Random Post. Thesis Diaries part 1?

To be honest, I’m not sure why I’m writing this post today.  I woke up this morning, later than usual.  Rather than some good pre-spring sunlight shining through the curtains of my room, it’s dark.  For a moment, I thought it was still night time.  Still some whacky incomprehensible hour before 7am where most rational (if they aren’t working at job that requires being awake at that hour) people are still sleeping, dreaming of muffins and ugly shoes.  I dreamed ugly shoes onto my friend’s feet once, it was totally random, yet when I woke up the next morning that was the only part of the dream I could remember!  It was odd too, since my friend doesn’t even wear ugly shoes!  She has such great taste, maybe I was jealous? Though I like my shoes too, I suppose having small feet makes it a very limited choice when it comes to buying shoes.  But well, the mind works in mysterious ways.  And I’ve ever dreamed of muffins–dreaming of food is a big no-no, I greatly dislike waking up starved!  So I’ve somehow engineered my brain to think of other things.  Such as my dream last night.  I actually really enjoyed that dream, only, like always…those dreams have a knack of running away from me as soon as I open my eyes.

Nonetheless, after a week of sunshine last week and early wake ups in which I actually wanted to wake up and go and make my work station in the kitchen, sit down with oats for breakfast and start reading the academic literature I’ve got piled up, printed and stapled, I found myself wanting to lie in bed a little longer.  It was pouring was absolutely pouring outside, and the sky was white and grey with clouds, and even though I wasn’t tired, the bed was just too comfortable.

But I have work to do.

My life is pretty simple right now, the most dominant factor is that recently I began my postgraduate studies.  I am nutty enough to take on the P. H. D.  Three of the most daunting letters I’ve ever encountered in my life.  If you asked me four years ago when I started my undergraduate if I would ever think of doing my doctorate once I finished honours, I would have looked at you as though you have three eyes, tail feathers, and holding a chihuahua, and said, “Come again?”  It just wasn’t comprehensible.  I mean, I don’t mind studying, have always had an interest in knowing me, but asking me if I ever wanted to be an expert in the field….honestly, I don’t think and have never thought I’d have the balls for it.   Well, I don’t have balls actually, but you get the expression.

And this morning, while I lay there in bed, I found myself thinking back–you’re never too young to reflect on your life, but it sure as hell made me feel old!  I feel like I’m walking into the beginning of a crucible that will last three years.  And I thought, Omg what have you got yourself into?  The inner dialogue in my head this morning:

Brain:  Get up.

Me:  It’s warm.

Brain:  The shower has warm water.

Me:  The walk between here and there is too cold.

Brain:  But you’ll be cleannnnnn (so the brain entices)

Me:  Bed.  Warm.  I have everything I need.  Even reading materials here….(looks to the books on the bookshelf, looks to her phone).

Brain:  …..

Me:  (grins stupidly)

Brain:  Do you know what they call lying in bed for no reason other than to avoid getting up and doing some work?

Me:  A BREAK?!

Brain:  PROCRASTINATINGOMGWHENDIDMYHOSTBECOMEANIDIOT

Me: Geez no need to overact, clearly if we’re having this conversation, my brain is in the right place.  At least it functions effectively unlike some defective….

Brain: get up get up get up (wails)

Me: No.

Brain: yes.

Me: No.

Brain:  yes.  There’s hot chocolate if you get up.

Me: (Contemplates this, considers the time it takes to make hot chocolate, how warm the shower is….) Okay.

Brain:  SUCCESS.  Self sabotage averted, the host is finally moving, may her research grow in peace…

As you can see from the above, by the time I arrived here in my kitchen–for my room is a terrible study space, though I don’t think I will camp out at my kitchen table for the next three years to study since it would be impossible to concentrate for three days straight if I tried.  But for now it’s okay.  It’s a nicer, open space, more air that’s not as stale as that in my room (even when I open my window, my room is just so blah), and even if I look out the window–this is surprising so depressing to note–all I see are backyard fences, and dead trees (well sort of dead, the fig tree I can see out of the windows on my left has been planted in the garden for two years now, but due to some defect–haunted or otherwise though we suspect that it’s just bad soil–in the land, anything on that side of the house never grows.  Or at least, they live for a period of time, before after struggling for years, they give in and dry up.  Surprisingly though, the plum tree that has been trying to grow for eight years, has actually still kept marching on, even managing to give us a very sour, unripened (cut early by accident), plum last year.  We were so proud we cut it into three pieces and shared it among the three of us, shoving it in one shot.  I think one of us consumers actually spat it back out.  But well, at least we tried it.  And we’re still proud, hopefully this year will actually give us some sweet plums.)

