Monday, January 28, 2013

'At what point this night I became afraid, I'm not quite sure. To a scholar, fear arrives with a certain shame, akin to the same a soldier feels, holding himself back from the heat of the fray as his comrades are cut down before him.
  Not that I'd know. Unlike Dudley, I've never been a soldier, the kind of knowledge I hold having preserved me from bodily conflict. A bargain with the Crown which decrees I must stride out, wearing knowledge like armour, the questing mind thrust forward like to a sharpened blade.' Phil Rickman, The Heresy of Dr Dee

I totally suck. It wasn't until I finished this novel that I realised that it was part of a series, haha! But to be honest, whilst reading it, there were not moments that I felt I was lost because it was necessary that I read previous books to follow the plot. That was a pleasant surprise.

So, pedal to the metal. This is about the very intriguing historical character Dr John Dee. It's right around the time that the death/murder/assassination/accident/suicide of Robert Dudley's (Queen Bess' favourite) wife Amy transpires (check out Wikipedia if you don't know anything about tiny bit of history). Dr Dee is looking desperately for a scrying stone, because, he kinda told the queen that he had one. Although he is a natural philosopher, mathematician and other very smart things, he's suddenly taken a very firm interest in the occult and wants to study such things from a scientific view point. So, Roberty Dudley (who just cannot be seen in court because everybody thinks he killed his wife) and Dr Dee, decide to go on an adventure to Wales to see if they can get hold of one of those fanciful stones. They become entangled in a high-profile court case, Dr Dee meets a strange boy who can sniff out human bones from the ground, and all the while there's a very odd, very violent, potentially possessed criminal cursing everybody. This is a murder mystery played out in a maze, almost. It's all very... obscure. 

There was some beautiful pieces of prose in this book, and some parts were quite haunting. But to be honest I found myself drifting at times, and not really able to focus on it for long periods. It's not that it was boring. It's just that it sometimes got a little distracted... and there are SO many characters that you may meet once... and then not again till so far in that you kind of forget who they are.

I think that having background knowledge of the period and of Elizabethan life was imperative to enjoying this book, and bringing colour to the novel. Without knowledge of the time period, or even characters in the court during that time, I think the narrative would have been a little flat. It was my previous knowledge that filled out details that Rickman left out. 

Part of what I really enjoyed about this book was that the majority of it was set in Wales. This was excellent as Wales is really quite easily forgotten when looking at British history, and so to have a book based in the Elizabethan period and not only acknowledging that Wales exists... but sets it during that time is awesome. I thought that was so refreshing and had a feeling of novelty. 

Phil Rickman did a great job of characterising the main personalities, and I did enjoy them greatly. I very much loved the enigmatic Robert Dudley, and even took a shine to Dr Dee himself (although he can be a little... whiny). Unfortunately it was the author's tendency to go off topic regularly that just put me off and at times made me lose my way. 
Overall - yes, it's a good read if you enjoy historical fiction and if you've previously read any other Dr Dee books. If you're a fan of Elizabethan Britain then I'd recommend it too. It's a mystery, semi-supernatural, historical kind-of novel, but worth reading. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

In a Nutshell:
A retired potions professor has been asked back to Hogwarts. A professor who knows the horrifying truth about Lord Voldemorte and his powers - and Dumbledore is desperate to find out what that truth is. Harry Potter begins to excel in potions as he's found an old potions book written by the mysterious Half-Blood Prince. A few scenes of bickering, kissing, love, despair, frustration and devastation, surprises and shocks and well, that pretty sums up this instalment of the Harry Potter series and I would definitely not want to ruin it for those of you who have not read the book!

The Audiobook:
Jim Dale is the brilliant narrator of the whole series. I will most definitely make time to listen to Stephen Fry's narration too - but I'm not sure it'll be as awesome as Jim Dale's performance (sorry Stephen Fry, I love you!).

The Story:
Not too much happens in this one to be honest. It can be summed up quite quickly. It was beautifully written, but we basically see the introduction of the horcruxes, how Lord Voldemorte managed to survive the backfired spell and come back from the dead, we see professor Snape finally the teacher of defence against the dark arts. This book is significantly darker than the rest of the previous novels - and some of the characters are a little annoying. But generally speaking it is a good one, it's just a little longer than I feel it needed to be.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

“It's always the mother's fault, ain't it?" she said softly, collecting her coat. "That boy turn out bad cause his mama a drunk, or she a junkie. She let him run wild, she don't teach him right from wrong. She never home when he back from school. Nobody ever say his daddy a drunk, or his daddy not home after school. And nobody ever say they some kids just damned mean. ...”  Lionel ShriverWe Need to Talk About Kevin

This book was intense. 
Very intense indeed.

