Buckle up and get ready for this mediocre ride.

In a sort of last-ditch attempt at becoming a better writer (cuz ya girl is an English major who cannot articulate herself to save her life), I have been reading more recently. I use the term "reading" lightly because what I do is more like speed-reading until I get to the last three chapters. Then have a mental breakdown because it's the last three chapters, and I'm not ready for that hollow feeling I get followed by endings. So like a "normal" person, I wait a few days until I'm mentally ready to finish a good book. Ya girl is emotional... I can't help it.

‧͙⁺˚*・༓☾m o v i n g f o r w a r d☽༓・*˚⁺‧͙

1. Watchmen (# 1-12)

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A murder mystery-turned-nationwide conspiracy, WATCHMEN examines the lives of the eponymous superhero team as they seem to decay alongside the ever-darkening America around them. Rorschach, Nite Owl, the Silk Spectre, Dr. Manhattan and Ozymandias reunite to investigate who’s behind a teammate’s murder, but find that the truth may be even more grim than the world they seek to protect.

Going into this, I didn’t think I would enjoy Watchmen as much as I did. The universe is gritty, violent, and Nixon is president way longer than I'd appreciate (also the art is 👌). There were times I felt confused and I think that may have been due to the order of events. I would squint and think to myself “is this information necessary?” This didn’t exactly deter me from reading, if anything it compelled me, even more, to figure out what would happen next. The panels often do this flashback thing, transitioning from the present to the past with narration over events that are not always the memories of the narrator. Watchmen establishes a flow well enough, that breaking the pattern is noticeable. Personally, not everything was important at the same time or chronologically.

I didn’t really enjoy Rorschach, in fact, I grew to resent him. His ultra-violence and moral ambiguity constantly put me on edge. Yet, he piqued my interest and really made me question the motives of each character. Well, him and constantly being reminded “who watches the Watchmen?” It wasn’t this everything’s-gonna-be-fine optimism, rather a genuine struggle and growing fear as each character moved forward. Honestly, I just sat in my room re-evaluating my moral code for a good 10 minutes.

2. Magnus Chase:

The Hammer of Thor:

Thor’s hammer is missing again. The thunder god has a disturbing habit of misplacing his weapon – the mightiest force in the Nine Worlds – but this time the hammer isn’t just lost. It has fallen into enemy hands. If Magnus Chase and his friends can’t retrieve the hammer quickly, the mortal worlds will be defenseless against an onslaught of giants. Ragnarok will begin. The Nine Worlds will burn. Unfortunately, the only person who can broker a deal for the hammer’s return is the gods’ worst enemy, Loki — and the price he wants is very high.

So basically... I thoroughly enjoyed The Hammer of Thor. It picked up right where we left off in the first book smoothly. I could keep up with the unfolding story and found myself wanting to know more as the plot thickened. I could feel a sense of urgency. Sure, there were comedic bits, but that didn't overshadow the looming sense of — for a lack of a better worddoom hanging over Magnus and his squad (hot girl summer? More like... stahp girl summer... that's a yikes). The hilarious scenes don’t dampen the fact that Magnus and his friends are going through hell and back to prevent the end of humanity. It’s a lot of pressure and there are instances where it gets tense, or you want to punch Thor in the face because it doesn’t feel like he’s doing enough. I honestly felt so anxious and would sit there like “yea I could read another chapter” I really wanted to find out what would happen next. I became (emotionally) invested in this story and its characters, which is something I rarely experience with a lot of books I read.

AND I am here for the diversity of the characters. It's refreshing to see characters of different backgrounds, values, and ethnicities. Who go through their own struggles, but still do their best to work together, even when things get crazy and they have to restrain themselves from punching your friendly neighbourhood goat in the face, all while trying to not die before dinner. The way these characters are introduced to each other and how they work with one another or against each other shows that thought went into these individuals. I felt for a lot of the characters, honestly. I could empathize with Magnus and his friends and hated Hearthstone’s father (trust me this guy is no Bueno). It’s hard trying to stay alive and keep the people you care about safe, especially when you don’t feel confident in yourself. It also doesn't help when there’s a lunatic trying to spark the end of the world.

