Book Review – Sourcery by Terry Pratchett

Summary

There was an eighth son of an eighth son. He was, quite naturally, a wizard. And there it should have ended. However (for reasons we’d better not go into), he had seven sons. And then he had an eighth son… a wizard squared…a source of magic…a Sourcerer.

Unseen University has finally got what it wished for: the most powerful wizard on the disc. Which, unfortunately, could mean that the death of all wizardry is at hand. And that the world is going to end, depending on whom you listen to. Unless of course one inept wizard can take the University’s most precious artefact, the very embodiment of magic itself, and deliver it halfway across the disc to safety…

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Sourcery is the 5th Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett, and the third one to focus on Rincewind, the cowardly and inept wizard. Going in I had a lot of mixed feelings. Rincewind has grown on me more and more, especially after this book, and Pratchett has definitely managed to keep his perspective interesting and little more nuanced. However, I was wary because this book seemed to follow a plotline that had become quite familiar: situation concerning magic and the wizards escalates to cataclysmic proportions. While quite different in their own way, that’s now three of the first five Discworld books that have a plot like that, two of which involve Rincewind.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2017/04/19

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

I’m getting further along in it now, but I’ve still got a ways to go with What If? by Randall Munroe. Still really liking it, although I’m a little disappointed to find I can’t fully appreciate some of the more math-heavy entries. I’ve never really had a penchant for it beyond the basics. One entry in particular I did really like though, which tackles that frequently occurring question “What if everyone on Earth jumped at the same time?” I won’t spoil his twist on it, but I thought it was answered quite humorously by giving us an entirely new problem that the premise creates.

I’m also in the middle of reading Hellboy in Mexico. I feel I ought to have finished it by now, but I’m more lax with getting through it since finishing the main series. The original idea for the one-shot “Hellboy in Mexico” was great and it’s a lot of fun to see it fleshed out. Basically, Hellboy has a “lost weekend” in Mexico in 1956 that spanned about five months. He spent nearly the entire time drunk, so doesn’t remember much of what happened. This book builds on that idea, giving us a collection of stories about what he got up to.

Recently Finished

In defiance of personal expectations I actually managed to power through all of The Dark Tower by Stephen King since my last entry. Not that it was particularly hard; the book was really hard to put down. Cliffhangers were resolved, plotlines wrapped up, and a lot of heartbreak and loss was had. It was unexpected how much I actually found myself grieving for characters after I’d put the book down. That doesn’t happen for me often.  The group is almost constantly traveling forward as well, which I like, encountering harsh conditions, hellish landscapes, and nightmarish adversaries. I don’t want to talk endlessly about it, so what I’ll say in closing is that this might be my favourite book in the whole series. It was a satisfying end. I posted a full review a couple days ago if anyone is interested in more of my thoughts.

I also finished reading the entire Hellboy series, which I feel quite accomplished about, since acquiring and reading the remaining seven volumes I needed had been a mission of mine for the last while. I was happy with how it all turned out, though I wish volumes had run together a little better. Volumes 10 and 11 are both collections of shorts that don’t occur chronologically with the main story, which hurt the pace a bit for me. The conclusion itself was epic, however, and a rather poignant end for the character.

Reading Next

At this point I have the reader’s wonderful problem of having so many books to read I cannot make up my mind. I’m leaning toward Tarkin by James Luceno to get more of the new Star Wars books under my belt, though I also want to maybe power through the Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger so I can say I’ve done it (I’ve owned a copy for years). As I think I’ve mentioned before I also want to continue Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series with Sourcery, On Writing by Stephen King, and Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff. Like I said, lots to choose from. Haven’t made up my mind yet, but you’ll know what I picked by my next entry.

Book Review – The Dark Tower by Stephen King

Summary

Roland’s ka-tet remains intact, though scattered over wheres and whens: Susannah-Mia has been carried from the Dixie Pig in the summer of 1999 into a birthing room; Jake, Oy, and Father Callahan have entered the restaurant on Lex and Sixty-first with weapons drawn; and Roland and Eddie are with John Cullum in Maine, in 1977, looking for the site on Turtleback Lane where “walk-ins” have often been seen. They want desperately to get back to the others, to Susannah especially, and yet they have come to realize that the world they need to escape is the only one that matters.

