The State of the Reader: 6/21/17

<–The State of the Reader: 6/14/17          The State of the Reader: 6/28/17–>

A weekly post updated every Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and where I am with them in addition to what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads to make it easier for interested parties to add any books that might strike their fancy.  I attempt to use the covers for the edition I’m reading, and I’ll mention if this is not the case.  If you have a Goodreads account feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Samples Read This Week

  1. Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey: Kept – I’ve only read one book that involved Mercedes Lackey, and it was a collaboration with Piers Anthony, If I Pay Thee Not in GoldThis held my interest enough to give it a try.
  2. The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco: Kept (RWTR) – This is currently one of the many books with giveaway contests on Goodreads.  I doubt I’ll win, but I’d buy I plan to buy it eventually anyway.  It’s so beautifully written with such a dark premise.
  3. Darkness on the Edge of Town by Brian Keene: Passed – This comes off as overly religious and preachy.  I love religious symbolism, but this book seems like it’s going to have some judgmental moral at the end of it as to why the town is shrouded in darkness, and I just have no interest.
  4. The Young Elites by Marie Lu: Kept (RWTR) – I saw this book in Target a few months ago, but didn’t make the purchase because I wasn’t sure.  I regret not doing so.  The beginning is haunting as the main character Adelina overhears her father literally sell her to a merchant in order to pay off his debts, because no other man would want her due to the ravages of the “blood fever.”
  5. The Many Selves of Katherine North by Emma Green: Passed – The beginning is very confusing and jumbled.  I’m guessing the author wants to introduce the premise of what it feels like to “jump” into the minds of other species, but that’s already enough of an odd concept that obfuscating it even more makes the narrative damn near impossible to follow.  I was hoping for something akin to how GRRM describes warging in ASOIAF, but the beginning of this book is unfortunately a convoluted mess.  The blurb sounds really interesting, and I hate to pass on it, but it really lost me at the start.
  6. The Water Mirror by Kai Meyer: Kept (RWTR) – I’m surprised by this one.  I thought I was going to pass on it and didn’t consider it would wind up on my really-want-to-read list, but the way the people of this fantastic version of Venice are subjugating and abusing mythical creatures such as mermaids and stone lions calls for a great reckoning.
  7. Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson: Kept (RWTR) – This book was fascinating from the start.  Set in the Gold Rush Era, the main character is a girl who can sense gold, yet her family is still struggling.  Her father has some kind of ailment, and her parents don’t seem as overjoyed with her ability as you’d think.  I’m guessing because if anyone knows about it, they’d try to exploit her, and this seems to be the catalyst of the story.
  8. A Thread in the Tangle by Sabrina Flynn: Kept – I think if I hadn’t added the last two books to my really-want-to-read list I would’ve added this one, too.  Sometimes I reconsider and do that later, if a story stays with me, because this one is introduces some fantastic dynamics.  The one character (who appears to be more than human) is clearly not afraid of the emperor, and he seems to care far more about the monarch’s daughter than her father does (what is the title for an emperor’s daughter anyway?  I guess you could still use princess), seeing as the emperor is threatening to lock a four year old in the dungeon until she can be sold.  WTF.
  9. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender: Kept (RWTR) – This book is a dream to someone who loves both magical realism and angels.  The main character may not be one for true, but having the wings of a bird is close enough for me.  The  language is lush and beautiful, and this is firmly on my to-buy-next shelf.  I could’ve purchased it on Kindle, but this is one of the novels I want to own a physical copy of.

Books Purchased This Week: 5

Title: Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain
Author: David Eagleman
Date Added: May 7, 2017
Date Purchased: June 17, 2017

Media: Paperback
Price: $16.00
Retailer: Barnes & Noble

Title: Tigana
Author: Guy Gavriel Kay
Date Added: February 9, 2016
Date Purchased: June 17, 2017

Media: Paperback
Price: $22.00
Retailer: Barnes & Noble

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30 Day Video Game Challenge: Day 21

Day 1

<–Day 20                                                                                                               Day 22–>

Day 21: Game with the best story.

You guys already know I’m going to say Final Fantasy VII. 

