Honoring Roald Dahl, My First Favorite

Welcome back, you beautiful blog fiends. Nikkie here, bringing you some words on a great wordsmith: Roald Dahl. Today is Dahl’s 100th birthday. He may not be alive to celebrate it (having died the year I was born), but that doesn’t mean we should ignore it!

I will keep this post short and sweet because you can find a lot of great articles remembering Dahl and his work—like this one or this one or this one—I won’t pretend as if what I have to say is more important. I just needed to say something to honor this man for what he gave me.

Continue reading “Honoring Roald Dahl, My First Favorite”

A Fantasy Scrub vs. The Wheel of Time pt. 3

Wheel of Time Book 3: The Dragon Reborn, aka The McGuffin that glows, aka aka The Chosen One pisses everybody off, aka aka aka Perry lays some game.

So the book starts with Randy Thor running away from the camp he’s staying at. Which pisses everyone off. ‘Cus it’s a very inconsiderate thing to do, and you can only say “The Wheel turns as the Wheel wills” so many times before people break your jaw. This happens after the camp gets a visitor, and Min sees death in her immediate future. Spoiler alert: the visitor dies, but not before Min gets faked out and thinks that her death prophecy was wrong. So she feels good about life, then feels terrible about it. All the while, she’s fawning over Rand, and it’s annoying. Then, Moiraine sends her away to Tar Valon again to go tell the Amyrlin Seat what’s happened.
Lan, Perrin, and Loial all go hunting for Rand. Eventually, Perrin meets a young lady who notices his weird-ass eyes. They fight a lot. Then, they fall in love. You know—the usual.

The majority of the book is taken up by the stories of Perrin and Egwene, both of whom are learning the extent of their powers. Egwene is a “Dreamer,” which is exactly what it sounds like. She sees things in her dreams that are happening elsewhere and has some form of control in her dreams. Later in the book, we’ll learn that she has access to a place called Tel’aran’rhiod. (Fantasy books and their DAMN apostrophes!) This is a dream world that no Aes Sedai has been able to enter or use in centuries. Long story short: Egwene is kind of a big deal. Perrin’s wolf dreams are connected to this dream world as well.

So Egwene gets a glimpse of the big glowing McGuffin that Rand is going after and realizes that she has to go to where he’s going—a city called Tear—to keep him from being ambushed by the Black Ajah. She and her Angels all head out to beat him to Tear and stop the Black Ajah in their tracks. Elayne gives Mat a letter to deliver to the Queen of Andor; Mat finds Thom in Tar Valon, and they sneak out of the city together. While in Andor, Mat overhears a plot by the Queen’s new lover and General to kill Elayne. So he too is on the way to Tear.


So once again, everyone is split up and yet all being drawn to the same place. Also, we find out that some more of those Forsaken bastards have escaped their confinement and have now taken control of major cities. One is currently in Tear. Also, the reason Rand is going to Tear is to get something called callandor, which is a magic sword s’angreal that’ll make him crazy powerful.

And here’s the thing: not a lot really happens in this book. Not a lot has happened in any of the books really, despite being very long. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can get tiring waiting for something to happen.

I really like Perrin’s romance with the new girl named Faile, and I like Faile as a character. I really liked Egwene and her Angels working on their secret mission to find and stop the Black Ajah. The rest… I barely remember.

I’m excited for the next book, as this one set up a lot of stuff that could be really cool. But I think I gotta take a break for now. These books are slow reads, and my backlog is piling up. Sooooo I’ll be back eventually. Because I will not let these books beat me!

Current Ranking:
The Great Hunt
The Dragon Reborn
The Eye of the World

Until I return: Let the Dragon Ride Again on the Winds of Time
thedragon

 

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A Recurring Read: The Jessica Darling series

Hello my wonderful readers! Nikkie here with that bookish babble you love so much. Or potentially just tolerate . . . Oh well. You’re here, aren’t you?

Today, I want to shine a light on one of my favorite book series: Megan McCafferty’s Jessica Darling series. I actually wrote a post about these books back when this blog was Lit’s Not Dead, but since that post is no more—and September marks the 15th anniversary of the publication of the series’ first book, Sloppy Firsts—I figured “Why not do a new, updated post?”

I basically only remember one thing from the original post I wrote: I focused a lot on the parallels I drew between the main love pairing in the series and my relationship with my high-school boyfriend. That’s still relevant and will likely come up when I talk about my difficulty rereading the fourth book in the series, but this post will offer up a bit more than just “It reminds me of high school.”

So stick around; let’s have some fun! Continue reading “A Recurring Read: The Jessica Darling series”

The Return to Ice and Fire

It’s another glorious day at MWB, and ya girl Nikkie is here to bring you that sweet, sweet bookish babble.

If you couldn’t surmise from the title of this post, I am going to be talking about George R.R. Martin’s acclaimed fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire (a.k.a. the book series that Game of Thrones is based on). In the wake of season six, I decided to reread the series, and since I didn’t really blog about it the first time I read it, I figured I’d talk about it now.

Did you really think there would ever come a time when we were done with Thrones talk? You sweet summer child. That time will never come.

