Sunday, 11 October 2015

Top Ten: Fictional Places

I've been wanting to make this post for a while, as the fantasy, fairytale and science fiction genres are some of my absolute favourites, and I love the imagination involved in creating the places that they feature. Before I give you my top ten though, I should just note that these are in no particular order because I am far too indecisive for that. Comment below with some of your favourite fictional places!

Hogwarts* from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
The narrow path had opened suddenly on to the edge of a great black lake. Perched atop a high mountain on the other side, its windows sparkling in the starry sky, was a vast castle with many turrets and towers.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J.K. Rowling

The Discworld from the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett
The disc, being flat, has no real horizon. Any adventurous sailor who got funny ideas from staring at eggs and oranges for too long and set out for the antipodes soon learned that the reason why distant ships sometimes looked as though they were disappearing over the edge of the world was that they were disappearing over the edge of the world.
- The Light Fantastic, Terry Pratchett

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams
The Restaurant at the end of the universe is one of the most extraordinary ventures in the entire history of catering. It is built on the fragmented remains of an eventually ruined planet which is (will haven be) enclosed in a vast time bubble and projected forward in time to the precise moment of the End of the universe.
This is, many would say, impossible.
- The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Douglas Adams

Elsa's Ice Palace from Disney's Frozen
My power flurries through the air into the ground
My soul is spiralling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
I'm never going back,
The past is in the past!
- Let It Go, as sung by Indina Menzel in Disney's Frozen

The Library from Doctor Who
It's a world. Literally. A World. The whole core of the planet is the index computer. Biggest hard drive ever. And up here, every book ever written. Whole continents of Jeffrey Archer, Bridget Jones, Monty Python's Big Red Book. Brand new editions, specially printed. We're near the equator so... This must be biographies! I love biographies!
- Silence in the Library, Steven Moffat

Neverland from Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
Of all the delectable islands, the Neverland is the snuggest and most compact, not large and sprawly, you know, with tedious distances between one adventure and another, but nicely crammed. When you play at it by day, with the chairs and tablecloth, it is not in the least alarming, but in the two minutes before you go to sleep it becomes very nearly real. That is why there are night-lights.
- Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie

Narnia from the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
And that is the very end of the adventures of the wardrobe. But if the Professor was right, it was only the beginning of the adventures of Narnia.
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis

Wonderland from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
We're all mad here.
- Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

Halloween Town from Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas
I'm a master of fright, and a demon of light
And I'll scare you right out of your pants
To a guy in Kentucky, I'm Mister Unlucky
And I'm known throughout England and France
And since I am dead, I can take off my head
To recite Shakespearean quotations
No animal or man can scream like I can
With the fury of my recitations!
- Jack's Lament, as sung by Danny Elfman in Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas

Stormhold from Stardust
To the new King of Stormhold. Whichever of you fine fellows it might be.
- Stardust, based on the novel by Neil Gaiman

*Don't worry, I know that Hogwarts is definitely real.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Name: Allegiant
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: Harper Collins
Date published: 2014
Rating: 4/5
Spoiler warning: Moderate

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered - fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she's known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.
But Tris's new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningliess. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend to complexities of human nature - and of herself - while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

- From Goodreads.

I really liked the plot of Allegiant, in fact I adored it, with all its different layers of secrets and plans and discoveries of what was on the outside of the city. However, I didn't like the characters as much as I liked the plot. I liked Tris, of course, but I don't think she's one of my favourite characters, and I think I liked some of the side characters more than I liked the two main ones, Tris and Tobias. I definitely didn't like like Tobias as much as I liked Tris, and so I couldn't relate to her affection for him as much as I should have been able to.
There were other emotions and actions of the characters that I couldn't understand, like jealousy. I always find jealousy very annoying in characters because it usually feels so stupid (I could probably be more eloquent about that, but I think it's just one of those things that annoys me too much to be eloquent about). It implies distrust and possessiveness and I very much dislike those two things.
The dual viewpoint felt strange at the beginning of the book as the other two books in the series didn't use it, but I suppose that, although it took some getting used to, it made sense towards the end. Speaking of which, I think I'm glad it ended the way it did, with society building itself towards something better (although perhaps I'm not so happy with certain character deaths, there were some pretty upsetting ones, but I won't say anymore about that because this is entering dangerous spoiler territory).
A very good point about this book was that I didn't know what was going to happen and I couldn't predict what was going to happen either which kept it exciting and made the ending more of a shock (and that's definitely where I'll end this because I am on the brink of spoiling everything and I don't want to do that).

Add the book on Goodreads | Author's website