Actor, Writer, Jedi, Singer,

Actor, Writer, Jedi, Singer,
You were my brother, Anakin. I loved you

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Amber Spyglass(along with The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife) Review

(I'm sorry, but at the moment I can't upload pictures onto my blog. The problem will hopefully be resolved soon*I do know what is causing it*).

       If you pay attention to book controversy, you have most likely heard about Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy which begins with "The Golden Compass." Many rumors and beliefs about what's in this book have been passed around all over the internet and since I've read all three books, I'd like to explain exactly what happened and give you the facts. I'll also be reviewing the books(mostly the third) and giving my thoughts on plot, characters, and word building. (I read the book a few months ago, so it won't be as in depth as my reviews usually are).

Way back when I was twelve, I saw a movie trailer for "The Golden Compass" and since I thought it looked really good, I went and saw it. I absolutely loved the film(since it was about a twelve year old girl who was really cool) and the next day I dressed up as Lyra.
       Since I loved the film, I decided to read the first book. I'd heard about the anti-Christian sentiment that was expressed in this trilogy but I didn't really see it in the first book or the movie that much(but then, I was little, so I should re-read that book). The first book is definitely the strongest in the series- Lyra is a very strong, well done character and her adventures in her alternate-earth world are very exciting. I also liked the idea of the Daemon- basically part of a human's soul in physical form that walks around and talks and the like. The writing was also good and while wordy(for a twelve year old) I enjoyed reading it.

          I had to wait a couple of years to read the second installment "The Subtle Knife" since my dad had read all three books and said that, since there was some innuendo(it was mild) in the books, as well as the anti-Christian content  I should wait a little bit. I think I was either nearly fourteen or I'd just turned fourteen when I read the second book. While I didn't like it as much as the first novel, it was still a good read and the story flowed nicely. Seeing Lyra in our world was interesting and while I found the boy character, Will Parry, to be a little bland, I still liked reading about his story. When I read this book, however, I did see some anti-religion(especially Christianity) sentiment in the book. However, like the knife, it was subtle and not that blatant.

              Now the third book and the most controversial of the trilogy- "The Amber Spyglass". Since I read this one relatively recently(a few months ago), I'll go into more depth on the characters, plot, and such.

The Plot: For the most part, the plot is exciting, especially the land of the dead and the ending fight scene. However, it left a lot to be desired and the climax was just oh, so AWFUL!(I'll get more onto that in a later section). While reading it I was rolling my eyes and thinking "this is so gross!" Also the ending was so contrived and corny- it could have been done so much better.

Characters: Okay, so my number question regarding this is WHAT THE STANG HAPPENED TO LYRA?! In this book(she was sort of this way in book 2) whenever she's around Will she gets so simpering and lame and screams and basically acts like a Lois Lane like character. I mean, I understand she's only twelve and children can't take care of themselves yet but fighting was never what made her cool- it was her attitude and her smarts. And what I found quite funny was when, after her and Will got separated forever in different worlds she went back to being her old self. WHAAT!? It was like she was acting all ditsy on purpose around him just because she was in wuv with him XP. I hate it when girls do that- just act like yourself around the guy you like OKAY!?
          Now onto Will. Well, when he first appeared in book 2, I found him an interesting character. However, when I began book 3, I found him to be a little boring. He had potential, considering his background, but his emotions seemed stilted and fake, especially when it came to killing(you were told he hated it instead of the audience showing us he hated it). He also lacked a personality and seemed to good a fighter for a child which kind of got on my nerves.
        Even Mrs. Coulter was out of character- in the first two books she seemed to hate her daughter but hear she kept on screaming about how much she LOVED her daughter, how she wasn't going to allow anything to happen to her, and blah blah blah. The dialogue, particularly from Mrs. Coulter, was horrendous and didn't sound like anything you'd actually hear in real thing- it was so bad, I actually cringed several times.

 The anti-religious sentiment: Before I start, I will point out that the author definitely has an agenda going on here and that is to promote his point of view. It isn't wrong, he has every right to write a story about his atheist beliefs(a lot of authors put their Christian view heavily into their books so having other books for people who believe differently is a good idea), but the fact that he wrote the book to undermine religion isn't right. While reading, I could definitely tell the author really has chip on his shoulder about religion, especially Christianity. He also seems to have a problem with Catholics, particularly since he names the 'bad' guys(the church) the Magisterium.
            If you have heard of these books' controversy, then you most likely know the problem so many people have with this book- a lot of people think the characters 'kill' God.
Well, I'll say right now that isn't how it all goes down in the novel. Now before you freak out, let me explain somethings about the books' universe- in the beginning, all there was was Dust, a particle that ended up creating life in the void. The 'God' figure was the first being(angel) to come to consciousness; so, when the rest of the angels began forming from the Dust, he told them that he created all of them. After the world was created and the 'God' figure had been ruling for a long while, his Lord Regent took over the cloud citadel, locking up the aging God, taking over and ruling cruelly(the 'God' figure was a good being and was a whole lot kinder then the newer guy).
              Fast forward to the time of Lyra and Will- Lyra's father, Lord Asriel(along with Mrs. Coulter who has switched sides, and his army) is fighting against Metatron, the Lord Regent. He and Mrs. Coulter end up taking on the Lord Regent  and dragging him down with them into a bottomless pit so they could protect Lyra, Will, and their Daemons as well as the world.
What happened to the God figure? Well, The Lord Regent had sent him away so he could kill him later after he won the battle. Well, the beings that had been carrying him in a big, ball-shaped prison, were killed in the battle and the prison was left alone in the middle of the battleground. Lyra and Will came across it while they were running through the battlefield and they took pity on the worn, ancient looking being. They tried to help him to safety by opening his prison and getting him out but as he stepped out, the wind swept him back into dust since he was so old(in the story, when you die*after they got released from the land of the dead* you dissipate into atoms and float around the worlds). In the book, it says that he had a peaceful, almost relieved, look on his face as he rejoined the Dust.
So there you have it- all of that didn't bother me too much(since it was so alien from what Christianity is actually like) but make of it what you will. What do you think about all of that? I'd love to hear opinions. :)
              The main anti-religious thing that got on my nerves the most was, in fact, Mary Malone, the Nun turned chemist. The story she told Lyra and Will about how she lost her faith was so lame. It really takes a lot to change your mind on such a large and personal matter so her reason was so, so dumb. Her reasoning was this- when she was twelve she got all romancy with this guy at a party and she went out with him and such. After becoming a Nun, she was at a conference and while talking to a guy across the table whom she felt attracted to, she ate a food that reminded her of the guy she had liked and immediately lost her faith. I can get that having an affect on her not wanting to be a nun anymore but loosing your faith just because you felt an attraction? No, that wouldn't happen, it would take something huge since she had been so invested in it before that.