The Ship of the Dead:

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Magnus and his friends take a boat trip to the farthest borders of Jotunhein and Niflheim in pursuit of Asgard’s greatest threat. Life preservers are mandatory for this wet, wild, and wondrous adventure.

Liiiisten, I was capital s, Stressed. In comparison to the first two books, I read this one at a slower pace. Mainly because I wanted it to last for as long as possible, I wasn’t ready to close the door on my sassy boy Magnus. There is no pause, it’s like “Okay so y’all take care of this and we’ll take care of that… oh what’s that? We have another problem that needs to be resolved (like Hearth’s God-awful excuse of a father) cool, yeah… no… word I gotchu. AIGHT SO NOBODY GETS TO DIE UNDERSTOOD?!!! That is lowkey-high key the type of stress we’re dealing with lads. I get it, it’s a lot of pressure trying to save all nine worlds from Ragnarök and stop Loki, who is dead set on eviscerating you, your family, and that goat with the inferiority complex. It’s a lot, and I was stressed. Regardless, I put on my big boy seatbelt and strapped myself in for an emotional ride (I’m an emotional person, so it wasn’t that difficult). For the most part, I seriously enjoyed it, I wouldn’t say It was my favourite out of the series, but I wasn’t disappointed per se. There were parts where I would get frustrated with characters for being so stubborn (cuz I'm stubborn and don't like it when other people are being stubborn... I'm a mess) or I’d sit after reading a paragraph and think “oh ok that’s a thing now, cool.” I did enjoy it though, the level of dedication Magnus and his friends have for each other, how determined they were to deal with their own issues, and still come together as a team to prevent Loki from unleashing all kinds of hell and destruction, really is just... 👏... 👏... 👏 slow clap worthy.

3. A Darker Shade of Magic

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Kell is one of the last Antari-magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black. Kell was raised in Arnes-Red London-and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they'll never see. It's a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand. After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure. Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they'll first need to stay alive.

I don’t know how I feel about this book. Personally, it was like a whirlwind of emotions. There were parts I felt moved slower than the rest. I have a short attention span, so I did find myself getting easily distracted. The beginning seemed to move slower than it did towards the end. And like I said, I’ve got a short attention span, so I struggled with giving this novel my undivided attention (which honestly, may just be due to who I am as a person). One minute I was frustrated and the next I was scared for my boys Kell and Rhy. I went through an emotional journey. Seriously, the fight scenes had me stressed. The suspense was real and I was on edge thinking “who’s going to win?” Finishing this book, I felt a little void in my heart. Even though I was stressed out for the majority of it, I grew to surprisingly... love it.

I enjoyed each character. Even if I hated some of them. Kell, I appreciate and would give him the biggest bear hug ever (cuz the boy really needs it). He takes on so much responsibility for his mistakes (rightfully so) and to see him struggle, yet — stubbornly — work through it, I garnered a lot of respect for him. Kell deserves the world. The amount of love he has for his brother Rhy, the amount of guilt he feels for putting him and the kingdom in danger, and how badly he wants to fix it because he knows he has to... ಥ-ಥ... I have so much respect for him. Regardless of the moments where I wanted to smack him in the face and scream "SNAP OUT OF IT, YOU'VE GOT BIGGER FISH TO FRY!!!!!!" And Rhy, lord knows I didn’t like him at first, but I've developed a soft spot for him (he's baby, and I will fight for him). Initially, I thought he was just some flirtatious crown prince. Then as I got to understand his motivations and worries, I began to like him more. His love for his people, as well as his love for Kell made me see him in a different light. He wants to be a good ruler and more importantly, a good brother, and I love that. Rhy also deserves all the love and bear hugs imaginable, because this boy just... Oof. And Miss Delilah Bard, I didn’t enjoy her character as much, but I did enjoy her fighting spirit, never backing down because it may cost her life. I wasn’t here for her attitude most of the time, but she gave Kell a run for his money. I respect her persistence. Also, she’s a badass and knows it, so points for that madam.

In conclusion, overall, to sum up, the struggle to not succumb to tempting, terrifying darkness and the character dynamics were 👌👌👌. The transition from a wholesome brotherly “I will put my life on the line for you” to psychotic power-hungry royals ruining everything you hold close and dear, was — to suffice — intense. Like I said, a whirlwind of emotions.