Reviews, or me ranting about stuff

Reviews

Here is another set of reviews to offer my unique view on books, movies, and television shows. Well, somewhat unique anyway; this is the Internet, where everything has already been said by somebody.

Books

I read Douglas Hulick’s Among Thieves this past month. The main character is Drothe, a member of the guild of thieves (the Kin), who gets caught up in a gang war and the search for a mysterious book related to this war. It starts out very strong. The mystery and events really pull you into the story. The book leans toward the darker side of fantasy. It’s not as dark as Joe Abercrombie, Mark Lawrence, or George RR Martin, but it doesn’t pull any punches either.

The second half of the book was weaker, in my opinion. The reveals of the mystery are a bit too obvious, and matters devolve into a series of fights that Drothe gets caught up in. After he tumbles from the fourth into the fifth fight, I got a bit bored. Maybe it was the stakes, because the driving reveals leading up to the fights were not that revealing, and the stakes were not increasing, more sliding sideways.

All in all, it was a good read, although I feel a bit sorry for Drothe; the man gets beat up several times and hardly sleeps throughout the book.

Video games

I’m a bit late to this game – busy writing – but I finally got around to playing Dragon Age: Inquisition. I played Dragon Age 1 and 2 on the XBox, and I felt mixed about those. I cursed my way through replaying large sections of the second game because of bugs; and it was like three stories had been allowed to mate to produce an abomination of a plot.

Dragon Age: Inquisition, though, is great – so far. The world is a lot bigger than in the previous games, which is good and bad. I like story-driven gaming, and am cursed with gamer-OCD; I dislike find-three-thousand-items side quests a lot, but I have to complete them anyway. The part of the game that is story-driven is cool though. I like the controls, and the characters, and I’m something like 60 hours in and still happily plowing on. At the very least, I have to grind until I can kill a couple of dragons, before I finish the game.

All in all, I can recommend it. I am wondering if the Witcher 3 will top this one.

Movies

A couple of slightly older movies. I watched Winter’s Bone and Silver Linings Playbook. Both star Jennifer Lawrence, but that’s where the similarities end.

Winter’s Bone is about a young woman who has to care of her baby brother and sister, and her mentally broken mother. Her father is in and out of jail, and as the story starts, the man has skipped bail after putting his house up as collateral. So, the main character is forced to try to find him or his remains, or get kicked out of her house. This movie is quite slow, but a sense of dread mounts throughout the movie, until the ending. I won’t go into details, but the ending is… very nasty. It’s not really my kind of movie, because I like some action, but I can still see the appeal.

The Silver Linings Playbook is a romantic comedy, starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. Comedy might not be the best term here. It didn’t make me laugh, but I did think it was very nicely done. I see that Wikipedia lists it as a romantic comedy-drama, which is probably the best term. The characterisation is done superbly, establishing all these messed up people very well. They’re people, where a lot of comedies turn characters into types.

Television series

I’ve been watching Forever, starring Ioan Gruffudd  – remember, Mister Fantastic from the Fantastic Four movies – as Henry Morgan, a man who comes back to life if he’s killed in the nearest open water. He’s a few hundred years old and solves murders as the resident New York ME. A man who investigates murders and can die and come back, that sounds like an interesting premise. A character that comes back after he dies, you can put him through the wringer. Unfortunately, the writers don’t do that. So, it’s basically just a pretty bland detective show, which is a shame.

 

Author: Martin Stellinga

I’m a science fiction and fantasy writer from the Netherlands

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