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)
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.
That’s it for this little painting post! Have a wonderful rest of your day, take care of yourselves, and remember: mutant and proud!
Happy Sunday, bibliophiles, and for those of you in the U.S., happy fourth! I still find it hard to be proud of my country sometimes, but it’s my personal belief that recognizing the flaws in your country and wanting to change them is patriotic. And hey, at least Trump’s out of office, right? It’s been so nice to not have to worry about my human rights being taken away…
(I swear it’s a coincidence that I’m reading The Handmaid’s Tale today…)
[ahem] anyway, it’s been a pretty nice week. We got a whole lot of rain last week, and now it’s starting to get warm again, which is always nice. I got a lot of reading done, but part of it’s because a) I read a lot of somewhat short books and b) I ended up having my first DNF of the year, so… [sad harmonica]
Writing’s been going well too! I started Camp NaNoWriMo on Thursday, and I’d say it’s going well so far. I accidentally misunderstood the word count goal feature for the whole “working on a draft you’ve already started” thing, and now that’s a little screwed up, but I’m trying to get it fixed, so it should be fine.
Other than that, I’ve just been making/organizing my playlists, watching Loki (AAAAH THAT LAST EPISODE) and Mars Attacks!, volunteering at the library, and playing Minecraft. I also got to make a trip to my favorite bookstores, and I have some books I’m super excited for lined up next week!
Happy Wednesday, bibliophiles! I hope this last Wednesday of June has treated you well.
It’s finally summer, and now we’re halfway through 2021! Crazy to think about, but honestly? Good riddance. Online school was horrendous. But now that’s all done for, and I still have a bit more free time before I go back to school.
Summer has freed up a lot more time to blog, which I’ve enjoyed! Even though I took a break with my vacation, I had time to make a lot of posts that were loads of fun to write.
And my vacation! Being in an airport for the first time since mid-2019 was…weird, to say the least, but Glacier National Park was beautiful! Being back in nature for a solid week definitely mended up some of the pieces that learning from a screen broke down.
Somehow, June has been one of my lowest reading months, though. I think it’s partly because while I was reading on vacation, I spread the three books I bought out a little bit more, but hey, I’m officially halfway to my goal of 250 books for the year! (I’m at 132 right now.) I also read a lot of great queer stuff for pride month, and I found some amazing books as a result. (But hey! Read queer all year long!) I hope you all had a lovely pride month. As always, here’s a reminder: you are loved, you are valid, you are beautiful, and nobody has a say in your identity except for YOU. ❤️🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️
I’ve made some good progress with my sci-fi WIP as well! I had a nasty case of creative block for a few days after getting back from Montana, but with a little help from sci-fi Pinterest and my sketchbook, I’m back on track. I just passed 100 pages yesterday!!
Other than that, I’ve just been drawing little aliens, getting back to volunteering at the library, watching Loki and Invincible, and enjoying the warmer weather.
Also, I changed my profile picture to Rabbi Milligan from Fargo on a whim…hey, why not?
READING AND BLOGGING:
I managed to read 20 books this month! Not as many as I would’ve liked to, but at least I got to make some trips to my favorite bookstore. Didn’t have any 5-stars that weren’t re-reads, but I have a few 4.5-star reads that I adored!
Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you well.
It’s been kind of a semi-quiet summer week for me, which I’m not complaining about in the slightest. I had a lot of time to read, I did some drawing and writing, and I hung out and got ice cream with one of my closest friends! Since I was fully remote for all of last year for school, I hadn’t really hung out with anyone since…oh, probably 2019, so it was so lovely to see her again.