The worst part of the book- the romance: Remember when I said above that I'd talk about why the climax was so terrible? Well the reasoning all ties into the romance between Lyra and Will- they save the universe by, basically, making out(and no, I'm not joking). Throughout the trilogy, we are told that Lyra is going to be the new Eve and she will either save the world or have them 'Fall' again. However, we never really get what her choice was or how her being all kissy saved the universe. I mean, come on, how lame is THAT?! The climax really disgusted me and I'd have to say, it was definitely one of the worst I've come across in a long while.
            The romance itself was also terrible- the two characters are TWELVE and they're all "I love you!" "I have to be with your forever!";  plus they're making out and it's so gross! I don't mind of twelve year olds like someone, that is normal, but I really, really don't want to read about twelve-year old children making out(even though they probably do that in real life*shudders*). This is definitely one of the worst romances I've ever read- it was too sappy, too abrupt, and really badly written(horrendous dialogue again). Please Mr. Pullman, go read Jude Watson's Star Wars books or watch Once Upon A Time to get a good idea how to write this stuff well.
            One thing that was a little freaky was how they kind of had Lyra experience an 'awakening' where she 'BOOM' suddenly is ready for intimacy(the wording was kind of filled with innuendo). Seriously, the girl is twelve, not sixteen- I wouldn't think she'd be thinking/feeling like that at her age(when I was twelve I was too busy playing Robin Hood, writing books, and acting in plays, plus I hated romance) but then, I could be wrong, since children start dating at around that age sometimes.

Thank you for reading my review; sorry it was so shoddily done, I just wanted to get this out here. :)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

From the Holo-diary of Aran Liander: Jedi Apprentice

982 ARR

I saw a medic on the ship who administrated bacta to me yesterday; I could tell she wanted to know where I got my injuries from but I was thankful she fought the impulse. While I'm still in pain, it isn't as sharp as it was; I am especially glad that the wound to my skull is looking much better now. That bacta immersion definitely helped.
I began having nightmares again- this time it was a replay of the brutal killing of the Jedi and Kayla's...craziness(which was so disturbing...). I awoke last night, covered in a sweat, and hearing the sound of my screams echoing my ears. At breakfast this morning I saw several people glaring at me and I guess I woke them up with my cries last night.
I feel like such a piece of poodoo.
That reminds me, I have chosen a planet to stay on. Well, not really a planet; it's actually a moon, a moon called “Nar Shaddaa” which orbits the Hutt world of Nal Hutta. I can't believe I'm going to the smuggler captial of the galaxy but I think it will be a good place to get lost in for awhile. The imperial leader, from what I learned by doing research last night, is very lax on keeping order on the world(he's most likely paid off handsomely by the Hutts). I don't know when I'll leave that moon but I should be there for awhile since my escape will have most likely caused the Empire to want to search for me- not that I'm important, it's just that they want all Jedi dead.
Oh no, I just saw some stormtroopers.

Sorry I had to abandon you like that. I returned to my room after seeing a few stormtroopers enter the dining hall and I had to run for it. Luckily, they didn't see me sprint out of there.
I'm debating on whether or not to contact Natalie and Ben to tell them that I'm okay. They seemed to care about me while I was staying with them but I don't know if they are on my side or not.
I shouldn't! Just look at Kayla! I trusted her and she turned into a total creep. I think I hate romance even more now than I used to. I'd seen and heard about people behaving that way but I never expected to actually meet someone I cared about be that way. I never expected to see someone I cared about be fine with murder just to get at someone. Calling them would be a terrible mistake, wouldn't it diary?
I wish I had another Jedi to talk to- they'd understand me, they'd get this fear I have that I've been loosing it all again, just like I did after Order 66. They'd understand my fear and help me control and accept it.
And I wish that Jedi was my Master.
I also wish I could see my friends Kyla, Lint, and Rune. After seeing Kayla betray my trust in such a horrifying way I want that innocent, kind, complete trust I had with my friends. I miss our quiet talks, sitting together in meditation, all connected.
But missing won't help them or me now, will it?
I was lucky enough to have had such good friends and such a good Master in my life. I shouldn't expect to have anymore. I may not be fine but I have my lightsaber and the Force is with me.
Well, I'm off to meditate on the terrible things that happened yesterday. I still haven't been able to get them out of my mind- my heart and mouth won't stop hurting, and I can't think about anything without beginning to feel nauseous. Wish me luck.
May the Force be with me in my new home when I get there and lend me the patience to live in such settings.

Aran Liander 

Friday, November 23, 2012

From the Holo-diary of Aran Liander: Jedi Apprentice

(Here you go, Solace and Covert Knight, just as promised :D)

