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Angela Korra'ti

Other People's Books

Mid-July ebook roundup

Nabbed from Kobo in the last couple weeks or so:

The City & The City, by China Mieville. Had previously owned in print, re-bought in ebook, nabbed it because the ebook was on sale.

The Girl in the Green Silk Gown, by Seanan McGuire. This is another preorder! And I nabbed it because it’s a sequel to her earlier Rose Marshall release, Sparrow Hill Road. I quite liked that first Rose Marshall, and I’m looking forward to this new one. It’ll be coming out very soon after this post!

And my preorder for The Calculating Stars showed up, which I am ALSO very much looking forward to reading. 😀

44 for the year.

Other People's Books

End of June 2018 ebook roundup

Because I forgot to note that I nabbed it as Tor.com’s May freebie, here’s that for the ebook roundup:

The Quantum Thief, by Hannu Rajaniemi. SF.

Also, two of my pre-orders mentioned in the last roundup post came in, yay! Looking forward to reading Witchmark and Trail of Lightning!

But meanwhile, I also nabbed all three of Tanya Huff’s Peacekeeper trilogy from Kobo, now that Book 3 has dropped. This is of course military SF and I grabbed ’em on general “Because Tanya Huff needs more of my money” principles, and because I’ve liked the Torin Kerr books that came before these. These books are An Ancient Peace, A Peace Divided, and The Privilege of Peace.

42 for the year (I’ve already counted Trail of Lightning and Witchmark).

Other People's Books

Mid June 2018 ebook roundup

This month’s free ebook from Tor.com’s ebook club was V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic, so I nabbed that one. Because hey, free!

Nabbed from Kobo, because they were on sale:

Provenance, by Ann Leckie. I’ve been enjoying the Ancillary novels quite a bit (I’ve read the first two, still need to read the third), so I wanted this one as well.

Space Opera, by Catherynne M. Valente. Because if you tell me a book is essentially “Eurovision IN SPACE”, then why yes you HAVE MY ATTENTION. ;D

And pre-ordered from Kobo, because all of these are relevant to my interests:

The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky, by Mary Robinette Kowal. Pair of novels set in the same universe as her excellent short story “The Lady Astronaut of Mars”. VERY much looking forward to these.

Trail of Lightning, by Rebecca Roanhorse. Urban fantasy. Nabbing this one because a) it’s urban fantasy utilizing Navaho mythos, and b) written by an actual Native American author. Also VERY much looking forward to this one. 😀

Witchmark, by C.L. Polk. Fantasy. All the buzz about this one talks about this one as very reminiscent of Howl’s Moving Castle in terms of the culture it’s set in. But it’s also got a queer romance in it, and all in all, from what I’ve seen in reading excerpts and descriptions, there’s a high likelihood of this being charming. I particularly like the heavy emphasis on bicycles being important to this book’s culture!

38 for the year.

Movies

Movie review: Solo: A Star Wars Story

There’s been a lot of dubious buzz over the last several months about Solo: A Star Wars Story. A lot of folks have been concerned about the change in directors, and about whether the movie would deliver a cohesive story. It’s only been out a week, and there’s buzz now about OHNOEZ DID IT FLOP, apparently because it hasn’t made quite as gigantic a pile of money as The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi have done.

With all this negative buzz going around, you could easily conclude that the movie sucks. I am delighted to report, Internets, that this is not the case.

As y’all know I’m a lifelong fangirl for Harrison Ford in general, and for Han Solo in particular. So I was absolutely expecting to come into this movie all Judgy McJudgypants. Because of my Ford fangirldom, but also because of my longstanding love of the Han Solo backstory novels by Brian Daley and A.C. Crispin. The Crispins in particular are near and dear to my heart, as I relied upon them heavily for inspiration when playing Han on Star Wars MUSH back in the day.

