The Princess Diarist

26025989The Princess Diarist

Carrie Fisher

Goodreads

The Princess Diarist is Carrie Fisher’s intimate, hilarious and revealing recollection of what happened behind the scenes on one of the most famous film sets of all time, the first Star Wars movie.

When Carrie Fisher recently discovered the journals she kept during the filming of the first Star Wars movie, she was astonished to see what they had preserved—plaintive love poems, unbridled musings with youthful naiveté, and a vulnerability that she barely recognized. Today, her fame as an author, actress, and pop-culture icon is indisputable, but in 1977, Carrie Fisher was just a (sort-of) regular teenager.

With these excerpts from her handwritten notebooks, The Princess Diarist is Fisher’s intimate and revealing recollection of what happened on one of the most famous film sets of all time—and what developed behind the scenes. And today, as she reprises her most iconic role for the latest Star Wars trilogy, Fisher also ponders the joys and insanity of celebrity, and the absurdity of a life spawned by Hollywood royalty, only to be surpassed by her own outer-space royalty. Laugh-out-loud hilarious and endlessly quotable, The Princess Diarist brims with the candor and introspection of a diary while offering shrewd insight into the type of stardom that few will ever experience.

Review:

This is not a story about the making of Star Wars, not really. While Carrie does of course speak at length on the effect of the series on her life and the immediate aftermath of the popularity of the first movie, there’s no behind the scenes content. Except when it comes to her relationship with Harrison Ford, playfully referred to as Carrison.

There’s a lot of that.

But hearing the story, I can’t really blame her for her focus. The impetus for this book was apparently the rediscovery of several journals that Fisher had kept through the making of the first Star Wars movie. And, being nineteen and having an affair with Harrison Ford of all people, her writings naturally revolve around their relationship, as well as her own insecurities and a few telling touches with her disease. This is a memoir of Carrison, without any scandalous, sexy bits involved. That, and a reflection on the meaning of Leia in Carrie’s life.

I have never read any other of Fisher’s writings, so I can’t compare what’s written here with what’s written there. I can say that from what was read of her journals directly (by her daughter Billie Lourd) that even without an editor she makes an excellent writer and clever poet. I can also say that, as I listened to the audiobook, hearing it all spoken in Fisher’s voice makes all the difference. Her inflections are perfect and hammer home how ridiculous she now takes her younger self, as we all view our younger selves.

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Thunderhead by Neil Shusterman

33555224 Thunderhead

Neil Shusterman

Goodreads

Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, in the second novel of the chilling New York Times bestselling series from Neal Shusterman, author of the Unwind dystology.

Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.

Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?

Review (minimal spoilers):

The summary does not even begin to scratch the surface of all the things going on in this book. From what (I felt) was a fairly straightforward (but immensely enjoyable) plot in Scythe expanded into multiple overlapping storylines as well as new characters.

At a certain point in roughly the middle of the book I thought to myself, “Is this too much?” And then I decided that I didn’t care because the ride was too enjoyable. I was rewarded in the end by having all the storylines neatly wrap up and then abruptly be cut off by an amazing cliffhanger that has me desperate to see what comes next.

The main star of the show in this novel is Citra, or Scythe Anastasia. Her growth from novice overachiever in the first book to political savvy junior scythe in this adventure is seamless and wonderful to read. Rowan, I feel, takes a bit of a back seat. Or perhaps I was so thirsty for more of Rowan’s story after Scythe that nothing would satisfy me. The secondary star for me was definitely Greyson Tolliver whose storyline had me as interested as any of the main characters. While in the previous book, each chapter had some quotation from a scythe’s journal — notably Scythe Curie — in this novel we have insights from the Thunderhead itself which I feel adds so much to the worldbuilding of this novel and bookends all the chapters with just enough commentary to make you understand how the world and the Thunderhead thinks (which often syncs up with what you’re thinking).

And oh the worldbuilding. So much was added and shaped and honed. So much that I didn’t understand or was annoyed by now makes sense. The Tonists! The Tonists!

Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau

32051572Dividing Eden
Joelle Charbonneau
Goodreads

Twins Carys and Andreus were never destined to rule Eden. With their older brother next in line to inherit the throne, the future of the kingdom was secure.

But appearances—and rivals—can be deceiving. When Eden’s king and crown prince are killed by assassins, Eden desperately needs a monarch, but the line of succession is no longer clear. With a ruling council scheming to gain power, Carys and Andreus are faced with only one option—to take part in a Trial of Succession that will determine which one of them is worthy of ruling the kingdom.

As sister and brother, Carys and Andreus have always kept each other safe—from their secrets, from the court, and from the monsters lurking in the mountains beyond the kingdom’s wall. But the Trial of Succession will test the bonds of trust and family.

With their country and their hearts divided, Carys and Andreus will discover exactly what each will do to win the crown. How long before suspicion takes hold and the thirst for power leads to the ultimate betrayal?

Review:

Codependent relationship between twins disintegrates into fratricide in a matter of three fucking days when they are subjected to a series of trials for the throne. The boy twin, Andreus, has a panic disorder. Which is to say he has one proper panic attack which results in him blacking out and another that’s like, just genuine panic. The girl twin, Carys, has a opioid addiction.

Things that bothered me:

  • THREE FUCKING DAYS
  • Can’t tell all these Elder council members apart. They all look vaguely like Lord Frey in my head.
  • Supposedly these trials are supposed to be based upon the Seven Virtues that guide the kingdom, but these virtues are apparently: Archery, Hitting Each Other With Sticks, Steeple Chase, Socializing, Not Seeing Through an Obvious Setup, and Horse Racing
  • Constantly had to remind my brain to rhyme Andreus with Carys, because they’re twins and they should, right???
  • Nothing really good or interesting happens until the end. And then the book ends.

Things that I enjoyed:

  • Girl’s romance was minimal/lowkey on her side
  • Nothing really good or interesting happens until the end. And then the book ends.

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

28954189 (1)
Scythe
Neal Shusterman
Goodreads

Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

Review:

No one in the whole world can die, except when they’re gleaned by a scythe. The human race has reached this kind of stagnate perfection, brought about by the cloud, the Internet evolving into an all-knowing, all-seeing force that controls the world to make it function perfectly.

(Honestly, this is greatly interesting to me, but only the surface gets scratched in the novel. I’m hoping for more when the next two come out.)

Citra and Rowan are thrust into an increasingly corrupt system of Scythedom, designed, in theory, to keep the human population in check. They are above the law and untouchable and therefore, of course, have plenty of evils lurking around in the shadows. The romance between the two is a bit pasteded on yay, but because of that it’s hugely background, which I liked. This is a great world-building story and definitely something that’ll interest me into the next two books.