The ongoing Saga

Saga Volume 5 by Fiona Staples and Brian K Vaughan

So I read this months ago, but it’s so great so I wanted to write about it, even though I don’t remember any intelligent things to say about it.

Alana and Marko have been separated. Alana is with Hazel and her mother-in-law, kidnapped and Marko is searching for them, hell bent on getting his family back. The Will is in a coma and a crew of people are looking for a cure to save him.

The illustrations are stunning, the story is full of sex, drugs and swearing but all of the beautiful intricacies of love, grief, loss, addiction and parenting.

The last movie I watched:

Mulan. Love it.

Last TV show I watched:

Outlander episode one. So far, I’m sold.

Space Opera + Graphic Novel = wonderful

Saga Volume Four by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples

As I have previously mentioned, I love Saga. It’s an amazing series which I’m getting depressingly close to being caught up on.

The general pitch for the series is two planets have been at war for generations when a soldier from each side fall in love, marry and have a child which should be impossible. Governments across the galaxy are frantic to get their hands on the baby. The series followed the family as they struggle their way through parenting, marriage and being on the run, but also the people who are hunting them.

If you haven’t read it and are going to, stop here with this recommendation: It’s amazing.

After this point there might be spoilers for the last three books.

Volume Four starts with Prince IV’s son being born, while he is off world wasting time on Sextillion (the sex planet), Alana struggling with her newly established acting career, Marko fumbling his way through being the stay at home parent and The Will’s sister The Brand looking for a way to wake him from his coma.

In addition to the beautiful graphics in this book, the complicated characters and intriguing plot there is also a very basic, human story too. What it means to in a relationship, how easy it for every day stresses to come between people who love each other. What being part of a family means, the good and the bad that love can drive you to. What it means to be a parent and have to put someone else’s needs before your own all the time.

Just a heads up – there’s a lot of mature and graphic content of all varieties – violence, sex, drugs  it’s all in there.

The series is amazing though. I really recommend it.

Last movie I watched:

Part of Deadpool. I love it.

Last TV episode I watched:

Smallville. It’s got a lot of evolution as a show. I think it’s a good thing.

 

Meta Fan Fiction

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Sometimes ago I read and loved (like really, really, really loved) Fangirl. So I decided to read Carry On which is not the sequel to Fangirl. In Fangirl, Cath is writing a piece of fanfiction for a series called Simon Snow. Carry On is not that piece of fanfiction. Nor is it the original Simon Snow story. It’s an original fanfiction for a fictional story. Even better, it’s a slash fiction.

So Simon (who starts out approximately as Harry Potter) is the prophesied savoir of a magical world that exists as part of ours. It’s his last year at Watford and the inevitable showdown between Simon, his friends and the Mage and the Insidious Humdrum. But what’s on his mind most of the time? How his relationship with his girlfriend Agatha doesn’t feel right and where on earth his archenemy/roommate Baz? But everything’s more complicated then anyone realizes.

This book is really hard to talk about without spoiling but here’s what I can say. You think at the start because the story is a little Harry Potter-esk that it will continue to be Harry Potter-esk and end with an epic showdown that is entertaining and a little cliched but you are wrong. I’m telling you the plot twists are pretty out of left field, which is awesome. The other great thing is the Baz and Simon relationship.  It’s so nice it is to see a same sex couple that aren’t there for tokenism but are actually well developed and interesting both as individuals in a relationship and the relationship itself.

I recommend it. Strongly.

And, yes, I checked, there is fanfiction for the fictional story made up for another fictional story’s fanfiction. It’s great.

Last movie I watched:

Still Karate Kid. I really liked it. Somehow I failed at being a child of the 80s. I’d never seen it.

Last TV episode I watched:

The Musketeers still. So fun.

A brief adventure in adult historical fiction

Three Sisters, Three Queens by Phillipa Gregory

Despite Gregory being a rather prolific writer, and my generally enjoyment of historical fiction, it’s maybe a bit surprising that I haven’t read anything else by Phillipa Gregory, not even the Other Boleyn Girl. But I was in an airport and it was on sale, so there you have it.

I actually really enjoyed it. Many people I talked to said her more recent stuff isn’t as good as the older ones, and who can blame her? She must be running out of Tudor women to give a twist to and write about. But without anything to compare it to, I really liked Three Sisters, Three Queens.

It’s the story of Henry VIII’s older sister Margret, who was married to the King of Scotland as a young teen and acted as regent for her son by him when her husband was killed. The center of the story is the dynamic of Catherine of Aragon, Margret and her younger sister Mary, three Tudor princesses who all marry kings but ultimately lead tragic lives.

What I liked most about the story was Margret’s rather annoying, petty, bratty personality. She saw her whole life as a competition against her sisters. When she is succeeding and they are not, she is smug and filled with false generosity and when they are outdoing her she resents the same behaviour. It sounds like a weird thing to really enjoy about a main character but I really liked the fact that she was filled with personality, even if it was an often dis-likable personality, and not a Mary Sue kind of princess. Also, I was ablw to read her as a very sympathetic character despite this because it seemed to me that someone so young, naive and out of touch with reality should be pitied. She was raised without any real understanding of the world – she was a symbol of Tudor power, but never a person so it’s not surprising that she mishandles every challenge she ever faces. How would she know better?

The most interesting thing about historical fiction of course is never about the history but what interests us know and what that says about who we are. I’m glad I had a bit of a reminder of that.

Last movie I watched:

Valentine’s Day. Not as good as Love Actually.

