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The Gender Divide: Girls Books vs. Boy Books

The Gender Divide: “Girl” Books vs. “Boy” Books

The other day, I was having a conversation with my younger brother. I should mention that I, myself, am a girl.

We were talking about the new Battleship movie and I joked to Brother that since Transformers, G. I. Joe, and Battleship were all owned by Hasbro, than it was only a matter of time that My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is turned into a giant summer blockbuster movie.

And this is what he said to me, absolutely, completely serious:

“That will never happen. You know why? Transformers, G. I. Joe, and Battleship were all toys that BOYS  like.”

First of all:

This. is. adorable.

Angry cat is angry.

Though what Brother said to me was absolutely, positively, unforgivably chauvinistic, he did make me think about the gender divide prevalent in our society. And I’m not even going to pretend to be the person who comments on it film wise, but I think I can talk about the gender divide when it comes to books.

So the question is: what makes a “boy” book and what makes a “girl” book?

“Boy” books typically:

1. Have boys as main characters

2. Are primarily action-adventure stories

3. Have a token female, that is usually a love interest (but the romance is typically a minor part of the story)

Yeah, these books are totally geared toward boys.

“Girl” books on the other hand:

1. Have girls as main characters

2. Are primarily romances (Even if the books are technically in other genres, such as action-adventure, horror, or coming-of-age stories, there will be some sort of romance in the story)

3. Have at least one male love interest (they will always get together. Always)

While this series was written for girls.

I’ve. . . never read any of her books.

So then that means that girls only read books written for them and boys read books only written for them, right?

Not necessarily, Harry Potter fits well into “boy” format, while The Hunger Games fits into the “girl” format (though it does lean more toward action-adventure with child murder gladiator ring aspect of the books) and both series appeals to both genders.

There’s also this whole thing about how boys won’t even take a second look at a book if a girl is on the cover, whereas girls are totally on board with reading books featuring boys.

Huh. Maybe that’s why they went with this cover.

Also, there’s a whole thing about boys apparently don’t read anymore. I have a theory about that, and when I was doing my research for this article, I discovered that many people agree with me.

Alright, so picture your local bookstore, specifically the Young Adult section. What is the genre with the most books in it?

Yep.

Can’t imagine why this genre has gotten so popular in the past few years…

No, really. Not a clue.

Now, I’m not going to hate on Teenage Paranormal Romance Novels. I’m not going to. I’m just not. Sorry.

However, I will point out that most, if not all, of these books are geared toward girls. And they are the majority of books in the YA section. Meaning the majority of books in the YA section are geared toward girls.

This seriously needs to end. First of all, they aren’t offering anything to half the people who buy books (Probably more than that, considering all the ladies out there, including me, who don’t particularly like romance novels).

Second of all, teenage boys not reading is considered a pretty big problem among teachers. Once again, who can blame the average teen boy for not many of the new releases, when most of them are things he probably won’t like.

Thirdly, it’s getting repetitive. Publishing companies have found out what sells, and many times it’s the same Twilight story over and over again, i.e. girl goes to different place, discovers supernatural creatures and falls in love with the one that’s DAMAGED. Either that, or the girl herself is some sort of supernatural creature and is DAMAGED, and then falls in love with some human guy or another supernatural creature.

I guess my point is that The Gender Divide exists, and its effects are pretty deep. Frankly, the sooner we can bridge the divide, the better.

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Cirque du Freak: The Vampire Prince by Darren Shan

Eh. This book happened.Cirque du Freak: The Vampire Prince by Darren Shan

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire Prince by Darren Shan is the sixth book in the Cirque du Freak series. It is also the third and final book in the Vampire Rites Trilogy.

Howling to the moon.

Hope y’all like wolves.

Ok, so the last book ended with Darren falling into a giant river to escape Kurda Smahlt and his vampaneze cohorts because it turns out Kurda Smahlt, a renowned vampire who was chosen to be coroneted as the next Vampire Prince, is a no-good-stupid-head-traitor-face-who-betrays-people.

