Blood and Ash Book 1 & 2 Spoiler Review | Rated: *

As usual this review will contain spoilers and I do not hate the author or anyone who enjoyed these two books. If you enjoyed this book – that is great, I however would like a refund.

I’m not even going to attempt to summerise these two books because I have neither the energy nor comprehension to understand what I have just read.

After reading “To Kill A Kingdom” I was looking to read some fantasy without the cringe of Lira and that other guy’s romance. I was wanting some good angst, plot and romance and I decided to give this series a go after reading a review saying it was dark.

I know realise that the “dark” aspect was not from tension, angst, stakes and character developments, but from the empty hole these books leave in your soul. Like a slow-acting poison the first book starts off promising (maybe a little flowery with the description but that’s something I can try to ignore) and with an interesting enough concept. And then just when you think that midway the annoying hint of cringeness that happens is the worst that it would get; – the ending of the first book and the entirity of the second, takes a full 180 and it becomes, excuse my language, a fucking mess.

Poppy as a character was extremely confusing. First of all the whole ‘Maiden’ thing makes no sense especially after learning the truth to the situation. Her behaviour and personality in the first book was somewhat more consistent despite being erratic at times. I found some of her naivity to be really uncomefortable when it came to her relationship with Hawke/Casteel because it felt like she was remarkably vulnerable despite the ‘strong independent woman’ message I think the author was trying to portray. Her behaviour in the second was literally insane and it made the less-believable aspects of her character in book 1 look even more jarring. Her relationship with Tawny and arguably the Duchess (I obviously did not think the Duchess was a good person but I was very much interested in her character and relationship to Poppy) which made their absence from the second book (minus the Duchess for a few pages near the end) greatly affect the way I saw her character. Tawny and Poppy’s friendship was a highlight of the first book for me and I only really realised it in the second book when Tawny was absent.

I especially hated Poppy’s inner monolouges which were annoyingly similar, albiet worse than the ones in “To Kill A Kingdom”. Poppy seemed to say the most cringe-worthy things that made me roll my eyes numerous times (especially in the second book) and it got old fast.

There was something annoying about the subtle rip-off moments that felt just that bit too like other books. The glowing of Poppy when she did her gift, the characters who were copy and pasted from other books and even the name “The Dark One” after watching Netflix’s Shadow and Bone based on a book series struck a nerve too.

Let’s talk about Hawke/Casteel/Cas. What a goddamn mess of a character. He starts off a semi-interesting, well-developed character until near the end of the book before the betrayal is revealed where he says “I’m so unworthy of you” to Poppy and I nearly vomitted in my mouth due to the cringe. Then when he betrays her as he planned all along you get the impression not that he some sort of attractive bad guy as I think was intended, but that he illogical. That’s the only word that springs to mind when I read that he was the traitor all along or whatever “huh? that’s illogical.”

At the end of the first book and the whole of the second I get horrible Rowan from the Throne of Glass series and Rhysand from the ‘A Court Of Thorns And Roses’ trilogy vibes from Casteel/Hawke. The ‘banter’ between Poppy and Casteel was agonisingly repetitive and I swear parahraphs were copied and pasted muliple times.

Casteel saying he “put the fun in disfunctional” is line that will haunt me to the day I die. When I suffle from this mortal coil – I will still cringe at the thought that this line was not cut from a fantasy new adult novel. Other moments such as “does my face look surprised?” and “random!” were words I did not want in the book and that’s only the tip of the cringe ice-berg.

Despite my harsh words there is a confession I must make. I read the first book from start to finish never so much as skimming a sentence. I had my full attention on the story as I did with th second book until one word was read that made me lose hope in humanity. It gave me Vietnam war flashbacks to ACOTAR and TOG. And that word was “Heartmates” and after that line all bets were off. I skimmed the rest grateful that I was no longer wasting another moment of my precious time on this Earth.

Anyway thank you for reading this review and I hope you have a wonderful day. Take care!

-Medusa

Depressed, Angry And Then…Came A Moth

Dear Diary,

My OCD is shocking today. I’ve broken my own rules by showering two days in a row for the sole purpose of pleasing my OCD. I don’t even care though; that seems completely irrelevent to me right now.

I can’t find myself caring enough to do anything right now. My parents are annoying me ( a sign I’ve not had enough sleep ) and I’m feeling frustrated by the fact that it seems life is going to take a lot longer to get back to normal due to COVID-19.

My printer is not working – which was the only thing keeping me calm and busy. Printing off photos and stickers for my sketch book was a happy distraction and coping mechanism but thanks to shoddy WiFi it won’t bloody work.

I just don’t care anymore again. I’m finding that challenging my OCD is not working when there feels like there is nothing to challenge it for.

And then like a sign from the heavens, a pesky moth flew into my bedroom. Scared of having a moth fly into my mouth whilst asleep or secretly die somewhere only to give me a heart attack when found three months later, I enlisted help to get it out of my bedroom. At first I called my Dad but he made it clear there was nothing he could do. Determined to rid myself of the moth I enlisted my nine-year-old brother’s help – though I had to make it clear stomping on it was not an option.

