Categories
Review

The Shepherd’s Crown

“Look up here, I’m in heaven” – David Bowie, Lazarus

The Shepherd’s Crown was Terry Pratchett’s last book, published after his death. And man, I thought that Raising Steam was hard to read but, oh, The Shepherd’s Crown was so much worse. Because Raising Steam was a lively romp across the entire Disc, a chance for every single one of the characters we love to show us their lives one more time. Little glances that showed us they were doing well, living on even though we wouldn’t be able to see any more of them.
The Shepherd’s Crown wasn’t that. Part of this is because it’s for a different market – the Tiffany Aching series is the Young Adult branch of the Discworld, and so the assumption that we know all these characters isn’t there. The short introductions given to concepts that I know well, having read every Discworld book, seemed strange and out of place to me.1
And oh, those first couple of chapters were rough. (I try to avoid spoilers, but that’s not going to work this time, so consider this your spoiler warning. If you haven’t read the book yet and you want to preserve it for yourself… why are you reading reviews, anyways? It’s Terry Pratchett, it’s guaranteed to be good.)

Alright, I’ll assume that everyone who hasn’t read the book has stopped reading now.

Granny Weatherwax wasn’t just an integral part of the Aching series, she was an anchor for a number of other books as well. Seeing her go… she was okay with it, but I must say that I wasn’t. And nor was anyone else. Reading Ridcully’s hearing about her death, and his response to it, was hard.
And yes, a lot of that is because of the echoes of Terry Pratchett himself in her character. It’d been common knowledge for a while that he didn’t have much time left – he was very public about the advanced form of Alzheimers that he had2 and his own desire to not allow the disease to make his end debilitating. In short, he knew that he was dying. And, in much the same way that his death was a momentous event for the people of the Disc, so, too, was that of Granny Weatherwax.
Basically, while Raising Steam was a chance for the people of the Discworld to say goodbye to us readers, The Shepherd’s Crown was Terry Pratchett’s goodbye. And lord, but I hate goodbyes.
The book gives us a while to dwell on that sadness, mourn the loss, but then it’s time to get going again. Time halts for no man nor woman, and Tiffany has big shoes to fill. From there, it’s almost a coming-of-age story: Tiffany takes the place that everyone but her knew was coming for her, as the first-among-equals leader of the witches of the Disc. And, slowly, she comes into her own: as a young woman, she’s got that same lack of self-confidence that’s almost a key component of any young adult, but she’s also a powerful witch in her own right. The book is her coming to terms with that, the good and the bad. And in that regard, it’s wonderful.
I think I’m going to stop here, because anything else I could say would be spoiling more of the book than I already have, and I couldn’t live with myself were that the case. I quite enjoyed it, sadness and all.
A hat tip to Sir Terry: you were one of the greatest writers of our time, and you are sorely missed.


  1. This sort of thing is, I think, the reason I never much got into the Tiffany Aching books. I have them all, as I’ve got every Discworld book – except the Science of Discworld series, but I’m working on that – but I don’t go back and reread them like I do the others. 
  2. Don’t cite me on this part, I’m writing it from memory while in a moving vehicle so I can’t easily Google to verify my memory of the facts. 
Categories
Playlist

Playlist of the Month: January 2016

How is this month already over? I’m still writing ‘2014’ on my papers sometimes, good lord.1
Slow It Down – The Lumineers
Big Jet Plane – Angus & Julia Stone
All I Want – Kodaline
Fast Car – Navarra
I Found – Amber Run
5AM – Amber Run
Shiver – Amber Run2
I Need My Girl – The National
Safe & Sound (feat. The Civil Wars) – Taylor Swift
Thru – Vallis Alps
Arcadia – Great States
West Egg – Great States
Homegrown – Mahama Remix – Haux
Forgiven – Millesim Remix – Wolf Colony
Trusty and True – Damien Rice
Yellow Flicker Beat – Lorde
All My Love (feat. Ariana Grande) – Major Lazer
Atlas – Coldplay
Your Hand In Mine – Explosions In The Sky3
Just for Now – Pentatonix
The Birds Are Chirping – Beware of Safety
Hymn for the Weekend – Coldplay4
Amazing Day – Coldplay
Spectre – Radiohead
Spark – Amber Run
Just My Soul Responding – Amber Run
Heaven – Amber Run
Kites – Amber Run
Breathe In – Frou Frou
The Hanging Tree – James Newton Howard5
Elysium – Mendum
Valentine’s Day – Linkin Park
Ghosts – BANNERS6
Start a Riot – BANNERS
Shine a Light – BANNERS
Back When We Had Nothing – BANNERS
On Your Knees – Matthew Mayfield7
Team (Lorde Cover) – Matthew Mayfield8
Gold Dust – BANNERS
Midnight – Lane 8

And that’s 2016 begun. A shorter list than the rest, but I’ve been keeping a strange schedule and not gotten a whole lot of new music this month, so oh well.


  1. It takes me a long time to adjust, okay? 
  2. I’ve gotta say, Amber Run was probably one of my best finds for all of 2015. 
  3. This is the variant off the Friday Night Lights soundtrack. I still haven’t watched that show, actually – the quality of the soundtrack wavers back and forth between being enough to cancel out the fact that football bores me. 
  4. I just saw the music video for this one the other day. I liked it! 
  5. I believe he’s actually the composer, and that it’s Jennifer Lawrence singing, but that’s how the soundtrack shows up in iTunes, so whatever. 
  6. Actually a different version of it than what I had, since he finally released his EP so that I could replace the Soundcloud rip. 
  7. I really wasn’t sure that I was going to like this one, and then practically overnight it became the song that I’d skip past a bunch of others to get to. 
  8. I’ve never heard the Lorde version. I should probably look that up at some point, if only for comparison. 
Categories
Review

Future Visions

I picked this little science fiction anthology up when Microsoft emailed me to let me know that it was available for free. I mean, c’mon, who skips out on free stuff?
I know for some things of this sort I’ve done per-short-story review type things, but I’m a bit too lazy to do that.1
The concept for this anthology, so far as I understand it, was basically this: Microsoft invited2 a bunch of big-name science fiction writers to tour one of their research centers. From there, they were free to write whatever short story they wanted to, and so they did. The result was quite interesting – some of them were recognizably influenced by certain forms of research (the Skype team’s work on instant translation was very obvious in a couple of places) while others have very little connection – the final story includes a few small references to the same sort of translation technology, but paints it in a less-than-flattering light.
All told, it was an interesting read, good for reading in bits and pieces when you’ve only got a few minutes to spare, and who can beat that lovely low price of free?


