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Apr. 11th, 2010 | 11:09 pm

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BOOK REC: The Hunger Games

Aug. 13th, 2009 | 05:45 pm

Author: Suzanne Collins
Genere: Science Fiction, Young Adults, Adventure
Rating: 8 – a story with great potential

Summary: In a post-apocalyptic world, a terrifying reality TV shows is taking place: Twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to participate in “The Hunger Games”, a televised event whereby the participants must fight to the death in an outdoor arena until only one remains.

When Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her beloved younger sister’s place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But survival is her second nature; she stays clear out of the initial fights over water, food and weapons, runs into the wilderness and puts as much distance as she can between herself and the others. Years of illegal hunting, hunger and dangerous work in the coal mines have taught her to survive in a bleak environment. While the competitors get killed one after another by a gang of ambitious participants, Katniss starts to hope against hope that maybe – just maybe – she may stay alive long enough to go home. But she knows that in the end she will have to kill herself, if she doesn’t want to be killed. Can she forget the difference between humans and animals and shoot her own kind just like the game in the woods at home?

Notes: Usually, Sci-Fi is not my cup of tea, but this book is somewhat different, as it focuses on the characters and not on the technology. Superior technology is merely used to make the plot possible: The participants must be filmed day and night while moving through a huge arena that is partially covered with woods. It must be possible to bring their faces close-up on screen to make the spectators care, make them choose favorites and place bets on the last survivor. The author says that the idea for the story came to her one day when she was channel-surfing, and the lines between a reality show competition and war coverage "began to blur in this very unsettling way.” This combination comes across and something about it feels terrifying realistic and not at all farfetched.

Characters: The story focuses on a few characters that have enough edge to stay interesting during the whole book. The struggle of the protagonist to not care about her competitors – she knows that she will either have to kill them or they will kill her – is very vivid and Katniss stays believable – something which is rare in this type of story! It lacks a bit in the department of the villains tough, which are all thugs. They are described as intelligent in the lines, but they don’t come across as such.

There are several hints for complex relationships, which could become intriguing in the sequel. I particularly like, that Katniss is somewhat estranged from her mother, because she fell into a depression after the death of her husband and left Katniss utterly alone and in charge to keep her and her little sister alive. Now, the mother is well again, but Katniss isn’t able to fully trust her anymore.
There is some romance in the story, and Katniss is portrayed as an insecure teenage girl who doesn’t know her feelings yet. Her emotions are more hinted at than described and therefore complete the plot rather than disrupt the story like – for example – the obnoxious romance in the Harry Potter books. The ending of the book isn’t cheesy and makes me hope that Suzanne Collin knows more about the “psychology of romance in a time of war” than J.K. Rowlings.

Plot: ***** MINOR SPOILERS ***** To make it short: The ending is obvious – the protagonist is going to survive and she isn’t going to be the only one. But 454 pages are a rather long time to get what I have been able to predict after having read the summary on the cover … Still, the Hunger Games are written by a skilled author who knows how to create suspense. And this kind of stuff doesn’t stay into my head after the last page anyway. It’s the subplots concerning the characters and the politics of Panem (the name of the remains of North America in which THE HUNGER GAMES take place) that intrigues me and makes me want to read the sequel. Is there going to be a revolution? Am I right in my interpretation that some members of the elite of Panem are up to something – possibly by using the Hunger Games? The poor people may be angry, but they are too busy to survive every day to have the leisure to plot against the ruthless government. If yes, I’m definitely intrigued.

Suzanne Collins answers some questions at the end of the book and says: “But once I’d thought through to the end of the first book, I realized that there was no way that the story was concluded. Katniss does something that would never go unpunished in her world. There would definitely be repercussions. And so the question of whether or not to continue with a series was answered for me.” Hence the author knows that she is cheating her own rules and announces that she’s going to deal with it. I hope that she’s going to do it right! ***** END OF THE SPOILERS *****

THE HUNGER GAMES is a very good book, but it lacks the humor to be a favorite book of mine. (The last one is clearly a personal preference, hence ignore it if you don't need humor.) The story doesn't have the (booring) longwindedness that is typical for books with dark themes tough, and is therefore agreeable to read. It's definitely a book with awesome potential and I’m looking forward to see what the author makes out of it. The sequel is going to hit shelves this September and it is on the very top of my reading list!