982 ARR

There is a dead Jedi lying in my room and I can't stop shaking, the terrible noise echoing in my hearing like a thousand booming drums, going on forever and ever and ever and.......
The door swinging open before me, I had nearly thrown up when I saw her, when I saw Kayla, grinning savagely down at me from the opening.
“Hello sweetie, did ya miss me?” All the kindness she had once had was gone, as was that fractured pain I'd seen in her eyes when I'd been taken. I had tried to speak then but my throat hurt too much so I just nodded. Smiling even wider, Kayla had sauntered in and leaned down over me, her hair brushing my cheeks.
“You don't look so good, Aran, dear. Why I ever liked you is a mystery to me.” The bitterness in her voice had clenched in my heart so that I had cleared my throat and forced myself to speak.
“So-, so you work for the empire now, do you, Kayla?” She had backed up, blanching for a second before she grinned again, driving that speck of vulnerability off her face as if it had never been.
“Are you lonely, Aran?” she asked after a moment. Of course I was lonely but then, as I do now, knew I couldn't exactly tell her that. I couldn't tell anyone. No one would understand. So, instead of answering, I'd just turned my head away and shut my eyes.
“Aran, answer me! If you don't, I'll do something horrible.” I am ashamed to say, I didn't believe her. No matter the horrid betrayal I had witnessed at her hands, I still believed she wasn't capable of extreme cruelty. How wrong I was. How wrong....
“Oh, don't wanna talk, do you? Well, I can fix that. Troopers, bring him in.” I heard the door pushed farther open and after a second, a scuffling, dragging noise. I had parted my lids slightly to see two stormtroopers march in, carrying a limp figure, the head hanging, between them- and the figure was in Jedi robes. I had gasped, cowering instinctively, fighting the urge to take my lightsaber from my pack. Kayla had approached me again, crouching and leaning forward, that vulnerability back on her face so that she almost looked like my friend from school.
“Aran, please, say you like me. PLEASE.” she had grabbed my hand and pressed it to her mouth; I was so tired and freaked out, I didn't even resist. I had glanced at the seemingly-boneless Jedi, searching for any indication that they were alive. I'd seen their caved-in chest moving up and down rapidly and I took a breath of relief- they were alive. Then it had hit me, so hard I nearly doubled over. A Jedi was captured and apparently badly hurt. I had to do something, I had to. Out of the corner of my eye, I'd seen something flashing towards my face and before, in my sluggish feeling mind, I could stop it, Kayla's hand was a tight vice around my face.
“Aran, don't look at that wretched thing. Look at ME.” Her face was hard and her eyes filmed over with thick tears, somehow a fire burning in the water.
“That is a Jedi, Kayla, an alive, sentient, being. What do you want?” her lips had pursued and my stomach had twisted into a million knots. I'd had a very bad feeling, right then. I should have listened.
“Say you want me.” In another time, I would have laughed, embarrassed, while simultaneously feeling ill but then I'd just felt saddened.
“I'm sorry. I like you as a friend, but I don't like you in that way.” her face had crumpled then, the skin flushing crimson as she began to sob. I had reached out to touch her shoulder to comfort her, to apologize, to get her to stop sobbing. But before my fingers had reached her jumpsuit sleeve, a hard, stinging palm crashed into my already sore jaw, jerking my head sideways.
“Shut up, you kriffed up barve, just shut up!” she'd screamed, backing away from me, hands slipping into her pockets.
“Kayla, do you want me to-?” one of the troopers asked, their voice different then that of the engineered clones. This must be a recruit. Maybe even one who knew Kayla well.
“Say it or I'll have you killed!” she'd screeched shrilly, cutting the trooper off.
I met Kayla's agonized gaze, my heart aching in my chest.
“You won't do that, Kayla. I know you and you're not a killer.” One hand slid out from her pocket, the bloodless, pallid fist gripping onto a blaster. Shakily, she'd leveled it towards me.
'She's better than this. I know she is.' Grunting and gritting my teeth against it, I'd managed to push myself to my throbbing feet, raising my hands over my head.
“Kayla, stop. I'm sorry but you can't do this. You have no idea what killing will do to you, especially if you haven't mastered yourself. I know. I know and its the worst feeling in the universe.” Squeezing her hands even tighter around the handle of her blaster, she had glared at me with something that looked almost crazed. Panic had gripped me.
“Satana was right. You want her and not me.”
“Kayla, that isn't true-”
“I said SHUT UP!” I faced her, willing her with every fiber of my being to stand down, to lower the weapon. But she didn't. Instead she smiled again, a smirk, a horrible, twisted grimace.
“Landy, initiate phase two will you?” The trooper, the one who had spoken so familiarly with Kayla, nodded.
“Yes, ma'am.” Kayla turned her face back to me, all vulnerability gone.
“Well, if you don't want me then I'll make you.” I saw her hand jerk at something in her gun and I wanted to use the Force, so badly it hurt like a bruise on my heart, but I'd known I couldn't- I couldn't let any of them die. I locked eyes with her, reaching out a hand, knowing what she was about to do and screaming in my mind for her not to.
“Kayla, no-” The stun dart hit me, a numbing, dizzying sensation sending me dropping to my knees. Through my blurring vision I looked up at the Jedi and saw that it was a human male and a Knight by the looks of it. Suddenly, as if he sensed me staring at me, he looked up, his eyes baring his soul. Then recognition lit his face and a deep understanding filled his ancient-seeming irises.
“Aran?” he whispered, his voice a thick slurry in my hearing. Then, behind him, I heard a shot and those eyes, that face, was gone in a shower of blood and gore, the now, nearly-headless body falling forward, soaking in puddle of their own leakage.
And through the fuzziness, through the clouds clotting my brain and eyes, through the sludge in my blood, an emotion had exploded up through me and I'd screamed in painful denial and horror, reaching forward with agonizingly slow hands, the sound howling around me and I'd fallen to my hands and then my face when my elbows buckled beneath me.
A foot had gently eased me onto my back right before a heavy weight descended onto my lower stomach. I had looked up and through my tunneling vision I'd seen Kayla leaning over me, a warped grin stretching her lips into a terrifying grimace. Her hands fisted into my robes, her knuckles grinding into my chest.
“I wanted you was all. All you had to do was be like all other guys and at least want me back. But you couldn't, could you, you damn Jedi. So, since you won't want me, I guess I'll just have to do it for you. You know what rejection feels like? Well, I'm going to make you damn well FEEL IT!”
And she'd leaned forward. I'd tried to move, tried to turn my face away, to squirm free from her but I couldn't move, my limbs were completely immobile. I wanted to scream, to black out but I wasn't, I wasn't. She came closer, much, much closer then I ever wanted, and there wasn't anything I could do to stop it.
Now, as I write this, hugging my torn shirt to me and staring at the remains of his mangled, gory-smothered face, I realize I knew the dead man in the room. He'd been a healer, a kind soul who had looked after me during times I'd been injured- I'd even been taught my him. He was one of the most peaceful persons I'd ever met, he'd even refused to carry a lightsaber. And since the numbing agent injected into me has gone, I can't stop crying. I'd finally found another Jedi and he was killed becayse of my poor judgement. A good man was dead and it was all my fault since I had trusted in Kayla's goodness. I should never have trusted her. I couldn't trust her or anyone, not anymore, especially since I was considered pure evil in this galaxy we all lived in. Even the best of people could have a monster in their heart. Like Kayla. No wonder the Jedi preached so much about the temptations of the darkside and the temptations of the flesh. Now I fully and truly understand why attachment is forbidden.
I now know I have to escape. No one else can die because of me and I can't let anything like that happen again; not the death and not what Kayla did to me. My mouth still hurts and when ever the pain crosses my radar, I feel sick in my stomach. I never wanted to be kissed, never wanted to break the code, but she'd stolen that from me and I feel like I lost something I will never get back. Did I even break the code? Did I?
Okay, I need to think. I have to escape. Kayla promised to come back and from the vehemence and crazed emotion in her voice, I know what will happen cannot be good.
Hey, you know that idea I had earlier? Maybe I'll try it. Maybe if I just...HIT at my scalp....

