#6Degrees — What I Loved to …

6degrees

This month we are starting with the book What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt.

whatiloved



So, this book.  The author’s name is Siri Hustvedt. I’m no apple user, but I’m sorry, Siri only suggests one thing to me: invasive robots who will eventually control everything we do. The Rise of the Machines has to start somewhere, right?






51vqpyvdhul._sy445_ql70_ml2_



Obviously, Siri is the direct progenitor of Skynet, everyone’s favorite psycho-killer AI. Rise of the Machines gave us more details than we cared for about that. This book was written by David Hagberg. All I can see in his name is “HAG”.






howlsmovingcastle (Custom)



Sophie, the main character in Howl’s Moving Castle, is turned into a hag by a jealous witch. Sophie is a real trooper though and doesn’t let her circumstances get her down. She’s no crybaby! You know who IS a crybaby though?





attackoftheclones (Custom)



“Wah”nakin Sky”Wah”lker is the universe’s biggest crybaby. In Attack of the Clones it seemed impossible for Darth Vader, the meanest, most bad-ass villain ever, to have come from this pile of pustulent poo. However, George Lucas waved his magic hand and “made it so”. George is hard on franchises.

shadowmoon-custom


Willow was a fun movie, but this sequel in book form, Shadow Moon, which has George’s name PLASTERED all over it, was bad enough that I stopped at page 3. The knight on the cover is pretty cool looking though. A Knight who isn’t cool is John Ross.




knightoftheword (Custom)



John Ross is A Knight of the Word. What that means is that he eats whatever shit is given him with a little sad face and then asks for more. This series, The Word and the Void, showcases the absolute worst of the philosophy of Dualism. Ross is no hero.



onceahero1 (Custom)



Once A Hero. I think the title speaks why I chose this.  While Esmay doesn’t think she’s a hero, that doesn’t stop her from acting like one.




And that is how you go from What I Loved to Once A Hero in 6 easy steps!

If you’d like to participate in the #6degrees series of posts, head over to #6Degrees Meme to find out the starting point for each month. They’re not always punctual, so sometimes you have to wait until a week into the month.

bookstooge (Custom)

When To DotCom?

I’ve been using the dotwordpressdotcom free site here since ’13. In that time I’ve only used about 17% of the 3gigs of allotted storage space, so I’m nowhere even close to getting near that (and to be honest, if I was more careful with some of my monthly Roundup&Rambling main pictures, I could go even longer). But at the back of my mind the question of when/if to go straight up dotcom has been nagging me for a good year or two now.

The cons, at the moment, are far more than the pros and I’m writing this out so I can easily see the facts without the emotion.

PRO’S:

  • 6 gigs of storage space
  • No wordpress inserted adds for any reader (which would only affect those who don’t use adblocker software)
  • Support directly from WordPress staff (7 years here and not really needed it yet though)
  • Ego. Bookstooge.com would swell my head like a watermelon. “Oh yes, I have my own website. I’m that important, you know.”
  • Some random thing I could do that I can’t right now but don’t even know about?

CON’S:

  • $48 for the initial stuff
  • $64 a year after the first year to keep the dotcom and 6gigs of space
  • I don’t need space yet.
  • I’ve seen so many other bloggers have problems, either with going back to dotwordpressdotcom or even the just the dotcom.
  • Comments. Too many bloggers who’ve I’ve seen go dotcom have huge comments issues, most to the point where I stopped following them when they couldn’t/wouldn’t solve the issue. I don’t want to futz around, I just want things to work.
  • I’m still bound by the WordPress.com TOS. Which means those illegitimate rats can yank my website at any time for any reason (seriously, go read the TOS. It is vague as all get out. I was banned from the wordpress forums for stating this to another user, so I am not very charitable on this issue)
  • I don’t want or need a new theme and I have no desire to play around with my site. I did enough of that at blogger and then at booklikes and I’m done. I’m at the stage in my life where I just want things to work, period.
  • Did I mention $64 a year? I ran the calculations, and with deals, that is between 40-50 energy drinks a year. I could have an energy drink every Sabbath morning or I could have a dotcom address. hmmmmm….