  1. And, to be honest, I do those any time that I haven’t read the entirety of an anthology. This one I read cover-to-cover, with the possible exception of part of the comic that was included, as it crashed my Kindle when I was trying to read it. 
  2. Or, presumably, ‘paid.’ 
Categories
Review

Humble Indie Comics Bundle

The Humble Bundle is a wonderful thing – it started off as games only, but they’ve since expanded into books and various other media. The short explanation is that it’s a charity, of sorts – you get a bundle of products, you choose your own price, and you choose the split between the creators of the products, a charity or charities, and a ‘Humble tip’ to help them keep their servers up and running.
I picked up the Humble Comics Bundle – Image, featuring Creators Own Worlds. Or whatever the correct capitalization of all that is supposed to be. Long story short, it’s a bunch of stuff published through Image that’s set in worlds created by the same people who did each comic – not part of, for example, the shared Marvel universe.
Now, I haven’t yet read everything in there, and I probably won’t read all of them for quite a while yet.1 But I’ve read a few, and I thought I’d share my thoughts here:

Virgil

A violent little romp through Jamaica; it didn’t take too long to read, but told a nice short story. I’d put emphasis on the word ‘violent’ in that description.

Injection (vol. 1)

This one was really interesting, and I can’t decide if it felt like a TV pilot, one of the double-length ones that only ever airs as a ‘bonus content’ type of thing after the show got picked up, or if it’s more like the entire first season of a show. It’s a complete story, but it left a lot of room for sequels to follow up, and some prequels to fill in a bit. It’s dark and grimy and a lot mysterious, and I think it worked quite well. The art style fits the content very well, and I was left wanting more.

Nowhere Men (vol. 1)

Injection left me wanting more by dint of being a lovely self-contained story with plenty of room for expansion. Nowhere Men left me wanting more by being a tease with information. It’s set in a world where, rather than the Beatles taking over the world with their rock music, a group of four scientists rocketed to the global spotlight with their intellects. It’s a little bit unclear on when, exactly, everything is happening – a sort of smeary, always-now kind of setting is implied, so I think it’ll hold up pretty well – and shows off a lot of science-fiction going on in interesting ways. It’s also very mixed-media – the comic is interspersed with magazine interviews, book excerpts, and newspaper clippings that all help to fill in the world very well. Or, at least, from the public’s point of view – the actual story being told is a heck of a lot of dark-research and behind-the-scenes fighting going on. Very interesting, although the most aggravating plot twist in there is finding out that volume 2 isn’t out yet.

Jupiter’s Circle (vol. 1)

Oh my god it’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a superhero comic. There’s a reason The Boys was one of my favorites, in spite of the brutal nature of that comic. This is a little bit less ultraviolence-and-everything-is-awful than The Boys; it’s all wrapped in a lovely post-WWII-early-Cold-War aesthetic, but it’s the same sort of “yeah, there are superheroes, and yes, everyone sees them as upstanding citizens, but… they aren’t.” It was, actually, this one that convinced me to buy the entire Bundle – the ‘preview’ showed us a bit of those heroes, and then the first of their ‘issues’ cropping up – one of them is a closeted gay man. Being the 1950s or so, this is a bit of a problem. And it all got more interesting from there.

Trees (vol. 1)

There’s a sweet little love story, a bit of political intrigue, some scientific what-now, and a hint of geopolitics. This one’s clearly lining up for the rest of the series, and I’m quite annoyed at it because the single biggest “I want to know what’s going on” plot line of the whole thing ended on a massive cliffhanger. But oh, it’s an interesting world – intelligent life showed up from somewhere beyond the Earth… and didn’t notice that humanity was there. Thus, the Trees: alien megastructures that landed wherever they felt – including one that crushed wide swathes of New York City during its landing, and flooded the rest. They’re apparently indestructible, at least to anything humanity is capable of throwing at them, and they’re harder to get any information out of than they are to actually damage. I’ll have to keep an eye out for the rest of this series.

Bitch Planet

The background details of this one are fascinating – it’s set in some kind of alternate future, although apparently the difference here is that feminism never happened- or went horribly wrong, somehow. The patriarchy rules, quite literally, and does so with an iron fist. Most of the story takes place in an off-world prison, and you see things in the list of ‘crimes’ for which people (all women) were sent there that include “seduction and disappointment” and “bad mother.” It’s a scary thought.

Wayward

I wasn’t sure what I was going to think of this one, but it turns out that I quite enjoyed it! The best case scenario.
Irish-Japanese girl moves from Ireland to Japan, from her father’s home to her mother’s. There, she starts seeing things, understanding patterns at a way that shouldn’t be possible. Plus there’s all the weird monsters attacking her. It’s just a fun little comic,2 with an enjoyable story, a pretty good ending to it, and a few lovely little hat-tips to manga.3
My favorite scene was a moment in the background – one of the characters is the Cat-Child, or something like that, which basically means ‘she can turn into a bunch of cats.’ The first time you see that is just a little burst of light and a bunch of cats flying all over the place. Basically I was sitting here giggling about the fact that she just exploded into cats.

Low

The introduction to this one is the writer, talking about how he was trying to write an optimistic character for once. And he succeeded, at that, creating someone that, despite living in a doomed city on a doomed planet, continues to be hopeful that everything will come out alright. And I like her for that.
So I don’t like the writer, because he then proceeds to take everything from her – she watches her husband be murdered and her daughters kidnapped. Her son dies in front of her. Her daughter is found and lost again.
An engaging universe for things to be set in, but one that’s already coming to an end. Too depressing for my tastes.


  1. I do actually have to do classwork every once in a while, it’s a Rule or something. 
  2. Well, “little” being “it’s a 330-page PDF,” but still. 
  3. I don’t know a whole lot about manga, but my roommate last year was a big fan and I picked up a few things. 
Categories
Playlist

