Planet of the Apes – Pierre Bouille

After reading this book all I can ask myself is: why didn’t I read this sooner. This is an amazing book, and a quick read to boot. It could probably even be tackled in one sitting if life, the universe and everything else didn’t get in the way.

Synopsis:

In a spaceship that can travel at the speed of light, Ulysse, a journalist, sets off from Earth for the nearest solar system. He finds there a planet which resembles his own, but on Soror humans behave like animals, and are hunted by a civilised race of primates. Captured and sent to a research facility, Ulysse must convince the apes of their mutual origins. But such revelations will have always been greeted by prejudice and fear…

I went into this book not knowing what to expect; I haven’t seen any of the films [although I do recall the ending of the old film with the main character screaming at the site of the befallen statue of Liberty]. I thought that the language would be really clunky and hard to read [similar to when I tried to read Phantom of the Opera]. Instead I was surprised at just how easy it was to get through. Like I mentioned above it could probably be read through in one sitting.

I didn’t understand the beginning, but of course at the end it all makes sense.

There were a few lecture-y parts that I didn’t enjoy so much, and you can feel the utter disdain the author has for animal testing, and that’s totally understandable. I liked the explanation for the rise of the ape planet, although this is probably a biased view – I wasn’t so keen on how the fall of the human race was described, but it’s entirely plausible – that laziness could befall the entire population and lead to the rise of another dominant species.

The relationship between Zira and Ulysses was sweet, and I liked the difference in it compared to the physical relationship between him and Nova. I think the child aspect was a little predictable though. The rest of the characters seemed a bit 1 dimensional, but the aim of the story was the allegory to prevent the fall of the human race – a lesson for all to heed perhaps?

Reading this book has definitely made me want to not only read other works by Bouille – in fact I have “Desperate Games” queued to read already – but also to watch some of the films that this book has inspired; the most recent films look really good.

I’m sorry that there’s not more to this blog, but I am struggling to write down all my feels about this book.

Cinder – The Lunar Chronicles Book1 – Marissa Meyer

6 hours. That’s all it took for me to read this book. Granted, it wasn’t in one sitting, but nonetheless it was a total of six hours. Possibly even less than that. I didn’t think that it was going to be one of those books that was so enticing that it would be over so quickly. I didn’t think it was going to be one of those books where I want to rush out and buy and read the next one right this minute.

It’s been sitting on my bookshelf for a little while, and I’ve been apprehensive about reading it – what if it was one of those books that were hyped up and then failed to deliver?

But it did, and here’s the synopsis:

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

There are plenty of books/TV shows/films that re-work traditional fairy-tales into modern say retellings. The Disney channel seem to play them a lot… but I have to say that I haven’t ever come across an idea like this one. There’s more than one thing going on; a plague, a Lunar threat, an evil Queen that wants all out domination, hints of over population, poor economy and a reluctant prince that has to become the Emperor who just so happens to fall for a mechanic. Whose also a cyborg.

This is one of those books that had every opportunity to fail, but I think it delivered amicably. I liked Cinder’s character, I liked that she only had herself to rely on and didn’t need saving by anyone because she was quite capable of saving herself. She loved one of her step sisters because she didn’t treat her like crap, she loved her robot companion with the fault personality chip, she loved her prince when she knew that if he knew the truth about her he would run away.

Of course, the main plot line/pot twist you could see from a million miles away, but Meyer makes that okay in this book. In others there’s a degree where it would have been the end of the world, but in this case, with everything else that’s going on, it worked well, we just had to wait and see how it played out.

I look forward to getting the next book and seeing what is going to happen, and whether our characters will get their happily ever after [not likely, this is a series of books…!]

Have you read this book? What did you think?

Kialtho

A Dance With Dragons: Dreams and Dust – George RR Martin

I have finally managed to get around to reading the first part of book five in the A Song of Ice and Fire series! It seems like it’s taken a long time for me to get to this point, and with just part two to go before I’m fully up to date with the series [so far!] it’s nice to know that I am on the home stretch.  I’ve put off watching series five of the TV show because I want to finish reading the books first, so once the next book is done I foresee a big marathon ahead!

In the aftermath of a colossal battle, new threats are emerging from every direction.

Tyrion Lannister, having killed his father, and wrongfully accused of killing his nephew, King Joffrey, has escaped from King’s Landing with a price on his head.

To the north lies the great Wall of ice and stone – a structure only as strong as those guarding it. Eddard Stark’s bastard son Jon Snow has been elected 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. But Jon has enemies both inside and beyond the Wall.

