Posted in Art, Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (8/9/22) – That Dark Infinity (ft. my fanart!)

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I wasn’t able to go to the library last week, so I went through the Kindle library for books to read. I was in a fantasy mood for no rhyme or reason for most of the week, and That Dark Infinity presented itself. My expectations were average, but this book turned out to be one of the most creative fantasies that I’ve read in a long time!

Enjoy this week’s review!

That Dark Infinity – Kate Pentecost

The Ankou is an infamous, immortal monster hunter, but few know his true secret: while he’s still immortal, a curse made it so that during the day, he’s nothing more than a pile of bones. All he wants is to break the curse—and be able to die.

Flora is the former handmaiden of the princess of Kaer-Ise, but after her kingdom is sacked and she’s left for dead, she goes on the run. Looking for work, she seeks the Ankou to become a monster hunter like him. His only condition is that she help break his curse that’s kept him immortal. But the price of breaking the curse may be greater than she ever could have imagined.

TW/CW: off-page rape, rape/sexual assault-related trauma, violence, murder, body horror, suicidal ideation, descriptions of illness

I remember liking Kate Pentecost’s previous novel, Elysium Girls, but I didn’t have any expectations for That Dark Infinity. But to my surprise, it blew me away—one of the most inventive YA fantasy standalones that I’ve read in ages!

Let’s start off with the worldbuilding, which was a good portion of what made That Dark Infinity so unique! Pentecost doesn’t shy away from pushing the boundaries of the genre, and it really shows. Not only do we have classic fantasy settings filled with strange monsters, but there are also more industrializing parts of the kingdom, with buildings made of copper and automatons! There are tons of interesting creatures, from the hydra-like monster in the water system to giant eagles large enough to ride like horses. It all felt so imaginative, and even amidst the darker themes of the book, pure fun.

The main characters were so incredibly endearing as well! I haven’t come across a character quite like the Ankou/Lazarus in a while; his curse is so unique, and the way that Pentecost handles how it affects both his physical and mental health was so well-thought-out and detailed. He’s both caustically sarcastic and incredibly thoughtful and tender, which is a refreshing combination after years of male YA fantasy characters who were all aloofness. (Plus, can’t deny that he’s got a 10/10 wardrobe) Flora was also a lovely protagonist, so authentically written and wonderfully determined! I love the bisexual rep, and I also love the fact that Pentecost didn’t take the easy way out and automatically throw her into a romance with the Ankou; giving them a platonic relationship was a much wiser (and sweeter) decision, and romance would’ve been weird with him. (Still scarred by many years of authors pairing up their teenage protagonists with love interests who are 100+ years old…)

That Dark Infinity‘s depiction of trauma was also incredibly respectful, which was, again, very refreshing. It’s implied off-page that Flora is raped, but instead of that being a plot point just to amp up the drama in the book and give her a Tragic Backstory™️, her trauma and healing journey is a consistent part of the book. Her healing journey is one that I rarely see in fantasy books, and I’m so glad Pentecost included it as more than an afterthought. And another addition to why I love the Ankou—he was also incredibly considerate when her triggers resurfaced, making their friendship all the more strong. Again—I’d be hard-pressed to find a male protagonist written quite like this, and I’m grateful for both Flora and the Ankou as characters.

My only major gripe with That Dark Infinity was the ending. It was a…weird way to resolve the book, to say the least? Without spoiling it, I’ll say that it felt rather rushed, but in the end, the very last twist made me like it a little more. Even though it took a roundabout way to get there, I liked that Flora and the Ankou got their hopeful endings.

Also—the Ankou/Lazarus was such a fun character design-wise that I decided to draw him! I haven’t shared any art of mine on my blog since middle school (we don’t talk about how this blog was in middle school 🫥), but I figured it would be an artistic challenge (since I’ve never really drawn skulls without a reference) and a fun addition to the review. So here we are—my interpretation of the Ankou!

credit to madeline @ The Bookish Mutant

and here’s my sketch/practice page, just for fun:

credit to madeline @ The Bookish Mutant

All in all, an inventive standalone fantasy that was tender, inventive, and truly one of a kind. 4.5 stars!

That Dark Infinity is a standalone, but Kate Pentecost is also the author of Elysium Girls.

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Art, Geeky Stuff, Random

In which I paint a 3D-Printed Nightcrawler

Happy Friday, bibliophiles!

This is definitely a different post from what I usually do, but I had a lot of fun with this little project, and I thought I’d share it over here. 🙂

Some of my relatives came over to visit recently, and they gave me this amazing 3D-printed model of Nightcrawler from X-Men! (Thank you so much! And here’s the original model, if you want to check it out) So as a short project, I decided to paint him. This was my first time painting any kind of 3D-printed model, so this was a lot of fun!

Here he is before I started painting him.

First, I had to spray him down with some primer so that the paint would look a little better on him. It took a few coats because I missed some spots (read: a lot of spots), so it took about three or four spray-downs to get him mostly covered.

These were a few of the acrylic paints that I used for him, and here he is next to the general set up. (Big thank you to my mom for letting me borrow her paints hehe)

Pin on Nightcrawler ( Kurt Wagner) - X MEN

This is the general costume color scheme that I tried to go for. I didn’t need a whole lot of colors for it – red, black, and white for the costume, yellow for the X badge and his eyes, and blue for his skin. I found this great iridescent blue for his skin – it was definitely a little finicky on the first coat, but once I got a few coats on, it looked really cool!

