Review of “The Atlantis Complex” by Eoin Colfer

Title: The Atlantis Complex
Author: Eoin Colfer
Series: Artemis Fowl #7
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 357
Published: 2010, Puffin Books
My Grade: 3 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Young Artemis has frequently used high-tech fairy magic to mastermind the most devious criminal activity of the new century. Now, at a conference in Iceland, Artemis has gathered the fairies to present his latest idea to save the world from global warming.

But Artemis is behaving strangely – he seems different. Something terrible has happened to him . . . Artemis Fowl has become nice.

The fairies diagnose Atlantis Complex (that’s obsessive compulsive disorder to you and I) – it seems dabbling in magic has damaged Artemis’ main weapon: his mind. Fairy ally Captain Holly Short doesn’t know what to do. The subterranean volcanoes are under attack from vicious robots and Artemis cannot fight them. Can Holly get the real Artemis back before the robot probes destroy every human and life form?

MY REVIEW

It’s been a while since I read The Time Paradox and I don’t think I misremember when I think back on the five previous books as really good ones. But while reading this, pretty early on, I felt that this was not in the same class as the rest of the series.

I love everything that has to do with underwater environments so The Atlantis Complex has always been a book in this series that I looked forward to. But, small spoiler alert, it doesn’t have much to do with Atlantis. And it didn’t really feel like the typical Artemis Fowl book where Artemis had a goal, a heist to complete, but rather circle around events that doesn’t really impact the rest of the story (the last book in this series).

In other words, it kind of felt a little bit uneccessary for the whole Artemis Fowl story. But what do I know? It might be of importance that Artemis developed an OCD-like complex in this installation.

Still entertaining, but I have higher hopes for The Last Guardian. It gets 3 out of 5.

Review of “Kingdom of Ash” by Sarah J. Maas

Title: Kingdom of Ash
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #7
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 984
Published: 2018, Bloomsbury Publishing
My Grade: 5 out of 5 worlds

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Aelin has risked everything to save her people―but at a tremendous cost. Locked within an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin must draw upon her fiery will as she endures months of torture. Aware that yielding to Maeve will doom those she loves keeps her from breaking, though her resolve begins to unravel with each passing day…

With Aelin captured, Aedion and Lysandra remain the last line of defense to protect Terrasen from utter destruction. Yet they soon realize that the many allies they’ve gathered to battle Erawan’s hordes might not be enough to save them. Scattered across the continent and racing against time, Chaol, Manon, and Dorian are forced to forge their own paths to meet their fates. Hanging in the balance is any hope of salvation―and a better world.

And across the sea, his companions unwavering beside him, Rowan hunts to find his captured wife and queen―before she is lost to him forever.

 

MY REVIEW

I don’t like finishing series. Especially not one of my all time favorites. Many years ago one of my mom’s friends told me about this series. At that time, there were only two or maybe three books published and Maas had a long way to go before this series was done. Fortunately for me, and all other fans, I didn’t have to wait unreasonably long between each book (unlike other great authors who can’t seem to keep the years between releases under a decade). And when it was teo years between, she released a book in her other series A Court of Thorns and Roses which is also one of the best I have ever read! And on that note, before I start reviewing this thousand page brick, she managed to intertwine these two series in a perfect way. It was a spoiler, but I guess I knew that would happen anyway. But it was fun that she did that, the characters of the both series briefly meeting and helping each other, or at least one helping the other.

This book was long, 273k words to be exact. That is insane. No wonder it took me forever to finish it (also because I have been writing non-stop during November-January instead of reading). But it was worth every page. There was so much to be wrapped up and she did it really well. Many battles, many plot twists, many unpredictable saves. It was exactly what you’d expect after reading all of the other books in this series.

I still think that it is kind of silly that all main characters end up together as couples and all the relationships starts with trouble but turns out to be destined to be. It doesn’t really feel like that fits with reality right now, if that makes sense. But I did like that the focus was more on the events this time, not the trying-to-write-sexy-thing she did a few books back where the sex scenes just became a bit awkward.

