Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Occult Edition, Chapter One

Posted October 19, 2019 by Fictional Fox in Bookish Adventures / 0 Comments

I have been a fan of Sabrina Spellman stories for a long time. I read a lot of the comics, the first medium Sabrina appeared in, when I was a child. But I only started reading one of Sabrina’s newest incarnations, fashioned as the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, today. I am reading it in a hardback bindup that covers all the chapters published so far. I’m really excited to dive into it. Especially because it’s this version of Sabrina that inspired the Netflix TV show (of which I’ve only watched part one so far, though I’m looking to watch part two over the next few weeks in preparation for Halloween).

Today I will just be covering my thoughts on chapter one of this comic series. First of all I want to mention how different this is from my previous experiences of Sabrina. From the colour palette to the narrative tone, this feels like a complete turn around from the versions of Sabrina that were popular when I was little.

In this first chapter we get Sabrina’s origin story served up with all the darkness of a horror story. Orange is the overwhelming colour giving this story strong autumnal and Halloween vibes. The art style from the outset signposts that this a mature version of Sabrina. This one is dark and gritty where the previous incarnations I read were bubble gum cute.

Surprisingly, it didn’t take me too long to get used to this new version. I’m looking forward to continuing with it.

Chapter one gives us a thorough grounding in Sabrina’s origins, respun in CAOS‘s edgy style. It begins with her father, Edward, convening a coven gathering on Sabrina’s first birthday. It doesn’t take long for us to be shown how dark the witchcraft in this version is. The narrator tells us Edward has ‘conjured his Lord Satan, in the living flesh, numerous times’ and we see him condemn Sabrina’s mother to a horrible fate. The witches in this world meddle with demons, place curses and play with thoroughly destructive magic.

Character wise, this book features a few regulars of the Sabrina universe. Edward is the absent father figure (though for new reasons here). Zelda and Hilda are the protective aunts and mentors for all things magic. Salem, a long standing favourite of mine, is the back talking familiar we know and love (unlike in the Netflix show ☹️). Sabrina herself is still half mortal and half witch, and by the end of the chapter she’s attending a mortal high school and has already developed a crush on Harvey Kinkle, the staple heartthrob of the Sabrina universe.

In this chapter we are also introduced to Ambrose, Sabrina’s cousin. I do believe Ambrose has existed in the Sabrina universe before, check out this link for more info. But this is my first proper experience of him as a firm member of the comic cast and by all accounts this Amborse seems to be a very different character to his previous incarnation. I love Ambrose in the Netflix show and I’m excited to see how his role develops in the original CAOS (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina) comics.

So far I find Ambrose’s role quite similar to what Salem’s has been in the past- he’s an experienced warlock who is more in the loop on what shenanigans Sabrina is up to than her aunts, more best friend than family. Because of the crossover between the role Ambrose serves and the one Salem traditionally plays, I see why Salem doesn’t really get to talk on the CAOS tv series (still makes me sad though). But in the CAOS comics we get both of them talking. I’m really excited to see how Salem and Ambrose play off each other as the story goes on.

Another interesting thing to note about chapter one are the Archie-verse crossover cameos. Betty and Veronica feature as witches. Also, we see a Josie poster which I would see as a reference to Josie and the Pussycats. This Sabrina is definitely grounded in the same world as the rest of the Archie-verse (albeit reinterpreted in CAOS‘s edgy horror style).

After quickly pulling us through the first few years of Sabrina’s life the chapter finishes with the introduction of a villain. I’m really interested to see where this comic goes next.

Have you checked out the CAOS comic yet?

Lauren x

Unpopular Opinion: I like Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Posted October 18, 2019 by Fictional Fox in Book Review / 0 Comments

Unpopular Opinion: I like Harry Potter and the Cursed ChildHarry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts One and Two (Harry Potter, #8) by John Tiffany, Jack Thorne, J.K. Rowling
on July 31, 2016
Pages: 330
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

**This Post Contains Some Cursed Child Spoilers**

When the script book of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was released I saw a few negative reactions. I’ve watched numerous reviews on YouTube where the presenter was not fond of it and I’ve read blog posts along similar lines.

I, on the other hand, loved this story. I’ve been lucky enough to see it on stage as well which ramps up the awesomeness even more.

I love seeing Harry, Ron, and Hermione grown up and facing new problems. More than that, though, I enjoyed the themes of family relationships, he fallout of the ‘chosen one’ storyline, time travel, and the way the Hogwarts House stereotypes were tested.

