The End & the Beginning

My intention after returning from holidaying in Europe last year was always to finally land a full time job and to start taking my “career” seriously. After scouring job seeking websites, drafting and redrafting my resume and gracefully accepting rejection emails, I have been hired by Intimo, a direct selling fashion lingerie company as – and I feel ever-so-proud of my official title – a Marketing & Communications Assistant.

This is a phenomenal opportunity and I am eager to dive head-first into my first full time position after University, an accomplishment I’m proud to say I made before turning 23. With Intimo consuming a large aspect of my life and time now, I’ve made the decision to leave Meld Magazine but have put together something to reflect on my time and the opportunities I’ve had along the way.

What does this mean for my blog? My passion for film, television, pop culture and literature will never quell so I expect I will no doubt be inspired to continue posting, just on a less frequent basis.

MY MELD MIXED BAG

When I started writing for Meld in August 2012, I did not foresee the incredible opportunities that awaited me. I originally intended to complete a three month internship but it’s only now, nearly two years later that I am leaving to pursue a full time Marketing and Communications career.

The beauty of a magazine like Meld is that it gives junior journalists the opportunity to pitch, research, interview, write and edit articles their own way, from the get-go.

As a third-year Monash University student when I began, this was a daunting expectation and initially a challenge. I’ve since come to realise, having that independence so early on in my career helped me become confident in my writing skills and has tremendously shaped how I now conduct my work.

I’ve had the opportunity at Meld to cover an incredibly diverse range of topics. From attending film festivals and pop culture conventions, interviewing authors from the opposite side of the world, reviewing films and restaurants and promoting upcoming gigs, I feel lucky to have developed such a versatile portfolio.

I’m proud to have launched my journalism career with Meld Magazine and the experience is invaluable to me. The website is an opportune platform for reporters to begin publishing professional work and I strongly encourage anyone interested in the media industry to apply.

To the team at Meld who I have worked alongside, it’s been a pleasure. I thank you and wish you all the best for the future.

 

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Cosplay, collectibles & Cumberbatch: Oz Comic-Con 2014

THOUSANDS of pop culture fans from across the nation met and geeked out at the Adelaide Oz Comic-Con expo earlier this month. Juliana Mare was there to find out exactly what Melbournians have to look forward to in July. 

The Adelaide Showgrounds packed with fans. Image: Oz Comic-Con Facebook, 2014.

The Adelaide Showgrounds packed with fans. Image: Oz Comic-Con Facebook, 2014.

Your stomach is doing somersaults, your palms are sweaty, you can’t stop fidgeting with your hair and the only thought running through your mind is, “be cool, be cool!”. These symptoms were felt by the masses at Adelaide’s annual Oz Comic-Con convention because the calibre of the guest line-up for 2014 was at an all-time high.

Talent from Charmed, Scrubs, Doctor Who and Supernatural wowed fans with photographs, signatures and Q&A panels. However, the celebrity who drew in the biggest crowds was the astonishingly talented Benedict Cumberbatch.

Fans were shaking with adrenalin and wiping away tears after stepping out of the photo booth with the British actor, famous for his roles as Sherlock in the widely popular BBC series and super-villain Khan in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek: Into Darkness.

Image via Tumblr user Cumbercreiff.

Benedict sat down to answer fans’ questions on Saturday and Sunday. Image via Tumblr user Cumbercreiff.

The most important thing to be mindful of when attending Oz Comic-Con are the queues. Whether it’s at the token booth, a merchandise stall, waiting for your photo or signature, getting lunch or even going to the bathroom. There’s going to be a line and it’s going to be frustratingly long.

While queuing, some Oz Comic-Con attendees commented on the highlights of their convention experience:

I just really like the atmosphere here because there’s so many things to do and people are so passionate about the things they’re coming to see. – Isabella, 15

My favourite part of the day has been meeting Benedict Cumberbatch. Also the range of pop culture merchandise you can’t get anywhere else is pretty cool. – Reece, 23

I think all the pop culture shopping has been my favourite. I collect potato heads so it’s been really expensive, but really good. – Donna, 51

But that’s not all there is to experience. Cosplay, short for ‘costume play’ is a hobby where fans dress up in costumes and props representing a character from a fictional universe. 28-year-old Tara was one of hundreds of Cosplayers scattered around the venue and her character of choice was Princess Daisy from the Mario franchise.

“I like making the costumes and I usually pick characters I like, that you can associate yourself with. It’s just fun, it’s a good hobby to have,” she said.