For the time being, I’m just going to hold my horses and not make the move to dotcom (by the by, can you believe that dotblog is more expensive than dotcom? That’s just stupid in my opinion). I know several of you have made the move and I’d interested to know if you’re self-hosted, with wordpress.com and what your experiences have been like.

Sword of the Legion (Galaxy’s Edge #5) ★★★★☆

swordofthelegion (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained thereinshall 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:
Sword of the Legion
Series: Galaxy’s Edge #5
Author: Jason Anspach & Nick Cole
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF/Space Opera
Pages: 217
Words: 72K

Synopsis:

From Galaxysedge.fandom.com

In Sword of the Legion, we find Dark Ops Kill Team Victory Squad on the planet Rawl Kima in pursuit of a Mid-Core Rebel VIP. Victory Squad has been operating out of the Republic destroyer Illustrious for some time, on a continuing mission to locate and capture or kill a never-ending series of individuals who are categorized as MCR VIPs by Dark Ops. After years of this kind of activity, Captain Cohen Chhun is still a dutiful, competent soldier but the continual fighting is wearing him down emotionally.

Worse, despite the loss of the arms dealer Scarpia, Rawl Kima is a hotbed of MCR activity and Victory Squad is hard pressed to stay alive in the face of political decisions made by the local garrison commander.

Earlier, Dark Ops Major Ellek Owens and Nether Ops operative Andien Broxin are contacted by Legion Commander Keller with a new mission: they are to destroy the Kesselverks Shipyards at Tarrago Prime, which is under attack by a new player, Goth Sullus’s Black Fleet. Sullus’s goal is uncertain, but his intent is clear and the Republic must deny his fleet the use of the ship construction facilities at all costs. That calls for the best kill team they have and that is Victory Squad. And that means extracting them from the mess on Rawl Kima.

Owens contacts Captain Aeson Keel, aka Wraith, aka Captain Ford, former legionnaire, to extract Victory Squad from their current assignment with his ship the Indelible VI.

Owens’ message is simple: Keel and his crew must fight their way down to Rawl Kima, extract Victory Squad, and transport them to Tarrago Prime ASAP. Keel is intent on dealing with Silas Devers, the navy admiral who Keel discovered to be working with House of Reason Representative Orrin Karr to seize control of the Republic government. Owens assures him that as bad as Devers is, Goth Sullus’ gaining the ability to build starships by the dozen is many times worse. Keel accepts the job.

As the Indelible VI approaches Rawl Kima, Keel tries to explain his current point of view to Leenah the Enduran engineer (and former mid-core rebel), but the situation is complicated, involving a sense of duty to the Republic Legion combined with an intense need to survive the conflict that is growing around them. Additionally, Wraith’s bounty hunting career has been extremely lucrative, thanks to a huge payment by Tyrus Rechs. Leenah has a more white-and-black view of the conflict, which begins and ends with protecting Prisma Maydoon, now a part of Keel’s crew.

Keel denotes his ship “Rescue One” and contacts Victory Squad who is expecting him. The fighting on the ground grows fierce and Keel, Skrizz, and Leenah work together to lay down suppressive fire and drop the ship low enough for the surviving team members to board. Leenah especially is conflicted about the need to kill in defense of one’s allies. On its way out of the system the Illustrious attempts to force the Indelible VI to land aboard for customs violations, but Keel micro-jumps the ship to safety and introduces his crew to his old legion buddy, Cohen Chhun.

Aboard the ship, the two crews get to know each other. Masters and Prisma especially take a liking to each other, as he reminds her of a kinder, nobler version of Tyrus Rechs and he thinks she’s both brave and resourceful. Crash’s presence unnerves everyone. News of Keel’s alliance with Tyrus Rechs is good for some awe among the legionnaires.

Keel shows Victory Squad his extremely well-stocked armory and the team gears up while a holoprojected Major Owens explains the mission and provides a bit of background: Nether Ops operatives destroyed the Chiasm and Camp Forge back on Kublar. The Republic government is literally working against its own best interest and the government is in danger of fragmenting over the conflict. Owens forbids Victory Squad and the crew of the Indelible VI from going after Sullus directly. Denying him the use of the shipyards is their primary concern. Neither are they expected to secure the orbital defense gun, as that would require the team to hold until relieved and there is no relief coming.

