New Books & Novel Discoveries (August 2018)

I meant for August to be a much more conservative month in terms of spending money on books. I’m going to Fan Expo in Toronto tomorrow, so I meant to hold back on buying things since the purpose of that expo is essentially shopping for me. Despite my intentions I happened across too many thrifty opportunities to pass up, so I ended up bringing in a fair few books after all.

Normally I’d say September is going to be heavy with new books, since I’m going to Fan Expo, but lately I’ve been a lot less motivated to buy physical comic book volumes. Considering I’ve no desire to read most of them as they come out, I’ve found it’s much cheaper to buy digital volumes, especially since they frequently go on sale. I’m sure there’s a few I will pick up anyway, but I’m mostly on the hunt for art and artifacts, which is a fancy way of saying merchandise and stuff from Artist Alley.

Anyway, onto the books!Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2018/08/29

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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

Hellboy Bones Of GiantsLast night I started reading Hellboy: The Bones of Giants by Christopher Golden and Mike Mignola, though I haven’t read further than the prologue so far. There’s something about the cover and the title that’s always given me a good feeling about this book (not the most reliable impulse) and this has been emboldened by the brief introduction in which Mignola states his belief that this book surpasses the previous novel, which he believes to have been great too. He’s probably just a little biased, but I’m looking forward to getting into it all the same. Gods have only occasionally been touched upon in Hellboy stories in the past so I’m especially curious to see how this incorporates the Norse pantheon.


Recently Finished

The Princess BrideOver the weekend I finished reading The Princess Bride by William Goldman. Check out my review here! I ended up liking this book quite a lot. The characters were excellent, it balanced some complex themes with fairy tale ideals rather well, and played with the medium in unexpected ways. It’s now no wonder to me that it’s considered such a classic. Inigo and Fezzik especially stole the show for me. They have a great dynamic together. I only wish there were more story. My edition included the first chapter of the “sequel” called Buttercup’s Baby, and it literally ends with a massive cliffhanger. Goldman sure is a cheeky fellow.

The Gunslinger BornI also started and finished reading The Gunslinger Born by Peter David et al, which is the first in the comic book adaptations of The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. While I think later volumes will cover details about Roland’s past that we have not seen before, this book specifically adapted his becoming a gunslinger from The Gunslinger and the story from Wizard & Glass when he fell in love with Susan Delgado. It was a pretty faithful adaptation, though I prefer the novel for how in-depth it goes. This felt a little bit like reading the cliff notes. I did however like getting a good visual look at the Crimson King and Walter, whose forms are often nebulously described in the books.


Reading Next

AftermathLifeDebtThe Bones of Giants should not take me too long, so once I finish that I’m going to get started on Aftermath: Life Debt so I can continue with that trilogy of Star Wars books. I’m hoping things pick up a lot more plot-wise with that book now that origins and introductions are out of the way for the characters. It also hints at including some of the core characters from the films more, which I hope is the case (it’s got the Millennium Falcon on the cover, dang it!!).

Until next time, thank you for reading!

Book Review – The Princess Bride by William Goldman

The Princess Bride

As Florin and Guilder teeter on the verge of war, the reluctant Princess Buttercup is devastated by the loss of her true love, kidnapped by a mercenary and his henchmen, rescued by a pirate, forced to marry Prince Humperdinck, and rescued once again by the very crew who absconded with her in the first place. In the course of this dazzling adventure, she’ll meet Vizzini—the criminal philosopher who’ll do anything for a bag of gold; Fezzik—the gentle giant; Inigo—the Spaniard whose steel thirsts for revenge; and Count Rugen—the evil mastermind behind it all. Foiling all their plans and jumping into their stories is Westley, Princess Buttercup’s one true love and a very good friend of a very dangerous pirate.

It was impossible for me to start reading The Princess Bride without some preconceptions. The film alone is such a huge cultural influence that even without having seen it or read the book I knew some things about it. I think you’d be a little hard-pressed to find someone in North America who has not heard the line “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” I also knew of the film’s narrative frame; a grandfather reading the story to his ill grandson who at first has misgivings about hearing it. What I didn’t expect was the bizarre metanarrative that the novel had in store for me.Read More »

Grant Us Eyes: The Storytelling Veil of Bloodborne

This post contains some spoilers.