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Bookrec: The Thornthwaite Inheritance

Aug. 11th, 2009 | 06:11 pm
location: Home
music: some Cha cha cha song

Author: Gareth P. Jones
Genre: Young Adults, Crime, Humor
Rating: 10 (1 = totally sucks; 10 = Masterstroke)

This book felt into my hands and I was thrilled from the first sentence:

Lorelli and Ovid Thornthwaite have been trying to kill each other for so long that neither twin could remember which act of attempted murder came first.

Growing up in a gloomy manor house, the devious twins Lorelli and Ovid brew up cunning schemes including guillotines, toxic plants, poisonous snakes, and ingenious booby-trapped furniture. But when the family lawyer turns up with his drop-dead gorgeous blonde son Adam (who also has lots of food allergies ;p ) and the twins suspect that a third party meddles in their murderous togetherness, they decide to team up: They uncover a perfidious intrigue in which not everyone is dead that has been murdered and not everyone hasn’t already been murdered who appears alive. And until the very end you will stay tuned about the question: Who the fuck tries to murder whom??!!! (Well the f-word doesn’t appear in the book – it’s a children’s book – but you’re going to think it :D )

The book is some type of crime novel with a very wrapped plot, and lots of black humor. (The author is British, obviously.) The aristocratic and eccentric Thornthwaite family with all its murderous members is just pure awesomeness! This book lives of its gorgeous characters – particularly the twins. And obviously I loved Adam. (How couldn’t I love a blond and cunning guy with food allergies? I mean really, food allergies!! There should be more books with characters that have food allergies :D )

I loved the dialogues and I have so many favorite quotes, that I have lost count. Here an excerpt of the twins discussing Adam (and rat poison):

‘I don’t trust Adam Farthing,’ he (= Ovid) said.
‘What, because he goes to a good school and plays the piano well?’
‘You just like him because he’s handsome,’ said Ovid, watching his sister for a reaction.
‘You think he’s handsome, do you?’ countered Lorelli, with a goading smile.
‘I don’t trust him,’ said Ovid again. ‘Why didn’t Mr Farthing mention him when you invited him to stay? Why just turn up with him like that?’
‘What do you think he’s going to do? Murder us in our beds?’
‘There are worse things in the world than murder.’
Lorelli smiled. ‘Did it ever occur to you that perhaps Adam is exactly as he seems?’
‘No one is exactly as they seem.’
‘Talking of which, I saw that two boxes of rat poison were delivered today. You’re not up to anything, are you?’
Ovid laughed. ‘My dear sister, we have a truce. Besides, you really think I would stoop to something as crude as rat poison?’

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Illustration Invictus 14

May. 19th, 2009 | 10:36 pm
location: Home
mood: awake
music: The snores of my neighbour

Fandom: Harry Potter
Author: Chthonia


...and his voice holds me tight... as our minds interweave... and it feels oh so right...
as I roll up a sleeve
and I press in the blade... as he wants me to do...
for he must be obeyed
...and the red trickles through...
and he wants to see more...
and I want him to see... so I slash and I claw
...and the river runs free, to pool red on the stone... and I offer it all, my blood flesh and bone... there's a smile in his call...

And then there's only screaming pain and stinking blood slippery on my hand as I throw down the knife and squeeze the wound closed. The blood throbs out between my fingers and the pain...
oh my God, what did he do? What did I do?

"There Miss Granger. It's not so difficult after all, is it?"


"You see, Draco, she's really quite eager to please when you know how to ask."

Eager to please? The bastard, the utter bastard. How can he just stand there bloody lecturing while I'm bleeding to death? He's a fiend from hell!

But those words chime through my mind like a warped bell I can't ignore. This is a nightmare, it has to be. I knew he could make me do whatever he wanted with Imperius, but to make me
want to do it...

