Sunday, August 28, 2011

Blue Exorcist Episode Seven "A Flock of Plovers" --Review

We open with Shiemi's mom asking her if she has made any friends. Shiemi says yes, but is not telling the entire truth. She heads to school, and is thinking about Rin saying that they were not friends. Shiemi starts to cry but manages to talk herself out of it, because today she is determined to make a friend. She heads into the school and tries to say hello to the two other girls in her class. Unfortunately, she trips. (Shiemi is extraordinarily clumsy.) One of the girls, Izumo is mean about it, but the other one, a girl named Paku just says, "Be careful" and walks off. Rin comes up and asks her if she's okay, but Shiemi brushes him off and heads down the hall.

The next scene when we return from the opening credits is Yukio explaining about the upcoming summer break and about obtaining certification as an Esquire. (It's spelled Exwire in the dub.) There's also a "boot camp" to prepare for the exam that Yukio says isn't required, and tells them to sign if they want to attend.

Read the rest on Associated Content.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Silent Strength of Stones by Nina Kiriki Hoffman

244 pp.
The Silent Strength of Stones (A Chapel Hollow Novel)The Silent Strength of Stones takes place in the same universe as The Thread That Binds the Bones. Our Male Protagonist is a teenaged boy named Nick who is something of a creeper in that he likes to spy on the people living in the vacation cabins near the store he helps his father run. His creeping ways get him into considerable trouble when he meets a strange girl named Willow and her family. (The creeping was so emphasized by the summary on the back cover of the first edition I came across that I ended up avoiding the book for years until I finally decided to read it. I’m happy to say that while the creeper behavior is part of the plot, it is not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Blue Exorcist Episode Six "The Phantom Chef" --Review

We open with Rin in a full screaming panic because Yukio let him sleep in. (Yukio's affable smile screams gleeful brotherly malice.) Rin yells at Yukio and eats as quickly as he can.) We see that even though there's food waiting for both of them, the kitchen is completely dark before we go to credits.

When we get back from credits, it's lunch time, and Rin is in severe danger of missing out on his favorite lunch item which is something called a "yakisoba bun." Unfortunately, Suguro manages to latch onto the lunch item at the same time. This results in an argument between the two boys.

Read the rest at Associated Content

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Norse Code by Greg van Eekhout

292 pp.

Norse CodeNorse Code does some interesting things with Norse mythology. It also does some interesting thing for the urban fantasy genre in that it has a more serious feel to it than a lot of the urban fantasy I have read lately (which is to say I have been mostly running into paranormal romances lately). Despite many humorous and silly moments, this is a fairly serious story, which is fitting considering it is about Ragnarok.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Snow Queen’s Shadow, by Jim C. Hines

337 pp.
The Snow Queen's Shadow (PRINCESS NOVELS)The Snow Queen’s Shadow goes into some harrowing territory. When Snow attempts to save Queen Beatrice’s life with magic fails, it breaks her magic mirror. The mirror turns out to have been powered by a demon which is now loose and immediately takes possession of Snow. Under the demon’s influence she manages to infect Danielle’s husband Armand with the demon’s influence and kidnaps her son Prince Jakob.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Reading Homestuck Part Two ==>John: Retrieve the package and retreat to your room!

Reading from here to here.

While John is brooding about the lack of SBURB in his mailbox our unseen player tries to get John to do something fairly gross. John resists the urge and continues his search for the elusive game. He sees a green package in the car, but can’t be sure whether or not the box is in fact his game. John peeks into the kitchen window, where he sees that a package has arrived and there is a SBURB logo.

John heads inside and when he goes into the kitchen he finds his father, who has apparently just finished making yet another birthday cake. (The animation here is pretty funny. There’s video game style music accompanied with a heartbeat as we’re shown a montage featuring 50’s era sitcom father get up accompanied by the dreaded cake.) What follows next is a video game battle between John and his father. There are two clickable options in this flash animation, Aggrieve and Abjure.  On the next page is another option, “Abscond” which you will not be able to do. Instead, John is going to get a pie in the face.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Naamah’s Blessing, by Jacqueline Carey

Grand Central Publishing
610 pp.

Naamah's Blessing (Kushiel's Legacy)In this book, Moirin briefly returns to Terre d’Ange with her husband Bao, then ends up travelling through Central America (or rather, Terra Nova) in search of the missing Dauphin of Terre d’Ange. She also ends up acting as a sort of god parent to Jehanne and Daniel’s daughter Desirée and locks horns with her ex-lover Raphael who has put his ability to communicate with ants to very sinister use. Moirin also does her by now usual “fix a society by having sex with a ruler” shtick and manages to make friends in unusual places. (Yes, I am being flippant.)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Blue Exorcist Episode Five "A Boy from the Cursed Temple"--Review

We open with an action sequence that turns out to be Rin having a daydream of epic proportions in which Rin defeats zombies and is utterly too cool for school except for the part where he is also a huge dork. Rin is interrupted from his fantasies by the teacher who is less than amused by his cloud gazing. Someone else who is less than amused is one of his classmates, a rather rough looking customer named Suguro Ryuji who is also one of the hardest working students and also has the best grades. (Rin on the other hand would like to be a hard working student but tends to be easily distracted.)

