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review 2018-11-18 07:58
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Hogwarts Library Book) - Newt Scamander,J.K. Rowling

A fabulously fun A to Z of the beasts in the Harry Potter world.  The book starts with an introduction by Newt Scamander (the nominal author) that discusses the purpose of the book, along with a brief history of muggle/wizard/beat relations and the evolution of which magical creatures is deemed a beast and which beings.  Each beast's entry includes a danger rating, it's primary locals, and a description.

 

Total catnip for a Harry Potter fan; there are a few illustrations, but generally the author and publisher missed a golden opportunity to make this book amazing.  Hopefully a fully illustrated edition will appear sometime in the future.

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review 2018-11-17 13:20
Review: “Winter Oranges” by Marie Sexton
Winter Oranges - Marie Sexton

 

~ 4.5 stars ~

 

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review 2018-11-16 03:28
William Shakespeare's The Force Doth Awaken: Star Wars Part the Seventh
William Shakespeare's The Force Doth Awaken: Star Wars Part the Seventh (William Shakespeare's Star Wars) - Ian Doescher

It’s been a while since I last visited William Shakespeare’s Star Wars. When I read the Dramatis Personae and the rathtars were described as “jolly monsters” it felt like coming home. (And that was even before they started singing.)

 

Diving into one of these is always an adventure on multiple levels. How will Doescher Shakeaspeareanize this movie? What nerdy Easter eggs will he hide in the text? Do the rathtars have good singing voices? (The answers are: 1. Pretty damn well. 2. So many nerdy Easter eggs! 3. In my head they sounded an awful lot like the Three Tenors. It was magical.)

 

This is one of those books you may want to read at least twice. Once for the hell of it, and once more to see if you can find all those Easter eggs that Doescher teases in his afterword. I had to flip back through it right away to decipher BB-8’s dialog, which I’d been skipping over because it is not easy on the eye:

 

Zzwaflit blee roohblic bleeflib zilf blikflii,

Blox flirzooz blis blox flitblic bloozood flir

Reej zoodreej blee reej flirblip zzwaflit flirr

Bluuflir zoonflii flew blavrooq bleeflit blis!

 

Doesn’t quite roll off the tongue like R2’s dialog, but when you realize what’s going on, it’s freaking brilliant.

 

Overall, this is a worthy addition to the series. It’s seriously Shakespearean Star Wars that doesn’t take itself seriously. It’s remarkably easy to picture the likes of Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver delivering these lines in classic theatrical fashion, but lest you forget it’s parody, there are the likes of the singing rathtars to remind you. I got a particularly good laugh out of the two Stormtroopers discussing the plot similarities to the original trilogy.

 

But I’ve gushed enough, and if I keep going I’ll start quoting entire scenes, so I’ll leave you with this bit of stage direction:

 

[Finn] salutes BB-8, who salutes in return using his droidly implements.

 

[source]

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review 2018-11-15 18:52
Dark Force Rising / Timothy Zahn
Dark Force Rising - Timothy Zahn

The dying Empire's most cunning and ruthless warlord—Grand Admiral Thrawn—has taken command of the remnants of the Imperial fleet and launched a massive campaign aimed at the New Republic's destruction. Meanwhile, Han and Lando Calrissian race against time to find proof of treason inside the highest Republic Council—only to discover instead a ghostly fleet of warships that could bring doom to their friends and victory to their enemies.

Yet most dangerous of all is a new Dark Jedi, risen from the ashes of a shrouded past, consumed by bitterness… and scheming to corrupt Luke Skywalker to the Dark Side.

 

Recommended for Star Wars junkies and younger sci-fi readers.

The author leans heavily on the reader’s assumed knowledge of the Star Wars franchise. Now, it would seem that a person cannot live in our society these days without knowing the basics of the movies, but I admit that I have never watched them. So I have no emotional involvement arising from the films.

As I said in my review of Heir to the Empire, I find that these books would be better suited to the young adult age group and skewed toward the lower end of that—maybe age 11 to 14? Very simple vocabulary, uncomplicated plot, very black-or-white characterization. There are fights and deaths, but not described in gory detail. Princess Leia is pregnant, but that is the full extent of the acknowledgement of sexuality. Readers are very obviously supposed to be picturing Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill in their minds’ eye while reading and superimposing their film knowledge over the skeleton that Zahn provides.

Readers that enjoy this trilogy should also consider reading the Legend of Drizzt series by R.A. Salvatore. They require about the same level of reading ability and provide less graphic violence than some other science fiction/fantasy series.

Book number 298 in my Science Fiction & Fantasy Reading Project.

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review 2018-11-15 16:54
Book Review: A Deceptive Alliance by Sydney Blackburn

A Deceptive AllianceA Deceptive Alliance by Sydney Blackburn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was pleasantly surprised by this book by Sydney Blackburn. It was a lovely mix of m/m romance, fantasy, and action.

Kel, Lord Lindere, and his twin sister, the lady Isabel, are wards of their uncle, the king of Karleed. Fraternal twins, they look far too similar and have traded places often, so Isabel could taste the freedom of being 'male' and so that Kel could flirt with handsome men at balls. They were as close as could be, but had always known they would have to make advantageous 'state' matches. So when Isabel is betrothed to Darin, Prince of Pervayne, third son of the ruler, she seemed resigned... until she wasn't and ran away to avoid the marriage.

Kel has no choice but to impersonate his sister until his cousin, the crown prince, locates his errant sibiling. So he dresses in her wedding dress, says her vows in the proxy wedding, and then heads off with the entourage to meet 'her' new husband. The plan is that Kel will play Isabel, his cousin will look for his sister and then race to meet the slow moving caravan so that Kel and Isabel can trade places in the dead of the night with no one the wiser. Except we wouldn't have a story if that happened.

So Kel is forced to spend weeks impersonating his sister and during the voyage falls hopelessly for the servant that Prince Darin has sent to protect his princess. At least the voluminous skirts he's forced to wear as part of his disguise cover Kel's reaction to the servant. But where the heck is his sister, and will he escape this debacle with his heart still in tact?

But what if the servant known as Dare was more than meets the eye? And what if Kel didn't have to hide behind Isabel's skirts and makeup... what would happen then?

This was a lovely, happy read that left me with all the happy feelz. I definitely recommend this book.

View all my reviews


 

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