Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (7/21/20)–The Burning Page (The Invisible Library, #3)

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

[sigh] I wish this review was different…after how much I enjoyed The Invisible Library, I’m saddened to see the direction that the series is going in. I could deal with The Masked City–maybe it was just a momentary lull–but for me, the series has gone from an inventive, inter-dimensional tale to something so much weaker. And while Cogman’s third installment in the Invisible Library was entertaining, it marks a disappointing turn in the series.

Enjoy this week’s review!

Amazon.com: The Burning Page (The Invisible Library Novel Book 3 ...

The Burning Page (The Invisible Library, #3)–Genevieve Cogman

Even though her apprentice Kai is out of harm’s way, Irene the Librarian has a far greater task on her hands–the salvation of the Library itself. Alberich, the dimension-swallowing entity that terrorized her not long ago, is on the hunt once more, and he’s out for blood. Meanwhile, the gateways that the Library uses to traverse across dimensions are malfunctioning rapidly, sometimes at the cost of the Librarian’s lives. Bent on saving their home, Irene, Kai, and Detective Vale travel to an alternate Russia, where all is not as it seems. Will they be able to save their beloved library?

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[Thom Yorke voice] (I’ve been) LEEEEEEEEEEEET DOOOOOOOWN—

Where to begin…

Compared to the genre-bending, adventurous thrill-ride of the first book, The Burning Page feels incredibly watered down. If The Masked City was the (possible) result of Cogman having used up her ideas, then this was the unfortunate after-product.

The plot felt tragically weak. It fell into the tragic trap of having a villain so powerful that…the readers don’t seem to care. Yes, he’s toyed with Irene and company before with some disastrous results, but there don’t seem to be any stakes. As much as I love Marvel, Alberich feels like some of the MCU’s worst villains (ex. Dormammu above)–they’re all powerful, but there’s hardly any stakes behind them, other than the possibility of tearing the fabric of the world(s) apart. Though Alberich did make some extended appearances in The Burning Page, he only served to make the stakes feel much lower.

Additionally, this book relied heavily on the reader’s enjoyment of the previous elements of the books. There weren’t any sort of new threats–we have the usual werewolves, fae, and dragons, but hardly anything novel (no pun intended) to grab the reader’s attention. Even The Masked City introduced the societal structure and politics of the dragons, but The Burning Page didn’t have much to offer. You’d think that with the possibility of alternate dimensions, there are INFINITE worlds and creatures that dwell in them that Cogman could have used, but sadly, it seems that she’s playing it very safe. Very safe.

But, this isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy the book somewhat. I appreciated the extended look into the structure of the Library and some of the other librarians, so that was a good bit of world-building on Cogman’s part. And although the fact that every dimension seems to be fantasy/steampunk versions of historical places (England, Italy, France, etc.), I enjoyed the new setting of St. Petersburg, and all of the details that went into it. The flying sleighs were especially entertaining, and the new setting was a nice reprieve from the dullness of the first half of the book.

Overall, a disappointing addition to the Invisible Library series, but one that at least merited a few entertaining elements. I don’t think I have the will to finish the series now, but it was fun while it lasted. 3.5 sad little stars.

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The Burning Page is the third book in Genevieve Cogman’s Invisible Library series, preceded by The Invisible Library and The Masked City, and followed by The Lost Plot, The Mortal Word, The Secret Chapter, and the forthcoming The Dark Archive.

Today’s song:

I forgot about this song for AGES, and I rediscovered it a few days ago…needless to say, I’ve had it on repeat for…[ahem] a while…

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

Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (🍀3/17/20🍀)–Loki: Where Mischief Lies

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Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles, and a happy St. Patrick’s Day as well! I don’t/haven’t had anything planned to celebrate on here [ahem], but…I suppose we’ve got a green book cover here? I hope that counts for something…sorry…

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Hey, since I’m reviewing Loki, why not throw in a Tom Hiddleston gif while I’m at it?

Anyway, I also had my first day of online school today. It’s been…an experience. Most of my teachers have been fairly organized in their lesson plans, but my Spanish class was absolutely chaotic, so that was…interesting, to say the least. My AP US History teacher showed us her cat in one of the videos she put up, so that was a major plus. Cats. Always cats.

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Now, back to our main program…

I bought Loki about a month ago, along with Sky Without StarsThough I was a tad hesitant going into it (I’m not sure why, come to think of it), Lee delivers an absolute joyride of a historical fiction/Norse mythology/Marvel comics mashup!

 

Enjoy this week’s review!

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Loki: Where Mischief Lies 

Pushed aside in favor of his brother Thor more often than not, young Loki is tired of his sibling having all of the limelight and the unwarranted scorn he garners from his father Odin. His only friend–and partner in crime–is Amora, a budding sorceress. When they cause the obliteration of a vital artifact, Amora is banished to the realms of Midgard, where she is cursed to watch her magic slowly fade away.

Distraught after his best friend’s banishment, Loki’s scorn for the people of Asgard only grows. But soon after her absence begins, a series of horrendous crimes begin to crop up, Loki and Thor are split up and sent to a sprawling, 19th century London, where nothing is as it seems. Can Loki crawl out from under the shadow of his older brother–and not spell ruination for the human city, while he’s at it?

 

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Despite my expectations, Loki pulled out nearly all the necessary stops to make for a fun, twisty, and whimsical adaptation of Marvel Studios’ younger Loki.

I haven’t read as much by Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, and a few short stories scattered across some YA anthologies), but she deftly weaves in her love of history–specifically, London in the 1800s–seamlessly into Loki’s mythological heritage, even tying in an early version of S.H.I.E.L.D. into the dark, mysterious world. Loki and the rest of the varied cast of characters fit snugly into the historical setting, despite their magical backgrounds.

