alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
alias_sqbr ([personal profile] alias_sqbr) wrote2016-12-19 10:50 am

Seasonal Consumption

(Where that season is Summer, regardless of what most internet sites assume is globally universal)

Movies:

Love and Friendship: Really fun adaptation of Jane Austen's Lady Susan, a very snarky depiction of a brilliant but amoral woman manipulating everyone around her in order to get her way. It all ends happily and there's some background romance but it's a lot more focused on darkly cynical humour than her later published works. It's been too long since I read the novella for me to have noticed any changes but the movie works pretty well asides from the odd bit of awkward stageyness. Kate Beckinsale is amazing as Lady Susan, she's obviously having a ball.

Zootopia: This was an entertaining Disney movie with endearing 3D talking animals and a well meaning
but highly flawed message about tolerance. The predator vs prey Metaphorical Prejudice went both ways, neatly avoiding the need to critique institutionalised privilege, so the moral just focused on personal prejudice and Not Giving Up. Also there was a genuine biological difference which seems unfortunate when the closest real prejudice seems to be race. But the movie did try and was otherwise pretty sweet and funny.

Anime:

Yuri on Ice: continues to get gayer and more endearing. [personal profile] flamebyrd joked that it may end in mpreg and I wouldn't be entirely surprised.

Kiss Him Not Me: Gleefully cheesy shoujo comedy about a fat girl who is into fictional m/m losing weight and finding herself with a harem of cute boys (and one girl!) wanting to date her when she would much rather watch anime and cute boys kissing. Obvious Issues With Fatness, though it's made clear that much of the harem likes her just as much fat (either they always did or come to appreciate her more deeply) And it's just...really sweet. The main character is a genuinely decent, loveable person, and while some of the dudes are a bit annoying they're all decent at heart, and there's this really lovely sense of comradery and friendship that grows over time between everyone, so that while they do still want to date her they also just enjoy all hanging out together. Sadly the m/m is all uncomfortable straight dudes but the f/f is sincere, even if it's pretty clear the girl LI isn't going to be Final Boy she is taken seriously by the characters and narrative. Alas the main character's voice actress has an unfortunate Fat Voice in the anime :(

Manga:

Kiss Him Not Me: Much like the anime minus Fat Voice and plus slightly more coherent plotting. And of course there's more of it.

Webcomic:

David Doesn't Get It: a diary comic by an aromantic asexual Vietnamese American who experienced childhood abuse. It's funny and compassionate and sprawling, flipping back and forth between parts of his life and slowly painting a picture of all the people he knows and his changing views on them and his own life. Has a somewhat bittersweet ending where unexpectedly ending up with a kid meant he didn't have time for the comic any more and felt uncomfortable writing about it in public, but I still found it overall optimistic. A bit confusing in parts with his large family and non linear writing.

Books:

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge: A very good YA fantasy novel whose main flaw was not being as interesting as Cuckoo Song. Both start with a girl from a well off Victorian family noticing Disquieting Things. As she figures out what's going on she's forced to confront the secret awfulness under the surface of her highly constrained 'perfect' life, including her own vicious anger, and has to figure out how to move beyond being a Good Girl without becoming a bad person. Which is a GREAT premise, and I'm fine with the author reusing it, though it did lessen the novelty. The difference is that when I found out what was going on in Cuckoo Song I went "WHOA THAT'S WEIRD HOW THE HELL IS THAT GOING TO BE RESOLVED", while in the Lie Tree the disquieting thing is (I don't think this counts as a spoiler) a Lie Tree, and it ends exactly how you'd expect a moderately well written YA/children's book about a kid getting involved with something called a Lie Tree to end. And I mean it's very well written and emotionally complex, and the protagonist is layered and vivid. But my expectations were set too high, and this had very little new to offer that I hadn't already seen in Cuckoo Song. Oh, except canon background f/f, which was great.

Knit Tight: a fluffy m/m romance about knitting. From a series of m/m romances set in Portland coffeeshops, and felt exactly like a coffeeshop AU fanfic. Which is not bad if you like that sort of thing! I mostly enjoyed it well enough but it lacked sparkle. Also, this wouldn't have bugged me so much if the rest hadn't been so fluffily sweet, but the POC love interest having biphobia felt gross on multiple levels and the writing of the family of the guy who had to look after kids felt a bit joyless, like they existed just to cause angst.
skygiants: Jane Eyre from Paula Rego's illustrations, facing out into darkness (more than courage)

[personal profile] skygiants 2016-12-19 03:14 am (UTC)(link)
The first time I read Lie Tree I also was like "that was great! but I don't think it's QUITE as good as Cuckoo Song" and that ... may still be true? But somehow I have come to love it maybe even a little bit more than Cuckoo Song over the intervening two years. Part of that may just be that Faith herself is such a dark and interesting character, possibly even moreso than Triss (WHO I ALSO LOVE) who while fundamentally inhuman is also fundamentally well-meaning -- like, I would disagree that the disquieting thing in Lie Tree is the tree, I think the disquieting thing is Faith herself, and I love her for it.
nextian: From below, a woman and a flock of birds. (Default)

[personal profile] nextian 2016-12-19 04:48 am (UTC)(link)
It's so unfair to the Lie Tree that it isn't Cuckoo Song, right?? I really loved it all the same, though. I would really like to read a book from her that's doing something totally different next; it remains to be seen if Face Of Glass will be that I guess?
nextian: From below, a woman and a flock of birds. (Default)

[personal profile] nextian 2016-12-20 03:13 pm (UTC)(link)
Fly-by-Night is totally stylistically distinct-- it feels like pastiche of late Pratchett more than anything. Mosca's still trying to reconcile her own roguish nature with what she learned to idolize, but she's way more matter-of-fact about being a con. It took me a long time to get through the first couple of chapters actually because Hardinge was so ponderous about her jokes, and then I got to the actual, uh, story bits and I was just delighted. Unlike Cuckoo Song or the Lie Tree it's not about a single deep mystery so much as a collapsing fantasy society and it's a lot of fun/betrayal/river adventures.

Gullstruck Island is less different (Young Woman Plagued With Knowledge That She Is Bad Person Is Forced To Come To Terms With Inner Rage, Betrayal Remains Hardinge's Favorite Thing In The Whole World) but Gullstruck Island is also super different from itself--the book it starts out as, which is definitely in the Lie Tree/Cuckoo Song mold, is not the book it ends up as. (In a good, structurally coherent way.) I have trouble reviewing it because it's a bit like Nation in that it's about a fantasy Pacific Island society with plot-convenient social structure. But on pure storytelling and character points, it's my favorite!
oyceter: teruterubouzu default icon (Default)

[personal profile] oyceter 2016-12-29 03:38 am (UTC)(link)
I feel most of her books hit on different things for me, but she does have a thing for girls feeling terrible about their natures (which, so do I!, so I don't mind). I think I tend to tell them apart by the worlds, because her worldbuilding is so cool. Face Like Glass has a very optimistic/naive heroine and worldbuilding that feels much more like Fly by Night (bizarre fantasy rules), and Verdigris Deep is more of a horror story set in modern times.