Happy Endings vs. Bad Endings

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This discussion was written on the day it was supposed to be published, so forgive any inconsistencies and confusion! It’s just that Rashika’s review of Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid got me thinking about endings of books, and how most of the time, the turn out to be happy. And let me be honest: I’m kind of tired of happy endings.

Before you go screaming “Whoa, sicko alert!” (which Lesley and Mitchii can totally attest to), let me explain where I’m coming from.

I think that life is most of the time a stinking son of a bitch.

We don’t always get what we want. Horrible shit happens. There are days so black that all we want to do is drown in a bathtub and never come up again. Death is everywhere. Not everyone survives the apocalypse – not even the main character. Reality sucks, let’s face it (which is why we read, right? :D). And I’m all for keeping things real. Which is why I feel that a lot of the happy endings these days are slightly unrealistic.

I mean, if the heroine’s going to survive all the time, then I want to save the world too! Who has time to be that nameless sidekick who dies in the end, right?

This is why I want to see bad endings. Endings where the main characters die, especially the narrator. BUT. I don’t want these endings to be cheap ones, convenient attempts at making the reader feel something. I want them to be meaningful and necessary at the same time, if I’m making sense. Yes, I am this picky. Even with my food.

And then I think about all the other normal readers out there, and how they’d probably hate these kinds of endings (because who wants to be faced with the harsh reality of life?), and now I’m wondering if bad endings actually are worth it, and if they should be done. But personally, if I ever wrote a book, I’d want it to be realistic as possible, even if it means that the heroine must die.

What about you, though?

Do you want to see more bad endings in books? Or are HEAs enough? Why?

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters On a Deserted Island

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly featured hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

Ooh, today’s Top Ten Tuesday is going to be fuuuuunn! :D

10 Characters I Want With Me on a Deserted Island

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1. Harry Potter – I swear this isn’t only because I’m a major Potterhead. Harry’s an incredibly loyal character, and not to mention brave and pretty good with magic. If everyone else betrays me, at least I know he’ll be on my side and can protect me.

2. Mikasa Ackerman – You had to know this was coming as well. In case you missed out on my Shingeki no Kyojin post a couple of weeks back, I’m more than happy to gush more about Mikasa’s badass fighting skills and how she’s always able to keep a cool head during fights… unless something horrible happens to Eren. (Sorry Eren, but you’re just too hotheaded for me to include you here. I still love you, though.)

3. Augustus Waters – He was an okay character for me in TFiOS, so I’d want him on the island mainly so he can entertain me with his magical metaphors. Pretty sweet idea, you have to admit. ;)

4. Yukiko & Buruu – Stormdancer was one of my favorite reads of 2013, and even though I don’t talk about it a lot, just know that I absolutely adored all the characters in it. Especially Yukiko and Buruu. They were both kickass and lovable, plus life isn’t complete without your very own griffin, am I right?

5. Ender (Andrew Wiggin) – Even though the author is a bit of a dick, I can’t deny that he’s created a very cool character in Ender. A perfect blend of his brother and sister (so he is both compassionate and cruel) and an amazing strategist, he’d be my best chance of getting off this island if I was trapped on it.

6. Legolas – The best archer in the entire universe! He could play me music and protect me from wild beasts with dem mad bow and arrow skillz. And hey, if I get bored, he could teach me how to become a pro archer as well! It’s a win-win, really.

7. Richard Gansey III — A lot of you don’t know this, but Gansey from Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys has always been one of my book boyfriends. He’s aloof and caring and smart, and I totally ship both him and Blue together (go away, Adam). I think I’d like him on the island to keep me company, he seems nice. But it would be better if I had all the Raven Boys + Blue on the island with me, of course!

8. Celaena Sardothien – I fell in love with Celaena’s character in Throne of Glass even though I did find her career as an assassin slightly questionable. :P She’s kickass with a blade and, from what I can remember, awesome with fashion, so we’ll have fun girly times as well as dangerous fighting times. I couldn’t ask for more.

