Saga: Volume 6 by Brian K Vaughn and Fiona Staples (Saga #6)


<–Saga: Volume 5                                                                               Saga: Volume 7–>

Title: Saga, Volume 6
Series Title: Saga
Authors: Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples
Date Added: June 11, 2017
Date Started: June 17, 2017
Date Finished: June 22,, 2017
Reading Duration: 5 days
Genre: Graphic Novel/Comic, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Paranormal Romance, Space Opera

Pages: 152
Publication Date: June 29, 2016
Publisher: Image Comics
Media: Paperback

After a dramatic time jump, the three-time Eisner Award winner for Best Continuing Series continues to evolve, as Hazel begins the most exciting adventure of her life: kindergarten. Meanwhile, her starcrossed family learns hard lessons of their own.

I think I’m going to do this review in bullet points and pretty much just copy and paste from my notes, because I’m lazy, and I just added two more books to my review pile.  So here goes:

  • Blue (Wreath’s tongue) is definitely a Romance language.  I can kind of understand what they’re saying.  Thank you junior high to college level French.
  • Hazel is combination of colors just like Hazel (Alana and Marko’s daughter) is a combination of worlds.  Also holy shit *spoiler* she has four wings. *end spoiler*
  • The two reporters, Doff and Upsher, actually did pick up that obscure Oswald quote Alana says on the Circuit when she can’t remember her lines.  Someone warned her that that might happen, and she completely brushes off and then gets high.
    • Speaking of the reporters, Doff (the green-skinned one) recognizes the similarities between Alana and Marko’s story and him and his partner, which is a double entendre because they’re gay, but homosexuality isn’t accepted on their planet Jetsam.  Upsher, though, is too caught up in getting the story and refuses to see it.  His argument is that them kissing won’t send shock waves through the universe like Alana and Marko’s relationship and offspring will, but he’s missing the point Doff is trying to make.  They all just want to live their lives free of persecution based on whom they love and whom their family is.
    • Upsher (blue) is also kind of an asshole.  Doff actually has a heart and cares more about others over just getting a story.
  • Only the royal robots have colored screens.  I didn’t notice this until a character mentioned it, but then I remembered that Dengo the janitor only had a black and white face.  Also at least the royals literally have blue blood.
  • Again this series kicks ass with its inclusion.  Petrichor (which refers to smell of rain) is a trans woman from Wreath who *spoiler* accidentally finds out Hazel’s secret. *end spoiler*  She (Petri) is someone who 100% understands having to keep certain parts of your body secret to protect yourself and possibly your family.  I think it’s an awesome parallel, though I’d love to hear a trans person’s perspective at some point.

If you’re not yet reading Saga, and you enjoy science fantasy, space opera with brilliantly written characters, amazing artwork, and a story that will both keep you on your toes and make you think, I’d highly suggest you buy or borrow it.  I’m lending my Volumes 3-7 to my friend next week, because no one should miss out on this story because they’re currently short of funds.

And so it goes on…

<–Saga: Volume 5                                                                               Saga: Volume 7–>




Final Fantasy Character Assessments: Cecil Harvey

This is the continuation of my surprisingly popular Final Fantasy Tarot weekly post with some additions.  I promised to start an astrology series for the games, but in the weeks between my last Final Fantasy Tarot post and this, my ideas have expanded.  I not only want to explore potential zodiac signs, but a few other traits as well.  As I matched a character to a Major Arcana in the last project, here I’m going to match a Major Arcana to each individual character (if that doesn’t make sense right now, it will once you get into the posts).

Ideally, I’d like to do every Final Fantasy character from all the games I’ve played starting with Final Fantasy IV, since that’s the first game that had definitive characters with individual personalities, so this is will be another long term series, though I’m going to intersperse it with the questions you’ve seen before.  It might be an every other week deal, or the time intervals might be greater.  I haven’t quite decided yet.

