Been sort of slow around here lately. Toby ended up with a terrific cold from the party we went to a week ago, so has been croaking around the house. (He also went down to Austin on Saturday to game, before he realized it was a cold and not just allergies, so is now feeling terribly guilty about infecting anyone down there.)

I also recently finished Zen Cho's Spirits Abroad, an anthology of short stories set in a Malaysian Chinese (or Chinese Malaysian? I don't know what's better to describe it) supernatural milieu. Was very good, and I don't feel up for much more description other than to say that the ebook is currently $2.51 at Amazon (and possibly other places) so if you're going by price per page it's excellent value, given that there's 15 stories in it.

Spirits Abroad was good enough that I had the problem of trying to figure out what to read after it, because anything not as good would seem terrible in comparison. I ended up with Sarah Monette's The Bone Key, which is an anthology that's more Western-classic demon and ghost stories featuring one protagonist, and told with a style that's detached in comparison, although the protagonist is, to be sure, a rather detached person.

I'd also read Mercedes Lackey's most recent, Closer to Home: Book One of Herald Spy. Book 5 of the previous series didn't really end, it just stopped, and I was confused because it was touted as being the end of the series, but the answer was made clear: the story is continuing; it was just made into a new series as the protagonist basically graduates and is no longer focused around the Herald Collegium.

Now, as to the question: is the book any good? Well, no. Is it readable? Well, yes. Lackey, as I've said here before, is one of those writers that I love to hate and will rip through her books at astonishing speed while snarling to myself about all the places where it sucks and should have been done differently. A sort of comfort spite read, if you will. As was her wont in the previous series, the book is mostly concerned with the day-to-day life of Mags and Amily, and then about 3/4 of the way through she realizes that she needs some sort of antagonist and pulls one out of her ass from one of the subplots. The good news is that she is no longer writing Valdemar Harry Potter books, but has now moved on to Shakespeare and as it's blindingly obvious from near the beginning, she's taking inspiration from Romeo and Juliet. She doesn't stick entirely to the script for it, though, and I'm wondering if she's going to base each of the next books in the series on a different Shakespeare play, which I have to admit, I'd kind of like.

(And never fear: there's still plenty of her traditional Highborn=Boring/Tedious/Bad/Empty-Headed, Lowborn=Kindhearted/Smart/Interesting dichotomy, in case you were worried, even though she attempts to get into the reasons why highborns have to focus on socializing and marriage instead of worthwhile occupations.)

So, yeah: totally not recommended unless you CAN'T TEAR YOURSELF AWAY like me. I expect Mercedes Lackey is crying all the way to the bank.

And last night we finally sat down and watched the first episode of Constantine. Verdict: they've got me for at least one more episode. As a Hellblazer fan from way back, I am HIGHLY ANNOYED that Constantine is not smoking, and that Chaz is not an aging British punk, but they captured enough of Constantine's attitude that it kept me entertained. The actor playing Constantine gave the better performance of any of the others, but I don't really have high expectations for network TV when it comes to acting.

I also don't expect it to last for terribly long before cancellation, but that's pretty much a given for most TV shows anyway.

And one last media review. Toby and I went to see John Wick on Friday night. Verdict: way better than we expected. A small dog is fridged as a representation of a dead woman, and that's what starts the all the shooty bang-bang--I knew it was coming because it was IN THE TRAILER but the woman next to me wasn't expecting it and audibly squeaked when the (fairly non-graphic, in the background, and out-of-focus) killing took place--and the next hour-15 or so is full of Keanu Reeves stoically and methodically working his way through an entire criminal organization to get to his target.

The thing that makes John Wick stand out is that most of the side characters are sketched in with enough detail that they hint at really interesting backgrounds and other stories, and if I were doing Yuletide next year I'd be asking for things like "I WANT TO KNOW ABOUT THAT COP. AND THE CLEANUP SQUAD. AND THE CONCIERGE. TELL ME MORE!!" It is also 96 minutes long, so it gets in, gets the job done, and gets out before the pacing starts dragging. My primary issue with it is that the walking-away-from-an-explosion scene is PATHETIC, especially compared to the epic walking-away-from-an-explosion scene in The Equalizer, which is one of the best walking-away-from-an-explosion scences I've seen in a long, long while.

Also, Jason Isaacs is apparently in an uncredited role. I didn't see him, and Toby just said "Hey, Jason Isaacs is in this!" and didn't tell me how small a role it was supposed to be so I assumed he was a major character and spent the entire movie going "Which one is Jason Isaacs? Man, he's really got good makeup on if I can't spot him" and had tentatively pinned the Russian boss as Isaacs because he was the least unlike Isaacs of any of the others. (Spoiler: it wasn't him. I accept that I have started to have a very hard time telling random white guys apart from other random white guys in movies. In Pacific Rim, I spent the entire movie mixing up the male protagonist and his rival.)

I also hear tell that the Russian accents are terrible, but as I don't know thing one about Russian accents, they didn't stand out to me.

And that is all the media I have been consuming recently, aside from the usual steady stream of House Hunters International, Face Off, and Project Runway (which, BTW, is getting suckier and suckier by the minute).

You can comment here or at the Dreamwidth crosspost. comment count unavailable comments at Dreamwidth.
Tags: books, movie, review
  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded