April ’22 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Novels – 12 ↓

Graphic Novels – 6 ⭤

Average Rating – 3.03 ↓

Pages – 3430 ↓

Words – 1043 ↓

The Bad:

Flashman – 1/2star of Pure Filth

Tales of Angria – 1star DNF

Wings of the Dove – 1star DNF

The Good:

A House of Gentlefolk – You know you’re having a rough month when a Russian novel is the best you can muster up at 4stars

Movie:

Fragglerock Season 4 was a great way to end the series!

Miscellaneous Posts:

Personal:

I started keeping track of my food intake again. Not trying to chart the carbs or calories but simply list everything I eat and drink. Simply being aware keeps me from mindlessly snacking and since I almost hit 170lbs at the dr’s office, well, time to start the food fight again.

Good news is that my diabetes is getting under some good tight control (my last hemoglobin A1C was 6,8) with the sensor and pump AND my eyes haven’t degraded in over 18 months, which means things are stable. The endocrinologist is happy, the retina specialist is happy and I’m happy!

Work has been much better. My coworker has stopped grumping so much and I got a raise, which is going straight into the massive tax hike we got stuck with this year. We owe a lot and I know EXACTLY who is to blame.

The reading bump I had gotten from getting covid back in January finally ended and I’m back to a bit more “realistic” numbers. The upside is that I won’t have to write so many reviews each month; the downside is that now I have to be more “creative” to come up with other things to write about. It might turn out to be a bit more work than expected. Of course, with how April went in terms of numbers (every number!), I’ll be glad to start a new month. This was the worst reading month I have had in a VERY LONG time 😦

With all that good stuff, there has to be something poopy too. WordPress. Of course. If you didn’t know, WordPress scrapped all of their plans, changed everything to a free or expensive plan and pretty much killed off the chance of any casual new blogger from starting out. Those who had existing plans can still renew them at the old rate, but there is no guarantee of how long that “promise” will last. Basically WP gave the free bloggers the old heave ho and told all the inexpensive plan users to pay more or fuck off. AND even now, a month later, pertinent details like pricing and addons are still a mystery. I have never seen a business transaction handled this badly. Never.

Cover Love:

None of the covers this month grabbed my attention, and since I don’t believe in the Participation Trophy mentality, NOBODY gets the cover love mention.

Plans for Next Month:

Since I started reading Sherlock Holmes I wanted to watch the 2010 series by the BBC. I plan on watching Season One and reviewing each episode on Sundays. SavageDave will be joining in so your Sundays will be filled with more Sherlock than you can shake a stick at!

To keep the Muppet theme going for movies, I am also planning on watching the Muppet’s Wizard of Oz. Everything I’ve heard and seen leads me to believe this is going to be the worst Muppet movie I’ve ever laid eyes on, so hang on, because who knows what will happen!

Rebellion ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Rebellion
Series: Galaxy’s Edge: Dark Operator #2
Author: Doc Spears
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Mil-SF
Pages: 283
Words: 104K



Synopsis:

From Galaxysedge.fandom.com & Me

For Sergeant Kel Turner and Kill Team Three, the wait is never long. Whether it’s on a core world snatching a delusional genius who knows too much, or on the edge forging allies among a complex alien culture, Dark Ops are the foot soldiers of the House of Reason’s galactic game for dominance.

Danger looms over Kel and his teammates like taxes over a Republic citizen. The promise is written in blood. Now they face a crisis that makes their worst firefight tame in comparison. Kel learns that sometimes there are no clear answers, manuals, or templates to follow. Isolated from Republic help, when the lives of thousands hang in the balance, a planet looks for a savior. Fortunately, when there’s a dark operator on hand, the odds favor the Legion.

KT3 kidnap a rich genius and disappear him. Then the entire book switches to them being on an alien planet that the Republic is woo’ing for the rare elements available. The Company has made a deal with the largest tribe, arming them with modern blasters and tanks, etc. Several Kill Teams are training this new army. The army rebels, the supposed leader declares herself the leader of the world and plans to wipe out every single human on the planet.