Last TV episode I watched:

The Musketeers. Such a wonderful, swashbuckling show

Cainsville book number 3 (keep it together, don’t squee, you don’t have to squee)

Deception by Kelley Armstrong

This is another short blog post. I’m way behind. There was this vacation and then that got me behind and suddenly it was Christmas and that got me even more behind and now I’ve only got a few thoughts about anything because it was months ago that I read it and the list of books I’ve finished is as long as my arm.

I know, I know, why don’t I just skip a few?

Because they were wonderful books and I don’t want to forget them.

I loved this book. There. That’s my thought.

Last movie I watched: The start of Star Trek Beyond. I’m a little disappointed but maybe it’ll pick up shortly.

Last TV episode I watched: Supernatural. One of the tail end of season 11. God’s back, so that’s neat.

It’s getting more magical!

Cainesville Book 2: Visions by Kelley Armstrong

Everyone is really lucky I couldn’t figure out  how to spell the excited noises I shouted when I finished this book. Otherwise this blog post would have just been a string of crazy excited noises spelled out.

Because I want to encourage people to read these books (because they are awesome) I’m going to try not to spoil anything. But I’m pretty sure there’s no way to do this without spoiling a little bit of Omens, the first book in the series. So, if you think there’s the slightest change you’d enjoy this series (and if you don’t think you would, I’m sorry) leave now.Just go.

Visions takes place soon after the events of Omens, when Olivia returns to parent’s home to get some of her stuff . When she returns to her car she finds a dead body sitting in it. After this terrifying incident Gabrielle and Olivia are on the case again, not only trying to clear her biological parents of the six murders they are still serving time for but also investigating the death of this young woman. And it turns out, investigating the murder of this young women will bring them closer and closer to the secret of Cainesville, reveal some new enemies and lead them to some new allies.

Where the first book was a weird but exciting blend of science fiction and magic, this book is definitely leaning more to the magical side, and I’m pretty excited about it. The story draws on a lot of mythological history but also very subtly. As more of the residents of Cainesville start to show their real identities the mix of first person and third person narration makes it practically impossible not to speculate about who’s who and shout agitatedly at Olivia and Gabrielle as they fumble around the truth. Or maybe other people don’t talk to fictional characters. It made it nearly impossible for me not to anyway.

While I don’t necessarily advocate monitoring what children and teens are reading based on content  this book has a lot more sex than the last one, so it probably belongs in the adult section of the library. But if you are okay with the sex, like a little romance, a little mystery, a little science fiction, a little fantasy or a mix of any of these, I really can’t emphasis enough how much you’ll like this book.

That’s all I can say about that without telling everyone about all the amazing things i’m going to accidentally spoil for them.

Last movie I watched: About Time. Still a favourite

Last TV episode I watched: Love it or List It maybe? DAMN IT HILARY.

YA vampire Romance that’s still better than Twilight

House of Night: Chosen by Kirsten Cast and P. C. Cast

Alright so I really, really meant to start this series from the beginning but I didn’t. Someone I trusted told me it was the first book. It wasn’t and I realized it and was going to stop. But then I had an inconvenient lunch break and I had nothing else to do so I had to read it.

I regret it because it was great and now the first two books are kind of ruined for me so I don’t get to enjoy their greatness. But I also don’t regret it because it was great.

The story picks up, I assume where the last book left off.  Zoey’s best friend Stevie Rae has died and come back as a… well no one’s quite sure. Everything’s going well with Eric, her fledgling boyfriend other than one thing – she’s imprinted on her former human boyfriend Heath. And suddenly Loren, one of the teachers, is talking about how much he wants her. On top of all that, Zoey knows Neferet, a teacher and high priestess, has something to do with Stevie Rae’s death and she can’t tell anyone – not her boyfriends, not her best friends, not even her family. But there’s one person she might be able to – her worst enemy Aphrodite.

As far as teen paranormal fiction goes, there’s a lot of good stuff in this book. On the teen front there’s a lot of fun and genuine teen experiences, or at least wish fulfillment. Having 3 hot potential boyfriends, one of whom is much older and talks about how you’re the only person who’s ever made him feel that way may not be completely realistic but boyfriend drama, group dynamics, keeping secrets and family tension are all things teens will relate to really well. Unlike a lot of love triangles, or in this case love squares I guess?, it’s really hard to guess which one Zoey really loves and the Casts do a great job of showing what she loves about each of them. Her circle of friends, all of whom are pretty fun and well developed for secondary characters have a great dynamic and realistic response to Zoey keeping secrets from them. Zoey also struggles with her family – her mother and stepfather are slowly severing ties with her, but it’s messy. You know, like a real family.

The paranormal aspect is pretty neat too. The world building is comprehensive and beautiful and I love the focus on Nyx, the goddess of vampires. The rituals, the elements and the process of becoming a vampire are all beautiful, original twists that make a lot more sense then “they sparkle”.

This book also did a good job of seamlessly incorporating characters who could use some representation. Zoey is Aboriginal and details included in her identity without making her into a stereotype. Her friends Damien and Jack are gay but their relationship is more important, which is unusual – they aren’t Jack from Will and Grace, they’re a couple who have separate and overlapping identities. I’m pretty pleased with that.

I’m going to read the whole series, you know, one day when I have time to do nothing but read and happily recommend it in the meantime.

Last TV show I watched:

Unbreakable Kimmy Smitt. LOVE IT.

Last movie I watched:

The Backup Plan. Babies are cute.