The second Southern Vampire Mysteries novel has another simple murder plot, but in the middle of the book another unrelated plot is injected, as if the main story wasn’t strong enough on its own. Admittedly that’s probably true, but it’s an odd method to inflate the size of the book. Actually the plot injection is the more interesting of the two, showing more of the supernatural world that is hidden to most normal humans in Sophie’s world. We learn more about the role shapeshifters and werewolves play and the power structure of the vampire world.
I liked the book, like the first one. There’s the right mix of ingredients and none of the weaknesses often associated with the genre. Sure, there’s some sex and some emotions, but the right amount of it in comparison to plot and other stuff. Sometimes it feels a bit lightweight and fluffy, but since I had so much fun with it I won’t complain.
This is more a fix-up than a full novel, collecting three novellas with Genevieve as the main character in chronological order. The first novella follows close on the heels of the end of Drachenfels, with Genevieve and Detlef Sirek still together and a threat from Drachenfels carrying over. After that Genevieve ends up in a disturbing and grim version of the House of Usher that is bolstered by dark magic. Once flown from there she ends up in a scheme to bring down someone from the old, aristocratic guard. While initially a pawn in the game between new bureaucratic and old aristocratic powers, she soon discover her own motive for bringing down her intended victim.
Like Drachenfels this is quite a good read and I think I even liked it a smidgen better than the first Genevieve novel. The three novellas offer more diverse and varied plots and gave Genevieve a much more prominent role. Also, they somehow felt darker, despite the fact that Drachenfels’s main villain was a bigger threat than any of the antagonists Genevieve had to face in this book.
Recently I saw the first episodes of the True Blood series, the TV-adaption of the Southern Vampire Mysteries. I managed to watch only a few episodes, as they differed so much in tone and style from the novels and felt too much like someone tried to emulate the Sopranos mixed with the content of Charlaine Harris’s series. And I can’t stand the Sopranos. But it still made me want to reread the series.
The first book starts very basic with laying out the main concept and a little bit of murder. A telepathic waitress who can’t have relationships with other people because she can’t stop reading their minds meets a vampire for the first time and discovers that her abilities don’t work on him. Like in some other urban fantasy/paranormal romance series supernatural creatures have gone public some years ago (I think a bit similar to the Anita Blake series, where Vampires were the first to go public, but it has been some years since I read those). Albeit only vampires, the rest of the magical world is still hidden to mankind.
Sophie, the telepathic waitress, falls in love with the vampire. Side-by-side with that plot is the murder mystery, where Sophie has to find out who is going after a certain type of women to clear her brother’s name. It’s a very pleasant read, as Sophie is a very-down-to-Earth character, despite her abilities, and manages to be very likeable. The book balances perfectly the different aspects of the genre: romance, action, murder mystery and world building. Nice setup for the whole series.
This is another very odd movie. In a certain sense it’s a comedy with a somewhat dark bent, but since none of the characters is really appealing you won’t miss those that bite the dust. The most fun aspect of the whole movie is when the higher-ups in the CIA have to deal with the fallout of everything, trying to understand what really happened and why.
The basic plot is about an ex-CIA-analyst who tries to write his memoirs, these get found by some other people and those try to sell them as secrets to the Russians. Since the ex-CIA-analyst hasn’t been high enough to know anything worthwhile, both the Russians and the CIA-higher up wonder what’s going on. There are countless WTF-moments, most of them also quite funny at the same time. At the end the movie merely stops, but since nobody expected the plot to go somewhere seriously it’s not really bothersome. Fun and weird.
This is hell of a strange movie. It’s the second world war mixed with spaghetti western traditions and the usual Tarantino antics thrown in for fun. There’s a group of nazi-hunters that try their best to be even more disgusting than the nazi themselves. There’s a movie-premiere of an awful propaganda movie where all the higher-ups of the nazi-regime come to celebrate themselves.
