Bookworm Review: His Majesty’s Dragon

6877865-mThe classic beast meets boy tale set in the middle of the Napoleonic War; filled with intrigue, self-discovery, and pretty practical world building. There is no magic, at least no evident or visible magic and this first book gives no hints that anything beyond really good breeding helps in the creation of these creatures, it isn’t dull. It does lack one thing. Emotion.

I’ve never realized how spoiled I’ve been by certain male main characters, they address not just how they feel about certain situations or disregard larger concepts of loyalty as matters not worth thinking about. I knew I was going to struggle with William Laurence, when he did just that while trying to explain with a perfectly sentient Temeraire who asks why they are loyal to others. William Laurance is a Navy man, with practical Naval thoughts and lacking a certain cunning or a head for math apparently means he doesn’t quite express emotions… like being upset doesn’t register on his internal grid so it doesn’t really come across to us. Which is sad since we get the entire story from his view, though thankfully it’s not first person. The author, Naomi Novik, makes up for the lack by showing us and having Laurence repeatedly tell us that he is incredibly attached to Temeraire and Temeraire to him. These displays, comments, and thoughts is really help us grow close not just to our two main characters, it helps us consider our secondary cast. I say ‘consider’ because they really don’t do much beyond add potential heartache for our main characters and examples of what could happen to them.

The only other flaw of the book is just how weird the connection between Temeraire and William is. It starts off at the beginning of book with Laurence considering the dragon handlers as weird for being content with little to no human contact. Noting that most opt to stay with their dragons, over being with humans. Placing their Dragons over loved one and focusing most of their attention to their Dragon. This is where emotions would be nice as Laurence goes through this change of attitude. He seems to change over night or a few days. Never wanting to leave Temeraire, he is faced with the possibility early in the book and find the thought leaves him feeling empty. He no longer longs for his ship or crew, as he was a Captain in the Navy before bonding with Temeraire. Maybe I’d be more willing to accept his over attachment if he showed it anywhere else in his life. It seems like before Temeraire he lived his life like a checklist:’Do this to get that and end up there’. Rather than truly enjoying anything. In some ways that’s fine that he comes to care so much for Temeraire and by doing this Novik allows Laurence the ability to cut himself off from his family and former friends to become utterly dedicated to Temeraire and the Aerial Corp.

The Aerial Corp comes in a distant second, but it allows our heroes the ability to fight in the war. It also provides a lull in the story as we follow them through weeks and months of training, making friends, learning from their mistakes, and getting ready for battle. In the end, it’s all set up for the last 5 chapters of the book. Here is where I admit that I got a piece of paper and tried to follow the actual battles and combat. I failed. I could barely wrap my mind around how they got massive contraptions onto a dragon that is swooping through space. In the end, I spent most of the book quickly scanning through those moments to the climax then slowed down long enough to enjoy it.

Overall this book was a nice break from the typically magic reach dragon stories, it was still heavily Eurocentric and doesn’t bring an emotional weight to much. There are moments of intrigue towards the end, but you have to wade through training with Temeraire and Laurence. High point! Lady dragon riders! I’m pretty sure if the story had been from a certain female character point of view, I might have been more interested. No offense to Laurence, but the guy really needs to get in touch with his feelings.

Rating: ‘Read for the story and dragon flying, not the characters.’

Previously On…Star Wars Rebels Season 2

You might not know it, but I have been watching this show. Maybe more religiously than some other shows.  *cough*Arrow*cough* Part of watching it was to ease the wait for The Force Awakens. Which was hard, so hard. The other part was because I truly care about my Rebels. Ezra, my little blueberry, is my favorite character. I love seeing just how badass Sabine will be in any episode. Hera and Kanan will kiss at some point! I know it! I KNOW IT! Plus, I’m considering tallying up Choppers kill rate or playing a drinking game based on how often Zeb says Karabast. So how has the latest season been, well…

It’s been slow, yet insightful. I consider it to match how the OT movies work. Act one of the movies move slowly, with bumps of actions and character building. We get to meet all the players who we should be watching this season in the first few episodes. Kicking off with the super tense two parter, which I agree with everyone should have been saved to be the season opener. Then we slow down to bring in Rex and highlight Kanan’s future struggle with his past. In the previous season it was about accepting his decision to take back up the Jedi path, this season it appears to be accepting his role as a Jedi.