Happily, while this movie’s story is of course different in the minor details (while getting the major ones generally right), its spirit felt entirely like those novels. It was just generally fun in a way we don’t usually get with Star Wars flicks. By which I mean, we’re not dealing with galaxy-shaking stakes here. This is an origin story, a heist-flick-in-space, with the Empire only a background presence rather than the main point.

And while Alden Ehrenreich isn’t Harrison Ford, I am now happy to accept his take on Han. Also, Donald Glover’s Lando Calrissian is absolutely glorious, and so is the droid L3.

All in all, if you’re a Star Wars fan–and especially if you’re a Han fan–go see it!

Now let’s have a swing past the Spoiler Mines of Kessel, shall we?

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Other People's Books

End of May 2018 ebook roundup

Whoops, I missed a couple of Kobo receipts that should have been in my last roundup! And I have a few others to add to those, too.

These are all Kobo books, and in all cases, I nabbed ’em because they were on sale for low prices. I buy most of my ebooks on sale these days, in fact. Mostly out of general disgruntlement about ebook prices getting jacked up! Though I’ll also very specifically buy certain titles due out this year. (Mary Robinette Kowal’s The Calculating Stars, I am looking straight at YOU.)

By Greg Bear:

The Forge of God. Which I already owned in paperback, but I haven’t read it yet. Nabbing an on-sale ebook copy raises the chances I’ll actually read it before the decade is out!

By Max Gladstone:

The Ruin of Angels, Four Roads Cross, Last First Snow, and Full Fathom Five, all part of his Craft Sequence series.

By Becky Chambers:

A Closed and Common Orbit, book 2 of her Wayfarers series, which began with The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. I really rather love her titles. And when I’m in the right mood for it, I also rather like her heavily character-driven fiction.

By Anne Fortier:

Juliet. I am unsure whether this qualifies as a mystery, fiction with a historical tie-in, or both. It’s been on my To Read list for ages as a library read. Went ahead and bought it since it was on sale, as mentioned above.

(Sidebar: this is yet another novel with “A Novel” included as part of its title. I suppose it’s nice of them to clear that up, but I swear, every time I see “A Novel” as part of a book’s official title, I keep wanting to ask “As opposed to what? A ham sandwich?”)

And by Georgette Heyer:

Cotillion. Nabbed this one because Heyer’s name keeps getting spoken of reverently in romance circles, and this title in particular keeps getting mentioned as one worth checking out.

Lastly, I should also mention that since I’m on Tor.com’s mailing list for their ebook club, I nabbed Ada Palmer’s Too Like the Lightning. I’ve already read it, but it was nice to get my own copy!

31 for the year.

Other People's Books

Another inbox-clearing ebook roundup post

Acquired from Kobo:

  • Parable of the Sower, by Octavia E. Butler. I already had a copy of this in paperback, but I snagged the ebook as I’d built up enough credit points with Kobo to snag it for free. And having an ebook copy ups the chances I’ll read it, which I want to do because I definitely need to read more Butler.
  • The Sisters Brothers, by Patrick deWitt. Another book I already own in print, but I snagged the ebook as it was on sale.

Acquired from Angry Robot:

  • Hunger Makes the Wolf, by Alex Wells. SF. Nabbed this one as it was on my To Read list, but it got an award! So Angry Robot put it briefly on sale, and I nabbed it then.

22 for the year.

Movies

Movie review: Avengers: Infinity War (no spoilers)

My household doesn’t usually see movies on opening weekend. But a couple of days ago Dara informed me that spoilers were falling like rain on her social media feeds! So yesterday evening, we scampered off for a viewing of Avengers: Infinity War at one of our local theaters.

I was deeply amused that said theater was running the film on almost every single one of their screens. I was equally amused, on the way out, to see that one of the ticket takers was dressed up like Loki. So they were clearly milking the Marvel money cow for all it’s worth.

As for the movie itself? This post will talk about it in a general non-spoilery fashion. I’ll do another post with in-depth spoiler-laden commentary.

