Hey guys, just a quick heads up, apparently the pilot episode of Blood and Chrome, the Battlestar Galactica spinoff will be made freely available online. The first two parts (out of ten) have already been uploaded to YouTube, and according to the video descriptions, the premiere will air on SyFy in February 2013. Make sure to enable HD quality:
Paperback: 672 pages
First published: January 1st 2009
There have been nineteen years of blood. The ruthless Grand Duke Orso is locked in a vicious struggle with the squabbling League of Eight, and between them they have bled the land white. While armies march, heads roll and cities burn, behind the scenes bankers and priests and older, darker powers play a deadly game to choose who will be king.
War may be hell, but for Monza Murcatto, the Snake of Talins, the most feared and famous mercenary in Duke Orso’s employ, it’s a damn good way of making money too. Her victories have made her popular – a shade too popular for her employers’ taste. Betrayed, thrown down a mountain and left for dead, Murcatto’s reward is a broken body and a burning hunger for vengeance. Whatever the cost, seven men must die.
Her allies include Styria’s least reliable drunkard, Styria’s most treacherous poisoner, a mass-murderer obsessed with numbers and a Barbarian who just wants to do the right thing. Her enemies number the better half of the nation. And that’s all before the most dangerous man in the world is dispatched to hunt her down and finish the job Duke Orso started…
Springtime in Styria. And that means revenge.
I picked up Abercrombie’s Best Served Cold because I loved The First Law trilogy so much (the review for the third book is coming soon), and I was really looking forward to more of the same. Well, Best Served Cold is definitely more of the same. Too much of the same, in fact, and the biggest flaw in this direction are the characters, which all feel like cheap knock-offs of the ones in The First Law. You have the barbarian Northman on a quest to become a better man, only weaker than Logen Ninefingers. You have the badass woman on a quest for vengeance no matter the cost, only more clichéd than Ferro Maljinn. Hell, you even have the cripple, that can’t even hold a candle to Glokta. The great Nicomo Cosca and Morveer the poisoner go a long way towards saving the whole bunch of characters, but unfortunately the novel still falls short. read more…
The best lies about me are the ones I told.
Paperback: 720 pages
First published: 2007
Series: The Kingkiller Chronicle (Book 1/3)
My name is Kvothe.
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me.
Paperback: 592 pages
First published: 2007
Series: The First Law Trilogy (Book 2)
Superior Glokta has a problem. How do you defend a city surrounded by enemies and riddled with traitors, when your allies can by no means be trusted, and your predecessor vanished without a trace? It’s enough to make a torturer want to run – if he could even walk without a stick.
Northmen have spilled over the border of Angland and are spreading fire and death across the frozen country. Crown Prince Ladisla is poised to drive them back and win undying glory. There is only one problem – he commands the worst-armed, worst-trained, worst-led army in the world.
And Bayaz, the First of the Magi, is leading a party of bold adventurers on a perilous mission through the ruins of the past. The most hated woman in the South, the most feared man in the North, and the most selfish boy in the Union make a strange alliance, but a deadly one. They might even stand a chance of saving mankind from the Eaters. If they didn’t hate each other quite so much.
Ancient secrets will be uncovered. Bloody battles will be won and lost. Bitter enemies will be forgiven – but not before they are hanged. (Goodreads) read more…
MovieBob’s latest video for The Escapist hit my RSS feed reader the other day. In this latest video, MovieBob tackles some of his recurring themes, namely sexism in video games, double standards, and discrimination. While the video is very good by itself, I’m doubly glad I watched it because it pointed me in the direction of Feminist Frequency, the YouTube channel (and website) of one Anita Sarkeesian, and specifically towards the Tropes vs. Women series, where she analyzes feminine tropes, backing them up with examples from all kinds of media, from movies and TV shows to video games.
Sarkeesian’s channel is filled with really interesting, eye-opening and thought-provoking videos, where she exposes the distorted representations of men and women in entertainment and advertising. I chose to focus on the Tropes vs. Women series simply because that was my first contact with Sarkeesian’s work, but the truth is all her videos are must-sees. Besides the obvious social relevance of the topics covered on the Feminist Frequency channel, learning to identify misogynistic and sexist writing is one of the elements of separating good writing from bad. Case in point, The Bechdel Test.
Anyway, here is one of her videos, head over to her channel and watch the entire Tropes vs. Women series, it’s worth it!
They were expendable… until they started comparing notes.
Audiobook: 7 hrs and 41 mins
Narrator: Wil Wheaton
First published: January 5th 2012
Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, and Andrew is thrilled all the more to be assigned to the ship’s Xenobiology laboratory. Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the facts that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces; (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations; and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.
Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy below decks is expended on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission. Then Andrew stumbles on information that completely transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is…and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives.
Paperback: 768 pages
First published: November 1st 1984
On a brisk autumn day, a twelve-year-old boy stands on the shores of the gray Atlantic, near a silent amusement park and a fading ocean resort called the Alhambra. The past has driven Jack Sawyer here: his father is gone, his mother is dying, and the world no longer makes sense. But for Jack everything is about to change. For he has been chosen to make a journey back across America–and into another realm.