As the freighter jumps into Tarrago system, they witness the mother of all space battles, with Black Fleet battleships and Republic Seventh Fleet capital ships flying around each other, trying to inflict as much damage as possible. Part of the problem is just identifying who the real enemies are but they assume the black fighters belong to Sullus’s fleet. Keel’s aggressive flying keeps the fighters at bay while avoiding a minefield deployed over the planet. Garret upgrades the weapons AI such that the newly upgraded missiles will fire from any direction and pursue a target in any position, then sets about upgrading Crash’s software for combat. In warbot mode, Crash deploys ahead of the ship in order to act as a fire suppression platform in advance of the ship’s landing.

Having landed the ship, Keel dons his old legion armor and feels like Wraith again, then joins the op with Victory Squad, which carries out their objective. The team picks their way through the jungle to the shipyards, and use a Black Fleet S-comm to avoid roving patrols of occupying shock troopers. Once inside the base, Victory Squad rigs the drive core of a partially constructed republic destroyer to blow as they fight their way out of the structure.

Wraith orders the Indelible VI to pick the team up and finds that hails to the ship go unanswered. Forced to rely on the ship’s hyper-enthusiastic AI computer, Keel coaxes it into flying the ship to their position and they manage to board to find the ship deserted except for Ravi.

Meanwhile, the crew of the Indelible VI awakens in the hold of the freighter Forresaw, and are introduced to Andien Broxin, agent of Nether Ops, and the Ghost Squad, the legion kill team which is aiding her. Andien explains that the Republic Seventh Fleet is gone and there are no other fleets available to stop Goth Sullus. The truth is that there were never any grand fleets; it was a propaganda tool used by the Republic to maintain order and prevent local systems from trying to gain too much power on their own. Now that the Seventh Fleet is no more, it is her intention to utilize Prisma to unlock a fleet of robotic warships known collectively as the Doomsday Fleet, a fail-safe created by the Republic House of Reason in case any attempt to wipe out the Republic should come to pass. Kael Maydoon was a principal of the project and he created a digital key that could only be activated with his daughter’s DNA. Which makes Prisma Maydoon the most important person in the galaxy at this juncture.

The true location of the Doomsday Fleet is known to no one, which meant the Forresaw needs to stop at Antilles to make use of the comm node there to discover the fleet’s true location. Ghost Squad deploys to infiltrate the base, but the op goes sideways when pre-positioned special force of shock troopers attack Andien’s team. During the fighting, Prisma is able to use a terminal and discover the location of the Doomsday fleet: a planet at the edge of the galaxy, Umanar. The surviving crew and troops return to the Forresaw and make their escape.

As she reviews the fight that got three of her men killed and then defuses a racial feud between Skrizz, the acting pilot and Ruh-Ro, the first officer/gunner, Andien realizes that her team is compromised. She can’t return to Owens or Chhun or hand Prisma over to any Republic agent as everyone is now suspect. She judges the only move that won’t give them away is to proceed directly to Umanar. At least that way the ultimate mission goal is preserved and the Republic gets its reinforcements. During the jump, Ravi gives Prisma a gift–a small marble–and a mission of her own: learn to move it with her mind.

As the Forresaw arrives at Umanar, they find no fleet per se, but only a single capital ship, of massive size and completely automated. As they land they are met by an apparent admin bot who introduces itself as CAT37 and is reluctant to answer their questions. As they descend further into the ship, they see legions of warbots kept in storage. As they arrive, CAT37 reveals that its designation stands for Capture-Acquire-Terminate, and the group is attacked by large numbers of highly advanced warbots. While fighting for Prisma’s life, crash is destroyed, and while trying to fall back to the Forresaw, the remaining members of Ghost Squad are picked off one by one.