Day 1 of painting! I got all of the colors on except for the black on that day, and I listened to a whole bunch of Car Seat Headrest the whole time.

Day 2! I got all of the colors laid down, and I added more coats to the colors I had already added. It still looked a little messy, but it was on its way! (And it’s a bit hard to tell, but the gloves and boots are painted too – they were just iridescent white.)

And here’s the final product! The last day of painting was just cleaning everything up (and painting the X on the badge). I was super happy with how it turned out – the paint on his skin and the black part of his costume looks so nice and shiny! He now sits on my bookshelf…right above my Nightcrawler funko pop. (Comfort characters, anyone?)

So there you have it! For my first time painting a 3D-printed model, I’m pretty proud of myself.

Today’s song:

The chords remind me a little bit of “How to Disappear Completely”

That’s it for this little painting post! Have a wonderful rest of your day, take care of yourselves, and remember: mutant and proud!

Posted in Art, Book Tags, Books, Geeky Stuff, Music

Anything But Books Tag

Happy Thursday, fellow bibliophiles!

 

I was tagged by A Little Haze Book Blog to take part in the Anything But Books Tag, and I’m so excited to participate!

Alright, let’s get started…

 

Name a cartoon character that you love.

Okay, technically, he was a comic character first, but Forager from Young Justice: Outsiders is absolutely precious.

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What is your favorite song right now?

Ooh…hard to pick, but at the moment, I’d probably have to go with “Fake Plastic Trees” by Radiohead. Never fails to fill every fiber of my being with emotion…

 

What could you do for hours that isn’t reading? 

Drawing and writing, most likely. I’d add playing guitar as well, but…yeah, my fingers could not withstand playing guitar for hours. They’d never forgive me.

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What is something that you love to do that your followers would be surprised by?

I love to go ALL OUT for Halloween. Whether or not I end up trick-or-treating, I try to at least wear my costume to school. I was Liz Sherman from Hellboy last year, which was super fun 🙂 I dyed my hair red and everything!

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What is your favorite unneccessarily specific thing to learn about?

Cephalopod biology, hands down. They’re such a fascinating group of creatures; I have fond memories of spending an entire period in 6th grade watching a documentary on cuttlefish 🙂

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What is something unusual that you know how to do?

Um…

I don’t think I have any *unusual* talents, per se, but I can kind of make a kazoo noise with my mouth…

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Name something you’ve made in the last year, and show us if you can.

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I just finished this up a few weeks ago! It was a 22 x 30 drawing in Prismacolor  colored pencils, for my advanced art class. Recognize her? 😉

 

What is your most recent personal project?

I don’t have anything *super* personal, but I did pick up some watercolors after several years of not touching a paintbrush. This was the end result:

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Dark Phoenix!

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Tell us something that you think about often (especially when looking out windows).

It’s inevitable that every time I stare out a window, I drift into the recesses of my mind, where my story ideas start playing like movies.

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Give us something that is your favorite, but make it oddly specific.

I love watching X-Men movies (no, duh, Sherlock), but at night, curled up in a blanket downstairs, and preferably with some snacks and in the company of my cats.

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Say the first thing that pops into your head.

They did surgery on a grape.

I’m so incredibly sorry to bring that back.

I’ve created a monster

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I tag:

 

Thank you so much for reading this post! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Art

A Day at Natura Obscura

Surprise, surprise, this ISN’T a book review!

 

Today, I just wanted to take some time to catalogue my recent experience at Natura Obscura, an exhibit in the Museum of Outdoor Art (MOA) in Englewood, CO.

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Natura Obscura is an interactive art exhibit, a combination of sculptures, recycled materials, and technology. Its theme is a bizarre sort of fantastical, nighttime forest, where strange creatures dwell in every nook and cranny. With an app on your phone, you can tour certain parts; the tour is activated by scanning your camera over one of six wooden medallions, which have pictures of  forest spirits carved into them.

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This was an illustration of three of the six spirits. Each one represented something different (ex. mountains, water, plains). I immensely enjoyed how much attention to detail was put in to creating this exhibit.

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We were also given little UV flashlights upon entering the exhibit. When you waved them around, they revealed that many elements in the exhibit were decorated with blacklight-activated paint. Often, the light revealed these tiny little creatures, which were hidden all over the exhibit.

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Other times, the light revealed drawings of leaves and hidden quotes on the floor. I got a few incredible quotes out of that morning.

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Also, the laces of my Converse glow under a blacklight. Go figure.

 

Another path in the exhibit led to the Cabinet of Curiosities. This was a smaller exhibit, but by no means worse than Natura Obscura. It was filled from floor to ceiling with odd, Victorian artifacts, mirrors. There was even an audiobook recording of Alice in Wonderland being played in the background.

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There were loads of classic fairy tale and nursery rhyme Easter eggs thrown in the mix as well–the rose from Beauty and the Beast, a fishtank with a quote from The Little Mermaid, Dorothy’s slippers…even the shattered remains of Humpty Dumpty.

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Lewis Carroll would have definitely gotten a kick out of the whole thing.

 

If you’re in the Colorado area, I highly recommend that you visit this museum! I believe that Natura Obscura is a travelling exhibit, so catch it while you can. You won’t regret it.