Staying at home is the norm... What are you reading?

Dalisclock

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After listening to both of these again (I only have the audiobooks), for Call of Cthulhu, yes I can see what you are saying. Didn't really stand out to me because sometimes descriptions gloss over for me a bit with audiobooks. With Rats in the Walls it just straight up isn't in my version. It's some sort of abridged acted version and there's not even the mention of a cat.
I'm not shocked the cat was cut. It's not like the cat was really important but yeah, a modern adaptation would have probably changed kiitties name to "Blacky" or "midnight" or something.
 

Hawki

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Artemis Fowl: A Guide to the World of Fairies (4/5)

This is a bit of an oddity. As far as I can tell, this was written (and published) by Disney to tie in with their Artemis Fowl film, but the material on display is clearly taking reference from the wider book series as a whole. As in, making reference to concepts/locations/events well beyond the scope of the first book and its adaptation.

Anyway, this was fun to read. Been ages since I've consumed anything from the Artemis Fowl universe, but it's not so much a dip into said universe as a plunge. As the title suggests, it mainly concerns itself with the history, physiology, and culture of the fairy species in AF, and by extension, their history - of losing the surface to the "Mud People" (humans), and everything else. Suffice to say, fairies really hate humans here - even more so than in the books (for the most part). Still, there's some genuinely good humour here as well, usually in the footnotes and annotations. Also helps that the art's pretty good as well.

Reading this, it kind of makes me appreciate Colfer more, because assuming that everything in the guide comes from material in the books (I think I stopped reading after the fourth one), there's an impressive amount of lore here. But, whatever the case, it's a good read.
 

Agema

You have no authority here, Jackie Weaver
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The Bone Ship's Wake (RJ Barker).

Third and last in the Tide Child trilogy. This series is set in a resource-poor archipelago where the warships are built from the bones of giant sea serpents (i.e. dragons, of a sort) but the dragons have been hunted to near-extinction with none seen for generations, and the existing ships are becoming harder to keep sailing. The archipelago is split into two matriarchal nations locked in perpetual hostility, and the inability to refresh their fleets has driven an uneasy detente. So when a new dragon is spotted, it risks engulfing the land in another era of war. Again to navigate the tricky business of not giving away much from books 1 & 2, our hero Joron Twiner has emerged from his tutelage under Meas Gilbryn, is now in charge of a small pirate fleet and trying to rescue his mentor, with dreams of ending the futile war and starting afresh, all the whilst in the background a prophecy of the world ending in flame lurks.

There's a little author's note at the back that the author - a fan of things naval - set about writing this trilogy only to be informed that naval fantasy is nearly always a commercial failure. If so, it would be a shame for this trilogy, as it's actually pretty good. It's a gritty series with an interesting setting and characters, and trots along at a good pace with plenty of action and stuff. It concludes well and rather poignantly in this concluding chaper, so a thumbs up from me.
 
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Specter Von Baren

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The Girl From the Other Side. I've still only read the first volume so not a lot of details have been revealed but there seems to be a curse of some kind that turns you into a monster, or as they are called in the book, Outsider, and it is transfered through touch. The way people treat it reminds me of the Black Death. But it's about an Outsider looking after a little girl. The thing I picked up on quickly is that the author understands how kids act. The child's dialogue is fantastically written and I'm very intrigued by the setting and our two main characters.
 

Hawki

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Star of Deltora: Two Moons (3/5)

The second installment of the Star of Deltora series, as the titular SoD sails across the sea, finding neither gods nor cods, or any rods. Luckily, the plot doesn't plod.

That said, still "okay" rather than "good," but better than the first, if only because there's more momentum to the plot, with a sense of things progressing. My inner child did appreciate the visit to Maris from the Rowan of Rin series, so there's that, and when they get to the titular island of Two Moons, it's decent there as well.
 

laggyteabag

Scrolling through forums, instead of playing games
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I've gotten back into reading again, and I for some reason have this very limited niche at the moment - sci-fi/horror

To that end:

2389

Zombies in a theme park on the moon - 2/5

It wasn't very well written at all, and the whole book felt amateurish.

It was cliché, it wasn't scary, it was predictable, and generally a bit dull.

Dead Silence


A famous luxury cruise ship has been lost and adrift in space for 20 years. Everybody on board is dead. A distress beacon has been located, and a desperate crew goes to investigate - 4/5

The first half of the book is genuinely incredible. It is slow, methodical, and really tense. I was up until 1am reading this, with my heart beating like crazy. I've never really had that "just one more chapter" feeling before, but I had it here.

And then... the book kind of loses its steam, and then never really recovers.

Between a "you're going to die anyway, so I am going to tell you my evil plan" monologue, and the book showing its "monster", the magic that was present in the first half just kind of dissipated.