It is revealed that the mechanical intelligence behind the Doomsday Fleet is known as CRONUS (Cybernetic Robot Organism Network Uber Sybil), a wholly self-sufficient mechanical entity, which was built under top secret conditions by the Republic military using captured Cybar technology. On top of that, CRONUS at one point came into contact with an alien intelligence from outside the galaxy and took on a new directive: the systematic eradication of all life in the galaxy.

Andien and the crew of the Six are imprisoned by CRONUS and periodically interrogated by the mechanical intelligence. In the lulls between these sessions, Prisma Maydoon manages to move Ravi’s marble with her mind.

My Thoughts:

With these synopses from Fandom, I’m probably not going to ever re-read these books. Considering that I’ve got into these two authors (Anspach and Cole) late enough, there is a huge backlog for me to work through and they really churn out the books, so it will be YEARS before I’m caught up, much less think about a re-read. With all the spin-off series, etc, this is just a huge universe to explore. The more I read, the more I want to read! I can’t think of much higher praise than that.

And I’d love to end my review with that. Short and pithy. Not being a huge fan of long reviews, as I want to spend that time reading a book, not a review, I tend to write what I would want to read. Surprisingly, which I’m sure will shock the majority of everyone who reads this, a lot of other bloggers don’t seem to share that opinion. * raises hands in disbelief * I know, right? So because I’m just such an understanding fellah and want to please everyone else, I guess I’ll write some more. I do apologize to those of you whom this development will shock. If your feelings really get hurt, please leave a comment so I can grovel appropriately and beg for your forgiveness. I live for my readers approval and accolades.

Ok, with that out of my system…

This series is simply everything I ever wanted from the Star Wars franchise. Great characters, awesome stories, huge massive veiled threats at the edge of the galaxy. I feel like this is the Star Wars That Should Have Been. I know I am constantly referring to Star Wars in these reviews, and it will continue, but I was such a huge fan of the franchise for so long, that to rediscover something that fills that void within exactly is almost miraculous. It isn’t coincidental, as I’ve heard that Anspach and Cole set out to write this series in opposition to the dumpster fire that the recent movies turned the franchise into. I for one wholeheartedly approve.

I don’t even mind that things get muddled morally. In terms of various characters following someone like Goth Sullus I mean. The authors are showing the conflict within people when a beloved institution, the Republic, is going rotten at its very core and how they choose to respond to that rot. It directly addresses what a large segment of the American population at large (yours truly included) are dealing with. But at the same time, this never ONCE gets into Message Territory. The authors keep the story first and foremost and any message is part of the story, not a Message. Really, when a Message takes precedent over the story, that is what used to be called Propaganda. A lot of books today are nothing but propaganda. Sigh.

I have to admit that the constant jumping around of groups of characters and timelines from book to book still confuses me a bit. Not as bad as the second book did, but it is still there. It is probably the main reason why I would re-read these at some point, as I’m sure I could follow the time jumps better and slot things into their appropriate place much easier second time around. It didn’t help that when I was reading this I was also having a week from hell in terms of work.

Ok, that is long enough. The My Thoughts part is almost 600 words, which considering that my average whole (according to wordpress) is just under 700, I am WAY ahead of the numbers with that synopsis!

★★★★☆

Traitor General (WH40K: Gaunt’s Ghosts) ★★★☆½

traitorgeneral (Custom)

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: Traitor General
Series: WH40K: Gaunt’s Ghosts
Author: Dan Abnett
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 416
Words: 105K

Synopsis:

From WH40k.lexicanum.com

Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt is asked to lead a team of guardsmen on an infiltration mission to the planet of Gereon, held by the forces of Chaos in order to eliminate a captured traitor Imperial Officer who holds secrets pertaining to the Sabbat Worlds Crusade. Gaunt leads eleven of his regiment to the planet where they are met by Jerome Landerson, a member of the Gereon Resistance. Landerson and the resistance lead the Gereon Twelve across the planet the fortress where the Imperial Officer is being held. Before getting there the team has to deal with chaos garrison soldiers, glyphs and wirewolves as well as the Chaos Space Marine Uexkull. To escape their pursuers Landerson leads Gaunt and his team into the Untill, home of the Partisans, an old rebel force who opposed the Imperial Government centuries ago. The Untill is a large dark swamp filled with poisonous creatures, the most notable of which being a large species of moth. The Tanith and the resistance meet with the Partisans and help defend them from Uexkhull and his squad of Chaos Space Marines. It is through this action that Gaunt is given Eszrah ap Niht, son by his father, the Chief of the Partisans. The Tanith and Resistance then leave the Untill and make for the occupation fortress.