Playlist of the Month: December 2015

This one is a bit weird, because for a good chunk of the month I wasn’t actually listening to this list – I was going back through the rest of my playlists for the year, in chronological order. Still, it was pretty fun! Anyhow, here’s the December list:
Pacific – Sleeping At Last
Slow It Down – The Lumineers
Big Jet Plane – Angus & Julia Stone
All I Want – Kodaline
Fast Car – Navarra
Ghosts – BANNERS
I Found – Amber Run1
5AM – Amber Run
Shiver – Amber Run
Not Alone – Linking Park
I Need My Girl – The National
Yellow (acoustic version from Jo Whiley’s Lunchtime Social) – Coldplay
King Nine – Blueneck
See You Soon – Coldplay2
Controlled Burn – Tall Heights
Fireproof – The National
Safe & Sound (feat. The Civil Wars) – Taylor Swift
Thru – Vallis Alps
The Running of the Bulls – Tall Heights
Careful Where You Stand – Coldplay3
Woods – Bon Iver
White Winter Hymnal – Pentatonix4
Sleigh Ride – Pentatonix
That’s Christmas To Me – Pentatonix5
Mary, Did You Know? – Pentatonix6
Silent Night – Pentatonix
D to E – MOGWAI
Earth Division – MOGWAI
Arcadia – Great States
West Egg – Great States
Homegrown – Mahama Remix – Haux
Forgiven – Millesim Remix – Wolf Colony
Petals – Biblio
Heart Beats Slow – Angus & Julia Stone
Stay With Me – Angus & Julia Stone7
Driving Home for Christmas – Blueneck
Strong Hand – CHVRCHES
Trusty And True – Damien Rice
Yellow Flicker Beat – Lorde
All My Love (feat. Ariana Grande) – Major Lazer
Scream My Name – Tove Lo
Set The Fire To The Third Bar – Snow Patrol
Atlas – Coldplay
Your Hand In Mine – Explosions In The Sky8
Mary, Did You Know? (feat. The String Mob) – Pentatonix9
Just for Now – Pentatonix
The Birds Are Chirping – Beware of Safety
Rug – Sleeping Lion
Hymn for the Weekend – Coldplay10
Army of One – Coldplay11
A Head Full of Dreams – Coldplay
Start A Riot – BANNERS
Joy to the World – Pentatonix
Amazing Day – Coldplay
Birds – Coldplay
Mi (Soul Channel Rework) – Nils Frahm
808s & birthdaycakes – Tim Legend
La (Sebastian Freij Rework) – Nils Frahm
Re (Helios Rework) – Nils Frahm12
Spectre – Radiohead

That’s all for the year, folks! I’ve now got an entire year of consistently making a playlist for each month!
Well, okay, I had that as of August, but now I’ve got a calendar year.


  1. I’m supposed to be learning this song for voice lessons, but I keep singing one of the low harmonies instead of the melody. I can’t help it, they’re nice harmonies! hashtag-choir-kid-problems 
  2. Acoustic version. 
  3. Acoustic version. 
  4. It wouldn’t be Christmas without a bunch of acapella christmas music. 
  5. This song is a lot harder to sing than you’d think. 
  6. This one is… pretty much exactly as hard to sing as you’d think. I have a mental block against learning my part. 
  7. This song and the one before it are off the Spotify Sessions 
  8. This is the 4:11 version off the Friday Night Lights soundtrack. 
  9. I keep forgetting I’ve got both versions of this song – with strings and without – in this playlist, and I get confused whenever this version comes on because it’s got more sounds than what I’m expecting. 
  10. Me, singing along: “I’m feeling drunk and high, so high, so high…”
    My mom, sitting beside me in the car: “Nice song.” 
  11. I really feel like this is two different songs that just happen to share the same lyrics – the bridge in the middle should’ve been a track break. 
  12. The fact that ‘Helios’ is in the name keeps making me think of the album cover from the same-titled album by The Fray. 
Categories
Playlist

Playlist of the Month: November 2015

I’m writing this one up on the 29th, but I’m not going to have any free time until the 5th, so doing it a bit early won’t hurt much.1 Here goes:
Pacific – Sleeping At Last
Slow It Down – The Lumineers2
Big Jet Plane – Angus & Julia Stone
All I Want – Kodaline
Thousand Eyes – Of Monsters And Men
Talk – Kodaline
I Of The Storm – Of Monsters And Men
Indian Summer – Blood Cultures
Fast Car – Navarra
Ghosts – BANNERS3
Man of Lies (live acoustic) – Blueneck
I Found – Amber Run
5AM – Amber Run
Skinny Love (VANIC Remix) – VANIC
I Love You (Quintet Version) – Woodkid
Silver Linings – Leo Kalyan
Shiver – Amber Run
Little Ghost – Amber Run
Not Alone – Linkin Park4
I Need My Girl – The National
Pools – Harrison Brome
Yellow (acoustic version from Jo Whiley’s Lunchtime Social) – Coldplay
Father, Sister – Blueneck
King Nine – Blueneck
Sparks – Coldplay (acoustic version)
See You Soon – Coldplay (acoustic version)5
Controlled Burn – Tall Heights
Fireproof – The National
Safe & Sound (feat. The Civil Wars) – Taylor Swift6
Thru – Vallis Alps
The Running of the Bulls – Tall Heights7
Everything – Zuke Duhon8
Do Not Resuscitate – Tall Heights
Careful Where You Stand – Coldplay (acoustic version)9
Bleed – Tender
Creepy – Oyster Kids10
Never Let You Down (feat. Lykke Li) – Woodkid
Woods – Bon Iver11
White Winter Hymnal – Pentatonix12
Sleigh Ride – Pentatonix
That’s Christmas To Me – Pentatonix
Mary, Did You Know? – Pentatonix13
Silent Night – Pentatonix
D to E – MOGWAI
My Father My King – MOGWAI
The Sun Smells Too Loud – MOGWAI
Earth Division – MOGWAI
We’re No Here – MOGWAI
Adventure of a Lifetime – Coldplay14
Arcadia – Great States
West Egg – Great States
Christmas Steps – MOGWAI
Mexican Grand Prix – MOGWAI15
Arrows (feat. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis) – Fences
Harder Without You – Deutsch Duke
Travel Is Dangerous – MOGWAI
Remurdered – MOGWAI
Friend of the Night – MOGWAI
Homegrown – Mahama Remix – Haux
Auto Rock – MOGWAI
Take Me Somewhere Nice – MOGWAI16
Hasenheide – MOGWAI
Rano Pano – MOGWAI
Hungry Face – MOGWAI
Shadowplay (Album Verison) – The Saint Johns
Burn Girl Prom Queen – MOGWAI
I Know You Are But What Am I? – MOGWAI
Carraway – Great States
Forgiven – Millesimal Remix – Wolf Colony
Petals – Biblio
The Lord is Out of Control – MOGWAI
Heart Beats Slow – Angus & Julia Stone17
Stay With Me – Angus & Julia Stone
Little Whiskey – Angus & Julia Stone
All This Love – Angus & Julia Stone18
Everglow – Coldplay
Driving Home for Christmas – Blueneck19
Strong Hand – CHVRCHES
Trusty And True – Damien Rice20
Yellow Flicker Beat – Lorde
All My Love (feat. Ariana Grande) Major Lazer
Scream My Name – Tove Lo
Set The Fire To The Third Bar – Snow Patrol
Atlas – Coldplay21
Your Hand In Mine – Explosions In The Sky22

That’s the playlist for this month. Now I’m going to go investigate some of the concerningly strange emails I got while I was writing this whole thing, that’ll be fun. Happy holidays, everyone!