Procrastination.  My biggest enemy.  And I have procrastinated again by writing this, flexing those writing muscles, glancing over at the academic literature, reading one page before coming back.  Nervously excited for the research, BUT HECK IT’S DAUNTING, and already, I see it becoming a huge mess.  However, my goal, for eternity, is to defeat procrastination and also, since I am always, and forever in a civil war with my stress, I plan to figure out a way push it off a cliff sometime.  Both procrastination and stress are big hurdles to jump over, but I figure, if you plan well, you’ll manage both well.  I don’t believe in stressing only.  I believe if you’re stressing or hating or angry at something, isn’t it better to deal with it first?  Even if it’s only for an hour, spend it reading a book, sitting where you’re comfortable, will make you feel better afterwards.  When I first started a month or so back, I stressed real bad (and still stressing) because it felt like I should know everything and already have a clear idea of how to do my project.  No one knows anything when they start their postgrad projects.  You are nothing, you are the ant walking across the football oval, you are a bee in a hive of others, you are one tea leaf in a teacup.  But the prospect that you’ll become an expert by the end, is daunting, and for someone like me, starting such a big project is stressful because my foresight in the future doesn’t extend further than a month.  For a while, I had some how managed to project my entire three years into a week, and of course, such a thing sent my stress skyrocketing, since it was all so overwhelming.  But once I started settling in at uni, meeting supervisors and hearing them tell me what I should do to really begin my research, and as I did start reading the literature, the schedule in my head started to de-warp and stretch, slowly flexing back to its natural shape–three years.  It’s both a long time, and also, not that long.  If you plan properly, you will pass in a breeze.  And since I am clearly only just beginning, I plan to plan well.

Of course, once I defeat procrastination and keep myself happy along with everything else that could upset the balance of ‘successfully completing this’ and ‘being a failure’.  

Things to do in the next week:

  1. Read.  I have to read the literature.  Figure out the holes that I need to fill.
  2. Write.  Academic writing is the bane of my writing existence.  I feel like I try to hard to sound sophisticated.  Academic Language is sadly not an inborn talent, but a time consuming, arduous task that makes me feel like an idiot and not worthy of writing!
    1. I wonder, major I should start a Dictionary section?
  3. Map. First time in a long time I’ll be mapping out my academics before writing.

For no.4 I have discovered I really don’t know how to make nice charts.  I don’t suppose anyone knows how to make an inverted smartart object/relationship hierarchy chart thing?  Actually, does anyone know a good program? I have Free Mind Mapping, and I’ve used smart art in Word.  But it’s just not the same, doesn’t really cover what I want.  

And that, dear readers is the end of a random rant/journal entry of my beginning experiences of my journey.  There’s actually a lot more to tell, and the above hasn’t done a very good job of telling, but I had to get it out.  I don’t know how many of these I’ll do over the next three years, but in a way, I think it’ll be important for me to document my journey.  And I guess I want to be truthful to myself, to express all the things that’ll pee me off, and at the same time, please me.

Hopefully if I do write Part 2, it’ll be more coherent and meaningful than this one.  This one, admittedly is a rant, and not a very good one either.

Quote #181

From John Green (in An Abundance of Katherines)…

John Green

“I just want to do something that matters. Or be something that matters. I just want to matter.”

Imaginings of a Wild Heart.