Kanan might be on path of a Jedi Knight, but Ezra seems to be slipping. Not that he is openly walking towards the darkness yet. It interesting because in many ways he and new Star Wars character Rey are the same. Left alone to survive, they embark on these paths not out of lofty ideals like ending Slavery on a planet or due to some legacy. No, Ezra is on this path because he was curious and felt a pull towards it. He was moved before learning about the Force to being a Rebel, becoming a Jedi is just another route towards stopping the Empire. The question is will Ezra begin to seek another route towards that end?

Speaking of end, since her introduction in The Clone Wars many have asked how her storyline will end. Ashoka’s appearance in Rebels hasn’t ended that question especially with Vader and his Inquisitors breathing down the Rebels’ neck. Her fate seems so wrapped up in one confrontation. How that meeting goes down will paint how Vader goes forward. Her story isn’t the only one as Hera did have her own stand out episode this first half of the season. She’s stepped up and despite Kanan’s reservation with the military life, has embraced the makeshift army. Sabine seems to take things in stride, but it’s clear that she still lingers on the edge as a solo act. Zeb seems all for the rebels, but he’s fate is still uncertain.

Overall, this first half of the season has let us ease into the present situations of the Rebels. It’s clipped off some loose threads, answer questions and closed the doors on certain paths for the character. This leaves the next half of the season to really bring up the tension all the way up. Which if this Mid-season trailer hints at anything, it’s that I’m going to need tissues and lots of help.

 

I’m going to cookies, brownies, and lots of ice cream to cry into.

Fangirl Out!

Thinking Out Loud: New Year, Same Change

*deep breath*

A new year has arrived bringing with it the tradition of changing things up. Normally this would an article about what I’ve changed and how I plan to continue despite the many changes in my life. I’d like to say that this year will see me be more consistent than last year, but I’m no longer making guarantees. In fact this is my first promise of the year. So let me tell you all what awaits us this year.

The Flash, Arrow, Agents of SHIELD and even Legends of Tomorrow are still shows that I will follow. The change is when I post about what episode. My current schedule is up in the air, as is when I’ll be able to watch the episodes. Thus, I could end up reviewing an entire month of episodes or plod along with the show each week.

So what will start filling up the empty space between reviews. Simple answer, thought pieces and random other things. This blog will begin to expand beyond the shows I simple follow. I’m going to review, chat, and post about just about anything that falls into my lap. This includes comics. Which I know I’ve been missing a couple of those updates too.

Basically, I’m taking a slightly lazy route with this blog. This doesn’t mean the true point of this blog is over. I’m still determined to expand myself beyond my bubble and push myself out of my comfort zone. Those who are following this blog have been kind enough to come along for the trip.

So thanks for sticking around!

Fangirl Out!

Agents of SHIELD 3.10 ‘Maveth’

Death is not an end, it’s a beginning. That is certainly true for TV shows and especially true for Agents of SHIELD which has a track record for bringing people back. The show saw off some characters in the first half of the season, among them the much loved (and much hated) Grant Ward. Yet for all the deaths this half and the game changing new arrival on Earth, this episode came off a bit over hyped. Death came knocking and a few answered the call, but the true impact won’t really be know till the mid-season premiere come in March. Still there were moments of great interest and moral questioning that occurred.

One is the weird timing that occurred at the end of episode. How did not only Coulson and Fitz get off the planet, but how did Ward/Hydra Inhuman get over? The timing is off and raises plenty of questions. Another is the reason why the portal was opened. The “it” came through and apparently inside Ward’s body. So tossing most theories aside our Inhuman also gave a bit of info on the planet pre-wasteland. The whole story surrounding this inhuman is weoird. First it was in prisoned, then it was sent and now it sounds like it went to this planet and ended up stuck there. I hope they reveal the truth of it ending up there. Was it sent there by the Inhumans? Maybe the Kree sent it as a weapon and the Inhumans never let it back over? If so, why?

Another issue coming out of this issue is Lash or maybe its still some part of Andrew? Either way,he is now on the loss and back to killing other Inhumans. The question is why was he there at all? Why did Malike bring along an Inhuman killing machine to greet a return Inhuman prisoner? Does Malike know something about the connection between Lash and “it”? If so then what is it? And just what is he planning?