Full disclosure: I’ve been a huge fan of Loki since I started watching most of the MCU movies, so at this point, I’m primed to like him as a character. But someone like him can easily be poorly-executed, and Lee perfectly balances his trademark mischief and the deep envy festering inside of him. The other characters, though a few seemed a tad interchangeable and difficult to keep up with, were well-written, and generated palpable emotion and chemistry. Oh, and I *kind of* imagined Amora looking similar to Princess Nuala from Hellboy II: The Golden Army, so that’s always a plus.

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My only major complaint was the dialogue; I get that the various denizens of Asgard and beyond are supposed to be overtly formal in their mannerisms, but even so, some of the exchanges between Thor and Loki in the early parts of the novel felt unnecessarily stilted. There was a lot of potential for some good banter from those two.

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And finally, another wonderful given from Lee’s works…LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION, EVERYBODY! Besides Loki (who is now canonically genderfluid and pansexual), we do have a gay side character, and a romantic subplot between him and…okay, I won’t spoil it, but you can probably guess. 🏳️‍🌈

All in all, a wonderful imagining of Marvel’s Loki that’s just as mischievous and mysterious as he is. Four stars for me! 

 

Today’s song:

I can always count on this one for an atmospheric song to write to. 💙

 

That just about wraps up this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day, if you’re celebrating, and take care of yourselves!

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Posted in Book Review Tuesday

A few updates

Hi, everyone. I thought I’d take the time to notify you of a few things:

 

  1. I’m not going to be able to do a Book Review Tuesday this week. 😦  My afternoon/night is going to be pretty busy, and I won’t have any free time. (Hey, I’m seeing Santigold in concert, though, so that’ll be really fun!) 5o1.gif
  2. I saw Avengers: Endgame last night, and I must say, it was INCREDIBLE! No spoilers, but it’s probably my favorite movie in the MCU now. I definitely want to review it soon, but I probably won’t for another few weeks so I don’t spoil anything for you guys. DON’T 👏 SPOIL👏 THE 👏 ENDGAME 👏 giphy.gif
  3. It’s that time of year again…finals. [cue “The Sounds of Silence”] Mine are in about a month, and I’ll have to study pretty hard for them, so I won’t be able to do as many Book Review Tuesdays this May. But then it’ll be summer again, so at least I’ll have that to look forward to. giphy-1.gif

Just thought that I’d let you know. I probably won’t be as active in the next few weeks, but I’ll probably have some good content in store come summertime.

As always, have a great rest of your day, stay safe, and take care of yourselves! 😉

Posted in Geeky Stuff, Movies, Music

Higher, Further, Faster…FANTASTIC! (Captain Marvel review)

Well, I’ve got some good news and some bad news.

Bad news–the roads around Black Canyon of the Gunnison were too snowy, so they closed down the park yesterday, when we had planned to go. 😦

VERY good news–I saw Captain Marvel instead!

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My expectations were…slightly above average for this movie. It looked fun, at least–not as great as Black Panther or Infinity War, but not as much of a disappointment as Thor: Ragnarok (Unpopular opinion, I know). But man, my expectations were GREATLY exceeded! A healthy balance of action, heart, and pure fun that made for some much-needed levity in the MCU, especially after Infinity War. Also…first female-led MCU movie? SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY. COUNT ME IN!

 

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I was a little nervous for how Captain Marvel would turn out. Some of her lines in the trailer were…yes, I’ll admit, they made me cringe. (Namely, her tone of voice when she said “I’m gonna end it.” Oof.) But, lo and behold, overall, Brie Larson did a great job of capturing the ferocity, heart, and independent spirit of the iconic hero. Her chemistry with the other characters (Nick Fury, Maria, the Kree, among others) was obvious and very well-done, and the cast seemed to work very well together as a whole. (Also, no spoilers, but…I’m wholeheartedly shipping Maria and Carol. Couple of the year.) The characters were all very unique, and many of them had pivotal–and sometimes very unexpected–roles in the unfolding of the plot.

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This might have just been me, but I LOVED seeing this suit as well. After seeing it a few times in the comics (and thinking about how AWESOME it looked), I was so happy to see that they pulled it off very well in the movies. Captain Marvel’s Kree suit was also very sleek and well-designed, and–joy of joys–she’s not super scantily clad, either!

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The plot was also very well executed and put-together–unpredictable, detailed, but not so complicated and convoluted that it was difficult to understand. Every little detail had a purpose, many of which factor into the later Avengers films, as well as Endgame, which is coming out…shall I say frighteningly soon. I’m prepared to come out of the theater sobbing again, a la Infinity War…sheeeeeeesh, that was a rough ride.

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Another element that I really loved was the music–both score-wise and soundtrack-wise. The score was very modern and synth-y, reminiscent of the Stranger Things score. It was balanced perfectly, with a fair amount of electronic elements, but not so much that you’d think the movie was an EDM rave. The soundtrack was SPECTACULAR as well; because the movie is set in the 90s, we get to hear everything from Nirvana to No Doubt. I’ll admit that I was bopping my head through some of the fight scenes. 🤘

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And one more thing–can we all take a moment to appreciate this adorable furball that is GOOSE??? What a CUTE KITTY!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!! This guy honestly stole the show, and I’m 100% here for it. Also, you’ve probably heard some rumors about what Goose really is…no spoilers, but I’ve got a little hint:

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…just wait for it…

 

Anyway, an INCREDIBLE film, perfect for old and new Marvel fans, or for anyone who’d like a little fun. PLEASE go see it.

Have a great rest of your day–and, in some cases, your Spring Break! Enjoy it while it lasts! 😉