* * * * * * *
So many things have happened today, diary, and I feel it is only right that I transcribe it all in here.
I did the thing I promised myself I would never do- cause physical injury to myself. But I swear, I had no choice. Digging with the hilt of my lightsaber, I'd managed to pull the chip in my head out, holding my mouth shut as hard as I could to keep myself from throwing up. Dizzy from the remaining remnants of the drug and the blood coursing down the back of my head, I'd gathered my bag and clipped my lightsaber to my belt. As I headed towards the door, I tore off my shirt and wrapped it around my skull, blood immediately beginning to soak through it.
I'd taken a deep breath and ignited my lightsaber and stabbing into the invisible door. Hearing a hiss behind me, dioxys flooding the room, I quickly cut a hole in the white plasteel and climbed through the burning hole.
“Prisoner, stop immediately and hold up your hands!” I turned and saw the stormtrooper who had spoken to Kayla, who had killed the Jedi. I swung around, slashing the blade into his gun and spun, slamming my heel into his breastplate, sending him flying.
Klaxons wailing, I'd sprinted down the passage, weaving on jelly legs, my wounded body beating in time with my heart. Storming footsteps clamored behind me and I ran even faster, the forever gray walls swaying and smearing before me. I'd known I had to find a way to hide before they found me. I'd known that, in my pathetic state, I wouldn't have stood a chance. I couldn't even stop Kayla...
I had spied a air duct, just large enough to occupy my emaciated form. Tearing it from the wall, I'd crawled inside and replaced it before taking off down the cramped passage as quietly as I could on my hands and knees, blinking the blood dripping into my eyes; the scarlet droplets reminding me of the dead man back in my cell. I didn't even give him a burial....
Somehow I forced myself not to think about it as I pushed myself along, alone, alarms and the stamping of boots growing into a cacophony of unbearable sound. Somehow, I found the exit in the maze of narrow passages and got away, blood leaking onto my bare shoulders and onto the bottom of the tunnel.
As I'd stepped out into the weak light of dawn, a cold wind had swept passed me and I shivered, wishing I could put on my Jedi top but knowing it was a stupid idea. Of course, I had to wear something so I dug out that oversized shirt I'd gotten during my desperate days on the streets and pulled it over my head, the cloth hanging off me like a second layer of skin. I knew I had to find a ship and I had to find one fast. The only problem was- How?
Suffice to say, I did find myself a ship- a large one carrying over a thousand passengers, all poor, all as desperate as I, maybe even more so. I used the last of my credits to get the small, cramped room that will be my home until I get off.
I don't know which planet to try but I looked at a list on the ship's data-board before I'd boarded. Maybe I'll look over it again after dinner and pick one out; I don't care what its like as long as its far, far away from Coruscant and the Empire. Maybe I can even find other Jedi like myself out there in the darkness of space, though I doubt it.
Now I'm standing in one of the large galleys, staring at the humongous, wall-spanning transparisteel window, watching as Coruscant grows smaller and smaller in the viewport, watching as my Master, my home, my dead friends, and a lost Order vanish from my sight forever. I can't stop weeping because I know I will never come back, not now that all my pain festers on the beautiful and cruel world below. I hate that I think this but I almost hate the world below that had been my home and light once upon a time. There are too many cruel people and even though I know it's not everyone, I somehow can't except that right now. I have much to work on. I thought I could somehow take on the Empire but I was wrong.
Goodbye Master, I'm sorry. I failed you, I failed all of you. And now I will forever atone for it.

Aran Liander 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving :D

          Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!! :D :D I won't exactly be celebrating on this day since we're having it down on my Grandparents' house tomorrow, but I'd like to do a quick post about what I'm thankful for


                                     My talent in acting(and directing). I am so glad to have this talent and I will one day put it to good use in the movies and television(and even plays). :D I'm thankful for the experience I have now and I look forward to my future in the acting world :)

                               My talent in writing. I am also very glad to have this talent and I have already began putting it to good use. :D I'm also very pleased to have finished the re-write of my first book which you can read more about here -

           I am very thankful that, this year, I had the opportunity to go to Celebration VI. I never thought I'd get to go so I was so happy to get the chance. It was thrilling to finally meet several of my online friends at the convention and get to spend quality time with them :D. I also loved getting to meet the actors Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter, and Tom Cane- it was definitely an honor :D.


           I am very thankful to have made so many amazing, geeky, and just plain epic friends online over the past year :D. You are all so great :D :D :D :D :D :D


                                                             My family :)


                                  My ability to sing; when I was younger I never thought I'd be actually be able to sing well but as I began entering my tweens and by starting voice lessons in my teen years, I have greatly improved. :)

                             I am very thankful for my fandoms. They have definitely helped me and have made life much more enjoyable I don't know who I'd be if I didn't have my fandoms :D
They are as follows :)

                                                                 Star Wars              


                        The Star Wars Expanded Universe, especially those works by Jude Watson, Matthew Stover, Kevin J. Anderson, Jessica Moesta, Karen Miller(sometimes), Timothy Zahn, Drew Karpyshyn, and pretty much everyone(EXCLUDING Karen Traviss).

                                                            Lord of the Rings (books and movies)

                                                                  Harry Potter (books and movies)


                                            The Chronicles of Narnia (books and movies)

                                                             Avatar: The Last Airbender

                                      Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin off, Angel  

                                                              Once Upon A Time

                                                                 Doctor Who


                                                               The Avengers


                                                                 Obi-Wan Kenobi            


                                                                  Siri Tachi


                    I am also very thankful to live how I live and that, truly, I have a good life. That is why I will be going to make a Thanksgiving meal for the homeless and the poverty stricken so that they will have something to eat.
I hope that one day the world will be free of poverty and hunger and that everyone can have a good life.