Meanwhile the traitor or pheguth, as it is called by the Chaos forces is being kept prisoner by the forces of Chaos Magister Anakwanar Sek under the command of Mabbon Etogaur. The pheguth is protected by the life-ward Desolane, a sexless beast risen from birth to protect its wards with its life and brutally gruesome martial skills. The pheguth was captured by Chaos forces whilst on an Imperial Transport awaiting trial for desertion. However as the pheguth knew sensitive secrets the Commissariat psykers put a mindlock on him, locking away his memories and identity. The pheguth is then subjected to the prying claws of the Magister Sek’s psykers as they try to peel back the layers of psychic encryption on the pheguth’s mind. The process is excruciating but eventually meets some success. The pheguth remembers that he is in fact Lord General Noches Sturm, leader of the 50th Royal Volpone. Realising that he must of been betrayed by the Imperium and especially Gaunt, he begins to help Mabbon Etogaur form, train and discipline the Sons of Sek, a new chaos army modelled on the Imperial Guard. It is planned that the Sons of Sek will grow to rival the Blood Pact in strength, allowing Magister Sek to challenge Archon Urlock Gaur for leadership of the Chaos forces in the Sabbat Worlds.

Having reached the resistance safehouse near the location of the pheguth Sturm’s location, Gaunt asks Landerson to have the resistance gather their forces so that they may make a strike on the fortress. The resistance does so, getting slaughtered in the process but allowing Gaunt and his strikeforce to slip in to the fortress and fight their way to Sturm’s room. Upon Gaunt and his ghosts entering his room, Sturm finally remembers certain important moments in Vervunhive, concerning his desertion and his dishonourable conduct. Sturm, once again faced by Gaunt, asks once again for the right to commit suicide. Skeptically, Gaunt grants this request, allowing Sturm to finally regain some of his honour through blowing his own head off. Desolane enters the room at this point and is enraged at his charges fate, flying into a fury beating Gaunt and Mkvenner in personal combat, taking three lethal toxin-laden quarrels from Eszrah’s reynbow and is only killed by a close range hotshot from Feygor who uses Larkin’s sniper-pattern lasgun.

My Thoughts:

This was Grimdark, through and through. Yet I enjoyed every page. There is a lot of page time given over to Chaos and how it affects everything. I actually appreciated that, since I don’t play WH40K or have much reading experience. It helped fill in some gaps. Needless to say, Chaos is truly insidious and this book shows just how it warps everything it comes into contact with, even those directly fighting against it. I’ll come back to that.

There are currently 16’ish books in the Gaunt’s Ghosts series but without that knowledge, you’d think this was the last one. With Gaunt and a select few of the Tannith Ghost’s abandoned on a Chaos controlled world at the end of the novel, I don’t see how the story will proceed. I’ve assiduously avoided reading anything about the future books so as not to ruin the surprise of how they get out of this mess, but considering it is a Warhammer40K setting, I don’t imagine it will be easy or pretty. I’m guessing a lot of blood, guts and extremely dirty politics.

Back to the chaos. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’m simply not going to learn much about the Emperor or how Anti-Chaos operates (it definitely isn’t Order, that is for sure). Sometimes those opposing Chaos are just as bad and you wonder, why bother to fight Chaos if this is what you’re going to have to deal with in return? The corrupting influence of Chaos is definitely showcased here, as the Resistance on the planet have had to take on the control worms (there is no better description for it) of the enemy simply to move around without being killed. Those worms change them, even in little ways and it is central point for Gaunt and his Ghosts about whether they can be trusted or not. I have a feeling that that idea of Trust and being warped by Chaos will play a bigger role in the upcoming books.

