The Fantastic and Mundane Chronicles of an Aspiring Writer



My Musings: Violet Evergarden

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Hello, everyone! Today I wanted to talk about one of the most recent TV shows I started watching: Violet Evergarden. As I mentioned before, I have lately really started loving nearly everything anime (both television series and movies) and this series is no different. Set in a fictional world resembling victorian-era England, Violet Evergarden tells the story of a girl struggling to adjust to a normal civilian life after she spent nearly all her childhood being used as a tool of war. At its heart, however, the show is about Violet’s discovery of what it means to love and lose—in essence, what it means to be human as well as take charge of one’s own destiny. Below, I have listed what I loved most about this series.


I loved the series’ beautiful mixture of urban and rural landscapes resembling England during the victorian-era. Rich backdrops illustrating magnificent castles, colorful meadows, and cobblestone streets illuminated in a soft gas lamp glow added an extra layer of enchantment to the story overall.


Violet’s character development throughout the series was truly amazing to behold. While in the beginning, her robotic nature made it difficult to connect with her, throughout each episode, she grows emotionally little by little until at last, she becomes her own person. On a deeper level, she finally comes to terms with *spoiler* the death of her first love while at the same time finally learning what love actually entails.


Aside from the story itself, one of the main elements that contributes to the series’ emotional power is the soundtrack. Composer Evan Call creates a score that is every bit as heartbreakingly beautiful as the anime itself. In equal parts wondrous, pensive, and nostalgic, the music of Violet Evergarden transports the listener on an auditory journey every bit as magical as the breathtaking visuals. Some of my favorite tracks are:

 Across the Violet Sky

Letters from Heaven

Wherever You Are Wherever You May Be 

 Those Words You Spoke To Me

The Ultimate Price

 The Long Night 

What It Means to Love 


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In summary, the main reason why I love this series is because to me it is a perfect example of anime’s ability to combine the fantastical with the emotional truths of reality. Violet Evergarden is heartbreaking because it deals with the heavy subjects of war, human exploitation, and death, and in doing so may understandably not be for some viewers. At the same time, the series incorporates scenes of happiness, wonder, and belonging that ultimately make watching the entire series with in all its sorrow and beauty worthwhile.

✔︎🌠 Would recommend for fans of anime and stories dealing with tragedy as well as self-identity

If I could summarize this anime in three words: beautiful, enchanting, heartbreaking   

Check out the official summary of Violet Evergarden here on MyAnimeList.

My rating (out of 5 stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

My Musings: The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo


Favorite Quote: Love speaks in flowers. Truth Requires thorns.” 

This was one of my favorite reads of the whole year! While usually, I’m not a huge fan of short stories, Bardugo’s writing had me hooked from the very first page. Styled in the tradition of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, The Language of Thorns contains six fantasy tales and retellings that spark the imagination and re-illustrate some of the most famous and beloved stories with a beautiful dark twist. Rather than a usual review, this will serve as more of spotlight in which I will emphasize my thoughts and favorite (spoiler free!)  aspects of each of the stories listed below.

Ayama and the Thorn Wood-This opening tale is loosely based on the greek mythological story of the minotaur, and it was absolutely brilliant! Rather than placing a high value on physical beauty like so many fairy tales, this story prizes the main characters’ uniqueness and compassion—an aspect that I found made it infinitely more touching and memorable.

The Too-Clever Fox-Like the title, this tale is very cleverly told. It revolves around a fox who believes he can outsmart a famed hunter. Without giving away any spoilers, his pride ends up costing him dearly in the end, and one of the things I liked about this one was that it reminded me of the countless parables and folktales I read in storybooks from when I was younger.

The Witch of Duva-This disturbing tale seems to be based loosely on Hansel and Gretel, and was every bit as dark as the comparison implies. While fantastical, this story, however, explores the horror and darkness within the ordinary and is made every bit as enthralling and disturbing because of it.

Little Knife-Like The Too-Clever Fox, this story reads more like a parable than a regular short story or fairy tale complete with a simple but powerful moral at the end. I also love the way Bardugo speaks directly to the reader as if relating an old haunting folktale while sitting by the fireside on a chilly winter night.

