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Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked
Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked
by Orenstein
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Varied World of Red Riding Hood, 10 Jun. 2011
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I have just finished reading this and I have to say it was an enjoyable and interesting mix. Mostly I could not put it down though there were rare points when I thought the author was really grasping at straws and getting too sidetracked in her point. It covers most versions of Little Red Riding Hood from the early stories- The Grandmother's Tale, Perrault's Le Petit Chaperon Rogue, the Grimm's Little Red Cap- the more adult versions by Tanith Lee and Angela Carter amongst others, several poems based of the fairytale, films- Freeway, The Company of Wolves- and adverts.

It analyses each one divided into topics including Red as a victim, a sex symbol and indeed even a villain and the wolf as a villain and a cross dresser bringing up interesting points about both characters and how the story has developed over the years turning Red from a disobedient child of warning to a brazen sex symbol who wanted the wolf to come to her or was more than capable of dealing with him.

There were many opinions and topics offered in this book, some I had never heard of or considered before, which offered for an enthralling read but there were times when I felt it could have offered more on some topics and less on others for example, when it came to The Company of Wolves and the short stories by Angela Carter it was based on I was really looking forward in the author plunging into the film, really analysing it and going into depth about the three stories, as it was both topics were mentioned by only for a couple of paragraphs, equally Tanith Lee's short story Wolfland was only loosely covered. Whereas the idea of Red Riding Hood and other fairytale heroines as fetish symbols had an entire chapter dedicated to it, which was interesting but filled more on how it was fairytales in general rather than just dealing with Red Riding Hood herself.

Overall it is a good book and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about this fairytale which has changed so much over the years, it is a tough topic to write about as there are so many different interpretations of it and there have been so many adaptations and usage of the characters that it's impossible to note and analyse every one of them and Catherine Orenstein has definitely done an admirable job with this.


The Addiction [DVD]
The Addiction [DVD]
Dvd ~ Lili Taylor
Offered by ReNew Entertainment
Price: £8.47

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, dark and original, 1 April 2011
This review is from: The Addiction [DVD] (DVD)
I take The Addiction for what it seems to be, an original, low budget, artistic take on vampires with many philosophical murmurings and numerous metaphors thrown in about the spread of disease, the frailty of life and perhaps, in darker moments, how pointless life can be. It's a film open to interpretation and I've heard many different opinions, mainly that's a metaphor for drug addiction. I originally just first watched it as a vampire film, I saw in the tv guide- vampire film with Christopher Walken and that was me sold, but it turned out to be so much more.

It follows Kathleen 'Kathy' Conklin (played wonderfully by Lili Taylor)a philosophy student who after an attack in an alleyway finds herself changing both physically and mentally, metamorphosing into not just a vampire but an addict, a being unable to resist the urge to kill and to question, as her new desire for blood has her questioning everything.

It is a dark and gritty film with images of the victims of war poignantly mixed in with images of Kathy turning others into her victims via betrayal, false allurings and the same verbal bullying she was at first subjected to during which the attacker demanded to be told to go away instead of pleaded to pathetically.

Christopher Walken's appearance is brief and memorable as an older vampire there to scold Kathy and try to school her in their ways. He is his usual dark, creative and wonderful self with a cold, domineering performance. Edie Falco of Sopranos fame also puts in a good performance as Kathy's friend and fellow student Jean who seems a lot more accepting of their philosophical beliefs than Cathy and acts as a good contrast between the pair.

It's a short film shot in black and white and if you are looking for Twilight this is not it. It's not so deeply into vampires as the older films (no crucifixes, garlic or coffins) though it has the darkness, loss and sorrow of Interview with the Vampire. It is a unique film creating its own modern version of what vampires might be whilst retaining their bloody, brutal essence. It is not just one of the best vampire films I have seen but one of the best films also and I would thoroughly recommend to anyone looking for something a little less mainstream.