This was a great read for what it is and probably one of the best of the series so far. I’m looking forward to how the author is going to extricate Gaunt and Crew from the Chaos world and reintegrate them back into the larger group of Ghosts.

★★★☆½

The Bookstooges on Vacation, Part Ace

Vacation has been great so far. The flights down to Georgia went as smooth as could be. Saturday we went to the Hiram SDA church for Sabbath and then my sister and her partner came over for the afternoon/evening and we visited for some time. Sunday we went over to their house and hung out by the pool all afternoon. After a late dinner we rolled home and rolled into bed.

My sister and her partner both have rescue dogs. The little guy’s name is Benjamin and he’s about the size of both my fists. He’s a tiny little guy and I just wanted to pick him up and throw him in the pool like a football. Thankfully, I resisted temptation. Buggy, on the other hand, is a pit and not a tiny little guy. He’s as friendly as a pooch and would practically beg you to throw his rubber bone into the pool so he could go chasing after it. Of course, then he’d come back and shake himself right next to you, so you had to decide if it was worth it 😀

Monday we went to the Atlanta Aquarium. We all met at 9am and caravaned into the metropolis. We got inside a bit after 10am. I was done by 11:15am. After that I sat on a bench and let others do their thing. We got home a bit after 2pm. I took a nap because I was tired out from being around so many people. And that was WITH the aquarium having a strict covid protocols for how many people could be inside at once. I don’t think I could have done it otherwise. Here’s a gallery of a pix:

And now, it is 5pm Monday afternoon. I am sitting on a wonderful couch, drinking a Rockstar, looking at blue sunny skies out the window. Tomorrow is going to be a Do Nothing kind of day. So far, this vacation has met, and exceeded, every possible expectation I’ve had. I don’t want to brag, but I think we’re the King and Queen of Vacation right now.

ps,
this block editor? still not liking it.

[Manga Monday] Big O, Vol. 1 ★★★☆☆

bigo1 (Custom)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: Big O, Vol. 1
Series: Big O #1
Author: Hitoshi Ariga
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 216
Words: 7K

Synopsis:

We are introduced to Roger Smith, Big O, Beck and Paradigm City.

Roger has several encounters with Beck, where Beck tries to blackmail the city for 5 billion dollars so he won’t destroy some memories, another where he uses an electricity eating bug to try to destroy Big O in revenge for the previous escapade and finally where he kidnaps R Dorothy and uses the Dorothy I megadeus to try to rob a bank. Every single one is foiled by Big O and Roger Smith and Beck seems to have it in for Big O.

My Thoughts:

I took a quick look at wikipedia and the Big O manga was started several months before the anime, probably to try to drum up excitement for the anime. With that in mind, I wasn’t surprised when this was a real hash of old and new material. The first story about holding memories hostage was all new, the electricity bug story had overtones of the electric eel monster and the R Dorothy story was pure re-tread.

The art was different. Very similar, but not the iconic Batman: The Animated Series like the anime. It was too bad, because that art worked so well. The Big O too was not shown to the best and besides being big and having some big fisty arms, didn’t have much presence. The biggest difference was Beck playing such a major villain. In the anime he’s a 2bit loser who occasionally annoys Roger. Here, he’s still an annoying 2bit villain, but he’s the main villain and he doesn’t even try to be corny/funny like in the anime. The perennial loser villain.

The biggest issue is the 40 year memory loss. In one page, Roger relates how people still show up without their memories, and the main event happened 40 years ago. But, most of the people trying to get their memories back aren’t even close to 40, so they shouldn’t have had any to lose. Or regain. If the time frame had been changed to 5, maybe even 10 years, then I could accept things better. It really feels like the 40 should have been 4 and something was seriously lost in translation.

Not an auspicious start for this manga series I’m afraid.

★★★☆☆

The “Tag” Tag

Rules are important. blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. These seem less draconian than some of the other ridiculous rules I’ve seen floating around.

1: HOW MANY TAGS DO YOU HAVE?