I hope everyone has a good day :)
May the Force be with you.....Always :)
Jedi Shena Tokala out

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Re-Write of Book 1 Complete

               I have an announcement! This morning, I finished the draft of my re-write of book 1! I've been trying to get book one right since I first came up with this story idea when I was nine(it, of course, has evolved and is a much better story); when I sent the version I'd written at age 10/11 to a publisher and got a rejection letter(they were very nice about it and even hand wrote something on the typed letter, which is rare) I decided the book needed to be upgraded and, looking back, it was SUCH a good idea, this version of the book it two billion times better.
So now, I have all five books in the first series in draft form! The time for editing is ready to begin! I Oh, and of course, after that, I can write the second series which I promise is going to be awesome ;) :D. I have secured an editor(with the help of a college professor I am friends with) who I will employ once I read through this draft of book one to make sure everything lines up how I want it to and is as grammatically correct as I can make it.

I really hope that people will enjoy my book series and come to like the characters as much as I do :)
For those of you who don't know, my book series is in the science fiction genre; its sub-genres are that of a Space Opera, Soft/Social Sci-Fi, and Military Sci-Fi with a psychological study, action and adventure sprinkled in there :) It's written in third person and revolves around a teenage(16 at the moment) girl protagonist(she isn't your typical teenage girl protagonist, which I am really proud of :D) as well as the main villain(and his sister) and the girl's two friends(one boy and one girl); several other characters get added to the cast, but these are the people we start out with :)
Once the book is published, I will make write a big post on my blog about it; I'm also going to write to several Book Review blogs and ask them to review them(I'll also do interviews with the ones that offer it). Another thing I plan on doing is taking screen shot images of myself as the lead so you can get an idea of what the characters look like, how they dress, and such. I might even make a book trailer :)
I hope you all, if you read it, enjoy it :D

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Buffy the Vampire Slayer review: Seven Seasons

WARNING: Spoilers follow. I'll try to be vague but some plot points will be revealed. 

              On my birthday, I finally finished the seven season long science fiction TV show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer".  Starting in 1997 the show follows the life of Buffy Summers who is the Slayer which is, as described - "Into every generation a slayer is born: one girl in all the world, a chosen one. She alone will wield the strength and skill to fight the vampire's, demons, and the forces of darkness; to stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their number. She is the Slayer."
                Recommended to me by two friends(who also got me into Star Wars), I immediately fell in love with the television show. I loved seeing a strong female lead who was the chosen one and was an extraordinary fighter(she's the best out of all the characters). Wanting to turn the horror film stereotype of the pretty blond girl being killed by a monster in a dark alley, Joss Whedon made the core statement woman empowerment and it certainly shines through brilliantly. 
          Not only was the lead, Buffy Summers, physically strong she is, as well as the rest of the cast of characters, a very strong character in her own right; while watching the show she definitely feels like a real person as do everyone else. While the show is about vampires and demons and magic and evil, the people in it are very real and seem like people you could meet on the street. Joss Whedon and his group of writers sure know how the human psyche works and how different people act, react, and handle situations. The characters are by no means perfect- each screws up royally- but that is what makes them extraordinary. I love the main characters of this show and while at time I want to smack them in the face and shout "What are you doing?!" I wouldn't have them be any other way. 

Since the show is seven seasons long, I'll give my highlights, thoughts, and favorite episodes of each season and tell you what I think about the characters progression and the Big Bad. 

Season 1- The season starts off with Buffy, a troubled girl, moving to the town of Sunnydale with her mother after having burned down her previous school when fighting vampires; while unwilling at first to accept her destiny as the Slayer, she begins following what she must do when her new friends are in danger.
                 The first season, which was sort of half a season, is an awesome opening to the show. With it's monster of the week episode progression, hilariousness, and epic story arch, it makes up for some of the cheap animation that is prevalent in the first couple of seasons(it greatly improves over time). It introduces you to Buffy, your typical popular, Californian girl that loves shopping and girly things who just so happens to be able to beat up and fight anyone she wants; to Willow, the studious, timid, easily frightened geek who begins to have an interest in magic; to Xander, your average guy, who is also a bit of a geek, who proves to be the most loyal of the group; to Rubert Giles, Buffy's Watcher as well as the school's librarian, who teaches her what it means to be a Slayer, and eventually becomes the father figure that is absent in her life with her parents divorce and her father's distancing behavior; and to Angel, a vampire with a soul who is brooding and ridden with guilt from all that he had done before gaining it. 
The villain this season, a vampire called the Master, is a good one; while not the show's best, he is a solid villain and was perfect for Buffy's first foe. 

While I loved all the episodes this season, my absolute favorites were
1 Nightmares 
2 Prophecy Girl
3 Out of Mind, Out of Sight
4 Witch
5 The Puppet Show
6 I Robot....You Jane
7 Never Kill A Boy on The First Date 

Highlights of this season would be 
1: Buffy, after having been revived via CPR by Xander, kicking the Master's butt(in a dress) and sending him crashing through a glass ceiling and onto a spike below "I may be dead, but I'm still pretty" 
2: Buffy helping Billy with his fears, saving him from the 'ugly man'(his subconscious' rendition of his coach who beat him into a coma) by beating him and telling the little boy to wake up; I also like it when she confronts the actual coach(as does Billy) and helps to put the man in jail
3: Buffy's reaction to finding out she has to die "Giles, I'm sixteen years old...I don't wanna die". Sarah's performance in this scene was her best this season. I was really impressed with her here. 
4: Willow, Xander, and Giles running from a clown with a knife in "Nightmares" and Xander's "Your balloon animals stank! Anyone can make a giraffe!!"(or something like that)
5: "You forgot sunrise....which is in another nine hours you moron!"
6: The whole concept of the unpopular girl turning invisible because she felt so isolated and ignored by the world around(and because of the mystical nature of the hellmouth on which Sunnydale resides). Since I know a thing or to about feeling left out, I at first felt bad for the girl but once she started going insane and wanting to kill someone in revenge, I stopped feeling sympathy for her. 
7: Buffy saving Cordelia in "Out of Mind, Out of Sight"
8: How Buffy defeats the demon Moloch and Willow punching him in the face saying, sarcastically, that they can still be friends after their breakup(I was laughing a lot during this scene). 
9: Buffy saving Xander and another boy from the evil She-Mantis(who is CREEPY). I won't say what was going to happen- let's just say I'm glad she died. 
10: Buffy, Xander, and Willow preforming a play in the talent show at the end of "The Puppet Show" 