Something that I have noticed, but not quite sure if if bothers me or if it is really, really smart of her as an author, is that she doesn’t write everything. She leaves out huge parts where Aelin for the most part, is plotting and making plans and they are not even mentioned the slightest until it saves the day. It makes it very unpredictable, but after seven books, you kind of know that Aelin’s secret plans will save the day, somehow.

But overall, the ending was great, all thousand pages of it. I am sad that this was the end and I truly hope Maas will write a new similar series. I get the same kind of cozy fantasy feeling from both Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses and I hope that she will find some new inspiration toward a new series with the same feeling. It is new, it is original. I call it good-feeling-fantasy and this is what I am trying to aspire in my own book that I am currently writing. This feel-good sensation while it at the same time feels hopeless and you can’t stop wondering how more messed up the plot can become.

I have to say though, that intertwining of her two series was a true delight, so I suggest you read all of those books before reading this. Otherwise you will miss it and just have an amazing book behind you. The whole series gets a five out of five! Easy!

Last day in Seoul: Gangnam

Last day in Seoul has come to an end and I am now back home, all hairy again, sitting on the couch. It is like last week was a dream beacuse as soon as we were in the car back home, everything was normal again, not extraordinarily cool and exotic and time had just flown by. Crazy feeling.

It has been an incredible week with lots of new food, amazing colors, and basically everything was different. A completely different culture. Stressful people, a city that was alive like nothing I have ever seen. But still with nature so close by. Incredible place.

The whole city was so clean. All the public bathrooms were as fresh as anyone could imagine a public restroom to be (and all were free). What really boggles my mind is how that can be so? How can a city be so clean when there are no trash cans?? There were, of course, but very very few. Does everyone seriously carry around their garbage until they find a trash can half a kilometer away?

Something that I wondered for a long time was, where all the kids were? Doesn’t there live any kids in Seoul? We barely saw any!

Did you know that South Koreans use tunes for everything? When a metro train is incoming, a tune plays (most metro stations have different tunes). When the washing machine is done, a tune plays. It was funny!

It would be very interesting to see exactly how big the metro stations were on a regular map. I’m sure there is somewhere. But I can’t really understand how big those places were! Shopping centers connecting with the metro stations. I would not be surprised if it was almost as much space used under ground as above ground in that city. It was like there were underground cities under the real deal. If Metro 2033 (by Dmitri Glukhovsky) happened, then I think the Seoul metro system would be better to be stuck in instead of Moscows. Not that I’ve ever been there, but I can’t imagine it being bigger than this!

Anyway, that were just a few of the thoughts I had during this week. There were more probably, but I am getting pretty tired now and must have forgotten tons of them.

It has now been 45 hours since I woke up in Seoul yesterday. We packed everything, checked out and left for Gangnam where we went to WSP’s office building. We came in the middle of lunch, so didn’t meet anyone, but I was still there. Two floors in a skyskraper in Gangnam, not too bad. We walked around, took a look at the Gangnam Style statue, another temple and had a sweet potato pizza for lunch.

We also stopped at Samsung d’light, an exhibition on new technology from Samsung. Or more like their view on the future. It was really cool. Can totally recommend. Their version of the future seems amazing! Especially the full-body mirror which helped you exercise. There was also a personality test of sort where I turned out to be a Peace Barista – Making peace one spoonful of love at a time. There was also a 4D VR experience to try. It was going on the rollercoaster Tatsu from Six Flags in California. What are the odds? I have actually gone on that one for real. This experience was really cool and it felt surprisingly real.

We met up with Felix one last time to have Korean bbq for dinner. Then the metro to the airport.

When the flight took off, we had been awake for 17 hours. Another 16 hours until we landed in Gothenburg, and now 12h awake. I am glad that I managed to get some sleep on the first flight. I feel kinda normal now, but I am starting to see double. The sleep I got on the plane was definitely not of any greater quality because I remember being awake at several points to change positions. But all of a sudden there was just 1.5 hours left, when last I checked, we had only flown for 1.5 hours. That means 8 hours of sleeping. “Sleeping”. But it was enough to not be completely ruined today.