Tara's handmade Princess Daisy costume. Image: Juliana Mare

Tara’s handmade Princess Daisy costume. Image: Juliana Mare

Saturday's cosplay parade. Image: Juliana Mare

Saturday’s cosplay parade. Image: Juliana Mare

Melbournians will also have the opportunity to bring their favourite fictional characters to life. Information on Melbourne’s Cosplay Parade and registration can be found on the event website. From superheroes to Disney characters to gory zombies, the Cosplay opportunities are endless so if you’re going to dress up, start planning your costume now.

Weekend passes are available, but for those choosing a one-day ticket Saturday might be the better option. The Twitter feed on Saturday was laden with photo uploads by fans who had much more freedom to request poses in their professional photos. Unfairly, stricter rules were imposed on Sunday’s attendees whose requests were flat out denied, a decision that may have had something to do with the schedule running over an hour late on Saturday evening.

Nonetheless, fleeting though it may be, celebrity encounters at Oz Comic-Con are an adrenalin pumping, memorable experience worth every dollar. And the high quality A4 print you get to take home is a fantastic piece of memorabilia to cherish.

One of the highlights of my weekend, meeting the man himself.

One of the highlights of my weekend, meeting the man himself.

Oz Comic-Con MC Robyn said judging from just the sheer number of attendees, the Adelaide event was a huge success.

“Everyone’s got amazing photos and autographs and had the chance to see their favourite actors and artists so it’s been huge,” she said.

With the Melbourne event approaching in July, there’s a whole different range of talented guests and artists to look forward including Wilson Bethel (Heart of Dixie), twin brothers Shawn Ashmore (X-Men)and Aaron Ashmore (Smallville) and Richard Dean Anderson (Stargate).

A stunning original artwork by Stewart McKenny of the twelve Doctors. The stewART stall will be selling at the Melbourne event too.

A stunning original artwork by Stewart McKenny of the twelve Doctors which I had signed by the artist. The stewART stall will be selling prints at the Melbourne event too.

Not to mention the number of stalls stocked full of exciting pop culture merchandise and original artist drawings and prints for fans to indulge in.

For those planning to visit this unique pop culture phenomenon in Melbourne on July 5 – 6, here are some key tips for getting the most out of the weekend.

1. Over-estimate queuing times for the token booth and Q&A panels to avoid missing out.

2. When the schedule is released, go through and make a personal timetable to get a clear understanding of each day’s events.

3. Bring cash rather than paying with Eftpos for speedy transactions at the stalls.

4. Plan what to say when meeting the guests. You only have a tiny window of time to meet them, so make it count!

5. Remember your manners! Thank the guests and be kind to the volunteers.

My pre-event article and this review can be viewed on the Meld website.

Hello villains! Film review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Rise of Electro fares well as Marvel’s latest superhero instalment, but the 140-minute film devotes plenty of screen time towards establishing the story-arcs and villains for a multi-sequel movie franchise.

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Andrew Garfield returns to a role that seems to fit him as snuggly as that red and navy spandex suit does. Spider-Man not only battles two new enemies in Marvel’s latest superhero blockbuster, he also struggles with finding a balance between his two identities, particularly when it comes to his relationship with Gwen Stacy.

As with all superhero franchises, there comes the inevitable plot of the public eventually turning on the hero. While The Amazing Spider-Man 2 does dabble in this, thankfully, it isn’t an overshadowing storyline.

The film is fantastic in 3D, although that might have more to do with Andrew Garfield in aforementioned spandex, than the motion sickness inducing sequences of Spider-Man freefalling and swinging through New York City skyscrapers. The 3D was also beneficial for the bright, static electricity used as a new weapon to wreak havoc on iconic NYC locations and its inhabitants, courtesy of Spider-Man’s newest enemy, Electro.

The powers were cool, the villain himself, was not. Given the magnitude of extreme badass-ery exemplified by Marvel’s other villains (Loki, The Avengers/ Malekith, Thor 2), Electro, whose main motive for antagonising Spider-Man was rooted in low self-esteem, was an uninspiring villain.

His former Max Dillon ticked every single box on the cliché nerd trope list and so the lightning fast transformation from an introvert to power-hungry, raging supervillain is unconvincing and frankly, disappointing.

However, in this film, we meet Harry Osborn, Peter’s best friend (played by Dane DeHaan), a character whom the phrase ‘Cunning as a fox’ has never been more fitting. His desperate attempt to cure a fatal genetic disease results in the formation of a worthy villain, the Green Goblin who causes more catastrophe and devastation in five minutes than Electro does throughout the entire film.