Now, this post is mostly just going to be some observations I made—no hard theorizing or anything. I tend not to theorize on my own about the series because there’s just too much going on; I can’t even begin to fathom what is going on in that fantastic head of GRRM’s. (I enjoy other people’s theorizing a great deal, though.) So all my ramblings here will mainly consist of questions that occurred to me while reading, comparisons to the show (of course), and some of my more random thoughts.

Ready? Then, follow me to Westeros! (Where you’ll find dwarves, magic, and SPOILERS!!!)

Continue reading “The Return to Ice and Fire”

Reading Habits: Bentley Little

Bentley Little is not a household name. Bentley Little is not a…great writer. But Bentley Little writes what he wants, and he doesn’t have time for your shit.

After getting his first book published, his publisher asked for his second novel to be a police procedural. So Bentley Little told them to fuck right off with that mess and broke his contract. He is, and always has been, a horror writer. And proud of it. He refuses to label his books as any of the cute euphemisms that publishers like to use in place of horror—dark fantasy, thriller, etc.—because he doesn’t see the point.

I love Bentley Little.

My first introduction to his work was with his (at the time) most recent work, The Disappearance. (That’s another thing I like about him: all of his book titles are generally two words and very simple.) I read The Disappearance in about three days and was really blown away by the first two-thirds of it and really disappointed by the last third. This, too, is pretty common with his books. His endings are almost always very contrived and anti-climactic.

And yet…I keep reading his stuff! So he’s obviously doing something right. Continue reading “Reading Habits: Bentley Little”

A Fantasy Scrub vs. The Wheel of Time, Pt. 2

The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass. Blog posts are written; heroes are born and die and fade to legend. Those legends turn to myth when the heroes inevitably say something stupid and start a Twitter war. In one month, a month called August by some, a month that’s happening now, a month that will come again in 12 months, a blog post was started. It wasn’t the beginning…because the beginning was last month, when I made my first Wheel of Time post.

At the end of the first book, our party has gone to stay at a city in Lan’s home country, and Moiraine is pretty sure that Rand is the Dragon Reborn. One thing I didn’t mention in that post was the small fact that they found a legendary item called the Horn of Valere. The Horn of Valere is supposed to bring back legendary heroes from the Age of Legends and make them ride forth for the Dragon. The Horn is the subject of a very popular story called “The Great Hunt,” and every few years, in fact, a new great hunt occurs where people from all over the world gather to search for the horn. No one thinks they’ll find it, not really, but they all try to become famous for other things. We actually hear about a new great hunt commencing during The Eye of the World, and everyone just kinda dismisses it as a fool’s errand. Guess what this book, titled The Great Hunt, is about. Continue reading “A Fantasy Scrub vs. The Wheel of Time, Pt. 2”

A Fantasy Scrub vs. The Wheel of Time, Pt. 1

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Hello, all. Super Hubs here!

Confession time: I don’t read a lot of fantasy. I love the idea of fantasy. I love being whisked away to another world where the laws of physics don’t adhere to the boring bullshit of our stupid, normal world; I love imagining sprawling landscapes full of impossible geology and incredible cultures; I love crazy monsters and magic. Everything about fantasy seems like it should appeal to me…and yet, the only fantasy I’ve read has been the Harry Potter series, the Lord of the Rings series, and GRRM’s A Song of Ice and Fire series.

There are lots of reasons for this, all of them pretty dumb. However, the dumbest reason I have thus far avoided most fantasy novels is also probably the biggest reason: almost as a rule, I hate fantasy language. By that, I mean I hate the way that almost every fantasy I’ve ever tried to read has been very…insistent…about how alien the language is supposed to be. All the characters are speaking English, but their names are all craaaaaaaaazy. They have unnecessary apostrophes, lots of consonants, and no real reason for being as weird as they are considering how, again, everyone is speaking English and almost always with an implied English accent. For an example:

Tua’t’thallamon cocked an eyebrow at his companion, the question lingering between them unspoken but powerful.
Baalroar bellowed, and pulled the hood of his cloak forward, shielding his eyes. His voice was rough-hewn and brimming with anger. “Piss off. I’ll tell you when I bloody well know.”

That’s how I imagine all fantasy. Stupid names and English accents. Like I said, my reasons for avoiding fantasy are insanely dumb. I’m not even really sure where this aversion came from—probably from forcing my way through Lord of the Rings in seventh grade and being bored out of my mind. Yes, Internet: I don’t like Lord of the Rings. I love the story and the lore, but the writing bores me to tears. COME AT ME BROS!
Regardless, it has been a part of my life for a long time. Which is unacceptable. I’m supposed to be a ReaderNot just a reader. I can’t let the trappings of genre discourage me from trying new things. That’s what scrubs do! My wife is a semi-devout follower of the Church of TLC, and rule 1 is that scrubs can’t get no love from them!

And so, having been faced with the nigh-inevitable dissolution of my marriage, I decided to stop being a scrub and open my damn mind. There are many options for the burgeoning fantasy fanatic out there, but I decided to jump straight into the deep end and go with the universally acclaimed Wheel of Time series, the highest of high fantasies.

wheeltimemap Continue reading “A Fantasy Scrub vs. The Wheel of Time, Pt. 1”