The girl looked up at the sky, and said, “Did you know, I can read the stars?” She was trying to be cool and cute.  But she was slightly flustered, and she was shy.  Looking up at the guy standing next to her—rather she peeked up at him, and ‘peeked’ would have described it better if she actually had bangs or a hat for her peek from under, which she did not—she saw him look down at her, and she smiled.  Sort of.  It was a small smile, because she didn’t know if she should really play it cool and look really knowledgeable, or if she should play it cute, and smile brightly.  But she was wary of everything about herself.  She wanted to adjust her scarf, to brush her hair back, to lick her lips which were getting chapped.  But she didn’t want to seem overly conscious, so she just stuck with licking her lips, even though she could feel something in need of readjusting—her scarf, her shirt, or her bra, she didn’t know, but she hoped it wasn’t embarrassing.

“Oh?” He said.  He had his hands tucked in his pockets, and though they were standing close, she was standing a little away from him too.  She had asked him out, well asked if he would like to go and star gaze with her at the university.  He was busy, but it seemed she had caught him on a free night.  Or rather, he also had something to do here, and so it was all kind of convenient, nothing special really.

“Oh yes!  I can!”  She said, encouraged by his reply, which seemed like he was curious.  Or maybe he just didn’t believe her.  She didn’t believe her either, and this was either going to come across as corny, or maybe it would give her the answer she wanted to hear.  Or maybe, she was just going to embarrass herself.  She was hoping for the middle answer.

“Alright, go, tell me something.”

Crap.  How was she going to start this?  “Well…the stars tell me you’re a Taurus,” she began lamely.

He laughed, and she wanted punch him in the arm.  “You know when my birthday is!” He said laughing, and shifting away when she really did reach out to punch for his arm.  Her fist glanced off the hard, yet soft, fleshiness under that cotton sleeve of the hoodie he was wearing.

“Just listen!”  She said, flushing red, a mixture of embarrassment and annoyance, yet her mouth was parted in a smile.

“Okay, okay,” he said holding up his hand as she went in for another punch.  “Stop punching me and I will.”

He was such a liar.  Yet he was still here, looking overly amused.  Pouting lightly, and looking up at the sparsely cloud covered sky, she squinted.  All around them there were other stargazers wrapped in thick coats, puffy jackets, and some, even in blankets.   Most of them had telescopes, borrowed or purchased, set up in front of their chairs—a variety of camp chairs, stools, cushions on wood and even one office chair.  Even though the event was for a few hours only, people had gathered early, collected telescopes and settled in as if for the night.  She had been a little too late to get a telescope, but at least she had dad’s small one in her pocket.  Coming here had been on whim.  She had actually been late in hearing about the stargazing event, and had almost chickened out if he hadn’t asked what she was doing tonight in their regularly sporadic texting conversation.  An unexpected question and she had said the first thing that had popped into her head.  And he had asked if she was going to go, to which she had answered, quite thoughtlessly, “I want to go, but I don’t know…”  Being a girl, she couldn’t go alone, regardless of her age.  She didn’t have a car, and most of her friends lived on the other side of the city.  If she wanted to go out, fine.  But she usually had to be back before dark—lest she bring down the rain of worried parental censure and a storm of scolding for rebellious young girls.  And then he had surprised her, asking her if she wanted to go.  It wasn’t like he knew about her family and all their weird cultural—maybe it wasn’t cultural, maybe it was just parents being parents even though she wasn’t exactly sixteen anymore—it wasn’t like she wanted to share.  The last time she shared with a guy, it became the sky climbing wall between them.  What had possessed her to ask him?  In many ways, it had been perfect timing, and when she’d asked if he would go with her, and felt the extreme elation that came with knowing she had somewhat succeeded.

For as long as she could walk and talk and brush her hair, pull it back and make it look pretty, she had been unable to flirt.  In actuality, it wasn’t that she didn’t know how to flirt, it was just that with guys, she had a difficult time reacting.  It was always too embarrassing for her.   So she kept her mouth shut if there was a guy around, and even more so if that guy was good looking, tall and somewhat possessed an aura that she, with her daydream tendencies, could only daydream of having.   And if any of those guys talked to her, despite the fact that she had gotten better at talking to such guys over the years, she could rarely do little more than smile and answer the question.  Other than that, she was just shyly standing off to the side, awkward.