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Emma Stone & Andrew Garfield. Image via flickr.

Furthermore, it’s Osborn’s unravelling of Oscorp’s secret files that opens the door to a wide world of villains on which to base future film sequels.

Garfield’s co-star Emma Stone returns as Spider-Man’s on-again-off-again girlfriend Gwen Stacy and the chemistry between the two hasn’t dwindled since the first film. Humorous dialogue and some pretty big romantic gestures between the lovebirds are peppered throughout the film, which works well to offset all the car chases, fight sequences and explosions.

Given that our friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man didn’t make the Avengers cut, it’s nice to see his return in a standalone film. With clever acrobatic fight choreography, quick and witty dialogue, impressive visual effects and heart-stopping drama, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 definitely gives Marvel’s other superhero flicks a run for their money.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Rise of Electro opens in cinemas on April 17.

Oz Comic-Con 2014: Pop culture has never looked so cool!

AFTER enormous success in previous years, Oz Comic-Con is gearing up for a stellar event in 2014. Juliana Mare has this year’s superstar guest line-up.

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Fans of series’ like Stargate, Smallville and the X-Men movie franchise will be star-struck come July when Oz Comic-Con rolls into Melbourne!

If you’re lucky enough to live in or attend the events in Adelaide or Sydney however, you’ll get the chance to meet and question the enormously talented British actor, Benedict Cumberbatch – famous for his roles in Sherlock, Star Trek Into Darkness and most recently, 12 Years A Slave.

For fans new to the whole convention experience, Oz Comic-Con is an annual expo celebrating all the facets of pop culture in all its glory. From film and television to graphic novels, comic books, animation artists and writers, Oz Comic-Con covers all bases of the geek experience.

Oz Comic-Con 2012 event. Image: Leif Wilsan, all rights reserved.

Everything on offer at 2012’s Oz Comic-Con event. Image: Leif Wilsan, all rights reserved.

Events like this offer a unique experience for fans to shake hands with their idols, snap a professional photo with them and the opportunity to pick their brains during stimulating and often, humorous Q&A sessions.

It’s a safe bet that if you’re a fan of any popular fandom, Oz Comic-Con will have something to impress you with; whether it’s a guest appearance or a piece of epic, exclusive merchandise.

A general admission day or weekend ticket allows fans entry into the venue and access to guest panels and stalls. Tokens for autographs and photos with special guests can be additionally purchased on the day though it’s subject to availability.

A fan meets Shannen Doherty, star of hit shows Beverly Hills 90210 and Charmed. Image: Oz Comic-Con's official Facebook page.

A fan meets Shannen Doherty, star of hit shows Beverly Hills 90210 and Charmed at Perth’s Oz Comic Con 2014 event. Image: Oz Comic-Con’s official Facebook page.

For the more die-hard fans, select guests have exclusive tickets and dinner package tickets for a seriously intimate experience so make sure to check out the full list of ticket options available.

Meeting such talented actors and artists in person is an adrenalin-pumping experience and taking a professional photograph home with you is a priceless souvenir.

In addition, the many stalls exhibited throughout the space will be packed full of any and every piece of merchandise. Things such as time-turner key rings from the Harry Potter franchise, t-shirts with every house sigil from George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones, shelves upon shelves of comic books and even cans of orange, fizzy Duff beer from The Simpsons will no doubt be on display for all to browse through.

Shawn Ashmore (X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Following) will appear in Melbourne's Oz Comic Con event in July alongside his twin brother, Aaron Ashmore (Smallville, Veronica Mars). Image: Thibault via Flickr

Shawn Ashmore (X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Following) will appear in Melbourne’s Oz Comic Con event in July alongside his twin brother, Aaron Ashmore (Smallville, Veronica Mars). Image: Thibault via Flickr

Oz Comic-Con and DCA Enterprises organiser, Carissa Avenhouse says “Aussie fans are in for some real treats,” regarding guest appearances and the Melbourne leg of the 2014 expo is no exception.

The stages of the Royal Exhibition Building will feature Gary Jones, twin brothers Shawn and Aaron Ashmore, Richard Dean Anderson, Wilson Bethel, Jim Cummings (the voice of Winnie the Pooh) and an impressive list of comic and publishing guests.

