Book Review: The Chaos of Stars

Kiersten White, New York Times bestselling author of Paranormalcy, is back with The Chaos of Stars—an enchanting novel set in Egypt and San Diego that captures the magic of first love and the eternally complicated truth about family.

Isadora’s family is seriously screwed up—which comes with the territory when you’re the human daughter of the ancient Egyptian gods Isis and Osiris. Isadora is tired of living with crazy relatives who think she’s only worthy of a passing glance—so when she gets the chance to move to California with her brother, she jumps on it. But her new life comes with plenty of its own dramatic—and dangerous—complications . . . and Isadora quickly learns there’s no such thing as a clean break from family.

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Title: The Chaos of Stars 

Author: Kiersten White

Published: September, 2013 by HarperTeen

Time it took me to read: 22/01 – 26/01

Rating: 3 out of 5

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This book is the exception that proves the rule. Those who read my reviews regularly know that when I don’t have anything to add to the synopsis than what is written in the burb, the review probably will not be very good. This is not the case with The Chaos of Stars though, I just want to jump straight into my review.

I picked up this book on a whim after passing it in the library. What made me notice it was the very pretty cover. It was definitely an eye catcher and then after I read the blurb I was like ‘eh why not’ and took it home with me. Let that be a lesson to publishers everywhere: pretty covers help your books get picked/sold. Look at it though, isn’t it gorgeous?

I really liked that this was about Egyptian Gods. We see so many books about myths and legends (see: vampires, werewolves and angels) and lately there’s a lot about Greek mythology too (see: Percy Jackson and the Starcrossed series). This was actually the first book I saw that was about Egyptian history. I was a bit apprehensive at first though, I feared that it would be another Twilight rehash or something like that but fortunately it wasn’t. It was actually pretty good!

Isadora is pretty much like you and me, only thing is that she is the daughter of two Egyptian Gods. Because she is not immortal like them, Isadora *not Isa or Dora please!* thinks that they don’t care about her. She thinks that she is just someone they need to remember them so they can keep their power as Gods. So when Isis feels a dark presence threatening her daughter, Isadora gladly takes the chance to get away and move to her brother in San Diego.

So Isadora is obviously the protagonist, we follow her to the States where she learns to live in the modern age and where she makes a life for herself. She is very cynical and angry at everyone pretty much all of the time. She resents her parents and basically is doing everything she can to get away from them. I don’t think that the author overdid it with the cynicism, though. Or it didn’t bother me anyway, it was just the right amount for me, but I think I can see how some people might think that’s it’s a bit whiny but oh well. What I really liked about Isadora is that her passion is interior design. Not just because I really like interior design myself, but also because it’s completely different from the usual ‘artsy, poetry writing, literature reading’ heroines that we usually have in YA books today. Isadora is very strong and original.

Of course, where you have a YA book, you have a love interest. I liked Ry a lot. And although it was painfully obvious what the endgame was when his full name was revealed, I didn’t mind. Ry may stay. He has the Emma stamp of approval.

So what I liked best about this book is that there’s basically two story lines that are entangled. On the one hand you’ve got that threat that’s looming over everyone’s head but then on the other hand there’s Isadora’s every day life and the story of her figuring out how to live her own life. Sometimes you kind of forget about the threat until it’s suddenly brought up again. I’m thinking that a book is well written when you don’t mind reading about a person’s every day life for fifty pages.

Anyway, another thing I love is that at the start of every chapter there’s this little history lesson on the Egyptian Gods that figures into the story. It was a great way to learn a little more about this culture.

All in all, The Chaos of Stars is very much a Young Adult book and it reads as such. I wouldn’t expect too much from it but it is still very much enjoyable. I do get that it might not be everyone’s cup of tea though. But you should definitely give it a chance, especially if you’re interested in Egyptian Gods and Myths.

I rated it a 3 out of 5 because, you know, it’s not like life changing literature, but it’s enjoyable all the same. It made me want to read more about Isadora and I wish there was a sequel. Oh well.. I will definitely check out the Paranormalcy series, written by the same author, though.

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Todays quote

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves “who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fears, our presence automatically liberates others.”

— Marianne Williamson

Movie Review: Shelter / Six Souls

shelterAfter the death of her husband, Dr. Cara Harding’s faith in God has been shaken, but not her belief in science. In an attempt to get her more open to accepting unexplainable psychiatric theories, her father introduces her to Adam, a patient with multiple personalities who also takes on some of the physical characteristics of his other personalities. But Cara quickly discovers that his other personalities were murder victims and the more she finds out about Adam and his past, the closer she and her loved ones are to becoming murder victims themselves.

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(Warning will contain spoilers)

Widowed psychiatrist Cara (Julianne Moore) receives a call from her father, who is also a psychiatrist, about an interesting new patient with apparent Multiple Personalities disorder. After some hesitation, Cara decides to meet with this patient (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). When they first meet he is introduced as David Bernburg.

After some initial interviewing, the phone rings and David answers. The person on the phone asks for Adam but there is no other male in the room. When David says so, the person asks him to look for Adam. David promptly has some sort of convulsion. When he recovers he goes back to the phone and says ‘this is Adam’. He has switched personalities.