The Ambassador gets all the surviving humans (many were killed in outposts they were doing research at) into one city and begins evacuating them. But with a brand new army and guns and tanks, the rebel isn’t going to let that happen. So she begins to march on the city, which is pretty much defenseless. Kel figures out a way to send an asteroid onto the army and destroy it without cracking the planets surface.

The book ends with an extremely powerful Senator making note that Kel is too resourceful for a Legionnaire and needs to be cut off.

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed my time reading this but have realized that what I really like about the Galaxy’s Edge universe is the original authors writing. Jason Anspach and Nick Cole write what I want to read, military space opera. Everybody else who is playing in this sandbox seems to be writing just military science fiction. I enjoy mil-sf, but not as much as space opera.

The beginning of the book felt like a short story inserted to pad the page/word count. I kept waiting for what happened then to have ramifications when they were on the alien world, but it never did. The beginning chapter/s (I forget if it was longer than a chapter or not) simply had zero integration with the rest of the book. It was very jarring.

Decent read but not mind blowing or anything like that at all. I’m giving this 3 ½ stars but really, I think that half star is just for the name Galaxy’s Edge. If the next book is of the same quality and holds my interest the same, I’ll be knocking things down to a more realistic 3star. Mind you, this isn’t bad. It just isn’t what I got in the original series.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #4 ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #4
Authors: Peter Laird & Kevin Eastman
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 53
Words: 3K



Synopsis:

The Turtles are hanging out in April’s apartment and decide to go for some night exercise on the nearby rooftops. They run into a group of Foot Clan soldiers and battle ensues. One of them gets hurt and all of them see a big building with the letters TCRI on it. After defeating the Foot Clan soldiers, the boys head back to recover from their fight.

The next night they head to the building only to discover it has no doors, no windows, no ledges, no apparent way to enter except the front door on the street and one door on the roof. They make their way into the building and discover Splinter in some sort of container in a coma. They set off some alarms and the aliens come running, afraid the Turtles will damage or destroy their Translocation Matrix Machine. The Turtles accidently activate the machine and the issue ends with them all fading away, fate unknown.

My Thoughts:

I feel like this comic has a rhythm and it has taken me to this volume to feel it and get in the groove. It is very different from One Piece, or Asterix or even Bone. Part of why the earlier reads felt so disjointed or disorienting to me was because I hadn’t gotten that rhythm yet. I got it now though and really enjoyed this issue.

We find out the aliens are creating a translocation matrix machine, which is their goal. We all know what “translocation” mean, so it’s obvious they’re trying to bring something to Earth or to take something away. Of course, the boys screw up their plans royally when they invade and then accidentally activate it!

The little blobby aliens pricked something in my mind and after reading this volume I figured out what it was. They remind me of the toy brains from the Mattel toy line of Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors from the 80’s. We lived in an apartment complex growing up and one of our neighbors had a lot of toys. One such set was these Wheeled Warriors. The badguys where the Monster Minds or something and they were these green rubbery brains. They were so gross! And as a boy they were totally awesome. Anyway, the aliens remind me of them. Isn’t it weird how things like that work?

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Extreme Measures ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Extreme Measures
Series: Mitch Rapp #9
Author: Vince Flynn
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 412
Words: 132K



Synopsis:

From Vinceflynn.com

Now, Rapp and his protege, Mike Nash, may have met their match. The CIA has detected and intercepted two terrorist cells, but a third is feared to be on the loose. Led by a dangerous mastermind obsessed with becoming the leader of al-Qaeda, this determined and terrifying group is about to descend on America.

Rapp needs the best on this assignment, and Nash, who has served his government honorably for sixteen years first as an officer in the Marine Corps and then as an operative in an elite counterterrorism team run by Rapp is his choice.

Together, they have made careers out of meeting violence with extreme violence and have never wavered in the fight against the jihadists and their culture of death.

Both have fought the war on terrorism in secret without accolades or acknowledgment of their personal sacrifices.

Both have been forced to lie to virtually every single person they care about, and both have soldiered on with the knowledge that their hard work and lethal tactics have saved thousands of lives.

But the political winds have changed in America, and certain leaders on Capitol Hill are pushing to have men like Rapp and Nash put back on a short leash. And then one spring afternoon in Washington, DC, everything changes.

