Personal Fandoms & Life

I'm going to try to write this post without beating myself up too much.

Anyway, you all know of my undying love of Supernatural. I've watched this show for literally a third of my life (OH SNAP) and that's because of the great storytelling, the wonderful self-awareness, and my ... thing  with Dean Winchester.

It's weird to say I relate with Dean because I'm a lot more like Sam. I don't drink or party or act as impulsively as Dean. I love school, reasoning with people, and I'm generally as self-aware as Sam is. But for whatever reason, I feel like I get Dean.

Dean is loyal and cares about his family. He is all bravado and jokes. He doesn't commit to much, or share all his feelings all the time. He's a bit of an asshole, and I fully admit that he is misogynistic, and yet I love him anyway. Does that make me a bad feminist? Well, it's hard because there's not much I can love if it has to be perfectly feminist. So I love him despite his flaws.

But this post isn't about my love of Dean. It's about fandom, and passionately one can love fictional worlds. How characters can feel like best friends, comforting me when I'm lonely, or available any time I want to celebrate.

It's such a personal relationship I have with the things I love that I try to downplay it. I really do. When I say I love Dean Winchester, people don't get that I genuinely do feel a really strong protectiveness for this character that means so much to me. I'm not loving it because of my friends, or because of anything that can variably change. I love it because I can't touch it. I can't ruin it. It can't be ruined for me.

This is something truly significant to me. At one point in my life, I felt like everything was changing and I didn't want it. I felt like I was trying so hard to hold onto something that was slipping away. Everyone else was moving on, and I was left behind with nothing but memories of better days. I remember the phrase I would use "searching for constancy, seeking permanence." I think this is the point where my fandom would always grow.

People come and go. This isn't to say I don't love people. I think there's something so special about the people that stay, that are constants in life, but that's another conversation, and even those people can leave you or you can leave them. I've experienced both. I think people are unreliable. Fandom is different.

When you love something in fandom, it stays with you. It's that one moment in time that never changes. It's these characters and their story, that you can watch when you're 13, or when you're 18, and it's still yours to love. These characters aren't real. They don't move on or change. Eventually, if you hate the direction a fandom or story is going in, you can just quit. It's not something that forces you to hold on, there are no messy goodbyes, there are no demands made of you. You love it because you love it and if you don't love it, you don't. There's no sympathy or sorrow, shame or regret. It's just what it is.

And because of this lack of commitment, because of how easy it is, it feels like I can love fully when it comes to my fandoms. This content is mine. The creator creates it, and I experience it in whatever way my mind conceives, and it's such a personal thing.

It's midnight and I'm writing this as I was pondering how one scene with Dean Winchester utterly devastated and broken could have me so emotional too. And not the kind of emotional where I'm sad when I'm watching, and then I let it go. How can I just absorb a mood from TV like that? How can I let myself fully feel this when real-terrible things have happened and I didn't flinch?

Fandom is safety. It's private, and personal. It doesn't demand anything from me, and I can just fully enjoy it without reservation. I thought this applied to real life fandoms too (think sports) but I've grown up past the point where sports stars are heroes.

I'm lucky to have fandom. But sometimes, I can't help but wish for more. Everything comes at a price, and this is fandom's. As much as I love it, as satisfying as it can be, sometimes it leaves me hollow because I wish so much that there could be more to a story. It's a strange yearning, it's muddling that so much love can be put into something that won't reciprocate, and that can so easily be forgotten and left behind.

I always try to write my posts with some sort of conclusion, but I can't think of anything appropriate for this post. I guess it's that fandom is something really important in my life, and yet I never think of it that way except when I'm immersed in it. I don't remember my life based on which story enchanted my mind for what period of time. I look at actions, and people, academics and careers. And yet whenever I need it, there it is.

And to be honest, that comforts me. I'm happy to be able to live in a world where I can find these things that drive me to write a random blog post in the middle of a Saturday night. It's like a reminder that the world has so much to offer, and I'm excited about the fandoms that matter to me today, and I'm also excited about the new things I'll love tomorrow.


What do you think?

Thursday Thoughts: Gimme more DUFFS, Girls Run the World

Gimme More DUFFS

by Mari

Whilst reading The Wrath and the Dawn I realized how much I despise beautiful protagonists. Beauty is the biggest cheat in YA romantic fiction. Why does the Caliph of Khorasan, the man known to kill his bride's by dawn get wooed by Shahrzad?

Psst. Mari, Mari, Mari. Haven't you heard? SHE IS BEAUTIFUL, ELEGANT, QUEENLY!

Honestly? Where are all my DUFFs at? Whats wrong with being the "average" looking girl next door with an epic personality? Nothing. I want more romances where little or no focus is on looks and more on personality and wit. Please, take pity on me and send some recommendations my way. Will be eternally grateful.