In this story the focus is on Albus, Harry Potter’s son. He has to deal with the burden of being the child of a celebrity and being marked as ‘different’ for being placed in Slytherin versus Gryffindor (where most of his family are). This is one of the consequences of Harry’s ‘chosen one’ status from the Harry Potter series. His whole family effectively carry the burden of his past whether they want to or not. This causes people to make assumptions about his children and if they don’t match those assumptions, like Albus, they receive negative attention.

On the other side of Albus’ story we have Harry who is evidently struggling with fatherhood as someone who hasn’t had a dedicated father figure to model himself on. He grew up feeling like an isolated member of the Dursley household for years. As an adult he is faced with the challenge of being a big figure in the family he has made for himself with little guidance or knowledge of how to do so.

I like that this story had a focus on two Slytherin students to evidence that there is much more to this House than the dark stereotypes. Scorpius, Draco’s son, is the best ambassador for this Slytherin rebrand. He’s super clever, sweet and loyal. I also liked how Draco is depicted in this story and that him and his father-son relationship is placed on the same page as Harry’s. This offers an interesting comparison as both Scorpius and Albus have been judged based on their family in different ways.

Another thing I enjoyed about this story is how it reflects on the casualties of the chosen one’s journey. People like Cedric Diggory die in the wake of Harry’s journey through the Harry Potter books. These are innocent people who have their chance to have their own story stripped from them because they are secondary to the ‘main character’. On top of that these innocents leave behind families and friends who are touched deeply by the tragedy.

What responsibility does the ‘chosen one’ have to these casualties of their story? It’s an interesting question and I enjoy how it’s explored in Cursed Child. Cursed Child shows us that Harry’s story, and that of the wizarding world at large, doesn’t just end with a neat bow on top at the end of Deathly Hallows. Cursed Child deepens my concept of Harry’s world and brings it back to life in a thought provoking and narratively conscious way.

Time travel is a favourite plot device of mine. Cursed Child uses time travel to excellent effect to play with alternate realities and explore the different routes Harry’s story could have taken. It also gives characters like Harry and Ginny a chance to confront the traumas of the past as adults. It’s the perfect setup for character development whilst also giving a fresh new look at scenes Harry Potter fans are already familiar with.

I will probably talk about Cursed Child and it”s themes again in a future post but for now I think I’ve sufficiently explained why I enjoy it.

Have you read Cursed Child or watched it on stage? What’s your opinion on it?

Lauren x

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

The Beauty & The Beast Book Tag

Posted October 17, 2019 by Fictional Fox in Blog Tag / 0 Comments

This tag is from a blog called Kirsty and the Cat Read. Check out Kirsty’s blog for more info!

1. “Tale As Old As Time” – A popular theme, trope or setting you will never get bored of reading.

Enemies to something more. So many of my favourite pieces of media feature this story line. From the Descendants movies to The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. Oh, and Sophie and Howl in Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones.

I also have a soft spot for time travel. For example, I love Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child for the time travelling twists.

2. Belle – A book your bought for it’s beautiful cover that’s just as beautiful inside too

I bought the hardcover edition of The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo because I thought it looked beautiful- it has rose gold lettering and a stunning cover design. The inside is just as lush (if not more so) because it is illustrated and the stories are sumptuous. You can more about my thoughts on this short story collection in my review.

3. Beast – A book you didn’t expect much from but pleasantly surprised you.

This pick might be a surprise to some. I’ve never been shy about discussing my love of The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. But did you know that I wasn’t very interested in it when it first came out? I had it on my shelf for ages and only read it around about the same time as the sequel, The Wicked King, came out. At least I didn’t have o wait long to read on once I knew I loved it!

4. Gaston – A book everyone loves that you don’t

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes. I did not get on with this book at all. I really wanted to love it so my expectations were super high, which did it no favours, unfortunately.

5. Lefou – A loyal sidekick you can’t help but love more than their counter part.

Christopher Chant in Conrad’s Fate by Diana Wynne Jones.

This book is quite a turned around story. It’s part of the Chrestomanci series of which Christopher Chant, being Chrestomanci, is a huge figure.

Christopher certainly behaves like he is the main character in this story but it’s all told from Conrad’s perspective so really Conrad is the main character. This story plays with the idea of untrustworthy narrators. Conrad does not have the right information to interpret what is going on around him correctly, while Christopher runs around on his own private mission. It’s a very interesting character dynamic.

Like Conrad, I found Christopher super interesting and mysterious and I love how his involvement helps turn everything Conrad believes on it’s head by the end. I love them both but having read the rest of the series I love the insight this book gives into Christopher’s life and how he can functions as a side character to other people’s stories.