The Soldier Prince – I absolutely loved this retelling of the Nutcracker from the titular character’s point of view. In this tale, the “Soldier Prince” longs to be human and gain freedom over his own fate, and the way Bardugo recreates all the other well known characters such as Clara and the Mouse King while also beautifully illustrating the poignancy of time passing and life’s choices is as real and raw as it is enchanting.

When Water Sang Fire -How can I adequately describe this without giving the ending away? All I can say is that it’s a retelling of the Little Mermaid but with some dark and heartrending twists that leave you thinking about the story long after the story has ended. This is a great haunting tale to end this anthology!

📚✔︎ Would recommend for fans of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Hans Christian Andersen, and dark fantasy.

If I could summarize this book in two words: darkly mesmerizing  

Check out the official summary of the Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo on goodreads.

My rating (out of 5 stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️



The Fantastic and Mundane Chronicles of an Aspiring Writer


My Musings: The Summer Dragon by Todd Lockwood



Synopsis in a sentence: An ordinary girl uncovers a conspiracy involving the dragon empire in her homeland.

This novel was a unique and interesting read. The beginning started out strong with the introduction of a terrifying enemy and an all new perspective on dragons as massive pets and honored steeds that I had never encountered before. Within the initial hundred pages, however, the plot began to drag. Given the novel’s suspenseful first couple of chapters, I couldn’t help but be disappointed by the all too predictable direction and slow pacing of the story overall. More than that, rather than a narrative, the novel ultimately developed into an extended commentary about the nature of religion. Once again, while the author presented this discussion in an original and intriguing way, I found myself hoping for a more fulfilling story throughout with characters that seemed more like people rather than opposing mouthpieces for the various factions concerning the world’s fictional and overly complicated religion. What I was hoping for was an intriguing and entertaining story about dragons. What I got was a long and drawn-out metaphorical discourse on the nature of religion using dragons. With that being said, I appreciated and enjoyed Lockwood’s ingenuity and found The Summer Dragon to be a refreshing read.

📚✔︎ Would recommend for fans of Eragon or dragons in general.

If I could summarize the book in five words: good, not amazing, but good

Check out the official summary of The Summer Dragon by Todd Lockwood on goodreads.

My rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★

The Fantastic and Mundane Chronicles of an Aspiring Writer

My Musings: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

The Fantastic and Mundane Chronicles of an Aspiring Writer

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Not surprisingly, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is a visual masterpiece. The amount detail in nearly ever aspect of the scenery and special effects was amazing. Unfortunately, the same attention was not given to the development of the plot or characters themselves, and this fact ultimately is what kept me from really loving this movie.

In summary, the film revolves around government agents Valerian and Laureline who are sent to the space station Alpha—a.k.a the City of a Thousand Planets because it contains every species known to exist in the universe—to find and stop the threat lurking within its core. This main plot seems simple enough, however, its execution is sloppy and convoluted. The characters don’t actually arrive to the Alpha Station until what seems like an hour into the film, and when they finally do embark on the mission, the over overabundance of special effects actually distracts the viewer from focusing on what the characters are supposed to be doing.

This ultimately leads me to the overarching issue with the film as a whole: the two main characters and the acting. According to the dialogue and plot, the titular character of Valerian is supposed to be the best agent of his kind as well as a playboy and lover to Laureline. Dane DeHaan was not believable as any of these. Sure his character didn’t seem bad at his job by any means, but never once did he do anything to make him stand out as being the best in his field. In fact, Laureline seemed to outshine Valerian on all fronts, considering she had more screen time and was simply portrayed by Cara Delevingne as being more likable and real. The supposed romance between these two characters, however, was one of the weakest points of the film. The flirty dialogue was so corny it was cringeworthy, and instead of enhancing the plot, the romance seemed to hinder it from gaining any momentum. The best acting performance actually went to Rihanna whose portrayal of Bubble was one of the most touching and well-executed even though the character’s involvement in the overall plot, like so many other aspects of the movie, seemed extraneous.

🎬✔︎ Would recommend for those looking for a visual treat but no story or emotional investment.

My reaction after seeing it: I have no idea what I just saw. 


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