The traits to be assigned, analyzed, and discussed are as follows:

  • Tarot (Major Arcana)
  • Zodiac/Astrological Sign
  • Alignment
  • Myers-Briggs Personality Type
  • Diagnosis

Obviously, this is all my conjecture and neither canonical nor absolute.  The astrology in particular is based on my personal assessment of the character, considering that many of them have established birthdays, which would concurrently denote their (Western) astrology.  For example, Aeris’s birthday is February 7, 1985, which would make her an Aquarius; however, my estimation of her zodiac sign is quite different, and I’ll be basing my choice on personality rather than birth date.  This may make some purists angry, but such determinations are merely my opinion and have no bearing on anything beyond personal speculation.

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Half a King by Joe Abercrombie (Shattered Sea #1)

Title: Half a King
Series Title: Shattered Sea
Author: Joe Abercrombie
Date Added: July 14, 2015
Date Started: May 27, 2017
Date Finished: June 18, 2017
Reading Duration: 22 days
Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Grimdark

Pages: 385
Publication Date: July 3, 2014
Publisher: Del Rey
Media: eBook/Kindle

Shares Paradigms With: Hamlet, The Lion King, ASOIAF, Radiance (Wraith Kings), An Ember in the Ashes

“I swore an oath to avenge the death of my father. I may be half a man, but I swore a whole oath.”
Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains, and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea. And he must do it all with only one good hand.
The deceived will become the deceiver.
Born a weakling in the eyes of his father, Yarvi is alone in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rule. He cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he must sharpen his mind to a deadly edge.
The betrayed will become the betrayer.
Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast and the lost, he finds they can do more to help him become the man he needs to be than any court of nobles could.
Will the usurped become the usurper?
But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi finds his path may end as it began—in twists, and traps, and tragedy.

If life has taught me one thing, it’s that there are no villains. Only people, doing their best.

Prince Yarvi lives in a society very similar to the Ironborn of George R R Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire: harsh, cruel, and unforgiving of weakness.  They follow Mother War, eschew Father Peace and present a juxtaposition within the two ideals, as the mother or feminine side is usually associated with tranquility whereas war and battle are typically portrayed as masculine.

Seriously…you don’t get much more “masculine” than this, and he’s literally the God of War.

As the second and youngest son of King Uthrik, Yarvi had neither hopes nor ambitions for the throne.  He was meant for the ministry, studying under Mother Gundring, where having only one good hand would make no difference.  Yarvi’s bitterness bleeds on the page, because he cannot live up to his culture’s expectations, and neither of his parents let him forget this.

A man swings the scythe and the ax, his father had said. A man pulls the oar and makes fast the knot. Most of all a man holds the shield. A man holds the line. A man stands by his shoulder-man. What kind of man can do none of these things?

I didn’t ask for half a hand, Yarvi had said, trapped where he so often found himself, on the barren ground between shame and fury.

I didn’t ask for half a son.

His mother isn’t much better in the beginning.  She has nothing but scorn for her disabled child, but considering their culture, his parents’ behavior makes perfect sense.  It doesn’t exist in a vacuum, but rather is a product of the harsh climate and culture they live in, which could be overlooked through the lens of presentism. This is not to say that Yarvi deserves his plight.  He doesn’t.  No one does whether from ancient history or far flung future; however, his misery fits into that zeitgeist, and his reaction to the emotional abuse and gaslighting is timeless.

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The State of the Reader: 7/19/17