And in the east Daenerys Targaryen struggles to hold a city built on dreams and dust…

This story isn’t exactly a direct continuation of “A Feast for Crows” but rather a parallel story that will eventually merge with the “Feast” storyline and *then* continue onward. Because of this we are covering some of the ground that may have been mentioned or skipped over in “Feast” and are re-introduced to characters like Jon, Daenerys, Bran and Tyrion. For me personally, I loved being back with Dany, even though certain parts of her storyline are a little frustrating. She remains to be one of my favourite characters, and I have high hopes for her to not be dead by the end of the 5th book! We didn’t get any Arya this time [well, we did but not in the right fashion!], but I guess that is because we had a fair amount of her in “Feast” but again she’s one of my top characters so am looking forward to spending some time with her in the next book.

I found this book quite hard to maintain my focus when I first started reading. I had a lot of other things going on at the same time – cosplay, knitting, work – that I found it hard to be in this world. I found that I was skipping chunks of text and would have to go back and re-read chapters to make sure I was on the right footing which made me realise just how many cliff hanger endings to chapters there were and that annoyed me a little bit – I noticed this with Tyrion and Davos particularly, although it did also happen with Dany and Jon.

“Reek” as a character annoys me, both who he is “now” and who he “was”. He was never a favourite, so it’s great to see his fall from grace, but at the same time his chapters are hard reading because of how dark they are and what’s been done to him… I didn’t need to know his torture, how many fingers had been taken or what… else… had been done to him.

I look forward to the next book for sure, but I will certainly need to break and read a few other books between now and then. I find that Martin’s world is so involved, so vivid, that I can’t sit and read them in one go. Anyone else have this problem?

What are you reading at the moment? My next book is to be “Cinder” – Marissa Meyer, wish me luck!

Kialtho

A Floral Affair

Between working on my Sailor Venus cosplay for the May 2015 London Expo I was also working on a pattern from “Knit Now” called “A Floral Affair”. This is a vest top with a pretty flower motive in the central panel that runs all the way until the ribbing; such a simple and easy knit. I’ve loved working on the pattern, and always find it a bit daunting when no one else has made the pattern, like in this case, because I don’t always trust myself in finding/seeing mistakes before I’ve knit them… like in this case as well.

I used my favourite acrylic yarn – the Women’s Institute’s “Soft and Silky” 4 ply [it’s actually thicker than that, it’s a “sport” weight yarn, which is another reason why I like it – affordable and able to be used in more American-esque patterns]. They have a great range of colours as well! I made sure to match the lot numbers on this project as well as there was a distinct difference in the colours on the shelf.

It’s taken so long to come together as I’ve been dedicating time to the sewing [oh, look at my new patterns! I hope that I can make these!].
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I would love how this particular knit turned out if the central motif was actually in the centre. I’m not sure if it’s something that I did wrong, or whether there was an instruction in the pattern missing [like knit five stitches THEN work the arm shaping]. The number of stitches left was correct, so I don’t know. Anything’s possible.

That being said, I love this magazine, and it produces some stella patterns so won’t let that put me off at all.

Here are a few photo’s of the finished item:
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Keep on crafting!

Kialtho

Cosplay: Sailor Venus and Sailor Jupiter!

Over the last few weeks, I mentioned in my previous blog post that things have been a bit quite on the blog but that’s because me and Erin have been doing a six week [pretty much] intensive sewing session, consisting of several all day events making our costumes for the MCM London Expo which was at the weekend. We went on Sunday, and decided to go as Sailor Scouts [who, else, this is us?]. I actually when as Sailor Venus, when normally I’ve wanted to go as Sailor Moon. I liked this as it was a massive change to normal, and allowed me to relate to another character.

Aside from some small projects back in the summer last year, this was the first time I’ve used a sewing machine to make anything, and I have to say I am very pleased with the outcome. I wouldn’t have been able to do any of it without Erin though, so all the credit goes to her really!

I wanted to share some of the photo’s of the whole process, they aren’t great quality though as they are phone pictures.

The whole process has definitely given me the bug, and I really want to make more things, I need to get some more feet for the machine, it took me a long time to find out the name of one of them, so it may be a while!

Here are a couple of pictures, hoping that Erin doesn’t mind me sharing some!
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Did you happen to see us? Take any pictures? I would love to see them!