9. The Darkling (whose name I still do not know) – Do I even need to explain myself here?! Anyone who knows me knows that I luuurrvveee the Darkling with all my heart. Even after the wonderful horrible things he did in Siege and Storm. And I’m pretty dang sure I’ll love him even more after I read Ruin and Rising. He’ll be a great villain to have around.

10. Annabeth Chase — Again, another smarty-pants! Just in case Ender decides to sacrifice me for the greater good, I can count of Annabeth to get me outta here. ;)

Which characters would you like to have with on a deserted island?

Link me up to your TTT post as well, so I can go check it out!

Sources: Legolas / The Raven Boys / Celaena Sardothien / The Darkling / Annabeth Chase

Definitely Horror: The Girl from the Well, Rin Chupeco

The Girl from the WellThe Girl from the Well

Rin Chupeco

“You may think me biased, being murdered myself. But my state of being has nothing to do with the curiosity toward my own species, if we can be called such. We do not go gentle, as your poet encourages, into that good night.”

A dead girl walks the streets.

She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.

And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.

Because the boy has a terrifying secret – one that would just kill to get out. 

The Girl from the Well is a YA Horror novel pitched as “Dexter” meets “The Grudge”, based on a well-loved Japanese ghost story.

I am the fate that people fear to become. I am what happens to good persons, and to bad persons, and to everyone in between. I am who I am.

I’ve always been a closet horror fan — I don’t openly share that I like horror, but I do like scaring myself and getting my heart pumping. So it’s been quite disappointing that so far what little YA horror books I’ve read aren’t real horror at all, but categorized under that just because they contain ghosts and maybe some haunted places. But that was before I read The Girl from the Well. While this book didn’t scare me as much as I’d hoped, it still sent some satisfying shivers down my spine — and that counts, right?

What I liked best about The Girl from the Well was the descriptions. Rin Chupeco didn’t shy away from including gruesome and gory details, like limbs rolling all over the floor or headless bodies under beds. I’ve noticed that a lot of authors tend to gloss over these descriptions, taking away the whole creepy atmosphere of the book in the process. This didn’t happen here, though. The descriptions were vivid and I could picture them clearly. Like this:

And from inside this bathtub a decomposing hand reaches out, grabbing the side with enough strength that the porcelain cracks from the urgency of its grip. The Stained Shirt Man slides to the floor in shock and fright, legs suddenly useless, as I heave myself up and over the bathtub, to land in a heap of flesh before him.

Isn’t that just like something out of a horror movie? So incredibly easy to imagine, and so deliciously creepy, too. I just loved it.

The change of setting in this book was also refreshing — while the first half took place in America, the second half was set in Japan. Japan has always been a mysterious country for me, since it has a very rich history and is of course home to some of the most chilling ghost stories ever, so being able to read more about the well-known tale of Okiku, and actually see things from her perspective, was a great experience. I did wish that the author had explored her character in a little more depth, though.

The main reason why I rated this book 3.5 stars and not 4 was mostly because of my emotional detachment from the characters. It wasn’t that they were boring or anything, it’s just that I felt they lacked emotional depth, so I couldn’t connect with them on that level. Mostly my feelings toward Tarquin, Callie, and Okiku were borderline indifferent, even though I liked them overall. It would’ve been a lot more meaningful and impactful if I’d formed stronger bonds with these characters!

I have to admit that The Girl from the Well took me a little while to get into. The beginning was interesting, but then there was a slight lag in pacing after that, because I had to constantly check back on the blurb to remind myself of where the story was going because it didn’t seem to have a direction at all! It was probably only after 35% in that I finally realized what was going on.

But don’t let these negative things stop you from reading this! At the end of the day, Rin Chupeco’s debut YA book was a true horror novel which I thoroughly enjoyed. I mean, with creepy dolls, exorcisms, murderous spirits and gore, what more can you ask for, really?

3.5 stars

BOOK INFO:
304 pages, e-galley from NetGalley
Published August 5, 2014 by Sourcebooks Fire
Purchase: The Book Depository // Amazon

This Week: How Do You Cope?

This Week is where I recap all that happened on the blog, my life, and the blogosphere.