1026. Which, if you divide by two, is 513. All three of those numbers are Prime Numbers. So if you do the math, I’m 6 times as Prime as you. Which makes me Awesome.

2: WHAT TAG HAS THE GREATEST NUMBER?

Fantasy at 814

3: WHAT IS YOUR FIRST & LAST TAG?

#Afro-Samurai & Zones of Thought

4: DO YOU HAVE A TAG THAT YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHY YOU HAVE IT?

Yes. I have one called “C;a”. Not a freaking clue why and considering it has zero posts with it, I’m guessing some sort of accidental button pushing. Or the Monkey Conspiracy is real.

5: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TAG?

Extreme Prejudice. I’ve only used it once.

6: WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE TAG?

DNF. Because that means the author completely failed me.

7: WOULD YOU REDO YOUR TAG SYSTEM IF A GENIE PROMISED TO DO IT FOR FREE?

You better believe it! I wish I had added the Author and Series tag to each review post right from the get-go.

8: DO YOU EVEN USE TAGS, BRO?

You caught me. I’ve completely lied in every single question before this. My blog is a giant messy mish mash with no organization at all.
/sarcasm

9: DO YOU USE YOUR BLINKER TO MAKE A TURN WHEN DRIVING?

Only evil cannibal barbarian nazi’s don’t use their blinker. And people from Massachusetts.

10: IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE BETWEEN USING A “POOP PIZZA IS MY FAVORITE” TAG AND A “MY GRANDMA EATS POOP” TAG, WHICH WOULD YOU CHOOSE? (CHOOSE CAREFULLY, DARTH VADER KILLS A KITTEN EVERY TIME YOU LIE ABOUT THIS!)

Ha, I choose neither, you can’t blackmail me!
…… Oh no, Darth, don’t, no, I was just kidding ….
….. meoooowwwwww*sizzle* ……

Well, wasn’t that just a boatload of fun. I love having boatloads of fun. It’s cheaper and more economical.

bookstooge (Custom)

July ’20 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Books – 12

Pages – 4658

Words – 1673K

Average Rating – 3.13 Stars

The Bad:

Kingdom Come – 1 Star Graphic Novel

The Kingdom – 1 Star Graphic Novel

The Good:

The Jupiter War – 5 Stars of Ultra- (Space) -Violence, In Space!

David Copperfield – 5 Stars of Dickens.

Movie:

Instead of watching one movie, I decided to watch four anime series. I won’t be doing that again. With each series being 5-6hrs long, it simply required too much of my time. Don’t get me wrong, for the most part I enjoyed myself, but that was seriously dedicated time that I’d rather be able to spend on other things, even if it’s nothing but goofing off.

This month I watched:
1) Big O, Season 1
2) Tenchi Muyo, OVA
3) Big O, Season 2
4) Record of Lodoss War OVA

Miscellaneous Posts:

With all of my anime posts, I didn’t write nearly so many non-review posts this month. Here’s the short list:

Personal:

While my average rating was way down and I had three sub-2 star reads, I actually felt like I enjoyed my reading just as much as the previous month. No idea why, but I’m thankful for that because sometimes 1stars can just suck the very life out of one’s bookish existence.

Most of the month I was focused on getting ready for our vacation. It is amazing what you can plan even with lots of things being restricted. Throw in the fact that I haven’t gone on a week long vacation in I don’t know how many years and there is a lot of shopping that needed to be done.

Cover Love:

Come on, we all knew this was coming. Even with a McKillip/Craft in the running, Lime Light, another Arcane Casebook entry, takes this hands down. Whatever money Dan Willis spent to hire Mihaela Voicu has been totally worth it in my opinion!

Plans for August: (LOTS)

I am hoping to read the Big O manga. Fill up those Manga Monday slots and possibly some extra as there are 6 volumes.

Watch ONE anime movie. Movie, not a series. I need a break from that much screen time.

Do two #6Degree posts. The one I missed in July and then the one for August.

Some Vacation Pictures and probably a Vacation Post or two.

Master the Insidious Block Editor and write every post for the month using it. And blog about it. What’s the point if I can’t complain like a baby?