When I got home, I cuddled with the cats tons. They were really happy to see me. To keep myself occupied and from falling asleep, I have been cleaing the whole apartment. But it took so long because of the attention-seeking fluffies. They have been so cosy today. Almost aggressive in their snuggling.


This screen was the coolest thing! QLED 8K and ridiculously big!
Samsung d’light.
WSP occupies the third and fourth floor of this building.
Gangnam square.
Seoul airport.

Inwangsan, Gyeongbokgung, Bukchon Hanok Village, Insa-Dong

Wow, another great day! More steps than ever, 25 000. But I am not surprised as we did a hike this morning. Then went on to walking around the biggest palace in this city, and then to the traditional Korean housing village and later to the traditional shopping-district of Insadong and a temple.

Inwangsan

Today started with a bus adventure. Going ten minutes too far into unknown territory was exciting. But not too hard to just get on the other side of the road and go back. We followed a blog’s direction to this “extremely easy” hike up the summit of Inwangsan. But it started with the wrong name of the bus stop. It turned out fine eventually, many extra steps. The hike was mostly stairs, but it was steep and went a long way up (okay, only 322m, but still). The smog was worse today so the view wasn’t great (you can see it here), but it felt good to move around a bit again! I am so glad that it didn’t start burning in my legs during the hike, not at all. I think I finally have gotten some muscles, woho!


The hike followed the city wall all the way to the top and down the other side.
There was a military base on the mountain which had an air strike gun.

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Once we got down, we took the Metro to the main palace of Seoul: Gyeongbokgung. It was huge, but looked basically the same as the other one we went to. We saw changing of the guard in the first courtyard, right after the big gate, which was uneccessarily big, but I guess the King during that time had money and wanted to show off or something. It was an impressive sight and the area was enormous with many buildings. I am a bit dissapointed that all the cultural places look so brand new. Probably because they are brand new since they all burned down one year or another. It is fun to see what they looked like back in the day, but it also doesn’t give the feeling of oldness like a lot of things do in Europe. It was very pretty still, I really find this type of architecture interesting and very beautiful so it was well worth 3 000 won (25 SEK something).

This 360 is in the main courtyard in front of the actual palace. All other buildings behind were living quarters and such. Here is a picture of what it looked like behind the palace.


One of the three big city gates.
Walking over water before entering the palace (and also temple) to cleanse the body.

Bukchon Hanok Village

There is a neighborhood in Seoul with traditional Korean buildings, called, Hanok, where regular people live today. Of course we had to go there to check it out. It was real pretty and right next to it were super modern and fancy houses. I wonder what that would cost. To live in a Hanok with a small inner garden would be so cute!

Insa-Dong and Jogyesa Temple

The last stop for the day was in Insa-Dong, on the way back to the hotel. They sold tourist-y stuff, but more traditional Korean stuff. I didn’t get anything, but they had really cute things like a metal wallet with incredible motives on.

While we were there, we went to Jogyesa Temple where you can go do a temple stay. Sleep there, meditate, relax, but get awoken at 4:30am… It was really pretty at night, many lights, so many flowers, all lit up.

Namdaemun Market, Olympic Park, Lotte World Tower, Gangnam

Day number 6 in South Korea is over and it resulted in over 19 000 steps and many memories to bring back. First we walked to Namdaemun Market, one metro station away from Myeongdong, then we met up with Felix and took a quick walk in the Olympic Park, then to Lotte World Mall where the 5th tallest skyskraper in the world is located: Lotte World Tower. And we then ended with dinner in Gangnam.

Namdaemun Market

Namdaemun Market is a several blocks big market with everything from food (except we couldn’t find where the main place for street food would be), to cutlery, and clothes. I bought a new belt and two pair of earrings. There was a whole block with indoor jewelery vendors, aisle after aisle with people sitting and making beautiful jewelery. It was called Daedo Jewelery. I love simplistic accessories and they had plenty and it was hard to not throw all my money at the vendors. But two pair of earrings for 10 000 won together was okay, they even matched, but from two different sellers!

