NEED – Joelle Charbonneau (SPOILERS)

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Summary:

“No one gets something for nothing. We all should know better.” Teenagers at Wisconsin’s Nottawa High School are drawn deeper into a social networking site that promises to grant their every need . . . regardless of the consequences. Soon the site turns sinister, with simple pranks escalating to malicious crimes. The body count rises. In this chilling YA thriller, the author of the best-selling Testing trilogy examines not only the dark side of social media, but the dark side of human nature.

Review:

I’m done with Joelle Charbonneau. Done. Done. Done. The Testing series was a generic dystopian rip-off series that was mildly fun despite its immensely stupid premise of “let’s kill off the best and brightest talents in the upcoming generation” as part of its weeding process.

This book however, ups the stupid to the Nth degree.

Warning: The next paragraph contains spoilers. If you were planning on reading this book, consider yourself warned.

The face of NEED is a grown woman with the motivation of a pissy teenager (her ex cheated on her, let’s go supervise a government sponsored project where we encourage teens to incite violence and kill people!). The project is laughably stupid (it’s so hard for the government to spy on other government these days because information security. Let’s figure out how to use teens to do our dirty work for us in exchange for a cell phone!). The parents in this book are absolutely awful (I’m pretty sure my daughter is an attention whore endangering the life of my son, let’s leave her alone to think about what she’s done with absolutely zero adult supervision!). There is pretty much nothing of redeeming value in this book. Okay. I don’t hate Kaylee the protagonist, but that’s because she’s one of the few decent people in this book. I also don’t hate the writing, Charbonneau is a solid writer with a good sense of pacing and I will say the story never lags.

But man.

I think this book is up there with Allegiant for me in terms of how strong my dislike actually is. At this point, I’m pretty certain I won’t be doing a Worst Of list for the year, but if I were, this would be the leading contender for that list.

Just. Ugh.

Verdict: Skip It

Available: November 3rd

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Magonia (Magonia #1) – Maria Dahvana Headley – SPOILERS

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Summary:

Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live.

So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn’t think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?

Review:

As a general rule, I try to avoid spoilers in my reviews. However, I feel like to do this book justice I need to bust ’em out. So if you were planning on reading this for yourself and don’t want to be spoiled you might want to skip this one. As for how I feel, let me just say that the last time I broke out spoilers, it was for Allegiant and I despised that book. Just something to keep in mind if you’re trying to figure out why I’d do this.

So that being said, let’s get’s going.

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Jupiter Ascending: Oh Dear God No

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Don’t mind the 2014 on the poster. It’s not a misprint. Originally slated for July 2014, studios realized they’d made a very expensive ($179 million + promotional fees, so maybe close to $200 million) dollar mistake green-lighting this mess and pushed it back to February 2015.

Then Variety has the audacity to claim that because audiences are shunning it, it proves that audiences don’t want original premises and will become more conservative as a result.

No, Variety, sometimes the audiences get it right.

Jupiter Ascending is a mess, plain and simple. I’m not sure how the Wachowskis are still being given money to make films given their ONLY hit was the Matrix trilogy (and even then, it’s general consensus that the second two are pretty bad films too) and everything else has been plodding, special effect-laden messes,

This is not any different.

Your basic story is that Jupiter is an illegal immigrant, who works with her mom and aunt cleaning houses. Her life has no meaning, and she seemingly has no time for anything but work and sleep. She finds out that she’s the genetic copy of a deceased 90,000+ year old matriarch (it’s never explained how that quite happens, other than it is partially “spiritual” and is considered to be the equivalent of reincarnation), which some bees helpfully confirm by swarming around her in something akin to a flock and helpfully attacking a bad guy because they’re programmed to recognize royalty. Or something.

A trio of children from this lady want her dead because her claims presumably negate their claims to their property. It’s not entirely clear how she wrote her future-self into her will (thereby keeping control of Earth amongst presumably other things) and yet how her children (who are at least 14,004 per the sister) how have property. It’s not very clear. Anyway. Aside from explaining how they stay young, I’m not entirely sure what the purpose of the sister’s existence is other than explaining what passes for a plot because one scene ends and she’s never heard of again.

From there we get an oddly out of place scene commenting on bureaucracy (“I’ll never complain about the DMV again” which makes no sense when you consider she’s undocumented and therefore has no use for them) and from that point on it’s Jupiter going from scene to scene being gullible and stupid and then after a final explosion-laden set piece where I’m pretty sure she runs through the same set five times, she escapes, returns to earth, and somehow finds happiness and contentment in being a maid.

She literally OWNS the planet in the eyes of intergalactic law; is the scion of one of the universes most wealthy families and can’t even spare a few credits to at least let her tireless mom and aunt retire?

Idiot and selfish bitch.

A lot has been made of Redmayne’s overacting, and he deserves the flack he’s been given. He has zero reason to act in that manner: no one else in the film is! Everyone else is serviceable, but even the normally nice distraction of Tatum’s abs is heartily negated by his stupid space rollerblades which never stop being laughable.

Special effects are mediocre at best. The wirework slo-mo that was innovative in the Matrix looks dated and out of place in the few appearances it makes here. Sound design isn’t anything to write home about and even the music is almost laughable being bombastic when it’s trying to build up tension instead.

This film is an utter mess. I kept waffling on whether or not it was worth my time and money to see. I found a show for $8 dollars. I regret paying that much.

Wait for HBO or Starz. Even a $1 rental is spending too much.