Beauty by Robin Mckinley vs Disney’s Beauty and The Beast

Written By: Charlotte

Beauty is a book written by Robin Mckinley and is basically a re-telling of the original story of Beauty and The Beast, only a hundred times better. In the book Beauty think she is plain and ugly but when her father gets in debt to a horrible beast and has to go to his castle, she valiantly takes his place. At first she is scared of the Beast but, as the story goes, she soon learns to love him despite his looks, turning him into a handsome prince. I’m going to be comparing the book to Disney’s version of the story. I’m going to start off by saying that, in my opinion, Beauty wins. Don’t get me wrong I love Disney’s Beauty and The Beast, I love all Disney actually, but this book is just so good. I’ve only just finished reading it… for the second time, and I already want to read it again. It’s just that good. Now some people may not like the book because it’s written in the olden days, I’m not sure what time period exactly but my definition of olden days is any time period where they wear big heavy dresses that are super impractical if you have to suddenly run for your life. Not that there’s a lot of that in this book, but it would be nice for Beauty (the main protagonist) to have the option of being able to flee to safety without having to hike up the skirts that she will probably end up tripping over anyway. Because life is just that cruel.

I fell in love with Disney’s Beauty and The Beast and, I’m not ashamed to admit it, I still watch it today and enjoy it just as much. Because it’s probably my favourite Disney movie, or at least equal to Mulan and The Lion King, and it’s awesome. If you think differently then I don’t even know why you’re reading this, you won’t enjoy it, but I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t like it, so I’m going to assume that you are a fan also and won’t kick you off the page. Because I can do that. Obviously.

So, anyway, IF I CAN CHOOSE Beauty over Disney’s Beauty and The Beast, then that alone is proof of how good it is. You should read it. Seriously. Do it now. Go on. Why are you still reading this? Go and read it. Okay, good.

The Saga of Darren Shan

Written By: Marie

The Saga of Darren Shan is a 12 part book series written by Darren Shan (not the same Darren as in the books) with a genre of horror, fantasy and thriller. The series is about Darren Shan an average human boy who is pressured into becoming a Hal-vampire and the assistant of the vampire, Larten Crepsley. The story follows Darren as he learns about his new life, the new rules of the mysterious world he now calls home and struggles through many challenges.

The four main species in this saga other than humans are the Vampires, the Half-vampires, the Vampaneze and the Little People. Vampires are unable to walk in daylight so only come out at night and are some of the most feared creatures in history due to the fact they earned a bad reputation when they killed to feed (they no longer kill humans). Half-vampires are very similar to vampires as they also need to drink blood to survive but don’t need it as often and they also age slower than vampires but faster than vampires. They can go out in the sunlight, just not for long periods of time and are not as strong or as fast as vampires. The Vampaneze are the cousins and enemies of vampire, who they are similar to except they are savage and still kill when they feed which has caused their skin to turn purple and their hair, nails and eyes to turn red. The Little People were created by Mr Tiny, the villain of the series, and are grey skinned and green eyed servants, who are the corpses of the dead who have been taken apart and stitched back together again so that they are unrecognizable. They also can’t speak apart from one called Harkat Mulds, who becomes one of Darren’s companions and friend.

The first three books were adapted into a movie in 2009 and that was directed by Paul Weitz. The film had an all-star cast of John C. Reilly as Larten Crepsley, Chris Massoglia as Darren Shan, Josh Hutcherson as Steve Leonard and Michael Cerveris as Mr Tiny. In my opinion the books are better so are definitely worth reading but if you watch the movie without reading the books or not minding about the changes then it is worth watching.

A Song of Ice and Fire

Written By: Marie

A Song of Ice and Fire is a series of epic fantasy novels written by George R. R. Martin. The series consists of seven novels, A Game of Thrones (1996), A Clash of Kings (1998), A Storm of Swords (2000), A Feast of Crows (2005), A Dance with Dragons (2011), The Winds of Winter (Coming Soon) and A Dream of Spring (Coming Soon). The stories are set in the mythical lands of Westeros and Essos and follows as a number of powerful houses fight for the Iron Throne. The story is told from various characters points of view growing from nine in the first book to a total number of thirty one different points of views at the end of the series. There are a great number of major and minor Houses in Westeros and Essos but the main four Houses followed in the books are Stark, Baratheon, Targaryen and Lannister.

