolutely loved the book but I hated the movie. There was so much unintentional situational comedy in this that I couldn't help but cringe the entire time. The book has a special atmosphere to it and is really a unique read, but in the movie everything was just a mess. 

No chemistry, catastrophical casting and more of a love story than a sci-fi book exploring the unique bond between an alien and a human, forced to share a body. 

Hollywood was like: "HEY there's a love triangle let's just cast two hot hunks and the script will write itself!!"

6a00e55007a31488340105368f2b56970bInkheart [2008]
(based on INKHEART by Cornelia Funke)
Starring: Brendan Fraser, Eliza Bennett, Paul Bettany

I think we can all just universally agree that this is the most epic fail of book-to-movie adaptations within the last few years. INKHEART was one of my favorites growing up and I don't even want to get started listing all the things that is wrong with this because it's just too painful to remember. 
But hey, at least they got Brendan Fraser to play Mo, Funke actually wrote the part for him, so that's nice. Thank god there won't be any movie sequels in the near future of this atrocity. 

large_cskYMkrtf7F8IpceWicxQdBkTT5The Princess Diaries [2001]
(based on THE PRINCESS DIARIES by Meg Cabot)
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Julie Andrews, Mandy Moore

The biggest and most awful epic fail in terms of book-to-movie adaptation to me. Hear me out - THE PRINCESS DIARIES is my favorite book forever and always. If you've actually read it, you do know that pretty girl Anna Hathaway has absolutely nothing in common with Mia Thermopolis. 

Of course the movie on its own is entertaining and even good, but if you know the insanely good book, the hilarity of Mia, the wonderful creepiness of her Grandmère and the brilliance of her father's terrible awkwardness, you would think the same way. With the movie I got cheated out of almost all the things I loved about the book. 

With the movie, we got a mediocre easily forgettable hollywood romcom that could have been so much more. The book is not about romance, it's so not just the journey of an ugly duckling becoming a swan. I'm just insanely frustrated with this.  

What do you think is the worst book-to-movie adaptation of all time?

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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Shadowhunters vs. City of Bones - Which is the better The Mortal Instruments adaptation?

I'll be using three categories to determine which one's the better adaptation. Characters, Artistic Freedom, and What if you haven't read the books.

May the best man win.


  • Characters

What I find most striking about Shadowhunters is that the characters just seem more alive. Instead of rushing through explaining all the lore like they did in City of Bones, the individual characters really have the time to shine. Side characters like Simon Lewis and Alec Lightwood really, really get to gain sympathy points with witty one-liners. Point for Shadowhunters.

Another positive aspect that probably just comes from the fact that it's a TV series is that side characters exist! Maryse Lightwood, Raphael, Camille, etc. YES to seeing more beloved characters on screen! Point for Shadowhunters.

The main romantic couple in the series, Jace and Clary, again have to carry the narrative, but I think that City of Bones did this a little better. There is just no chemistry between Dominic Sherwood and Katherine McNamara, at least not to the extent that Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower had.
Point for City of Bones.

The other couple, which if often absolutely forgotten - Simon and Clary are pretty much just as great together in both adaptations. I absolutely love the actors' dynamics and sympathize with both Simons! Points for City of Bones and Shadowhunters.

City of Bones: 2 
Shadowhunters: 3

  • Artistic Freedom

What City of Bones completely seemed to disregard is the possibility of putting a unique spin on it all. Shadowhunters absolutely convinces me that Luke definitely should be a police officer and that the Lightwood siblings could definitely be hispanic. Generally so much more ethnic diversity. Point for Shadowhunters.

With a unique spin and some alterations to the story come also things that just didn't work. For example putting Valentine's hideout in Chernobyl for absolutely no reason and having all Circle members walk around in black suits like the men in black. Just no. Too cliche. Point for City of Bones.

City of Bones: 3
Shadowhunters: 4

  • What if you haven't read the books?

This is the one question I kept asking myself. As someone who knows their way around this series, it was fairly easy for me to keep up. But I watched the first episode with a friend who had never heard of either Cassandra Clare or The Mortal Instruments before, and she almost fell asleep during Shadowhunters
On the surface, it is an impeccable new interpretation of the characters we all know and love but UTTERLY fails at piquing the interest of anyone who hasn't heard of the TMI universe before. 

Why is that? 

First off - lingo. So many things remain unexplained, like the titular Mortal Cup from the first episode. It's just briefly explained what it does in one sentence, just like the descent into the City of Bones in the second episode. It's all rushed, which is just a shame considering that they DO have the time to explain everything in detail. Though City of Bones had a similar problem, they simply solved it by omitting. Take notes, Shadowhunters.

