Suicide Squad Movie Review

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Suicide Squad has definitely been one of the most anticipated movies of the year and with all of the merchandising and promotions that they’ve done regarding the film, I think we all certainly had high expectations as to what the film was going to be like.  In some aspects I feel like this film did deliver, but I also feel like this was a very flawed film that tried to be spectacular but instead ended up being just okay.  (NOTE: THIS REVIEW WILL HAVE SPOILERS)

The film starts out introducing us to government agent Amanda Waller and starts shortly after the events of Batman v Superman.  After Superman’s death, Waller comes up with this plan to create this team who can stop any meta-humans that go bad and try to destroy the world and so she decides to hand pick a group of villains to be a part of this team, to be called upon if something would come up.  In this team she decides to include: Deadshot, a man who has never missed his target, Deadshot is a kind of anti-hero who’s biggest weak spot is his daughter; Harley Quinn, once a brilliant psychiatrist, Quinn fell in love and became obsessed with one of her patients (the Joker aka Mr. J) and ran off with him; Diablo, a meta-human with the ability to create and control fire; Captain Boomerang, a thief who’s weapon of choice is a…let’s see if you can guess this one…a boomerang; Killer Croc, a man with the skin of a reptile who is pretty strong and has increased endurance; we are also introduced to Slipknot, a man who can climb anything, Rick Flagg, a soldier who becomes the leader of the group, Katana, a woman who wields a sword that captures the souls of anyone she kills, and Enchantress, an ancient witch, who was meant to be a member of the team but instead becomes the villain of the movie.

So before getting into the problems, I want to talk about some of the positives of the film.  Like I said, I didn’t hate this movie, I just found it to be okay, but there were certain aspects of the film that I did find enjoyable.  The film did have some funny one liners throughout by a few of the different characters.  The action scenes were fun, you got to see most of the characters’ fighting styles and you kind of get to see their personalities through that.  The film moved at a quick enough pace that I never felt bored.

But one of the best aspects of this film was Will Smith as Deadshot.  So Will Smith definitely took me by surprise with this movie.  Quite honestly, I haven’t really liked any of the movies that he has been in in the past couple of years, I feel like he’s definitely made some misses, but he really redeems himself with his portrayal of Deadshot within this movie and he is arguably the best character within the Suicide Squad.  I also really enjoyed Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, but the character herself had absolutely no development and I honestly thought it was a injustice to the character.  However, Margot Robbie’s performance was really quite spot on and I certainly can’t blame her for the poor decisions made by the writers.  I also really like Jai Courtney as Boomerang, but unfortunately, he became one of the many characters within this film that fell short, not due to the actor’s abilities but due to the fact that the writers kind of haphazardly put together a script that gave minimal to no background on several of the characters and a script that left several of the characters feeling rather meaningless and unnecessary.

So now time to get into the flaws of the film.  I first want to start with the characters who I felt were the biggest missteps, the Enchantress and Joker.

Enchantress is introduced to us by Amanda Waller as she was meant to be a member of Suicide Squad.  Like the other members of the Suicide Squad, Enchantress was to be forced to work for the government as a member of this team, but it wasn’t a reduced sentence and an explosive in the neck that she was promised and threatened with, like the others, but instead Waller actually has Enchantress’ heart.  Why is Enchantress’ heart not within her body?  Great question, never answered.  The only thing that we learn about Enchantress is that she is thousands of years old.  How has she lived so long?  Good question, no idea.  We’re also informed that Enchantress was actually contained in a bottle and was accidentally released by an archeologist who came upon the tomb in which the Enchantress’ spirit was being held, and the Enchantress’ spirit went inside the archeologist’s body and now partially shares the body with the woman.  How was Enchantress captured and placed within a bottle?  Good question, we never find out.  Enchantress, being all powerful (how did she get her powers, I, too would love to know), however, manages to release her brother, who was trapped in a bottle as well, steals back her heart, and escapes the custody of Waller and Flagg, and decides to build a machine (because humans worship machines now) and destroy everything.   What’s her brother’s name, you may ask?  No clue.  Why does she go from 0 to 60 with her plan to destroy the world?  Like everything else, this question is left unanswered.  The writers just got so damn sloppy when it came to Enchantress.  There is literally no backstory whatsoever.  Her brother is literally referred to as Brother or the Big One, the entire goddamn time he’s on screen.  Amanda Waller is a more menacing bad guy then this damn witch ever could be and we know just as little about Waller as we do about Enchantress.