Reading-wise, I had a bit of a hit-or-miss week; I read a lot, but almost every other book I read was just kind of meh. I did find an AMAZING read though, and I can’t wait to review it next week! The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Seamade my heart so happy, but more on that later…
As for writing, it’s also been a toss-up; I had a few days this week where I cranked out a whole bunch of words for scenes I really liked, but then the motivation would fade away a little bit. Last night I could barely write, even though I’m switching to the POV of my favorite character, so hopefully I can get my motivation back into gear…
Other than that, I finished Invincible (That finale was BRUTAL), caught up on Loki (BI RIGHTS), listened to a lot of Gorillaz and the new Car Seat Headrest covers EP, and drove on the highway for the first time! I still need quite a few more hours before I can do my driver’s test, but I’m getting there!
I’ve been trying to think of more original posts to do, and I figured that this one would be something really fun to explore. I’ve seen a lot of posts talking about tropes, but genre-specific ones are always interesting to think about/discuss, and in much of the YA book fandom, I feel like sci-fi doesn’t get as much love. So I decided to look at six tropes that are specific to sci-fi (for the most part). Sci-fi is my favorite genre, so I got super excited thinking about all of these different tropes, and some (mostly) YA books that use them in different ways.
So let’s begin, shall we?
WARNING: This post may contain some book spoilers (Aurora Cycle & Dare Mighty Things series), so read at your own risk!
CRYOSLEEP, BUT FOR WAY TOO LONG
Ellen Ripley – and Aliens in particular – probably set the blueprint for this one, but as the trope gets more popular, authors have started to push the limits on this one, which I think is a really cool move.
It’s most often the protagonist that this happens to – our hero, on the eve of something great, is put into cryosleep for an interplanetary mission, only for something to go terribly awry and stay in cryosleep for longer than they were supposed to. Ripley got an accidental 50 years, Auri from Aurora Risinggot 200 years, and Andra from Goddess in the Machinegot a whopping 1,000 years.
This trope presents two main advantages for writing: a vehicle for exploring the novel’s world through fresh eyes, and internal conflict within the character. If your cryosleep character is completely unfamiliar with the world, seeing it through their eyes gives the reader a more in-depth look at the world than they’d get with a character that’s already familiar with it. They’ll inevitably notice more things and fixate on different things than another character might, which gives the reader more insight about what’s unique about the world that the author has crafted.
As for the internal conflict piece, this part’s always touched on, but in most of the novels I’ve read with it, it’s a lot more shallow than you’d think. There’s the existential crisis that inevitably occurs when the character realizes that everything they know and love is all but gone, but beyond the first few chapters from their POV, they get over it…relatively quickly? It seems like the kind of trauma that would leave lasting psychological scars, and probably physical health repercussions as well. I’ve yet to read any book that explores all that in depth, but it seems like the perfect setup for a sci-fi novel.
So this one’s a trope that can make for a lot of creative choices, but often has a lot of untapped potential.
GOTTEN INTO A SITUATION YOU CAN’T GET OUT OF? TIME TRAVEL!
Apparently this one is a lot more common than I thought, but I’ve only started to see it in YA more recently. (Well, there’s Avengers: Endgame, but it took me a while to realize how common of a trope it is…)
This trope has the possibility of ENDLESS freaky hijinks whilst traversing through time. Sometimes it’s just pushing the events of the past so that everything lines up a little bit nicer, and sometimes it’s rocketing back to another time period entirely. It usually happens only with the last book in a trilogy or duology, just so everyone can fix the mess they got into in the first books.
I have mixed feelings on this one; one the one hand, there’s never a dull moment – time travel jokes, fitting VERY badly into a different time period, and very high stakes, most of all. If the first books have followed a similar formula, it might be good to try for something else to end the series with a bang.
On the other, though, something about it almost feels…lazy to me. Often, this trope arises from The Gang™️ getting a situation so bad that there may not be a feasible way out of it, but…maybe they could? If done wrong, it can feel like lazy writing – an easy way out, and one that provides instant comic relief. And often, the means of said time travel are vague, and often reduced to technobabble from The Smart Character™️, which, hey, I don’t know much about the science of it either, but maybe at least put a little time into it?
