So, you may be wondering why the heck I am making these reviews small, and on why I’m pairing them all together…For that, I thought, eh, why not? Three mini reviews sounds like a good post, right?
There are two reasons though. 1. In the case of the books, it’s been a while since I’ve read them, and for some reason, I never got around to actually writing reviews for them. But not enough time has gone by for me to want to reread them (unlike, say, The Carnelian Crow). So a short review is best.
2. In the case of the movie, while I personally wasn’t blown away by many of the plot twists, I found myself trying to construct a detailed review in my head…and couldn’t without giving away spoilers. So a short review is necessary. I might come back later and make a full, more detailed review in a couple of months, when all the spoilers are out and I don’t need to worry about spoiling other people.
Siege and Storm:
Story: 3/5: I enjoyed the book, but…the story was still a tad lacking. Basically, not much happened, which wasn’t good. But I think this mainly was setting up the story for the third book, as it introduced new characters, new dynamics and themes, and new plot devices. So while I would’ve liked this book having more of a solid story rather than just feeling like it was setting up stuff for the next book, I still found it interesting and reasonably compelling.
Characters: Okay, this is hard to grade. Somewhere in between a 3.5 and a 4. Why? Well, because even though Alina still felt like a cookie-cutter fantasy YA female protagonist, I appreciated something that Bardugo included in her character: power hunger. Alina starts to become more fixated on her powers and how to grow them, which are unhealthy traits. It’s an interesting take on the character, but I wish it had been introduced slower and more subtly.
I still really felt nothing towards Mal. I don’t hate him, I don’t love him. But Alina’s relationship with him is starting to bug me. I’m unsure of how compatible they are.
A new character was also introduced into this story. His true identity is a bit of a spoiler, but I can say with confidence that I think he may be my favorite character in the series.
Of course, the two other characters I could say are near-favorites don’t get that title because they don’t have enough page time for me. Those characters are, of course, The Darkling and Genya. Ugh, they are interesting, but why can’t they have more page time?
Writing: 4/5: Even with a weaker story and cast of characters, Bardugo still has an amazing and addictive writing style.
Details: 4/5: This also had a lot of good visualization for both characters and the setting.
World Building: 3.5/5: We did learn new things about the Grishaverse, but I wish it had been added more subtly..
My grade for this book is a first: a 3.75. While this book was an improvement, I did have some complaints left. But I do have high hopes for the next (and final) book.
The Darkest Corners:
Story: 4/5: This was so gripping. It had basically two mysteries in it, and it did a good job at balancing them. Although sometimes I found myself a little bored with one at times, the way the two mysteries intertwined together was very well written. While I do see the improvement in storytelling with Little Monsters, this is still a solid story that stands on its own. And both have fantastic twists and spoilers.
Characters: 3.5/5: This was the letdown for me. After such masterful, psychologically interesting characters in Little Monsters, I found the characters in The Darkest Corners to be a bit underwhelming and less memorable. They were still interesting, but not nearly as much. Especially with Tessa; her story is so interesting! But she felt lacking, somehow.
Writing: 3.5/5: The writing also wasn’t as good, I could see the improvement. It was still a good style for a thriller, though. It had a good level of suspense, but I can see that Thomas has improved with time.
Details: 3/5; I had problems envisioning the characters and the setting. They didn’t have enough description.
World Building: 3/5: The town where the main character comes from wasn’t terribly memorable in itself, but it was still easy to imagine.
Grade: This is also, subjectively, a 3.75 grade for me. I enjoyed it more subjectively than objectively, as I found it a very well written thriller with good plot twists. It just didn’t have as much memorability for me as Little Monsters. If you do read it, don’t compare the two; they are very different.
The Last Jedi:
Story: 3/5: Hmm…the story…how to talk about it without giving everything away? Let’s just say I was able to predict most of the plot twists fairly easily, but the whole story is a major spoiler…You know what? Just go look at the IMDB summary first. It’s short, and unlike me, likely gives away no spoilers.
But why did I give the story a low score? Mainly because of small details that were sprinkled in that made no sense. The more I thought about them, the more confused I got. It wasn’t all a bad story though; in fact, if those small details weren’t there, I would’ve significantly made the score higher. But sadly enough, they were. There were also new things introduced that I am confused on, and I’m left wondering about whether or not they always existed in the lore. Basically, if I didn’t think too deeply about some stuff, I probably would’ve thought the story was better. I have a feeling there are a lot of deleted scenes that may clear stuff up…I hope.
Characters: Somewhere in between 3 and 3.5. Mainly because this was a fantastic movie for some of the characters and their development, but others got the short end of the stick. The character development we did get was interesting though, but some characters, I feel, just got busywork. Also, about Luke’s characterization…it’s been polarizing, to say the least. While I don’t expect him to stay the same over 30 years, even I must admit that he did feel a bit out of character. Though there were some scenes that were definitely him.
Acting: 4/5: Wow, I can just say that the acting was really good here. I mean, really good. Some special mention goes to Mark Hamill, surprisingly; while I didn’t like his acting in the original trilogy, I have always thought he was an amazing voice actor (he’s voice acted as the Joker from Batman: The Animated Series, Muska from Castle in the Sky, and, ironically, Fire Lord Ozai from Avatar). But he’s only improved as an actor. He stood out so much, stole practically every scene he was in. Other special mentions go to Daisy Ridley as Rey, and Adam Driver as Kylo Ren; they were good enough in TFA, but their use of body language and facial expression in particular stands out in TLJ.
Design: 4.5/5: In some ways, I think TLJ is worth seeing in a theater for the sake of the effects and design. It’s a beautiful movie. Some of the special effects literally made my jaw drop, and the fighting choreography is beautiful too, almost like an action dance, in a way. (You guys who have seen this know which fights I’m talking about). I would love to post screenshots of these scenes that stunned me, but, well..spoilers. Sigh.
World Building: 3/5: Remember what I said in the story section? Well, let’s say that there are things introduced into the lore that desperately needed more explanation in the movie. I was confused about some things introduced jnto the Force, as I don’t think they’ve ever been mentioned.
Grade: It’s hard for me to say, as I have only seen this once and interesting a theater (I tend to not soak up detail in a theater. Too many noises and lights), so I shakily give this a 3.5. I have a feeling I may like it more when I rewatch it, and hopefully see some deleted scenes.
Also, totally off topic…but while writing this post, I became aware of some similarities Siege and Storm and The Last Jedi had, story wise and character wise…it’s a little strange. Has anyone else read the book and watched the movie and noticed these things, or is it just me?