(Psssst Mari, check out The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson! (From P.E.)) 
(Psssst. P.E. already read it. (From Mari))

Who Runs the World? GIRLS.

by P.E.

I read The Mime Order about a week ago, and I'm still obsessed with it. You see, my favourite new thing to read about is girls in charge. Ambitious types. Girls that lead. We've had enough reluctant heroes. I want protagonists that want to take charge and change the world. Especially girls that are like, "I got this." College has exposed me to many powerful women, and the dilemma of few women at the top. It's tough for women to get there, and stay there. That's why I'm so up for reading about women that are ready to not only fight for rebellion, but lead it. 

Paige does that. Elisa from the aforementioned Girl of Fire and Thorns is another example. Jodi Meadow's The Orphan Queen has that too. Queen of Someday, Queen of Tomorrow both feature this. I'm further hoping Celaena gets there too! (She's powerful, but somewhat reluctant... c'mon Celaena, GO FOR IT.)

100 Bloglovin Followers

Also, we'd both like to make a quick note of reaching 100 followers on Bloglovin! To be honest, we're stunned. We haven't been as active as we want to be, but we've always wanted to post quality posts. We hope you enjoy what we've written, and we'd like to thank you for following us on this blog, and through our lives. We started this blog in high school, and now we're in college. Thank you for joining us on our journey, and you are awesome and deserve lots of wonderful things. 


What do you think?

Review: The Winner's Curse

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love...

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

My Review 

Author: Marie Rutkoski
Pages: 355
Publication Date: March 4 2014
Source: Library

We were not meant to be. I adore this cover fiercely, but the contents of the story just never sat well with me. 

First, I don't particularly like any of the characters. Kestrel plays piano, cares for music, and buys Arin on a whim. She's spirited, argues with her father about joining the military, and is very crafty. And yet I never liked the way the world bent down to Kestrel. Okay, she's strategic, but she is also someone with very little training. Later on, she also does something I can't reconcile whatsoever. 

Arin also didn't interest me. Not for a single second was I surprised about his storyline, and it's not something I wanted to see. It's the easy way out. It avoids the messes of the relationship that this story needed to deal with better. 

Mostly, the massive power imbalances. Arin is Kestrel's slave. His very existence depends on her. No matter how much you like someone, you're not free to really be honest with someone and have a real relationship if that person has that kind of power over you. A romance between Arin and Kestrel is something that, if it did happen, needed to delve into those psychological issues more than it did. This is more than forbidden romance, two lovers from the wrong sides of the track. I didn't like their relationship in any part of this story. 

There's also the way the story stretches my believability. The main characters are so special and talented. So special. Anyway, there is fighting, questions of duty, and the really fascinating colonial aspects as the Valorians have pretty much stolen everything the Herrani have and even live in the former's homes. Yuck. 

Still, I don't think this story is for me. The romance isn't working, and it's so central to the story that I can't just suck it up and ignore it. 



What do you think?

Review: To All the Boys I've Loved Before

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all. 

My Review

Author: Jenny Han
Pages: 288
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: April 15 2014
Source: Library

This is a very good book. You should trust me on this because I rarely read contemporary, muchtheless romance, high school, sweet contemporary. I gave this one a try because of the hype, and that I liked the surprising depth to Jenny Han's writing I saw in The Summer I Turned Pretty. This one was even better.

Let's get over one thing; I want a Margot-goes-to-college story. I want Margot's perspective on leaving her family, on her life, on her challenges, etc. I started the story really identifying with Margot because I just finished my first year of college and I understood how Margot felt. The whole college thing was really well explained and very accurate, in my opinion. The awkward moments when you leave, when you're on the phone, when you return, all of those things are true.

Jenny Han wrote a story that was very true to me. I also have a younger nine year old sister (although no Lara Jean middle child) that I feel very responsible for. I also live with a single parent, and although I'm not Korean, I could relate to Lara Jean's perspective on culture. This story was great, because these are not really typical in the contemporaries I read, and all together they helped create a fresh reading experience.

The writing was really nice, and the relationships shined. Lara Jean is very fancy, and sweet. She is deeply loyal to those she cares most (and loyalty is one of my favourite character traits). She doesn't always get things right but she tried. And she's scared of driving, like me. I'm pretty sure this book is going to eventually motivate me into driving a car again. She's someone I would be friends with, and someone I can clearly imagine. She has a unique perspective on life, and I love it.

Throughout this book, Lara Jean learns a lot and experiences a lot. I won't spoil the fun of it, but once her letters are gone, Lara Jean has some stuff she needs to figure out. The best part is that Lara Jean's relationships with everyone shape her so clearly. Her sisterly bond with Margot and Kitty was powerful; her bond with her dad was sweet; her loyalty to Chris, her best friend. And of course the connections she formed to every one of the boys she loved.