So this one’s a double-edged sword: instant plot, or lazy writing? The choice is yours!
*this one doesn’t come out until November [screams] but we know that time travel will play a big part in this one, so…
ALIENS THAT BASICALLY JUST LOOK LIKE HUMANS (BUT WITH A FEW MINOR DIFFERENCES)
Most of the other tropes I’m going to be discussing in this post are ones that I like on some level, but…this one gets on my nerves. For the most part.
Far too many times, I’ve fallen into the trap of picking up a sci-fi book that promises aliens, only to discover that the aliens just look like humans, but with either a) unusual eye colors, b) some sort of powers, or c) a combination of both. And of course, they have to be ✨ridiculously attractive✨ as well. 🙄
Now, I completely get making your aliens humanoid (hey, I’m doing it with some of my aliens for my sci-fi WIP), but there’s a certain point where it feels a bit lazy. Unless there’s some way you can back it up, it seems weird to me that in this entire universe, the only other intelligent beings, by some cosmic chance, are similar to us in almost every way.
But I’ve seen some authors use it to their advantage – in particular, One Giant Leap(the sequel to Dare Mighty Things) does this especially well. The main alien civilization there look exactly like humans, but it’s because of genetic modifications performed so that they could survive on Earth. See? That’s actually a really good way of turning the trope on its head, and doing so in a practical way!
For the most part, this trope never ceases to bug me, but there’s a few ways to turn it on its head.
For me, at least, this trope is the most fun – and it presents some of the scariest and most formidable antagonists in sci-fi.
Villainous AI are some of the most fascinating characters to explore – they have unmatched power, in some cases, and whether they’re a pre-installed ship AI or an android, it’s always interesting to hear their perspective on all of us puny mortals.
Given that humans trust AI a bit *too* much in most sci-fi novels, they often have a fearsome amount of power at their disposal. AI installed inside of a ship? Access to all the security footage, navigation, communications, and controls of the ship. They know their crew up and down, and have the possibility to play everybody’s weaknesses against each other. They have the power to sabotage anything and everything, and more often than not, they do. WITHOUT HESITATION. A corrupt AI often harbors a hatred or jealousy of human beings, and if it’s not that motivating them, it’s some sort of technologically-stemmed god complex, which is always terrifying to watch play out. (Lookin’ right at you, David…) It’s even more of an interesting development if their moral compass shifts over the course of the series – if there’s one thing I’ve learned from sci-fi, it’s that benevolent robot overlords never stay benevolent for very long.
Corrupt AI as antagonists are often more compelling than human or alien ones (for me, at least) partly because so much is left up to the imagination about the inner workings of their minds. We’ve never developed any kind of artificial intelligence that’s become intelligent enough to have devious tendencies like many sci-fi villains, so a lot of it is the author’s personal choice. There are endless possibilities – but more often than not, they’re all terrifying.
And even if they aren’t main antagonists, the addition of a slight unstable AI as a character is always amusing; for all of its flaws, I loved Gregorovich’s existential musings in To Sleep in a Sea of Stars, and his character added some much-needed flavor to the rest of the cast.
TL;DR: There’s nothing more terrifying than a villain that knows everything about everything, and uses that power for its own gain at whatever the cost.
HIGH-STAKES COMPETITIONS TO GO TO SPACE…WITH SOME SERIOUS ULTERIOR MOTIVES
Scared to send your experienced, highly intelligent scientists to space? Send some teenagers instead!
This one tends to crop up the most in YA, as it’s primed for a book that has a primarily teenage cast. The ones I’ve read do tend to follow a formula, but for the most part, it’s one that’s actually a lot of fun!
The worldbuilding/motives behind it are always a little bit messy (again: sending teenagers into space! What could possibly go wrong?), but often times, you just have to hang in there; it’s a given that whatever program is funding the competition is doing something astronomically shady. (No pun intended.) Part of the fun with this trope is the mystery of it; slowly but surely, the competition starts dropping like flies, and things go very wrong very quickly.