  1. Watch the new Coldplay album drop on the 30th and me be proven horribly wrong. Oh well. 
  2. This is one of those songs that I couldn’t figure out where it came from until I remembered that a friend had made me a “rainy day” playlist, and all the songs in there got swept into my ‘unrated songs’ playlist. 
  3. BANNERS had a new song featured on an episode of The Royals but it isn’t out anywhere yet and I’m really upset about it. 
  4. No, computer, I don’t mean ‘Linking Park,’ but thank you for helping. 
  5. Note to self: apparently I only have to type the word ‘acoustic’ twice before it stops sounding like a word. 
  6. During Thanksgiving Break my sister and I binge-watched the entire Hunger Games movie series. Good lord that’s some good soundtrack there. And the scene with “the hanging tree”? Goddamn, that’s a tear-jerker. 
  7. This song is so much fun to sing along to. 
  8. Do you ever see a picture of an artist for the first time and you’re like “that is not at all what I expected them to look like”? Yeah, that’s what I did with Zeke Duhon. Somehow I’d avoided seeing the album cover for, like, months
  9. Acoustic. A-cou-stic. Acous-tic. Ugh, this is worse than “vacuum.” 
  10. Having these two songs in a row always entertains me, for some reason. 
  11. I mostly know Bon Iver from “Holocene” and let me tell you this is an entirely different sound. Still so good, though. 
  12. Yes, the Christmas music has begun. I’m a choir kid, Christmas music starts in October. 
  13. This is the Best Christmas Song, folks. This one right here. 
  14. I don’t actually keep up to date on when people are releasing new albums or anything, so it’s always the most incredible surprise when it happens. 
  15. I swear, all post-rock bands are in a secret competition to come up with the weirdest name for a song. 
  16. I hadn’t realized how much Mogwai was in this playlist. No wonder I keep getting chunks of three or four Mogwai songs in a row, even on shuffle. 
  17. This was originally “Angus And Julia Stone” but I changed it to an ampersand because I want everything to line up right in my iTunes Library, c’mon. 
  18. My only problem with these four songs is that they’re live recordings and people feel the need to leave the crowd’s applause on those things. Eventually I’m gonna get annoyed enough at these and use iTunes settings to get rid of that. 
  19. Because, y’know, I feel like Christmas music should sound like the desolate wastes of Siberia. 
  20. I managed to typo this one as “Trust7 And True” which would’ve been a completely different song. 
  21. Why yes, I am on a Hunger Games kick. That series is the most beautifully depressing thing ever. 
  22. It’s back! And, for reference, this is the Friday Night Lights version, not the album version. I switch those out at random. 
Categories
Review

So Not A Hero

I actually read a book again! I’m slowly having more time for that, mostly because instead of binge-watching shows on Netflix I binge-do homework, and I’m starting to run out of homework for the semester. At which point I start reading again.
Anyhow, I just read S.J. Delos’ So Not A Hero – it’d been on my list for a while, and I finally got around to it when I realized that my Amazon Prime lets me get a free book every once in a while.
I quite enjoyed it, to be honest – there were a couple scenes of a graphic nature that I skimmed past, because I’m not really interested in that sort of thing, but other than that, I found it all enjoyable. Sure, there were one or two things that slipped past the editor,1 but it’s the first book Delos has written, and I’m certainly not going to be up in arms about one or two spelling mistakes. It happens.
Now, a bit of background on the story: it’s a Superhero Story, where people randomly become Enhanced, some sort of Mysterious Cosmic Energy2 giving them various superpowers.
The heroine of the story, an asian-american who goes by Karen,3 has just been evicted from her (rather terrible) apartment. The reason? Her landlord found out that she’s an ex-convict, out on parole at the moment. Her parole officer starts giving her a hard time about being down on her luck and is just generally an awful person.
You see bits and pieces of what she went to prison for, but the long and short of it is that she was a supervillain. “Crushette” may not be the best name, but there’s a lovely bit of tongue-in-cheek referencing to copyright law here where the book discusses a law that was passed after the first Enhanced folk started showing up, when “every city had their own Superman and Hulk.” The comic book companies leaned on Congress, and Congress made it illegal4 to use an existing superhero/villain name for yourself. Helpfully, they also established a centralized database of the names, which kept everything from getting too complicated.
And then, while waiting for the bus, Karen catches a plasma blast5 that would’ve hit the non-Enhanced people also waiting at the bus stop. She gets them to safety and helps the superhero in the fight take down a group of supervillains, some of whom she’d worked with in the past.
And he offers her a job, saying that there’s a spot open on his superhero team.
At which point she goes into a lovely little spiral of self-doubt and introspection, and the book becomes a sarcastic redemption story. Karen spent two years in a maximum-security prison: she’s not going to accept that good things can just happen to her, and she spent too long as a supervillain to not have some great banter ready for every situation.
From there, the book gets fun. The superhero team is a dysfunctional little group, the villains aren’t afraid to swear, and Karen has a running issue with the fact that, while she’s indestructible, her clothes aren’t.
Basically, it’s a villain-becomes-hero superhero story told for adults, and I quite enjoyed it. Give it a read.


  1. Or rather, weren’t edited in such a way that made me wonder if there’d been an editor at all – not egregious errors, just, like, spelling mistakes every once in a while. 
  2. I use capital letters to express my sarcasm 
  3. She changed her name to fit the ‘American standard’ to spite her family, it’s a whole plot arc. 
  4. Punishable by, if I’m remembering right, something like five years in prison. 
  5. Or something, I’m paraphrasing here – this is still the first two chapters that I’m describing, and the book is significantly longer than that. 
Categories
Review

