Saturday, 19 October 2013

The Ultimate Adaptations Book Bundle Giveaway

I love a great adaptation. That's no secret. It's largely because I adore both book and films but in the right hands a beloved book can become a great film and appreciated by more fans, just in a different medium.

So it seems only fitting to do a competition which celebrates some fantastic adaptations, with books provided courtesy of Robert Hale Ltd, Scholastic, Hodder, Hesperus, Canongate and Bloomsbury. 

For your chance to win all of the following great books, just send an email over to with your favourite adaptation ever made and why, including 'The Ultimate Adaptations Book Bundle Giveaway' as the subject line and the town where you live in the UK. Don't worry, they don't have to be from the list below!

Head to the Bates Motel to see what happens when a woman on the run from the law meets Norman Bates. Psycho by Robert Bloch became one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most iconic films.

Sparking a resurgence in young adult fiction Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins is the second novel in her Hunger Games trilogy which follows Katniss Everdeen as she fights to protect those she loves but somehow manages to put them in even more danger. Dramatic, powerful and gripping from start to finish, the adaptation – which stars Jennifer Lawrence – is out in November.
Carrie by Stephen King is one of King’s most beloved books as he follows a high school girl battling with a religious fanatic mother and her own powers of telekinesis. It’s so good, they’ve adapted it more than once!
12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup was the film to watch at this year’s London Film Festival and received rave 5* reviews across the board. But it all began with a true story by Solomon Northup back in the 1800s. Read the memoir that started it all.
A book that was deemed unadaptable was adapted by Ang Lee thanks to 3D technology and an incredible performance from newcomer Suraj Sharma. Booker prize winning Life of Pi by Yann Martel is one of the most thought-provoking and evocative tales ever written.

As an extra bonus to this great bunch of adaptations, the competition also includes the fantastic The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon. Though the adaptation does not currently exist, Andy Serkis' company have bought the film rights and are working on getting it made!

*A new book has been added to the giveaway, courtesy of the lovely people over at Random House. Enjoy all the glamour and opulence of 1920s New York with F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic tale, The Great Gatsby.*

This competition is available to UK readers only and will close on midnight GMT Friday 1st November.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Book vs Film Club: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

After the general agreement of The Great Gatsby #bookvsfilmclub (the film was gorgeous, Tobey Maguire was just a bit meh), and the general disagreement of Austenland (opinions ranged from fun and adorable to stupid and patronising!), the next story has been selected and it's The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

The film adaptation arrives in UK cinemas on 31st January so soon after the club will be meeting up to discuss both book and film versions of the story. That gives you plenty of time to get reading!

To register your interest, email or Tweet me @filmvsbook.

*UPDATE* Check out my book review of this incredible story at Novelicious.

Happy reading!

Friday, 4 October 2013

Andy Serkis discusses adaptating Samantha Shannon's 'The Bone Season'

By the time Samantha Shannon's debut novel The Bone Season was published by Bloomsbury in August earlier this year, Andy Serkis's Imaginarium Studios had already acquired the film rights. The first impressive novel in what is sure to be a phenomenal seven part fantasy series, The Bone Season looks at a world where clairvoyants are outlawed and forced into a life of crime. 

In this Q&A, Andy Serkis discusses what drew him to the project and how it really is a world he cannot wait to create. Check out the Q&A below.


Even a dreamer can start a revolution.
The year is 2059 and nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, employed to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige has an unusual gift, she is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and in her world she commits treason simply by breathing. But outside the repressive boundaries of Scion, a powerful, otherworldly race waits in the shadows. The Season has come and Paige’s life is about to change for ever.

1. What is it about The Bone Season that compelled you to include it in The Imaginarium Studio's very first slate of films?
We first came across the manuscript at the London Book Fair and immediately fell in love with the scope, the scale and the exceptional detail of the world Samantha had created. It’s a really compelling story with such a great central character – we all immediately saw its potential as a fantastic feature film.

2. Have you met Samantha Shannon and how involved will she be in the film's production? 
Yes of course – she’s a delightful, incredibly intelligent person. She’s very warm and a passionate storyteller- dedicated beyond belief. We’re working very closely with her on all aspects of bringing the world of the book to the screen. We’ve been involving her with all the early concept artwork that we’re beginning to put together. Obviously it’s her world so we want to make sure we bring it to life in the way that she wants.

3. Can you tell us about how the creative process for adapting a story like The Bone Season begins?
It begins with knowing the story you want to tell. There are thousands of stories contained within the world that Samantha has created- we have to be very disciplined about opening up the world in a way that will lead us on to further investigation in the rest of the series. We need to find the emotional heart of the story; the relationships; the tension; the suspense and the drive, and of course working closely with Samantha is going to make it much easier.
At this very early stage it’s about finding the right writer and the right approach to telling the story. Hand in hand with developing the screenplay it’s also about developing the visual world and bringing that to life, finding the right visual effects team who understand Samantha’s concepts.

4. You have been part of bringing some of the world's most famous and well-loved fantasy worlds to contemporary audiences. Which of your experiences across film, tv, stage and video games would you say has been most helpful in preparing you to produce The Bone Season?
It would be impossible to single out any one single experience, it’s an accumulation of all my experiences to date, but obviously having worked on The Lord of the Rings and Tolkien’s extraordinary world with Peter Jackson is incredibly useful. Peter basically gave me the opportunity to work on a lot of extraordinary characters in a lot of extraordinary worlds and has opened up my eyes to a genre that I knew very little about before.

5. Will performance capture will come mostly into play when portraying Shannon's Rephaim race on screen in The Bone Season? Can you give us any insight into how you'd like these characters to appear?
We’re in very early stages of designing how we want to portray these characters, and are exploring a variety of avenues to bring these characters to life. We’re certainly not tied to any one production technique at this early stage.

For my 10/10 review of The Bone Season, head to Novelicious.

Happy reading!

Austenland: Book vs Film Club

Shannon Hale’s 'Austenland' is about one woman’s obsession with Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice and – to be precise – Colin Firth’s portrayal of Mr Darcy.

This short and easy-to-read novel is an absolute delight to read (and easy to carry on the commute!). The characters are hilarious, especially Jane herself, and the comedy in throwing a modern day American woman into an Austenesque retreat in the English countryside is non-stop. Jane is endearing, despite her ridiculously outdated ideas of love and romance, and it’s easy to warm to her.

It really is the perfect, enjoyable read for any Austen fan – especially anyone who fell in love with Firth's Mr Darcy. Your face will ache from smiling.

The film adaptation takes a much more slapstick approach to the story and takes the whole setting to more theatrical depths, with the emphasis more on gags than witty banter. 

It does provide plenty of laughs but the Austenland story is very specific in its appeal. If you love Austen and are in the mood for something silly it might just work for you. It is, though, incredibly indulgent and the humour (especially in the film) is very tongue in cheek – so much so that many may find it more patronising and insulting than clever and witty. It is a story designed to be taken as it was intended: silly escapist fun. 

Ultimately, as the subject of the book vs film club, there were mixed – and extreme – reactions to Austenland in both formats but the difference in opinion certainly made for a more fun discussion than Gatsby, which everyone seemed in agreement over.

Film - 3/5
Book - 4/5