Before our next stop we walked to one of the old gates to the city that was nearby, Sungnyemun Gate. Just an ancient piece of architecture in the middle of all the stress and life that Seoul offers 24/7. Like the palace we saw the other day, this looked brand new. They must have a crazy budget for maintaining teir cultural sites. The Koreans seem to be a very cultural people, so I am not surprised.

I just read that the gate was destroyed by a fire in 2008 and was reconstructed for five years. That’s the downside of all their palaces and architecture being made solely from wood. It was originally built in the 14th century and was one of three gates leading into the city. Today it is Number 1 National Treasure of Korea. Pretty cool! Of course, here comes the 360 pic of it where the contrast are clearly visible.

Olympic Park

In 1988, the summer Olympics were held in Seoul. Long before my time, but as a fairly sports interested person, I knew that it had been here sometime at least. After the visit with work in Lillehammer, Norway in September, this is now the 2nd Olympic place I visit this year. Winter Olympics was held in Lillehammer in 1992. It was a beautiful park!


Do you see the huge and disgusting spider?

Lotte World Tower

The tallest skyskraper today is Burj Khalifa (where I went in 2016, and it was so cool!), but after that one, not many people are aware of which skyskrapers follow. At least I didn’t. The fifth tallest is apparently located here in Seoul. And it is not N Seoul Tower that is definitely the more famous one, but Lotte World Tower. Owned of course by the mega multinational conglomerate. The tower is 555m, has 123 floors, and was opened just a year and a half ago in April 2017. On floor 118, there were glass floors. Scary stuff! Mom and I watched  the sun set into a mountain hidden behind a smog cloud. What’s so sad about this is that it is mainly not smog from the South Koreans, but clouds coming in from China. Depressing. This week has been really bad. Worse than usual. Bad timing I guess. But the visibility was better today than any other day so I am not too upset, even if it would have been nice to see the sun set behind an actual mountain instead of in a cloud. We did actually see N Seoul Tower in the distance. That’s some kilometers at least (like 11 – shit, this city is big!).


Down there in the beginning of the park, you can see the Peace Gate when entering the Olympic Park. That gate was huge!
Traffic in Seoul is insane.

The Lotte World Mall was mostly underground and was huge. We didn’t walk in it for too long, shopping didn’t lure us today. We took a look around outside and here you can see how tall the tower is from the ground.

Gangnam

Last stop of the day was Gangnam. It was very spread out and Felix looked around for a while before finding a restaurant which was closed the last time he was there but it was said to have amazing Jjimdakk. It is chicken, dumplings, fish cakes and glass noddles among other things in a soy sauce. It was really good! We shared one big three-persons-plate, because here dining is a social activity. It was spicy, even though we took the non-spicy version. But it was manageable and really good!

Naminara Republic of Korea, Petite France, Meerkat Friends

Today was a fun day, 16 000 steps, not too much. We did two things, or three really: Petite France and Nami Island and then ended the day with Meerkat Friends, an animal café in Hongdae.

Petite France

This was part of the tour we got from Klook, to visit the small village that was supposed to look like France. It was cute, but I have been to both Paris and Marseille in France and almost 2 hours of walking around there was a bit too much. Usually the stops at tours are too short, but not this one. Here is a picture of what it looked like in 360. What is funny about this place is that, almost nothing was actually French, lots of German old ceramics, paintings from Italian painters and so on. But I guess that doesn’t really matter for the Asian tourists coming there who never went to Europe.


I miss exercising, so this was at least a small effort today.

In Petite France, there were Swedish stamps.

Nami Island / Namiseom / Naminara Republic of Korea

The main stop for this tour was Nami Island, which is also its own country since 2006: Naminara Republic of Korea. It has its own passport and even currency and government. It is a small half-moon-shaped island, only 5km in circumference. Really pretty place and Winter Sonata, a K-drama has been filmed there. It was pretty, but most of the leaves had fallen off the trees compared to in Seoul. This was an island located in the city of Chuncheon, about 1.5h from Seoul.

There was a main boulevard with restaurants, the famous Metasequoia Lane and other cute stuff. Many snowmen which I think are from the TV series? We had lunch, I tried tteokbokki carbonara. Really delicious. Tteokbokki is stir-fried rice cakes.