Oz Comic-Con is a must-do experience for all pop culture fans. With exquisite cosplay (dressing up as fictional characters) competitions, gaming stations (Nintendo will be attending all five cities in 2014), collectibles, stalls and exclusive ‘meet and greet’ opportunities, fans simply couldn’t ask for more.

Oz Comic-Con will roll into Melbourne on July 5 – 6 at the Royal Exhibition Building. For more information on all things Oz Comic-Con, including event times, venues, exhibitors and special guests, head over Oz Comic-Con’s official website to learn more

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I wrote this article for Meld Magazine. Keep an eye out for my review of Oz Comic-Con Adelaide (coming soon).

NGV announces Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition for summer 2014/15

FROM the Sidewalk to the Catwalk is the Australian exclusive exhibition of the bold, eccentric fashion from one of the industry’s biggest icons. Juliana Mare reports.

Andrej Pejić 2013. Confession of a Child of the Century collection. Jean Paul Gaultier Haute couture, autumn- winter 2012-13 © Alix Malka

Andrej Pejić 2013. Confession of a Child of the Century collection.
Jean Paul Gaultier Haute couture, autumn- winter 2012-13 © Alix Malka

Dita Von Teese, Gemma Ward, Sarah Jessica Parker and Beyoncé have all donned a Gaultier frock but it’s the radical cone bra worn by Madonna during her 1990 Blond Ambition tour, that is perhaps his most recognised piece of fashion art.

140 fabulous Gaultier designs ranging from his earliest dress in 1971 to his current work will be on display in an exhibition that Minister for the Arts, Heidi Victoria says is one of the most exciting that we’ll se anywhere in Australia in the next few years.

Millions have already viewed the exhibition in Montreal, New York and London however for the Melbourne leg of the world tour, an exclusive section showcasing Gaultier’s Australian muses, has been developed.

Left: Gaultier gown worn by Cate Blanchett. Right: Gaultier gowns worn by Kylie Minogue (left) and Nicole Kidman (right). Photos: Rachel Gan.

Left: Gaultier gown worn by Cate Blanchett. Right: Gaultier gowns worn by Kylie Minogue (left) and Nicole Kidman (right). Photos: Rachel Gan.

“Preparing this exhibition I have realised how strong my ties to Australia are – Nicole Kidman was my first couture client; I have dressed Cate Blanchett on numerous occasions; Kylie [Minogue] is a dear friend,” Mr Gaultier said.

There will be seven sections dividing the exhibition, each exploring a different passion and obsession Gaultier had over the years. These include The Boudoir highlighting Gaultier’s pieces of lingerie and exquisite corsetry, Punk Cancan showcasing his brilliantly contrasting styles including London punk and Urban Jungle; designs with a fusion of multiethnic influences.

Over two years, exhibition curator Thierry-Maxime Loriot worked with Gaultier to sift through his archives and choose just 140 out of over 10,000 pieces, a task Loriot says was both a dream and a nightmare.

Everything from design sketches, accessories, film excerpts and runway footage will also feature throughout the exhibition to showcase Gaultier’s incredible repertoire across fashion, film and music.

Dita Von Teese: Flaunt 2003 Dada collection. Jean Paul Gaultier Ready-to-wear, spring- summer 1983 © Perou

Dita Von Teese: Flaunt 2003
Dada collection. Jean Paul Gaultier Ready-to-wear, spring- summer 1983
© Perou

32 of the exhibition mannequins will come to life with animated faces of the celebrities that wore the eccentric designs. They will wink, smile and sing to the audience; an innovative feature the likes of which have never been seen in a gallery before.

NGV Director Tony Ellwood says he’s thrilled that the NGV will be hosting such a “ground-breaking international exhibition.”

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: from the Sidewalk to the Catwalk will open at the NGV on October 17.

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I attended this event for Meld Magazine. View the article on their site here.

The way to a woman’s heart is through ganache

As a child, I loved family day-trips to Sassafras because despite the long drive, it was the location of my favourite lolly shop.

It was a quaint, tiny store that had enormous rainbow lollipops, liquorice, toffee, chocolate bars and my absolute favourite – jars of boiled lollies that I would beg my mother to buy for me to eat on the car ride home. 

The ten year old me enjoyed the sickly, overpowering scent of sugar that assaulted my nose in this lolly shop. It takes a lot more than sugar to impress the 22 year old me and Adriano Zumbo’s new cafe in South Yarra, Melbourne delivered on all fronts.

