Review: Banewreaker

Banewreaker by Jacqueline Carey

I first heard of Jacqueline Carey when Naamah’s Curse was released this summer; while it sounded interesting, it also sounded like romance with a fantasy twist, rather than the other way around. But I perked up when Brandon Sanderson recommended her series The Sundering in an essay on postmodern fantasy. Once I discovered it was a deconstruction of The Lord of the Rings, I had to read it. I have to space out reading deconstructions, because they can be so dark and cynical, but I have a bit of a mania for deconstructive fantasy. I hoped Banewreaker would hit the spot.

It blew me away.

Continue reading

Page to Screen: The Social Network (2010)

The Social Network
based on
The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich

When the trailer for The Social Network dropped this summer, I was absolutely blown away. (I still think it’s the best trailer I’ve ever seen.) It perfectly drove home the point that The Social Network isn’t a movie about Facebook; it’s a movie about wanting to belong–exactly the sort of theme that renders even a film about a very specific moment in time timeless. Since that trailer, I couldn’t wait to see The Social Network, and my wait was finally ended two weeks ago.

Continue reading

Review: Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Of all the Austen novels, Northanger Abbey is the novel I knew the least about. In popular culture, it tends only to pop up as part of Austen’s oeuvre, and it’s the lone Austen novel that has not received a motion picture adaptation. (Okay, technically, Persuasion suffered the same fate, being a BBC television adaptation, but it was released theatrically here.) The only thing I really knew was that it was the first novel Austen started (Sense and Sensibility was the first she completed). With no preconceptions or, really, expectations, I picked up Northanger Abbey for class.

Continue reading

Review: Manhood for Amateurs

Manhood for Amateurs by Michael Chabon

As I continually mention, I will read anything Michael Chabon publishes, and someday, I’ll get around to doing just that. (But you know how life is; so many books, so little time…) As I settled back into town for school, I picked up Manhood for Amateurs, as I’ve heard only good things about it, especially about Chabon’s self-identification as a fan (as in fandom). That, I feel, is massively important. There’s a specific slant to the way a fan sees the world, the way we reference and frame things in context of the stories we love. To watch Chabon, and his mastery of language, do that? Sign me up.

Continue reading

Review: Beowulf

Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney

How does one exactly review Beowulf, the epic poem that kicks off so many an English curriculum? It’s poetry instead of a novel or a short story, and it was written to be sung to an audience vastly different than myself. (There’s a reason I don’t review poetry!) I can’t review it as I would review a novel written after, well, the invention of the form in the Middle East and Asia. However, I can talk about why I personally like the poem, its construction and the characteristics of its verse, and J. R. R. Tolkien’s landmark 1936 essay, “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics”. (Because if there’s a way to tie it back to Tolkien, I will do everything in my power to do so.) This isn’t a traditional review, but a sort of casual overview about what I’ve been learning about the text.

Continue reading

Review: Fingersmith

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

It seems that every book blogger I know or know of has either read Fingersmith or is meaning to read it. In fact, I think all this fervor can be traced directly back to Nymeth of things mean a lot. The author, Sarah Waters, is known for writing historical fiction with lesbian characters, particularly Victorian fiction. Historical fiction with queer romance? As an ace, I approve most heartily. I picked up Fingersmith expecting only what I’d read in summaries and reviews; I was not prepared for what it truly was.

Continue reading

Review: A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire is one of the biggest series in modern fantasy. It’s an epic series of seven planned novels with only four currently published, complete with a fandom so ravenous Neil Gaiman has had to remind them that “George R. R. Martin is not your bitch”. Each book is, of course, thoroughly massive; even in paperback, A Game of Thrones runs over 800 pages, and the novels are regularly split into two books overseas.

In short, A Song of Ice and Fire can be pretty intimidating.

But the HBO adaptation of A Game of Thrones is due out next year, and it’s filled to the brim with good actors that I like, including Lena Headey and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Because I know I’m going to watch it, I decided to finally suck it up and dig in.

Continue reading

Review: The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck

The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck by Don Rosa

Puttering around in my favorite thrift store, looking for books in good condition to toss into my gift tub for future birthdays and holidays, I noticed that the thrift store had started getting more and more organized with books. Science fiction and fantasy had their own shelf (missing, unfortunately, any copies of the hilarious Ballantine covers for The Lord of the Rings), the classics had their own shelf, and even graphic novels had their own shelf. As soon as I turned around to look at the graphic novel shelf, The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck caught my eye. I immediately snapped it up, which was a good move on my part–the edition I now own is out of print and selling for outrageous prices on Amazon. I love thrift stores. (But if you want to get your hands on it, Boom! Studios started reissuing it this spring. Never fear!) I’d heard about the wonder that is Don Rosa’s seminal work on Scrooge McDuck, and I knew I had to read it.

Continue reading

Review: True Confections

True Confections by Katharine Weber

I have a fondness for heroines named Alice. One of my middle names (the one that I admit to having most of the time) starts with Alix, a medieval French variant of Alice. It’s one of the few names I could actually see myself having other than Clare, and one of my favorite names. (Ironically, I’ve never actually read Alice in Wonderland). However, I had no idea that the narrator of True Confections was an Alice, although it certainly endeared her to me. Just the combination of a twisted family history with candy was enough to make me pick it up.

Continue reading

Page to Screen: The Lord of the Rings Film Trilogy (Extended Editions)

The Lord of the Rings
based on
The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

Let’s be honest–I’m completely biased when it comes to these films. For three glorious years, The Lord of the Rings films was a gift from the heavens to a wee lass who loved fantasy. Dashing heroes, amazing production design, costume design I still swoon over to this day, a soundtrack that makes me weak in the knees, even the fandom… I can truly go on for days about this film trilogy, but I’ll try and restrain myself.

Continue reading