Just One Damned Thing After Another – Jodi Taylor

Title: Just One Damned Thing After Another25876872-_uy200_
Author: Jodi Taylor
Genre: Science Fiction/Adventure
Pages: 480
Category: 22. Read a long book, one between 100,000 and 250,000 words
Format: Paper

Date Started: February 22nd 2017
Date Finished: February 25th 2017

If you tell me this isn’t the coolest plot for a book series ever then I would probably be more than a little surprised. A series of books about historians who travel to the past and learn about history and obviously get into a bunch of trouble while doing it. And naturally they all live together and sleep together. Oh and there are dinosaurs.

Unfortunately the potential of this plot remains largely unrealised. I wouldn’t say that the writing is terrible, but it is often cliche and trying to be funny without actually being funny. But mostly my issue is the continuity throughout the book which for me is always important but even more so when you’re dealing with time travel.

Let me explain a little further. The first part of the book deals primarily with the protagonist’s arrival at St Mary’s and subsequent training. This part is all fine with me though it’s unclear how long the training actually takes. It’s then unclear how much time passes between this and subsequent missions, particularly before the final mission. By the end of the book supposedly five years and a half years have passed. However, at the end of this period the same staff are employed at St. Mary’s as immediately following the conclusion of Max’s training. My assumption based on hints in the book is that training takes 6 months, let’s assume one intake per year with approximately 10 students (only a portion actually becoming staff), so we would assume that there would be maybe 20-25 new staff members. Based on the indications that staff don’t last long at St. Mary’s I would also assume that some of these staff would have died in the course of 5 years, including some of the new staff. But, that is not the case, the staff has remained completely static. Not just that, but there is absolutely no indication of the relationship growth between characters that you would expect after 5 years of working together.

In addition, the plot itself is a little bit all over the place. I realise that this is the first book in a series and some things will naturally be unresolved, but you’re thrown from one historical event to another and never quite sure if the focus is meant to be the history or the politics going on back at St. Mary’s. Once tied together some of these events do make a lot more sense and perhaps this would be less of a concern if it weren’t for the timeline issues to begin with.

All that being said, the little history buff inside me is still fascinated by a world in which you can view history as it’s happening. There are so many places I would want to visit, so many things I would want to see. So in that sense I am torn between continuing with the series to see what else happens and letting it go because I was just so frustrated by the writing.

Where would you go if you had the chance to see anything in history?

Rating: 2.5/5

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La La Land (2016)

Title: La La Landla_la_land_film
Year: 2016
Director: Damien Chazelle
Genre: Drama/Romance/Musical
Date Watched: February 14, 2017
Category: A film in the cinema

I’ve been pretty excited about this one for a while. Ever since I heard that Emma Stone was teaming up with Ryan Gosling again (I’m a huge fan of Crazy, Stupid Love). So finally as a Valentine’s Day outing I managed to get my fiancee to come along with me.

I had really high hopes for this film and was the tiniest bit disappointed, but I think that was more a result of how different it is from Crazy, Stupid Love and also how many awards it has won. Let me be clear though. I really loved this movie. The use of sound in particular was just beautiful and so perfectly on point, almost as if it were a character itself. It truly feels like a movie that would have been at home several decades ago if it wasn’t for the use of mobile phones. Somehow they’ve perfectly blended clothes and sets that look like they belong in the past but at the same time don’t look out of place in a movie set in the 2010’s.

My only criticism of this film is also somewhat of a merit. There were parts of the film where the tension was just so palpable that it was uncomfortable to watch. I could feel everything they were feeling as if it were happening to me. Which is surely the mark of a great film, but at the same time an uncomfortable experience particularly when those emotions are anger or sadness. It felt like watching my parents fight, always a little awkward to say the least.

I left the cinema feeling like something had changed but not sure what it was. It was like I’d walked out of a dream.

I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen it but the ending of this movie was just, completely amazing.

Rating: 4/5