The last book of the midnighters trilogy by Scott Westerfeld. True to the previous books it again ups the ante with a new threat that endangers the whole city and in the long run the whole world. And if you thought you’ve learned all there was about the past midnighter generations, you might be in for a surprise. On the story level it’s utterly satisfying with smart plotting and an excellent ending.
But to be honest, after reading the first two books I felt a bit exhausted. As much as I praised the slightly dysfunctional nature of the young characters, I would have wished for a bit less dysfunctionality and a bit more … i don’t know exactly, qualities I could root for. Dess and Jessica have bits and pieces, but since the narrative jumps like crazy between the character viewpoints (far worse than in the preceding volumes) it’s hard to make a connection. Along the way I realized I stopped caring for anyone in the book.
I still think it’s a well written book with a good story, but less in terms of characters would have made this a more enjoyable and compelling read for me.
This collects the long Rock of Ages storyline, that starts with a new injustice gang and soon sees Darkseid and his ilk rise their head. To be honest at times the whole New Gods gang seems overused, but when they are used as effectively as here it’s not a loss. Heroes hopping between a horrible future, some strange alien superhero world and the present all come together for an excellent story.
And the bits of foreshadowing Morrison’s includes for the end of his run are really neat. The hardcover also collects the attack of Prometheus, whose origin is a twisted version of Batman’s origin and the JLA/WildCats crossover, one of the few good inter-company crossovers that integrates well into the JLA run. All good fun, if you like wide screen superhero action.
Another lovely Ghibli movie. When I watched this the first time I thought it was moderately realistic, now, with some more years on my back, I think it’s more like a modern fairy tale, with it’s tale of young love and the slogan of believing in yourself and hard work and bla. It’s still a very compelling movie. Part of the appeal of fairy tales is not their realism, but things you want to believe are truth, even if you know they aren’t. WotH isn’t realistic, but part of me still want to buy into what it tells me. For its running time it makes you a believer and when you wake up from it you may take some of its magic with you.
Often the first and the third book in a trilogy are the strongest, but in the case of the Ivory trilogy it’s the last part that is the weakest. While I rushed through the first two like mad when I reread them, the last one didn’t invite such a rush. Also, unlike the first two books, I had completely forgotten what the story was about (a murder intrigue involving one of the six big houses).
All that said, while it’s the weakest of the three, it’s still a very nice read. It doesn’t completely feel like it was intended as the last Ivory book, but it gives a bit of closure and the ending makes you think that there might be a and they lived happily ever after in there. And when an author is able to make you wish that about the characters, she’s done something right.
I said this should have been collected in the first Deluxe reprint of Morrison’s JLA run and there’s a good reason beyond the fact that it’s the series where the Morrison incarnation of the JLA first grouped together. JLA:AMN starts with a great portion of humanity having gotten superpowers, while all the heroes have forgotten their superhero identities. Slowly some of them rediscover who they really are.
On it’s own the whole mini could be a bit unsatisfying, as it ends with the villain turning out to be someone who wanted to prepare Earth for worse things to come and then he disappears. The whole series is a setup, dropping hints for the big turnoff in Morrison’s final JLA storyline, World War III, where the idea of a big portion of humanity with superpowers is gloriously revisited. Still, it’s a good read and anyone who likes Morrison’s run should look out for it.
Another excellent Ghibli movie with a rather odd concept. The main character, Porco Rosso, is a WWI air pilot who has turned into a pig and fights air pirates for money. The concepts sounds a bit stupid, but when you get to see the movie you’re instantly enthralled by the usual Ghibli charm. Beautiful scenery and a story that is more concerned with developing its compelling characters than telling a grand story. Like some Ghibli movies you’ve get the feeling that what you see is merely a piece of the bigger action, history unfolding in the background. But since the characters have such a strong presence you’re more interested in them and all the rest is just the spicing.
I’m not exactly sure how well-known Imajica is among fantasy-aficionados, but I get the (completely subjective) feeling it doesn’t get mentioned all that often. It’s one of the few books I’ve read by Cliver Barker, who is more known for his horror. Yet when I opened the book I got something completely different from what I was expecting, a well-realized, very offbeat fantasy epic.
This is what many fantasy writers in recent years tried to achieve: a big, sprawling fantasy that doesn’t seem to be influenced by Tolkien even a little bit. Few succeed, but Barker makes it look effortless. It feels odd in places, but when you go paths rarely trodden this is only to be expected. And it’s delightfully imaginative, all the creatures and the places Barker comes up seem completely fresh and new. All in all, a fun read that takes you on a voyage full of wonder and discovery.
This melodic black metal album was first published in 1997 and again in 2002 as an industrial metal remix. I actually heard the remix first, since I like industrial metal quite a bit and stumbled upon it through that line of inquiry. When the Kovenant re-released the original 1997 version in 2007 I had to hear it, since most reviews of the remix tend to be extremely negative and I wanted to know which is actually better.
I still like both versions, but I can understand why people don’t like the remix. If you don’t have any inclinations toward industrial elements, this must feel like mutilation. Depending on my mood I prefer one or the other, but in the end they’re both very good at what they’re trying to achieve.
This one of those movies I would never have chosen on my own to watch, but am thankful in hindsight for seeing it. What are friends for if not for forcing good stuff on you. It’s a French movie that explores the life of a middle class family, two parents and three children, as they grow up and get older. The narrative is segmented into five parts, each showing its piece of the story from the perspective of one of the kids or the parents.
The movie was quite successful at convincing me that I was seeing a real family, not some movie construct, which might be in part due to me coming from a similar setup (in numbers) and the excellent acting. The movie covers all the stuff you’ll encounter when together with your family, the good, the weird and the sad. Sometimes it’s hard to live with them, but far worse without them. And when it comes down to it, they are the people you can always trust, the ones that help you when you need help and the ones that give you a hard kick when you need that.
The third album by the melodic death metal institution Dark Tranquillity and my favorite of their whole oeuvre. I found the first two albums pretty average, even the second, The Gallery, which is often thought of as a classic. The ones following The Mind’s I are good in places, some good songs here and there, but none are as excellent from start to finish as this one. Admittedly its an album whose excellence I didn’t saw on the first hearing. But there was something about it that made me try it again and again despite not being too impressed at first. And then it simply clicked.