The Call of Cthulhu (Short Story Review)

So I bought one of Barnes and Noble’s H.P. Lovecraft anthologies, and so far I really like it. I’ve only just finished “The Call of Cthulhu.” I love his world building, but sometimes Lovecraft’s wording is a bit odd. I would love to take a class on the evolution of the English language because sometimes he uses shew instead of show, and a couple other words that seem to be older versions of words we still use.

The characters are interesting, but only on the surface. I don’t really see them as a person, but more of a way to keep the story going. The setting is kind of all over the world, but also you can feel the world he’s building around Cthulhu. I understand now why people say he created his own mythology. I think the focus of this short story isn’t the main character, or his uncle, but Cthulhu. We get a lot more description of him, what he can do, and the effect he has on people. I really like the mythology he set up. I’m not sure what other stories of his are in this, or if they continue to set up the mythology, but I just know I want more. I really liked the story from the viewpoint of Cthulhu, other than that. Not so much.

The Magnum Opus: A Review

The Magnum Opus by Christine & Christopher Kezelos is a branching story based on their short stop-motion animated video The Maker. It’s on their Zealous Creative channel on Youtube, which has many other stop-motion animated videos as well. As soon as I found out they had written a novel based in the same world as their short video, I immediately bought it.

Don’t worry if you have never watched The Maker, although I would highly suggest doing that first, but the video is summarized within the first couple of chapters in the book. One thing I wish was in the book, that was in the video, is the showing of the music alphabet. The Makers are a race of magical beings that use music to bring other Makers to life, after making them, among other things. I think that was one of my favorite parts of the video was when you could see the translation of their music alphabet to ours. But I move along.

The story begins with the explanation of how the Maker cycle works. A Maker opens its eyes, the hour-glass turns, and a beautiful symphony blares to life inside the workshop. The music pushes the newly brought-to-life Maker to make a brand new Maker. When the Maker is finished building the next one, they must play the Maker song and bring the freshly made one to life. The book describes this so well, I recalled this scene from the video. After the first couple of chapters, we break into the new part of the plot. The Maker cycle is broke, and it is up to Ario to fix it.

The plot flows beautifully. I really like all of the characters. All of the main, and even the annoying Lorcaan, feel well fleshed out. One thing that I’m not a fan of is the name Lord Crone because generally the word crone is associated with an old woman who is ugly, or a witch, or something along those lines. Other than that, I really liked the characters. I liked how some characters were from different seasons, it was like each one was represented. They each worked together, and did well.

The setting of this was beautiful. The entire kingdom and surroundings were described in such detail that you can see it clearly in your mind. The time is set in Winter for the most part. I liked how the weather had an effect on the journey to find the Magnum Opus. Just the entire idea of the seasons and what the Makers do for them, is so cool. Read this book! Watch the video! This is really good, the plot is well thought out, the characters are fleshed out, and the setting is beautiful. Buy this book! It really is good.

Scythe: A Review

Scythe by Neal Schusterman is brilliant. The characters are flushed out. The settings feel real. And the pacing, the pacing is amazing. We begin with meeting the two main characters, Citra and Rowen, and how they react to meeting a Scythe. The title word is actually a profession in Neal Shusterman’s novel. To be a Scythe, is to carry the lives of all those you’ve taken. Technology and medicine have advanced to the point where people don’t die, if an accident happens, they are revived. Scythes “glean” people. That is the only way to die.

Through each of their unique encounters and reactions with the same Scythe, the are asked to join in the training to be one. To learn how to take life. They learn, and fight, but ulterior motives are at play as the plot moves along and we learn some pretty interesting info on the High Scythe. As Citra and Rowen train with Scythe Faraday, we learn about Scythe Curie, and Scythe Goddard. Honestly, I hate Scythe Goddard, and until part of the way through the book, I hated reading anything he was in. His character was so well written that I just felt sick whenever I read his parts.

I loved the setting, and the edition of an all-knowing AI that monitored every aspect of life except what the Scythes did. The AI kind of turned a blind eye unless the Scythes became too unruly. The founders of the Scythes put in a backdoor in their deal with the AI just in case something like Scythe Goddard became too out of control.

If you like Young Adult novels that are set in the future, read Scythe. It’s not a dystopian novel, it’s actually more like a utopian book with a conflict in a certain group of people. I love the idea that no one can die until someone is killed by a Scythe. I can’t wait for the next in the series, even though Scythe seemed to be a self-contained novel. I loved it!

The Novice: Summoner; A Review

I just finished The Novice by Taran Matharu and I need the second book! I couldn’t put this one down. Other than the names, the wording was kind of simple, which is why I think they categorized it under Young Adult, but other than that, the plot was well layed out and I loved it. The characters are well planned out, well, main characters, the secondary ones you think are important at first and think, oh no, we have another Harry, Ron and Hermione on our hands, but then things change. We see Fletcher become friends with a dwarf and an elf and how their relationships actually shape the flow of the plot.