It tells the tale of the very successful Eva Khatchadourian. The book is written in first person through an epistolary structure. One of my favourite types of first person narrative.
Eva Khatchadourian is writing letters to her estranged husband, recounting certain moments throughout their lives together that told her that Kevin (their first child) was not right. The blurb sets the scene nicely, and you read the book knowing that Kevin was the perpetrator of a school shooting. She is writing two years after the fact, and throughout her letters she speaks with scary honesty about her feelings towards pregnancy, motherhood, her dislike of her own child and her inability to believe that being maternal is innate. 

The Audiobook
We Need to Talk About Kevin is performed by Lorelei King. She's a very well paced, very professional sounding lady, and does an excellent job of exuding a coolness that we would expect from Eva Khatchadourian. Even her male voices and the voice of a young Kevin are very good and believable. I bought this audiobook from Audible and it is only six and a half hours long (thereabouts) and so I found myself listening to this every chance I got; in a taxi, whilst cooking, during work breaks. The production is excellent and of high quality. 

The Story
So the story. This excellent piece of contemporary literature - that I hope, and expect, that in one hundred years time university literature students will be reading for a feminist literature seminar. 
I really thought this was brilliantly written. Some pieces of prose were just... so... mind blowing. So beautiful in their simplicity that sometimes I would rewind the book so I could listen to it again. 

This book is written like a psychological thriller, as well as truly exploring the pressure upon women to be excellent at everything... the pressure of being successful, educated, rich, but also be expected to work, have children, and raise perfect children. Eva is a modern woman's nightmare. She is the embodiment of the anxieties and pressures on western women living now. The fear that after having fulfilled all other expectations in life, a woman must then fulfil what her biology expects of her, she must procreate - and be happy about it, and must have a natural maternal instinct otherwise she is odd, a failure. The arguments, and points to discuss are mind blowing, and I think Shriver takes this all in her stride. There is no rush to the narrative. 

Eva, throughout her narrative, discusses her relationship in depth with Kevin; but at the same time, I read this feeling that I could not trust her whole-heartedly. I then listened to an interview by Shriver who perfectly reflected my feelings towards Eva. Shriver says 

'She’s not a liar, except in the sense that we’re all liars. We all choose to remember some events more often than others, because they play to our version of the world, and of ourselves, whereas the memories that challenge who we are to ourselves have a funny tendency to seep away. So naturally Eva remembers all the scenes in which her son did (or seemed to do) something nasty...' 

and I found that this was the most important thing to remember throughout the novel... that, truly, I wasn't sure if Kevin was born with a sociopathic personality disorder - or whether he was reacting to his mother's dislike of him and desperate for attention. Does she carry the blame solely for Kevin's oddness as a child, or was he born to commit those murders. It's the recurring argument of Nature Vs Nurture.

The interesting part in the book is that Kevin's father, Franklin, absolutely adores his son, and cannot see in Kevin what Eva does... and Kevin resents it. The morning before he commits the murders Kevin has an outburst towards his father that gives the impression that his father never really saw him for who he was - and that he hated him for that. It's very interesting.

Suffice to say, in my opinion, Kevin wins at the end. That is the saddest part about the novel. He wins, and yet, Eva seems to mend a little because Kevin has won. 

I won't give away the ending, but read it - let me know what you think. Did Kevin win in the end? Or did Eva rise above it all?

A review of the movie will be on its way very soon.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Is anybody as excited about this as me? I'm sure there's somebody out there waiting with bated breath for this film?

It stars the following...

Dane DeHaan (the guy who goes nuts in Chronicle)
Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter)
Elizabeth Olsen (the sister of those creepy Olsen Twins)
Michael C Hall (Dexter, from Dexter)
David Cross (the crazy talent guy from Alvin and the Chipmunks)
Ben Foster (that mutant from x-men III who had big wings)
Jack Huston (that guy from Eastwick and yes I am quite embarrassed that I watched that show)

I think I'm just excited about it because it's about real life poets. I'm such a lit-geek it is shocking. Reviews from Sundance aren't raving - but I'll love it. I'm sure of it. I have to!