Young Wizards: Lifeboats

Hey, it’s been a while since I did a book review! My whole “read every book on my Kindle” project really slowed down when school started. I wonder why?1
This one is a bit of a cheat on that project, because I just got the book a week or so ago and have been slowly reading it since then. Nonetheless, I’m going to do a review.
So, let me start this off by saying that Diane Duane is one of my favorite authors. Seriously, she’s wonderful. The Young Wizards series is one of those things that I read growing up – I got the first book, So You Want To Be A Wizard, when I was in elementary school, and I (technically) own every book in the series now.2 It’s also wonderful because it feels like the characters grew up with me: when I started that first book, they were excited kids being dropped into a world of magic and adventure, just like I was when I first opened the book. By the time of Wizards at War – my first hardback in the series, which somehow gives it more weight both literally and metaphorically – they were in high school, taking the same classes I was. (And, in their spare time, fighting in a galaxy-spanning war, which I can’t really lay claim to without getting so metaphorical that I lose track of what I’m trying to say.)
Lifeboats is part of a three-piece cycle that Duane wrote, a ‘transitional trio’ that leads from A Wizard of Mars into the upcoming new book, Games Wizards Play.3
Some bits of the afterword, read last night right before I went to bed, stuck with me. And I think they’re very true. The book4 takes advantage of something Duane does that few other authors have taken advantage of: the ability to sell directly to the reader. Her eBooks Direct store sells DRM-free versions of most5 of her (and her husband’s) books. It’s a wonderful thing, and I’ve bought quite a few books that way. It’s a nice feeling to know that 100% of your purchase is going to the author, rather than being filtered through a supply chain and a publisher or two.
More importantly to the book, though, is the fact that Lifeboats was written entirely without the intervention of her publisher(s). It was direct-to-ebook, and that afforded her more freedom than normal. Going through a publisher, a book has to be marketable. It has to be something that people will buy. Market forces stop for no man.
Lifeboats, then, wasn’t a labor of economic forces. It was a labor of love. It was free to be whatever Duane wanted it to be.
And that showed: it expanded on a few side references from earlier books6 while dropping a couple others7 that I must now desperately hope get explained somewhere along the line.
And it was able to be something other than an adventure story following the hero around.
This wasn’t a ‘save the world’ kind of adventure. This was a ‘the world is doomed, try to save what’s left’ sort of thing.
The setting is a planet, close to the galactic core, that lives in the shadow of a moon almost the same size as the planet. The moon is an oppressive presence to our Earthling heroes, weighing down on them from above and providing a constant reminder of the doom that’s already underway: that moon is disintegrating, and as it does so it’ll wrack the planet below with tidal forces, earthquakes and tsunamis, all while raining pieces of itself down from above. A thousand Chicxulub impacts a week, and eventually something that’ll look like firing a bullet through a billiard ball when the metal core of the moon falls out of orbit and hits the planet with all the force that a sextillion tons of iron pick up by being in free-fall for weeks on end.
The main characters aren’t the main characters here: they’re just a viewpoint into a massive evacuation operation, a network of worldgates8 being used to evacuate the planet’s entire population, as well as a sizable chunk of the ecosystem as a whole and as much of the civilization’s cultural artifacts as possible. From Earth alone, something like 60,000 wizards were brought in to orchestrate the operation, and tens of other planets were also tapped for their wizardly resources. The scale of the operation is mind-boggling.
And we never get to see it, because we’re watching through Kit’s eyes as he acts like a cog in a much larger machine, keeping one of the worldgate complexes running while hundreds of thousands of people walk out of one of a set of small ‘feeder’ gates and into the larger upstream gate.
The book gets to spend more time looking at the relationships between the characters, expanding on the sort of thing that gets a few pages of introspection in one of the novels, but gets nearly a third of the book here.
And, quite frankly, I think that’s wonderful. It’s an expansion of the universe in all the best ways: the characters get more time in the spotlight, there’s a heck of a lot of world building, and we get to see people just… doing their jobs. It felt like a behind-the-scenes look into a world that I love, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
My only complaint is that it didn’t make good before-bed reading, because I wound up too invested in it and stayed up too late reading. And that’s the best problem for a book to have.


  1. Probably something to do with the fact that I’m taking 130% of a regular credit-load. Whoops. 
  2. I say ‘technically’ because there’s a few that were loaned out to people and never returned. I’m a bit more careful about keeping track of who I loan books to, these days. 
  3. I have a lot of excitement for that book and I have no idea when it comes out or anything. At this point, I know I’ll enjoy it, it’s just a matter of waiting or it to be released. 
  4. Actually more of a novella, I think, though the distinction between the two is a bit fuzzy and tends to change depending on who you ask and what time of day it is. 
  5. Not all, some aren’t available due to licensing restrictions from the original publishers. 
  6. I love any reference to the Crossings, and thus was overjoyed by the opening sequence of Lifeboats
  7. What happened at the Kola Superdeep Borehole? 
  8. Or, y’know, portals, for those who like the more boring words for things. 
Categories
Playlist

Playlist of the Month: October 2015

I almost did this write-up last weekend before realizing there was another week of the month left. Whoops.
Anyways, hope y’all weren’t expecting anything too spooky – the only ‘themed’ stuff any of my playlists ever get is a little bit of Christmas music in November/December.
Big Jet Plane – Angus & Julia Stone
A Sky Full of Stars – Coldplay
All I Want – Kodaline
Kingdom Hearts – Dearly Beloved – Vitamin String Quartet1
The Fault In Our Stars (MMXIV) – Troye Sivan
Wolves Without Teeth – Of Monsters And Men
Thousand Eyes – Of Monsters And Men
Talk – Kodaline
I Of The Storm – Of Monsters And Men
Everybody Knows – RAEKO feat. Mating Ritual
Fly Away For A Summer (Achtaban Remix) = FLAUSEN feat. Ben Cocks
Indian Summer – Blood Cultures
Fast Car – Navarra2
Ghosts – BANNERS
Man of Lies (live acoustic) – Blueneck3
The Knife – Deprival
I Found – Amber Run
5AM – Amber Run
Skinny Love (VANIC Remix) – VANIC
I Love You (Quintet Version) – Woodkid
Silver Linings – Leo Kalyan
Good Morning – Amber Run
Shiver – Amber Run
Little Ghost – Amber Run
Hurricane – Amber Run
Don’t Wanna Fight – Amber Run4
Not Alone – LINKIN PARK
I Need My Girl – The National
Don’t Swallow The Cap – The National
Heavenfaced – The National
Pink Rabbits – The National5
Pools – Harrison Brome
Harbor – Tropics
You’re Beautiful – James Blunt6
Shine A Light – BANNERS
Demons – The National
Yellow (acoustic version from Jo Whiley’s Lunchtime Special) – Coldplay
Father, Sister – Blueneck
King Nine – Blueneck
Sparks – Coldplay (acoustic version)
Gravity (Time To Run) Zeke Duhon
See You Soon – Coldplay (acoustic version)
Controlled Burn – Tall Heights
Fireproof – The National
Calypso – Sarah Kirkland Snider7
Safe & Sound (feat. The Civil Wars – Taylor Swift
Downtown – Majical Cloudz
Hell and High Water – Tall Heights
Thru – Vallis Alps
The Running of the Bulls – Tall Heights
Everything – Zeke Duhon
Do Not Resuscitate – Tall Heights
Careful Where You Stand – Coldplay (acoustic version)
Bleed – Tender
Creepy – Oyster Kids8
Three Strikes (feat. Jack McManus) – Afrojack
Never Let You Down (feat. Lykke Li) – Woodkid
Iron – Woodkid9
Auto Rock – Mogwai
Man of Stone – Tall Heights
Woods – Bon Iver10
D to E – Mogwai11
My Father My King – Mogwai

And that’s October! Looking forward to putting together my November list now. And, come February, you’ll have a full year’s worth of my playlists to read through. I might have to make an infographic or something.