But with this guy, it had been kind of sudden, and it had been kind of vague between them—a grey cloud separating black to white.  He was everything she liked, dreamed of, and had hoped.  It seemed beyond real for her to be trading words with this guy, and yet it was so very normal.  For once, she had her head screwed on tightly, though, not so much when she was returning texts.  With those, she hardly knew what she was saying.  So maybe her head wasn’t tied on that tightly, but she wasn’t a teenager and she could handle this like a woman.

Woman.  If only she could be as smart and sophisticated as a woman should be—she was anything but which made her mind a whole lot more receptive to the torrent of daydreams that were coming to her on a daily basis.    Such wonderful daydreams.  So awfully farfetched.  But she enjoyed them nonetheless, doing no more, and no less than necessary when it came to him.  She liked the grey. She liked and disliked knowing and not knowing where they stood.   So why had she opened her mouth and asked him out.  Well rather, she had typed it into her phone, pressed send and had heart palpitations all evening until he replied back with ‘okay’.  Okay.  Such a simple word.   While in flowery terms, it sent her heart smashing out of her chest, soaring far and wide, in much simpler, plain and realistic terms, her hands had gone clammy and she fretted, thinking of cancelling five seconds after asking.

“So, what are the stars telling you?” He prompted her, jerking her out of her thoughts.

She was already here now, the sun was just about setting, meeting the horizon at the set time, just after six in the evening.  They were still standing, but that was okay.  There were others standing too.

She smiled, “you see up there?”  She pointed at a random constellation.  It was a surprise to see even that constellation up in the sky.  But then again, other than a few wisps of cloud, it was an unusually clear night.  But thankfully, and luckily too.

He looked at her first, then looked up too.

“I didn’t think it would be up there tonight, so this is purely coincidental, but it looks good,” she said wistfully.  She was making this up as she was going along.  It was not coming out like she had daydreamt in her head.  In her head, her speech had been smoother, and she had acted more sophisticated and cool.  An enviable persona.  But well, regardless of the fact that she was failing this miserably now, she was going to push ahead and try.

“Oh?”

She could hear that smile in his voice again, but she ignored it, swallowing hard, and ploughing on.  “Legend says if you see that constellation in the sky, it means your love life is going to improve.”  Corny.  Corny.  It had come out corny.  Why had she said it?

She couldn’t look at him now.

“And-it’ll-get-better-if-you-ask-the-one-you’re-interested-in-out-on-a-date,” she said, letting the words spill out in a single chunk.  She really couldn’t look at him now, and yet she dared to peek up at him, expecting a heavily dealt blow of rejection.  But if she was to think that she didn’t have a chance here, that if she had misread all the signs, then she really wouldn’t have a chance at all.  At the same time though, she didn’t want to build up expectations, she didn’t want to find herself in a position where she was worried constantly, fretting idiotically about whether a guy was interested in her or not.  She just wanted….what did she want?  Why had she asked if he wanted to come today?  What was she thinking in letting those words spill out?  Why couldn’t she just say ‘do you like me’?

He blinked, evidently something was going on in his mind that she couldn’t even conceive, and right now didn’t want to.  She was so tempted to close her eyes, squint and go back in time to when this never happened, but then he opened his mouth.

What happens next, I truly don’t know.  I thought about writing the ending, but honestly, I just thought this story up one random afternoon.  I was kind of daydreaming while scanning through facebook, and seeing that my university was holding a ‘break the star gazing record’ event, which, had I known earlier, I would have totally gone!   I wrote this immediately after I daydreamed it, but I never got to the ending, in my daydream or when I wrote it, and when I read it over, I realise, I don’t know how I would end it.   Maybe if I set it aside, thought about it, and edit it, I might know, but for now, I don’t know!

I would loovvveeee to know how you, my dear readers, fellow bloggers, and all friends, if you happened to have read the above all the way through, would end this short story!

Victor.

A champion of her soul

Rides into the deserted arena

With his sword held high

A declaration of defiance

And war.

He grips tightly to the rails

And hoists himself high,

His words soaring

Far and wide,

Heard by all,

Accepted by all

If the silence was any sign.