So, Darren is washed down the river along with several dead vampires that Benedict Smahlt and his vampaneze cohorts killed, including the body of Gavner Purl, who was a good friend of Darren’s. Eventually,  he washes up to the shore, but is exhausted and injured from the journey.  Luckily, he runs into the pack of wolves he befriended back in Vampire Mountain, The wolves nurse him back to health.

Into the night.

This part is very Julie of the Wolves.

Even though he would be facing execution if he came back to Vampire Mountain, Darren still wants to warn the other vampires about Kurda Smahlt’s betrayal. And so, with the help of some wolves, Darren begins the journey up the mountain.

Wolves are majestic creatures.

Once there, Darren does his best to warn the Vampire Princes before Kurda Smahlt gets coroneted and is able to give the vampaneze access to a powerful vampire artifact and can destroy the clan.

I think the main thing that bothered me about this book and the last two was the fact that these three installments of the series could have easily been one longer book. I still like the series, I just think that, as a whole, the first series is a whole lot better than this one.

One thing I noticed when reading this installment is that Darren Shan has a.., weird way of writing scenes dealing with grief. Oh, and just to warn you, this book’s got a whole lot of killing in it.

Something to note in this series is that when this author writes scenes dealing with grief, they’re always really loud. The characters don’t have quiet moments of grief, they howl to the heavens about the horrors of war. It’s rather shallow.

The ending of this book was totally a Dues x Machina. And it wasn’t one that only seemingly comes out of nowhere, but makes since when you think about it. No. It’s one that actually comes out of nowhere and hurts the entire series with its stupidity. I was very annoyed with that scene. Just… no.

(WARNING: SPOILERS!!!)

I will give the book this though: Kurda’s execution scene was awesome. Kurda was all-around a cool character and I felt genuinely saddened by his death. The entire scene was mournful and his execution was bittersweet. With this character, more gray areas are being placed in the story, and it’s something I’m ecstatic to see.

Also, Arra Sails died. 😦

(END SPOILERS)

 

Rating: 6 out of 10.

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Why a post isn’t up today, or college is hard.

Alright, so it’s Thursday. Normally this means that a post would have gone up, but as you can see, that totally hasn’t happened yet. This is why.

A new semester of college crept up on me, so while before I had loads of time to work on this, now I only have an hour a day if I’m lucky. Because of this, updates actually going up on Thursday may not happen.

However, that does mean a post will not go up that week. Instead, it will most likely go up that weekend. This site will update weekly. That I promise.

If anything, this is a learning experiance. The next time I get a break, I’m going to prepare as many posts as a can just so I, and any regular readers, don’t have to deal with a sporadic update schedule.

So, sorry for the delay. Check back in a few days, and hopefully then I got my act together and got something up,

Yours,

Emily Geek

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Sorry, few regular readers of mine.

Due to me moving across the state today, and my general incompetance, there will not be an actual post today. Instead, please enjoy these Harry Potter themed memes. Or I guess they’re comics. Either way, enjoy.

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Cirque du Freak: Trials of Death by Darren Shan

Spoiler Alert: Not much happens here either Cirque du Freak: Trials of Death by Darren Shan

Cirque du Freak: Trails of Death is the fifth book in the Cirque du Freak series by Darren Shan. It is also the second book in the Vampire Rites Trilogy.

Ok, so this book begins where the last one left off, with Darren about to undergo the Trials of Initiation (otherwise known as the Trials of Death, hence the title). The Trials of Initiation are the tests vampires must go through to become a Vampire General, and Darren must do them to prove that he was a worthy addition to the vampire clan and Mr. Crepsley didn’t make a horrible mistake when blooding him.

That’s right. Darren, the little half-vampire with the mindset of a fourteen year old has to prove himself to the Prince guys to fix Crepsley’s, the bazillion year -old vampire, mistake. I didn’t get to say anything about this in the last post, since I make it a rule not to spoil the endings of what I review. But seriously, vampires? How is that fair?

Granted, they do give him some slack by getting rid of the trials that he wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell in getting through. But still, book. I’m on to you.

 

ON TO YOU.