  1. One of my choir kids (and yes, I’m aware that habitually claiming ownership of them is a bit strange, but I’ve done it for years and I’m not going to start now) was playing this song (not the VSQ version, just the original) on the piano, and I was rather proud of myself for recognizing it. 
  2. I’ve noticed that this version has neatly eclipsed the original as my favorite. Hmm. 
  3. The rate at which my interest in Blueneck is going, I might wind up having another huge appearance of them in December. Maybe winter just makes me feel like listening to exactly this kind of ‘desolate’ music? 
  4. Hmm, I wonder if I like Amber Run or not. They’ve only been present in huge amounts for a couple months… \</sarcasm> 
  5. Big blobs of a single artist like this don’t tend to bug me, mostly because my phone has been on ‘shuffle’ since I got it a year-and-change ago. 
  6. This is the explicit version. My roommate got mortally offended by the simple existence of the censored version. 
  7. That’s the composer, not the actual performer(s), but I don’t know who performed it and I do know who composed it. I pulled this from her website. 
  8. Okay, this song and the one before it are slightly in tune with Halloween, but whatever. 
  9. I had a fun and confusing conversation about this song when it started playing and the other person in the room went “wait, you listen to Kendrick?” and I went “who?”
    Long story short, Kendrick Lamar sampled this song for one of his songs. 
  10. I was really confused as to how this wound up in my iTunes library before I realized that it was from the “rainy days” mixtape that my friend made for me. I’m still waiting for a good sitting-indoors-reading rainy day to listen to the whole thing. Today was supposed to be rainy, but mostly it’s just clouds and wind. C’mon, weather, step it up. 
  11. Even if I didn’t like this song I’d probably have it in this playlist just because we’ve been talking about modulations a lot lately in my music theory classes. 
Categories
Playlist

Playlist of the Month: September 2015

Gonna be honest, almost forgot I had to do this – that’s why I’ve got a repeating reminder set up. Without the variety of apps that remind me when I have to do stuff, I’d forget to eat.1
Anyhow, here’s September:
Big Jet Plane – Angus & Julia Stone
Running Up That Hill – Track & Field
A Sky Full of Stars – Coldplay
All I Want – Kodaline
Kingdom Hearts – Dearly Beloved – Vitamin String Quartet
Vetus Memoria – God Is An Astronaut
The Fault In Our Stars (MMXIV) – Troye Sivan
Wolves Without Teeth – Of Monsters And Men
Black Water – Of Monsters And Men
Thousand Eyes – Of Monsters And Men
Talk – Kodaline
We Sink [explicit] – Of Monsters And Men
I Of The Storm – Of Monsters And Men
Human – Of Monsters And Men
Crystals – Of Monsters And Men
She Is In The Air – Green River Ordinance
The Arsonist – Tyler Stenson
This Too Shall Pass – Tyler Stenson
Everybody Knows – RAEKO feat. Mating Ritual
Fly Away For A Summer (Achtabahn Mix) – FLAUSEN feat. Ben Cocks
Cheerleader – Pentatonix
Indian Summer – Blood Cultures
Fast Car – Navarra
Ghosts – BANNERS
Man of Lies (live acoustic) – Blueneck
The Knife – Deprival
I Found – Amber Run
5AM – Amber Run
Skinny Love (VANIC Remix) – VANIC
I Love You (Quintet Version) – Woodkid
Silver Linings – Leo Kalyan
Good Morning – Amber Run
Shiver – Amber Run
Little Vessels – The Lighthouse and the Whaler
In the Open – The Lighthouse and the Whaler
Say No More – Tyler Stenson
Little Ghost – Amber Run
Big Hearts (Remix) – Tyler Stenson
Hurricane – Amber Run
Don’t Wanna Fight – Amber Run
Not Alone – Linking Park
I Need My Girl – The National
Lightning Strikes (bonus) – Dawn And Hawkes
Twine – Lowland Hum
Don’t Swallow The Cap – The National
Heavenfaced – The National
Pink Rabbits – The National
Pools – Harrison Brome
Harbor – Tropics
Quietly – Dawn And Hawkes
Silly Things – Wild Child
Ten Leap Years – Dawn And Hawkes
Hard To Find – The National
White Stone – Lowland Hum
War Is Over – Lowland Hum
You’re Beautiful [explicit] – James Blunt
Trusty And True – Damien Rice
Shine A Light – BANNERS
Demons – The National
Faith And Hope – Zeke Duhon
This Is The Last Time – The National
Always Is Now – Zeke Duhon
Fireproof – The National
When The World Sleeps – Lowland Hum
Yellow (acoustic version from Jo Whiley’s Lunchtime Special) – Coldplay2
Somewhere I Believe – Tall Heights
Father, Sister – Blueneck
King Nine – Blueneck
Sparks – Coldplay3
Gravity (Time To Run) – Zeke Duhon
See You Soon – Coldplay
Controlled Burn – Tall Heights
To Be Young – Tall Heights4

Normally I write these before I start the new playlist, but I did it in the reverse order this time, so I’ve got a bit of foreknowledge when I pick the Big Winners this month, since I can just flip to the October list and see what I already put in there. Still, I’ll go for it:
The National’s I Need My Girl was the reason I got the entire album – my roommate was playing it one day, and I just said “I need this.”
My favorite song for the month is a toss-up between Amber Run’s I Found and BANNERS’ Ghosts – both of those were incredible, and the reason that I picked up Amber Run’s album and downloaded every bit of music from BANNERS that I could find.
It was a good month for the more acoustic sounding folk, Tyler Stenson, Lowland Hum, Dawn And Hawkes, etcetera, but that’s ending: October started off with a bias towards the more-produced sounds of BANNERS and Amber Run and Blueneck. It’s one of those back-and-forth motions of history, I suppose, where two influences never quite balance out. We’ll see.
Anyhow, that’s it for this month. Hope y’all find some music you enjoy from these lists, and be sure to send some love towards the artists!


