Monthly Archives: February 2014

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Announcement: Upcoming Cover Reveal for The Children of Lubrochius

Goddess Fish Promotions is sponsoring a Cover Reveal for my book, “The Children of Lubrochius” on March 3, 2014. The Cover Reveal will last the entire day and will give a look at the cover for my new book. The blog tour schedule is currently in development (see below). Make sure you check out the sponsor of the Cover Reveal–Goddess Fish Promotions–it wouldn’t have been possible without them.

Also, I will be awarding one randomly chosen commenter on the tour (for those who comment on the tour sites—not atoasttodragons) with a plastic Reaper miniature from the Dark Heaven line. It is of an Eldritch Demon and is excellent for collecting, or to use in gaming, so make sure you comment on all the sites to up your odds of winning on March 3rd.

Hope to hear from you on the tour.

Current List of Hosting Blogs

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Book Review: A Wizard of Earthsea (Ursula K. Le Guin 4 *’s)

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin is the first book of the Earthsea series, a rather famous series that has been around for decades. The copyright on A Wizard of Earthsea dates it to 1968, so it’s stayed the course of time. I’ll begin my book by saying, I didn’t really like the first chapter that much. It was written in that older style (I don’t recall the technical name—it’s like 3rd person narrative, or something like that) where every scene runs into every other scene and it consists of a shallow narrative that simply seems to connect dots in a line to me. I much prefer the modern style, where you sink into the scene getting glimpses of even the thoughts of the characters. Anyway, from the outset it is quite clear that Ursula K. Le Guin has incredible skill with the written word. Although I didn’t like the style, I was very much impressed with her technical skill.

 

The story told is of the early exploits of the young wizard named Ged. It’s worth pointing out that Ged is his true name (in normal affairs he goes by Sparrowhawk). I’ve always wondered where the notion that knowledge of a thing’s true name gives one power over that thing came from. I’ve seen such referenced in Dungeons and Dragons, The Black Company books by Glen Cook, and now here. As this dates to 1968 it is the current winner in my experience. Anyway, the character of Sparrowhawk begins the book as a precocious, power-hungry wizard-in-training. He is so precocious, and so power-hungry he gets himself in trouble and inadvertently, in an attempt to upstage a rival, unleashes a shadowy being from the underworld onto the real world. The rest of the book deals largely with him dealing with this shadowy being with only a few side adventures. It’s a short book, so the side adventures make up a good portion of it. It’s got a dragon in it, which is always a plus in my view, provided the dragon is done well—and this one is.

 

Strengths: like I said, Ursula K. Le Guin’s skill with the written word is quite impressive. The main character evolves quite convincingly over the course of the book from a rash impetuous youth, to a more mature seasoned individual. I must stress again the writer’s skill: it is very difficult to write in the style she chose. She used that old English type prose that Tolkien did many times (you know, kind of a Yoda-speak: “strong, it was, and sleek,” etc …) and it didn’t come across as tiresome and forced. That is an achievement in its own right. Weaknesses: although I found the tale to be entertaining, I was not fully smitten by it. It was an okay story, written in an earlier, more difficult to read style, but written with incredible skill.

 

Ultimately, I’ll give A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin four stars out of five.

Movie Review: I, Frankenstein (2014) (3 1/2 stars)

I, Frankenstein is the latest sci-fi/fantasy/paranormal film to grace the theatres. It stars Aaron Eckhart as Adam Frankenstein (the monster, obviously), Miranda Otto (from The Lord of the Rings fame) as Leonore, Queen of the Gargoyles, Bill Nighy (from the first Underworld movie) as Naberius, the Demon Prince, and a number of lesser-known actors I did not recognize. The movie tells the story of the Frankenstein “monster” from Mary Shelley’s famous book. Although Dr. Victor Frankenstein tried to destroy the monster he had created, he failed, and the monster was left to wander the world for many years. He learns that the energy used to bring him to life gave him virtual immortality. He does not age, but he holds onto a deep resentment and anger.

 

He returns to civilized society about two hundred years after he wandered north into the ice-lands. Much has changed, but before he can accustom himself to such, he is attacked by several demons, although he destroys one (descends it, as it is called) the others are on the verge of capturing him when two gargoyles intervene to save him. The gargoyles are minions of heaven, set on earth under the order of the archangel Michael to wage an eternal war against the demons of hell. When gargoyles die, they ascend into heaven; when demons die, they descend into hell. Soon, the monster finds himself in the middle of the gargoyle-demon war. The demons want the monster for something and the gargoyles need to find that out. Leonore gives the monster the name “Adam” because she thinks it suits him. He, however, is not so sure he wants to help the gargoyles. He is more of a loner, used to going his own way.

 

Strengths: there’s a lot of action in this movie with demons and gargoyles being killed. The Adam character is reasonably well-developed; the other characters aren’t necessarily bad, but they aren’t stellar either. The story held together well and everything flowed logically from one thing into another. Weaknesses: like I said, some of the minor characters were weak, but I think that’s because they only had ninety minutes worth of movie and too many minor characters (most of whom died anyway) to really develop fully. The special effects left a bit to be desired, but I generally don’t judge movies on the basis of special effects—it’s not really their fault if they don’t have a 200 million dollar budget.

 

Anyway, it was worth the respite I got: I’ll give I, Frankenstein three and a half stars out of five.

Movie Review: The Legend of Hercules (2014) (2 1/2 *’s)

My niece warned me that The Legend of Hercules was a terrible movie with bad acting, bad special effects, and an uninteresting story. I went to see it anyway just so I could review it for my blog. Because of my niece’s warning, though, I went into it with rather low expectations. It tells the story of the origin of Hercules. The circumstances of his conception and birth and how he came to be the greatest hero of the Greek mythos.

 

The story begins with the young King Tyrannis (I believe that was the name used) attacking and conquering the city-state of Argos, a nation allied to his own. The assault goes well and culminates in a final one-on-one battle between King Tyrannis and the king of Argos. Of course, King Tyrannis wins and claims Argos as his own. Amidst the celebration, Tyrannis’ wife, upset and sick of war and all its attendant death prays desperately to Hera for divine aid. Hera hears her prayer and answers her communicating her wishes through one of her priestesses. A deal is made. Zeus wants to sleep with the mortal queen (Greek gods were like that) and the mortal queen is in need of a hero. For the sake of peace, the mortal queen and Hera agree to let it happen. Thus, Hercules is conceived. He is born and is raised a prince, though one of lower stature than his elder brother because his stepfather believes he was sired by a mortal lover to the queen not Zeus, the king of the gods. So, from the get go, Hercules finds himself antagonized by his stepfather and his older brother as he grows into manhood.

 

Strengths: um, nothing really sticks out. There were a few good lines, but a good movie is more than the occasional one-liner. The story told was logical and complete, I guess, there were no glaring flaws that I caught on to. Weaknesses: I think my biggest complaint was that the movie seemed to rush through things. It covered a lot of material and squeezed it down into an hour and a half. Hercules’ life as a slave could have been fleshed out more, as could several other important details like the character of Iphicles among others. The special effects were substandard, but I usually don’t try to judge a movie solely on special effects. Those are a product of budget, and not everyone has a 100 million dollar budget. And the part where Hercules was swinging around a couple hunks of rock on chains, I thought, was silly.

 

Anyway, I’ll give The Legend of Hercules two and a half stars out of five.