We managed to lure the creature into my en suite bathroom. I managed to catch it in a plastic sheet of paper and throw it out the window – only for the little shit to imediately fly back in again. Eventually my twelve year old sister joined the crusade and managed to single handedly remove the moth from my bathroom. Afterwards we all laughed and now my little brother is sitting in my room intensely telling me about his video game theories.

Even though I feel like crap right now – a half hour ago I was angry, upset and depressed and I’m still those things – but I feel slightly better. What I’m trying to say that sometimes life gives you lemons, other times it gives you moths. So make lemonade or go on a mission with your siblings to try and rescue a moth.

My Dog Died Today

My Dad told me this morning that my dog Oscar had died a few hours ago. I got up and rushed downstairs to see my dog in blankets. I touched his fur. We will bury him tomorrow and his body is currently wrapped in blankets in our Summer House.

Regret is the one thing I feel right now; that and guilt.

Five years ago my OCD told me that Oscar was contaminated and so from then on I treated Oscar like he was a monster. I refused to touch, walk or even be near him despite doing so for years. Even in my OCD Rehabilitation I still refused to be near him – refused to be near all my dogs.

Last night when he was sick I kept poking a spot above my eyebrow and it got infected. I put a plaster on it last night and when I took it off this morning it took of a third of my right eyebrow. So now I have an infected spot area and only two thirds of an eyebrow. Things are not going great.

Now I’m in my room with puffy eyes and a deep pit in my stomach. I thought there would be more time to get over my weird dog OCD fears – I thought there would be more time to make an attempt at getting over my OCD dog problems. But there isn’t. He is dead and all I can think about are the walks I refused to take him on, the pats I refused to give him for the last five or so years and my avoidance of him. I am so consumed with contamination that past memories of him prior to him becoming contaminated are almost non-existent.

I feel like I have a hole in my stomach and all I want to do is scream and cry.

Oscar

Representation Or An Insult?: “Music” Film Trailer By Sia

Ugh. Never have I ever seen a celebrity try and show how great they are and how progressive th- actually that’s all celebrities seem to do these days. Fair play to them, if I was rich I probably wouldn’t give a shit either.

I know a lot of people are upset about how the person playing the titular character is not Autistic. Personally that’s not my problem with it. My problem with this trailer is that, the girl portraying her is Maddie Ziegler who is a young reality star with very little acting experience playing a young girl with a disability because in the trailer at least, she portrays her like some drunk with two cans of Stella that makes an ‘autistic’ impression in poor taste that is ultimately amusing but not to be shared with the world.

Unfortunately a lot of people are jumping on the “don’t be an SJW” bandwagon saying that “everyone is too sensitive nowadays” but for myself who detests cancel culture and still honestly believes that Sia has every right to make these films regardless of how shitty they seem, sucks. The problem for me is not that Maddie Ziegler is not autistic, the problem for me is that a non-professional actor is portraying a severely autistic girl.

I honestly would have felt better if this was an edgy joke film played by people mimicking stereotypical autistic traits. Comedy and humour can be both hilarious and used in a good way to spread awareness about autism stereotypes etc. But this film is supposed to be a serious piece of art that is to be hailed as stunning and brave.

The difference between Freddie Highmore and Dakota Fanning’s portrayals of autistic people in film and TV compared to Maddie Ziegler in this trailer is that a) Maddie Ziegler is not an actress. The others have acting experience and manage to portray realistic and therefore inoffensive characters. From the trailer the character “Music” is acted by Ziegler the way I would expect someone would behave to mock a person with autism. I have no problem with Ziegler ultimately she is just a young girl working with her godmother but she is not autistic or an actress.

Of course autism is a spectrum and some have more needs than others but the way that “Music” is portrayed at least from the trailer is just angering. It’s almost like she’s channeling Simple Jack from Tropic Thunder. Actually that’s exactly what it kind of looks like.

Her responses to the criticism begs two questions. One: I get being defensive but Jesus Christ Sia, harsh! And Two: Who the hell is her PR person and why the hell are they not stopping her from tweeting?

Now I’m not saying that Maddie Ziegler or Sia are intentionally doing this, I don’t think that. However I do think Maddie Ziegler and Sia do not have the acting/directorial ability to portray a semi-decent example of an autistic person.

This also may be petty of me to say – but this is my blog so I can be as goddamn petty as I want without detracting from my original valid arguments. For me personally there is something very sad about a girl roughly my age who is seen wearing makeup, pretty, surrounded by people who she can communicate to without fear of rejection and someone who is able to stop acting autistic when the camera stops that hurts me. The difference to this compared to the other non-autistic actors is just that, they are professional actors. My saying of this however is purely personal and is of no value to this argument or the honest to God points I’ve made.

Well I’ve said my piece. I still like Sia’s songs and ultimately like the singer but she is being very childish in her response to criticisms on Twitter and in her attempt at “raising awareness”, she has so far only made me cringe.

No-one will believe this but I’m going to say it anyway because it is true. I honestly hope that this trailer is just bad and that the movie is good. And hey, I could be completely wrong and the film is tasteful and fun. But if it’s not then I will have so many self-deprecating jokes to make about myself that will be a blast anyway. So either way I win.

I’ll give it a go but so far I’m far from feeling optimistic.😂