Zumbo's window of decadent cakes. Photo: Juliana Mare

Zumbo’s window of decadent cakes. Photo: Juliana Mare

First, there’s the pastry window with danishes, lamingtons, the occasional savoury quiche and the iconic “zonut” which on my visit, was a mouthwatering choc-banana flavour. When you combine the banana filling which had a jam-like consistency, the fluffy donut mixture, the chocolate ring of icing and the dusting of sugar, the zonut is only for serious sugar lovers and shouldn’t be allowed within five feet of a diabetic. It was undoubtedly delicious with a rich, sweet banana taste but curbed my sugar cravings for at least a week.

The next window is filled with row upon row of picture perfect macarons – sorry, that is “zumbarons” in flavours I’ve never stumbled across before. After much deliberation, I narrowed my purchase down to a box of six ($15); apple pie, toasted marshmallow, salted buttered popcorn, pandan & sticky rice, passionfruit & basil and the flavour I was bursting to try, Vegemite on toast.

Having attempted to bake macarons before, it’s quite remarkable how flavoursome the creamy ganache of each macaron has. Aside from the buttered popcorn which was disappointingly lacklustre, every other macaron had a rich, palpable flavour.

The iconic "zonut" and "zumbarons." Photo: Juliana Mare

The iconic “zonut” and “zumbarons.” Photos: Juliana Mare

As an Aussie who takes her Vegemite seriously, I had high, high expectations for Zumbo’s vegemite on toast macaron. Luckily, it blew my mind, and my tastebuds. I’m accustomed to slathering more butter than Vegemite on my toast so the mild flavour of the ganache was pleasant enough without feeling like I was swallowing a spoonful of the spread on its own.

To say I was impressed by the cake window is an understatement. The National Gallery of Victoria should commission Zumbo to create an exhibition because his cakes look more like works of art, than desserts.

Photos: Juliana Mare1800255_10152634316904478_1725561545_n1904038_10152634316704478_1886854320_n

From left to right:

The Annoying Orange: Layers of flourless chocolate cake, orange caramel, olive sable, chocolate & clove mousse, orange & white chocolate jam.

A rich, dense flourless chocolate fondant cake with Italian meringue, strawberry and choc-raspberry macaron.

Secret Carrot’s Business: Layered carrot cake, baked cheese cake, cream cheese mousse, semi dried carrots and caramelised pecans.

Cracking into the Annoying Orange cake reminded me of those photos that show the different internal layers of a planet. It was a faultless dessert with a decadent chocolate-orange flavour and four delicious layers of cake, caramel, jam and mousse. On its own, the mousse layer was too overpowering for my taste but combining it with the other layers was very enjoyable to eat.

It’s a rare occasion when I don’t finish a dessert but I struggled to finish even half of the chocolate fondant cake. It was overly rich, sickly sweet and the texture was so incredibly thick and wet that the fork used to cut a piece came away coated in cake. The italian meringue on top was perfectly gooey inside but did little to balance the over-abundance of sugar in the cake.

Ordinary carrot cake is just never going to do it for me again after eating Zumbo’s version. Cream cheese mousse, carrot cake and cheesecake is a winning combination in regards to flavour and texture. The base was crumbly and offset the creamy mousse wonderfully but the real winner of this dessert was the soft, airy carrot cake crumbled on top.

Zumbo’s Pâtissier has set the benchmark for desserts incredibly high as the cakes, macarons and pastries are as beautiful to look at as they are to taste. There are completely unique treats that firstly, Zumbo should be commended for and secondly, you simply won’t find anywhere else.

It’s well worth a visit, even if it’s likely to end in the mother of all sugar comas.

From page to screen: Vampire Academy

WITH Vampire Academy set to hit screens next year, self-confessed mega fan Juliana Mare asks whether it’s better to read the book or watch the movie first.  

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The VA series has six books plus a spinoff series called ‘Bloodlines’. Photo: Juliana Mare

Adapting novels into films always causes a tremendous amounts of stress for fans. Will the actors correctly resemble the characters? Will the set design and costumes do your imagination justice? Are they going to skip the scenes you love?

Hollywood is no stranger to book-to-film adaptations. This year, a number of extremely successful book franchises like the Hunger Games, City of Bones and Beautiful Creatures shined on the big screen.

But on March 2014, a new young adult film franchise will launch. With six books in the series, this could be Hollywood’s biggest film saga since Harry Potter.

It’s Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy (VA). 