We were there for about 3 hours. I will let the pictures speak for themselves. Here is a 360 picture as well.


This is the place where the first kiss between two people on the show Winter Sonata took place.

There weren’t many red trees, but the few ones were glowing and lighting the dull surroundings up.

A pine tree that turn yellow.

Snowman-shaped tteokbokki of course.


I decided to try to be half-asian at least. No posing here!
This is the most bizarre statue I have ever seen.
And of course, the other tit is on her back, feeding the other kid, haha.
The famous Metasequoia lane.
These colors!!
Haha, why bother removing the selfie stick when taking a call.

A setting sun over Seoul was amazing on the way back when we were stuck in rush hours trafic.

We got back to Dongdaemun after 5pm and decided to quickly check out the Dongdaemun Design Plaza for a bit before heading to Hongdae and the special café. It was such a cool place! Here is a 360 picture of it, or at least the bottom of it.


There was a LED rose garden there. Really pretty.

We then took the metro to Hongdae where we went to Meerkat Friends café. It was a cafe with meerkats and other animals such as racoon, cats, wallaby, foxes. It was the cutest place and the animals were so nice and friendly. We even got to feed them all. It was a nice place and it honestly felt like the animals had a good time there with big windows, so much air, and it was kept very clean. Six of the meerkats fell asleep in my lap, the racoon wanted to escape and begged for food. The foxes were so adorable and one of the wallabies had a baby in its pouch. We were there for a long time and got unreasonably many pictures, but due to space limitations, I can’t upload them now, sorry. I will as soon as I possibly can though!

UPDATE 2018-11-10: I didn’t want to wait, but decided to upgrade my blog. I have now 6GB, that should at least be enough for this trip! Here comes the pictures from Meerkat Friends.


They were digging everywhere to try and find food. My hair was completely ruined after those 10 minutes in that Meerkat pen.
When they calmed down and realized I didn’t have any food, they climbed up in my lap one after one and fell asleep. Eventually I had 6 of them sleeping there! So adorable!


Baby meerkat playpen!
One of the babies had a cast!
This was one was not allowed to be touched because she has a baby in her pocket!
Feeding and kissing foxes.
So beautiful creatures!
The most beautiful cat ever. I’m glad my cats can’t read this.

New profile pic everywhere perhaps?

 

Yongsan electronics market, COEX mall

Rain, rain, rain and even more rain. Proably not as much as it can get during monsoon season in July and August, but it was constant throughout the day and got way worse by the time we were on our way back to the hotel.


So we planned today’s activities accordingly and ended up doing some shopping.
First we went to Yongsan electronics market. Along the whole street was small shops and at the end was a mall, ET Land, where they had most things to do with electronics. We didn’t buy anything, didn’t really have any plans for it anyway, but when we saw the prices, we definitely didn’t want to buy anything. 956 000 for a Samsung Galaxy S9! Haha, the prices here are ridiculous. It equals around 7 700 SEK, and if you buy it in Sweden right now, it is 7 000. Not worth buying electronics in South Korea. 

We then ventured outside of the Metro comfort bubble and took a bus. Sure, to a Metro station, but still. We went down to Gangnam and Starfield Coex mall. Indoor and with plenty of stores. Not too many familiar but I still managed to walk out of there with goods worth of 190 000. I’ve been looking at a Patagonia down jacket, but it is 2 900 SEK. Probably worth it, but still a lot of money. I found a very nice down jacket at Uniqlo for around 1 400. Half the price and I got to try it on in a store before buying it. This is it. I also got a pair of really warm gloves with touch, perfect for the upcoming winter back home. In the shopping mall was also the most incredible library! Unfortunately, all the books were in Korean. For some reason, I can’t upload my 360 picture of it on Google Maps, so here is a link to Facebook for now.

For lunch we went to the food court and I had bulgogi bibimbap. Never tried before, but so good! We had a break later in the day at Starbucks and moved around activities for the last days here in South Korea and then went to the Aquarium. Kinda childish, and very expensive, but I love sealife so it was worth it.