More on the mystery aspect – the mystery that often occurs in these types of novels is very slow-burn, building on itself before the heartstopping reveal at the end (often a cliffhanger). From program superiors lying to scheming androids to deaths under mysterious circumstances, there are endless possibilities for many, many things to go wrong. Add in the not-so-friendly rivalries between the competitors (also scheming, along with everybody else), and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a nail-biting sci-fi mystery.
And once/if they get to space? Everything gets way worse. There’s bound to be aliens, but whether they’re intelligent or just parasitic, things are bound to go way, way south. But there’s never a dull moment – there’s no shortage of suspense, and our protagonist is often at a loss as to how to escape their situation.
Plus, for reasons I’ve yet to figure out, these ones always tend to have the most clever pop culture references. (See: all of the Radiohead songs in the Final Six duology)
EXPLORING OTHER PLANETS GOES VERY, VERY WRONG (Or, “Don’t do intergalactic colonialism, kids”)
Here’s another common – but by no means overdone – trope that’s always open to endless possibilities!
Because our planet was never enough, apparently (or if we destroyed it…probably), there’s a whole host of sci-fi stories that are set on entirely new planets, with the sole goal of making them a new home for humankind. But just like with our planet, it’s always unpredictable, whether you’re dealing with a foreign contagion, carnivorous wildlife, or superiors who aren’t what they seem.
I’m always a nerd for creature design in sci-fi, and life on other worlds presents all sort of possibilities for creatures lurking in the bushes. Whether it’s flora or fauna, exploring these sci-fi worlds along with the characters is an adventure, especially if the author is particularly creative. Of course, most of the wildlife ends up being carnivorous, or malicious on some level, so there’s all sorts of danger lurking.
But beyond that, this trope is often a great commentary on colonialism. Human history is rife with frightening periods of raping and pillaging land that wasn’t ours to begin with at the cost of those who originally lived there; telling the same story on alien planets serves as a particularly potent comment on the malicious tendency of our species to overstep and overstay our welcome. Books like A Conspiracy of Starsand The Pioneer explore what happens when humanity comes in contact with intelligent life and unlawfully sets foot on their land; both of them do an amazing job of exploring the intricacies of the political implications, as well as the tense conflict that results. I think sci-fi as a genre is one of the best mediums for raising commentary on this kind of thing. Exploring new frontiers in space is bound to happen once we get the technology, but we must always ask ourselves if it’s the right thing to do. Just because we can doesn’t necessarily mean that we should. (Let’s be real: I would be SO excited if we found evidence of life elsewhere in the universe, but…let’s not have a repeat of all of human history, okay?)
TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK! What are your favorite/least favorite tropes in sci-fi? Have you read any of the books I listed, and what were your thoughts? This’ll probably be one of several posts on the subject, so I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!
That’s it for this post! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!
As promised, here’s the sequel to the Zodiac Book Tag, the music tag. I love music almost as much as I love books, so this is a perfect fit for me! As with the book tag, this was created by Swift Walker @ Just Dreamland.
And YOU! If I didn’t tag you and you want to do this tag, then go ahead! And if I tagged you and you’ve already done it/don’t want to do it, my bad. (Consider yourself tagged for the book tag as well!)
Since this post is full of songs, just consider everything in here today’s song.
That’s it for this music tag! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!
Happy Friday, bibliophiles! I suppose that the bibliophile greeting doesn’t *quite* fit for this post, but hey, you probably followed this blog for books, right? Today, we’ve got something a little bit different–but at least I kept my promise, didn’t I? I hinted at doing a review for at least a week prior to today…
At the beginning of quarantine, my brother and my parents had just started binging Fargo. So like so many of us have done with different shows in the last 6 months, I starting doing some serious binge-watching. I’d already been exposed to Noah Hawley’s masterful storytelling through Legion, but Fargo never ceased to wow me. I forgot about it for a few months after finishing up season 3, and then the trailer for season 4 came out in September. I didn’t see it coming, but little did I know that this newest season would be my favorite yet!