Oh me, oh my! This is another film from our most recent movie nights; and what a movie night it was! I've had this on my to-watch pile for quite a while but I could never seem to get around to it, but finally, I did - and this is what I thought...

This. Was. So. Refreshing.

I really enjoyed it. It features the classic horror line up... college kids, off to West Virginia to go camping in hillbilly territory, to have a good time. Oddly, two guys (Tucker and Dale... who are hillbillies) have bought a cabin in the woods as a holiday home, and are also travelling up to the forest to relax. Unfortunately, there is miscommunication when one of the college girls falls off a rock in to a pond, and Tucker and Dale rescue her; but the college kids believe them to be kidnapping their friend. What ensues is a comedy of errors where both parties believe the other to be stalking, threatening and killing the other. 

It is awesome.

I really enjoyed this. It was in the same vein as Sean of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, although it is a Canadian/American film. It made fun of the horror genre without being as blasé as the Scary Movie franchise - and not so obscure that you don't really get it. It was nice to watch something from the other perspective... instead of crazy hillbillies hunting college kids, it was pretty much the other way round. According to Tucker and Dale, the college kids just surrounded their cabin and started killing themselves (it is very funny!). The great thing is, is that the film has also tried to inject a mystery in the plot that Dale (the not so smart one) unravels with the college girl he was thought to have kidnapped.

I believe we see crazy hillbillies in Wrong Turn, CSI and even in Criminal Minds. It seems to be a recurring theme that pops up in American films and so seems to be a part of the public consciousness. The film won four awards in a variety of categories. 

It stars the pirate guy from Dodgeball... if you remember him at all? He was also in Knocked Up - he was the boss I think! 

Anywho, I recommend this film for those getting together with their friends. For those who believe that hillbillies are just plain misunderstood, and of course for those who like to see college kids die in horrific ways. It's all very awesome.

The trailer is below - enjoy!

Friday, January 18, 2013

“But the plans were on display …”
“On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”
“That’s the display department.”
“With a flashlight.”
“Ah, well, the lights had probably gone.”
“So had the stairs.”
“But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?”
“Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard.” Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The first time I had ever heard of this book, I believe I was about thirteen years old. I was at my then best-friend's house and she'd made a comment in the effect of 
    'My dad is reading The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy'
    'Oh?' I had replied,
    'He said it is really funny'
    'Oh, so it's fictional?' Said I. She peered at me over her magazine with a quizzical look upon her face and that's all I really recall.

So, after I finished Macbeth: A Novel recently - I honestly felt emotionally drained and slightly uncomfortable, and couldn't bear the thought of going straight on to something that could be as intense, or serious as Macbeth had been. Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy popped in to my head, and I downloaded it from Audible and got to listening. 

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was written by Douglas Adams and originally had been a comedic radio show on one of the BBC stations. It begins with poor, old, average Arthur Dent when he wakes up one morning forgetting that his house is supposed to be knocked down that day to make room for a bypass. What transpires is something much bigger - his best friend, Ford Prefect, suddenly turns up, spouting that the world is about to end, and that he is saving Arthur Dent. Poor old earth is being vaporised to make room for an intergalactic bypass. Well, that's pretty much it really. He and Ford just kind of spend the rest of the book hitch-hiking around until Arthur finds out the very odd truth about our humble blue planet. 

The Audiobook
One of my favourite narrators is the reader of this short book; the one, the only Stephen Fry of course. I'd previously listened to Fry reading his book The Fry Chronicles, which was simply brilliant. I've been, and still am a mahoosive Fry fan, I can't help it, I love the guy - and after listening to this book, there really could have been no other narrator who would have been able to do it justice as Fry did. He was brilliant, well paced, with great articulation (am I fawning too much?), haha, too bad I'm not a big fan of the book itself - but truly, if it wasn't for Stephen Fry's narration I wouldn't have persevered with the book.

The Story
As I mentioned earlier I read this for ... well... comic relief! I'd left Macbeth feeling a little disturbed, and well, needed a palate cleanser, and well, a long came this one.

So, what did I think? I wasn't impressed if I am honest. There were parts that were brilliantly ironic, that were funny and that were just odd. And to be honest it all smelt and tasted quintessentially British - which I could appreciate (add to the fact that Stephen Fry was narrating it) greatly. But - there just seemed to be a lot missing. For instance... I just didn't really feel for the characters, I understand that it is a comedy, but still, I still want to care what happens to the characters. It was just all very random - which I am sure it is supposed to be, but I just couldn't suspend belief and just enjoy it... I was too busy thinking 'hold on.. what's going on now?'