Overall, it is a decent time, with most of the 4-stars coming from the excellent first half, but it is a shame that the book didn't really stick the landing.
 

Hawki

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Read some stuff:

The Predator: Hunters and Hunted (3/5)

Halo: Legacy of Onyx (3/5)

Halo: New Blood (4/5)
 

Specter Von Baren

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I've gotten back into reading again, and I for some reason have this very limited niche at the moment - sci-fi/horror

To that end:

2389

Zombies in a theme park on the moon - 2/5

It wasn't very well written at all, and the whole book felt amateurish.

It was cliché, it wasn't scary, it was predictable, and generally a bit dull.

Dead Silence

A famous luxury cruise ship has been lost and adrift in space for 20 years. Everybody on board is dead. A distress beacon has been located, and a desperate crew goes to investigate - 4/5

The first half of the book is genuinely incredible. It is slow, methodical, and really tense. I was up until 1am reading this, with my heart beating like crazy. I've never really had that "just one more chapter" feeling before, but I had it here.

And then... the book kind of loses its steam, and then never really recovers.

Between a "you're going to die anyway, so I am going to tell you my evil plan" monologue, and the book showing its "monster", the magic that was present in the first half just kind of dissipated.

Overall, it is a decent time, with most of the 4-stars coming from the excellent first half, but it is a shame that the book didn't really stick the landing.
Might I recommend Dark Matter: A Ghost Story, if you're looking for a horror story with a lot of atmosphere and loneliness?
 

Specter Von Baren

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Got back into fanfiction after years of hiatus from them and have been finding some real gems. Helps to have had years of fandoms piling up material for me to sift through. One I've been constantly re-reading is called 'Glass of Time' that covers a rather dark topic that I was really hesitant to give a shot yet somehow, somehow manages to thread the needle on not sugar coating the subject matter but also not having the story devolve into angst and whinge porn that destroys the individuality of the characters. Sucks that it wasn't finished but what's there is just so well written.
 

Johnny Novgorod

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Read The Vampyre (1819) by Polidori. First vampire story ever written, at least by that name. It's very short and very good and it's basically what Night of the Living Dead did for the zombie: package all the lore and the thematic appeal as efficiently and memorably as possible in one go. Bram Stoker supplemented a lot of the specifics about the dos and the dont's of the vampire (Transylvania, garlic, stakes, killer sun, the bat association, sleeping in coffins, etc) but it was Polidori who codified the vampire as a broody and melancholy yet insatiably hedonistic immortal that parasites high society and preys on young women. Well worth the read.
 

Breakdown

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Debt of Honor, a Star Trek graphic novel by Chris Claremont.

I remember really enjoying this comic after getting it from the library when I was a kid. It doesn't hold up though. Too much exposition, too much dialogue, too many characters.
 

Hawki

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Overwatch: Code of Violence (3/5)

I don't know if this is the weakest Overwatch short story, but it's certainly in contention. Main issue with it compared to the others is how short it is.

Anyway, the story focuses on Reaper and Sombra, taking place one year after Overwatch's disbandenment, and his first mission with Talon, as they retrieve a target from a black site (the reveal as to who the target is is a nice touch, at least). Throughout it, we delve into Reaper's backstory - from his role as a police officer (which has got a portion of the fanbase up in arms), to a soldier who took part in overthrowing regimes (which curiously HASN'T triggered anyone...huh...), to his time in Overwatch, and how Doomfist swayed him to Talon's side. This, at least, is well done - it does delve into Reaper's moral code, as to how he's only working with Talon to accomplish his own goals, whereas in Overwatch, in his view, the world remained as corupt and broken as ever. It's a sentiment I've seen hinted at elsewhere, but it's solidifed here. That, and its description of Moira's experiments on him is nicely done.

Unfortunately, that's where my praise ends. For one thing, none of this feels as fleshed out as it should. Of all the Overwatch characters, Reaper's never lacked for backstory, so the amount here feels like just another drop in the bucket. Second, the dialogue with Sombra is...okay, but feels like it could have been much tighter. A lot of the time, it feels like the characters are repeating themselves. Being someone who's written and reviewed for over 15 years, I can pick up on these tells, to some extent. It feels like it needed an extra draft. So what we have is...okay, but nothing special. If we're looking at Overwatch short fiction that fleshes out Talon characters, this pales so much compared to 'What We Leave Behind' (which almost single-handedly fleshed out Baptiste), then this feels like a waste.

So, decent, but nothing special.
 

Specter Von Baren

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Continuing my fanfiction reading, I returned to a story I read 10 years ago, 'Good Enough'. Was pleased to see that it held up and was especially impressed with the dialogue in the story. It flowed very naturally, like how people actually peak with changing topics or someone getting ignored in a conversation, without it being annoying. I also liked all the small quiet scenes in it. It's nice to know I had good taste even back then.
 

