Saturday, July 27, 2013

Hugo Soundtrack Review

I'm listening to the Hugo soundtrack as I write this. I picked it up at the library because the music was produced by Howard Shore - the amazing composer for The Lord of the Rings films (which no other soundtrack has rivaled, in my opinion). My first thoughts as I began my first listen were:

Wow...this is really different than The Lord of the Rings. I wasn't expecting Paris music - I thought this music was set in Britain from the pictures I saw. Do I like this enough to give it a good rating or is it just blah?

But as the soundtrack went on, I seemed to glimpse - or was that just me looking for anything LOTR - little moments that felt like the LOTR soundtrack, such as in the track "Hugo's Father". However, the soundtrack was still its own soundtrack, and while it wasn't the same high quality as LOTR (in my opinion), it was still magical. I liked the close-to-the-ending French song sung by a woman called Zaz (or maybe that's just me liking everything to do with France :P).

Final decision (aka rating): 8 out 10

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Princess Academy: Palace of Stone - a Book Review

In Princess Academy, Miri and other girls of age from her territory of Mount Eskel were trained to become ladies so that one of them could be chosen as the next princess. Now Miri and a few of her friends from the Academy travel to the kingdom to help Britta, the chosen princess, prepare for her wedding. Miri attends school at the prominent school - Queen's Castle - and also learns of the revolution being stirred up among the people. With loyalties to both the people and the royals, and torn between an old love and a new, Miri struggles to find a meaning among the opposites and a place in Danland.

I read Princess Academy a few years ago, so I wasn't quite sure how I would find reading the sequel. Yes, I did end up not remembering a few characters, but I still enjoyed the story. I have seen some people on the Internet complain that the characters weren't as likeable as they were in the first book, so perhaps I might have had a different impression of this book if I read its prequel again, but that's not the point of this review.

First, I'll concentrate on the romance. It had a bigger part in this book since the boy(s) Miri liked were actually in the same city as she for the whole book, but it still was an element, not the whole story and so much in-your-face like all those romance books I have read about (aka Twilight). I liked the way Hale dealt with this topic - making me root for Peder (Miri's old love) one minute, then Timon (okay, now let nobody say that they didn't think of The Lion King when they hear that name because I know you did) the next, and then back again and all over. That was definitely a new experience!

Then to the story itself. As far as I remember the first book, I think I would say I would find this book more interesting. I guess you could say that the first book was a little shallow since it had the whole princess thing and all (but it was written in a way that veered away from the shallowness of the topic). This book, however, dealt with more mature matters - meaning REVOLUTION. That got me pretty excited with my love of Les Miserables and all. ;) And the way that Hale dealt with this topic - wow. I have read books that go on the side of the people (Les Miserables) and I have read a book that goes on the side of the nobility (In the Reign of Terror), but I have never read a book that had my thoughts in it - meaning a little on both sides, relishing the glory, but not liking it for its bloodshed. Even though the book was on my side of the whole debate on revolution, the story still provided some food for thought.

Alyianna's Rating: 8.5 out of 10

P.S. This book really felt like a historical fiction rather than a fantasy. :)