After the opening credits, it's revealed that Shiemi probably would have gotten an great grade on a "anti-demon pharmaceuticals" quiz if she'd only used the proper names instead of the ones she gave to her plants. Rin laughs at her, but it turns out that he did not do any better, only getting a two. Suguro is disgusted by Rin and shows off his ninety eight, and Rin wonders how someone like Suguro could have gotten such a good grade. This of course
outrages Suguro who proceeds to yell at Rin for being lazy when everyone else is trying to get good grades and become exorcists.

Read the rest at Associated Content

Monday, August 8, 2011

Reading Homestuck Part One ==> John: Equip fake arms

Homestuck is a difficult web comic to get into because it is essentially the silliest thing in the universe. It’s some strange flash game web comic hybrid and if you are particularly unfortunate you will get easily frustrated because bits you think are interactive are not interactive and vice versa. (I know I am not the only one who tried to input a name for John, dammit.) The story is that these four kids end up playing a game that has real world and possibly also cosmic consequences. (Compare and contrast with Unicorn Jelly or don’t because UJ is even more frigging bizarre.) Of course, it takes us a while to get to the cosmic consequences. We’re starting from the very beginning with our derpy main character. This is going to be part one of however many parts it will take for me to get through a million bazillion pages.

This reading is going to be from here to here.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Homestuck Filk: Dammit We're Going Down

I love this filk so much, there are just no words for how much I love this.

The Trouble with Demons by Lisa Shearin

370 pp.
The Trouble with Demons (Raine Benares, Book 3)In this book, Raine is facing even more problems than before concerning her unwanted attachment to the Saghred, a powerful soul-stealing magical object. Her problems include a demonic invasion, continuing political shenanigans, a soul bond oh god not a soul bond with not one but TWO men, and a second magical object called the Scythe of Nen.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Gosick Episode Fifteen "Two Monsters See Eye to Eye"--Review

The episode begins with Victorique continuing to read Leviathan's Pop Up Memoir. He reveals that once he secured himself a place at court, he involved himself in the politics of the country and the personal lives of the monarchs. It's pretty strongly implied that he was also having an affair with the queen, Coco Rose. This situation eventually led to the discovery of the relationship between Leviathan and the queen, and eventually leads to some kind of trial.

It seems there are two organizations in this country; one mystical and inclined to believe in alchemy and mysticism (the Ministry of the Occult), and one dedicated to scientific discovery (the Science Academy). These two groups had been feuding, and Leviathan managed to spark a direct confrontation between the two groups. Jupiter Roget, the head of the Science Academy was able to disgrace Leviathan, who was then placed under house arrest.

Read the rest at Associated Content.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

349 pp.

Akata WitchAkata Witch reminds me a little bit of both Harry Potter and the Young Wizards series. It manages to do this despite the part where Akata Witch is not actually like either except in the very vaguest ways. (I have to say some of it also reminds me of Nina Kiriki Hoffman’s books.) This book is one of your “young person discovers that magic exists and learns to use it, being moderately to extremely heroic along the way,” type novels and is atypically typical of the subgenre.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Outline of Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey

The Dragonriders of Pern series was a major obsession for me for most of grade school, when I first read them. Dragonflight begins with an extremely strong, ruthless (and borderline sociopathic) female character who I of course immediately thought was the most cool character ever. Unfortunately, poor Lessa was written by Anne McCaffrey who does not LIKE extremely strong and ruthless female characters, preferring to have them “tamed” by the nearest Strong Male Protagonist. (The exceptions to this rule are generally Evil. Compare and contrast this mindset with C.J. Cherryh where ruthlessness and strength in a female character are definitely preferred traits.) Lessa does get a few moments of awesome heroism in later parts of this book and in the series over all, but she’s more or less relegated to being the fearsome “scary dragon woman in the background.” Despite this, and a few other incidents throughout the series, I was utterly captivated with these books for a very long time. 

The basic concept of the story is that Pern is a colony world that has lost contact with its home government and has also lost most of its technology thanks in part to the “Red Star,” which periodically causes a “rainfall” of a very dangerous lifeform that eats living matter. They are able to survive due to “dragons” an indigenous lifeform that the early colonists tinkered with, creating huge animals that are able to exhale flame thanks to the ingestion of a of a certain kind of rock. These dragons are telepathic and bond mentally with their riders, and are able to teleport over long distances.  When you are ten, all of this adds up to Extreme Awesome, even if later you get sick of the gender dynamics, homophobia and slut-shaming.

LESSA: *Has a premonition! Talks to her Only Friend in the World, the Hold watch-wher* Um. Is anything going on?

ONLY FRIEND IN THE WORLD: *There is nothing wrong, except he wants cuddles.*

LESSA: *is more than happy to oblige!*