The Doom of the Gods (Myths & Legends)
The Doom of the Gods (Myths & Legends)
by Michael Harrison
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, simplified tales of Loki, 20 May 2010
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Although called 'The Doom of the Gods' this book to me was more a collection of the stories about Loki, which I was delighted about as he is my favourite mythological character. Though predominantly a children's book as an adult I found it highly enjoyable and the artwork of Tudor Humphries is fantastic, colourful and detailed. I don't think there could have been a better illustrator picked to accompany the text.

Many things are given their English translation to keep it simple for example Thor's hammer Mjollnir is referred to by its meaning 'Crusher'. The creation myth and Ragnarok are covered within the book but mainly it deals with Loki's adventures including his journey to the realm of the giants in Útgarðr, the conceiving of Sleipnir, taking Sif's hair, his insulting of the gods in the halls, his role in the kidnapping of Idunn, the death of Baldur and more. The book is not one-sided but offers reasons for Loki's behaviour and tells the tales in a humorous and yet sympathetic manner.

This book was a great buy and I would recommend it to any lover of North mythology both for the faithful text and the beautiful artwork.


October Moon (Other World)
October Moon (Other World)
by Michael Scott
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Werewolf Fiction, 7 Nov. 2009
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Fifteen-year-old Rachel Stone and her parents have come from America to Ireland in the hopes of fulfilling her father's dream of setting up a stud farm in Ireland. They take up residence in the 400-year-old Seasontown House and immediately find themselves subject to a series of dangerous and frightening attacks including intrusions, property damage and arson. One thing is clear, somebody wants them to leave.

The police prove useless and Rachel and her family suspect that its either terrorists or vengeful villagers who have lost their jobs thanks to the arrival of the Stone family who are attacking them. What they do not consider is that it might be something more sinister and complicated than that.

As Halloween approaches quickly it is up to Rachel to find out the truth of these attacks and the history of Seasontown House and its previous owner before its too late and her family fall to a danger they cannot be rescued from.

October Moon is full of vivid, beautiful descriptions and has well-developed, interesting characters. It is appropriately chilly, creating a frightening atmosphere and tension with every attack the Stone family find themselves subject to. A quick and easy read aimed at young adults it is still entertaining for adults to read and offers an alluring plot with a good twist and a pleasing ending.

Lacking the gore and sexuality of many other werewolf fiction, October Moon offers horror, entertainment and its own unique take on werewolf lore. I would definitely recommend this to werewolf fans, it is a wonderful book that one can find pleasure in re-reading again and again.


Twelve Kingdoms - Paperback Edition Volume 2: Sea of Wind: v. 2
Twelve Kingdoms - Paperback Edition Volume 2: Sea of Wind: v. 2
by Fuyumi Ono
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Swept away to Tai, 12 July 2009
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The second volume of the Twelve Kingdom series, this time we learn of the world of the Twelve Kingdoms from Taiki a young boy swept away to Hourai (earth) before he hatched, only to be taken back to the Twelve Kingdoms ten years later and informed that he is a kirin from there.

Taiki, young and confused, finds himself struggling to accept that he is a kirin and cannot demonstrate even the most basic of kirin powers or take their shape. With the aid of several oracles and his guardian, the lamia Sanshi Taiki tries to learn how to be a kirin and to accept his destiny that one day he will have to leave his new-found home, the Brush-Jar Palace, and his oracle companions and choose a king to rule over Tai.

Fearful of such a heavy responsibility, Taiki proves to be an easily upset, vulnerable character who readily blames himself for all his short-comings. He is endearing however and proves to be loveable and entertaining.

Though not as long or as exciting Shadow of the Moon, Sea of Shadow, this novel is still a good read and a great addition to the series. It takes an interesting spin by having Taiki learning how to be a kirin from scratch and thus the author learns with him. Though Youko the heroine of the first novel is barely mentioned, her kirin Keiki does make several amusing appearances.