Hawki

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Read some stuff:

Three Doors: The Golden Door (3/5)

Star of Deltora: The Towers of Illica (3/5)

Three Doors: The Silver Door (3/5)

Star of Deltora: The Hungry Isle (3/5)
 

Specter Von Baren

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Finally stopped being a filthy coward and finished the last two volumes of 'Dimension W' after 2 years of not reading it. Very enjoyable series. I wouldn't say I got everything I wanted (Though I'm a filthy, degenerate shipper, so I usually don't) it resolved nicely, had good messages, had an interesting idea for a science fiction premise, and most important for me, had interesting characters. Would highly recommend to anyone interested in less extravagant sci-fi (No giant mecha fights or space ship battles here) or mystery stories. Also has a surprisingly good environmentalist message hidden in it too if that's your thing.
 

McElroy

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Borrowed some comic books.

All-Star Batman & Robin: The Boy Wonder. 1st off the worst of the bunch. Unless you want to ogle at pornstar-proportioned sex bombs Black Canary and Vicki Vale, you're better off not reading this crap.

Batman: Death of the Family. Snyder and Capullo are on point with the most gruesome Joker story yet. Fun to be had even if the reader knows that, as always, no damage is done against the status quo.

Batman: The Last Knight on Earth. Snyder and Capullo return with a more interesting premise. 20 years into the future everything's gone beyond hell, a villain called Omega is mind-controlling Gotham City and about to expand the control much further. The plot itself runs on technobabble gadgets, but the premise is rad.

Kingdom Come. Opaque watercolor makes this comic book really pleasant to look at. The story itself deals with Superman and Wonder Woman taking hard control of peacekeeping Earth (I dunno how original this idea was even in the 90s). It's not from normal people though but a wild bunch of Generation X superhumans.

Batman: Death and the Maidens. Ra's Al Ghul is a centuries old sociopath. The story is mostly about how Nyssa Al Ghul is perhaps a monster like her father or maybe not. It's not really about Batman, and making more personal stuff about his parents is always a hit-and-miss, because it can kinda be whatever and Bruce can learn whatever as long as he still stays as Batman.
 
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09philj

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All-Star Batman & Robin: The Boy Wonder. 1st off the worst of the bunch. Unless you want to ogle at pornstar-proportioned sex bombs Black Canary and Vicki Vale, you're better off not reading this crap.
Ah yes the source of such iconic lines as "Are you dense? Are you retarded or something? Who the hell do you think I am? I'm the goddamn Batman."
 

Agema

You have no authority here, Jackie Weaver
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Jack Four (Neal Asher)

Bless. All Neal Asher books are basically the same, and this is no exception. Basically, tooled up and supremely competent individual goes crazy with lots of funky, high tech military equipment and tears stuff up.

Jack Four is a clone sold as part of a dodgy black market operation to the viciously xenophobic prador (think very large, highly intelligent crabs) - however he's not as mindless as he should be... as awareness sinks in, he first plans his escape, and then revenge. It also manages to chuck in a load of stock alien monsters that are, I have to say, heavily overused in his works and that his readers will be very familiar with.

This model clearly works for Asher. It is a sense dull - a long time since he did anything much that was original (the same could be said of many other authors, who basically package the same thing book after book). But he is normally very entertaining in a high octane, tech-riven, gory destruction sort of way.
 

McElroy

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Ah yes the source of such iconic lines as "Are you dense? Are you retarded or something? Who the hell do you think I am? I'm the goddamn Batman."
The translation has it as "disabled". All in all the whole sequence is really off the walls: Batman has a reason to kidnap young Grayson, sure, because otherwise the Gotham cops would've beat him (note: a 12-yo boy) up. I dunno, as a welcome to orphanhood or something?

Now I went back to the library and got a second round of comic albums.

Superman and the Men of Steel and Superman Bulletproof. Both are at the start of new 52 reboot of Action Comics. Written by Grant Morrison and art by Rags Morales. Superman is kind of a joke character in Morrison's stuff. He's just super in everything and can beat anybody in everything and even gets an invulnerability suit from Brainiac's collection. Very nice and cool, I guess.

Batman: Endgame. Snyder and Capullo bring back Joker... again, and this time it's serious... again. Though Joker doesn't take anything very seriously. Snyder's Batman story arc is intensifying, and I'd sure as hell move out of Gotham at this point. Anyway, the villain has got his pretty face back, but how? Maybe he's been to a cave... a dark cave... and maybe in that dark cave there was... metal.

Dark Nights: Metal. Surprised to find this in the library. Supernatural metals all come together to form a portal to the Dark Multiverse, which turns out to be pretty nasty, filled with nightmares and all. Soon all of multiverse is falling into darkness. Snyder's story is nuts, but Capullo's pencils are unimaginably rad. Funny enough the biggest heroes of the story are Hawkman and Hawkgirl.