On. to. you.

Anyway, so he has to do the tests. And they are really, really, hard. As in, if you mess up, there’s a very good chance you’ll die. And if you fail, the other vampires would execute you in shame. No pressure.

So after a few weeks of training with the game master, Vanez Blaze (you know, this may be a minor complaint, but the names given to the characters are becoming more and more ridiculous), Darren goes through the first trial: he has to make it out a cave before it completely fills up with water, while carrying a rock that’s half his weight.

In the second trial, Darren must make it through the Path of Needles, which is a giant cavern filled with sharp rocks and stalactites, while barefoot. Woohoo.

At the end of the second Trial comes the Festival of the Undead, which is a big, three day vampire party in which all business comes to a halt while the vampires party. So, yay, break time before the last super hard trial!

I should mention the passage during the Festival of the Undead in which Darren talks to Kurda Smalht (the pacifist soon-to-be Vampire Prince), See, Kurda feels that the vampires are way too concerned over impressed each other with their unique badassitude, claiming that it will be the thing that destroys the vampire clan.

Foreshadowing? We shall see.

Oh, and this is also when we meet the Guardians, which are humans that live in Vampire Mountain and trade their blood for the bodies of dead vampires. Which they then eat.

 

 I cannot express how much I love this picture.

And they’re not really mentioned again. So, it’s just a random creepy thing that was mentioned and not followed up on. Completely necessary.

But Alas! the Festival of the Undead ends and Darren begins preparing for the hardest of the trials, the Hall of Flames (because, no matter what, when the protagonist of the series when put in this kind of situation will always have to do the toughest challenge of all challenges that can be pulled from a random drawing. NO MATTER WHAT).

The Hall of Flames challenge is when a vampire has to stay in a room for fifteen minutes as flames jut out of the walls. Which brings up the question: why does this room exist? My theory is that it was supposed to be an execution method that didn’t quite work, so they decided to turn it into a trial.

And it’s here that things turn for the worst for our hero.

 

Though this was a lot better than Vampire Mountain, it was still pretty… not… good. I don’t want to say it’s bad… ’cause it’s not… it’s just not… good. At least, that’s just my opinion. In fact, that’s how I would describe this whole part of the series. It’s not good, but it’s not bad. It’s as if the last two didn’t have the same vibe as the first three books.

And again, I have the same complaint as I did for Vampire Mountain, in that it didn’t seem like a whole book. Instead, it seemed like the middle part, with the reader being dropped right into the story after Darren gets his sentence, with somewhat minimal amount of back story.

Because of that, I wouldn’t recommend reading this book without reading Vampire Mountain. Then again, I don’t really recommend reading Vampire Mountain, as it is, by far, the worst book of the series, so take that as you will.

Rating: 6 out of 10.

 

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Cirque du Freak: Vampire Mountain by Darren Shan

Did y’all enjoy that break from the world of vampires?

Good, because we’re back this week with…

Spoiler Alert: Nothing. Frickin'. Happens. Cirque du Freak: Vampire Mountain by Darren Shan

Cirque du Freak: Vampire Mountain is the fourth book in the twelve book Cirque du Freak series by Darren Shan. It starts off the second trilogy of the series, the Vampire Rites trilogy.

The book begins at the Cirque du Freak, six years after the events in Tunnels of Blood. Every twelve years the Vampire Council joins together to talk about vampire… government… things. To be honest, what they actually do is a little unclear. Yes, it is told that its a big reunion for all the vampires to get together and catch up, and we are given the basic way their government is run, along with a whole lot of detail about vampire culture, but otherwise… eh. Not really sure how the whole thing works.

Mr. Crepsley takes Darren with him to the Vampire Council to introduce Darren to the Princes.