She holds her breath,

Her hands clammy

And she’s sweating slightly,

Wanting to look around

And see the protests

That might rise in others’ eyes.

But she can’t look away

To the one standing there,

With glimmering eyes of hope

Shiny with idealism,

And voice, solid and resolute,

Bearing no secrets

With each clear intonation.

There is conviction in his every action,

Belief which he inflates in the people,

And defiance,

For the man on the other side,

The one with a face,

That struggles with age,

And a mouth that moves

Soundlessly repeating

The promises and wishes

He has yet to achieve.

There is victory in the air,

And all can taste it,

Sweet glory,

Hidden under a crisp,

Delicious coating,

Disguised as something simple,

Uncomplicated by milk and cocoa.

The crowd roars,

Furiously worked

By just a few,

Clearly spoken words.

Eardrums cringe,

But there’s no denying,

How wondrous this moment is,

And she knows it,

Her face breaking into a smile,

As her legs carry her to him,

The champion of her soul,

Of her arena,

Of the people,

Of the world.

Vicious. V.E. Schwab.

18180495
Vicious
by V.E. Schwab
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nina’s Bookshelves: antihero, dark, favourites, para-psychic, paranormal, quarterly-book-club-3rd-quarter-2015,something-akin-to-horror-thriller, superpowers, thriller

Your Choice Read for the Quarterly Book Club’s Third Quarter Read!

Omgomgomgomgomgomgomg how I drool. Someone please get me a towel. I am so glad that this book is due tomorrow, because that totally pushed me to take a break from nonstop academic research, and to let myself be taken in by this story.


Where to begin?

There is so many good things to say about this book, I don’t know where to start. I guess, I should probably point out that my excitement over this book is coupled with a number of things–the fact that it’s an adult novel, the fact that it’s dark, the fact that compared to the only other series I’ve read by Schwab this one is so much more

Okay, so that doesn’t make much much sense. Let me start again.

First:

Rivalry.
Ambition.
Jealous.
Bromance.
Antihero.
God complexes.

The Plot

A masterful tale of ambition, jealousy, desire, and superpowers. Victor and Eli started out as college roommates? brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find? aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge?but who will be left alive at the end? In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.

So. Like many books for the Quarterly Book Club Quarterly Read, I usually haven’t actually read the blurb or the premise. I just go to the library and put everything on hold and see how many come in within the three months. Because of this method, I’ve become pretty overly ambitious–i.e. putting too many on hold and barely able to handle the reading load!–but also, because of this method, I get exposed to a whole different variety of fiction that I might not consider picking up normally. Vicious is one of those. It’s not because it’s not interesting (as my rating can attest, this is a very interesting book). It’s because while I have read The Archived, and intend to read the sequel, The Unbound because I did really enjoy the Archived, there was something missing. It was a good book, there were enthralling moments, and a plot line that really picks up at the end. So while I enjoyed all of that about the Archived, it wasn’t really enough to get me to pick up another book by Schwab anytime soon. Not because I’m not interested, but because I’m a little lazy, and I have a tbr list longer than my height (I’m short btw, but still). So, it’s a good thing that when I picked up Vicious, I had little to no expectations. And rarely does a plot grab my within the first 50 pages.
Do you know how much I love a story that just captures me right from the beginning?
I love it so much.
Vicious captured me right from the start, and trust me that’s no easy feat, not with the way Schwab told her story. Vicious is told from a number of perspectives. Firstly, it’s told from various character perspectives–in particular, the main characters, Victor, Eli, Sydney, Mitch, Serena. (Though, really, Sydney, Mitch, and Serena all play a slightly smaller role compared to Victor and Eli obviously.) Secondly, the timeline is alternating. It begins with “Last Night” but then it jumps back to “Ten Years Ago”, then to “Two Nights Ago” and later on in the book, “This Afternoon” and “Five Hours to Midnight” (This last one is only one example) so on, depending on the character, giving the overall story, I suppose a comic book effect–though, I don’t read many comic books, and haven’t read one for so long, that this style is both new and just, plain, ‘different’ to me. I’ve seen this style before, and most of the time, it gets confusing, and unnecessarily messy, but with Vicious it was nothing like that. With Vicious, there’s not one single moment when you think ‘I’m lost’ or ‘bloody hell that’s confusing’. In fact, Schwab does this so well, you will love the way she reveals the history through a series of complex flashbacks.