My Thoughts:

This was a good thriller. My only real gripe is the ending. The politician who had been doing her hardest to get Rapp destroyed has a complete change of heart when the bombs go off and suddenly she’s all Super Patriot. It was bogus. People like her WANT this country destroyed, which is what makes them so insidious. It also makes them impervious to logic and all rational thought. Sadly, there is only one way to deal with people like that and it almost never turns out well. So that was my gripe.

Rapp takes front and center in this book. There have been times when Irene Kennedy, the director of the CIA plays as big a part but this time she is barely mentioned and pretty much lets Rapp loose. For the record, I am completely FOR enhanced interrogation methods. They work, despite what the media may trumpet. They are liars, pure and simple.

(Man, I keep going off about real world politics here, sorry about that)

Rapp isn’t just a meat head with a steady gun hand. He’s a smart and capable operator and the badguys and people who oppose him would do well to remember that. Rapp shows his brains through the whole book and it was great to see him outmaneuver almost everyone. There is one other guy, Mike Nash, who is similar to Rapp, but Nash has a wife and several kids. Part of the story centers around him and the stresses this creates. I was afraid the terrorists were going to kill his family much like Rapp’s family were killed earlier. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen. But up until the leader of the islamic jihadists was killed, I just couldn’t tell if the author was going to go there or not.

I had taken a break from Rapp last year and started up again in January. I am finding that 3 books is about the right amount for me. So after this book I’ll be taking another break, reading something else and then coming back to Rapp for another 3 books. Balancing my reading is getting more and more complicated but considering that I haven’t had a reading slump in over 6 or 7 years now, well, that means it is working. * pounds fist * Yeah, I am THAT good.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

A House of Gentlefolk ★★★★☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: A House of Gentlefolk
Series: (The Russians)
Author: Ivan Turgenev
Translator: Constance Garnett
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Classic
Pages: 228
Words: 62K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia

The novel’s protagonist is Fyodor Ivanych Lavretsky, a nobleman who shares many traits with Turgenev. The child of a distant, Anglophile father and a serf mother who dies when he is very young, Lavretsky is brought up at his family’s country estate home by a severe maiden aunt, often thought to be based on Turgenev’s own mother, who was known for her cruelty.

Lavretsky pursues an education in Moscow, and while he is studying there, he spies a beautiful young woman at the opera. Her name is Varvara Pavlovna, and he falls in love with her and asks for her hand in marriage. Following their wedding, the two move to Paris, where Varvara Pavlovna becomes a very popular salon hostess and begins an affair with one of her frequent visitors. Lavretsky learns of the affair only when he discovers a note written to her by her lover. Shocked by her betrayal, he severs all contact with her and returns to his family estate.

Upon returning to Russia, Lavretsky visits his cousin, Marya Dmitrievna Kalitina, who lives with her two daughters, Liza and Lenochka. Lavretsky is immediately drawn to Liza, whose serious nature and religious devotion stand in contrast to the coquettish Varvara Pavlovna’s social consciousness. Lavretsky realizes that he is falling in love with Liza, and when he reads in a foreign journal that Varvara Pavlovna has died, he confesses his love to her and learns that she loves him in return.

After they confess their love to one another, Lavretsky returns home to find his supposedly dead wife waiting for him in his foyer. It turns out that the reports of her death were false, and that she has fallen out of favor with her friends and needs more money from Lavretsky.

Upon learning of Varvara Pavlovna’s sudden appearance, Liza decides to join a remote convent and lives out the rest of her days as a nun. Lavretsky visits her at the convent one time and catches a glimpse of her as she is walking from choir to choir. The novel ends with an epilogue which takes place eight years later, in which Lavretsky returns to Liza’s house and finds that, although many things have changed, there are elements such as the piano and the garden that are the same. Lavretsky finds comfort in his memories and is able to see the meaning and even the beauty in his personal pain.

My Thoughts:

The “official” title of this book is actually The Home of the Gentry. If you search for A House of Gentlefolk on wikipedia, you end up on the page for Home. Obviously Garnett did a bang up job of translating back in the late 1800’s. Which of course makes the rest of the book completely suspect and while it didn’t ruin my read, it did make me cranky and suspicious the whole time that what I was reading wasn’t actually what I was supposed to be reading. I feel like I got gypped out of 99 cents from buying this “Complete Collection” on amazon.