There are those who want to use that premiere to end the war prematurely. Nothing goes as expected, many people die, including some you’ll be really surprised to see getting killed. I admit I got a very creepy feeling watching this, mostly because it’s an exploitation movie of a piece of history that I’m conditioned from school to only approach as a serious subject that is utterly devoid of any entertaining aspects. I can’t say I really liked it, but it’s a fascinating experience.
I find it funny seeing so many people scream how the movie doesn’t have anything to do with the source material, when it actually comes much closer than most screen adaptations of Doyle’s investigative duo. The Ritchie movie perfectly captures the nature of Holmes and Watson’s friendship, Holmes brilliant if at times bipolar nature and his calculating mind. Even the typical story device that everything mysterious and magical turns out to have a scientific explanation is reproduced. What most people complain about are actually elements that were never part of the original stories and only became tradition by the many TV- and movie-adaptations. In that way, the movie is quite the break with traditions.
Both Holmes and Watson are not only depicted as men of the mind but also of the flesh, something that seems at odds with previous depictions of the two, but not really at odds with Doyle’s stories. One deviation from the source material is the humor, which is nowhere to be found in the original stories. Another deviation is the depiction of Irene Adler as playing a much more prominent role in Holmes life than she actually did in the stories. But it works okay.
Whether the movie remains close to the source material or not doesn’t really matter in the end. Is it highly entertaining. The characters are fun. The plot is…okay, I guess. Not the strongest point but not really distracting form the rest. Really, if you aren’t one of those who need to imagine Watson as a small, fat bumbling addition to Holmes who doesn’t have many talents of his own, you’ll probably enjoy the movie. If on the other hand you can’t do that, all hope is lost for you. But not one really cares.
This is often called one of the best if not the best Holmes story. It’s also one of the few Holmes novels. Personally, I thought it was okay, but far from great, unlike some of the shorter stories. The main mystery was competent but not great, yet what really stopped me from fully enjoying the novel was that for most of the time Sherlock was absent. The typical thrill of seeing the dynamic duo together just wasn’t there. Added together with a much longer running time this felt bloated, despite its short length. The Holmes stories in contrast are lean and efficient, concentrated crime and mystery packets. THotB isn’t. And Watson wasn’t interesting enough as a character to hold a longer story together. Okay, but not the classic I was expecting.
This was an animated follow up series to the American Godzilla movie that was somewhat better than the movie. The plot resumed where the movie ended (one Godzilla egg survived). Instead of developing into another violent monster it becomes attached to Nick Tatopoulos and helps his team against various other mutated threats. The action is far better than in the movie, but the rest is still pretty average. The monster of the week formula became tiring very soon which stopped me from watching the second season, but for people who are into big monsters fighting on screen it might hold more interest.
This is your typical Hollywood remake, an adaption that makes you wonder why they even bothered in the first place. The movie concentrates on a cast of awful characters that made me wish they died slow and painfully. Sadly no such luck. When Godzilla appears and does property damage, the movie is fun, but those moments are few and far between. In the second half of the movie the main characters go hunting for more monster eggs in the underground, which was even less interesting than the first half with its slow setup. All it amounts to is a good sleeping pill.
The third book of the Rachel Morgan series is a slight break with the pattern established by the first two novels. Instead of another series of murder and mayhem the third book carries forward a number of smaller and bigger plot points that remained unresolved at the end of the previous book. Romance also takes on an even bigger role than in the previous books. Not the best entry point in the series, but like the previous books a good read if you don’t expect something different from the usual tropes (fantasy/romance/slightly magically infused alternate history of the present/kick-ass heroines/vampires/werewolves/etc.).
There’s one aspect of the book I really disliked and which I didn’t remembered being as pronounced in the previous ones. It’s the inclination of the main heroine to go all out emo with her varied worries, which is a bit overdone here and annoying. Everyone has moments when he’s agonizing about something in his life, but if that seems to be the emotional default state of someone it gets highly annoying. Hopefully it doesn’t get worse in subsequent books.