Today, Kvothe... er, or not.
Kote: Bloody hell, Chronicler just keeps lapping up this BS I'm feeding him. Of course I'm not Kvothe the Arcane, but hey, sucker born every day. Getting a little concerned about Bast, though. Sometimes I think he's just playing along, but other times he gives me the weirdest looks, like he's buying it or somehow thinks I am Kvothe, or... I'm probably just imagining things.
João: This was a particularly good week for me. I read the first two volumes of SAGA and am waiting for my girlfriend to finish reading the third volume so I can borrow it from her. I don’t know what to think of them to be honest. I like them, but I don’t read enough graphic novels to think I can pass any critical judgment on it beyond my own enjoyment of it. I also finished ... Read More
Today, Kvothe... er, or not.
Character update on break until next week. Drizzt told me in no uncertain terms that if I mocked his swords' names one more time, he was going to give me an up close and personal look at them.
Kat: I cheated. I’ve been saying for a few weeks now that I was going to stick with all the old series I’ve started and not be tempted away by anything new. But I fell. For Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart. I guess I was kind of bored — same old same old every day, you know — and I got tempted. I thought maybe that it’d be edgy, new, exciting, titillating... And you know what? It wasn’t worth it. It totally wasn’t. I can’t believe I abandoned my moral code for that. Now I have guilt. And shame, ‘cause everybody knows.... sigh.... But now I’m back on the wagon and determined to remain fait... Read More
This week, big thanks to Marion for securing an update from Bigby Wolf himself.
Bigby: Big B Wolf, Sheriff, Fabletown. Daily Report: I hope Deputy Mayor White is pleased with herself, running me around on this “community policing” gig. Two hours in the basement explaining to the mice -- again -- that tying a bell around the cat’s neck is technically assault; plus those rodents in the front row waving that Farley Mowat book and chanting, “Wolf Eats Mice!” It’s funny that those mice don’t want to talk about who nibbled off the Gingerbread Man’s feet during his last yoga session. Give me a break.
John: I am finishing up Drawn Blades by Kelly McCullough and I need to write the review for... Read More
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
If there is one genre in young adult fiction that has been egregiously overdone at this point, it’s… well, actually, can’t tell a lie, it’s paranormal romance. But a close runner-up is the “Teens with Powers” genre that’s rocketed to prominence in recent years, particularly after a certain book series involving young wizards and their magical school. The formula is generally much the same: there’s a secret society of magic-users who organize themselves in some sort of refuge from a dangerous world where they have an equally magical enemy. The inevitably teenage or tweenage protagonists are at first under pressure to simply conform and leave the problems to the adults, but must soon take matters into their own hands to indulge teenage hormones and face their nemeses in glorious magical combat. This isn’t to say it’s a bad formula (indeed, many auth... Read More
This week, Denna from the Kingkiller Chronicle.
Denna: No time for reading things this week. Kvothe somehow managed to get attacked by pirates, so Tehlu only knows where he'll pop up next. Had to squeeze the patron for a few coins (not literally, ugh. I get such an odd feeling of looming evil and incipient tragedy whenever I get near him for some funny reason) to scrounge enough money to take ship. I swear, Kvothe had better be appreciating all of this.
Brad: I read a few good comic books this week, but I'm going to mention only one, so you'll remember it. Better yet, just go buy it. It's an incredible YA fantasy comic book: Two young girls, fleeing princesses, on the run from murderous relatives and accompanied by an Aslan-like creature made of fire. One, a hesitant-young lady in a dress; the other, her... Read More
This week, Red Sonja addresses the question on everyone's mind.
Red Sonja: In point of fact, yes. It does chafe. And it's freezing cold in any weather, and blazing hot in sunlight. It's awful. You can all stop asking me about it now. Also about why I keep wearing it. It's a laugh, isn't it? It's an impression. And it distracts feeble-minded men. Sometimes. And, and, it's a talking point, right? It makes me better-known. All publicity is good publicity, especially for a mercenary. It's all... it's...
... I'm terribly lonely.
Bill: Grading lightened up this week (for another 12 hours or so), this was a good period of time for quantity of reading, if a mixed one for quality. In order of preference:
Harvest by Jim Crace, a Man Booker Short-listed novel (my most reliable literary pr... Read More
Yes, it's Supergirl again. This happens when I read DC.
Supergirl: I arrived too late for all the fun stuff. I've been reading some history this week, about how society is sort of this cyclical thing, back and forth between prudishness and debauchery, or reason and superstition, or whatever else. But the thing is, I think superhero society had a really fast pendulum swing, and I popped in too late. Superman used to travel in time, apparently. He got contacted by secret-agent signal watches. Now all he wants to do is punch things, lecture me, and make out with Wonder Woman. It's not just him, either. At one point, Batman apparently decided the one thing his super-secret batcave needed was a giant dinosaur model. So, god knows how or why, he must have spent hours (days?) manhandling and assembling a T-rex. He used to slide down a fire pole. How come I came around after everyone grew up? Where's all th... Read More
Pharos the Egyptian by Guy Boothby
Once upon a time, when the British Empire was at its zenith, adventure fiction and fantastical writings began to deal with the idea that London — and tacitly, all Britain — was under threat by some ancient, terrifying force (frequently from a place where Britain had established a colony). There was an immense fascination with the occult versus the modern, the venerable old kingdoms versus the new British Empire, and most of all, the diabolical arcane opponent versus the plucky, civilized Englishman. It’s a trend that gave us such well-known works as Bram Stoker’s Dracula or Henry Rider Haggard's She, but prior to these there was Guy Boothby and his mummy novel Pharos the Egyptian.