Sephiroth by RobasArel

“Silence like a cancer grows…” -The Sound of Silence

From my notes:

VII is a story of secrets, shadows, and silence, but it is the silence that echoes so deep. This is a narrative that seeks to fill the ubiquitous emptiness by ironically presenting it in full. Not only its characters, but also we are hollowed out by what is never said and never revealed, but many of these things are integral truth that in silence can only destroy.

FFVII is the story that not only captured, but held my attention for 20 years and over half my life.  It is the number one inspiration for all of my writing whether that writing is fictional, fantastic, essay or critic.  It came to me after the worst tragedy of my life, and while I can’t say it filled the void, it made me realize I wasn’t alone in the darkness of my own thoughts.  Even though I didn’t know all the details of much of VII’s own major inspiration at the time (and there’s no way in hell that event didn’t change the story, because it was going to be something entirely different before it became what is what, and events like that change you.  Yes, I’m being vague), I still knew there was something special about this game.  Even before I played it, it forced me to go beyond my normal genre since VII is firmly science fantasy or, as I used to call it, the fusion of fantasy and sci-fi.  From a game I had no interest in playing to my life’s obsession, VII’s story was the first narrative to make me question the meaning of the word “terrorist,” because the term is entirely dependent on point of view.  It also made and still makes me either face or push down dark truths about myself and what I would do if confronted with certain situations.  I always insist that I know I wouldn’t be fooled, but in all honesty, I don’t know and it scares me.  Do we really truly understand the darkness that could lie seething in our own deepest cores?  Or do we only think we do?

Puppy time!!!

I needed a drastic subject change, because that got way too deep way too fast, but that’s my relationship with VII.  There were almost some tears shed!  WTF, I don’t have emotions like some commoner *sniff*  Look at dem ears above though.  He could probably take off flying ♥

FFVII isn’t the only game whose story I love.  I have to give props to the Legend of Zelda series especially with all the timelines and loops, Mass Effect of course, Child of Light with its fairy tale atmosphere, Super Paper Mario with the ending that literally made me cry, but Final Fantasy VII has the best story to me, but more importantly for me.

What’s your favorite game story?  Why do you hold it so close to your heart?  Feel free to share as much or as little as you want!


The State of the Gamer: 6/20/17

<–The State of the Gamer: 6/13/17          The State of the Gamer: 6/27/17–>

A weekly post updated every Tuesday detailing my current gaming projects.  I have quite a backlog of games to either play or watch, and I’m hoping a weekly article will assist with my progress as my other accountable posts have done with reading and writing.
I have an account at Grouvee, which is a essentially Goodreads for gamers, so please feel free to friend me there!
Original source of the banner art is located here.

Currently Playing: 4

Title: Final Fantasy Type-0
Series: Final Fantasy/Fabula Nova Crystallis
Genre: Action RPG – Fantasy
Developer: Square Enix
Platform: PlayStation 4
Release Date: October 27, 2011
Date Purchased: May 18, 2017
Date Started: June 18, 2017

I was really excited to start this, and holy shit, is the opening dark.  I know there are other games that properly portray the reality of war, but I’ve never seen it done by Final Fantasy, even though nearly all of them center around it.  Squeenix pulled no punches in showing how horrible war is with bleeding bodies on the street, the city burning, and *spoiler* a boy who can’t be more than 15 dying besides his mortally wounded chocobo *end spoiler*  This is not your little sibling’s Final Fantasy.

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30 Day Video Game Challenge: Day 20

Day 1

<–Day 19                                                                                                                Day 21–>

Day 20: Favorite genre.

RPGs are number one in my book.  I love games that tell a story.  Second is puzzle games, since I also love games that make you think, though obviously any game that tells a story should also make you think.  I find puzzle games incredibly useful for playing before I have to write or edit something, because it gets my problem solving circuits all fired up.  Third would be platformers, though I seem to have lost some of my skills with those over the years, probably because I haven’t played as many as I used to.

What genre holds the highest esteem for you?