The episodes also saw Coulson begin a journey to thee Dark Side or not, as he seems conflicted about his deed. Yet he still did it. So where does this put him? Where does thus leave the others? Especially when they find out that Ward isn’t dead or rather that he’s dead body is host to this evil Inhuman entity that seems to be working with Hydra at least for now. It did seem odd that the entity did announce itself to Ward and Hydra crew, even going as far as to kill them later. Maybe it isn’t as on board with Hydra as thought or maybe it’s waiting for something else?

Fangirl Rating: 8.01 out of 10 ‘super cute Joey moments’

The Flash 2.09 ‘Running to a Stand Still’

Nothing brings the holiday spirit to TV like a heart warming Flash episode. We had family, we had friends, we had evil killers intent on taking Barry’s life and we got a bit more into the madness behind the method of Zoom. Taking it all between the tears and the awesome action scenes, I found myself both intrigued and shocked in pleasant ways. For a mid-season finale it wasn’t a super shocker like last season, but it certainly didn’t disappoint as it presented the future challenges for the Flash team and a new player to the mix.

Getting into the spirit, the Trickster and the Weather Wizard hands out presents with a deadly joy and it was fun to see these over the top villain take on our heroes. They tried to bring Captain Cold into the fold, but he continues down his road of gray. I like it. He isn’t kind when he comes to tell Barry of the Weather Wizard and the Trickster, but he does it out of sense of honor. It’s a building honor code that I enjoy watching develop.

It got emotional too with Patty’s vengeance, Iris’ secret, and Joe dealing with the revelation of Iris’ secret. I’m happy that she didn’t keep and the path that they are taking with Wally and her. She is clearly ready to welcome a new family member. Joe is going to struggle as Wally won’t take kindly to another guy being more a son figure than him. They are clearly setting up a contest that actually makes sense. Wally is trying to find his place in the family, only to realize someone already sit there. Meanwhile Barry will struggle with letting go of his special place in the West Family.

Fangirl Rating: 8.2 out of 10

I’ll admit as far as mid-season finale go this was a rather weak one. It did bring light to the shadows that we’d see in the future. We got an answer to what motivated Zoom to send all those metahumans into Earth 1, but the identity of Zoom is still a mystery. How he connects to Wells is another matter as at this moment the connection is merely that he took Well’s daughter Jesse. Not to mention that it seems like Wells is now working with Zoom to speed up Barry, so that Zoom can take his speed force.

It’s going to be interesting coming back after this break. Where will all the pieces land and who will be on what side, is all up in the air. Also Barry should tell Patty, even Iris thinks it’s time.

The Flash & Arrow Crossover

For those paying attention, I’ve been out of it when it comes to review episodes lately. Accidently review Gorilla Warfare twice, missing Arrow reviews, and ultimately just being all over the place. However I’m planning to go into the mid-season finale on a good note. So I’m covering both the Flash and Arrow crossover as one. An easy given that the episodes themselves feel like one complete storyline, something that last years crossover could not accomplish. Taking a step away from their respective plotlines, these two episodes work complete each other.

Kicking it off in the Flash, we start Kendra Sanders’ journey toward Hawkgirl and get a weird past life lover in Carter Hall. I love that they aren’t played out as long lost lover, yearning for each other. Rather Kendra spend most of it annoyed by the casual sexist attitude and Carter pushing a relationship that has thousands of year in his mind. It wasn’t just these two butting heads this episode as both Oliver and Barry struggle with how to balance their secret double lives with helping each other out. Jay and Harry also locked horns over the introduction of the Velocity Serum. In the comics it’s known as Velocity 9, which means Harry has a bit of work to do. Velocity 9 gives the user increased speed, strength and stamina, it’s a staple of DC comics and often comes with a variety of side effects depending on the series, characters, and plot. I’ll be honest, the way they’ve handled Jay this season isn’t living up the hype from over the summer. The writer’s will have to give us a better reason for Jay’s distrust for Wells beyond just Wells being a douche (which he is). I also get where Jay comes from when it concerning trusting Wells. I suppose I’ll just have to trust that the writer’s will explain Jay’s seemingly contrary nature towards being a hero.