I would also pause the book thinking 'am I just not posh enough for this?', 'is this just for upper-middle class people', 'am I not the right generation for this?', 'is my humour too low-brow for this nonsense?' - I kid you not, I really did ask myself every single one of those questions, and none of them were answered, and, in all honestly... I was relieved when I finished it. 

I believe, in my stunted way, that Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker series must have some sort of Marmite effect around the world... some people love it, and I am sure that some people are repelled by it. 

Sorry Mr. Adams. Forgive me. I'm sure you were awesome. And your work is still bringing joy and giggles to many people. But. Well. I just didn't get it. And you're a British treasure - I know. I just... couldn't connect. Sorry. 
P.s. I tried to watch the film and stopped about twenty minutes in. Sorry. I didn't get that either.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The fabulous Emma from Mab is Mab is our writer today. She's a pretty impressive character with skills ranging from the absurd to the down right brilliant - the most absurd is that she likes to cycle... a lot (of course this also makes her all healthy and stuff too), other skills worth mentioning are her awesome photography skills, writing and shopping skills, she's also a voracious reader, graphic designer and book-blogger extraordinaire; so all in all, her review could be nothing but fabulous. So, without further ado - here is Emma with her review of 2012's Les Miserables!

I am primarily a book blogger, and in no way a film critic, but when the two worlds collide I enter the arena with an open mind. Granted, films rarely amount to, and even more rarely surpass, their literary counterparts in my experience, but Les Miserables is something of an anomaly. It has been retold successfully and adored in many forms. It seems to be universally loved as a story and also an inspiration to many - including one of my favourite authors, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, who uses the book as a plot device in The Shadow Of The Wind; a book I recommend heartily to anyone.

I have read Victor Hugo's masterpiece, and loved every minute of it. I have equally enjoyed the London West End show on more than one occasion, having been lucky enough to witness the faultless Norm Lewis as Javert, and Alfie Boe in his rise to fame. Now, cinema goers have a fully realised film, created with all the lavishness modern technology and CGI allows.

At almost 3 hours long, the film packs in all the songs from the stage alongside the added bonus of brilliant scenery, bringing a depth to the vision of Hugo's 19th century France that the stage cannot. We are also treated to a host of well cast actors. On the face of things Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe are the perfect choices for Valjean and Javert, with their imposing build and rough, tough appearances, and Anne Hathaway embodies the fragile Fontaine beautifully.

Visually, the film is stunning. I actually wish I could have seen it on an even bigger screen so that it could fill my sight entirely. It was just beautiful to look at. I loved the use of long shots and closeups while characters were singing, and especially the decision to have the characters singing straight into the camera lens, breaking the "forth wall". I felt this was a brave thing to do, and disconnected the songs from the rest of the film almost. However, I have a feeling it is a "Marmite" thing. I thought it was particularly well used during "I dreamed a dream" - a song I have heard so often post-Sue-Bo that I felt I would never be able to connect to it ever again. How wrong was I?! Tears rolled down my face as Anne Hathaway broke apart in front of me, and I could not take my eyes away from her.

If anyone has read my blog before, you may be expecting a "but" about now, and right you would be... while moments of this movie soared in triumph, other parts of it never quite left the ground. What bugged me the most about this film was the wasted potential of Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman. Everything said that these two, in these roles, should have been amazing. The set supported them, the songs were there and the characters were almost written for their acting styles... so what happened?! I sat in anticipation of two particular moments in the entire film: The Confrontation and The Bridge. I was left cold, and in disbelief that these two actors could not deliver the gravitas and tension of their shared scenes. Hey guys, waving a sword at each other does not substitute for a sense of argument in your voice!! I felt like screaming at them to get some balls, GO AT EACH OTHER! These men are not friends! As for the bridge scene... words honestly fail me. Disappointment does not come close. In fact, for anyone thinking I have over-exaggerated these facts, someone has conveniently made you this video to prove I have not: 


Onto my next moan then... let's talk about instalove. The dreaded instalove, of the kind favoured by authors of young adult novels with aspirations of Twilight. We find that young people just need a smile from afar to fall hopelessly, heedlessly in absolute I'll-die-without-them LOVE. And here within lies the roles of Marius and Cossette, two of the drippiest, most inconsequential, infuriating characters ever to grace your eyeballs. (The book portrays them a bit better, but this film had me choking on my popcorn). One day, Marius sees a girl smile at him and announces he is in love. If he doesn't find out who she is he might just stop being, goldarnit! Someone find out where she lives!!! Blah blah blah they falsetto at each other in the longest gazing sequence you will ever encounter. Romeo and Juliet "seeing her through the crowd" genius this is not.