Pacing and cast

I’ve seen multiple headlines of reviews talking about the movie being overstuffed. These reviews are not wrong. Almost every single character we’ve had introduced to us in the last ten years of the MCU shows up. Some get more screen time than others, as is inevitable with a cast this large. But with so many characters in play, the film has very little time to do much with any of them, except for the ones specifically involved with the biggest plot points.

And, given that the film’s running time is 2 hours 29 minutes, that’s a lot of time to be juggling so many characters.

Fight scenes make up a lot of the two and a half hours. Dara and I talked about how in some ways the pacing of this movie felt like The Battle of the Five Armies, in that it was almost non-stop fighty fighty fighty fighty. Because of this, some of y’all may find the film kind of exhausting. I personally didn’t; despite the long running time, I mostly felt like it moved well. I felt only a time or two that things were dragging a bit, and those moments were fleeting.

So very much in media res

I cannot stress this enough: this film expects you to know what happened in the films that led up to this one. If you haven’t been heavily invested in the MCU up until this point, this is so very not the place to come into the storyline. This is the cinematic equivalent of trying to come in on the Harry Potter books with book 7, or The Lord of the Rings with Return of the King.

For me, this was just fine. I have been heavily invested in the MCU. But I can definitely see that a casual moviegoer, someone who may have missed one or more of the previous movies, could come into this movie and be very, very lost.

So what I’m saying here is, brush up on previous MCU plots before you go see Infinity War. Go read Wikipedia plot summaries of them at the very least, if you don’t have time to watch the actual films. You don’t need to know every single previous MCU film well for the important plot points of this one to make sense. But you should brush up on Avengers: Age of Ultron, Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: Civil War, and Thor: Ragnarok.

Comic book cosmology, oh my yes

One more important point I want to make: we are now well and thoroughly into the territory of some of the wackier aspects of comic book plots here, people. In particular, we’re getting into the cosmology of the Marvel Universe, with the entire notion of the Infinity Stones, and what Thanos wants to do with them.

A lot of the action is in space, or on worlds that aren’t Earth. Some of these sequences are handled more realistically than others. Dara told me after we came out of the film that certain parts of it knocked her right out of the story, because of her immediate “uh, no” reaction. You’ll want to break out the industrial strength cables for the suspension of your disbelief here, y’all.

There are multiple on-screen deaths, be warned. But more than one of them failed to hit me with the Feels that I think the film wanted out of me, specifically because I knew that this was a comic book plot and that deaths are almost never final in these sorts of storylines. Knowing that we’re into the wackier cosmology of the Marvel universe at this point distanced me in a way some of the earlier films didn’t do, because of their better grounding in realism. (Notably, the first two Captain Americas.)

That said: I did totally tear up at certain points during the climax of the story.

Thanos

Last but not least, Thanos, our Big Bad. How well he’ll work for you will, again, depend upon how well you roll with wacky cosmic comic book plots. Arguably, Thanos’ motivations are shaky at best. But given that, Josh Brolin played him well. We get into some of Thanos’ general backstory, as well as the backstory of how he took Gamora off her home planet when she was a child. That helped make me buy his direct interactions with Gamora and Nebula, at least, if not his overall motivations.

And I’ll say this: the big guy was legit scary in battle. So were his minions, generally referred to as “the Children of Thanos” on screen. (These characters do actually have names; I looked them up on Wikipedia. But I don’t recollect hearing any of them called by these names in the movie.)

All in all, Infinity War definitely entertained me. One more warning, though: this movie ends in a dark cliffhanger-y sort of place. The real resolution isn’t due until the next Avengers flick drops in May 2019. So if you’re not a fan of cliffhangers, consider whether you want to see this film in a theater now, vs. watching it much closer to when the next one comes out.

Stand by for the spoiler-y post, wherein I will talk about this flick in a lot more depth. 😀