This was ALL THE DRAMA! If you’ve ever seen a spanish soap opera, add a mega-dose of melancholy and nothing working out and you’ll get this story. Lavretsky gets cuckolded, then used by his wife, abandons his daughter, falls in love with a woman only to have his wife return from the dead, and gets cuckolded again. And then the woman he loves becomes a nun and his wife lives her life out in society in Paris or something and the kid either dies or is so sickly that you know she is going to die. And the book ends with Lavretsky returning to his village and having memories. Ugh.

With all of that it would seem that this should have been a 2star book for me. And this is where the power of the russian writing shows its power over me. I enjoyed every second of this book.

In many ways this seemed the opposite of Turgenev’s Rudin. Rudin is brash, impulsive, self absorbed and willing to fight anyone on any point and as such he dies in France in one of their many “revolutions”. Lavretsky on the other hand doesn’t want conflict with anyone, ever, under any circumstances, to the point where he gives his wife a massive amount of money to go live her life and to leave him alone when she first cuckolds him. Lavretsky SHOULD have killed her lover in a duel and then given her the choice of honorably taking her own life or casting her out into the streets ignobly. Then when his wife returns, he has no fire to fight her on any point and just lets her slide back into his life. It was a complete contrast in people and I rather enjoyed that contrast, as a study.

One thing I have noticed is that the russian writers tend to have their women be the ones who are religious and try to convert the men they are interested in. In this book, Lisa is very God oriented and while Lavretsky isn’t, she’s convinced she can lead him to God after they are married. Once again, a lack of knowledge about what the Bible says on a subject seems to form the majority of the religious in these books. They, the characters have an idea that is kind of Biblical, but not actually based on it and then go with it however it seems to fit the circumstances instead of using the Bible as their yardstick and plumbline. I guess that’s what one would expect to see if Christianity was just a cultural thing instead of a personal thing. It is very disconcerting to me though and I suspect it will continue to be that way through all the russian books I read.

I think that’s enough for me. I’m right around the 600 word mark and that seems to be my happy place, at least according to the statistics that wordpress supplies me.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Showdown at Alubarna ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Showdown at Alubarna
Series: One Piece #20
Arc: Baroque Works #9
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 207
Words: 9K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_One_Piece_chapters_(1_186)

“30 Million vs. 81 Million”

“Grand Line Level”

“Showdown at Alubarna”

“Alabasta Animal Land”

“Supersonic Duck Quiz”

“Roar”

“Squadron Leader Karoo”

“Moletown Block Four”

“Oh… Is That So?”

“4”

Luffy fights Crocodile; despite many hits, his opponent is unfazed. Crocodile, using his devil-fruit ability to dissolve and reintegrate whatever part of his body Luffy attacks, toys with him until he impales him through the chest with his prosthetic hook and buries him in the sand. The rest of the Straw Hats hurry to intercept the rebel army. They cross the desert on a giant crab, cross the river Sandora and are picked up on the other side by Karoo and his squad of spot-billed ducks. In front of the capital, the high-ranking Baroque Works agents try to intercept Vivi and are lured into the city by disguised Straw Hats. Vivi tries to stop the rebels, but the enraged army storms past her. She flees from Mr. 2, who chases her into the city (where Sanji comes to her rescue). On the other side of the city, Usopp and Chopper battle the agents Mr. 4 and Miss Merry Christmas.

My Thoughts:

This was just ok. Vivi is front and center as somehow she is the only one who can stop the rebels and get the country back on track. Her father, the king, appears to be a puling idiot and the advisors to the king are as dumb as him. That’s the only explanation I can come up with for why everyone does what they do. Imagine Luffy without the charisma and twice as stupid.

We do get to see Team Luffy coming into their own. While I wasn’t a huge fan of the various fights presented (half the time I couldn’t tell what I was looking at), it was obvious that they had gelled as a team and had begun their own climb up the power ladder.