Season 2: The second series of Buffy has to be my favorite. It had the best villains(Spike, the soulless Angel also known as Angelus, and Drusilla), the character of Oz is introduced, it has the best plot, some of the greatest growth for all the characters, and an amazing show down. The season was wonderfully dramatic, had a ton of awesome fight scenes, and had some of the funniest humor as well as one of the best Buffy episodes to date. 
         After a moment of true happiness with Buffy(I'll just let you figure that out), Angel looses his soul and becomes once again the evil Angel. Having Buffy have to deal with the guy she loves being evil and out to kill her was such a brilliant move. It really helped Buffy grow and mature and begins the pessimism she has about romantic relationships that persists till the seventh season finale. 
        Besides the evil Angelus, we are introduced to several new characters who become key players in the show. First is Spike and his sire/girl friend Drusilla. Spike, who ends up becoming a lead on the show, is a hilarious, punk vampire with a sarcastic attitude and a disgust with the ritualistic ideas of the Sunnydale vampires that we see a lot of in season 1. He is such a great villain and character and one that you will grow to like, even though he is still evil. Another new character I really liked was Oz, who ends up being Willow's boyfriend. He is the calm, quiet, deep thinker type and was very likable and played fantastically by Seth Green. Another character I liked this season was Kendra the Vampire Slayer(the girl who was activated when Buffy dies at the end of the first season); she was a great character and I was sad when she was killed
        I also really enjoyed the darker tone of this season, with Buffy's depression, the death of Jenny Calender by Angelus and him then planting her in Giles's house in a romantic setting(that was so disturbingly good and Giles's reaction is heartbreaking). With a fantastic midpoint episode and ending, this is definitely a season you won't want to miss out on. 

While I loved all the episodes of the season, my favorites were
Becoming part 2
Becoming part 1
I Only Have Eyes For You
Killed by Death
School Hard
Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered
Inca Mummy Girl

Highlights of this season would be -
1: When, in Innocence, Buffy shoots at the Judge(who, before being resurrected, had been taken down by an entire army) with a crossbow and he's all "No human weapon can kill me". In response to this, she discards the old weapon and draws out the huge rocket launcher, saying "That was then, this is now" and blasting him. Such an awesome moment!!! :D
2: When in Passion, after Buffy saves Giles from Angelus and the fire that ensued  he yells at her that it wasn't her fight(he wanted revenge for a person's death) and she punches him before sinking to the ground and hugging him, saying 'I can't do this alone'. Such amazing acting and dialogue. 
3: Buffy and Angel's sword fight at the end of the season- it was really well done and exciting to watch(I loved when Buffy catches the sword between her hands). The end was especially sad :( 
Poor Buffy 
4: Buffy and Spike having to join forces to stop Angelus from sucking the earth into hell. The scene where he tells he he wants to join her side is hilarious(they kept punching each other)- "The earth could get sucked into hell and you want MY help because your girlfriends a big ho!?" I also love it when Buffy brings Spike to her house and is planning things- Spike and her mother have some pretty funny interactions. 
5: Spike singing randomly(someone's in the ceiling) in School Hard
6: The sadness between the dead spirits in "I Only Have Eyes For You" and how Buffy and Angel were possessed by them- I especially liked how it flashed back and forth between them in the final confrontation. 
7: "You were my sire, man! You were my YODA!" XD
8: All the girls chasing Xander- that was so BAD XD
9: "That was me favorite shirt! It's me ONLY shirt!" *starts pummeling bad guys*
10: Giles's reaction to the Werewolf Bounty Hunter thought he was involved with Buffy 

Season 3: While not as awesome as season 2, Season 3 is a perfect follow up to the best season and is in fact, my second favorite season. In this season we are given the awesome villain of The Mayor as well as the great character of Faith, another Slayer who was activated after Kendra's death and is quite unstable. The Mayor was definitely one of the best villains since he's not fully evil, he does seem to care about Faith.  Oz also becomes a series regular which I really enjoyed since he was one of my favorite characters. While not as dark as the second season, season 3 was still pretty dark, with characters having to deal with numerous amounts of bad things. This also ends the show's scenes at high school and how it can be just as hellish as the hellmouth (Oz's words at the end are definitely very poignant as is the battle at graduation which is a metaphor for breaking out into the world). 
       This season starts off with Buffy having run away from Sunnydale after her having killed Angel and having to deal with tons of guilt. Buffy grows even more in this season as does Faith, who kills a man she thinks is a vampire and is driven to cruelty by and her own messed up past.   Another great thing about this season is a brief appearance of the First Evil which plays a major part in Season 7

My favorite episodes
Graduation Day part 2
Graduation Day 1
The Wish
Lovers Walk
Band Candy
Dead Man's Party
The Zeppo 

1: The battle at the end of the season(Cordelia stakes her first vampire!) where all the students take on vampires and the Mayor-turned-giant-snake in an epic battle. The whole thing was awesome and Oz's remark at the end was perfect and summed up the three seasons. 
2: Buffy stopping Johnathon from killing himself in Earshot; it was a showing of great acting from both actors and I loved seeing Buffy be such a hero
3: Buffy being able to hear everyone's thoughts in "Earshot"; several funny things happen though in the end it is really bad :(
4: Xander seeing the lunch lady poisoning(before that he'd seen jello and was all "oo jello!") the soup with rat poison and running out into the cafeteria, knocking people's food out of their hands and yelling "RAT POISON! RAT POISON!"
5: Giles saying "Look at my mask, isn't it pretty? It brings people back from the DEAD. Americans." in Dead Man's Party
6: A drunken Spike trying to make Willow cast a love spell on Drusilla and then crying about how upset he is
7: Buffy stopping Angel from killing himself
8: Buffy killing a crazed vamp during a test by making him drink holy water. That was such a good idea! :D It shows that she is resourceful and can fight a vampire even when her powers are weakened. 
9: Giles cleaning Buffy's wounds in Helpless and Giles being fired from the watcher's council because he has a "Father's love" for Buffy.
10: When Cordelia's wish causes the world to be changed and Giles, right before he switches it back saying to Anya, who had asked how he knew that world was better then this one, "It Has to be"