Magic Knight Rayearth, 1-3
Magic Knight Rayearth, 1-3
by Clamp
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Magical Manga, 15 Feb. 2009
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I am a big fan of Magic Knight Rayearth, ironically I started with the OVA then I got the series and now at last I have the first three volumes of the manga.

This edition is quite thick and heavy and not ideal for carrying about but it's incredibly cheap and leaves nothing out. It is just the three volumes combined into one with no extra additions, just cheaper cost.

These three volumes tell the story of Hikaru Shidou, Umi Ryuuzaki and Fuu Hououji, three Japanese middle school students who have never been acquainted until one fateful day when their schools visit the Tokyo Tower on the same day and the three are summoned to Cephiro by a mysterious voice.

Here in Cephiro the three learn that they are destined to become Magic Knights, the only people who can right Cephiro, which is in turmoil due to the kidnapping of its pillar Princess Emeraude. So, with the aid of several memorable characters, the three girls set out to become Magic Knights and resurrect the mashin to aid them.

This manga has beautiful artwork and leaves out the repetitive filler monster fighting that the anime is guilty of. It is incredibly fast paced and guilty of jumping about just a little with a lack of character development that is seen in the anime.

It is a series definitely worth getting however as the characters are wonderful, the art is beautiful and the plot, though not unique, is engaging.


HARUKA BEYOND THE STREAM OF TIME GN VOL 01 (C: 1-0-0)|Haruka|Haruka
HARUKA BEYOND THE STREAM OF TIME GN VOL 01 (C: 1-0-0)|Haruka|Haruka
by Tohko Mizuno
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Common Fantasy Charm, 9 Feb. 2009
Akane, Tenma and Shimon are ordinary school students in Japan who, when walking to school one morning, are suddenly sucked into a different world that seems to be ancient Heian Japan after Akane hears a voice calling out to her.

Akane swallows the eight Dragon Jewels and is told that they will each go to one of her destined guardians, four of whom are quickly revealed- Yorihisa, Tomomasa, Tenma and Shimon. She is then informed that she is the destined Ryuujin no miko (Dragon priestess) who has been summoned to save the world from the demons who managed to leak into it when the protection of the four gods disappeared.

However, it seems that it was actually one of the demons who summoned Akane to this world- Akuram. A demon who she rather rapidly falls in love with, though she is not blind to his obvious cruelty.

So the story begins with Akane having to find her other four warriors so that she can successfully summon the dragon god, all the while struggling with her feelings for Akuram and her warriors and their feelings for her.

I heard this was like Fushigi Yuugi so I bought the first volume by chance hoping that it would suck me in like Fushigi Yuugi did but alas it did not quite hit the mark.

The plot is similar with these basic points- there is a priestess from our world sucked into an ancient world she is destined to save, there are four gods (the black tortoise god of the north, the white tiger god of the west, the red phoenix of the south and the blue dragon of the east), there are male warriors chosen to protect her and the villain is blond and blue eyed.

At first it sounds like a tedious rip-off but this is not so, both are just based on the same mythology, which features in Korea, Japan and China. Fushigi Yuugi just came first and has gained more popularity. There are plenty of differences however, already made clear in the first volume.

Differences- the enemy is a demon, two of the warriors come from this world, the priestess is to summon the dragon god, who I believe is based on the fifth, centre god Kouryuu, and not one of the four gods, and, at the moment, the priestess falls for the enemy and not a warrior, though that is subject to change.

Haruka is based upon a romantic game with multiple endings, and I imagine turning that into a feasible manga was quite a task. Haruka is enjoyable but there are minor plot holes and it jumps about quite a lot with little explanation.

On a plus side, the characters are amusing and have a lot of potential with a few tasteful hints of their pasts being slipped in here and there throughout the first volume. The artwork is also pretty though the backgrounds are lacking at times and, for the most part, the text is easy enough to follow. The plot is simple but engaging and amusing and, so far, there is enough to set apart from Fushigi Yuugi and have it rise above being a poor copy.