Here’s the special thing about Fargo: each season follows a plot that, chances are, you’ve seen before: murder mysteries in small towns, sibling rivalries escalated to astronomical proportions, dysfunctional crime families; this season, in particular, centers around the politics of rivaling Italian and African-American gangs in 1950s Kansas City, and a mortician’s family who unwillingly gets caught up in the action. But every season, without fail, Noah Hawley spins it into something that you’ve never seen before, be it with the characters, the cinematography, and the plot twists (and there’s a LOT of plot twists). Fargo is all about the unexpected, and season 4 brings the factor of the unknown and unseen up to levels that I haven’t seen since…well, I guess that season 3 ending…(no spoilers.)
And maybe I’m biased for this one. October was one of the hardest months I’ve had in quite a while, and Fargo was, without a doubt, one of the things that kept me going through it. As the season came out, my days started to revolve around the Monday nights that would inevitably bring another episode to fuel me with enough dopamine to keep me going through the rest of the week. But I genuinely believe that this show embodies what storytelling should be–what good TV should be, really. And this season has truly cemented Fargo as my favorite show. (And considering that I don’t readily jump for murder mysteries/historical fiction, that’s definitely saying something. That’s just the power of Noah Hawley, folks…)
Now, TREAD LIGHTLY! This review may contain some minor spoilers, but for your benefit, I’ll try to keep it light on them. But even so, be warned…
I…can’t really find anything major that I didn’t like about this season, so consider this review a breakdown of most everything that I loved.
Characters/casting/acting: With every Fargo season, there’s no shortage of complex characters and masterful actors (for previous seasons, see: Martin Freeman, Bokeem Woodbine, Jean Smart, Ewan McGregor, David Thewlis, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, etc.), but season 4 in particular had them in no short supply. I loved all of the (HUGE) main cast and many of the supporting characters, but for one reason or another, this is the first season where I’ve gotten really attached to more than one character. And considering that Fargo is one of those shows that 75%-80% of the main cast is killed off by the time the finale rolls around, it…didn’t go over well with my emotions. But in all seriousness, THESE CHARACTERS!
Let me just digress to talk about my three favorites in this season:
Doctor Senator (Glynn Turman): let’s be honest, what’s not to like? He consistently has some of the best lines/general dialogue in this season, he’s strategic, he’s clever, and he’s instantly likable. I’ll get more in depth on the morally gray theme of the whole season later on in the review, but leave it to Fargo to make us AGGRESSIVELY sympathize with all manner of mobsters and criminals…anyways, this guy’s the best.
Ethelrida Smutny (E’myri Crutchfield): LOVE HER! She’s one of the few characters in this season who’s morally right and seeks to do the right thing, and she is such a lovable character in every way. She’s frequently underestimated by most of the adults in this season, but she shows herself to not only be smart–smarter than them, in some cases–, but compassionate and determined to do the right thing. The world needs more people like Ethelrida.
And last but most definitely not least…
Patrick “Rabbi” Milligan (Ben Whishaw): [SCREAMS AND CRIES INTO THE VOID]
Out of the three I just mentioned, he’s absolutely my favorite. He’s endured so much tragedy and trauma over the course of his life, but all he wants is for Satchel to have a better life. Again, no shortage of clever and insightful lines, and objectively one of those characters that just needs a big hug and a mug of hot chocolate. Just…just trust me on that one. You’ll see.
But as far as characters, it doesn’t stop there. Everybody, from Chris Rock (Loy Cannon) to Jason Schwartzman (Josto Fadda) to Jessie Buckley (Oraetta Mayflower) truly shines in season 4. Each character is distinct, complex, and it was an absolute joy to see all of their stories unfold. (Also, it’s worth it just to see Jason Schwartzman just SNAP…that scene of him just pretending to hold a gun and just go “HAGAGAGAGAGHGHAGSDHAGHGHGH” just lives rent-free in my mind now…)
(Plus…THE GAYS WON 2020, EVERYBODY! Can we just talk about how Zelmare and Swanee INVENTED “be gay, do crime?”)