There is a scene at the very beginning of the book in which Darren describes how he and Evra, one of the performers of the Cirque du Freak and was once Darren’s best friend, have grown apart since Evra ages at normal speed and Darren is, you know, a vampire. Though the books have touched on the whole “immortality” thing (it’s the reason Darren had to leave his parents and travel with Mr. Crepsley in the first place), it hasn’t been an issue until now. It’s become harder for Evra to treat Darren as an equal, as it would be for anyone when the age difference had been so great. Normally, when immortality is mentioned in vampire literature, the vampire in question is really old at that time. It’s actually pretty cool seeing that same concept when it first comes becomes an issue for a vampire as young as Darren.

Once Crepsley and Darren decide to go on the journey, Mr. Tiny (Or, Mr. Destiny, the author likes to keep reminding us about that little pun) shows up to speak to Crepsley. Basically, Tiny demands that Crepsley and Darren take along two Little People (which are Tiny’s deformed servants) along with them. Crepsley agrees, but only out of fear that Mr. Tiny would do otherwise.

By the way, Mr. Tiny is one creepy dude. Seriously, he travels around with these creepy servants (who are completely silent, eat humans and wear heavy hoods to cover up their heavily deformed features), he straight-up says that he eats babies (he just says it, as if that wasn’t totally weird and awful), and he carries around a watch that’s shaped like a heart. Even though he’s not really doing anything that’s clearly evil now, it’s pretty obvious that he’s going to be the main villain of the series. I swear, every scene that Mr. Tiny has been in so far has reeked with tension. His scenes are just awkward and creepy in every way possible. He’s like a more flamboyant Hannibal Lector.

Darren, Crepsley, and the two Little People, one of which Darren and Evra had nick-named Lefty because he walked with a limp on his left foot, set off to Vampire Mountain.

Along the way, they meet Gavner Purl again (he was Mr. Crepsley’s friend from the last book.) They are also attacked by a crazy bear that has been affected with vampaneze blood.The group is saved by a bunch of wolves that Darren befriends. They also find some vampaneze blood in the cave, which immediately raises some red flags since the vampaneze avoid the mountain inhabited by their mortal enemies.

Snap. Snap. Snap.

I’m imagining a Sharks vs. Jets type deal, but bloodier.

So they get to vampire mountain, and there they meet some vampires, including a lady vampire named Arra Sails, who will forever be my favorite. She is the only lady-vampire, and can not only keep up with the boys, she can beat them. And does. Frequently. Keep in mind that this series has been pretty male heavy up until now, with the only notable females characters being Darren’s mom and sister, a Cirque du Freak performer, and Darren’s girlfriend from the last book. Even though Arra doesn’t play as big a part in the overall story, the fact that she exists makes me happy.

They also meet Seba Nile, who was Mr. Crepsley’s mentor, and Kurda Smalht… why does everyone in the series have an Awesome McCoolname? Frankly, it’s becoming ridiculous.

They also meet Kurda Smalht who’s pretty badass in his own way. The vampires have this very militaristic society in which someone’s worth is determined by how many people they can beat up at once. Kurda is the opposite of this: he craves learning, is a pacifist, and is extremely intelligent. He is also about to be voted in as a Vampire Prince (the supreme ruling body of the vampires) and means to pave a way for a more peaceful future for the vampires.

Pretty much the rest of the novel is meeting people and learning more about the vampire society. Now, I’m not saying that this isn’t interesting… it’s just that the actual story isn’t moving along, even though this takes up most of the novel.

After a while, Mr. Crepsley has to go before the Vampire Princes to state his reason for blooding (change into vampire) Darren. Problem is, he doesn’t have one, and it doesn’t help that he only did it after trying to blood another minor. And the Vampire Princes are not happy about it.

I… didn’t like this one as much.

I mean, it was cool to get to know the vampire society, their rules, and how everything worked. Other than that, nothing really happened.

Let me emphasize that again: Nothing. Happened.

And that’s my problem with this book. It was all build-up, and based on what the build-up was, something huge is going to go down. But it didn’t happen.

Let’s put it this way: it’s like if The Wizard of Oz ended when the Wizard telling Dorothy to go kill the Witch. Or if the Hunger Games ended with Katniss about to go into the games.

Overall, it was just really slow and uninteresting, and I hope the next book, Trials of Death, picks up the pace.

Rating: 6 out of 10.

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