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

Hawki

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Star Wars: Ashoka (2/5)

Can't say I liked this much. The novel takes place one year after the formation of the Galactic Empire. The TL, DR version is that Ashoka is lying low, but gets drawn back into things as the Empire occupies a moon, fighting occurs, makes contact with Bail, the moon's people are evacuated, Ashoka joins the burgeoning rebellion under the alias "Fulcrum."

There's a fair bit that that caused me to raise an eyebrow here (I thought the Rebel Alliance didn't really form until around Rebels in this new canon, but here, it's already starting to take shape), but that aside, I was just bored most of the time. The writing is basic, if fine, the characters are basic, everything is just, well, basic. Granted, I've never really been into Ashoka as a character much (but that's really just due to my comparative lack of interest in the Clone Wars era as a whole), but at the end of the day, there's nothing to really recommend about this book.

Besides, most people are probably watching the TV series of the same name anyway.
 

Hawki

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The Mandalorian: Season 1, Part One (3/5)

A comic adaptation of the first four episodes of Season 1 of The Mandalorian.

What? Did you think I had anything else to add? It's what the title says.
 

Cheetodust

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Been struggling with my concentration again lately so reading has been slow. So I decided to pick up a Stephen King book because his writing always manages to sweep me along. Nostalgia maybe. So I read Revival.

Very enjoyable. Cosmic horror with the usual Stephen King cast of characters. Pretty quintessential King novel really. If you enjoy his work it's definitely worth a read. Disappointed to find out Mike Flanagan wanted to adapt it but couldn't get funding.
 
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Hawki

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The Twilight Zone: The Midnight Sun (3/5)

A graphic novel adaptation of the episode of the same name. TBH, I've never watched The Twilight Zone in any incarnation, so I can't comment on the source material, but as its own story, the story is, well, fine, really.

The conceit is that something is seriously wacked - the sun's getting bigger, or something, which means that temperatures are soaring, and also, there's no day/night cycle (somehow - does that mean Earth is tidally locked now? If so, shouldn't the other side be freezing?). Taking place in New York, the survivours deal with the ever-increasing heat, the breakdown of society, lack of water, lack of power, etc.

Like I said, it's fine. My understanding of the show was that it tended to have certain morals/alagories in its episodes, but this? Well, it's a look at the breakdown of human civilization, and...sure, okay, but that's a well-worn sci-fi trope. It's fine, like I said, but there's nothing particularly special about the story.

Transformers: Last Bot Standing (2/5)

Ever read/play/watch something that makes you feel dumber for having done so? This is it.

I'll cut to the chase - the premise, as revealed eventually, is that the Autobots and Decepticons have spent so much time fighting each other that entire civilizations (including humanity) have been wiped out, entire star systems so that entire swathes of the night sky are now bereft of stars (so, I assume this war has been taking place over thousands of years at the least, given how light travels?). So on the far edge of the galaxy/universe/whatever, the "last bot" (Rodimus) is revealed as the Decepticons come to the planet, who've altered themselves to use carbon as a fuel source rather than energon. Which means time for din-dins on the "pseudo-human-but-not-quite-pointy-ears" aliens present, who are in the equivalent of the 19th century Old West.

The graphic novel tries to inject a series of gravitas - Decepticons and Autobots are nearly extinct, Rodimus insists it's time for them to end, the Decepticons refuse, and if that means harvesting sapient species and ruining more worlds, so be it. TL, DR, Rodimus wins, the Decepticons are wiped out, he remains in stasis as the planet continues to develop.

The comic's clearly trying for gravitas with well-worn sci-fi tropes, but it just doesn't work here. Part of the reason might be is that Transformers is inherently a silly franchise, and while you can certainly do more mature takes than others (which is true of pretty much every IP), it doesn't work here. It's not moving, it comes off as a kid playing with their toys trying to inject pathos into their made up story, but failing. Not that I've ever really been a Transformers fan, but whatever the case, the comic just didn't do it for me.
 

Thaluikhain

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entire star systems so that entire swathes of the night sky are now bereft of stars (so, I assume this war has been taking place over thousands of years at the least, given how light travels?).
Hmmm...very much depends on which parts of the night sky (if seen from Earth). The galaxy is much wider than it is thick, so if you got rid of the stars in a line going up or down through the galactic disc it'd be thousands, but tens of thousands if the line was going from Earth towards the centre of the galaxy and out the otehr side.

But if they are on a distant place far from Earth...maybe from there there's only one star visible anyway, so just get rid of that one...
 

Hawki

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Warhammer 40,000: The Horus Heresy - The First Wall (3/5)

The third installment in the Siege of Terra sub-series, further, ahem, "reinforcing" my belief that there's no way this series needed to be so many volumes.