The way she reveals the whole plot–a complete web of interlacing ties and connections of both the physical and mental kind–via specifically choosing which parts of character’s history to reveal at various stages of the story act as layers. She layers them on top of each other, one at a time, until by the climax, you have a very clear picture of the characters, their motives, and the complex relationships tying each one together. And it’s this developing plot structure that had me in shivery, excited knots–because Schwab knows how to build the tension, how to pit one character against the other without making it seem like just children in the playground. These are children with big ambitions, big knives, and who aren’t children at all, but adults playing a dangerous game against each other. (Actually about this, I’ll talk more about it in the Characters section.)

At the same time, the overall plotline is very simple. It’s very straightforward–a basic story of two incredibly intelligent, incredibly ambitious young adults who were friends turned enemies because of their own ambitions. In many ways, the beginning of this plot is similar to the Social Network. But in this story, it begins with college kids and a college thesis idea about supernatural people called ‘ExtraOrdinary’, aka ‘EO’. How an EO exists is actually the thesis of one of the main characters, and because they’re friends, they help each other out until things go wrong, and the climax of this story takes that paranormal turn. It skyrockets.

The most significant part of this whole book is the relationship between Victor and Eli, it’s seeing that contrast between characters, and realising that in this story, there isn’t one single ‘good person’, just as there aren’t any ‘bad people’. Victor, is the featuring protagonist, but he is anything but ‘good’ and his is the ultimate antihero. Regardless of the simple plot, this book shines because of its characters, because of the writing, and most importantly, the raw emotions and character development that goes on between the characters..

The Characters

The two main, most prominent characters in this book are Victor Vale and Eli Cardale, later known as Eli Ever. They were once roommates and friends, who eventually turned enemies. At first, Victor is seen a rather selfish, bored, uncaring, somewhat jealous person who can lie very well; while in contrast, Eli is the golden boy, with the great smile who can talk his way into anything, and who Victor was drawn to, because of the brightness that seemed to follow Eli around. So at first, you think Victor is going to be the ‘villain’ and Eli, ‘the Hero’, but as the story progresses, and more and more Eli and Victor’s personalities and histories are revealed, the more it becomes clear that the line between Hero and Villain is blurred by the concept of ‘in the name of the greater good’. I’m not going to tell you what powers/what happens to make them estranged because that would ruin it, but during their college days, the both of them get carried away with Eli’s thesis, and attempt experiments beyond the control of young adults. The consequences are severe, brought on by anger, jealousy, and the ambitions of foolish young adults, and it lands Victor in jail for ten years. They are like children, yet they are adults. More accurately, they’re young adults with great ambitions that make them so dangerous in the playground that no one else wants to join in their fight.

Victor. Oh Victor. At the beginning you were a person with a somewhat horrid personality, but I didn’t hate you. I liked your complexity. I liked the darkness in your heart, and I liked how between you and Eli, there is almost no distinction between who is ‘good’ and who is ‘bad’. I think Eli was worse than you though. Since you didn’t do things in the name of the greater good. You just followed your ambition, your goal: to kill Eli. Whereas Eli, Eli hid behind that self righteous shield and tried to play god. Indeed, Victor himself was no ‘pure’. He killed. He hurt. He tortured all in the name of getting his revenge. But he didn’t kill someone without a good reason. Well, as good enough a reason he would ascribe to someone. Usefulness was usually the key in this story–since after all, for both Victor and Eli, neither wanted to keep someone useless around. But between the pair, Victor is less cold about who he keeps and who he throws away.

Sydney actually doesn’t read like a thirteen year old. At the same time, it makes sense that she doesn’t because of what has happened to her recently (as of two nights ago in the story). She grew up in a short time, yet there is still a childish innocence to her. I liked her character. But at a lot of times, I wanted to scream at her, ‘don’t trust him!!!!!! Regardless of my own opinion of him’. And then there is Serena–with both Sydney and Serena, I won’t tell you their significance or who they’re aligned with–is a pretty solid character. But of all supporting characters, she’s probably the shallowest, and has the least amount of depth. Yet at the same time, there is so much to her character that wants for something she can never have. She is an interesting character that’s for sure.

