Showing posts with label shadowhunters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shadowhunters. 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.


More:
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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Monday, March 28, 2016

[Review] City of Glass (TMI #3) - Cassandra Clare: This Whole Incest Drama Is Getting Old



In CITY OF GLASS, the gang has to travel to Idris to find the one person that can help save Clary's mother and awaken her from the sleeping spell.

What intrigued me: Well, I had my issues with CITY OF ASHES and powered through it because I was hoping it would get better.


It all goes downhill from here...

What really caught my interest in this series in the first place was the brilliant first person narration in CITY OF BONES. By the third installment every character gets a point of view passage, even minor characters. There are multiple POV changes, sometimes even twice per page, and the only purpose they serve is info-dumping. 

Clare dumps information wherever she can, introducing minor characters for the sole purpose of narrating a bedtime story length flashback that nobody wants and nobody needs to understand the story. The main storyline is Clary, Simon and the shadowhunter gang (Isabelle, Alex, Magnus, Jace) going to the shadowhunter country Idris to find a cure for Clary's mother who has been in a coma for what feels like 78 years.

In itself, that's a great premise right there and I was hoping the series would start to catch my attention again, but it really just got worse. There are too many characters, too many complicated family relations that nobody cares about, and the reader is just not grounded. I wasn't rooting for anyone, how could I possibly when there are POV changes all the time? Not a single character in this is properly developed and just changing the POV doesn't really mask that. 

Who are all these people???

Yet again, I did not care. Clary and Jace are so replaceable and annoying, three books of their weird incest romance aren't going to change anything. I didn't care about them, even less about the mysterious new guy in Clary's life that's trying very desperately to kick off a new love triangle. I just... I can't. I'm sorry, but the character relationships are just non-existent. I had no fun, I wasn't rooting for anyone. 
I kept flipping back and forth trying to remember who all these shadowhunter families and their 427847382 offsprings are, I feel like you need an actual lexicon with all the names in order to understand everything that's going on. It's just not for me. It's too complicated, it requires way more attention that I'm willing to give, and I'm just really over it. 


Rating:

★★☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

Absolutely not. One bad sequel is all every book series I start gets. But two bad sequels are unforgiveable.



Additional Info

Published: March 24th 2009
Pages: 541
Publisher: Margaret McElderry Books
Genre: YA / Fantasy / Urban Fantasy
ISBN: 9781416914303

Synopsis:
"To save her mother's life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters - never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family's past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he's willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City - whatever the cost?"(Source: Goodreads)



 Did you make it past CITY OF GLASS? What's your secret?

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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.

SMACKDOWN!

  • 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?
Omission!
  • 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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