  1. Originally I said ‘forget to breathe,’ which was actually a joke, but I do legitimately forget to eat sometimes. I’m very absent-minded. 
  2. My roommate tracked down a copy of Coldplay’s ‘Acoustic’ album and gave it to me for my birthday – it’s a bit of a rarity, since it was a limited production run and none of the songs were sold digitally, as far as I could tell. Either way, I’ve got the album now and I love it. 
  3. This, and the one other Coldplay song to follow, are the versions off the Acoustic album. 
  4. A quick note about Tall Heights: I saw them live in concert, and it was a very interesting experience – I was one of the sound techs for the event, actually, so I had the excuse to look at their setup, and let me tell you, their cellist had some fancy stuff going on. The cello was on a shoulder strap, so he could play standing up, and he had it hooked up to a full pedalboard like you see with electric guitars. He produced some incredible sounds like that, and I was honestly disappointed when the album didn’t feature more of that sort of thing. 
Categories
Review

Lightspeed Magazine, Issue 57

Not exactly a book, but still part of my read-everything-on-my-Kindle project. For this one, I’ll only be talking about the various works of fiction that were published in the magazine – I wouldn’t even know how to go about reviewing the bits of nonfiction, interviews and whatnot, that’re included in the magazine.
Since it’s a series of short stories, I’ll break it up into pieces.

And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead

All sorts of bad language included in this one, but a rather enjoyable read. Reminded me of Neuromancer with the cyberpunk aspect of the whole thing, as well as the overall sense of grittiness.

Buffalo

This one didn’t strike me as science fiction. At all. With H.G. Wells present in it, I was hoping for something along the lines of Warehouse 13.1 What I got was something that felt like it should’ve been part of the nonfiction section, filed under ‘depressing.’

Red Planet

Pretty good, and reminded me of the WWW trilogy by Robert J. Sawyer, though from the other side – the WWW books are pervaded by a sense of wonder at what’s possible, and a distinctive dint of the ‘blind people are broken’ ideology that pervades society on some level or another, whereas “Red Planet” focused on the benefits of being blind and why someone might choose to stay that way. Interesting.

Veil of Ignorance

Confusing and a bit hard to follow, but that was done on purpose. Definitely an interesting read, and done in something that reminded me of a space opera way, where the actual sci-fi aspects of things are glossed over entirely, accepted as normal.

Cerile and the Journeyer2

A sad little story, but an enjoyable one. Not a whole lot to say about it.

Things You Can Buy for a Penny

This one was interesting to read just because of the way that it was built in layers – pieces of story hiding behind one another. I quite enjoyed the overall aesthetic of it, a sort of folk tale with a light brush of horror, and definitely that genie-you-got-what-you-wished-for plot twist to each of the little pieces.

In the House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns

This was the novella included in the magazine, and I loved it. Futuristic murder-mystery aside, the setting for the whole story was a truly wonderful bit of speculative fiction. They took the current global warming crisis and ran with it, expanding biotechnology and the ever-spreading Internet of Things while highlighting the growing cost of traveling long distance and the energy scarcity that we’re creating for ourselves.
For being such a short story, there was certainly a lot of material in this one.
My final opinion is “this novella made the entire magazine worth the purchase.” If there had been nothing else of value in there,3 In the House of Aryaman would’ve made it entirely worth it.


  1. I wasn’t hoping for anything as awesome as Helena Wells, of course, but she’s rather hard to beat. 
  2. If you’re following along in the magazine, you’ll have noticed that I just skipped a couple things. You’d be right – I don’t write reviews of things I don’t finish reading, and I wasn’t able to make it through those two bits of fantasy. 
  3. And this was not the case, several of them were worthwhile reads, as I’ve mentioned above. 
Categories
Review

Bleeding Violet

I’m still working on reading every book on my Kindle, it’s just slowed down a lot thanks to all that pesky school.
Bleeding Violet was next on my list, and it easily passed my “20% test”1 – I was almost halfway through the book in my first sitting, and only noticed when my roommate got back and asked why I was still awake.
Of course, I woke up the next morning, having gone to sleep right after putting the book down, frightened by some strange2 nightmares. The book is creepy, for a few different reasons. First off, it’s set in a town where things like ‘milkworms’ (they eat calcium, starting with milk and ending with ripping the bones out of your body), giant flying leech things (I don’t think the official name of these was ever said, or if it was I’ve forgotten), and ‘breeders’ (every ‘the bug laid its eggs in me’ horror story ever, crossed with hints of a vampire from Twilight). The first monster we get a good look at is a blob of color that lives in the windows of the high school3 and sucks the color out of people, leaving them as glass statues. So that all creates a nice scare factor in the book.
The part that’s really creepy, though, is the workings of the protagonist’s mind. She’s got a suite of medication for a suite of conditions, currently taking lithium to try to manage manic-depressive disorder, if I’m remembering properly. And by ‘taking’ I mean ‘only taking when someone bothers her about it.’ Her first conversation is with the hallucinated ghost of her father, and the suicidal urges she has are dealt with by the direct intervention of a wooden carving of a swan. She’s been institutionalized in the past, and a little ways into the first chapter you realize she’s covered in blood from (possibly) bludgeoning her aunt (and legal guardian) to death.
The story is told from her perspective, so we get to occupy her mind throughout, and it’s strange. Everything makes perfect sense to her, and you can almost follow along… until you realize exactly how strange a situation she’s in, what exactly she’s doing. Best example I can come up with? Trying to earn her mother’s love by offering to burn down her childhood home. It makes perfect sense at the time… right up until your brain goes, wait, what?
The creepiness, though, makes the book interesting, and it fits nicely with a space filled with unanswered questions. What is the Mayor? Why do people still live in a town filled with horrible monsters? What in god’s name is going on around here?
Of course, those aren’t the interesting questions, but I’m trying to avoid giving away too many spoilers. Go read the book, it’s fascinatingly dark.


  1. I decided, arbitrarily, that if a book hasn’t captured my interest by the time I’m 20% of the way through it, it isn’t worth my time to read the rest of it. Those books that I give up on I don’t write a review of, so you may not have heard of this before. 
  2. And most nonsensical 
  3. The main character being, of course, a high school student. 
Categories
Playlist