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Well here we are, the clearing at the end of the path. It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve finally finished The Dark Tower — the seventh and final book in Stephen King’s epic series — and it has been one hell of a journey. I was uncertain how I would feel, finally reaching the conclusion of this series that took decades to complete. Endings can be tricky sometimes, especially for a story as big as this. Despite my doubts, I was sucked in pretty much the entire time. Not since The Waste Lands has the story marched onward so determinedly, taking us through different worlds, whens, and across great distances. Song of Susannah got the plot gaining momentum, and The Dark Tower propelled it further. The story begins by hitting the ground running, picking up right at the cliff-hangers we were left at.Read More »

A Brief Retrospective on Hellboy

This contains major spoilers for the main Hellboy series

Late last week I finally accomplished what I’d set out to do about six months ago: I finished reading all twelve volumes of Hellboy by Mike Mignola. It’s a series I’d been slogging through for the past six years, barely acquiring and reading a volume each year, if that. I started over again with volume one, Seed of Destruction, back in October and went from there. This isn’t a review of the series, but a personal look back on and it sharing some feelings I have about it as a whole, having read them all as close together as I could manage.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2017/04/05

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

I’m still hardly into What If? by Randall Munroe, though I’ve read several more entries since I last checked in here. I do love the book, it’s insightful and hilarious, I’m just too absorbed in other things right now to give it enough time.

As I write this I’m 265 pages into The Dark Tower and it has been quite the roller coaster so far. I’m so eager to see the end, yet there’s so much left I can’t begin to imagine where it’ll end up. So far it’s been a lot of finishing up loose ends from the entire series, leaving the final neck of the journey in completely uncharted territory. I’m excited and terrified. The foreshadowing is blinding and I’m scared for how things will turn out for the ka-tet (the core group). I’m only about 30% through this tome so there’s much that could happen.

I really like how King settles in a little and takes his time with new places the story goes. As Roland and company come upon a new area we’re given a chapter dedicated to the adversaries they’ll face, their mindsets, and how their organization works. I love how it expands upon the world and people in a more methodical way, giving us a better view of the big picture than the protagonists’ perspectives ever could on their own.

Recently Finished

I haven’t finished any other prose books lately, my attentions more solely focused on The Dark Tower. However, I have gotten a little further along finishing Hellboy. I recently finished volume 11, The Bride of Hell and Others. It’s another quality collection, though I was a little disappointed it didn’t continue any of the main Hellboy storyline left off from The Wild Hunt either. That’s two collections since that volume now and I’d really like to read more of the main story arc. That being said, “The Bride of Hell” itself was a great story, and other stories in this collection had especially weird and horrific ideas, like a carnivorous house.

Reading Next

I expect I’ll still be reading The Dark Tower for the next few weeks, depending on how much I really throw myself into it. In the meantime I have been eyeballing Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff and Sourcery by Terry Pratchett. I’m sure I’ll get to them soon rather than later, but it’s more just a wandering eye thing right now. I’ve also just picked up On Writing by Stephen King, which I’m actually thinking about starting to read alongside The Dark Tower when the mood strikes me. I’m really on a King kick right now. I might read IT this year too.

Other than that, I’m of course on my way to reading volume 12 of Hellboy, The Storm and The Fury to finally cap off the main series. After that I want to read Hellboy in Mexico, which I’ve owned for a while, and then the first volume of Hellboy in Hell, which I just picked up.

TV Series Review – Iron Fist Season One

Summary from IMDB

Danny Rand returns to New York City after being missing for years, trying to reconnect with his past and his family legacy. He fights against the criminal element corrupting his world around him with his incredible kung-fu mastery and ability to summon the awesome power of the fiery Iron Fist.

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It’s always troubling to see ideas in a story that could be really compelling but are executed upon poorly. While I did not hate the show, I constantly had this struggle with Iron Fist. There were elements that did work: supporting characters that grew on me, some stand-out actions scenes, villainous characters that got under my skin, and themes that came across decently well. There were good motifs and themes apparent enough to pick up on too, even if they weren’t done as effectively as they could have. If I had to pick one issue above all others that holds this series down it’s the plot, which as it developed fell nothing short of a disjointed mess.Read More »