<–The State of the Reader: 7/12/17          The State of the Reader: 7/26/17–>

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. Bambi’s Children by Felix Salten: Kept – I enjoyed the first book, and this one appears to have the same charm.
  2. The Catalyst by Helen Coggan: Kept (RWTR) – I only read a few pages of this, because I’m trying not to read as much of my samples, just enough to know I’ll like it.  When I get to read them, I don’t like to reread what I already have to save time, but I often feel obligated to at least skim it to reacquaint myself.  I’d rather have less to skim.  Anyway, this starts off with a hole being ripped in the sky similar to the Futurama movie The Beast with a Billion Backs.
  3. Mark of the Demon by Diana Rowland: Kept (RWTR) – PI summons 12th level demon who proceeds to apprehend the burglar who very unwisely broke into her house coincidentally at the same time she was doing said summons.  Also, there’s a promise of a really hot angel character.
  4. Relic by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child: Passed – It didn’t hold my interest.  I like mysteries, but there just didn’t seem to be much new infused into this one.  I think this is just a personal preference case.  The story and writing don’t seem bad, and I think it would be enjoyable to someone who likes museum or Indiana Jones-like mysteries.  Not saying I don’t, but they’re not my usual reading fare.
  5. A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn: Kept – Victorian mystery where the main character is a recently orphaned, practical young lady.  Sounds good to me.
  6. The Rains by Gregg Hurwitz: Kept (RWTR) – I barely read two pages before I knew this was a keeper for the RWTR shelf.  The characters are likable, and I already know the plot is going to be compelling.
  7. Lotus and Thorn by Sara Wilson Etienne: Kept – I almost put this on the RWTR shelf, but I decided against it.  It starts before the main character is exiled to the desert, and I’m guessing she’s about to commit the act that gets her thrown out.  There’s a character named Lotus whom I’m assuming will be important, though in the first chapter, she seems to almost be brushed over.
  8. Double Dead by Chuck Wendig: Kept (RWTR) – A vampire protagonist in a world full of zombies.  He’s been asleep for a while, and when he wakes up the world has gone to hell.  If you ever wondered if vampires can feed off of zombies, this book has your answer and much more.

Books Purchased This Week: 0

Books Declared DNF This Week: 1

Title: The Beauty Thief
Series Title: Twelve Realms
Author: Rachael Ritchey
Date Added: February 5, 2016
Date Started: July 13, 2017
Date DNF: July 19, 2017
Reading Duration: 6 days

Percentage Read: 25%

I was really excited to read this one, so much that I threw it on my really-want-to-read shelf, and initially, it was really engaging.  I liked that the characters were royal, but they weren’t corrupt.  While they were a little bit too good to be true (no Game of Thrones grey in here), tyrannical rulers has become a bit cliched, so it’s almost a subversion to read about people who aren’t, and I liked that the princes and princesses were properly disciplined for misbehavior by being forced to do chores typically associated with “commoners.”  True rulers know that their task is to serve.  Caityn, the main character, also mentions she’s taught or read at the local school in addition to comforting orphans and widows.  It was sweet and really laid the foundation for what kind of realm this was.

Then Princess Eliya shows up.  Eliya is Theiandar’s (Caityn’s betrothed) sister, and you instantly know something is up with her.  I was okay with that, because everyone can’t be perfect, and her jealousy towards Caityn, which was grounded in the fear she was taking her only brother away, was understandable.

The reason I stopped reading was the novel has way too much exposition.  The author tells too much instead of showing.  The conflict of the story was washed out by the exposition/explanation on everyone’s state of mind.  Theiandar is wholly devoted to Caityn, which is plain to see in his behavior.  It takes away the mystery that every book should posses a little of to constantly comment on it though.  Let us doubt a bit.  Let us see it in his words and his actions.  Show the devotion more than you tell me he’s devoted.

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The State of the Gamer: 7/18/17

<–The State of the Gamer: 7/11/17          The State of the Gamer: 7/25/17

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

Progress: Chapter 2

No progress this week.  I’m still at the school and still trying to find time to play.

Title: Final Fantasy V
Series: Final Fantasy
Genre: RPG – Fantasy
Developer: Square
Platform: PlayStation
Release Date: December 6, 1992
Date Purchased: Unknown
Date Started: June 17, 2017

Progress: Walz Castle

I’m still at Walz Castle, but I managed to loot the basement and snag myself 3000 GP and an Elf Cloak.  That stupid harpy down there attacked me three or four times, but I was able to run away, though it killed/knocked out two of my characters.  I attempted to fight/obtain Shiva, but she and her cohorts kicked my ass even though I took the advice on GameFAQS of switching everyone to a Black Mage and casting Ice.  I’m going to do some leveling and give it another try.  I might look up another walkthrough and see if there are any more tips, or I may just continue on to Walz Tower and come back for her later.