Even Usopp impressed me. I didn’t think that was possible.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Fraggle Rock Season 4 (TV 1986)

Technically, there was a Season Four AND a Season Five to Fraggle Rock, if you watched it on tv. They did some number shuffling for a variety of reasons. Reading Henson’s bio talked about this a little. It had to do with what studios would accept, etc, So they stretched out the final season into 2 seasons. As I’m watching dvd rips, I’m getting it the way it was originally produced.

When they made the choice to split the final season, they cut 2 episodes from Season Three, added them to the final season and then cut that in half for 2 shorter seasons of 13 episodes each. Yeah, it makes a real hash of trying to figure out stuff. I guess that was why I included the episode list in my last review so I could keep straight what episodes were going where. So here’s this sets episode list:

  • Disc 1
  • Sidebottom Blues
  • Uncle Matt’s Discovery
  • Junior Faces the Music
  • The Perfect Blue Rollie
  • A Tune for Two
  • A Brush with Jealousy
  • Disc 2
  • Wembley’s Flight
  • Wonder Mountain
  • Red’s Blue Dragon
  • Space Frog Follies
  • Boober Gorg
  • Mirror, Mirror
  • Disc 3
  • The Riddle of Rhyming Rock
  • The Voice Inside
  • The Trial of Cotterpin Doozer
  • The River of Life
  • Beyond the Pond
  • Gone, But Not Forgotten
  • Disc 4
  • Mokey, Then and Now
  • Ring Around the Rock
  • Inspector Red
  • The Gorg Who Would Be King
  • The Honk of Honks
  • Change of Address

After reading Henson’s bio, watching this season made so much sense. Henson was adamant about only producing top quality stuff and at the same time was all about letting the artistic side of himself dictate stuff. So when he got bored with something, he would drop it. But unlike a certain jackass author *coughgrrmartincough* Henson made sure to finish things up. Which meant his shows usually ended on a high point.

We’re so unused to that here in the States now (where producers, executives, studios milk anything until they destroy it) that it is extremely refreshing but also gives me pause, as I did find myself saying “Awwww come on, I want some more”. But more wouldn’t have been better. Doc and Sprockett move away and the Fraggles find that they can make entries into our world using the power of magic so the adventures don’t have to end. It was the perfect ending to this light, (extremely) loud and frenetic series.

While I enjoyed the Muppet Show more, this was still very engaging and fun and I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent at Fraggle Rock. I can also see myself coming back and just listening to this in the background as I do other things. If you enjoy the Muppets, I would unreservedly recommend this series as well.

Stories to be Read with the Door Locked, Vol 1 ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Stories to be Read with the Door Locked, Vol 1
Series: ———-
Editor: Alfred Hitchcock
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 163
Words: 58K



Synopsis:

From the Inside Cover & TOC

WHO’S THAT PEEKING THROUGH THE KEYHOLE?

Is it a nasty voyeur, looking for illicit views of depraved sensuality?

Is it a special agent of the CIA hunting for a sinister enemy operative?

Is it some tabloid snoop trying to uncover new Washington scandals?

No, Dear Reader, it’s you—squinting with delicious dread at the houseful of horrors that Alfred Hitchcock has designed for your shivery delight. It’s a nice place to look at—from a safe distance. But you wouldn’t want to die there.

Stories to Be Read with the Door Locked

Fourteen skeletons in the closet

HITCHCOCK HAS YOU WHERE HE WANTS YOU.

You’ve drawn the blinds against the night. You’ve taken the phone off the hook. You’ve double-locked every door. But if you think you are safe, you’re dead wrong. There’s no escape once you open this book, and let loose the evil which Alfred Hitchcock has personally packed inside. Here are the most fearsome visitors ever to destroy your defenses and haunt your imagination—in two nerve-twisting novelettes and twelve terror tales.

Table of Contents

Introduction

STORIES

Hijack • Robert L. Fish

Tomorrow. . .and Tomorrow • Adobe James

Funeral in Another Town • Jerry Jacobson

A Case for Quiet • William Jeffrey

A Good Head for Murder • Charles W. Runyon

The Invisible Cat • Betty Ren Wright

NOVELETTE

Royal Jelly • Roald Dahl

STORIES

Light Verse • Isaac Asimov

The Distributor • Richard Matheson

How Henry J. Littlefinger Licked the Hippies’ Scheme to Take Over the Country by Tossing Pot in Postage Stamp Glue • John Keefauver

The Leak • Jacques Futrelle

All the Sounds of Fear • Harlan Ellison

Little Foxes Sleep Warm • Waldo Carlton Wright

NOVELETTE

The Graft Is Green • Harold Q. Masur

My Thoughts:

Ok, so, this volume. This was weird and creepy and not in a deliciously fun and awesome way, but in a dark and uncomfortable way. Reading the cover blurb makes it pretty evident that is exactly what Hitchcock was going for. I didn’t care for it.