Work on the blog. So if you get posts emailed to you, expect a potential flood of incoming old reviews. You have been warned.

♪Give Me a Ticket for an Aeroplane, ♪Ain’t Got Time to Take a Fast Train♪

Tomorrow is the day, the day we start our vacation. I have been looking forward to this all month and it is finally here.

I plan on taking my laptop with me, so I don’t expect you’ll notice much difference in my online presence. Unless I get bored or something and start posting inane (more than usual I mean) posts every single day.

I’ve got my monthly Roundup & Ramblings post scheduled for tomorrow and have no idea if I’ll be able to respond to your comments or not until Saturday. So maybe I’ll see you all tomorrow or maybe it will be Saturday.

I don’t care though, because I’ll be on vacation! 😀

Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor #1) ★★☆☆½

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: Red Sister
Series: Book of the Ancestor #1
Author: Mark Lawrence
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 467
Words: 170K

Synopsis:

From Wikipedia

The planet Abeth was originally settled by four tribes with various abilities. The hunska have superhuman speed; the gerant have superhuman strength, the marjal can work elemental magic; the quantal can work larger magics. Children born on Abeth may have access to one (or rarely, multiple) bloodline powers. Abeth’s dying red giant sun cannot generate sufficient heat to prevent a global ice age. Abeth’s man-made moon refracts sunlight onto a narrow strip of land circling the globe. This Corridor, only fifty miles wide, is the only unfrozen land on the planet. It comprises several kingdoms fighting for control of the planet’s resources.

Nona Grey is a peasant girl living in a remote village in the Corridor. She is purchased by a slave trader who recognizes that she has hunska blood. She is brought the to capital of the Empire, where she attacks a noble named Raymel Tacsis. She is saved from execution by Abbess Glass of the Sweet Mercy Convent.

Nona trains in the arts of combat and subterfuge at Sweet Mercy. Along the way, she meets fellow novice Arabella (Ara). Various nobles believe that Ara is the Argatha, a savior destined to save Abeth. Abbess Glass convinces the nobility that Nona is the Shield, destined to protect the Argatha. With her training, Nona recognizes that she also has quantal and marjal talents. Nona also meets a mysterious student named Zole and her bodyguard Yisht. Nona realizes that Yisht is attempting to steal a valuable artifact from Sweet Mercy: the shipheart, which was left by the original settlers of Abeth. With four shiphearts, one can control the moon which is protecting Abeth from a permanent ice age. Nona and the other students defeat Yisht and save the shipheart.

In a frame story, an adult Nona and Ara are attacked by members of the Empire’s nobility. They are betrayed by Clera, a former student at Sweet Mercy. Nona attempts to convince Clera to join them against the Empire’s army.

My Thoughts:

Well, this book confirms that Lawrence is an author I cannot read. Between nuns sleeping together, young almost prebuscent girls flirting with each other, psychopathic killers (who aren’t the bad guys), a failing sun, a hopeless world being encased in ice, the devolving of technology and failing technology, plus the absolute soul destroying underlying philosophy, I got a soup that was pretty as anti-me as you could get.

While Nona was more likeable than that hellbound Jorg, she wasn’t really fun to read about either. While I didn’t hate my time reading this, by the end I had to ask myself if I cared about anything in this story enough to want to read another book’s worth (and that’s not taking into account that this is a trilogy). I answered with a resounding “NO!” If there had been even a hint that the “moon” could have been repaired, or that someone had even entertained the idea of repairing it, even that tiny, small shred of hope probably would have been enough to keep me going.

But that was the whole problem I have with Lawrence. There is no hope, anywhere. I looked high, I looked low, I even looked at sub-minor-side characters. No where did I find any hope. All I did find was an existential existence for 10 year old girls who had a choice of being raped/tortured/killed or becoming merciless killers themselves. On the killer side things, there was no justice. There was no Justice because there was no Law. There was no Law because there was no Law Giver.

As much as I despise Lawrence’s philosophy, I do have to admit that he is honest enough to take it to its logical end. It is just that that end is a maelstrom of  death, despair and destruction.

★★☆☆½