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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The Good Dinosaur – 2015

Title: The Good Dinosaurmovie_poster_thegooddinosaur_136d87d0
Year: 2015
Director: Peter Sohn
Genre: Family
Date Watched: January 14, 2017
Category: Animated movie for children

I’ve been pretty excited about this since I heard about it at least a year ago and now, lucky for me, it’s on Netflix.

Let me start by saying I really did love this movie and it was very cute and touching. Perhaps I didn’t cry quite as much as I did watching Inside Out but there were a few tears.

However, if you’re someone who gets annoyed by total inaccuracies even in kids movies, this might not be the one for you. Right from the start I was a little annoyed at just how ridiculous the basic plot was. A bunch of dinosaurs who have a farm where they grow corn and tend prehistoric chickens. Okay sure.

Arlo is the child of these farming dinosaurs but he’s much smaller than his brother and sister and terrified of everything. At least until he gets washed away by a stream while fighting with the little neanderthal boy who keeps stealing their corn.

The rest of the film is all about Arlo’s journey home and burgeoning friendship with the little neanderthal boy he calls Spot. Who oddly enough acts very much like a little dog.

I would say the film is a little on the scary side for younger children so maybe watch through first and decide for yourselves. It’s also a little bit too formulaic for my liking, particularly when there have been so many great Disney/Pixar movies in recent years with fantastic fresh storylines. It’s yet another Disney movie where a child’s parent dies, another film about the main character revising an initial assessment of a character.

While I did like the movie I actually expected more from it than what I got. Don’t get me wrong there’s some great moments in it and it’s definitely worth a watch but I think it got a lot more hype than it deserved and didn’t offer a particularly new or fresh experience.

Rating: 3.5/5