I will be get volume 2 in the hopes that the plot will smooth out and become deeper with more character development as I think this is a manga series which will develop with time, although it is clearly a light read.


The Carousel
The Carousel
by Liz Rosenberg
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless, memorable and magical, 27 Dec. 2008
This review is from: The Carousel (Hardcover)
Two sisters visit an old carousel that they have fond memories of and find it has come to life and that is up to them to unite the horses and restore the carousel.
I have not read this book since it originally came out about thirteen years ago when I was seven but I vividly remember it and its beautiful artwork even now.
The art is breathtaking and the story is full of magic, love and wonder and is perfect for any young child. I highly recommend purchasing it.


Twelve Kingdoms - Paperback Edition Volume 1: Sea of Shadow: v. 1
Twelve Kingdoms - Paperback Edition Volume 1: Sea of Shadow: v. 1
by Fuyumi Ono
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally a fantasy without stereotypes, 1 Nov. 2008
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I came across this wonderful book as Amazon recommended it to me because I had seen the series before and, as amazing as the series is, this book is far superior on so many levels.

Yoko is a Japanese student who considers herself ordinary but sadly is far from. If her red hair wasn't enough to signal her out, friends and family alike fail to be close to her because they feel that she has no distinctive personality and mistaken her for being two-faced and fickle as she strives to get along with and fit in with everyone.

After an encounter with a strange man named Keiki and a breathtakingly described battle with a demon Yoko finds herself alone in a strange world that she reaches through a portal in the sea. Here her only ally is silent and deep within her.

This world Yoko quickly learns is full of demons and fiends, people eager to sell her or kill her, blaming her for their misfortune. If that is not bad enough, Yoko seems to be the target of these monstrous demons and of a peculiar taunting monkey.

Yoko herself is a piquant lead who I never once tired of. Yes she does have moments of sorrow and doubt but that's only human, she is not like so many tiresome female leads, dependant on other people to rescue her and forever breaking into tears. Throughout this story Yoko becomes tougher, more assertive and more intelligent, fully capable of defending herself.

The story itself is simple to read and told beautifully with vivid descriptions. It is an engaging plot full of mythical beasts such as kirin, demons, half-beasts, immortal kings and more. Trust me, once you pick this up not only will you too find yourself journeying through the twelve kingdoms but you will not be able to put it down until the last page is turned.


The Heretic Queen
The Heretic Queen
by Michelle Moran
Edition: Hardcover

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Across the sands of time back to Egypt, 20 Sept. 2008
This review is from: The Heretic Queen (Hardcover)
I found this book quite by chance, I had checked into Dublin airport and browsing the bookshop and the beautiful cover caught my eye. I read the blurb and was immediately entranced being a great lover of Ancient Egypt. I already had two books to read on holidays but this one just had been captivated so my dad bought it for me.
This is about Nefertari, niece of Nefertiti, and her struggle to lose her reputation as the niece of a heretic, to restore her mother's name and family to glory and to win the love of Pharaoh Ramesses.
It is a novel filled with politics, interesting characters, vivid descriptions of Ancient Egypt, rife with mythology and active with love, betrayal, bitter rivalries, death and war.
Michelle Moran is a fantastic author and she truly had me believing that I was there in Ancient Egypt caught in the struggle of two high priestesses and vying for the attention of the Pharaoh and all the while struggling just to exist as myself. The descriptions are beautiful, the characters develop with every page and the mythology and religion is not over-bearing or confusing but laced through it as part of the every day life that it once was.
The novel does include definitions of Egyptian terms and names at the back to ease any confusion and also tells you about the real Nefertari and Ramesses amongst others. I enjoyed every page of it and was sad when it ended. I am now going to get Nefertiti to experience Michelle's amazing writing skills once more and I can't wait for Cleopatra's Daughter.


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