Lastly, Mitch, I bring him in because he is a supporting character on Victor’s side, and I thought he was really cool. I like his character, and when it came to revealing his history, I really liked him.

The Setting

This is set in a variety of places (depending on the chronological time period), but mostly, it’s focussed on the City of Merit for the last three days of the story (since the story is told currently over a period of about a day and a bit, with the rest of the story told in flashbacks accumulated over ten years). EOs are also considered dangerous in this story, they are something of a myth, of which most of the world don’t know about, and the police/federal bureaus will cover up any EO related incidence.

The Writing

I was very surprised by the density of the writing. By dense, I mean, there are a lot of words on the page, and there are bigger paragraphs than I expected. The Archived was not like this. It was simpler, more YA. But as expected of a book that’s been shelved as Adult, the writing in Vicious is much more denser. More intense. More complex. And it actually required me to read every single word on the page. I usually read really fast, because paragraphs and words melt together. But in Vicious, it was like I didn’t want to miss out a single word out of fear I would miss out something important. I actually really revelled in this writing. I love the way Schwab uses her words to capture each character’s idiosyncratic speech and actions. There is so much depth to the writing. I drooled. (And this might also have been because compared to academic texts that are usually a little drier, Schwab’s writing was excellent.)

Overall

Should you read this? Well that depends. This book isn’t a romance. It’s not a superhero story either. It’s a dark, gorey, epic mental, physical, and moral battle between antihero and so-called hero. This isn’t a story about who is ‘good’, rather it’s a story about ‘who is the lesser evil?’ Is this a suggestive read? Yes, definitely.

[N.B] If I sound repetitive or nonsensical, my apologies! I’m just so tired right now from finishing the second half asap and writing the above which I hope sounds somewhat rational and cohesive lol.

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Bear In Hibernation. 55 Fiction.

Sourced from here: Link

She is a bear, huddled in her blankets all covered.  Her hair splayed across the pillows, eyes closed.  The chill could not touch her.  The rain endlessly pouring, visible through the curtains.  She smells  it—and sleeps on.  Shoots spring from moistened land as the sun rises, spreading warmth.   And she awakens, stretching, welcoming spring.

[N.B] This time last year, it was unseasonable warm.  Although I dislike immense heat, I do prefer it to be a little warmer–I miss being able to walk out with only a t-shirt on!  (and pants of course!!!!)  I probably wouldn’t mind winter so much if we actually had snow down here–that would be fun!  (The novelty of it would exceed all negatives associated with it.) But no….down under only mountains get snow, flatlands get rain, rain, and more rain, which leads to mud, which leads to mud covered dogs, which leads to ten clothing changes in one day haha.  Ah well!  I’m looking forward to summer, and luckily, today is a nice cold but sunny day <3.

Skip Beat! Chapter #226.

I just have to say…oh my god!  This chapter….how long do I have to wait for the next one?!?

Firstly, yes, manga is the only thing I really read online.  If the bookstores on my side of the world actually spent the time to sell each and every volume of my favourite manga, I would be there, eyes brightly sparkling, hand freely dishing out money from my wallet with a huge silly grin on my face; because really, while I would probably not spend too much money on manga (each volume is about five chapters long, maybe 100-something pages, and is about AUD$15) since they are pretty expensive.  I would however, spend money on Skip Beat! even more so for the 3-in-1 editions.  Since it’s one of my favourite mangas, as those who follow my blog will know, I’ve done a few pages on this top so far:  All About Skip Beat! , The Many Faces of Kyoko Mogami (Skip Beat!), and Skip Beat! by Yoshiki Nakamura.