The Plot:

The book series follows the life of Rose Hathaway, a completely badass dhampir (half-vamp, half-human) who’s in training to become a guardian and protect the Moroi species (benevolent vampires) from the Strigoi (ruthless vampires).

Unlike so many young-adult supernatural novels, the VA series isn’t another sappy romance between a human and immortal.

Rose Hathaway is a fierce fighter with superhuman combat skills and a sassy, humorous, I-ain’t-got-time-for-your-nonsense attitude. Although she finds herself some pretty epic relationship drama with her hunky Russian trainer Dimitri, this doesn’t overshadow the plot. Instead, the budding romance only adds fuel to the fire and drama that already exists within the secret vampire world.

The first novel begins with Rose and her best friend Vasilisa ‘Lissa’ Dragomir being forcibly returned to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a prestigious school where dhampirs are trained to become guardians for the Moroi.

With a rare psychic bond between her and Lissa, Rose is determined to finish her training to ensure she become Lissa’s guardian. But all of this is threatened when Lissa is kidnapped and the book becomes a gripping page-turner to see if she can be found and rescued in time.

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The films’ promotional photo. All rights reserved.

Which brings me to a most important question: What should you do first? Read the book or watch the movie?

Read the book first:

Once you let someone create a movie that’s representative of his or her own experience or even the author’s, you take that power away from the reader. It’s like finding out what was in your head the whole time was wrong, which shouldn’t be the case. – Jake Manwaring, 21.

Given the style of the films promotional poster, a seemingly clique-y, preppy school with pupils who wear heels (Rose Hathaway would never, ever wear stilettos!), and the director’s prior claim to fame with Mean Girls, I feel like the school setting of VA is going to be too cliche. A predictable boarding school with vampire pupils, which isn’t at all how St. Vladimir’s is conveyed in the books or in my imagination.

“Viewing a movie removes the individual experience. A reader constructs their opinion based on their own history and views. Viewing a film homogenizes this experience because as a viewer you are dictated to, as in this is how characters are supposed to look and sound.” – Jacob Lewis, 29.

The unique, hunter-style school environment and wit, sass and self-professed tomboy nature of the protagonist are what make the books so fantastic so it’s a huge concern for me that these elements may fall short of my expectations.

“I think sometimes having read the book gives you a greater understanding of the movie. For things like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games I often notice little subtleties in the movie that if I didn’t know the back story from the book I wouldn’t pick up.” – Amy Foyster, 22.

Another potential problem for the movie will be adequately conveying the differences between the three vampire species that exist, the Dhampir, Moroi and Strigoi. These unique vampires aren’t found in any other vamp fiction so will be previously unheard of by moviegoers who haven’t read the books.

“Read the book first if you want to understand all the inside jokes that the scriptwriters inject into the film. However, this means you’ll probably expect the movie adaptation to be faithful to the source material and might be disappointed if it isn’t.” – Grace Yew, 21.

While the differences will have to be explained in the film, it’s the little things like a Strigoi’s craving specifically for Moroi blood or their inability to walk on consecrated ground that might sadly go amiss in the screenplay. This may not be damaging to the plot, but it’s these bonus interesting facts that make the book characters seem much more complex and well thought out than their screen counterparts.

Russian actor Danila Kozlovsky has been cast as Dimitri Belikov. All rights reserved.

Russian actor Danila Kozlovsky has been cast as Dimitri Belikov. All rights reserved.

Watch the movie first:

You shouldn’t read the book because knowing what happens at times ruins the experience. If you read the book, in your mind you’ve made your own picture of the characters and settings in your head. Therefore if you don’t like the direction of the movie, its mostly because it doesn’t fit what you’ve already imagined.” – Carlos Iacuccio, 20.

And herein lies the crux of the fandom struggle. One of the joys of reading is the ability to independently imagine characters, costumes, locations and accents, absolutely anything any everything else within the book universe. Films take this creativity away.

On the other hand, if you agree with the film making and casting decisions, there’s nothing greater than seeing your favourite fictional characters come to life.

The verdict:

Given how cleverly written the VA books are and how unique the author’s brand of vampires are, I would recommend reading the books, or at least just the first, before the film is released.

The VA world is fascinating because while it fits within the wider supernatural young-adult genre, it’s completely unique, filled with wonderfully complex characters and isn’t bogged down by a cliche love story.

Read the books and fall in love with Rose, Lissa and Dimitri on your own terms before Hollywood sinks its teeth (pun intended!) into this franchise.

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This article was written for Meld, thanks for having a read. And Happy New Year!