I actually enjoyed the ending sections quite a bit, but as a whole? Yeah. There's three major plotlines going on in this novel - the traitors' capture of Lion's Gate Spaceport, the going-ons inside the Imperial Palace, and a regiment from not!Ethiopia making their way to Himalayzia to aid in the siege. Of those three, I have little to say on Lion's Gate, in that it's just effectively one big action scene spread over the course of a novel. The one notable moment is when Rogal Dorn and Perturabo finally confront each other (sort of), but apart from that? Got nothing to say, and I had little interest. Yes, Lion's Gate falling was a key moment in the siege, I don't need an entire novel to tell me that.

The Imperial Palace going-ons are a bit better, as not only do the defenders need to deal with the usual issues in a siege (famine, disease, etc.), but also the spiritual assault that Chaos brings. Not that prior novels didn't cover this, but here, in a 180 from the 41st millennium, the defenders have to deal with a "plague of belief" as people inside the city begin to worship the Emperor as a god, despite his centuries of efforts trying to establish that he isn't, and the Imperial Truth. It's double-sided in that the worship is allowing daemons to manifest inside the walls, but is also a measure against them. Such is humanity's latent psychic potential that they can't help but affect the Warp, but if that belief could be steered in the right direction? It's nothing groundbreaking, but considering the direction the Imperium will take over the next 10,000 years, as it shifts from enforced atheism to religious fanatacism, it's reasonably interesting from a lore standpoint, but not much to say from a writing one.

The third storyline of the Addaba Free Corps's (Addaba? Abbis Ababa? Gedit?) is probably the least consequential in terms of the novel's overall plot, but it's one I found myself the most invested in. First, I'm generally more interested in the everyday men and women of this storyline (that isn't always true for all media), so focusing on grunts in the Imperial Army rather than Space Marines and mutants is a plus. It also does a good job of showing how grim everyday life is, how utterly desolate Terra is after Long Night, how we see proto-commisars enforcing order, etc. It's not perfect - for instance, the POV character falls head over heels for some guy over the course of less than a chapter - but mostly, it's decent. People have often sniggered at the term 'grimdark," but whatever your thoughts on it or whether it's a concept, here, grimdark or not, the 'grimmness' is still well-earned. Not only is living in a hive city terrible enough, but when you have a journey that goes from northeast Africa across the dried seabed of the Mediterranean, to the freezing temperatures of Himalayzia...yeah. Not only does life suck in the 31st millennium (and it's going to suck even more in the 41st), but there's the sense of how far gone Terra is. Like, entire oceans have been vapourized, much of the planet is a wasteland, it's just...gone. And it's never coming back.

So, yeah. I have positive things to say about this novel, but unfortunately, those positive things aren't enough to push it into "good" territory. Of the SoT sub-series, I'd honestly say that each novel has been weaker than its predecessor, and again, there's no way the Siege of Terra arc needed to be this long.
 

Hawki

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Hmmm...very much depends on which parts of the night sky (if seen from Earth). The galaxy is much wider than it is thick, so if you got rid of the stars in a line going up or down through the galactic disc it'd be thousands, but tens of thousands if the line was going from Earth towards the centre of the galaxy and out the otehr side.

But if they are on a distant place far from Earth...maybe from there there's only one star visible anyway, so just get rid of that one...
I can't remember if it specifies. I think there's vague references to the world being on the edge of the galaxy/universe (so many writers throw around terms with no sense of scale), but really, the comic doesn't care, why should I?
 

Hawki

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Halo: Sunrise On Sanghelios (3/5)

A short story (a very short story, actually) that takes place in the immediate aftermath of Halo 5, with John and Thel reuniting after years apart.

It's fine, really. Writing's extremely basic, and I'm guessing this was jotted down in a hurry. The only thing really of note is Thel's idea of a "Concert of Worlds," of various species coming together for peace and harmony and all that, which leads me to ask "wait, is Halo doing a Star Trek?" Not that a multi-species alliance is a rarity in sci-fi, but I really don't think it fits Halo, which up to this point, has had one multi-species alliance bent on the annihilation of humanity, and after said alliance dissipated, numerous factions, human and alien alike, vying for power.

Anyway, that I'm overanalyzing one line aside, I've got nothing else to say.
 

Hawki

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Star Trek: Picard - Second Self (2/5)

Really didn't like this book. It takes place between season 1 & 2 of Picard, but most of its story/lore is drawn from Deep Space 9, what with the Cardassian Occupation, the Dominion War, etc. Stuff that I don't have much familiarity with, which in part, likely explains my antipathy towards this book. But even then, I just couldn't get into it. Raffi goes to some cardassian/bajoran world to do...stuff, then there's effectively two giant flashbacks, then we loop back to the present. Honestly, the plot left so little impression on me, I can't tell you what happened.