The Houses:

House Stark: Its coat of arms is a running grey Direwolf on an ice white background and is the house that is most closely followed in the novels. They reside in the North in Winterfell and their words are Winter is Coming. It is allied with House Tully by marriage as well as House Baratheon through friendship.

House Baratheon: Its coat of arms is a black crowned stag on a gold background. This is the royal family that comes from storms end but moved to Kings Landing after the rebellion and is the ruling family of the Seven Kingdoms. The throne is held by Tommen Baratheon at the point that the series has reached.

House Targaryen: their coat of arms is a three headed dragon and their words of Fire and Blood and they are known to be Dragon lords, riding on the backs of dragons into battle. They are of Valyrian descent and resided on Dragonstone until they conquered the Iron Throne but were slaughtered in the rebellion by Robert Baratheon and the last two living descendants escaped across the Narrow Sea.

House Lannister: Their coat of arms is a gold lion on a red background and their words are Hear Me Roar. They reside at Casterly Rock apart from Cersei Lannister who was wed o Robert Baratheon and is now ruling as Queen Regent. They are also one of the most hated houses in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.

In 2011 a American TV show called Game of Thrones was aired on HBO and is an adaption of the novels that have already been released. Four seasons have already been aired with a fifth set to be released in April 2015. Both are worth taking a look at but I would suggest that you read the books before watching the show if you enjoy reading.

Felpham's Recommended Reads

Written By: Carol

Carla recommends… Perks of being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

“This book will make you cry one second and laugh a line later, full of beautiful descriptions of the most ordinary things Chbosky writes a brilliant story, you will read in less than a day!”

Perks of being a Wallflower, published in 1999, is a coming-of-age novel and was recently adapted into a film of the same name (2013) directed by Stephen Chbosky starring Emma Watson and Logan Lerman. It got an 8.1 on IMDb. Read the book before you watch the film though!

Goodreads - 4.2/5

Carol (that’s me) recommends… Notes from a Big Country by Bill Bryson

“If you love a bit of U.S. culture comparison comedy, you’ll love this book by esteemed travel writer, Bill Bryson, who did a similar piece entitled ‘Notes from a Small Island’ which is the reverse comparison about the UK and all our quirks! A laugh-out-loud read!”

Notes from a Big Country is an autobiographic comedy non-fiction travel novel published in 1999.

Goodreads- 3.9/5

Charlotte recommends… Angel Fall by Susan EE

I like that it puts a twist on how people usually perceive angels. In this book angels aren’t the world’s saviors, they are God’s army against mankind. I also like that Penryn and Raffe (the main guys) are really funny.”

Angel Falls is a post-apocalyptic teen fantasy novel published in 2011 and the first in the ‘Penryn & the End of Days’ series.

Goodreads- 4.2/5

Vampire Academy Series

Written By: Charlotte

This series is made up of six books, Vampire Academy, Frostbite, Shadow Kiss, Blood Promise, Spirit Bound and Last Sacrifice. These books follow the story of Rose Hathaway a 17-year old Dhampir and her friend Vasilissa (Lissa) Dragomir - a Moroi who has the power to control Spirit.

First a little history, there are three main species in this series, the Dhampir, the Moroi and the Strigoi. Dhampirs are half human half Moroi (vampire) and are trained as guardians to protect the Moroi from the Strigoi. They can go into the sun and do not drink blood but they do have enhanced physical abilities. Moroi are the good vampires, they can also go in the sun but it weakens them, they need to drink blood but they do not kill when they drink. They also have the ability to control the elements, Fire, Water, Earth, Air and on rare occasions Spirit. Strigoi are the bad vampires, they cannot go out in the sun and when they drink blood they kill the person they are drinking from.

In the books we follow Rose Hathaway as she struggles to fit back into the routine of Vladimir Academy, a school where Dhampirs learn to be Guardians and Moroi learn to control their power. Throughout the books Rose falls for her trainer Dimitri but the couple face many hardships along the way. Rose must fight the Strigoi, while also making sure her friends and family are safe.

The first book has been made into a film called Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters. They altered the title slightly to make it more distinguishable. The film was met with both positive and negative reviews and they are still debating whether to make the next one. As a huge Vampire Academy fan I hope that they do make the next books into films, but we will have to wait and see.