Today however, I just want to hyperventilate a little on what just happened in the latest chapter!  (The pages below start with the one on the left, reading from the right, top most corner across to the left, before going to the second page on the right also from right to left.  Sourced from:  Kissmanga.com)  So this chapter is focussed on Kyoko’s desire to confront her mother for the first time in a long time.  (Spoilers alert!!!!  Don’t read any further if you don’t want to be spoiled!)  In the previous few chapters, Kyoko happened to see her mother on tv as a lawyer on one of those showbiz shows.  By coincidence, she is watching this because the tv player at the place she stays at (the little restaurant that she was helping out with at the beginning of the series), recorded the show Saena Mogami was in because it recognised the name ‘Mogami’, which is also Kyoko’s last name–everyone else she knows and recognises and wonders about the name, has seen the show and are worried about Kyoko.  And they’re right to, because once Kyoko hears what her mother says on the show, publicly declaring that she is not a mother, Kyoko goes out, and the despair hits her.  She ends up telling Sho Fuwa to get lost, and runs off where she sees Ren, who she mistakens as Corn (even though we all know they are the same person, Kuon) and seeks solace in hugging him–of course when she stops crying and realises she’s hugging Ren, she freaks out–

–Which puts Ren in a tough spot, but because this is Ren we’re talking about, he smoothly works his way around the situation, giving a half ridiculous (but to Kyoko kind of believable) reason for being where he is now, and also managing to comfort Kyoko without being overly corny.  I really like how this manga is both romance orientated, and yet not.  I like how comfort doesn’t always come in terms of hugs and kisses and lovey-dovey things, but rather, because of the relationship between Ren and Kyoko, and because of their own separate characters and attitudes towards life, they take things very slowly between them.  Comfort comes in just being together, talking and advice, and also, doing couply things without actually being a couple.  And I love the humour Nakamura injects into the story–

–Mind all of the above scenes are taken from Chapter #225.  Which brings me to Chapter #226.  Where, Kyoko is psyching herself up to go confront her mother.  A mother, who so far, we as readers already know doesn’t really think or is seen in Kyoko’s eyes, as not much of a mother, and a mother who Kyoko was always considered as a ‘bother’.  Hence why she’s freaking out over confronting her mother. She is determined to do it in Chapter #226, but like many of us know in real life, for the hard things, sometimes we’re just too chicken to do it and we tell ourselves, ‘maybe another day’ again and again.  And then, when something can happen earlier than we plan, you are almost tempted to back out, only you go for it, and you end up spending the hour or so before the actual event/meeting/etc thinking of all the excuses you could possibly use to get out of it, until you realise the hour is over and time’s up, and before you know it, you’re facing the music.  That’s what happens to Kyoko in #226.

And so Kyoko ends up meeting her mother’s colleague, and—

WHO IS KYOKO’S FATHER?  I am now curious.  Before I was just curious about what happened to Kyoko’s mother to make Kyoko think that her mother doesn’t care about her, and now, with that reveal, who the hell is Kyoko’s father?  I haven’t even yet begun to hypothesize who it could possible be, except I am definitely sure it’s someone in showbiz.  But I don’t think we’ve met that person yet, let alone seen them around.  There just hasn’t been any potential possibilities.  Which makes me wonder, just who is it?

But before that.  I am absolutely dying to read the next chapter (don’t know when it will be out, but it better be soon!) because look at how this one ends!

See?!  Truthfully, I don’t think Kyoko’s mother hates her, nor do I think she doesn’t see Kyoko as her child.  Rather, I think she doesn’t feel like she’s worth being called a ‘mother’ because whatever relationship drama Saena Mogami went through, it was probably the blackest moment in her life in which I reckon she felt worthless once it ended.  And because she felt worthless, she pushed all of herself into work to a) distract herself, and b) to feel worthy of herself again, and in turn she pushed all that pressure onto Kyoko too.  So while she worked, she left Kyoko alone, didn’t want to see her, didn’t want to be reminded.  And then by the time Kyoko ran away, she probably realised how much she was missing of her daughter, and how she probably does not deserve to be called her mother.

Or something like that.

I’m still building my theory, but so far, that’s what I’m getting from Saena Mogami’s character.  But because I don’t know enough about her yet, and also because I don’t think she’s really a ‘villain’ character, and because this is Nakamura’s shoujo manga, her character is definitely going to be complex.  You just don’t get simple characters in really good mangas.