Review: Geekerella

Review: Geekerella

Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5)

Elle lives, breathes and blogs Starfield. But her step-mother and sisters think otherwise. So, when the opportunity to enter a cosplaying competition comes up, she takes it, she just needs to find a way to get there. Darien Freeman is an up and coming actor and playing Starfield’s Carmindor is a dream come true. He just needs to prove it. But it isn’t easy when the fandom has already shrugged off the teen actor, and a cruel blogger aims to undermine his every move. One wrong number leads to a connection none of them would’ve expected.

I was very surprised by this book, and mainly because I actually enjoyed it more than I had anticipated. I always hold “fandom” books at a distance, mostly, because I often find them cringey, outdated, and never really that representative of fandom. The title alone already had me on edge, but I adored Geekerella.

Elle was a sweet lead, who blogs about Starfield and isn’t exactly happy about Darien being cast. And like a blogger, she takes to the internet to voice her opinions. I absolutely loved how Elle experiences fandom, and it was quite real and actually relatable. As a teen, I was in Elle’s position too, but instead Starfield it was multi-fandom Tumblr. (Imagine 2013 circa Tumblr) And this is where the book shined. It was a fantastic experience that felt like my own personal ode to my own personal fangirl experience. It was incredibly relatable, the conventions, the speech. The book really encompasses the general gist of positive fandom, while also addressing negative aspects quite well.

Darien was a pure sweetheart, who really wanted to do well by Starfield, but couldn’t do so due to contractual obligations and an overdemanding dad-manager who only sees this as a career boost. I was sort of more leaning towards him parts of the story because it discusses whitewashing in film and his experiences of being a non-white actor.

Geekerella is a light romance. I really enjoyed how the story of Cinderella is retold within the context of a big movie adaptation. The romance can get little too much, but honestly, it isn’t as bad as people make it out to be in more negative reviews. A lot of people are calling it unbelievable because they interact with each other through texts. In the context of Geekerella, it’s understandable because neither make an attempt to actually see the other, not even via web calls or anything. But to say every relationship made via online media is inauthentic is a pretty shitty take, and that seems to come up a lot in reviews for this book.

Overall, it’s a pretty decent book. An adorable modern update of Cinderella set in fandom and reboots. I really enjoyed the accurate depiction of contemporary day fandom. Though mostly predictable, it’s somewhat entertaining, and I enjoyed it a lot more than I had expected.

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Review: The Wrath & the Dawn

Review: The Wrath & the Dawn

Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.5/5)

Some things exist in our lives for but a brief moment. And we must let them go on to light another sky.

Every night the bride of the Caliph of Khorasan is killed. Until Shazi volunteers to outwit and kill the king in revenge for the death of her best friend. In the vein of the original 1001 nights, she holds off her death by telling a story every night the extends onto another.

I think The Wrath and the Dawn started off really well for me. It’s plot really grabbed from the very beginning, and it did exceed my expectations. Ahdieh has a gorgeous writing style that suits this novel’s intriguing plot. There’s a lot of quote-worthy lines that I really liked, but it was a shame I didn’t really feel the connection between them for it to really hit deep. There’s a magic system that I enjoyed but isn’t really introduced fully yet which I hope gets developed in the sequel.

Shahrzad is a great female lead. Her charismatic behaviour and sharp wit was amusing and her bravery had me rooting for her from the very beginning. But that very much drops very soon once you realise she has no idea what she’s going despite the story setting her up as this character that knows what she’s doing. How she managed to fall in love with him was questionable considering her aims. Khalid wasn’t even that great anyway. His mysterious persona wasn’t that interesting enough to want to care for him, I just wanted to know why he killed those girls, not really caring for his character. The background characters were actually my favourites of the plot I feel like we should’ve gotten a bit more background information and set up at the beginning of the novel before we get pushed straight into the story. I find it strange that enjoyed the plot of this book but didn’t enjoy its characters.

The Wrath and the Dawn have its obvious appeal to romance and retelling lovers. Despite its flaws, I did actually quite enjoy reading this book. It’s vibrant setting, and secondary characters are its most significant highlights. With a cliff-hanger like that, I do intend to read the sequel.