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review 2018-11-23 09:56
The Compleat Ankh-Morpork City Guide; Comprising the New Street Map, Trade Directory & Gazetteer Along with a Glorious Artist's Impression of this Great City in Its Entirety
The Compleat Ankh-Morpork - Terry Pratchett

My fellow Discworld fans:  If you see this book, buy this book.

 

It's awesome; it's hilarious; it's not lying or exaggerating when it says it is "Compleat".

 

The amount of thought and attention to detail is astounding, especially in the trade directory.

 

And the piece de la resistance is the giant-size, pull out map at the back.  I took pictures, which do not adequately illustrate the awesomeness.  Mostly because it's almost 9pm and my home lighting is lacking.

 

 

 

I am here.  And here.  And here.  

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review 2018-11-02 16:52
Eyes of the Lich Queen: An Eberron Adventure
Eyes of the Lich Queen (Eberron Campaign Setting) - Stephen Schubert,Nicolas Logue,Tim Hitchcock,Scott Fitzgerald Gray

With some alterations, I planned this as a follow-up to the chain of adventures/modules that started in the 'Eberron Campaign Setting'. With some level adjustments, it's quite possible to play this on the heels of 'Grasp of the Emerald Claw'.

 

The campaign is an ambitious one, almost up to the length of the current $50 hardbound adventures published for fifth edition. Adventurers begin by investigating an ancient temple with evil dragons in at the behest of a mysterious, rich client, and end up traipsing across Eberron.

 

It was a lot of fun, but again, if there's a next time I play this one its going to need some serious alterations to survive play with the timeline intact. I have some objections, but my high rating stands. If there's going to be one Eberron adventure you're going to try, it should be this one.

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review 2018-10-27 18:25
Since I'm not reading for spirituality's sake
The Divine Comedy - Eugenio Montale,Sandro Botticelli,Peter Armour,Dante Alighieri,Allen Mandelbaum

Done! *cheers* (and an abrupt end it was)

 

I confess I started to loose my enthusiasm by Purgatory, and Paradiso veritably dragged for me.

 

Inferno is indeed the most interesting, likely because it concentrates more on describing the poetic (and in many cases gruesome) justice inflicted there.

 

Purgatory gets a bit wishy washy because we are even more deluged with contemporary examples, which was exhausting from a "pausing to research WTF" whenever I needed context to understand the grade, and felt like self indulgent page bloating when I didn't. And then we get to Eden, pretty cavalcade of symbolism lead by the still much discussed mystery that is Matilda, and meet Beatriz. Ahhhh, the lady herself, that symbolizes theology. Maybe it is no wonder I found her supercilious and overly jealous.

 

I have to praise Dante's balls: first he aligns himself equal among Homer, Ovid and Virgil in that Limbo chat, and here he places his lady love highly enthroned in the Empireum, representing the Dogma by which he knows God.

 

If I could leave Paradiso just taking away that love has been his salvation and his way to heaven, we'd be good. But no, he had to insist on hammering until rigid conformity to scripture was reached. Thorough what felt like endless proselytizing (hey, I know it is my fault, because what was I expecting, right?) and pointing fingers of doom everywhere (the amount of eggs thrown the church's way! And his political enemies... you bet this got him the exile prophesied to him here).

 

Also, even considering some pretty descriptions, the spheres felt lame and boring reward (and here I'm reminded of Huxley calling happiness undramatic and boring, and Le Guin criticizing those that think "Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting"). Where is the imaginative poetic justice of the first third? Methinks Dante got too tangled in the discussion of virtues and splitting hairs on their display levels. So yeah, I get the whole "watching god and feeling his light is rapture beyond comprehension", I'm still contending that the theological got in the way of the literary, and there goes one star. Sue me.

 

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review 2018-10-17 18:55
Guess who has a new favourite author?
Nights at the Circus - Angela Carter

This was bloody amazing!

 

The writing was gorgeous, the braided in stories colorful and as bizarre as you could expect, and even when at their most tragic, always running this underground hilarity out of sheer cynicism and pragmatic pizazz. All seasoned with a good dose of feminism and magical realism.

 

I laughed a lot, but it actually ran me through the whole gamut of emotions and I did not want it to end. Loved it, will read more by the author, and will buy whatever of hers I can find around here.

 

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review 2018-09-10 19:01
The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time
The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time - Robert Jordan,Teresa Patterson

Fans have labeled this 'The Big Book of Bad Art', and for good reason. This book is large format, almost coffee-table sized, and I'm sorry to say there is no reason even a die-hard fan should pick this up.

 

'World' was released after 'A Crown of Swords' so there are many unanswered questions and plot lines hanging in the air. Reading this, years after the entire series is complete, I read this with the eye of spotting information that wasn't otherwise duplicated elsewhere in the official series.

 

There's nothing. Well, almost nothing. There are fragments of information about the Seanchan and other lands beyond "Randland" (the main setting of the series, the continent and the world were never given a name, so it was dubbed "Randland", woof.) Even that information gets repeated in the novels themselves.

 

The text itself couldn't decide if this were a mock-history of Randland from a fictitious scholar, an arch commentary on the book series, or...what? It worked on no level. The text was riddled with awkward sentences and typos as well, which was unfortunate.

 

With the text out, that leaves the art.

 

It's bad. If you, as a reader, have ever done a quick internet search about a character or a plot point to refresh yourself (which is acceptable in a 14-volume series with hundreds of characters) pictures will pop up. For years I'd dismissed them as fan art, which has its place, but it turns out they were from this book. Muddy portraits with doubtful anatomy and melting features. Even the landscapes and buildings, such as the White Tower, were terrible. This was an official product of a best-selling fantasy franchise from the premier fantasy publisher. Presumably Jordan signed off on this? I was so appalled, I could only laugh.

 

The only redeemable art in the whole book was the double page spreads of Darryl K. Sweet's cover art for the first seven books. I've never been a fan of his figure drawing, but the landscapes were beautiful.

 

That, however, does not make up for the cover price. You're better off picking up only 'The Wheel of Time Companion' and letting this one fade into legend, myth, etc.

 

The Wheel of Time

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