Archive for the ‘Review’ Category

A very nice return to form by Robert Treskillard in the last book of the Merlin Spiral. Gone are the frequent, confusing visions and dreams, and while dreams and visions are still found they are well-placed, make absolute sense, and progress the plot.

Which is good, because extremely dire times are upon Britain: a withering drought has stricken the land. The Picti are raiding to the north, the Saxons are gobbling up chunks of Britain, and what little of the country that is still in British lands are held by the man who murdered the rightful king, Uther.

Of course Arthur has no idea of his royal legacy, and in fact believes that Merlin is his father. Oh how things are going to change, especially since Morgana’s plan is finally coming into effect.

Merlin’s Nightmare is a tense journey from beginning to end, and Merlin is constantly dealing with fear and the many forms it takes to attack him.

I loved the use of characters from old to new (especially one raven-feather wearing prophetess that I hope to see more of) and the use of the landscape.

If I had any critiques, the ending felt a little out of place with the rest of the book and I didn’t get a definitive ending, the ending just felt like set up for the next book. All in all however, a very fine book that I am glad I read and I can’t wait to read the first book in the Pendragon Spiral!

You may recall a review I did about a month ago about a YA dystopian tale that really got my attention.

That tale was Black Tiger, a story that involved a common girl who turned out to be not so common. Sound cliche? It really isn’t, but if you want to know more, you can check out my review (and others) on Goodreads right here: Goodreads: Black Tiger.

But we are not here to talk about Black Tiger, oh no we aren’t. We are here to talk about the anticipated sequel: Ashen City.

The main reason for this is that today, January 18th, is the cover reveal and launch date extraordinaire! (or something like that)

ashen-city-cover

Yeah! That’s the cover!

Sara was kind enough to let me be a part of her hype team (I’m pretty sure that’s what it’s called), so she gave me all of these lovely little details to give to you lovely people.

The most important of which is that Ashen City launches APRIL 6TH!!!

And to tantalize you further with that wondrous tidbit, here is a blurb:

Make your choice, Ember Carter. And make it count.

Ember Carter has escaped the flames of death. But will she ever be free from Chief Titus? When the orchard goes up in smoke and her family turns up missing, Ember returns to Frankfort hoping to find her brother and father, and to get Titus to drop the death wish he has against her.

But Titus is always one step ahead. When Ember faces him head-on, she’s captured, only to receive another death sentence. But on her way to her execution, plans go a little askew, and Ember finds herself traveling to the one place no one dares travel: Louisville. If the outskirts of Ky were a ghost town, the ashen city is the borderline of hell itself, but it’s the one place Ember can find refuge from the people who want her dead. 

In the ashen city, Ember must learn that being a hero is more than doing what is right because she can, but doing it for the good of the people. And when plans take a turn for the worst, she must decide if it’s worth risking her life to save her country.

 

So yeah, sounds intense, and I am interested to see what will happen to Ember in the next installment.

If you are interested in Ashen City, or perhaps you want to familiarize yourself with the series, there are some resources for you. First, check out Black Tiger On Amazon. Once you have done that, you can stay up-to-date with info on Ashen City at Sara’s Official Site. Also Sara will be going on a blog tour April 6-20 and be giving out information on Ashen City and the series as a whole.

I hope you are excited as I am at the prospect of a fresh, interesting take on the YA dystopian genre and please take a moment to check out Sara’s work.

Blessings to all and remember, what we create matters.

My SPOILER-FREE review of Star Wars: Rogue One is now up on Youtube. Christmas kind of messed with the production a little, so there are some flaws but I hope it is still enjoyable.

You can check it out at: Review of Star Wars Rogue One

Please feel free to leave your thoughts. Rest in peace, Carrie Fisher.

Review of Black Tiger

Posted: December 28, 2016 in Book Review, Review

31690889Black Tiger is yet another nearish-future dystopian adventure involving a teen protagonist. While groans may be heard from large sections of the public for yet another one of these novels, Black Tiger has qualities that set itself apart from most lesser-known teen dystopian stories…and it does it in such a way that rivals and surpasses some of its more well-known brethren (a la The Hunger Games or Divergent).
The main protagonist, Ember, will undoubtedly draw comparisons to one particular “girl on fire,” but the differences between the two characters become pretty apparent from the very beginning. Ember is a farmer, a bit of a peacekeeper, and has a major temper that goes far beyond anything Katniss Everdeen hoped to ever do. That said, there are still similarities; a love triangle and the main character shifting from apolitical to major figurehead being just two of them…but the similarities are never enough to cause a reader to pause and go “this seems like it was taken from another, more popular, dystopian novel.”
And that really is Black Tiger in a nutshell: similar but different. The differences are refreshing and honestly quite unique. The mega-city in Black Tiger is located in Kentucky? Really? Kentucky? Yes, indeed, and it is awesome the book takes a risk like that. One other unique thing that really struck me as unique was the punishment of human torches, people pulled upside down on a pole and burnt to a crisp. Yes, it’s as terrible as it sounds, it’s basically the book’s version of being crucified, epitomized most by the fact the government places all the human torches in the Rebel’s Circle surrounding the capitol, a reminder of what any defiance to the government will get you.
Speaking of crucifixion, God is talked about in this book. There is a slow build to it, as Ember is not a Christian, in fact there is only one other character who talks about God. If you don’t like that sort of thing, you need to realize it’s in there, but it shouldn’t take away from your enjoyment of the story or the quality of writing, it all works pretty seamlessly. I don’t think it was implemented perfectly, but writing about God in fiction is really hard to do, and the author did a very good job at making feel mostly natural.
If I’m being perfectly honest, YA dystopian is not my favorite genre. There is a lot of familiar ground that is tread in Black Tiger, but it is never tired, and I never once was bored. I kept turning pages wanting to find out what happened next. I will admit the whole thing with the different blood-types didn’t work for me. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll just say that I hope that the idea is expanded upon in the next book. The characters (especially Rain) are written very well, so none of them feel like clichés or just another version of a more familiar dystopian character. There is riveting action and intrigue, but this book contains some wonderful philosophical bits. You really should give this book a fair shake as it dares to ask the big questions without ever once feeling like you are reading just another YA Dystopian novel.

