Heroes of Olympus: Writing Female Characters

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Viria is amazing. All the images are credited to her.

Okay, here we go. Spoilers ahead.

I’m not a fan of the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan. Honestly, I’m not fully sure why. I had issues with how it expanded the world (for the same reasons as in The Kane Chronicles), how it tied up (or dropped) most of its plotlines, and the lack of lasting consequences (especially with character deaths). Or maybe I was just too old when I read it. But the main issue I’ll address is the female characters. Yep, this is the ‘strong female character’ post every blog needs.

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Personal Responsibility and Jessica Jones, Season 1

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This post will be less of a lesson and more of a reflection or analysis. Contains spoilers.

Jessica Jones wins the prize for the most thematically focused tv show I’ve ever seen. Throw in movies, and it’s near the top. Hey, add books to the mix, and this superhero Netflix show is still in the running.

You wouldn’t expect that if you knew what Jessica was like. She’s hard-drinking, bad-tempered, and terribly selfish at times. But above all else, Jessica Jones emphasizes personal responsibility.

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Ender’s Game: Your Audience as the Problem

enders-gameEnder’s Game, by Orson Scott Card, is one of the best books I’ve read, and I don’t say that lightly. Both the story and the characters are compelling, and even though it’s a prime example of genre fiction it still has several strong themes.

One of the biggest things that stood out to me was the twist at the end. It changed my whole expectation of the world and the morality the author was operating under, and it explained a theme that had been building, unnoticed, through the book.

(Spoilers ahead)

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The Name of the Wind: How to Handle Mary-Sue Characters

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The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss, is a wonderful book. The writing is beautiful, the story sucks you in like a movie does, and the characters are engaging and loveable- especially Kvothe.

It’s good that Kvothe is loveable, being the main character and all, but I was actually surprised by how much I liked him. He’s the ‘more clever and skilled than everyone’ character that can so easily be flat and boring. His ‘flaws’ are a fiery temper- which is often a praised character trait- and pride, which is well-founded due to his talent. To top it all, his eyes change color based on his mood. In short: Kvothe is a Mary-Sue.

But despite the general hatred for Mary-Sues, it works.

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Spiderman Homecoming: Staying Self-Aware

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I have an irrational fondness for the Toby Maguire Spiderman trilogy. After all, Spiderman 3 was the first superhero movie I watched. It holds a special place in my heart. I forgive its flaws (you know what I’m talking about). But despite my loyalty, I have to say that Homecoming is my favorite Spiderman movie.

There’s so much I love about it. I love Tony Stark as the mentor, I love all the supporting characters (I mean ALL), and I love how young Peter is. But from a technical standpoint, one thing in particular stands out. Homecoming is delightfully self-aware, without taking you out of the world.

(Spoilers ahead)

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Hacksaw Ridge: Violence in Media

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There’s always a lot of talk of violence in media, media like movies or videogames or even books. In general, people caution against viewing violence in entertainment because it can desensitize you to violence in real life.

I completely agree that we should be careful about what we watch or read. If I didn’t believe that media could influence people, why would I bother spending so much time writing?

The assumption that goes along with these views, though, is that less violence and gore makes a movie less desensitizing and therefore healthier. But sometimes, less violence can be more desensitizing, and it took an extremely brutal movie for me to realize that.

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Beaumont and Beasley Book 2: Sequels

I was given an ARC in exchange for an honest review. And my honest opinion? I loved it.

img_0462-904x758I’ve been eagerly awaiting the sequel to The Beast of Talesend by Kyle Robert Shultz (check out his website!) You can find my review of book one here, and the synopsis of book two on Amazon.

However, sequels are often hard to pull off. Not only do they need to be great books on their own (and we all know how hard writing those are), but they need to advance the world, further develop the characters, and raise the stakes. As if that wasn’t enough, they need to be sure to appeal to readers of the first book. But as far as I’m concerned, The Tomb of the Sea Witch pulls it off.

No spoilers ahead.

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Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Find What Works For You

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I remember reading Percy Jackson and the Olympians, by Rick Riordan, for the first time. It was technically my brother’s series, so he got to read them before me. I read faster than him, so I would wait in agony for him to finish the next book. I felt like Tantalus- so close to what I needed, but still so far… Good times.

This series is up there with The Hunger Games and Harry Potter for books I’ve reread too many times to count. But why is that? Is Percy Jackson amazing literature? Nope. But it’s something that, in some ways, is even better. It’s a lot of fun to read.

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Shadow and Bone: Bad Boys- Like, EVIL Bad Boys

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Shadow and Bone is the first in a series by Leigh Bardugo. While the book as a whole was pretty underwhelming, one thing took me by surprise: the attractive, brooding ‘bad boy’ love interest was actually evil. And portrayed as evil. And the main character thought he was evil. And he had nothing explaining away his evilness. He was the bad guy. Crazy, right?

(Spoilers ahead)

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