Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Review - Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion


Genre: young adult / horror / romance / fantasy
Pages: 240
Rating: 2,5/5 stars

'R' is a zombie. He has no name, no memories and no pulse, but he has dreams. He is a little different from his fellow Dead.

Amongst the ruins of an abandoned city, R meets a girl. Her name is Julie and she is the opposite of everything he knows - warm and bright and very much alive, she is a blast of colour in a dreary grey landscape. For reasons he can't understand, R chooses to save Julie instead of eating her, and a tense yet strangely tender relationship begins.

This has never happened before. It breaks the rules and defies logic, but R is no longer content with life in the grave. He wants to breathe again, he wants to live, and Julie wants to help him. But their grim, rotting world won't be changed without a fight...

My thoughts 
I saw the movie of this book once, and eventhough it wasn't an amazing movie I enjoyed it. When I realised it was based on a book I decided to give that one a go. Unfortunately the book was very different from the movie. Not so much in what actually happens, but more the way it is all described. The movie did a good job in taking itself not to seriously and is often funny, while the book tries to be a dramatic romance without actually being very dramatic or very romantic. It also didn't scare me in the least, what I kind of hoped for from a zombie book.
R was apparently in love with Julie. I only know this because he mentions it once. Besides that he says that she is pretty and has a nice laugh there didn't really seem to be anything between them. Julie's interest in R surprised me even more, considering he had no personality at all. After reading the whole book the only thing we really know about R is that he collects souvenirs and listens to music. Julie's best friend Nora was also a mystery to me. Eventhough I didn't think it was believable that Julie had a crush on R, Nora should have hit her friend on the head for taking a zombie home and believing he can be saved. What kind of friend is she that does not once point out all the dangers to this? Not once does she say 'And what if he can't control himself any longer and just eats you?'. So as you can see I was a little frustrated with this book. I constantly fell like I wanted to slap the characters. The only character in this book who really seemed to realise what a threat the zombies really were was Julie's father who was portrayed as though he was immoral and going crazy.
This book wasn't entirely bad though. The writing style was rough and pure, which I could appreciate, and the book was an easy and quick read.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Words that are not translatable

Once you are exposed to foreign vocabulary you start to learn words in other languages which are very useful and apt in a certain situation, but do not appear to translate very well to your native language. This is very frustrating when I’m writing. I constantly want to use a certain word, but then I realise there is not really a Dutch word for it…

While they make my writing a little more difficult, those un translatable words are also very fascinating. How come we don't have a word for it? With other un translatable words the question is more like; how on earth would you ever find a situation where you could use this word?

In Dutch there are also a couple of words that don't translate very well to English. Such as the word 'gezellig'. It can be used to describe that you had a pleasant time with a friend, but it can also be used when describing a room for example. When a room looks 'gezellig', it means something like cozy. Eventhough you can sort of describe what gezellig means, it doesn't precisely cover it's meaning. 

Another one is 'plaatsvervangende schaamte' [place-replacing shame] which is the shame you feel on behalf of someone else who does something embarrasing. The other person is usually unaware that he/she is doing something embarrasing.

This website posts words that are not translatable (at least not in one or two words) into English. 

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Review - Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

18660669Vampire Academy #1
Genre: young adult / fantasy / romance

Pages: 332
Rating: 5/5 stars

St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger...

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

My thoughts
I recently went to see Vampire Academy and the movie really made me want to read the books, so I ordered the complete serie online. I'm really happy that it did, because I absolutely loved the first book! The main character Rose Hathaway is very outgoing, speaks her mind and she can be reckless. Her best friend Lissa is far more reserved and is really someone who always thinks things through. I really liked that the book was mainly about their friendship, while a lot of other young adult books only focus on romance. Eventhough Lissa and Rose are very different, they fit together really well. I guess they balance each other out. Rose is the one mainly doing the fighting and Lissa is the more friendly one, but they are both strong women. Rose is not always a very kind person, except towards Lissa, but somehow she wasn't annoying. I enjoyed her snarky comments and I thought she was very funny. I guess I also liked her because I could relate to her a little. I'm not a mean person, but I do tent to make a lot of sarcastic comments. Eventhough there are a lot of lighter moments, the book also deals with some heavier subjects such as dealing with bullying, forbidden love and self cutting.
The attraction between Rose and her mentor Dimitri was very interesting. Although I wanted them to be together I'm actually glad they didn't get together yet in this book. I liked that they both treated the situation realistically and thought about the consequences of them being together. 
I thought Mead introduced her story world in a very good way. She told about the different species and the way the vampire society worked. I liked that there was talked of a lot of people who where not students at St. Vladimir's Academy because that really made it look like there was a whole world out there. The story of St. Vladimir and shawdow-kissed Anna was nicely woven into the book and I liked the parallels between that story and Lissa and Rose's.
A last thing that I really liked about this book, eventhough it is a very small part of the book, is the way religion is dealt with. In a lot of young adult books either all the characters in the book are religious or none of the characters in the book are religious. I always find that a little bit irritating, because that is not at all representative for the real world. In this book some people are religious, and some people aren't, and nobody really makes a problem of it.