April 2nd, 2020

e. st v. millay

Media Update

I try to take fiction breaks between non-fiction book, or every couple of non-fiction books, and this time I picked up The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz, a YA novel set in a world where magic is real, Merlin is borderline immortal and helped England win the Hundred Years War, and in 1900 the heir to the Anglo-French Empire is being married off to the Prussian prince to end a serious war. Very interesting concept, but in the end it's YA, and so I wasn't very surprised when it turned out to be more like Gossip Girl or Elite or some other show about rich teenagers having relationship drama. Then in the last chapter or two it suddenly went WHOOOOSH and a ton of plot landed. Apparently there was supposed to be a sequel but the sales weren't good enough, which ... the author has all my sympathies because I sure know how that feels, but I can also understand why the sales were bad, because it's not a great book.

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Working from home allows me to put on mindless television, which has led me to watch Married at First Sight, a reality show where people submit themselves to be paired up with someone to marry, and they literally first meet at the altar. The show sends them on a honeymoon and makes them move in with each other, and if they decide they can't take each other they have to go through the divorce process. It's terrible but I want to know how the couples turn out (one broke up during/immediately after the honeymoon). Also interesting to watch around the same time as Unorthodox, a drama about a woman fleeing the Orthodox community in Brooklyn.

In more earnest entertainment, I've been watching The Princess Weiyoung, a Chinese historical drama on Netflix. With no knowledge of any Chinese history beyond the broadest possible strokes, I can never get hung up on inaccuracies, the costuming and most of the actors are gorgeous, and the story is full of delightful DRAMA. It's similar to Magnificent Century or Empresses in the Palace in that it's what I call a "harem drama" - lots of "she is hurting our position, we need to get her out of the way while appearing polite and kind, let us make her trip and spill tea on the most high-ranking woman, then she will be banished" kind of stuff, which I love for whatever reason. The basic story is: a prince from the Northern Wei kingdom kills the royal family of the Northern Liang kingdom except for the princess; she gets away and is helped by the illegitimate daughter (technically not illegitimate, but the daughter of one of his concubines - they just always use "illegitimate" in the subtitles) of the Northern Wei prime minister, who was sent years ago into the country and who gets killed by an assassin on the orders of the prime minister's official wife. She poses as the daughter and moves into the family home, falls in love with the brother of the prince who killed her family, etc. I'm trying not to binge it because the episodes are similar enough that it gets boring when you watch them back-to-back.

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