Season 4: While definitely the weakest season of the bunch, season 4 still has great episodes and new characters introduced, my favorites being Tara and Riley. The episode has a good villain in Adam and the return of the character Spike is a welcome addition(as is them putting a chip in his head). In this season, Buffy and her friends have to explore not being in high school anymore and being out in the college world(or living at home like Xander). Thrusting the characters into a different environment was a great idea and even though at first it is a little weird and a lot of the first season feeling off kilter, the season still has a wonderful episode and several very sad things. 
      One thing that I questioned from this season on outward was Willow being gay. I definitely support gay marriage but having Willow suddenly being that way was a little strange, since before we see her interested in boys. I think, instead, they should have had her be Bi since it would have made more sense in the story line. I also felt like hers and Tara's relationship was a bit rushed and didn't have enough build up for it to be believable, but later on in the show it works, so all is good :). Though, I really didn't like a rude comment Willow made during this season - it being "men haven't changed since the beginning of time". If you look back at history and compare it to now days you can see how ludicrous her statement is. I understand she was hurt and upset by problems she'd had with guys, but I think its dumb to say something so grossly over the top. It kind of made me dislike her for the rest of the season(I'm back to liking her now since she was great in the last three seasons). 

Favorite episodes
Wild at Heart
Who Are You?
This Year's Girl
A New Man
Fear, Itself
The Harsh Light of Day
Living Conditions 

1: The gentlemen coming to town and ridding everyone of speech so they have to communicate  without words, Riley and Buffy finally finding out about each other- Buffy being the Slayer and Riley being part of the initiative, a military unit created to defeat the supernatural. I also love how Buffy screams and destroys the gentlemen. 
2: Faith causing Buffy and herself to switch bodies and how the two of them come to understand the other. The two episodes revolving around this scenario are very well done(and at times hilarious) and we get a good idea of who both girls are.
3: The dreams in the last episode where the scoobies encounter the first Slayer who tries to dehumanize Buffy who, of course, rebuffs her, until she has no more power over them.
4: Spike's obsession with soap operas - "Passions is on! Timmy's down the bloody and IF YOU MAKE ME MISS IT, I'LL!!" Giles: You'll do what, lick me to death? 
5: Giles(when he's turned into a demon) chasing Professor Walsh in revenge for her saying that Buffy didn't have a good father role model in her life
6: When professor Walsh tries to have Buffy killed and after it fails Buffy says something to the effect of "You have no idea what a slayer is"
7: The sadness that is Oz leaving because the wolf inside of him makes him cheat on her. Usually when couples have to be split up, I don't care, but the actors did such a good job I actually felt sad and was thinking 'NO!' 
8: Buffy thinking he roomate was evil(which ended up being true)
9: Thanksgiving!! :D Such a good episode :D It had a good feeling to it, was hilarious, and had some really good moments. Definitely a favorite :)

Season 5: After a slightly disappointing season, season 5 ratchets it up several knots and makes it my third favorite season! :D This season has some of the best episodes on the show and while I, at first, wasn't so interested in the addition of Buffy having a sister(Dawn), it worked out and now I'm glad they introduced her(even though she gets on my nerves).
The villain this season is Glory, a hell god, trapped on earth who is trying to find the key so she can return to her dimension and take it back. Glory is definitely a very good villain and is a great foil for Buffy to defeat. 

           The episode also has a really sad tragedy in it which turns into one of the best episodes on the show(I'll go more into it in a little bit). The actors are amazing this season and we see them all grow even more. Buffy ends up having to leave college and start becoming an adult(but this doesn't fully accumulate until the end of the sixth season). Anya, a former vengeance demon, introduced in season 3 and seen a lot in season 4, becomes even more prominent. 
Also this season, we get one of the best finales on the show ever and we even get to see Buffy take on the famous Dracula! :D Oh, and a certain character gets a crush on Buffy and we can some hilarious scenes! :)
One thing that confused me in this episode was that, I don't know who we're supposed to blame for her and Riley's split. To me, it seems to be Riley's fault but Xander blamed Buffy for it. *shrugs* Well, I'll just blame Riley since that seems the most obvious. 

Favorite episodes
The Body
The Gift 
The Weight of the World
Real Me
Buffy v.s Dracula
No Place Like Home
Fool for Love

1: The entire finale, especially Buffy's actions at the end and everyone's reaction. I can't decide between the end of season 2 and the ending of this one for my favorite, it's that good. Even though Buffy is a human who makes mistakes, her actions here are truly that of a hero. I loved how they ended the season, it was perfect. 
2: The entire episode of The Body. After watching this, I have to say, this episode has the best representation of death and people's response to it that I've ever seen. It seemed so realistic and actually how different types of people would react. The fact that the death, one so close and personal, was by natural causes and not something supernatural that Buffy can fight and take out. It really is a struggle for these characters who are used to death being caused by the supernatural and being able to take out their pain on a being but with this person's death, there is nothing to fight and nothing any of them can really do. My favorite scene of the episode is when Giles arrives- I won't spoil what happens, but the acting in that scene was amazing. I also liked the fact that they didn't play any music(except for the opening sequence) during the show the entire time and instead had silence and background noise be the melodies that accompanied it. 
3: Spike's crush on Buffy. While I don't like the "romance" between them in season 6, I really liked him here during this season. The whole thing causes a lot of hilarious moments for the two characters and ends up being a very helpful thing for the Scoobies. Oh and  Xander's reaction was PRICELESS XD
4: The funeral in the episode "Forever"(which immediately follows The Body); it was really well done and I loved how they handled the emotions of the characters in this episode as well. I also liked Spike bringing flowers and Angel coming to comfort Buffy. 
5: Buffy saving the monk and finding out about the Key
6: Buffy's duel with Dracula. Dracula is, of course, the most famous vampire of all time and having having the Slayer take him on was just awesome! :D Dracula was also really well played and I loved his accent. :D 
7: I really loved getting to find out more on what makes a Slayer. It was very interesting and sets up well for the final reveals we get in the last season :).