Part of it was that the stories were all over the place. You have science fiction with Asimov’s selection (which I had read before several times and so skipped) to body horror of a sorts with Wright’s Little Foxes Sleep Warm to just downright psychotic losers in Jacobson’s Funeral in Another Town to the utterly hilarious entry by Keefauver about how the hippies plot to take over America was foiled. It felt like the stories were in a bag that Hitchcock reached into and selected at random. So far most of these anthologies have been pretty “on topic” with the title and were thematically linked, albeit sometimes very roughly.

The Distributor by Matheson was probably the most disturbing, as the main character, while human in appearance, seems to be more of a devil set on destroying communities one by one. It was all about killing, lying and destroying. It was not pleasant or enjoyable.

Not the worst collection that I’ve read in this “series” but not one that I’d recommend as a starting place.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Asterix in Britain ★★★★☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Asterix in Britain
Series: Asterix #8
Authors: Goscinny & Uderzo
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 53
Words: 3K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org

Julius Caesar has invaded Britain and succeeded in his conquest; but a single Gaulish village in Kent remains independent. One member of the village, Anticlimax, is dispatched to Asterix’s village to enlist the help of Getafix the druid in providing magic potion for the British rebels. It is decided that Asterix (Anticlimax’s first cousin once removed) and Obelix should accompany him, to help transport a barrel of the potion; but while beating up a Roman galley in the English Channel, Obelix mentions the mission, which is reported to the Roman high command in Britain.

In Britain, the barrel containing the potion is confiscated from a pub cellar owned by Dipsomaniax, along with all the barreled “warm beer” (bitter) and wine in Londinium, by the Romans, who set about tasting the barrels to find the right one. Soon the whole unit assigned to the testing is hopelessly drunk; whereupon Asterix and Obelix steal all the barrels labelled with Dipsomaniax’s name, but Obelix is himself drunk and starts a fight with some passing Roman soldiers. During the commotion a thief steals the cart with the barrels. Anticlimax and Asterix leave Obelix at Dipsomaniax’s pub to sleep off his hangover; but while Anticlimax and Asterix go in search of the thief, the Romans capture the sleeping Obelix and Dipsomaniax, and raze the pub.

In the Tower of Londinium, Obelix wakes up and frees himself and Dipsomaniax out of the jail, and the three heroes, after a search, find the potion in use as a pick-me-up for a rugby team. After this team wins their game, the protagonists seize the potion and escape on the river Thames, where the Romans destroy the barrel and release the potion into the water. At the independent village, Asterix eases the Britons’ disappointment by feigning to remake the potion, with herbs Asterix got from Getafix (later revealed to be tea). With a psychological boost, the village prevails against the Romans, and Asterix and Obelix return home to celebrate.

My Thoughts:

This was a lot of fun. English, Irish and Scottish people are made fun of quite a bit and I laughed my head off. There is one scene where Asterix, Obelix and Asterix’s cousin order ONE cup of wine to see if it is wine or the missing magic potion. The innkeeper assumes they are Caledonians (scots) because they are so cheap. I roared with laughter. Since this was written well before the movie Braveheart was made, I knew there weren’t going to be any blue bottoms being flashed.

Then you have a scene where Obelix gets drunk testing out all the wine barrels and he turns into a sloppy, sentimental drunk who is afraid that Asterix won’t be his friend anymore. And then jumps a whole patrol of romans because he thinks they are gong to take Asterix away. Once again, I laughed out loud.

I don’t know if this book was actually funnier than previous ones or if the subject of making fun of the English just hit the right note, but my goodness, I was smiling through the whole story. And the whole “how the english became tea drinkers” was great!

Rating: 4 out of 5.