Secondly - taking relationships for granted. The reason why I said earlier I don't think Jace and Clary have any chemistry in Shadowhunters. This isn't due to the actors' lack thereof. It's because there is hardly any reason for Clary to trust him so quickly and so completely, and basically move in with him after exchanging two sentences. Someone who hasn't read the books will just raise their eyebrows at their quick relationship progression, not get invested in the show, and consequently not watch the next episode.

Thirdly- suspense. There is no reason for anyone to care about these characters! So many people get introduced so quickly and someone who has no idea what shadowhunters are will be even more confused having to keep up with the personalities of Clary, Simon, and the shadowhunter gang. If you don't care about what's going on, cliffhangers just don't work.

To illustrate, my friend's reaction to the reveal that Valentine is the father of Jocelyn's child/Clary at the end of episode one was "Who is Jocelyn again?"

So what does City of Bones do better?
  • They just completely left out Isabelle and Alec and just gave them basically extra roles. 
  • They don't bother to explain what The Circle is, really
  • They didn't try to give the characters depth through flashbacks that come out of nowhere
Of course, this is frustrating for people who are already in love with the TMI universe, but they aren't really the target audience anyway, are they? Fans of the books will watch the show no matter how terrible or good it turns out to be.
But this show will only keep on getting renewed for a next season if it manages to at least pique the interest of some people who don't know anything about TMI.

So therefore, point for City of Bones.

End count: 
City of Bones: 4
Shadowhunters 4

To sum up

I don't think there's a clear winner here. There'll always be something to criticize with every adaptation of Cassandra Clare's books we get and to be honest, I like both in their own ways. 

City of Bones works as a nice little entertaining movie that you'll forget the second you've finished, and Shadowhunters is just hilarious with Alec's witty comments and the awkward special effects.
They're both not perfect, but definitely not bad either.

Which adaptation do you like better? 

City of Bones or Shadowhunters?

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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Book Characters That Everyone Loves But I Don't "Get" | Top 10 Tuesday

I am so sorry for half of my answers here. Unfortunately liking book characters is just as subjective as liking books!

10. Akiva 
from DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE by Laini Taylor
I would even go as far as to say that I don't only dislike this guy or "don't get" him, I'll even say that he ruined the book for me. If he wouldn't exist, I would have loved it. BOOM

9. Richard Campbell "Gansey" III. 
from THE RAVEN BOYS by Maggie Stiefvater
Honestly? I don't know what's so interesting about him. I found him annoying and pretentious (which is exactly what he's known for and why people like him??? I don't know)

8. Annabeth Chase 
from PERCY JACKSON by Rick Riordan
I am SORRY but she's so... non-existent to me. Was she even in the books? Literally zero personality. I am SO SORRY

7. Étienne St. Clair 
from ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins
When I think of Étienne, I feel nothing. First time ever that a romance novel that literally doesn't have any other plot than the romance had me shrugging at the love interest. Étienne who?

6. Adrian Ivashkov 
from VAMPIRE ACADEMY by Richelle Mead
He's so annoying, so pushy, such a bad side character to set off a love triangle. It's a shame, really.

5. Augustus Waters 
from THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green
I am NOT a John Green person. Jesus, this kid was annoying.

4. Severus Snape 
from HARRY POTTER by J.K. Rowling
The good old debate. Either you love him or you hate him.

3. Isabelle Lightwood 
from CITY OF BONES by Cassandra Clare
Yeah, she fights in heels, we get it. I don't really get why she's universally acknowledged as the Feminist Hero™ of YA at all.

2. Kaz Brekker 
from SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo
Gosh, such a conceited, annoying wanna-be bad boy. I can't. He gets half his lines from fortune cookies I bet.

 1. Aaron Warner 
from SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi

Well. I am not a fan of problematic bad boys with a tragic backstory that reveals they had a heart of gold after all. Abuse is abuse. Sorry, Warner.

Which characters that everyone loves don't you like?

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme originating from The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday they choose topics that we are supposed to create a list about, considering our personal reading preferences.

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Saturday, December 5, 2015

[Review] City of Bones (TMI #1) - Cassandra Clare

In CITY OF BONES, human girl Clary Fray accidentally gets mingled up in a paranormal demon hunt.

What intrigued me: Especially among bloggers, Clare receives a lot of criticism for her alleged plagiarism. I haven't read any of her fan fiction, bur it's very obvious that most characters in this are inspired by Harry Potter.

I mean... the racist leader Voldemort Valentine who wants to purify the wizard world shadowhunter world by starting an unnecessary war against muggle-born wizards downworlders? Well.

I'm probably the last person to read this, but I don't regret it. This is book is definitely a roller coaster.