I believe the biggest fault in this film was in the apparent process of "putting the stage on the screen, with added book". It seems that the film has forgotten it is cinema in all respects other than in technology enhanced visuals. And yes, it looks good, but when characters are singing little twiddley sentences (which are not songs and never amount to songs) instead of scripted prose, to tell us where they're going or what they're seeing, the film feels its length. I also think this film would have been all the better if there were no songs at all - call me blasphemous if you will! While some cast members do a notable job at telling the story of their lyrics, there is a distinct lack of emotion in some of the weightier numbers. The confrontation lacks urgency, Javert's final song makes his act feel like an overreaction due to a lack of madness and obsession in his delivery and "bring him home" seems like a foolish leap of faith.

Also, the stage version benefits from an interval. Without a reprieve in the film, the audience is plunged 9 years into the future into the laps of school boys plotting a revolution, right after a declaration of revenge on Valjean from Javert. Hang on a minute... what? Students? Who are you? Why do I care? (ie. you don't, no one needs to care about Marius) There is no sense of starting anew, no sense of a "part 2", just kabam! Revolution and barricades! Who will stand? Not bloody me...

So. While I didn't dislike Les Miserables, I didn't exactly hold it in, say, the ranks of Chicago and Phantom of the Opera, both of which were film versions of musicals that brought something new and different to their base material. I also don't think I would recommend Les Mis to anyone who has a vague uncertainty about musicals. The sentences-in-song thing just won't endear them to the concept. 

I do, however, recommend the black and white subtitled version of Les Miserables if any fan of the story wants a cinematic representation. Grittier, dark and with no musical content the story is beautifully told. Go vintage on this one guys, and see the London musical. It's epic.

Many thanks to Emma for the excellent review. If you'd like to read more of Emma - please take a visit over to you won't regret it! 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

“The only rule that ever made sense to me I learned from a history, not an economics, professor at Wharton. "Fear," he used to say, "fear is the most valuable commodity in the universe." That blew me away. "Turn on the TV," he'd say. "What are you seeing? People selling their products? No. People selling the fear of you having to live without their products." Fuckin' A, was he right. Fear of aging, fear of loneliness, fear of poverty, fear of failure. Fear is the most basic emotion we have. Fear is primal. Fear sells.” Max Brooks, World War Z

I had been quite excited to read this book. I started it before I left on holiday and is quite a quick read. 

The book is quite literally what it sells itself to be 'An Oral History of the Zombie War'. 

The text begins after the war, and what you're reading is a bunch of interviews by Max Brooks - interviewing ex-military, doctors, crazy dictators, scientists etc etc. This is the type of book, I imagine, that in 2000 years it'll be found, and our descendants will believe that we lived through a Zombie apocalypse and survived. The interviews are chronological, the first interview given by a doctor in China who was one of the first people to diagnose the problem. 

So was this book any good? Well, it was interesting, very interesting in fact. It seems that the author certainly did his homework. He looked at the world as it is now, politically, economically spiritually and I believe pretty much described what we could realistically expect if a plague such as the one described really did spread. So, if anything, it is a fictional commentary of countries and how they responded, as well as the people involved.

Unfortunately, as it is a bunch of interviews and I knew that mankind survived, there was no real drama. There wasn't a particular group of characters that I couldn't bare to see die. I didn't feel suspense, or anxiety over their well being. I knew they survived because they were being interviewed after the fact - if you catch my drift. The writing and many voices were excellently executed and to ignore that would be unfair. Although I read for the drama of it, I also read to meet characters that I care about. Unfortunately this was an impossibility with this book. 

The book read like non-fiction, so much so that when I finished reading I really did think - hmmm... well, I've definitely learnt something new; and then I had to remind myself that this is just a prediction of how the world and its peoples would respond to a calamity such as this one. And yes, it's a prediction, but as far as I am aware, I really do think that Mr. Brooks got it SPOT ON. Maybe I seem that I do not have much faith in the human condition - but that's not it. I'm a realist, and I think, looking at the world around us now - most of us would really be able to predict how things would unravel.