One of the most influential and heralded works of fantasy ever written, The Talisman is an extraordinary novel of loyalty, awakening, terror, and mystery. Jack Sawyer, on a desperate quest to save his mother’s life, must search for a prize across an epic landscape of innocents and monsters, of incredible dangers and even more incredible truths. The prize is essential, but the journey means even more. Let the quest begin… (Back of book)
The Talisman is an unexpectedly good coming of age story of adventure and self discovery that really took me by surprise. The story follows one Jack Sawyer, a 12 year old boy on a quest to save his dying mother. The interesting twist on this age-old recipe is that Jack’s journey takes place both in current-day USA and in a parallel world called The Territories, a land of magic, queens, castles, and fantastic monsters. A LOT of things happen as Jack travels from coast to coast, and once the story grabs you, it doesn’t let go. Jack’s arduous journey across America and The Territories reminded me of Frodo’s epic journey to Mount Doom, in his quest to destroy the One Ring, which is saying quite a lot about how good The Talisman is. read more…
Audiobook: 7 hrs and 23 mins
Narrator: Wil Wheaton
First published: 2011
Then, in the wake of an accidental cliff collapse, Jack discovers a seam of unimaginably valuable jewels, to which he manages to lay legal claim just as ZaraCorp is cancelling their contract with him for his part in causing the collapse. Briefly in the catbird seat, legally speaking, Jack pressures ZaraCorp into recognizing his claim, and cuts them in as partners to help extract the wealth.
But there’s another wrinkle to ZaraCorp’s relationship with the planet. Their entire legal right to exploit the verdant Earth-like planet, the basis of the wealth they derive from extracting its resources, is based on being able to certify to the authorities on Earth that Zarathustra is home to no sentient species.
Then a small furry biped—trusting, appealing, and ridiculously cute—shows up at Jack’s outback home. Followed by its family. As it dawns on Jack that despite their stature, these are people, he begins to suspect that ZaraCorp’s claim to a planet’s worth of wealth is very flimsy indeed…and that ZaraCorp may stop at nothing to eliminate the “fuzzys” before their existence becomes more widely known.
Audiobook: 18 hrs and 16 mins
Narrator: John Lee
First published: April 1st 2008
Six million years ago, at the dawn of the star-faring era, Abigail Gentian fractured herself into a thousand male and female clones, which she called shatterlings. But now, someone is eliminating the Gentian line. Campion and Purslane-two shatterlings who have fallen in love and shared forbidden experiences-must determine exactly who, or what, their enemy is, before they are wiped out of existence. read more…
This past couple of months have been a little slower than their 2011 counterparts, with an average of only 4 read books per month. I’ve
completed abandoned my Sherlock Holmes marathon for the time being, after having read the first five books featuring the famous detective. Perhaps I will pick it up where I’ve left it some day, but for now I will pursue other genres. Anyway, I’m really glad that, with the exception of the Sherlock Holmes books, I’ve managed to review all the books I’ve read so far.
The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Arthur Conan Doyle
First published: January 1st 1902
Holmes and Watson are faced with their most terrifying case yet. The legend of the devil-beast that haunts the moors around the Baskerville families home warns the descendants of that ancient clan never to venture out in those dark hours when the power of evil is exalted. Now, the most recent Baskerville, Sir Charles, is dead and the footprints of a giant hound have been found near his body. Will the new heir meet the same fate? (Goodreads)
First published: 1967
New star-drive engines promise to open up the galaxy to human-kind. But the first ship to use the engines disappears and a sole survivor returns…alone and dying of some strange type of radiation.
No one can figure out what has happened to the ship or the crew. Nor does anyone know what happens to a ship travelling using star-drive technology.
Does some unknown horror await us out there? The only way to find out is to go out again. And Arch Comyn is determined to be the one to solve the mystery. But is he, and the rest of mankind, ready for whatever awaits us beyond the Big Jump? (Amazon)
Audiobook: 13 hrs and 49 mins
Narrated by: William Dufris
First published: October 25th 2011
A prison doctor injects a condemned serial killer with a formula designed to keep his consciousness awake while his body rots in the grave. But all drugs have unforeseen side-effects. Before he could be buried, the killer wakes up. Hungry. Infected. Contagious. This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang…but a bite. (Goodreads)
Paperback: 452 pages
First published: May 21st 2010
Some doors are better left closed… In Barrington House, an upmarket block in London, there is an empty apartment. No one goes in, no one comes out. And it’s been that way for fifty years. Until the night watchman hears a disturbance after midnight and investigates. What he experiences is enough to change his life forever. A young American woman, Apryl, arrives at Barrington House. She’s been left an apartment by her mysterious Great Aunt Lillian who died in strange circumstances. Rumours claim Lillian was mad. But her diary suggests she was implicated in a horrific and inexplicable event decades ago. Determined to learn something of this eccentric woman, Apryl begins to unravel the hidden story of Barrington House. She discovers that a transforming, evil force still inhabits the building. And the doorway to Apartment 16 is a gateway to something altogether more terrifying… (Goodreads)