Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Birth of the Firebringer

For my free book, I read Birth of the Firebringer.  It's about unicorns. But these are awesome unicorns!  They don't just sit around in fields of flowers and do nothing.  They're involved in a long-standing war with the wyverns, who invaded and stole their homeland.  The unicorns went into exile, but there was a prophecy that foretold a unicorn that would lead them home (called the Firebringer).  And conveniently, that unicorn is the book's main character.

His name's Aljan, but he doesn't know he is the Firebringer yet.  The whole book is about his adult initiation journey, and all along the way his immature and mischievous antics get him into trouble.  Of course, by the end he's matured and discovered that he's the "chosen one" and all that.  It's a really good book, but it's just the first in a trilogy.

I was apprehensive about reading this at first.  I mean, unicorns? Really?  But the story quickly had me hooked because the unicorns actually do stuff and they're actually pretty badass.  It starts out with this battle between the unicorns and the gryphons (another enemy of the unicorns).  It's all pretty intense for the first third of the book.  The middle of the story got a little boring because a lot of it was just "and now they're traveling across this part of the plains... And now this part..."  and occasionally it was broken up by important plot events.  The way it's written is very easy to read and understand.

Overall, I think this is one of my favorite fantasy books just because it manages to break the unicorn stereotype.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Media in *blank* Years

In five years books will have become even more obsolete as the Kindle and other digital libraries become more popular.  Most actual libraries will have shut down from lack of need.  Only the largest ones will remain open.  Newspapers won't be in circulation anymore and people will read all of their news online.  Video games will have become even more user-inclusive as the Kinect proves the remote control isn't needed anymore (only the player's body is needed to play).  There will be even more touch screen and voice recognition stuff and less and less buttons to press.  This also means tha voice recogntion software will have become better and more sensitive to what people are actually saying. 

In fifteen years television will be more or less a thing of the past as people move in favor of Youtube and other online sources for all of their shows and news.  As such, the amount of advertisements online will skyrocket as people realize that's where their audience is moving to.  3D with no glasses will have become commonplace in both television and video games.  The 3DS console was the gateway to more and better 3D systems, and perhaps using 3D they will have developed better virtual reality software to eventually implement into video games.  On a side note, glasses will be much more commonplace as most people are looking at screens and straining their eyes most of the time.

I have absolutely no idea where technology or the media will be in fifty years.  Hopefully the world will still be running somewhat fine and every government hasn't devolved into a completely totalitarian state.  Maybe TV will have evolved into something fully immersive where you're completely surrounded by the 3D images.  To allow this cameras will have to be developed that can use very good 3D technology.  Maybe we'll finally be able to have electric cars in full circulation without the oil companies being butthurt about it.  Or maybe the oil will be used up and that's why we have electric cars.  Who knows where computers will have gone in that time, or music players.  Maybe most things run on projectors and you can move things around a la Tony Stark in Iron Man.  Video games may be running in full virtual reality.  Also hopefully I can retire in fifty years.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Anansi Boys

Anansi Boys was my first Neil Gaiman novel.  I think I'll have to read more when I get the chance.  I just really liked this book, it was so good and quirky (is that the appropriate word? Oh well.) and the characters were so well developed.   Like, I was totally sure that Spider was just a douche bag but then he wasn't. He ended up being one of my favorite characters.

I loved the folklore of the story, with the gods being animals and people at the same time.  I also liked how the gods weren't portrayed as these perfect beings that can do no wrong; instead they were portrayed more like the Greek gods in that they behaved more like humans.  They make mistakes and act selfishly and get jealous.  At times I forgot that Spider was actually a god until he used his powers.

I actually knew that the characters were black beforehand, but I think that if I didn't know I could have figured it out anyway.  The way the characters talked just made it seem like they were black.

I did feel that the ending was a little cheesy though.  It was just all "Yay everyone's happy and alive and we're all friends now yaaay!"  I don't know, it seemed just a little contrived.  It's not like I wanted everyone to die, but I felt like at least the Bird Lady deserved more than what she got.  I did get a chuckle out of Tiger and Grahm Coats' "punishment".

Speaking of the Bird Lady, she terrified me.  The image I got in my mind of her is just so creepy and unnerving, and after I finished the book I actually looked out for birds in real life.  The bird tornadoes were especially creepy.

The three seemingly seperate plots coming together in the end worked very well.  I knew that they had to come together somehow, but it happened so seamlessly and perfectly.  Maeve and Grahm Coats and Spider and Charlie and Rosie all ended up playing an important part in the climax, which was awesome.  When Tiger took over Grahm Coats I was all "Oh shit oh shit oh shit."

Wow this post was really ADD.  But I really liked the book and wanted to cover all the parts I liked most.  So far this is my favorite book we've read in this class.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Hobbit

I had read The Hobbit once before, when the first Lord of the Rings movie came out in theaters.  But I guess I didn't read it very well because when I read it this time I had forgotten everything. Oh well.