The story is fairly straightforward: a young Englishman named Cyril Forrester comes into contact with an... Read More
This week, another legend of the gallant Sir Lancelot, pulled from the Arthurian Legends.
Bors: I can remember when my family was respectable, you know. I really can. I remember when I would introduce myself and people would say "Oh, you're named for your father, are you? That'd make you old Ban's nephew." People would smile and nod. Now they just ask what it's like to be Lancelot's cousin, and sort of smirk. This week caps a succession of bad weeks, as my sainted hero of a kinsman continued his latest "insane" tantrum. So far, he's apparently attacked no less than six people indiscriminately, climbed into two beds that don't belong to him, spouted suspiciously cogent "madman talk" at anyone who asked him what the hell he was doing running around naked with a bloody sword in hand (oh, yes, he's on one of his exhibitionist kicks again, forgot to mention), and after finally tiring himself out enough to collapse, att... Read More
This week, a rather tired meme.
Shepard: I'm Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite site on the Citadel.
Bill: This week I read Michel Faber’s The Book of Strange New Things and Violet Kupersmith’s story collection—The Frangipani Hotel. Faber’s was a bit overly long, and the speculative fiction aspects were the weakest part of the novel, but it was overall a serious and thoughtful exploration of relationships, religion, and humanity. Kupersmith’s collection, meanwhile, was filled with solid stories—many of them involving supernatural creatures/events—but I can’t say any single story blew me away. Currently, I’m in... Read More
Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb
I have some mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I’m tremendously pleased that Hobb is writing Fitz again. He is and remains (for me at least) her most entertaining protagonist, and represents a return to form following what I believe to be her experimentation in the SOLDIER SON TRILOGY in particular. And the book is good. So far at least, Hobb has managed to resist her tried-and-true soul-splitting motif, and we get a complete human being to follow. Hobb depicts his life with sterling characterization and subtle nuance, reminding me why she is considered one of the best (possibly even the best) in the fantasy genre when it comes to introspective narratives. During the first third to half of the novel, this was enough. In the second portion, though, I admit that I found myself increasingly concerned at how slowly Hobb was building events.
Now, let’s be clear: Hobb has nev...Read More
This week, more Drizzt.
Drizzt: This week, in consequence of what I humbly submit may be a somewhat ponderous reputation gathering about me (ah, but what true warrior would crow over his accomplishments?) I was invited to give a commencement address at Silverymoon University. All seemed to go well at first. I had prepared a most scintillating speech on morality, and throughout the first six hours or so of my address, my audience seemed quiet, even meditative. Many closed their eyes to consider more deeply (odd how that seems to happen so much: perhaps some custom I'm not aware of? I have yet so much to learn about the surface world). It was only when I began to qualify my earlier remarks that my listeners began to grow restless. I merely expressed the well-known saw that all morality continues to apply until the moment it must be applied to one of the evil races (goblins and suchforth), and s... Read More
This week, Percy Jackson has an existential crisis.
Percy: The other day, I had a thought. This is usually where Annabeth makes some oh-so-hilarious joke about how I should celebrate the occasion, so I guess I'll just do it for her this time. But seriously, something came to mind that was more than a bit troubling. So... the Olympian gods are real. I've got that. But now it turns out the Roman gods are also real. Just sort of other aspects of the same things. So does that mean the Norse gods might be real too? The Egyptian gods? The Celtic gods? I so do not want to run into the Morrigan's kid, whatever s/he would look like. But it's more than that. So if the Olympians are altered by someone coming up with different beliefs about them, doesn't that mean that we effectively control the gods? We shape them, rather than them shaping us? So it follows that h... Read More
This week, a rambling story from Supergirl (I promise, the character updates aren't going to turn into flash fictions every week).
Supergirl: Once, I asked Superman the secret to beating his various nemeses. This being my cousin, good ol' Honest Kal the Folksy Traffic Cop, he started off on some sort of prepared speech about perseverance and using your powers for good, and I had to cut him off to get things moving.
"No," I said. "I mean, physically. I've got all the strength, fine, but shouldn't we be doing Super Karate or something? What are your special moves? Do you have some kind of secret jab? Mach 5 axe kick? Seventeen roundhouse barrage?"
"I'm not sure what you mean."
"What do you do when you're up against a big-leaguer? Like, say you fought Wonder Woman."
"No, but really... Read More
The Silent Blade by R.A. Salvatore
The Silent Blade is in every regard an improvement over the LEGEND OF DRIZZT’s preceding installment, Passage to Dawn. The plot is tighter, the characterization is subtler, and – stressing this point most of all – the prose has taken leaps and bounds forward. However, this is also the installment of THE LEGEND OF DRIZZT that finally convinced me that the series has not only jumped the shark, but is doing Evel Knievel motorcycle flips over whole tanks of great whites.
Previously, on Drizzt and Friends, the demon Errtu finally (!) managed to return to the mortal plane and gain possession of the crystal shard. At last granted his heart’s desire, Errtu was primed and ready to doom the earth to a living hell. Except he wasn’t, because Drizzt and his crew came bustling in like grumpy border patrol officers and spanked him straight back to the netherworld f... Read More