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The State of the Writer: 7/16/17

<–The State of the Writer: 7/9/17          The State of the Writer: 7/23/17–>

A weekly post updated every Sunday discussing my current writing projects and where I stand with them.  This will include any and all work(s) in progress (WIP) be they creative writing, essays/analyses, or reviews of any type.

Project: Story
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 266,620
Prior Word Count: 266,387
Word Difference: +233
Status: Editing
Progress: Chapter 10 revisions

No use lying about what I’m doing.  I’m currently in a revision phase for this chapter right now.  I decided to change up a scene, and that’s what I’ve been working on for the past week or so.  The story is filled with highlights and breaks.  It’s a mess D:  Well, at least to my sensibilities it is.  I’ll patch it up and put it back together, though I’ve been having a hell of a time, well, finding the time.  I need to prioritize my editing instead of trying to wedge it in at the end of the day.  The good thing is I have pretty much everything in my notes.  It’s just a matter of putting it together.

Quote: “General?”

“Yes, little one?”  He kept his voice gentle.  “Is everything well, my Aeris?”

She shuddered at that, and her naked toes curled into thick, lustrous carpet.  Lifting her hands, she looked up at him, and the sight tore the threads of his heart.  “I-I…”  I ask him for so much.  Silver locks spilled on black garb.  He was so tall the Cetra’s neck ached already from staring up.  Summer eyes flutter, and Aeris swayed hard before his immense strength closed around.  His embrace sealed her tight in his full protection, and the tiny Cetra sobbed.  

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Saga: Volume 5 by Brian K Vaughn and Fiona Staples (Saga #5)


<–Saga: Volume 4                                                                               Saga: Volume 6–>

Title: Saga, Volume 5
Series Title: Saga
Authors: Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples
Date Added: June 6, 2017
Date Started: June 12, 2017
Date Finished: June 15,, 2017
Reading Duration: 3 days
Genre: Graphic Novel/Comic, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Paranormal Romance, Space Opera

Pages: 152
Publication Date: September 9, 2015
Publisher: Image Comics
Media: Paperback

Multiple storylines collide in this cosmos-spanning new volume. While Gwendolyn and Lying Cat risk everything to find a cure for The Will, Marko makes an uneasy alliance with Prince Robot IV to find their missing children, who are trapped on a strange world with terrifying new enemies.

The volume reveals a Hunger Games vibe when it’s discovered that Landfallian soldiers were originally chosen by lottery, but as the war raged on, it moved away from the original progenitors whose descendants never know its horrors, and the commentary here is brilliant.  How many super powers have started or ordered wars that will never touch them?  Also, it’s never made clear (at least not yet) who started the conflict between Landfall and Wreath, and even if this knowledge is never revealed, it doesn’t matter.

We don’t know why the wings and the horns are at each other’s throats besides the symbolic Paradise Lost/war of Heaven vs. Hell motif, which brings up some interesting questions about the narrative’s take on that.  Obviously, the prevailing notion is that Heaven/God were right and Hell/Satan were wrong, but to look at it objectively, it was really a battle of free will vs. determinism; knowledge vs. belief (or if we want to be harsher, ignorance).  Having the Landfallians own the wings whereas their moon is populated by “horns” whom they’d dubbed the derogatory “moony,” implies there might have been uprising and revolution on the satellite’s part.

It’s not like slavery, especially of the sexual sort, isn’t tackled in the most horrific way in this series, and again, Saga blurs the lines between hero and villain.  The “heroes,” Alana and Marko, don’t always perform the most virtuous deeds, and the “villains,” The Will and Prince Robot IV aren’t always the most nefarious monsters in the room.  There is always someone or something far worse.

And it goes on…

<–Saga: Volume 4                                                                               Saga: Volume 6–>