Anywho - I recommend you read it if you want to read something interesting. Don't read it for a plot line, or to love characters, or for drama, or horror, or for thrills... or well, anything like that! Read it because you like history and you're interested in psychology - and only slightly interested in zombies - as they don't really feature much!

Oh - and apparently the movie will be coming out in June 2013!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

“And still you'll hesitate to tell him, won't you? Why? Because you're a woman? Is your destiny such a small thing then? To keep your legs open and your mouth shut?” Macbeth: A Novel - A.J Hartley and David Hewson

Well good morning! I guess you may have thought that I'd forgotten all about you, but I hadn't. I actually just got back from holiday. And lucky for me, I took a few books and audiobooks to pass some of my spare time. 

So, Macbeth: A Novel has been on my to-read pile for a very long time. And I did it, I finally got around to reading it. 
This is pretty much the same story as Shakespeare's Macbeth, and it pays homage to his genius, whilst also using historical facts and records to cushion out the story. The writers (one of which is a professor of Shakespeare) unashamedly twist and change things - using their own creativity to make the story eerie and uncomfortable; and uncomfortable it most certainly is. 

It follows the same story - pretty much. Macbeth is a warrior, fighting for Duncan, the King. He and Skener Macbeth (Lady Macbeth has a name!) then decide that Macbeth is pretty much deserving of his crown, and so when King Duncan is invited to his castle for a feast... they both murder him, this in turn destroys both their relationship and their consciences. Macbeth falls to to paranoia, becoming dependent on predictions made by three witches... one an old crone, another a giant woman, and the third, a woman in a young girl's body.

This all culminates to the same ends as they do in Shakespeare's Macbeth, except we have detailed prose rather than actors doing all the work!

The Audiobook
Alan Cumming is the narrator of this novel and a fine one he is. He manages to differentiate between all the different characters flawlessly, and his female voices aren't too odd either - which is a nice change when it comes to male narrators. I think the nicest touch was that they actually had a Scot narrate the story, giving a touch of believability that is needed in the narration of a story such as this one. 

The production was nicely done as well, and we even get to hear the voices of the authors both at the beginning and at the end of the story giving details in to the creative process that went in to writing Macbeth: A Novel.

The Story
The prose is full of Scotland. That may sound silly but it's true. Sprawling, vicious and beautiful landscapes that directly impose themselves upon the characters. There is also a lot of pathetic fallacy, personification and an abundance of gothic conventions that just make this story - quite simply - beautifully written.

Hartley and Hewson do a pretty brilliant job of characterising Skener and Macbeth in such a way that as a reader you do really like them, and empathise the silly mistakes they make. Macbeth's paranoia becomes uncomfortable, not because we think him mad, but because his madness is a result from his fall from grace. Hartley and Hewson seduce us in the first few scenes, Macbeth and Skener having lovely characters and morals - and then we see the temptation, the action, the fall, and the decline. It is the love that Macbeth and Skener have for one another that when it self-destructs it is pitiful. 

There is all sorts in this book. There's murder, misogyny, feminism, sex, violence, paedophilia, rape, infanticide, crime, conspiracy, war, regicide, magic, mystery and romance - and all are developed and explored in a way that can really make the reader uncomfortable - but also, at times, was able to give respite to audiences.

The narrative is intense, as are the characters, and so for me, I really had to take short breaks as I could feel myself becoming a little overwhelmed. 

There were times that I could feel myself rolling my eyes and saying to myself 'this is a book for men' - haha, sexist... I know. I just found that a lot of the fight scenes were just needlessly long, and more for an audience who enjoyed the movie 300, rather than Shakespeare enthusiasts. 

So... as a Shakespeare enthusiast am I enraged at the bastardisation of his Scottish play? No, not at all in fact. I think this is an excellent resource for those who just cannot connect with the English of the play but want to be able to enjoy the story. It's also great for those who do not go to theatre, and enjoy prose instead. 

So why do I only give it three stars? Well, it's just because it felt... so... long, and at times I felt like I was reading it because I had to, not because I wanted to. And maybe, in a more sexist vein, I found it... very... masculine, and I couldn't connect with the female characters. But, I will say this, I will happily read any future novelisations of Shakespeare's plays. I'd love to read what they do with them.

But anywho - that's just me. If you liked it, or are planning on listening to it any time soon - then please, hit me a line and tell me off if I just didn't get it! 
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