Whew, that went on for a while. BUT WAIT–THERE’S MORE, BECAUSE THIS SHOW IS VERY NEARLY FLAWLESS:
Score and soundtrack: At this point, I think it’s just impossible for Jeff Russo to ever make a bad score for a movie or a TV show. Besides all of the remixes of the music from previous seasons, I loved all of the new songs. I particularly liked Odis (Jack Huston)’s theme (somehow it almost sounds like a car alarm? But in a good way) and the Legion-y song with the shootout with Zelmare and Swanee at the train station. And I loved all of the other songs that were slipped in. No spoilers for the context of the Johnny Cash song in the finale, but when I tell you that I SOBBED…
Timely themes: One of the main complaints I’ve seen about this season is that it’s “too woke,” (🙄) which I think is utterly idiotic. This season’s set in 1950, but it’s more timely than ever–there’s discussions of race, police brutality, immigration, and what it means to be an American. And it’s all handled quite well, I think. One thing I’ve always appreciated about the show as a whole is how it depicts the American police system–for the first three seasons, there’s usually 1-2 cops that actually know what they’re doing, but they’re frequently dismissed by a largely unbelieving and sexist police force. This season is the first where we have both of our main cops as largely corrupt, but we still sympathize with one of them (PTSD relating to WWII). Most of the characters are morally gray as well (I mean, most of the main cast are members of separate gangs), and that contrast was also well-done.
That classic, Noah Hawley weirdness: in every season, there’s at least one episode or plot point that’s highly out of the ordinary, and lucky for us, we got that in the form of episode 9. Besides having a whole episode of Rabbi and Satchel after not seeing them for two episodes, there’s an amazing Wizard of Oz theme with the whole episode. I’ll shamelessly admit to thinking about it for a solid WEEK.
All the Coen Brothers references, of course: Treehorn? The Raising Arizona screaming? Everything that I missed? LOADS OF FUN.
All in all, this was a masterful show from start to finish. My favorite season out of the four, by far, although I love them all. I’m already rewatching the whole season over again…
MY RATING: ★★★★★
TW/CW: Graphic violence (mostly gunshot wounds, but there’s some parts that definitely made me queasy), racism, xenophobia, police brutality, some brief racist/homophobic/ablelist slurs, poisoning, loss of loved ones, alcoholism/substance abuse
EDIT: Whoooooooa, apparently this is my 500th post! Dang…😳
That’s it for this TV review! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!
This one hasn’t been on my TBR for very long, but I did a Goodreads Monday on it back in January. Aside from the fact that…well, the book basically deals with the zombie apocalypse (forgot about that when I put it on hold), I figured it would be a good read for quarantine. And I was not disappointed in the least! All at once irreverently funny and a beautiful testament to the power of nature.
S.T. is a crow, living a comfortable life after being rescued as a chick by a man named Big Jim. Along with Big Jim’s dim-witted bloodhound, Dennis, they live in peaceful harmony just outside of Seattle. But when Big Jim begins acting strangely and lashing out, S.T. faces an unfortunate truth–Big Jim will never be the same again.
With Dennis at his side, S.T. must venture outside the comfort of his home and into the wild. Will they be able to find a cure for Big Jim’s malady–and potentially save the human race?
Hollow Kingdom was such a unique book! A wonderful deviation not only from your garden variety zombie apocalypse book, but very different from many written from the perspectives of animals.
S.T. has the most clever, irreverent voice–often colorful in language, but capable of deep reverence and wisdom as well. The intellect and mannerisms of these intelligent birds made for no shortage of hysterical interactions and observations between him and the other creatures he encounters, be it the language he picks up from Big Jim or his commentary on other types of animals. I don’t think I’ve laughed as much at a book since I read Good Omens last year.
