Bookish Wednesday: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m back with a classic novel. It’s The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton!

Plot: The plot was pretty good to me when I was a kid although looking back it’s got too much angst for my tastes now. It deals with two rival gangs of young adults who are called the “Greasers” and the “Socs” (short for social). That being said it’s also highly controversial since the story details gang violence. Personally I have no problem with the story itself, I think I read it when I was 11 years old but I could be wrong and read it earlier. A couple fun facts about The Outsiders, it takes place in Tulsa, although that’s never stated explicity in the story. Secondly it was written when Hinton was only 16 years old. Considering that this book is highly controversial even today that’s pretty darn impressive for such a young woman to write.

Characters: Ponyboy is our main character and narrator, and while I don’t particularly like him now, he is rather well written and I did enjoy his character when I was much younger. The rest of the cast is great, although I think my favorite is Cherry if only because she’s written rather well.

Overall: This is a must read novel, if only because it’s been banned in some places because it’s “too violent”.

For those who like: High School Drama, Gang Stories, Drama, Action, Great Cast of characters.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

 

 

Serial Saturday: Azeal Neralum by Kazi

This week for Serial Saturday I’m back with another series I got asked to review by it’s author.  It’s Azeal Neralum by Kazi.

Plot: Let me get this out of the way, I would normally have never bothered with reading this series, and I must have either missed the Grimdark genre tag or it was added after I had bookmarked it as a potential series to read. Either way I find the overly dark nature of the “genre” usually makes stories I tend to despise. Azeal Neralum isn’t an exception to my distaste. I honestly don’t enjoy the overly dark fantasy epic craze that’s seem to come up in the past decade. Even one of my most adored series, Mistborn, is a bit too dark for me. While I’ve read the entire thing once, I probably won’t ever do that again due to that darkness.  However other than the tone there are other serious issues I have with Azeal Neralum. Mainly the constant switching of points of view that is happening, and the lack of forward progress with regards to the main character. I don’t care about some random fort getting slaughtered, what does it have to do with the main character? If the answer to that question is “nothing” in the next 30 chapters I’ve just wasted my time reading extraneous world building that could’ve been experienced through the main characters point of view instead.

Characters: Azeal is a mediocre main character, he’s got nothing extremely likable about him that makes me interested in him as a character and the rest of the cast is just as bad. It’s even worse with the most recent chapters that the author wrote. I don’t give a rat’s ass about some “hero” or gallant general that is dying if he’s being introduced out of the blue and has no noticeable connection with the protagonist. If I had met that character 100 chapters before and grew attached to him I might feel a bit of sympathy over his death, but the way the author the author brings up these characters out of the blue is more than a bit annoying.

Grammar: The grammar is okay, but the writing itself seems off. I can’t put it into words much better than it feels just a bit wrong when I read it. Either the way the author writes is grating on my internal sense of how a book is supposed to read, or the issue is something else, but I just find it’s “flow” to be not pleasing to the eye.

Overall: If for some reason you love dark fantasy, Azeal Neralum might be up your alley after a few editing passes have been done by the author. Otherwise steer clear of this.

For those who like: Fantasy, Grimdark, LitRPG.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Video Game Tuesday: Violent Games Are Not The Problem

I’m back with a topic that is really starting to piss me off for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. Violent Games Are Not The Problem!

What?: So recently our beloved leader of the United States Vladimir Putin Trump, and no I don’t like Trump if you can’t tell from me implying that he’s a puppet of a foreign government, stated that he believes that violent media, namely movies and Video Games are at fault for influencing people to become more violent. I have so many problems with this bullshit that I could rant for ages. I won’t though, and will stick to a few paragraphs at most.

Video Games Do NOT Cause Violent Behavior: The American Psychological Association (APA) has stated in a recent memo that there is no viable link between violent games and movies and violent behavior. These are people who perform hundreds of studies and actually know what the fuck they are talking about. So the next time you turn on the news, and no Fox isn’t actually a news channel it was made for sensationalism not accurate or even coming close to factual reporting; and hear a person saying video games are the problem, ignore them. They have no idea what they are talking about. Besides if that was the case, and it isn’t because even watching an episode of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood could cause a kid to become violent, there would be so many mass shootings around the world that most of humanity would be dead or hiding in the ruins of civilization.

Here’s the quote from the APA “The less publicized, more scientifically sound view [is] that little evidence exists that playing violent video games produces violent criminal behavior”.

So when Trump announced his meeting with video game industry leaders I was more then a bit pissed off. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened, in 2013 Vice President Biden held a similar meeting with industry leaders and it went nowhere because they aren’t the issue. Easy access to guns and poor mental health care are the things we should be focused on. The fact that so many people with mental health issues are not being helped by the government is a huge problem, and it’s not just an American issue.

We don’t as Humans have enough care for people with issues like severe depression. So many people believe that it’s something you can just get over, and that’s patently not true. I’ve dealt with severe depression for many, many years and it has never once gone away. I’ve had times in the past where I was almost able to forget the negative sides of myself, but it never fully went away. There’s always a part of me telling myself that I’m an utter failure and waste of oxygen. That I should just give up and find some shallow ditch to lay down and die in. But I’ve never once performed a criminal act of violence against another person. And I’ve been playing video games longer than I’ve known and felt my severe depression.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday.

TNT: Arifureta Volume 03 by Shirakome Ryo

This week for Translation Necessary Thursday I’m covering the third volume in Hajime’s adventures on Tortus. It’s Arifureta Volume 03 by Shirakome Ryo!

Plot Synopsis: Having beaten Miledy Raisen’s Great Labryinth and acquired Gravity magic, Hajime and Co set out again to find another Great Labryinth. Meanwhile Hajime’s Teacher Aiko is travelling towards the town of Ul….

Plot: This is a pretty decent entry in the series and is full of action scenes while also containing some really important moments for Hajime. As a side note I’ve heard people complain about how Arifureta got boring and became a Rom-Com after the first volume. I assure you that’s not the case and while it may seem toned down there are reasons for Hajime’s bloodlust being dampened. It’s pretty freaking obvious, but I won’t spoil it if you haven’t figured it out yet.

Characters: We don’t get introduced to a bunch of new characters in this volume, but Tio would be my favorite. If only because she’s very earnest about what she wants and doesn’t care at all about other’s thoughts on it. That’s an admirable trait, although what she wants is less than admirable.

Overall: An excellent volume, and while not as bloodthirsty as the first or second, there are reasons for it.