My other big problem with this movie is the Joker.  So despite the fact that they marketed the crap out of Joker (I can’t even tell you how many variations of Funko Pops and other figures were made of this character), he is only in the film for a handful of scenes, so don’t expect a film full of Joker.  Also don’t expect some great new rendition of the Joker, because honestly the writers did such a shitty job of writing this character that we’re left with Jared Leto overacting.  It’s like he tried so hard to make the character more extreme but failed because he was so poorly written.  Joker just felt like one of those characters that was very unnecessary within this film.  He just looked and acted like a gangster.  Sorry Puddin’, you just didn’t cut it.

I also really didn’t like how they dealt with Harley and Joker’s relationship.  So just in case you’re not informed on the situation, and you think that Harley and Joker are some sort of couple to look up to and be like, you’re wrong.  Joker is actually quite emotionally and even physically abusive towards Harley within the comics, and although they portray that to some extent within the movie, they have no development with Harley attempting to move past that.  Instead the entire film is centered around her waiting for him to come rescue her.  I think it was an injustice to her character.  Yes, Harley within the comics is obsessed and in love with Joker and stays with him through a great many bad things, but there are also times when she realizes that he treats her poorly and I wish we would have seen that side of Harley.  In fact at one point in the film the Enchantress tries to convince the members of Suicide Squad to join her by telling them that she can make their biggest dreams come true, she then shows them their dreams and Harley’s is her and Joker being married and normal and having a couple of kids.  This further tried to romanticize their relationship but also was a betrayal of the characters.  Harley Quinn did have a daughter within the comics, and she hid it from Joker because she knew he didn’t have time for children and that a child would never work with all of his plans.  In the comic, Harley reveals to Black Canary that she left for a year while she was pregnant and had the baby, and when she went back to him, Joker acted like he didn’t even realize she was gone for that long.  Harley Quinn and Joker are not a couple to look up to and I hate that the film tried to make them become that.  I also hate that they over-sexualized Harley, even though I knew they were going to.  How many times did we need a closeup of her in a wet t-shirt or a closeup of her short shorts going up her ass?  They didn’t do that with any of the other characters.  I didn’t get a close up of Jai Courtney’s ass or a glimpse of a bulge within Will Smith’s pants, sorry to seem crude, but I’m tired of these female characters within these comic book movies being treated as they are.

My next issue with the film is the choppy editing.  It seems like they filmed these whole scenes that they then cut in half and threw together and just kind of hoped for the best.  It doesn’t flow as nicely as it could and we’re left with a film with nearly no backstory on any of the characters.  If this is the first time you’re ever being introduced to Suicide Squad, you’re probably going to feel pretty lost because we’re given the most minuscule amount of background on some of the characters and we’re left wondering why some of the characters are even there.  Joker is one of them for the reasons I mentioned above, he just is kind of there.  Another character that is just kind of there and rather useless is Katana, which is a real shame because she’s actually a really cool character and she just kind of shows up in this film and stands around in the background trying to look menacing.  Killer Croc is another character, where you’re left feeling like he was never really necessary because in his one moment where he was supposed to shine, he ends up being pushed away by the Enchantress’ army men (aka blobs of goo that once used to be humans but now look far less menacing and are supposed to be helping her destroy the world but instead just keep crumbling).  There is so little character development for any of them though, that you’re left really not caring if any of them live or die.

The last thing I want to discuss is the beginning of the film and also some of the things that happen within the film.  The beginning of the film is probably one of the longest introductions ever that just felt really unnecessary and repetitive.  Honestly they could have cut the beginning of the film in half and instead filled the movie with more background on the characters and more development but instead we’re left with a bunch of montages of the same thing over and over again.  I also want to know what was the point of Slipknot?  The character was literally mentioned for all of five seconds and he was on the team because he could “climb anything” and then he decides to try to escape which leads to his head being blown off.  I understand this was meant to show the consequences of what would happen to the Squad if they would try to run or kill one of the good guys, but his character was completely worthless and completely unnecessary.  The final thing that I had a problem with was the machine that Enchantress was building to destroy the world.  First of all, we have no idea how this machine is supposed to work, we get brief glimpses of the destruction it starts to cause, but we still have no idea what it really is or how it really works.  Also it ends up looking basically like a giant beam that goes up into the sky, hmm why does this seem so familiar?  Oh wait, maybe because we’ve seen it about a million times, including in the Avengers and most recently, in Ghostbusters.  This is a concept that we have seen one too many times and it’s getting old and it’s unoriginal and it needs to stop.