Buxton clearly put so much detail into the lives and familial structures of all the animals, from the domestic ones to the murders of crows that S.T. and Dennis encounter on their travels. There’s even some little tidbits from other animals across the world, from a Polar bear in the Arctic Circle to a maniacal house cat not far from where S.T. used to live. Buxton’s reverence and love for the animal kingdom truly shines in this novel.
As someone who has grown up with a myriad of pets and watched David Attenborough’s documentaries almost religiously, I connected so much to this book. I haven’t read any books from the perspective of an animal in ages (mostly because I’ve moved over from more MG-leaning novels to YA ones, and animal POVs are incredibly rare in the latter), and Buxton does such an incredible job building this multilayered world of animals, wild and tame alike.
My only criticism is that part of the theme got a bit lost in the writing. Buxton mentions something about the cause of the zombie virus coming from technology, which is an obvious critique of our disconnection from nature and our coddling of electronics. However, the topic doesn’t resurface afterwards, which left me a little confused as to what Buxton was trying to say otherwise.
However, my criticism really ends there. All in all, a clever novel that strikes a perfect balance between flippant and reverent writing and shows a true respect for the natural world. 4.25 stars for me!
Hollow Kingdom is a standalone, and Kira Jane Buxton’s debut novel. At the moment, she has nothing else out, but I look forward to anything else she writes 🙂
(Woke up with this song stuck in my head…)
That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!
I know I’m *primarily* a book blog, but most of what I post outside of bookish content is music related, as apart from being a bibliophile, I’m a major music nerd as well. I found this tag over at Margaret @ Weird Zeal , and the tag was created by Sophie @ Me & Ink.
Link back to original so she can see your answers and listen to the tunes
For every prompt you choose to do, name 1-5 songs (you can use my graphics)
Have fun and play your music LOUD
Let’s begin, shall we? (I skipped a prompt or two because I couldn’t find anything for some of them, but here we go…)
“Lazarus”–David Bowie:The day that David Bowie died, I remember my dad driving my brother and I to school in silence as this song played.
“Day Go By”–Karen O.:I listened to this whole album while I was in Canada last year, and I remember listening to this one in a hotel in Drumheller.
“Exit Music (for a Film)”–Radiohead:I discovered OK Computer last year, and I remember being curled up at the entrance of the cafeteria, reading a collection of Tennyson’s poems while blasting this through my headphones. (Yes, I am That Kid™️)
“Hunky Dory”–David Bowie: My favorite album of all time, hands down. Perfection.
“Twin Fantasy”–Car Seat Headrest: WHAT AN ALBUM…OH MAN…
“OK Computer”–Radiohead: See above. Pure genius.
Hmm, let’s see…
“Once in a Lifetime”–Talking Heads: …just watch the video. You’ll see what I mean.
“Life on Mars?”–David Bowie: This was my halloween costume last year…
“It’s Oh So Quiet”–Björk: Sorry to repeat a song, but this video always cheers me up 🙂
I TAG ANY OF MY FELLOW MUSIC NERDS WHO WANT TO PARTICIPATE!
Since this tag is all about music, consider this entire tag today’s song…
That’s it for this tag! Hope you enjoyed this dip into the weirdness that is my taste in music…
Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!
Those of you who’ve been following this blog for a while know how much I love Car Seat Headrest. Ever since…oh, maybe 7th grade (?), their songs have never failed to enchant me and pull me in. So naturally, I was absolutely over-the-moon when I found out that they were releasing a new album in the form of Making a Door Less Open. After a few listens, however, I’m not quite disappointed, but I think I set my expectations too high. That isn’t to say that it isn’t a decent album, but I think they released all the good singles first.
Anyway, let’s get on with the review, shall we?