Season 6: Considered to be the darkest season of the show's run, the sixth season definitely handles some pretty hefty issues that might bother some people. I, however, loved the dark nature of this season! :D Each character has a deeply rooted problem they have to deal with and truly shows human nature's flaws and how even the best of people have a dark side. We get to see pretty much everyone's dark side this year, but we also see the strength they have in facing adversity. 
      Our hero, Buffy, has to deal with being alive once again after being ripped from heaven where she was happy and at peace; I absolutely loved this idea, it was all very fascinating, especially since we see how much of a struggle it is for her to live in this world, seeing it as 'hell.' The dark side that springs from our hero comes from the bad things that seem to happen one after another to her- not only was she ripped out of heaven, it was her friends who did it and on top of all that, she has to shoulder the full responsibilities of being an adult in order to take care of her sister(she has to work at a fast-food joint and drop out of college.) Buffy's depression and lack of feeling leads her to begin a very unhealthy relationship with Spike. 
Along with Buffy, Willow undergoes a large transformation as well which all comes down to her overuse of magic; she is addicted and it causes many problems to herself and others which leads to the full of meaning finale- definitely up there with the best finales of the show. 
       While there are villains of a sort this season, three geeks called the Trio, the real villains of this season are the characters themselves and the hardness of life. While the season is very dark, there is hope too, especially in characters like Tara, who is at her best, and helps provide light and ends up helping Buffy during her time of need.
      The finale ends with a wonderful note and a very symbolic meaning. At the end, after having falling into a large hole in the graveyard, both Buffy and Dawn crawl out which shadows Buffy having dug herself out of her own grave at the beginning of the season after being ripped from the kindness of heaven; it also symbols Buffy being reborn again. When she first crawled out of the ground she hated life and did many destructive things to herself in order to feel again; when she crawls out the second time, her hope and her belief in life are restored and its like she's a whole person once again, yet different from her experiences. When I saw this parallel, I was so impressed and excited at how amazing it was. The writers are genius!
     The only thing that really bothered me was that Spike tried to do the evil R thing to Buffy in one of the last episodes and it took her a little bit to get him off her(but she had hurt herself and she was surprised, so that might have been the reason). As a stronger hater of the evil R, it really bothered me :P Though I was very glad to hear the actor who plays Spike say  that it was the hardest scene he ever had to film and he was never going to film a scene like that again. (oh, and I didn't watch the scene, I scrolled down from the screen*I was watching it on Amazon Prime on*). 

Favorite episodes
Once More, With Feeling 
Tabula Rasa 
Two to Go
Dead Things 
Doublemeat Palace
As You Were
After Life
Bargaining part 1 and 2

1: The finale; it was great to see Xander, just a regular guy, save the world and to see both Buffy and Dawn fight with swords :D. The villain who appears in the last three episodes was very well done and perfect for the darkness of the season(I won't say who it is, just that you'll be pretty surprised). I also love the symbolism they had in the finale, it was so well done :D
2: The musical episode!!! While at first I was a little unsure, they pulled it off marvelously! The songs are awesome and the cast are all great singers, especially Anthony Stewart Head(Giles), Amber Benson(Tara), James Marsters(Spike; the actor used to be in a band), and Sarah Michelle Gellar(Buffy). The episode also has some great turning points for the characters and shows their vulnerabilities. Such beautiful songs :)
3: When, after Willow accidentally causes a forgetting spell to affect the entire group, the scoobies all forget who they are and wake up in the magic box with amnesia. It is really funny seeing all the characters without their memories, especially since several embarrassing and goofy things happen XD
4: When Buffy breaks down to Tara about how she can't believe what she's doing with Spike and how she doesn't know if she's using him or not. It was really sad and well done and Tara was so sweet and handled it very well. I loved Tara there.
5: Buffy and Giles's reunion at both the beginning and ending of the season. 
6: Buffy punching Spike and screaming how he's a "dead thing" and how she is really talking to herself. 
7: Willow going off the deep end with her addiction to magic and the terrible things that ensued; very good acting in this episode, especially from Alyson Hannigan(Willow) 

Season 7: While the weakest season since season 4, the seventh season ends the amazing show perfectly. Women empowerment is especially prevalent this season, especially the totally, rocking, awesome finale!! :D I don't want to spoil anything about how it ends, but let's just say, it is pretty much perfect. 
 The season starts off very strong with an almost season 1 feel to it. However, the middle episodes get a little weak and seem to lack something(I believe, like a lot of other people have pointed out, that it had to do with the introduction of the Potentials; however, the Potentials end up making the finale as awesome as it is, so that's fine). The season picks back up at the end, however, and puts forth a perfect ending to the show. Also, a lot of characters from the past return for the final battle which I really loved seeing- it was very cool :D(such as Angel and Faith) One really symbolic thing that happened this season was the so-called 'preacher' Caleb who is actually a murdering misogynist; Buffy's fight against him is like women fighting to free themselves from the sexism still prevalent in our world(It has really improved, but we still have some work to do).  
     The only problem I had with the season was how Buffy and her rift with Giles was never brought to closure. Since their relationship was something I really loved seeing, I was a little saddened by this. And there was something else that I didn't like, but that would give away a pretty big plot point, so I'll stop now.
    One thing that was kind of annoying this season was the relationship between two characters that felt WAY too rushed. However, it was just a little thing so it's not really that big of a deal. 

Favorite episodes
Chosen (DUH!!)
Conversations With Dead People
The Killer in Me
End of Days
Lies my Parents Told Me

1: I absolutely LOVED the ending!! :D :D The action was awesome, the suspense was awesome, the acting was epic, it was perfect and completely empowered woman. Of course, they don't throw guys out the window; Principal Wood(a character introduced this season) tells Faith that most guys are actually decent(Faith has a very negative view of them) which I thought was nice. Yay for good feminist messages(since a true feminist wants equality between the genders and do not hate men; we just hate the misogynists) :D There is another thing that was so awesome in the finale but I don't want to spoil anything- let's just so, it's so, so cool! :D :D 
2: Willow having to come to terms with a certain characters death. How it happens is really well done and revealing to Willow's character. I loved how Alyson portrayed her character in this episode, definitely one of her best moments. 
3: Buffy trying to help Cassie from her upcoming death in the episode "Help". It was a very, very well done episode and I really liked the actress playing Cassie, she is very talented.
4: When Spike and Xander stole the infatuation inducing jacket away from this one guy so they could burn it- best part of that episode(as was when Xander freaked out) XD
5: How, after everyone else has gone their separte ways for the mission, Buffy, Giles, Willow, and Xander stand in a circle and talk about what their going to do tomorrow- it was really great and a nice throw back to the first season :)

Sorry that was so long XP