All-in-all, I know it seems like I make a lot of negative points, the film, like I said, is very flawed, but I can’t bring myself to hate it in its entirety.  I actually ended up liking it better then the theatrical release of Batman v Superman, though I have not seen the extended version of that film, which I hear clears up a lot of the problems within the film, but based on what I did see, I enjoyed Suicide Squad more.  There were a lot of misses with this film though, and I really hope to see better from DC in the future.  I am actually really looking forward to Justice League, though I really wish somebody other then Zach Snyder was directing.  His films have been misses for me for quite some time now.  I would say definitely go out and see this film and make up your own mind about it, I know some people who have had a lot of really positive things to say about the movie and who knows you may enjoy it as well, I just couldn’t bring myself to love this film.

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Movie Review–Green Room

So I just want to start off by saying that this film took me by complete surprise.  I honestly did not know too, too much going into this film.  I remember seeing a trailer for this a good while ago and then never seeing anything from it again.  Then all of a sudden, I started hearing about it everywhere, with many saying that it is a fantastic must see for the horror-thriller fans out there and I would really have to agree.

The film starts out with us meeting a small punk rock band who are traveling around, trying to make it by.  They end up getting a gig and interview from this guy, but things fall short and it doesn’t end up being what they had expected.  To make up for it the guy ends up hooking them up with his cousin who works for a venue that’s in the middle of nowhere.  They get there and realize that the people running it and the people there are a bunch of white supremacists.  To make things worse, after their gig, they end up walking into a room where a girl has just been stabbed to death, leading them to getting locked into the room and unable to leave.  The band must then fight their way out by any means possible.

This movie really took me by surprise.  It basically centers around this band as they try to fight against these neo-nazis.  The film is graphic and violent and sinister and I loved every minute of it.  The film is incredibly tense and I sat there dreading what was going to happen next to the characters. The cast for this film was amazing too.  Anton Yelchin (RIP) played in the sort of lead role (there are several actors that are kind of the lead characters) and he does an amazing job.  It really is an awful shame about what happened to him, based on this film as well as others, you could tell he had an amazing career that could have been ahead of him.  Patrick Stewart took me by complete surprise.  He actually plays the leader of the white supremacist group and it was just not something I was prepared for.  When I think of Patrick Stewart, I just immediately think of Professor X or Captain Picard, and to see him in this role was a little surprising, but it just goes to show the range that he has.  Another shout-out should definitely go to Imogene Poots for her performance in this as well.  She played this badass who is originally a part of the neo-nazi group but turns against them when her friend, the girl who was stabbed, is killed and does whatever she can to survive.

One of the things that I really like about this film is the fact that nothing is black and white about it.  All of the characters have their own flaws and even some of the “bad” guys aren’t really all that bad.  The characters just all feel very real and not the typical characters that you see horror films.  It’s a genuine film full of dark and twisted elements and a very tense atmosphere, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good thriller.

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Subscription Box Review–Horror Pack

Yesterday I came home from work to a little brown package on my front porch greeting me and I was super excited because I immediately knew what it was.  For those who don’t know, I’m a huge horror fan.  I love horror films, TV shows, comics, books, video games, etc.  So when I found out about Horror Pack, I decided to give them a shot, because they’re a little different then most of the other horror subscription boxes out there.  With Horror Pack there is actually two different subscriptions that you can sign up for, the regular DVD subscription (which is $19.99 a month, shipped) or the BLU-RAY subscription (which is $24.99 a month, shipped).  You can also do three, six, or twelve month subscriptions for each box that takes the price down a little more the longer you do the subscription for (for instance the DVD pack is $19.99 for one month, $19.24/month for three months, $18.49/month for six months, and $17.74/month for twelve months.  In Horror Pack you get four different horror movies each month, and what’s really nice is if you want to get both the regular DVD subscription as well as the BLU-RAY subscription, they actually send different films in each box so you can, so you can get up to eight different movies each month for actually only about $5 a movie, which is pretty good.  I ended up signing up for the regular DVD subscription.

