I finally got around to seeing American Hustle. Here’s my short review: it was a fun, entertaining movie, with a little bit more layer than your average flick. It felt very much like Argo in that respect. If you want to analyze movies you can spend time discussing the characters and motivations; if you just want a fun story with some great actors, that’s easy enough here…it’s got a little bit of heft, without being the sort of weighty film that you can really sink your teeth into (and which can be off-putting to mainstream movie-goers).
Rating: * * * * (of 5)
Imagine a New York City without any people. No cars rushing by, no chatter at every street corner, no bright lights, no sirens…all silence. This is the New York envisioned by Paul Antony Jones after the spooky disaster he rains onto the city, literally. Reporter and protagonist Emily Baxter is suffering through a fairly normal day of errands and interviews when a strange red rain begins to fall from the sky. The thick substance bears a more than passing resemblance to human blood, and further— some eight-ish hours after its brief but heavy appearance —people begin to die. By the millions.
As worthy a follow-up as one might expect to The Selection, The Elite picks up right where the first book left off. America (“Mer”) is one of the remaining contenders to become the bride of Prince Maxon of Illéa and she surprises herself by feeling strongly for the prince. However, Aspen, the boyfriend she left behind at home after he broke her heart is now at the palace serving as a guard and she finds herself caught between the two. There’s also supposed to be an element of danger here because— as she learns by example —to be caught being disloyal to the prince during the competition can be deadly.
TL;DR version: The story got interesting (eventually), but the bland characters leave this novel a little lifeless.
Skyship Academy tells its story from two points of view: first-person narrator Jesse, a bottom-rung student at the titular academy; and a third-person limited narrator detailing the events as seen by Cassius, an agent of the academy’s biggest enemy, the Unified Party.
Of the post-apocalyptic and/or dystopic YA I’ve been reading (and there is so much of it lately!), Divergent is probably the most promising start once the ridiculous premise is forgiven, and Insurgent is mostly also pretty solid— not in the least because it promises that the third book will explain that ridiculous premise, which I was not really expecting an explanation to at all. Kudos for that!
The biggest problem Insurgent suffers from, and to be honest that a lot of novels suffer from, is that the main characters make nonsensical choices or have ridiculous arguments seemingly just to further the plot, rather than because they make the least lick of sense. Tris and Four fall victim to some of this, with Four acting pretty rude (why does Tris always need to be the one who has to understand his side? Why can’t he understand hers more), and it’s unclear what impact this will have in the finale.