Video games are a frequent hobby of mine but something I talk about very infrequently on this blog, especially over the last couple of years. Nevertheless, every once in a while I play a game that really grabs me with its story. Not simply in how well it tells this story, but the ways the story is integrated with the video game medium itself.

In Bloodborne, developed by From Software, you play as a foreigner who has come to Yharnam, a labyrinthine city of Gothic/Victorian architecture, seeking the miraculous blood healing of their Healing Church to cure an unspecified malady. Your character also seeks something known as “paleblood,” though what this is isn’t explained. Upon signing a contract and receiving a transfusion of strange blood your character becomes a Hunter—people made exceptional by “blood ministration.” When you awaken after the transfusion you are alone at dusk on the night of a hunt, when Hunters and citizens alike take to the streets to hunt the Beasts that plague Yharnam. You have no choice. A Hunter must hunt.

Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2018/08/22

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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

The Princess BrideI’m well into the thick of it now with The Princess Bride by William Goldman, just shy of the halfway point. Reading this book has been a bit of a bizarre trip for me so far. Goldman makes it hard to forget that the story is an abridgment of a fictional book, abridged by a fictional version of himself. In a nonsensical way it makes Buttercup, Westley, and the rest feel more fictional that they already are. Can anyone else who has read it relate to that? Either way I’m simply charmed by the story, its evocative characters, and tongue in cheek sense of humour.


Recently Finished

Chaos WarI actually had a hard time picking another comic book to read, despite the smorgasbord I’ve got to choose from. That is until last night, when I realized I still wasn’t all the way caught up with the Incredible Hercules books that I’ve got, the last of which was the event comic book Chaos War by Greg Pak and Gus Van Lente et al. After Hercules is revived thanks to the events of The New Prince of Power, giving him the Godliest of Godly powers, he must band all heroes together to stop King Chaos from reducing the multiverse to nothing but the Void once again. It was as humorous and action-packed as always, though fairly bog-standard as far as the events I’ve read are concerned. It did make good on a lot of foreshadowing set up much further back in the series though. It was a nice way to cap things off before leading the character into a new direction.


Reading Next

The Gunslinger BornThe plans I set out next week are still more or less what I have in store for myself, though on the comic book front I’ve made some more concrete decisions. For one, I’ve decided I need to finally read through the prequel Marvel comic book series to The Dark Tower by Stephen King. I made a point of purchasing the last couple books I needed last year, yet here I am a year later having left them to languish on my shelf even further. That all being said, my next comic book endeavour will be The Gunslinger Born by Peter David.

Until next time, thank you for reading!

TV Series Review – Orange is the New Black Season Six

OITNBs6Outdoors

Season six of Orange is the New Black continues the story of Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) and the other inmates of Litchfield Correctional Institution in the wake of the three-day riot that took place during the previous season. This season shakes up the cast and setting once again with a number of the inmates having been transferred to prisons in other states, resulting in numerous absent characters. Plenty of characters return as well, having been transferred to the maximum-security prison (“max”) within Litchfield Penitentiary. This season introduces a number of new inmates who are already entrenched in the life and politics of max as well as the new guards who oversee them, with some returning.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2018/08/15

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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

The Princess BrideI started reading The Princess Bride by William Goldman over the past couple of days, though I haven’t gotten very far yet. I was honestly thrown for a loop when starting out. I knew very little going in, so finding the inside title page saying ‘The “Good Parts” Version Abridged by William Goldman,’ I started to panic that I didn’t have the complete story (fans are probably giggling at me right now). Apparently, for reasons I haven’t fully educated myself on, Goldman fictionalizes himself around the creation of this book, giving the story a history that precedes him. The introductions further this frame, including details about the movie but maintaining the fictional history of the book he has “abridged”. It’s amusing, but was such a bizarre thing to be suddenly confronted with.


Recently Finished

AftermathOver the weekend I finished Aftermath by Chuck Wendig, book one of the Star Wars: Aftermath trilogy. Please check out my review here! The characters grew on me a lot by the end, but the story was so divided among their numerous perspectives, as well as those of more minor characters, that the plot ended up being rather thin and uninteresting. With power shifting politically in such a big way, especially in the fissures of the Empire, I’m disappointed the plot was so unremarkable. The “Interlude” chapters stood out especially well though, giving me the glimpses I craved into how familiar places in the galaxy were reacting to the events of Return of the Jedi.