Basically, I'm ready for the sequel! And I'm so up for a Margot book. Jenny Han, please make that happen?!



What do you think?

Mini Review: Taken By Erin Bowman

There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends…and he’s gone.

They call it the Heist.

Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive.

Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side?

My Review

Author: Erin Bowman
Pages: 360
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: April 16 2013
Source: Library

For a really scary second, I remembered absolutely nothing about the story when looking at the cover. And then I realized why: the title of this book, Taken, is incredibly generic and it doesn't do the story justice.

The title I've been associating with this story is The Heist. Because the heist is basically what this story is about. It starts as your typical dystopia, only really fascinating because you're seeing a society in which boys' lifetimes are limited and so society is run by women.

There were fascinating aspects to making life work, and the really weird occurrence that was the heist itself-- a boy, when he turns 18 literally disappears in front of all the people in the village.

The story surprises me because it goes beyond the typical and establishes itself really well with lots of action and smart character development. Gray is impulsive and sometimes a jerk. He loves his brother and his family, and he just keeps running into trouble. He learns and grows a lot through The Heist, and I'm curious to see where his story goes.

Something that really stood out for me is spoilery, so I'll keep the spoilers out and say that I loved the way romance was woven into the story. It is very out of the norm and believable. Of course, there are some moments in which I think Gray is a massive jerk, but in general, I love what Erin Bowman did. It was unexpected and great.

Another random comment is that the villain in the story was not that scary to me. They were sleazy, but a la House of Cards, and those kind of characters don't work for me. Still, they antagonized Gray enough and the story was pretty interesting.

I'll probably read the sequel because this was pretty good! In some ways, it reminded me of The Maze Runner.



What do you think?

Mini-Review: The Falconer


Here's an update from the scintillating world of P.E.

I started the summer with pretty much one goal: get a job. My first job.

It was a long time before I secured employment. And apparently, I not only secured a job, the part-time job I thought I signed up for ending up being full-time. So now I labour long hours behind a computer, pondering SEO and CTAs, Adwords and Analytics, content marketing and graphic design.

Some days it is terrible, and other days I love it. But that's life!

And somehow, in the middle of the beginning my job, my mother scheduled us for a vacation to the big T-O. (Toronto, for those unaware of the "Centre of the Universe".)

To Toronto I went, other responsibilities be damned. I had a darn good time, too.

Throughout my trip, I read voraciously. I suppose I could write long reviews for every book I read. It's been too long for me to do that, and my memory is absurdly horrid. Instead, I'll mini-review these books.

The Falconer is the first of the books I'll review.

One girl's nightmare is this girl's faery tale

She's a stunner.

Edinburgh, 1844. Eighteen-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, has everything a girl could dream of: brains, charm, wealth, a title—and drop-dead beauty.

She's a liar.
But Aileana only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. she's leading a double life: She has a rare ability to sense the sìthíchean—the faery race obsessed with slaughtering humans—and, with the aid of a mysterious mentor, has spent the year since her mother died learning how to kill them.

She's a murderer.

Now Aileana is dedicated to slaying the fae before they take innocent lives. With her knack for inventing ingenious tools and weapons—from flying machines to detonators to lightning pistols—ruthless Aileana has one goal: Destroy the faery who destroyed her mother.

She's a Falconer.

The last in a line of female warriors born with a gift for hunting and killing the fae, Aileana is the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity. Suddenly, her quest is a lot more complicated. She still longs to avenge her mother's murder—but she'll have to save the world first.

The first volume of a trilogy from an exciting new voice in young adult fantasy, this electrifying thriller combines romance and action, steampunk technology and Scottish lore in a deliciously addictive read.

My Review

 Author: Elizabeth May
Pages: 378
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: September 19 2013
Source: Library

I'd say this one was moderately entertaining. Frankly, it's been a while and my recollection of the story is slim. I do remember that there's a case of perfect girl syndrome, in which the main character has it all.

Nothing wrong with having it all, but the story of "she looks like she has it all, but she really doesn't" is not exactly ripe.

There are fairies, however! And Scotland! Although the environment didn't use that setting to its fullest potential. The fairies were fascinating. Especially Kieran. And fascinating is as far as it goes, because I really lacked a grasp on his character. He was very mysterious. Also, there is a tiny fairy that loves to get drunk on honey. I adore this little fairy.

Aileana is hell-bent on revenge. I did feel bad for her because she felt so alone after her mother's death, and her father was a bit of a jerk (as far as I remember).

Strangely enough, this story reminded me of The Winner's Curse in the set up.

The ending wasn't really memorable, in the sense that I literally can't remember any part of it beyond some battle that I think Aileana won? And I suppose the next book deals with the consequences.

I would recommend this to people looking for some easy excitement. It didn't do enough to impress me, but it was a solid read.



What do you think?