The box itself is just a plain brown box and then within the box is a white mailer bag to protect the DVDs and also conceal them which I like because it adds to the mystery and protects the movies from becoming damaged.

So another fun thing about this subscription is each month, on their Instagram, they post clues as to what each of the films are going to be for people to guess.  It’s just a fun little added game that I really enjoy.

The first hint that they gave was “A true master of horror obscures your view with this frightener.” So immediately I thought The Fog by John Carpenter.  The “obscures your view” was a huge flag to me that it had to be The Fog or The Mist but when it said “a true master of horror”, I figured that was a tip of the hat to Carpenter so that had been my guess for that movie.  And it turns out I was correct.

If you’re not familiar with The Fog, the movie follows this small town on the California coast who is in the process of celebrating the centennial of the town.  A few nights before, however, strange things start to happen, including the disappearance of a fishing ship, the finding of a old journal of one of the founder’s that reveals the town’s dark history, and a thick strange fog, among other things.  But when the fog comes back the next night, and more bad things happen, the people of the town realize that the fog is hiding something deadly and it’s out to destroy.
I love The Fog, it’s a true classic in my book.  I’m a big fan of John Carpenter in general, especially the scores he creates, and this film has an amazing score that really adds to the darkness and atmosphere of the film.  It’s also a very different story.  You don’t find too many tales like this and certainly don’t see many movies like it.  The only other one I can think with a semi-similar concept is The Mist, which was originally a novella written by Stephen King, but other then that I can’t really think of anything else quite like this.  If you’ve never seen this film, definitely check it out.  You’ll definitely want to see this 1980 version of the film, as there is a remake that came out in 2005, which is actually pretty good for a remake, but I definitely recommend this original film, the score alone makes it 100% worth it.

The next clue that they gave was “Sometimes being a mama’s boy requires a little bit of killing”.  So this one I immediately thought Psycho but then I also thought that it could potentially be Friday the 13th Part Two.  But I was actually wrong with both guesses.  So this month Horror Pack promised us an exclusive, limited edition DVD and this was actually the DVD that they choose for that.

So I have never even heard of this film before but I’m definitely very interested in checking this one out.  From what I can tell, Carl is about a mama’s boy who will do anything that his mother orders, including kill for her.  A couple who are on a romantic getaway somehow get mixed up in things with the family and they must fight to survive.  This is me attempting to summarize the summary, so I’m not 100% sure how accurate I am.  I’ve never even heard of this one before but it almost seems like it is a mixture of Texas Chainsaw Massacre meets Friday the 13th or Psycho.  On the IMDB page, it does call this film a psychological horror/thriller film, so I’m definitely very excited to check it out.
UPDATE: Did watch this one and actually enjoyed it. It was a bit of a slasher and kind of demented.  

The next clue that was given was “Back-to-back films tell the further story of this resurrected demonic monster.”  So my initial reaction with this one was Pumpkinhead 1 and 2.  At first I thought it could be a few other things like Night of the Demons, and I also saw some other people guess Evil Dead and I considered both of those, but then this clue specifically says that it is about a resurrected demonic monster, singular, not plural, so I ruled both of those other ones out.  Turns out I was right about the franchise just not which movies that they sent.

Here we have Pumpkinhead: Ashes to Ashes and Pumkinhead: Blood Feud, the 3rd and 4th films in the franchise, which makes sense since the clue does specifically say that it furthers the story of the monster.  I actually have not seen either of these films before, I have only ever seen the original Pumpkinhead film, and I actually saw it years ago so I don’t really remember much about it.  I do remember that Pumpkinhead is a demon of vengeance that is summoned in the first film, I don’t know how the sequels continue on the story because I’ve never seen them, but I’m excited to have this two pack.  To me, this ups the value of the box even more because now I’m actually getting two films in the place of one, so one additional film in the box.  So now I’m definitely going to have to pick up the first two so that I can watch those and then watch these ones.
And the final clue was “These drug trial participants get way more then a quick paycheck”.  So I actually guessed Bloodwork on this one, but was wrong, it was actually The Facility, which I really should have guessed because that’s a more well known film about the topic.