<–Day 19                                                                                                                Day 21–>

The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia by Patrick Thorpe et al

Title: The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia
Authors: Patrick Thorpe, Various Artists, Translators, and Others
Date Added: October 30, 2016
Date Started: April 11, 2017
Date Finished: June 4, 2017
Reading Duration: 54 days
Genre: Art, Reference

Pages: 274
Publication Date: January 16, 2013
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
Media: Hardback

Dark Horse Books and Nintendo team up to bring you The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia, containing an unparalleled collection of historical information on The Legend of Zelda franchise. This handsome hardcover contains never-before-seen concept art, the full history of Hyrule, the official chronology of the games, and much more! Starting with an insightful introduction by the legendary producer and video-game designer of Donkey Kong, Mario, and The Legend of Zelda, Shigeru Miyamoto, this book is crammed full of information about the storied history of Link’s adventures from the creators themselves! As a bonus, The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia includes an exclusive comic by the foremost creator of The Legend of Zelda manga – Akira Himekawa!

I would recommend this book too Zelda lovers both young and old.  It not only has amazing artwork, some of which is conceptual, never finding its way into any games, but it gives a well organized explanation of the quite confusing and convoluted timeline as well as background information on each game’s individual narrative and the overarching one of the Legend.  For example, it confirmed that the loftwings introduced in Skyward Sword were indeed based on a real life bird, the shoebill.

Loftwing (right) by Deviant Artist Rika-Wawa “TLOZ:SS – Loftwing”

The importance of these birds transcends the game they originated from for they are preserved for all time in the insignia on Link’s Hylian Shield.

Legend of Zelda is the first game series I’ve ever seen with a contingency for the hero’s failure with Ocarina of Time as the appropriate turning point.  If Link succeeds in defeating Ganon, Majora’s Mask is the continuation of the story, but if he is defeated that loss leads to Link to the Past in hopes he can save the future.  There’s also the Child Link Timeline and the Adult Link Timeline, which begins in Ocarina as well.  That game serves as a hub of convergence, which makes sense since it’s the first (in release, not chronological order) to feature the Temple of Time.

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30 Day Video Game Challenge: Day 19

Day 1

<–Day 18                                                                                                              Day–20–>

Day 19: Picture of a game setting you wish you lived in.

Lord Blumiere and Lady Timpani by Triple-Q

This is the final scene from Super Paper Mario.  I’d never leave that hill…but if I had to have a city to go back to I’d choose…

…the Lindblum Theatre District.  I like the arts, but if I was feeling more in the need of technological advancement, I’d have to go with…

Mass Effect 2 Citadel by Artfall

…the Citadel from Mass Effect.  Yes, I’m aware some really bad things happen there (hell, bad things happen everywhere), but I’ve had ideas for a vast, technologically advanced city of the future for a long time, and the Citadel is literally a gigantic metropolis in space.

Where would you reside in video game land?

<–Day 18                                                                                                              Day–20–>



30 Day Video Game Challenge: Day 18

Day 1

<–Day 17                                                                                                                 Day 19–>

Day 18: Favorite protagonist.

Why is this question harder than favorite antagonist?  Athena from AmbiGaming asks the same thing in her post to the same, so if you’re seeking some clues to the answer, I’d suggest you look there.

For Final Fantasy, it’s a toss up between Cecil Harvey from IV and Celes Chere from VI.  Cecil manages to fight and overcome the darkness that threatens to consume him and manages to consume *spoiler* his brother and his best friend *end spoiler* at least for a time, because Cecil is a literal white knight at heart.

DFF_FFIV-Moonknight by NiwaRIKU89

Then there’s Celes who went from general to prisoner to rebel to depression/suicidal after she lost everything.  I never realized how deep that part of the game was until I was older, but if certain things go awry (even after the world ends), Celes throws herself into the sea.

Celes by Asumi

For non-Final Fantasy Aurora from Child of Light is up there.  She’s brave, resourceful, and compassionate, much more mature than her years even in the beginning when she’s a little girl.  She’s the best fairy tale heroine I’ve ever come across, doesn’t  bleed “damsel in distress” in the least, even throughout all the trials and heartbreaking revelations in Lemuria.

Favorite protagonists are hard to pick.  I can’t pinpoint just one like I can with villains.  I think it’s because with villains we pick our favorites based on what qualities inspire the most sympathy and connection.  In a way we may fear falling as they did, so we might be more forgiving for our favorites because we see a reflection of ourselves.  There are many different ways to be a protagonist (not saying there aren’t many different ways to be a villain), and each one we find will have qualities we like and can look up to.  This may be why we’re more likely to like different types of protagonists, but generally prefer one type of villain.

Let’s hear your favorite protagonists in the comments!

<–Day 17                                                                                                                 Day 19–>