Playlist of the Month: August 2015

I’m writing this one up on August 30th, a little bit early, but classes start on Monday and I don’t want to assume I’ll have a lot of free time. Here goes:
Big Jet Plane – Angus & Julia Stone
Dream – Imagine Dragons
Running Up That Hill – Track & Field
A Sky Full of Stars – Coldplay
England Skies – Shake Shake Go
Like a River – Will Young
All I Want – Kodaline
Love Like This – Kodaline
The Soul Serene – Villagers
All Comes Down – Kodaline
Work for Me – Pfarmers
Make Peace – Howie Day
Kingdom Hearts – Dearly Beloved – Vitamin String Quartet
Vetus Memoria – God Is An Astronaut
no – Gordon’s Tsunami Weekend
The Fault In Our Stars (MMXIV) – Troye Sivan
Slow Life – Of Monsters And Men
Wolves Without Teeth – Of Monsters And Men
Black Water – Of Monsters And Men
Third Eye – Florence + The Machine
Thousand Eyes – Of Monsters And Men
Backyard – Of Monsters And Men
Talk – Kodaline
I Don’t Want To Change You – Damien Rice
Which Witch (Demo) – Florence + The Machine
Winter Sound – Of Monsters And Men
Tonight – Magic Man
Princess of China (Acoustic) – Coldplay & Rihanna
We Sink1 – Of Monsters And Men
I Of The Storm – Of Monsters And Men
Human – Of Monsters And Men
Crystals – Of Monsters And Men
Honeymoon – Lana Del Rey
As the Crow Flies – Tyler Stenson
She Is In The Air – Green River Ordinance
The Arsonist – Tyler Stenson
This Too Shall Pass – Tyler Stenson
Everybody Knows – RAEKO feat. Mating Ritual
Mind Over Mater (RAEKO Remix) – RAEKO2
The Purge – Explosions In The Sky
A Strange World – Explosions In The Sky
Hold Me Together (b-side) – Green River Ordinance
Ain’t Afraid Of Dying – Green River Ordinance3
Cheerleader – Pentatonix
Indian Summer – Blood Cultures
Fast Car – Navarra4
Fool For You – Green River Ordinance
Original Script – Derrival
In Motion – The Lighthouse and the Whaler
Go – Down Time
Cannery River – Green River Ordinance
Romanticized – Derrival
Ghosts – BANNERS
Man of Lies (live acoustic) – Blueneck
The Knife – Derrival
Best Laid Plans – Tyler Stenson
I Found – Amber Run
5AM – Amber Run
Canvas – Derrival
Skinny Love (VANIC Remix) – VANIC5
Just My Soul Responding – Amber Run
Kites – Amber Run
Heaven – Amber Run
Noah – Amber Run
Brothers – The Lighthouse and the Whaler
Silver Linings – Leo Kalyan
I Love You (Quintet Version) – Woodkid
Shoes Grow Smaller – Derrival

Big winners this month: Of Monsters And Men, Green River Ordinance, Tyler Stenson, Amber Run. OMM to such a degree that, since we also moved into a new town this month, I’ll probably associate their new album with the new town for a long time.
Anyhow, until next time. Go listen to some good music.


  1. In iTunes, this is actually called “We Sink [explicit]” because it’s explicit, something I need to know for when I hook my phone up to the sound system at work, and because iTunes won’t let you add the little red ‘E’ to stuff manually. 
  2. Original song by Young the Giant. 
  3. Every time I type this name, it comes out as ‘ORdinance’ for some reason. 
  4. Original song by Tracy Chapman. 
  5. Using the Birdie cover of the song by Bon Iver. 
Categories
Review

The Astronaut Wives Club

Apparently I’m adding television shows to the things I review on here from time to time? What the heck, it’s still summer break, I’ve got time for it.
Anyhow, I just finished up the first season of The Astronaut Wives Club.1 The style kinda reminded me of Manhattan, with the following of a major historic event from a more personal standpoint, but Astronaut Wives captured my interest much better than Manhattan ever did. I really couldn’t say why, although it might have something to do with my slight obsession with the Cold War, rather than World War II.2
It’s a little bit hard to keep track of all the characters, at first – it starts off with the seven Mercury wives (and, to a lesser degree, their husbands) – and then adds the Gemini wives at some point. By the time Apollo rolls around, they aren’t really bothering to introduce the new set of astronauts and wives, they’re just accepting that it’s too many people.
That aside, though, the show is quite enjoyable. It’s historically accurate to a degree that I feel comfortable filing in moments of history that I learned from the show with the rest of my knowledge about the world, though I wouldn’t recommend it as a way to study for a test.3
The show is definitely predictable if you’re a history buff, but that is something that I am distinctly not, and the few specifics about the space program that I actually did remember, I managed to block out long enough that everything could be a surprise. That made a couple moments – one of which was one hell of a sucker-punch at the end of an episode – incredibly effective storytelling, and very emotionally charged at that.
Tl;dr: I enjoyed the show, and it’s worth taking the time to watch it once it pops up on Netflix.


  1. And I just now looked it up and saw that it was cancelled after one season, so apparently that should say ‘only season.’ Oh well. 
  2. What can I say, I’ve got a favorite historical period. 
  3. More because you won’t be getting tested on things like “who was cheating on who, and which wife was known for her baking prowess?” 
Categories
Review

War of the Fae, Book 1: The Changelings

I think this one was a ‘free on Amazon’ book that I picked up, and let me tell you, as a marketing effort, that worked. The book ends on a one-sentence plot-twist that acts as an incredibly effective cliffhanger, so props to the author for that.
As to the content, it’s a general fit in the young-adult-fantasy-adventure genre: kid runs away from home (though, admittedly, the reasoning for that is more ‘young adult’ than ‘young adult,’ a slight change that helped to hold my interest), gets involved in a weird situation, finds out magic is real, yadda yadda saves the day. There’s a bit of a ‘hunger games’ vibe to the weird situation, and the ‘magic’ bits are more hinted-at than outright-confirmed for a while.1
The book gets bonus points for a female protagonist, and since I’m now staring at the end-of-book about the author page and just now finding out that the author is a female2 it makes sense how well she was able to portray the female mind. As a dude, I am eternally doomed to be unable to understand the inner workings of the other gender, and I’ve come to terms with that.
On the other hand, it gets docked a few points for two issues: first, the occasional Mary Sue moments with the protagonist – there are three main male supporting characters, and between the three of them at least two are very clearly in love with her.3 More points were docked for the fact that the closest the book has to LGBTQ representation is comparing the motions of a vampire, actively killing someone, to “a gay teacher [the protagonist] had in tenth grade.” Look, I get that every Disney villain ever has been a hodgepodge of stereotypically-gay traits,4 but I’m still going to be disappointed when anyone else gives in to the trope.
Other than that, the only issue I had was a single recurring spelling error,5 and overall I enjoyed the book. It’s easily worth what I paid for it, and the fact that that was ‘nothing’ is how I’m going to justify buying the next book in the series.


  1. Although, being a total mythology-and-legends nerd I picked up on it earlier than the average reader could really be expected to. I have a mental filter for these sorts of things, so it doesn’t interfere with my enjoyment of a book too much. 
  2. I think the ‘read every book on my Kindle’ thing I’m doing is going by author-alphabetical order, but I’m not actually looking at the names, so… 
  3. I’m not docking many points for that, though, because she’s the only girl in the group for most of the story, and I have a low opinion of the average man. 
  4. Hades, anyone? 
  5. ‘Break’: to separate. ‘Brake’: to stop. I don’t think the word ‘break’ is used anywhere in the book, but ‘brake’ shows up multiple times, and it’s spelled wrong each time. C’mon.