Kialtho

Sailor Moon – Naoko Takeuchi

I’m not sure if you will have noticed but I haven’t been blogging so much recently, mainly because the books I have been reading have been the Sailor Moon manga, which were re-released in English around 2012. This series had a huge influence on me when I was growing up, I still remember the first episode I watched on Fox Kids when I was about 12. (Which was one of very many, many re-runs. I watched the same two episodes so many times in that one day it was unreal). When I first started re-reading I thought I was going to blog after each individual volume, but didn’t. Then I decided I would do it at the end of each arc, but the books and the arcs didn’t marry up how I would have liked to write about it. The same at the 6 book mark… so I decided to write one book once I had finished the main 12 volumes so I could share my feelings. One of the reasons I needed to finish the series is because this coming Sunday I am cosplaying at MCN London at Sailor Venus with my friend Erin who is playing Sailor Jupiter. I thought I ought to finish the main storyline before then. I really loved reading this series again. From the innocence in the beginning of our reluctant heroine, to the badass warrior that fails to fall even when all the odds are stacked against her in the final volumes. The Sailor scouts story is both liberating – having female warriors battling the forces of evil, the liberalism and the fight for love, justice and peace – it’s refreshing from some of the rubbish that is around at the moment. I like the fact that there things like same sex relationships are okay, and not questioned, and the same with transgender [the Stars, for instance] and even Sailor Uranus was hinted [although never really explored] as an hermaphrodite. There are hints that Saturn and Chibi-Usa have a relationship, which made my heart swell a little bit. I wish that there had been more screen time for the other sailor scouts. I feel as though maybe they could have had more of their own stories, as they seem really quite secondary to Sailor Moon, and only there to further the plot; mainly to die in most cases, before being revived by a newly supped up Sailor Moon. Sailor Cosmos; I love this concept, and the artwork around her. Whilst most people seemed to dislike Chibi-Usa, she is actually one of my favourite characters, and her story arc is definitely my favourite, even though it seems a bit rushed. I liked the concept of Dark Lady, and somehow feel as though other characters “evil” could have been explored as well? I don’t know, I think I’m just rambling here! I don’t really know how to fully express my love for this series, so rather than ramble for pages and pages, I’ll leave it here and hope that you discover some Sailor Moon love in your life! Take it easy folks, and look out for a blog in the near future of me playing Sailor V! [The wig I have is AMAZING]. Kialtho

A blog from an undecided voter:

It’s the eve before the General Election here in the UK. The future of the UK is in our hands, the very basis of democracy in action. We go to the booths, we chose a party to lead us [and a whole bunch of others to run local and town councils] and hopefully at the end of it all we have a single party that can competently run the country for the next five years.

How do you choose who to vote for?

Last time round it was very simple for me. I voted for the party that I most related to, and agreed with. This time? I am not so sure. It’s the eve of the general election, and whilst I have a good idea of who I am going to vote for I can’t help but think when I get into the booth tomorrow morning that I will have a completely different thought.

I wouldn’t say I hold strong views on many things; except that we should do our democratic duty to go out and vote, and that we shouldn’t waste those votes. There are parties that I think should be wiped out, and am praying that the general public see sense and DON’T vote for protest parties like UKIP. UKIP have gained a lot of media coverage, not too dissimilar to the the BNP in the 2000’s, and here’s hoping that they go the same way into obscurity.

Of the three main parties I would consider myself a Liberal Democrat… but this year? Are they really the party I want to vote for? I like Nick Clegg. His “mean tweets” skit was also pretty hilarious. I think that they have done a great job supporting the Conservatives, who themselves I think have done well; to the point that I can say I have noticed the difference from a financial point of view. We saved money buying our home – we were going through the process of buying our little flat AS this new policy came into play, and we literally saved money overnight, the difference in my pay… I can see that difference, and that difference counts. But is it enough for me to vote for them tomorrow morning?

I think, out of all the issues that have been raised over the last six weeks or so; the NHS [a British institution that people do want to protect, but something that is also in need of *good* reform], immigration [listen, immigration needs a lot of research rather than being based on hearsay, people are under the impression that it’s out of control because we accept those in need; when people talk about immigration into our country they very rarely talk about the people leaving the country… and the industry I am in is pretty much held up by immigration; I wish when people spoke about this “issue” that they had the facts, and not the based their thoughts and feelings off things that they’ve read on Facebook, or through the biased media outlets.

Another question: Europe… the debates are strong and the question is simple… supposedly. In, or out? Personally, I’m in. The world is developing into three distinct common/single markets. South East Asia, Latin America and Europe. Surely, this alone would suggest that we should stay in Europe? Not only that, but I believe that it would genuinely be better if we stayed in, so do I vote for a party that wants the referendum? Do I vote for the party that would take on the Euro more quickly than the others? [Something that I *wouldn’t* want to do!]

So the question is… what party can appeal the greatest number of policies to this voter? I don’t know. But come tomorrow I will have to make that decision, to take part in the election and do my democratic duty.

This link is quite useful:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election/2015/manifesto-guide

I hope you do to, reader, think about who you want to vote for, and why. Please don’t just go for the protest vote. Every vote counts, and yours does too.

Kialtho