On Adrift on Vulcan

In My Life

I didn’t post much this week because it’s been crazy busy for me! That’s also the reason why I haven’t been returning or replying to comments much — sorry about that. A bunch of some very close friends of mine left to return back to Australia, so we spent much of the week hanging out together before they left. Thank God for the internet. I’m going to sound like such a loner, but the internet is probably the best invention in all of history.

On a different note, my IGCSE results will also be releasing in about a month’s time! I’m so excited and nervous at the same time, because I’m pretty sure I did only averagely, which is totally unacceptable. This is one exam I really put a lot of time and effort into, so I want to do well so badly. And some days I feel like curling up into a ball and pretending the world outside doesn’t exist, so I don’t have to deal with disappointment.

Sigh, how do you guys do it? How do you deal with life and manage to blog and hang around the blogosphere so well? I NEED YOUR SECRETS.

Notable Expeditions

So how exactly do you cope with both life and blogging? Do you have any tips?

Losing Faith in the YA Mystery Genre: The Killing Woods, Lucy Christopher

The Killing WoodsThe Killing Woods

Lucy Christopher

Emily’s dad is accused of murdering a teenage girl. Emily is sure he is innocent, but what happened that night in the woods behind their house where she used to play as a child? Determined to find out, she seeks out Damon Hillary, the enigmatic boyfriend of the murdered girl. He also knows these woods. Maybe they could help each other. But he’s got secrets of his own about games that are played in the dark.

A new psychological thriller from the award-winning and bestselling author of STOLEN and FLYAWAY.

 

As you may have guessed from the title of this post, The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher was yet another letdown of a YA mystery (the other most recent one being The Body in the Woods by April Henry), but what made this even more disappointing is that a very trusted fellow book reviewer loved it — so I expected to enjoy it lots, too! Argh, it’s just horrible when this happens, isn’t it?

For me, the main problem I had with this book were its two main characters, Emily Shepherd and Damon Hillary. Even though the entire book was told from their perspectives (first person, thank God), I just couldn’t connect with either of them, and Damon’s failed attempts to be this tough and sensual bad boy grated on my nerves so much my eyes were in constant “try-not-to-roll” mode. And Emily — I don’t know if she was better or worse. Everyone at her school treated her like a freak because her father was arrested for the murder of a girl, including Damon himself, and yet she still found herself dreaming about kissing him and falling for him. 

I was trapped, held still by his stare. He could have killed me or kissed me then; I would’ve stayed.

Somebody please tell me: where is the logic behind this?! This happened after he mentally abused her and tried to get her to admit to her father’s guilt. And she’s having thoughts like this about him?

That’s why it was hard feeling sorry for both of them, honestly, even though they went through quite a bit in the book. I couldn’t bring myself to care about them much. I also wish that the secondary characters had been more thoroughly explored, because apart from Joe, I felt that the other characters were pretty meaningless. Maybe the author wanted to keep it that way and focus the story of Emily and Damon, but I would have appreciated it if I could’ve seen more of Emily’s life in school, rather than her constant obsession with Damon and the murder.

Thankfully, apart from Emily’s stupid thoughts, there was barely any romance. Nothing really serious happens between these two idiots, even though I kept expecting a “I love you, Emily,” or “I’ll die before I let them take you away,” every time I flipped the page. So when the book ended with none of that, suffice to say I was very relieved.

As for the mystery aspect… I have to admit that I didn’t guess who the real killer was, nor did I expect any of the twists that were revealed! Lucy Christopher did a fairly good job with all the red herrings she dropped — I never knew who to trust, or who to suspect, that was how well-done the mystery was. 

So, The Killing Woods is another book I’m feeling pretty on-the-fence about. Honestly, the only good thing was the mystery, which was kind of anti-climatic at the end because the writing got messier by the paragraph. I disliked the characters, and there was barely any character development. Would I recommend this book? Probably not. You’d be better off reading Nancy Drew or The Hardy Boys, in my opinion!

2.5 stars

BOOK INFO:
369 pages, e-galley from NetGalley
Published October 3, 2013 by Chicken House Ltd.
Purchase: The Book Depository // Amazon