I love the relationship each character has with their demons. Fletcher and Ignatius work amazing together, feeding off each other’s emotions and the fluidity in their movements can only mean their relationship can only go higher from now on. It’s kind of cool how the summoner and the demon become one with their demon with they infuse. I really liked how that was portrayed. I hope to see Othello’s golem grow more; I want to see what he can do. I also think it was important to see Rory’s reaction when Malachite was hurt pretty badly. These demons aren’t just trinkets to pass around, they are an extension of the summoner.

With the ending of the first book, I can’t wait for the second. I love how the first one brought in a few plot points that will be hopefully played out in the second book, if not the third. The second book is called The Inquisition, which can mean any number of things considering the ending of the first. I’m not going to spoil it, but I can’t wait to find out! Even if the Young Adult genre turns you off, I think this is a well written medium between YA and fantasy. The plot and characters are interesting, and I can’t wait for everything to come to fruition. I highly recommend The Novice: Summoner by Taran Matharu.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: A Review

So I bought the play: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child yesterday and immediately began reading it in the car. I actually almost cried in the second scene in the first act. The nostalgia and just coming back to characters that were a big impact on who I became as an adult was just too much. I think Jack Thorne, John Tiffany and J.K. Rowling did a great job in bringing back the magical world of Harry Potter. From the very beginning, we knew it was going to be a play, we knew it wasn’t completely written by Rowling, so going in expecting this to be exactly like her seven books on Harry Potter was ridiculous. Was the hype for it needed? Honestly no, but it also doesn’t deserve the hate it’s been getting, or J.K. Rowling because it’s not another novel.

The first couple of scenes were good. They were well written. But then I got to Act One, Scene Four, and I became slightly confused. This is the dubbed transition scene. It literally covers three years in a few pages. The transitions are a bit jarring for a reader, and my only hope is it translates better on stage. This can be a problem when reading a play versus seeing it being put on visually. Until Harry Potter and the Cursed Child comes to NYC or somewhere closer, this is all I have.

Other than scene four in act one, the play went well. I am one of those people who believes they should’ve put Scorpius and Albus together, but we can’t have everything. I also had the feeling half way through Act three that Scorpius was going to die, and personally I would’ve thrown the book if this had happened, but he didn’t. We find out Voldemort had a child with Bellatrix. She’s just as insane as her parents, but trying to meet her father is kind of admirable, albeit in a psychotic sort of way. I also think this play goes well with time theories, and how it is done in the Harry Potter universe. We first encounter these talks in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban when Hermione received the Time Turner for her classes, then used it to save Buckbeak and Sirius. We learned that witches and wizards that meddled with time don’t end up in a good place. Scorpius figures this out first hand. The first meddling didn’t do much to hurt the present, but the second time threw Scorpius into the worst possible future for everyone. The future Delphi was looking for.

I reached the end at two this morning, just in time to hopefully see the meteor shower that didn’t show up. I read the ending, and it just didn’t feel, done? I’m not sure if it was because I had expected someone to die, but the ending kind of just happened, and then I didn’t feel fulfilled as an ending should make you feel. I think the climax and falling action kept climbing and then the resolution just fell flat for me. I am glad Albus and Harry finally made up in the end, but I think it was kind of just wrapped up in a bow a put out.

Through everything, I think Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a well written farewell to the Harry Potter lineage. There are a few places that could’ve definitely been worded better, but the play as a whole went well I think. It kept you going through act two and three and then slowed you down to the ending of act four. I enjoyed reading it, even with my writer brain acting up, and I’m glad I bought the play. I’m not sure if it’s worth thirty dollars, but I got it for twenty, so hopefully people can get it at the cheaper price. I would recommend it for Harry Potter fans, but if not, read the originals first.

 

Thoughts on Strangely Beautiful

I finished Strangely Beautiful by Leanna Renee Hieber a little over a month ago and I just have to say, it is amazing. Both parts are wonderfully written, well thought out, and all around, pleasant to read. You immediately fall in love with the main five characters, Alexi, Rebecca, Michael, Elijah, and Josephine, with the beginning of the book where the five of them meet each other in their now inner sanctum, long story short they meet a god, and then wait for “The Prophecy.” Move forward in time and we meet Percy, a school girl from a small convent that has an amazing secret. Everyone is well written and except for the “Darkness” or Lucille in a matter of speaking, but they aren’t really in the story much anyway. I’m not really one for romance, but I think Leanna writes it really well and organically. If you like the supernatural, Victorian, romance and adult fantasy rather than young adult, I would definitely recommend Strangely Beautiful. 10/10 would read again.