Deadpool Kills the Marvel UniverseI also read Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe by Cullen Bunn et al. It was pretty much exactly what I expected it to be, which is both good and bad. Good because it was a fun, morbid story where I didn’t have to worry about continuity or consequences; just some good old-fashioned carnage. It also kicked through the fourth wall as a part of its storytelling, rather than Deadpool’s usual leaning upon it. It was bad because I would have preferred it if his confrontations with particular characters were a little more drawn out and their deaths earned. He wipes out many of them far too easily and I sadly saw that coming.


Reading Next

Hellboy Bones Of GiantsI don’t rightly know what I’ll get to next. I want to get to Aftermath: Life Debt so I can avoid being stuck in the middle of a series for too long, but I may read Hellboy: The Bones of Giants by Christopher Golden as a shorter read before I do. I’ve bought a lot of Hellboy books over the last year, so I really ought to be reading them. Other than that I’ve got plenty of comic books to choose from too. Since they’re such a relatively shorter commitment I’m leaving my choice in that arena up to whim.

Until next time, thank you for reading!

Book Review – Aftermath by Chuck Wendig

Aftermath

The second Death Star has been destroyed, the Emperor killed, and Darth Vader struck down. All major victories for the Rebel Alliance. But the battle for freedom is far from over.

Determined to preserve the Empire’s power after its defeat in the Battle of Endor, the surviving Imperial elite are converging for a secret summit to consolidate their forces and prepare for a counterstrike. Above the remote planet Akiva, as Star Destroyers gather like deadly birds of prey, rebel pilot Wedge Antilles finds himself the sole witness to the looming threat—only to be capture before he can alert the Alliance. Meanwhile, former rebel fighting Norra Wexley has returned to her home on Akiva, ready to leave the ravages of war behind. But when she intercepts Wedge’s urgent distress call, she knows she must help, no matter the cost. What she doesn’t know is how close the enemy is—or how dangerous her mission will be. Together with her technical-genius son, a Zabrak bounty hunter, and an Imperial defector, Norra prepares to take the fight to the resurgent Empire—and do whatever it takes to end its oppressive reign once and for all.

Aftermath by Chuck Wendig is unique among the Disney Canon of Star Wars novels, being the first among them to deal specifically with the fallout of the events of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. While I had personally chosen before now to linger in fiction that takes place amidst the first six films, it was this largely uncharted territory that had me especially looking forward to starting this novel and the subsequent sequels that make up the Aftermath trilogy. Despite the Emperor’s fall and Darth Vader’s redemption the war is not over, as the tagline says, and I was eager to see the more in-depth details of the true end to the Galactic Civil War.Read More »

Writing Report #5

Well, this certainly isn’t August 1st. I seem to be having a bit of trouble keeping to my own deadlines. That’s not to say I don’t work on the writing I want to be working on, but my pace is much slower than I’d like. That may change once I start actively moving on to other stories, but only time will tell. I was initially going to write one of these closer to the 1st regardless of my progress, but I decided I’d be better off waiting until things were in a finished state before putting out another one of these.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2018/08/08

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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

AftermathI’m a little under halfway through reading Aftermath by Chuck Wendig. I’m enjoying the book all right, though some parts more than others. I’m feeling like the ensemble cast is a little too big for its own good, especially since they’re still not all together in one place. The story is jumping all over the place too much. I do really enjoy reading about Admiral Rae Sloane though. She first appeared in A New Dawn, which I read earlier this year. She’s trying to hold the Empire together with a summit, but it’s difficult since nobody can decide who is in charge. This has been the most compelling stuff in the book for me, which is a little double-edged since not too much has happened in this arena. The story with the main characters really needs to pick up. A couple of them should maybe die as well. Thin the herd.


Recently Finished

Sadly nothing this week. Boo! The way my work schedule works combined with some travel I had to do for a wedding this past weekend resulted in me getting very little reading done since last Wednesday.


Reading Next

The Princess BrideA few people have recommend I start it, as it is on my scrappy little to-read list for this year, so I think I’m going to start reading The Princess Bride by William Goldman. A friend highly recommended the book to me years ago, which is why I picked it up, and I have witnessed countless people since then have rave about both the film and the book. I only really know as much about the story as I’ve been able to absorb through osmosis, so it’ll be really interesting to finally learn all the ins and outs of such a beloved tale.

Until next time, thank you for reading!