Trust and honesty was a huge things as Barry continued to not be honest with Patty, Oliver had to deal with two ladies with huge ultimatums deals and we are learn that Malcolm is still not to be trusted. I seriously wish they’d just tell Patty. It’s the same problem that Iris had, though the big difference is that everyone is unified in this message. For Iris most wanted her off the show, for her fan base they wanted her to know so they could have her in the action. Oddly enough both parts got what they wanted this season. Iris didn’t show up in either episode, she did get action in those episodes that she did appear in before this. Part of me resents Patty’s character because I can clearly see the difference in treatment between her and Iris in both the fandom and the show. Still she’s a nice, if kinda flat character who should start being defined beyond being Barry’s spunky, feisty cop girl arm ornament. She needs serious independant development. I know they can do it, especially with Mark Mardon coming to town next episode.

Fangirl Rating: 7.9 out of 10

The Iris situation is very upsetting. Especially when you consider that we’re getting Wally West soon. Mama West, Francine basically existed as a plotpoint to bring up the topic of Wally. Iris to this point has been maintain stony silence on the topic and thus her plotline has gone silent. This hints at a disturbing notion that Iris might take the path of Francine. Except worst as Iris is suppose to be the leading lady, was heralded as milestone of diversity for the show. If she is tossed aside, ignore, or killed off by the end of the season so that Wally can be bumped up or that Barry can suffer. Well, the show might not make it for a 3rd season no matter how nice and undemanding Patty is.

Agents of SHIELD 3.09 ‘Closure’

This episode brought Closure to…a few people. Mostly it brought an end of the ATCU and that particular storyline. With the stunning (not really that stunning) death of Rosalind, Banks, and those good little ATCU members, it clears the way for the true baddie of Hydra. We also see what happens when Coulson emotionally jumps off a cliff. Oddly enough he acts a lot like Hunter, except a bit sharper. Most importantly is that we saw a shift in the show, so far the season had kept more or less to the same path that seasons past did. With Coulson leading the team into danger, throwing all his player into the arena. It appears we will still be getting all all cards in kinda midseason finale, but Coulson won’t be leading them.

All this season we’ve seen Mack challenge Coulson, push him on his approach, his plans, and his execution. Now Mack gets to sit in the hot seat and he is asking for advice. It was interesting twist for the show to take Coulson out of the SHIELD picture, without taking him out of the show. Still putting Mack into that position could end in a variety of ways that could both interesting and worrying. Hopefully he won’t get fridged like Rosalind did, her death was the real push for Coulson to go head hunting for Ward and motivated Banks as well. However one of them will be making their way into this mid-season and since Coulson is a main character, well we said goodbye to Banks this episode. It was a handy way to close the door on the ATCU arc, which had more power behind it than Real ‘pointy’ pointless SHIELD from last season. It felt like they posed a threat and while we all knew it could never last it was interesting to see Coulson get ‘in bed’ with the enemy only to have it turn around into something else. Something that could motivate him to steal Ward’s brother.

For 3 seasons we’ve heard about the mysterious brother Thomas, the one that got away from the murderously evil Ward household. Looking back at the interrogation sequence I suppose it make sense that catching Ward’s brother the boy he couldn’t protect makes sense. Somehow. Ultimately I felt like the Ward centered stuff was the dull parts. I’ve lost all interest in the mustache twirling jerk and kinda just want him to die now. The team has had their closure and then some when it comes to Ward. I personally don’t want him to try once again to gain Closure, whether it’s through killing someone or finding his brother. I just want him to die. That seems harsh, but I feel like plotline wise we’ve seen Ward stumble back from edge of redemption too many times for it to be realistic.

Fangirl Rating: 8.04 out of 10

This was a chess episode and while the drama and tension were high, I knew that none of the active players in the game could die. Rosalind and the ATCU had outlived their usefulness, Ward needed to become a more active player instead of crazy fool with crazy plan, and we needed all the players to meet at a familiar location. All the pieces are in place, but there are still questions.

We’ve gotten hints are a darkness lurking in Lincoln. As Level 7 Access pointed out, this would the 3rd time it’s been mentioned. Which means!, it’ll be brought up at some point. Whether there will be actual pay off on this I don’t know, but at least it’ll be addressed. Another is Will, whether Will is indeed a good guy, a hydra guy, or an secret Inhuman Death creature is really up in the air.