6. Mrs Potts, Chip, Lumier & Cogsworth – A book that helped you through a difficult time or that taught you something valuable

I have a lot of different answers for this question. The most recent example, however, is Undercover Princess by Connie Glynn. This was my fluffy and safe escape during a difficult time.

7. “Something There” – A book or a series that you weren’t into at first but picked up towards the end.

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo. I struggled with this one when I started reading it. It was taking me forever to get through. But at some point I started whizzing through the pages. By the end I had quite a high opinion of it and what it’s doing. Check out my review for more of my thoughts.

8. “Be Our Guest” – A fictional character you’d love to have over for dinner

Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle. In particular the book version who is a mysterious wizard on the outside and a cowardly modern day Welshman on the inside.

Feel free to try this tag yourself!

Lauren x

Blogtober 2019 – Mid-Month Roundup

Posted October 16, 2019 by Fictional Fox in Writing Adventures / 0 Comments

It is officially day 16 of Blogtober. I’m so happy to have made it this far. To be honest it hasn’t always been easy to find time at the end of the day to write. Finding topics to discuss within my time constraints has also been a challenge.

Today I kinda have an excuse not to post (a few not so good things have happened) but I am not going to give in. Especially considering I’m halfway through. I am going to make to the end, one way or another. No question about it!

I am quite proud of the content I have produced so far. I’ve done reviews, discussions, tags, memes and personal entries over the past fifteen days. I hope to continue that way for the next half of Blogtober.

Looking forward, I want to post reviews of Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner and Life and Death by Stephenie Meyer-I have lots to say about both of them so those should be fun to write. I also want to post a discussion about child characters gaining agency in novels. In the final week I should have my new glasses so I want to take photos of bookish autumnal looks to feature in a post.

Before we move forwards, though, I want to take a moment to reflect on what I’ve posted for Blogtober so far. So let’s pause. Relax, sit back with me, and browse away through any of the posts below that tickle your fancy.

  6. DEAR DIARY #1

Have you been taking part in Blogtober or would like to next year?

Lauren x

Top Ten Tuesday: Ranking The Bane Chronicles by Title

Posted October 15, 2019 by Fictional Fox in Top Ten Tuesday / 1 Comment

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

That Artsy Reader Girl

This is posted as part of Top Ten Tuesday, a blog feature where That Artsy Reader Girl provides prompts for top ten lists.

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is ‘Extraordinary Titles’. I’m going to use this prompt to rank the titles of the short stories featured in The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson.

If you have not heard of The Bane Chronicles before, it’s basically an anthology of short stories that centre around a character called Magnus Bane, a warlock from Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunters universe of books. I love these stories. I read them digitally as they were released. I remember getting so excited as I waited for each new story to come out.

I will be ranking the stories by title alone, nothing to do with the stories themselves, from my least favourite to favourite. I think they are all good titles but I do have a bias for the funnier ones.

10. The Last Stand of the New York Institute

This is a rather serious title-like something out of a history book.

9.  & 8. The Rise of the Hotel Dumort and The Fall of the Hotel Dumort

The construction of these two titles is pretty standard. They’re fine, I guess. I don’t have a lot to say about them which is why they are near the bottom of my ranking 🤷‍♀️.

7. & 6. The Runaway Queen and The Midnight Heir

Okay, we’re getting more exciting now. I’ve put these two together for being similarly phrased as The’ _____’ ‘_____’. Heirs and Queens are exciting subjects so you can’t go wrong there.

5. The Course of True Love (And First Dates)

Chuck in some parentheses and I’m a happy reader (because I, too, love to use them). And I love how this starts with the serious notion of ‘true love’ and then splashes in the ‘first dates’ bit casually. It gives this title a lighter, romantic comedy feel.

4.  Saving Raphael Santiago

We love a play on pop culture.

3. What Really Happened in Peru

This title holds a lot of promise. Imagine someone coming up to you and promising to finally explain a secret reference they’ve been leaving you in the dark about for ages. Obvs you’re going to be excited and intrigued. This is the equivalent of that situation in story form. Love it.

2. What to Buy the Shadowhunter Who Has Everything (And Who You’re Not Officially Dating Anyway)

Again, parentheses for the win. I also love how this is phrased like a self-help book to begin with but then undercuts that with the side comment. Another implied romantic comedy.

1. Vampires, Scones, and Edmund Herondale

I feel like this title represents it’s awesomeness without the need for explanation. This is a golden trio. A perfect recipe for a tasty story.

Bonus Entry: The Voicemail of Magnus Bane

Interesting and not your normal story subject, so I liked this one.

Have you read The Bane Chronicles? Which title do you love best?

Lauren x