The Facility is about a group of drug trial participants who are injected with this drug which then turns out to have horrific side effects and turns the participants into homicidal maniacs basically.  I do remember seeing at least a part of this film, but I don’t believe that I’ve actually seen the whole movie, so I’m excited to have it to watch.
Overall I really like Horror Pack, I definitely feel like I got my moneys worth with this subscription.  Normally the box is $19.99, so with technically five movies (considering the one was a double feature) that would only be approximately $4 a film, but I actually had a $3 off coupon for the box, so it ended up being $16.99 or about $3.40 a film.  I ended up getting 5 movies that I’m actually excited about, two of which I have seen and the other three are new to me.  I also really liked the variation in this box.  I received a supernatural horror film, a psychological thriller, what appears to be a slasher, and two demonic horror films.  I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is looking to get DVDs every month to build their collection.  I also have here a coupon code here if anybody is interested in signing up of the subscription, this will get you $3 off of your first box!

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Book Review–The Darkest Part of the Forest

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Another fantasy novel, I know, I know, big surprise.  I love fantasy so much though, and this particular book was actually lent to me by my best friend.  My best friend and I actually do this book exchange every month or so where we meet for lunch exchange books and chat about the books we exchanged the previous month as well as just catch up in general.  Not only does it give us a chance to hang out but we also get to chat about books, which is a subject we are both passionate about.  This is the book that he gave me most recently because I actually mentioned to him that I have wanted to read this for a while and he told me how good it was and I really have to agree.

This book follows a sister, Hazel, and brother, Ben, who live in a small town called Fairfold.  Fairfold seems like you’re normal every day small town, except for the fact that fairies coexist in Fairfold with humans.  Hazel and Ben have grown up in this world so it’s nothing too special to them, except when it comes to the horned boy.  The horned boy resides in a glass casket in the middle of the woods and according to legend he has been there for hundreds of years in a deep sleep from which he was never meant to wake up from.  Hazel and Ben spent their childhood fantasizing about releasing the boy from his chamber and created all kinds of adventures that they would have with him.  But as they grew older Hazel realize the boy would never awaken, until one day he does, which becomes an event that officially turns their small world upside down.

Yet another amazing fantasy story.  This was a really fun and immersive story.  First of all the characters are really interesting and complex and in no way stereotypical YA fantasy characters.  Hazel is very headstrong and smart and a fighter, she wants so desperately to be the knight in shining armor and to be the one that saves the world.  Ben is a really great example of a gay boy in YA literature.  I feel like often times with YA, we get a stereotypically gay character and that is the opposite of Ben.  He’s smart and musically talented and very special in a very different way from his sister.  You also have Jack, who is one of the main characters.  He is actually a fairy himself, a changeling to be precise and he has a neat little backstory with his family that I don’t want to ruin.  But he is one who tries so desperately to keep one foot in the human world so that he doesn’t let the fairy part of him take over completely.  And then you have Severin, the horned boy himself, who holds within himself the truth of his family and his father and the fairies.

I love things that deal with fairies and I feel like there is not a whole lot of good fantasy literature that deals with fairies.  But this book deals with so much fun mythology and really goes in a way that I didn’t expect.  Holly Black just writes so poetically and beautifully and passionately, it’s just so enjoyable.  Also something that is really cool, is that the book is a spin on Snow White.  It’s of course not an exact retelling, but you can definitely tell that she pulled inspiration from the classic tale.  It’s a really cool, dark tale that’s definitely something very different if you’re into fantasy.

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Book Review–Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

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So this one is actually a reread for me.  The Harry Potter series is my all time favorite series and it has actually been quite some time since I have reread the books, but a few months ago my sister was actually in Scotland for a month and bought for me most of the UK editions from Bloomsbury which are absolutely beautiful editions of the books.  She was able to get me books one through five but the bookstore near her didn’t have six or seven so I have to buy those online, but I am still so grateful and was so excited that she was able to get as many of them as she did for me.  So that coupled with the fact that I actually reread Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone earlier this year when I bought the illustrated edition of the book, I decided that I just needed to reread the whole series.