TRACK 1: “Weightlifters”–8.5/10
Now that is what I can an AMAZING start to an album. With the slow-burn effects, combined with Will Toledo’s signature, introspective lyrics, this is an absolute stunner of a first track. Probably my favorite of the songs that weren’t released as singles beforehand.
TRACK 2: “Can’t Cool Me Down”–10/10
This was the first single that was released, back in…March, I believe. A vastly new direction for Car Seat Headrest, but one that I enjoy thoroughly. Well-written and eternally catchy. Definitely the highlight of the album for me.
TRACK 3: “Deadlines (Hostile)”–8/10
This feels like something straight off of Teens of Denial, and if we’re talking about that album, it’s always a compliment. Lyrically poignant and musically pleasing, this one 100% contributes to the album’s strong start.
TRACK 4: “Hollywood”–8.5/10
Here we veer into a briefly punchy and screamy direction for CSH, and it’s in no way a bad thing. I’m interested to see that Andrew Katz (drummer & producer of this album, correct me if I’m wrong on the latter) is starting to contribute vocals, and though I didn’t care for it as much at first, but it meshes well with the overall feel with the song
IT’S KINDA GROOVY
TRACK 5: “Hymn (Remix)”–5/10
Eh…this is where the album starts to go downhill for me. It’s like they were trying to go more in the synthy direction of “Can’t Cool Me Down,” but it…didn’t work. Not much in the lyrics department, and a wholly unnecessary slathering of autotune and weirdness that ultimately sullies Will Toledo’s gorgeous voice.
God, I know I sound snooty, but personally, this is the worst song on the album…
TRACK 6: “Martin”–8.5/10
(First off, thank you to Will Toledo/Trait for retaining clean habits during these uncertain times…)
Such a sweet love song, with Toledo’s signature, beautiful lyrics. Catchy and unusually bright, considering most of the subject matter of…a good 75% of the rest of their discography.
TRACK 7: “Deadlines (Thoughtful)”–7.5/10
I feel like this is the weaker of the two “Deadlines,” but that’s not to say that I don’t like it. Though some of the effects don’t bug me, the a capella ending (starting at about 5:37) really manages to tug at my heartstrings.
TRACK 8: “What’s With You Lately”–7.5/10
Short and sweet just as depressing as you’d expect any CSH song to be. A tender meditation on creativity and seeing other people imitate your work. Also, we haven’t really heard Ethan Ives (guitar) contribute any other vocals other than backing vocals, so it’s cool to see him doing lead vocals on a song.
TRACK 9: “Life Worth Missing”–7/10
Certainly a decent song, and wonderful lyrically, but musically, it’s bordering on…spineless? With a song like this, it kind of needs punchy guitars throughout, and it almost gets there in the second half, but not quite enough to be potent.
TRACK 10: “There Must Be More Than Blood”–8.5/10
Another strong point on the album, this feels reminiscent of some of their older, longer songs, especially ones like “Famous Prophets (Stars)” and “Cosmic Hero”. Potent and tender, this one’s definitely one of the more memorable songs off of this album.
TRACK 11: “Famous”–6/10
Afer such a beautiful song as “There Must Be More Than Blood,” “Famous” feels like a letdown of an album closing. If not for the effects layered on the vocals, I probably would have liked it a lot better–the lyrics are incredible, but they almost get lost in all the discordant autotune layered over them. Eh.
I averaged out all of the song ratings, and it narrowed down to about a 7.7/10. I’d say that’s accurate–it’s certainly not a bad album, but it’s not nearly as mind-blowingly good as Teens of Denial or Twin Fantasy (Face to Face). There’s certainly a multitude of strong points (“Can’t Cool Me Down,” etc.), but the more mediocre tracks only serve to weight it down. A daring exploration into a new kind of sound for Car Seat Headrest, but one that had its highs and lows.
Since this post was an album review, you can…pretty much just consider the whole album for “Today’s song”.
That’s it for this album review! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!