Eventually, Cara notices something that is off about David. The story that he tells her about her life are the same of a high school student that died several years ago, down to the very last detail. Cara then goes to talk to the mother of the student, David, who died. She tells her that David had an accident which allows him not to be able to walk – the patient David is also an invalid even though Adam can walk – and that David left home trying to find a cure for his condition, turning his back on God.

Some time after that, she goes to Adam’s old house where she finds a dead man with a strange cross burned into his back. When she goes to investigate this cross, it leads her to a small community where she talks to ‘Granny’ about the sign. She tells her that it is the ‘Holler’s Cross’.

Long story short, Granny cursed a priest who lost his faith in God a long time ago to walk around the earth and shelter the souls of those who have also lost their faith in God. So Adam, David and the others living in his body, aren’t separate identities, they are actually the souls of the people that the priest swallowed.

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Sorry about that, I had to cut the synopsis short as I was actually getting really annoyed by the storyline. Let me tell you why.

When I started watching this film I was really interested with the MP angle and I was hoping that it would continue in that direction. It didn’t. Then I hoped that it would go in the direction of demons or something. It didn’t. Instead it was about God. Because, if you believe in God and have faith in God, the evil priest wouldn’t come to get you. If you don’t have unshakable faith.. well.. you’re fucked.

Yea.. I’m not okay with that. I’m sorry but I’m not. I’m not going to start a whole religious debate here but when I watched this movie I was like.. WTF. This was definitely not what I signed up for. Having to deal with a situation in my own life where a person basically shunned everyone because it didn’t coincide with what she chose to believe, this movie hit a cord with me.

This movie is basically saying that you need to believe in God to be saved. I mean.. what? I just can’t get over it. Eugh.

For those who noticed; yes this IS the movie Six Souls which is coming out in theatres soon. Apparently it’s being re-released somewhere this year under a different title.

Ratings: 1.5 / 5

This probably won’t be necessary but if you’re in any way insulted with what I said here, I’m sorry. If you choose to leave a comment please keep it neat and polite 🙂 Thank you. 

Life of Pi

life of pi

A young man who survives a disaster at sea is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor … a fearsome Bengal tiger.

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Life of Pi is an awe inspiring story about a young man who, after a shipwreck, has to fight for his survival. The story begins with adult Pi explaining how he got his name. Piscine Molitor Patel was named so on request of his uncle (Mamaji) who had a passion for swimming pools and the Piscine Molitor in Paris was the most beautiful swimming pool that he had ever seen. However, when Piscine went to school his name soon got changed to a taunting ‘pissing’. At the start of the next year, Piscine decided to shorten his name to the mathematical letter Pi (∏). He insures he will only be named Pi by writing all the numbers on the chalkboard (yes, all the decimal points to pi). After that, he became a legend at school and would only be named Pi after that.

Pi is a Indian boy, with a fascination for religion. He is raised to be a Hindu but at the age of fourteen he learns about Christianity and the Islam and decides to follow all three faiths. When he is asked why, he answers that he just wants to love God and understand Him better.

Pi’s father is a successful businessman who runs a Zoo. But when financial struggle hits, Pi’s father decides to move to Canada and sell the animals in hope of a better future. Somewhere in the pacific ocean however, disaster strikes when the freighter Pi and his family are on, sinks in a terrible storm. Pi manages to make it out on a lifeboat but he soon discovers that he is not alone on there. He shares his boat with a zebra, a hyena, a orangutan and later he discovers, even a great Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.

Pi tries to stay alive among the animals. Soon, the hyena kills the zebra and later, to Pi’s horror, he also kills the orangutan. Then, when the hyena tries to kill Pi, Richard Parker jumps out from under the tarpaulin and kills the hyena. Pi, who is terrified, fashions a makeshift raft and attaches it to the lifeboat. This is how he stays alive for the 227 days while he is adrift on the pacific ocean.

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There’s really only word to describe this movie: beautiful.

When you watch this movie, the first thing that stands out is the cinematography. This movie is obviously meant to be in 3D, I don’t think you can watch it any way else. With help of 3D image, the most beautiful scenes come to life. I have never seen anything like it. It’s truly indescribable, so I’m not going to try. Here are a couple of pictures though:

Now, don’t get me wrong; Life of Pi is not a cute story about a boy who gets stuck on a boat with a tiger and they become best friends. The reality of living with a tiger is very much intact. No, Life of Pi is very much about spirituality and faith. Basically, the whole movie is a representation of how religion works. When I went to the cinema to see this movie yesterday, there were quite a few little kids in the audience. I think the parents had wrongly assumed that it was some kind of kid movie. It is definitely not.

All in all is it a stunning movie with cutting edge CGI like you’ve never seen before. I haven’t read the book but I’ve heard that it’s a very good representation. You simply have to have seen this movie. When you see this movie, be patient. It’s not all action and dramatics, even though that is a (big) part of it. In this movie, philosophy and psychology play a big part. You have to look beyond what you see on the screen to understand what it really is about. If you to that, you will really enjoy it. If you don’t, you may end up like the young man I overheard leaving the cinema. He said ‘That Life of Pi movie.. it’s kinda weird, isn’t it?’. No, it’s not weird, you just didn’t get it.

If you have seen it, please answer me this; which story was the true one? The first or the second?

Rating: 5/5