If you’re not familiar with Harry Potter, what the hell are you doing with your life?!  You need to read these books, they are seriously some of the greatest books ever written.  Anyway Chamber of Secrets starts off shortly after Harry’s first year at Hogwarts has ended and he’s back at his horrible Aunt and Uncle’s (his only living blood relatives) home for the summer.  Miserable in this place that has never felt like home to him, he longs to go back to Hogwarts but all of that is nearly jeopardized when an unknown and unexpected visitor, a elf named Dobby, nearly comes and ruins everything for him.  Luckily he is saved by his best friend Ron and Ron’s brothers Fred and George, but things aren’t going to be easy for Harry yet again and as it turns out the strange elf that came to visit Harry, wasn’t quite as crazy as he thought he was.

First of all I just want to say that this particular edition of this book is absolutely gorgeous.  I seriously am in love with the Bloomsbury UK editions of these books.  Not only are they stunning but there is a lot of foreshadowing in the covers.  In this one in particular you can see the Basilisk, the Sword of Gryffindor, Fawkes, a knocked out Ginny, just so many little details that make it so interesting.  I especially love all the green that is in this cover, it’s just so pretty.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets actually happens to be one of my favorites of the whole series.  I really feel like this is where things really start to go dark and although it certainly doesn’t compare to the later novels like Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, or Deathly Hallows, I really feel like this is the book that sets up the rest of the series for the dark and sad yet beautiful and amazing series that this story becomes.  I also love that you get to see so much more of the characters and you learn more not only about Harry but the Weasleys’, Hermione, and many of the other characters like Hagrid, Dumbledore, Malfoy, and others, that really set up plot lines that continue through the other books.  I also really love the mythology within this book.  This whole series deals with mythology that is based on both real mythology as well as mythology that J.K. Rowling created herself, which is really neat.

This book, like the rest of the series holds a very special place in my heart.  It’s hard for me not to read these books without laughing while crying at the same time because I know of the things to come, but this story, the whole story is one that will stick with me for the rest of my life.  These books took a piece of me and yet feel like home at the same time and so if you have not read this series, you have to, because I promise you, it is one of the greatest series that was ever created.  It’s a series that will make you believe in magic, that will make you root for the characters, that will make you want to be a part of the tale.  It truly is magical.

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Graphic Novel–Nailbiter Volume Two

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This is another one of those series that I instantly fell in love with and just keeps getting better.

Nailbiter Volume Two picks up where the first one left off, with so many questions unanswered.  A murderer has struck yet again in the small town of Buckaroo, Oregon, a place that has given birth to sixteen of the worst serial killers to ever walk the Earth, and the mystery is left to solve by a local cop, a government interrogation specialist, and the help of a serial killer.

This series is very dark and twisted and I love every minute of it.  The artwork, first of all, is fantastic.  It is dark and chilling and gory at times and exactly what I want to see from a story like this.  This series is so highly acclaimed and for good reason.  It is an excellent mix of horror and crime thriller and you’re constantly left guessing, who’s the killer and who can you really trust in this story.

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Graphic Novel Review–Memorial

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This is by far my favorite series that I have read recently and it completely took me by surprise.  This was actually lent to me by my best friend and I went into the story blind.  I had read the back of the book to see a brief description but it does not do the story justice in way and just completely blew me away.

One day a young woman awakes to find that she had no idea who she is.  With no way to ID her but a necklace of the letter M, she becomes known as Ms. M.  A year later, she has built a new life for herself, she works for a bookstore in New York and has moved on.  That is until she finds a strange shop and within that shop, a key it seems simple enough, just a little skeleton key, but little does she know that very key is about to change her life forever.

This story was so much more then I honestly thought it was going to be.  I’m a big fan of fairy tales and stories that dive into different fairy tales and this one does that in a very different way.  Within the pages of this book we meet characters like Robin Hood, Mulan, Sinbad, a character that is very much like Peter Pan, and more.  We also meet a talking cat, living statues, shadows that are really people, and blind librarians that can see the future.  This is one of those tales that I would love to see brought to the big screen because if done right this series could make an excellent movie.  The story is complex and fun, the characters are all very unique, and it takes place a very interesting and different world.

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