Oh God, what's he done to me?


I love this scene, its so intense. No one, NO ONE, can write the Unforgiavable Curses like Chthonia. She actually can make you feel them!
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Sketch Invictus 14

May. 17th, 2009 | 05:23 pm
location: Home
mood: calmcalm
music: Birds' twittering and aeroplanes flying over my roof

... still work in progress ... and almost finished ...

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Sketch Invictus 14

May. 14th, 2009 | 01:41 am
location: Home
mood: creative
music: Vaughan Williams

Work in progress ...

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Illustration Invictus 17

May. 14th, 2009 | 01:28 am
location: Home
mood: creative
music: Vaughan Williams

Fandom: Harry Potter
Author: Chthonia

I shiver. My mind desperately scans for an escape I know isn't there.
He releases my hair, running a finger down to my jaw and curling it under my chin, holding my head in position as he lowers his until his cheek is almost touching mine.
I'm trembling, though I'm willing myself to turn to stone.
Or is it him that's trembling?
His left hand curls around my waist. "It could be so easy, you know..."
And for a brief crazy moment I could just lean back, let myself be held by his strength instead of fighting it, and let him carry me into oblivion and do whatever he wants because any sort of contact would make me feel less isolated in these blank places in my mind and though it's horrible and I know it's wrong, the wrongness feels right, somehow.

I always thought that particular scene fascinating ...

As a matter of fact, the whole chapter is fascinating: Lucius makes clear - without ever calling it by it's name - that he wants Hermione to seduce him. The whole business never works out, because Lucius fails to keep still. (He really cannot bear to be touched by a Mudblood). In a dark and horrible way, this is almost ... no funny definitely is the wrong word!

You cannot call it "rape", because Hermione gives her consent first. It's violent though, mostly because Lucius cannot deal with his feelings that he doesn't realize in first time. Obviously it is Hermione who pays the price. Its intriguing, but IMO also the most cruel chapter so far. When I've read it the first time, I couldn't get it out of my head for two day, and I still have to think about it from time to time.
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Sketch Invictus 17

Apr. 27th, 2009 | 11:35 pm

A sketch for Invictus, chapter 17 ...

... and a details that is already colored:

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Sketches ...

Jul. 31st, 2008 | 07:38 pm
mood: sleepysleepy

Author: Chthonya

An old attempt at chapter 16, that Chthonya described beautifully - and I really, really tried to draw it - and I failed to draw. There will be another attempt one day, but right now, I'm scared of that scene ;p

Sketches, that I like more:
Chapter 16 ...

... and Chapter 3, in which Hermione crucios Lucius ...


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Quality Of Mercy by Mistful

Jul. 21st, 2008 | 06:31 pm
location: Home
mood: calmcalm
music: Delta Goodrem

Author: mistful

This isn't an illustration for a particular scene, it's more what the first two chapters felt like: Harry finds the Necklace-Horcrux, but unfortunately Snape has charmed it around Malfoys neck. Harry takes it anyway - and draggs the attached Malfoy with it.

Mistfuls stories are very, very characterdriven. She has a huge talent in building up tension between characters that is just as gripping as action. Her Harry and Draco aren't two characters who just need to talk with each other to become best friends. They are two boys who speak a different language, even tough they are deep down the same: Harry is a sociophath and confuses love with people agreeing with him. Living in a narrow black and white world - white beeing that what he thinks -, he's utterly not aware how he affects people. Malfoy is very sociable but is craving for love and acts like a mirror: He returns every kindness manifold and rejection with pure hatred.

At a point of the story, Malfoy starts a sentence with "My father ..." and Harry stands up for hip against a furious Mr. Weasley: Harry understands that Malfoy saying "My father ..." means the same like Harry saying "erm". But to understand that, Harry had to go on a journey that could have been just as well around the world. And obviously, just because he has managed to understand Malfoy once doesn't mean that everything is well. It's just another step on a long way that includes lots and lots of intriguing interaction between almost all the Weasleys, Harry and Malfoy.

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