Welcome to the City of Cringe

However, Clare did her best to disguise this by building a very elaborate and unnecessary complicated world around her Shadowhunters, the guys who rid the world of icky demons. It took me 300 pages to even remote understand all the character dynamics and even after finishing the book, I don't get all the lingo. There is definitely too much content for the size of this book and there are too many parallels to Harry Potter characters to even pretend you don't see it. It's all been said before, and everyone is right with their criticism.

Her metaphors are really just as omnipresent as all reviewers say. And they're just as bad.

"[his facade] was as hard and shiny as the coat of lacquer on one of her mother's Japanese boxes" (pp.138/139, Margaret McElderry Edition)

I have a distinct dislike against flowery prose and having one of these every 250 words doesn't improve the quality of her writing. On the contrary actually. I have never read about this much voices described as combinations of colors and some kind of liquid before.

Which even makes it all worse is that her characters talk more like adults than actual adults. I have NEVER cringed this hard. This worst thing is that this comes out of nowhere, one second they're talking about everyday stuff the next second one of them says something like this:

"simple ontological reductionism is clearly a fallacious argument"
(Jace Wayland, pp. 307)

I mean, it would work if Clare had a pretentious character that's notorious for saying weird things like this, but she doesn't. It feels like whenever she thought of a pretentious line, she just inserted it into the novel right away. All her characters do this.

Next stop: The City of Acknowledgement

As much as there is to hate and cringe, CITY OF BONES is by no means a bad book. Not even close. Her writing captivated me from the start and I couldn't put it down. I've spent nights awake because I had to continue reading. I don't know how she does it, how she managed to put so many clichés and cringe-worthy prose into one book and somehow created an interesting book. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely hate that I like this. I really do.

Jace and Clary have no chemistry whatsoever (!!!!!), honestly, they hardly interact because the plot is too dense for them to even share a single conversation that's genuine. All their conversations are info-dumps with unnecessary back story. Don't get me started on the side characters. Clare basically just dumped them somewhere in the background and then let them return having madly fallen in love with each other. Yikes.

Regardless, I respect Clare insanely for pulling it off to turn a fan fiction into this and produce a mediocre book that's so, so, so captivating. It's a like a bad soap opera that you can't force yourself to turn off.




Overall: Do I Recommend?

I guess. You just have to read it yourself to understand my utter confusion and sort of positive dislike for this? I don't know, I have never read a book like this.

Additional Info

Published: March 27th 2007
Pages: 485
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Genre: YA / Fantasy / Urban
ISBN: 9781416914280

"When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know... "(Source: Goodreads)

Have you read CITY OF BONES? 
I'd love for you to link your reviews in the comments!

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Are Diverse Characters and Representation Unnecessary? | YA Talk

If you spend a ridiculous amount of time on social media and especially tumblr, it's impossible not to see the constant debates on diversity. Especially popular franchises are often accused of portraying white-washed versions of the world that have nothing to do with reality.

What do you think about diversity? Does it really matter?

What do I mean by diversity?
  • Generally challenging stereotypes in literature
  • Including more POC, disabled, lgbtq*, and mentally-ill characters
  • Fighting heteronormativity (assuming everyone is straight until states otherwise)

What the problem is:
  • Excluding certain people purposely from receiving accurate representation in YA 
On the left and right I included some pictures of the YA heroines in the most recent popular book-to-movie adaptations. Notice a trend there? They almost all look like clones. I could probably find even more of these if I looked hard enough. 

Apparently, in order to be a YA heroine in a popular book-to-movie adaptation you have to be:
  • dark-haired
  • around 1,65-1,70m
  • dark-eyed
  • white
The fun thing is, this isn't necessarily the fault of the authors. Some of these originally were canonically diverse characters but were then white-washed for commercial success in the media.  

  • Giving people a wrong sense of what is "normal"
Shailene Woodley as Tris Prior
As a biracial woman, I hardly see myself represented in traditional media. Whether it's movies, books, or just advertisements. 

If you can't find a single character to properly identify with in media, you're probably going to feel like the odd one out. Of course it's impossible to make everyone feel included and represented, but is it too much ask to at least have a little diversity? I can't name more than five books at the top of my head that have characters in there that are specifically stated to be not white, not straight, not able-bodied.  

It has gotten so far that I as a reader assume everybody to be white and heterosexual unless stated otherwise. This is terrible and I absolutely feel ashamed of that if I'm being honest. I haven't noticed that I'm doing this until recently. To me the average YA heroine has a specific face. I guess that I'm not the only one, judging by the fact that the cast of the most popular franchises looks almost always the same.

I assume that everyone who is reading this would be surprised to see a girl in a wheelchair or an asexual black girl as a heroine. Don't tell me you wouldn't even notice, because that's not true. We are used to seeing the same faces / types of characters all the time that we don't even pay much attention to the fact the issues of other cultures are completely ignored.

