Category Archives: review

Obligatory NY post

The last time I updated was in August? Yikes! :O My New Year’s resolution is to post no less than once a month. I have some ideas on posts about representation, but I’m lacking materials to review. Every year I set a goal to read a certain amount of books by the end of each year. I am displeased to say that I was unable to meet this goal for this year. Mainly, the books I were finding were not doing the job.

Kingdom of Little Wounds: Set in 1500’s Scandinavia, it is about a royal seamstress and a maid as they try to figure out the disease that is killing everyone. According to the author, it’s a fairy tale about syphilis. This is a YA novel, mind you. The book is not sanitized and goes into the sometimes graphic depictions of daily life, including disease and sexual assault. No lush banquets or flowing gowns or star-crossed romance here.

It was an ok (and somewhat unsettling) read until I got to the introduction of an African maid named Midi Norte. For some inexplicable reason, despite everyone around her speaking normally she sounded like a mammy stereotype.  Compared to The Miniaturist, which is set in the same region in the same period and also features an African servant, this book feels like it did not even bother trying. While Midi sounds like a character from a minstrel show (a 19th century invention) the servant in the Miniaturist is every bit as eloquent and well spoken as everyone else. After reading her intro chapter I returned the book. After reading reviews which talk about the graphic and unsettling scenes (including our two teen main characters getting sexually assaulted by adults) (repeatedly) I feel like I dodged a bullet.

Captive Prince #2: I know, I know, you’re probably wondering why I bothered in the first place when I gave the first book a lukewarm review. The first book was a quick read and I figured this would be the same. I only got halfway through before I stopped. The whole nature surrounding same sex couplings reeked of being juvenile. Maybe the whole taboo nature and crass language regarding sex appeals to some but it was groan-worthy at best. What is suppose to be titillating only left a bad taste in my mouth.

Daughter of the Blood: I was excited to read this, seeing many prominent novelists sing its praises. After one chapter I had to stop. Adulterous women, lecherous men assaulting servants, the “chosen one” being a pale blonde blue-eyed girl, they even named one of the few dark skinned characters “Saten de Diablo”. Really?? This book might have been groundbreaking in the late 90’s but nowadays it comes off as stale and terribly cliched.

Needless to say it’s easy to see where I lost motivation to find new books to read. It’s a new year and I’ve started myself off with Dorian Grey. I’m optimistic that I’ll find books that aren’t quite aggravating. My only requirement at this point is that if there are any poc that they’re not walking stereotypes or villains/barbaric/etc.

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Magic box viewings

Alas, I keep forgetting to write up those reviews. Here are my thoughts on some historical related media I’ve been meaning to talk about.

American Horror Story, season 4: After much pestering from several people I finally caved and watched this season. I came in not knowing what to expect and was pleasantly surprised. I wasn’t expecting it to be set in the 40’s, nor was I expecting the accuracy that I saw. I’m used to the half-hearted attempts at grasping at period aesthetics, with gowns that vaguely look Victorian or weak jazz to indicate the 20’s. Not so here, the research put into this show is top notch. Everything was spot on from the flashbacks to attitudes and even the circus performers themselves. Since viewing this I’ve started the third season and will work my way through the other seasons, so expect more on those at a later time. Expect me this fall, FX. 4/5

Game of Thrones, season 5: aka everyone’s Problematic Fave. I am so fed up with this show and yet here I am, waiting for the next season. At this point, I just want to see my girls find happiness. They’re treated so poorly and it’s very upsetting. Before anyone busts out the “b-but that’s how it was back then!!1!” excuse, this is fantasy. You can make your own rules and have these girls not be used as plot devices. If what I heard from book fans is true, a lot of these changes and omissions weren’t necessary. Representation was pitiful as always. In FIVE seasons the only Asian person seen was a former prostitute and seen for all of a couple minutes in one episode. Yikes. Not even going to talk about the black slavers, this show irritates me enough. Just give my girls a good ending and call it a day. 2/5

Penny Dreadful, season 1: A very fun and entertaining show, although culturally inaccurate at parts. Considering the amount of detail that goes into every scene and character (ex. Dr. Frankenstein’s creature being true to the book and not the movies) I feel this is intentional. I heard this anachronistic mix as done on purpose but I haven’t been able to verify since I don’t want to spoil the second season. 3.5/5

HTTYD Race to the Edge: Its set in the Viking era, it counts. Aside from a couple Norse gods being mentioned and some Celtic knots, there is virtually no accuracy here. You don’t watch this show for political warfare and accurate depictions of daily life, you watch for the dragons and action scenes. 😛 In all an entertaining season, although it would be nice to see some the girls interact with each other more. (rolling eyes at each other doesn’t count!) 3.5/5

I need to find another new historical show to enjoy during the summer. I’m watching lots of sci-fi but I need something a little lighter and possibly whimsical.

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