Then again, likely the wrong person to read this book, let alone review it.
 

Hawki

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Read some stuff:

The Frugal Wizard’s Handbook for Surviving Medieval England (2/5)

Halo: Saturn Devouring His Son (4/5)

The Dragon Prince: Bloodmoon Huntress (4/5)

Green Arrow: Stranded (3/5)

A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel – Volume 2 (5/5)

Diablo: Webtoons of Sanctuary (4/5)

The Dragon Prince: Through the Moon (4/5)

The Dragon Prince: Puzzle House (3/5)

The Orville: Artifacts (4/5)

Sonic the Hedgehog: Volume 14 – Overpowered (3/5)
 

Drathnoxis

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Re-read Dracula, still disagree with @Hawki. I think the book is pretty good. The suspense that is built up to the point where they kill Lucy is great, and I was engrossed up to that point. Unfortunately after that when all the cards are laid on the table it just isn't as interesting. Doesn't help that for about 50 pages everybody's brains fall out and everybody makes some pretty stupid mistakes. Like the fact that they are staying in Dr. Seward's mental institution despite the fact that, knowing that Dracula can only enter a house if invited, it's the least secure place due to all the mentally unstable inmates, including one that they know calls Dracula master. Cutting Mina out of the loop for no reason was extremely stupid too, somebody else would have realized the significance of her "dreams" even if she was too stupid to do so if they'd only been talking to one another. Dracula also gets pretty stupid once he comes to London, despite being shown to be very careful and intelligent before. He goes down way too easily and all it apparently takes to make him wet his pants and be unable to do anything is a tiny piece of holy cracker(?).

The first 2/3 of the book are excellent and the last 1/3 is ok. That averages out to a decent book to me.
 

Specter Von Baren

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Man... The Pluto manga really is disappointing. There's so much good stuff in it but it poisons itself with allegory. On the last volume and I think I'll need to wait a while before I finished it. Hopefully my eyes roll back forward soon.
 

Bob_McMillan

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Just finished the TMNT Last Ronin comic.

Having heard so much about it, I was quiteeeee meh about it. I'm no huge TMNT fan, so maybe that's why I wasn't particularly invested in these characters dying off. There was one particular character that I had never heard of before and yet was an integral part of the story.

For what feels like an edgy take on the universe, it feels kinda childish. But I can definitely see how this would make an awesome game.
 

Johnny Novgorod

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Well, all done for the year. And as usual I didn't get in as much reading as I would've liked.

Top books this year: Moby Dick by Herman Melville, Outer Dark by Cormac McCarthy and Desire by Haruki Murakami.
 

SilentPony

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Well, all done for the year. And as usual I didn't get in as much reading as I would've liked.

Top books this year: Moby Dick by Herman Melville, Outer Dark by Cormac McCarthy and Desire by Haruki Murakami.
Moby Dick is a weird one. I expected like a story about hunting the great whale. Instead it was just a series of unrelated short stories.
 

Thaluikhain

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Moby Dick is a weird one. I expected like a story about hunting the great whale. Instead it was just a series of unrelated short stories.
Every other chapter is a lecture about some aspect of whaling, or where to see nice pictures of whales, which is...different.

Though, many/most of the old classics aren't what we expect them to be, perhaps due to seeing adaptations and the like before getting to the original.
 

Johnny Novgorod

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... you doin' okay bud? We're here for you.
Are those 'dark' books? I don't get it.

Outer Dark does end with a one-eyed, half-burned incest baby getting its throat slashed and cannibalized alive but Moby-Dick is pretty humorous and Murakami is several layers of weird and whimsical rather than depressing.
Moby Dick is a weird one. I expected like a story about hunting the great whale. Instead it was just a series of unrelated short stories.
Well, obviously all those stories are related to whaling. If you mean the ships they pass by and how each of their stories are unrelated to the Pequod's, I wouldn't characterize them as random. They're all essentially functioning as trumpets and angels that are supposed to herald each a catastrophe leading towards the apocalypse. We begin with mundane stories of mutiny and things start getting esoteric (a plague, a thunderstorm) halfway through.

As for the whaling chapters, their supposed tedium is overstated to the point of being a dumb meme. I like historical fiction and narratives that focus on the procedural. I can compare it (in terms of structure, not quality) to The Martian's intense interest in how things work, how systems fail and how to solve problems when all of them become matters of life and death.
 
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