Monday, July 16, 2012

Book review: Incarceron

Synopsis: Imagine a living prison so vast that it contains corridors and forests, cities and seas.
Imagine a prisoner with no memory, who is sure he came from Outside, even though the prison has been sealed for centuries and only one man, half real, half legend, has ever escaped. 
Imagine a girl in a manor house in a society where time has been forbidden, where everyone is held in a seventeenth century world run by computers, doomed to an arranged marriage that appals her, tangled in an assassination plot she both dreads and desires. 
One inside, one outside
But both imprisoned.
Imagine a war that has hollowed the moon, seven skullrings that contain souls, a flying ship and a wall at the world's end.
Imagine the unimaginable.
Imagine Incarceron.

Review: This is one of those books that has received mixed reviews: people either hate it or love it.

I'm part of the group of people that absolutely love this book. This is a dystopian novel and, being a fan of the genre, I adored how the author managed to twist a little bit that concept. Because, you see, unlike regular dystopian novels where we are showed and confronted with the repressive and controlling government that exists almost instantly, in Incarceron that is something that is showed to us bit-by-bit. You don't exactly understand every single concept, or term, right from the beginning but, as you keep on reading, your understanding and knowledge of how this futuristic world and society work becomes clearer. It's not a fast paced book, but it's slow paced narrative allows you to enjoy the characters, their personalities, their interactions with each other and the world they are inserted in much better.

Since this book is narrated from two different points of view (Claudia, the girl from Outside, and Finn, the prisoner) we, as readers, are constantly being thrown from setting to setting, from situation to situation, but as soon as you get immersed in the plot this only adds to the complexity of the story.

Claudia's side of the story, which is personally my favourite, is filled with the usual scheming and plotting that is a daily element of the lives of every single nobleman and noblewoman. Her side of the story is the one where you learn about the apparently tranquil, happy and free of hatred, wars and problems, society. About the façade of coldness, morality and righteousness they all hide their true personalities behind. About the Queen, the King, the dead Prince and the current Heir to the throne of this realm. It's where you learn how Incarceron, the prison, was created, its purpose and how it should have stayed like throughout all the centuries after its creation.

Finn's side of the story, is the action packed one. It's where you learn about how Incarceron really is, how everything inside the prison works and how everyone lives. It's where you learn about certain myths and where you are confronted with the inhumane situation all the prisoners are subjected to constantly, where you actually understand the dimension and the extent of what our society came to if there was a need to ever create something like that.

Characters are incredible, they are well thought of, well developed and I immensely like how your first impression on almost every one of them slightly changes until you reach the end of the book and you know exactly who they are. The best example of this is Claudia, whom we first might think is a shallow girl but as the pages keep turning we realize just how bright, intelligent and strong she actually is.

I adored this book with every fibre of my being, and once I started I couldn't put it down. I highly recommend it.
Overall, I give this book 5 out of 5★.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Film review: Never Let Me Go

A few days ago I watched the film "Never Let Me Go" which made me think, analyse and (re)consider some concepts, ideas and my overall view and judgement of society, while leaving me in a very *pathetic* sad mood.

Film synopsis: Sheltered teens Kathy (Carey Mulligan), Ruth (Keira Knightley), and Tommy (Andrew Garfield) all grew up at a remote English boarding school, and now they're hungry to explore the real world. Their dreams of freedom are soon stifled, however, upon learning that they are nothing more than clones created specifically for organ harvesting. Now, in addition to confronting their own mortality, all three must come to terms with a lifetime of emotions and unfulfilled longings while pondering their true purpose for being.

Film review: I would, first and foremost, like to say that I watched this film without knowing what it was about, therefore I didn't really know what to expect.
Nevertheless, as the credits rolled I felt incredibly glad for having watched it.

All the acting is positively exquisite, the settings adjust themselves to the mood and atmosphere of every scene in a most marvellous way, the lighting during the entire film was truly beautiful and I couldn't help but be mesmerized by how everything combined originated such a superb piece of work.

It’s such a thought-provoking, sad, moving and heart-breaking story that leaves you thinking about so many different things… About living life the best way you can, enjoying and appreciating every moment like it could be your last, your mortality and the fact that our society is oh-so-very-good at looking the other way. About the way a person, if being left in almost complete ignorance, can accept everything that comes their way and not question it. About the way our society can so easily look at other beings and classify them as inferiors, make them serve their needs and take that for granted. About the fact that, after a while, even if what is being done is completely unethical and inhumane, people won’t care. Because they are beneficing from the whole situation. Therefore, what does it matter if it’s completely heartless?

The whole film just paints a very dark, but also a very realistic, painting of a part of our soul that can be completely cold, gelid actually, calculating and uncaring towards injustice and wrongness.

I truly enjoyed this film, and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of the book this film was based on.
Overall, I give it 4 out of 5★!