Hello internet! I am going to be doing reviews on youtube now. I will still be doing reviews here on the blog, but I am trying to use both forms of media. Please rate, subscribe, and give me your thoughts. Everything is appreciated, and here is the hyperlink: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyYhMZQtChQ&feature=youtu.be

It was Roy’s turn to shine, just when I said last week about it was nice seeing Felicity get some character development; and that all we needed now was for Roy to get some. Now while it wasn’t about Roy’s past before the show, it was about what happened to him when he was going through his Mirakuru induced madness.

He thinks he killed Sara.

Obviously he is tormented by this, who wouldn’t be? But he doesn’t know for certain that he killed Sara so he enlists the help of Felicity to make sure he doesn’t have an Mirakuru lingering in his system. Roy is relieved, Felicity is freaked out; so she runs a test and determines from the angle and force of the arrows that it would be similar to Roy throwing arrows in his Mirakuru rage.

Felicity does the smart thing, and tells Roy, tormenting him more. Roy then does the even smarter thing and tells Laurel that he killed Sara, when in fact all the evidence is circumstantial; so he would incur the almost-murderous wrath of Laurel to tell a “fact” when is in reality a maybe.

He feels guilty, but still it seems a stretch anyone would take the fateful step to admit to a murder they didn’t know for a fact they committed. It seemed very odd, as did how Felicity and Diggle treated the “revelation”. I felt that whole part of the episode it was very out of character except for Laurel and Oliver and it made the episode a bit odd.

The parallels between Oliver and Ted were quite interesting, obviously the writers planned it that way; however the poor acting on Ted’s part brought down the scenes. Another drag was Laurel mentioning that the Arrow was once her boyfriend, like that couldn’t compromise Oliver’s identity at all. Also Oliver critiques Ted for killing one person when he has killed how many people, exactly?

There were other problems but the ones that bothered me the most was the character inconsistencies, and I was gravely disappointed in Diggle who has often been the voice of moral clarity.

But Oliver was the only one who still believed in Roy, other than Roy himself. Roy tells Ted’s failed protégé that he is not the same, he will not end up the same. Oliver reassures Roy he won’t abandon him…he won’t lose faith, and he will help Roy face his fears and give him clarity; but sometimes clarity brings just as much darkness as before.

The themes of the episode were very strong, despite the flaws. The stumble should remain just that, and Arrow should return to form…but to be perfectly honest, the “I’m Cupid, stupid” didn’t garner much hope for next week.

What’s new to talk about concerning The Flash? They’re still playing up Barry’s attraction to Iris (and Iris’ total obliviousness to it). The humor is still there, the inconsistencies are still there…plus they ripped off a scene from Captain America: The First Avenger (hint: it had to do with Barry not being able to get drunk). Oh and let’s not forget the conveniences!

Of course Iris happens to stumble across Barry so her desire to write about “the Streak” will only continue to grow and add tension (and give ulcers for Joe and Barry) to the series, but at least we were given well explained reasoning for why Iris is doing what she is doing; she trying to give Barry hope.

She can’t understand why Barry has this sudden change of heart, why he won’t believe in “the Streak” when he had been saying for over a decade that a super-fast man killed his mother; but her brain, for the tension’s sake, can’t put two and two together and figure out that Barry might actually know something about “the Streak” (let alone the possibility of Barry being “the Streak”).

I liked the addition of Sgt. Bette and I was sad to see her die. I wasn’t the least bit surprised, but it would have been nice for her to have been a addition to the team. Her powers weren’t explained as well as they should have been, because if you think about her logically, she never would have been able to put on the gloves without blowing them up.

Inconsistencies aside, Sgt. Bette added to the development of Barry, giving us a better view of his moral values. She also showed how much of a manipulator Dr. Wells is; his story has by far become the most intriguing part of the show.

Unfortunately, The Flash returned to form as an exciting average show. The emotional scenes didn’t get any of the feels going, and I didn’t care one bit about the veiled threats and foreshadowing between Dr. Wells and the general. Also the writers should stick to not talking about existential forces, first claiming “the universe” somehow made Barry into what he is and then making a Jesus comparison when Caitlyn brings up that he walked on water. One or the other, guys.

And please, enough with this beating around the bush, one of the characters just needs to come out and tell Barry that Central City (or the world, for that matter) needs a symbol of hope. Maybe they haven’t because the writers feel that would come across as a rip-off of Arrow or the Dark Knight Trilogy; but hey, you already ripped-off one comic-book movie, so could it really hurt to take the big selling point of those two franchises and begin making it your own instead of just implying what everyone watching already knows?

The Flash has two choices, settle on being a very fun, very average show; or roll the dice and decide to become something truly special?