I really like the way The Hobbit is written.  It's much easier to read than Lord of the Rings (even though if I tried reading that again I could probably do it).  Even though it is a bit slow in parts, I felt the pacing was alright most of the time.  I love how Gandalf just shows up and is all "Ok Bilbo you're going on an adventure no time for chitchat LEAVE NOW."  I especially love how Bilbo ends up outside his house without even a hat or his pipe.  That really showed how suddenly he was shoved into this.

My favorite character in the book has to be Beorn.  I mean, come on.  He can turn into a huge bear!  How cool is that?!  He also really cares for his animals enough to follow Bilbo's group for days just to see if the ponies are safe.  I laughed at the way Gandalf tricks him into letting all the dwarves and Bilbo stay in his house.

I felt like the ending sort of dragged on and on.  I mean, they got rid of Smaug and got the treasure.  I felt throughout the whole story that the dragon would be the climax of the book.  The story could've ended there with Bilbo just returning home with his share of the treasure.  But instead it goes on into this big final battle scene that just felt sort of tacked on and suddenly the lead dwarf decides to be a jerk to Bilbo.  It didn't ruin the book for me, but I was pulled from the story a bit.

Overall, The Hobbit is a great story, even if it wasn't written with the audience in mind.  I've just always had a soft spot for epic fantasy adventures though, and this one is no exception.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Monster Island

I've never read any zombie novels before, but that's mostly because I've never even been into zombie movies.  I'd watch them now and then, but the characters in most of them were so stupid that I couldn't stand it.  "Oh hurr duurrrrr, what's behind this door in this dark room?" It made me shake my head in embarrassment.

But Monster Island surprised me.  The characters were pretty smart for the most part.  There were times when the girl soldiers were acting like the zombies could plan and be organized, but the author addressed this as a flaw so I could kinda buy it.  I think my favorite character was Gary, at first anyway.  The idea of a thinking zombie is cool and something I rarely see, and the author's take on it was fresh.  The way his zombie-ness was described (hunger, just death in general) was very well done and made me sympathize with him.

It was when Gary got his weird psychic powers that I started to go, "What?"  I guess it shouldn't have bugged me as much as it did, but t seemed like a bit much to give zombies psychic powers.  I know that it was explained pretty well so it didn't come completely out of nowhere, but zombies are zombies to me.  Sentient ones are ok, but that's about all that my brain can accept.

I liked the colony of humans that had to live in the tunnels.  It seemed like something that would really happen.  People would try to scrape up what was left of society and make the most of what they had. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Why are Zombies so Popular?

The popularity of the zombie horror genre has skyrocketed in recent years.  Why?  I believe that it's so huge because there's a sense of Uncanny Valley.  They look human enough, but they aren't quite there anymore and it's super creepy.  Or maybe it's some sort of wish fullfillment.  If a major apololypse does happen, we like to think that we'll be among the survivors. The survivors in most zombie movies are so stupid that it's a wonder they survived that long.  The audience recognizes this and thinks "Oh, well I'm smarter than that so I could survive too!"

Or maybe it's just that we all just love to watch a good old shoot 'em up.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


I first read Frankenstein in 11th grade for English class.  I didn't like it.  It was too formally written, which caused me to read slower, which in turn reduced my free time after I got my homework done.  I hardly paid any attention to the story and only remebered the key plot points so I would pass my quizzes.  I was a bad reader in high school.

Then when I heard that I was supposed to read Frankenstein again for Literature of Horror, Fantasy and Sci Fi class, I promised myself to actually read and involve myself in the book.  Needless to say, my second time reading it went a lot better.  Even though it was still slow going because of the formal language, I took my time and read slow enough to understand it.  It's still not my favorite book in the world and I probably wouldn't read it again on my own, but for a school assigned book it wasn't bad.

I thought some parts of the story just dragged on and on.  For example, when Victor goes on holiday with Henry and visits different places, the book goes into deep detail about each of the places he visits.  It just seems like unnecessary fluff.  Victor is also kind of a angsty brat. There were points when I was just thinking, “SHUT UP VICTOR.  I already know how much your life sucks, you don’t have to bring it up again!”  I don’t know, I just found it really hard to relate to Victor’s character.  Especially since it’s his own fault that everything around him falls apart.

The monster surprised me.  The only version of the monster I’d known was the hulking, moaning and groaning green guy with bolts through his neck.  While I assumed that it wasn’t true to the original version, I didn’t expect the monster to speak better English than me.  And really, it was the monster that won most of my sympathy.  Yeah, he killed people and that kind of sucks, but nobody, NOBODY would have anything to do with him.  Even his own creator was terrified to confront him.   I can’t even imagine the loneliness.

The part that really miffed me was when the monster said, “I’ll be with you on your wedding night,” and Victor assumes that the monster’s going to kill HIM.  I was thinking, “Dude, the monster’s been killing off the people you love.  Don’t you think you should be worried about your wife?”

Overall, a decent read but it’s better as a “school book” than a “read for fun” book.