  • Ignoring the Age of Globalization
You'd think that in a world where you can travel from one continent to the next in a day at will, there would be more intersection of cultures, people, habits and other things. 

The truth is, as a European I am rarely actively confronted with cultural diversity in media as I am in real life. 

Zoey Deutch as Rose Hathaway
(Vampire Academy)
If you look at your friends, I'm sure not all of them are Katniss Everdeens and Clary Frays. Not all teenagers are the same and not everyone has the same problems. There are so much different influences that you get as a citizen of the 21st century, yet none of them are represented in the media. Want to put it to the test?
  1. Name a book character wearing a hijab. Now name someone you know wearing a hijab.
  2. Name a book character with a disability. Now name someone you know with a disability. 
  3. Name a book character that's not a native of the country the book is set in. Now name someone you know that's not a native of your home country.
  4. Name a book character that's not heterosexual. Now name someone you know that is not heterosexual.
It's not like I'm making this stuff up. Different kinds of humans exist and it's a shame that some people don't even know about this because there is little to no representation. 

I wanna see different cultures.
I wanna see different people.
I wanna see new stories. 

I'm not talking about seeing a new dystopian or fantasy world, I wanna see real people going on those adventures.

What the problem is not:

  • Having white, heterosexual, able-bodied characters in the lead roles
Lily Collins as Clary Fray
(City of Bones)
I'm not saying that authors should only write about Black, Latino, Asian, or other characters, I'm saying that it's time to mix it up. 

There is nothing wrong with having a heterosexual white dark-haired girl 16-year-old girl in the leading role. 

But I'd like to see someone else once in a while. 

It's tiring to see the same people on the time, at this point I can assure you that I'd recognize at least one face in any upcoming YA book-to-movie adaptation, because I feel like the same actors are playing the same roles all the time.

What do you think about diversity? Do you think it's unnecessary?

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

I Hate Love Triangles | YA Talk

Either you love them or you hate them.
Eventually every reader of YA will come across them. Love triangles seem to be trend that just won't get out of style.

What's a Love Triangle?
Love triangle commonly refers to the situation a protagonist of a novel finds themselves in when two different people are interested in them romantically.

Usually, the protagonist requites their affection or is in the process of learning to love them, hence leaving both love interest in competition with each other.

Some may say "Twilight" started it all, but I think we need to stop blaming Stephenie Meyer for everything that's going wrong in recent YA.

Popular Books about love triangles include
- "Delirium" by Lauren Oliver
- "City of Bones" by Cassandra Clare
- "The Selection" by Kiera Cass
- "Shatter Me" by Tahereh Mafi

Books with love triangles usually play with the "bad boy" character and the "guy next door". I've noticed that more often than I'd like to admit, at least one of them is a super problematic villain. Not sure how that makes any guy attractive though.

Here's What Bugs Me

Love triangles in theory are absolutely fine. If you're looking for them. If you love reading about them, great, but I'm just not. The market these days is FLOODED with hidden love triangles. Most of the times you can't even tell from the blurbs whether the books are all about the romance and only feature the actual topic of the book on the side.
which I am absolutely not. Love triangles never have and probably never will be something that I'm personally interested in.

I've encountered it numerous that I've tried to read a book, let's say, about angels descending their heavenly wrath on the Earth, only to find out that the novel is actually about a teenage girl falling in love with an angel and a demon (any relations to existing books are just coincidental).

This has ruined the reading experience for me so many times. Had I gone on looking for a love triangle and a girl stuck between the evil overlord and the brave hero, I would have bought a novel about that.

Every popular YA novel these days features a love triangle.

Realism? What is Realism?

If you'd live in a dystopian society where every day is a struggle for survival, your number one concern would probably not be which one of the super hot two guys you should choose. I mean, these days it's a miracle if you find a guy that's attractive, smart and respects you, let alone two! If you're seventeen, cut the odds in half.

Here's What I Demand!

There should be something like ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) ratings for book romance like:
- N for no romance
- E for established romance
- X for multiple love interests
While I'm at it, there should be a rating for instant love, but I guess we can't have it all at once. I just want to be warned before I get invested in a book and then get drowned in love triangles. I actually did encounter novels with multiple love triangles, god knows why.

Do you like love triangles? 
Which novel do you think has portrayed them the best so far?

More YA Talk:
15-year-old Protagonists Confuse Me 
Mary Sues and Why We Need More of Them 
Instant Love and Why It Ruins Everything 
Hey Authors, Why Is LGBTQ Representation So Hard? 
I Fall For Problematic Love Interests 
Are Diverse Characters and Representation Unnecessary?

See All
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