Tuesday, January 20, 2015

On Firefight (Reckoners #2) by Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads synopsis here.

Note (incase you didn't read the title): This is book two of the Reckoners series. Review for Steelheart (book one) here.

M. Night Shymalan (I know it's been a while since you read one of my reviews...  stick with me, this will make sense...  maybe). Who doesn't remember that first time they saw The Sixth Sense?  A great slow build-up of a movie.  Then BAM, Shymalan gives you a roundhouse kick to the face with a crazy plot twist (I should totally swap out that picture for Chuck Norris now...  /sigh). How long did you talk about it? How long did the "I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING!" last?  And then you bumped into that one friend or relative who didn't see it and you had to bite your tongue. We all have that person who wants to talk about it, but doesn't want to know anything. Or you're watching it again with someone who hasn't seen it yet, and you just kinda keep glancing over at them over and over again, bouncing with excitement, because you have to see their reaction! I just gotta capture the look on his face.  Man, that was fun times.  Kind of like what everyone is doing with Game of Thrones these days.  I watched for people's reactions before it was cool, but then I took a mixed metaphor to the knee.


Appropriate picture is appropriate
A few years pass and he puts out Unbreakable. Bruce Willis, but this time we get some Samuel L. Jackson. He can do no wrong. Snakes on a Plane. FANTASTIC! So. Another slow movie. Crazy twist. Signs. Slow movie. Crazy twist. The Village. Slow movie. Crazy twist. Ok. We get it. Crazy twists.  Lady in the Water. I don't think I stayed awake. The Happening. Didn't bother seeing it. The Last Airbender. Devil. After Earth. I don't think they're even mentioning his name anymore. It's become a stigma. I know what I'm getting in a Shamalamadingdong movie. Not fun anymore.

Steelheart had a total WOAH moment in it (or two). So, my hopes for Firefight was that Sanderson wouldn't use the same tricks again. When you start relying on the same tricks, you become boring. Like when you do your reviews over and over again through some long, obscure, metaphor about how you feel instead of how the book actually is, people may just skip through what you're typing...  ignore that.

There are certainly a few surprises in Firefight, but Sanderson's story isn't one long string of events that have a sole purpose of wowing you with the bright, shiny plot twist. The characters are well developed (even if some of them stay home this time). The new characters are entertaining.  The mythology around the Epics only gets more interesting. Sparks, this is just a fun series. Like early Shyguy movies.  Mmmm. Maybe not right. Like...  Die Hard (Bruce Willis was in The Sixth Sense, so that works...  I said so).

Yeah.  I give this "yippee ki yay, mot*#($&5(*@".

Ah, hell.  I'm posting one anyway.

Friday, January 16, 2015

On "what the hell have you been up to?" - An A to Z post

It's been - several - months since I've posted here. I always have these great plans about writing here, and then life finds a way to distract. So, as part recap of 2014, part what I'm looking forward to in 2015, part journal, part whatever I feel like calling it, I'm posting an A to Z list. We shall call it the What the Hell Have You Been Up To? Or WtHHYBUT? for short.

I will be the first to admit that when I heard that Arrow was going to be on CW my first thought was "teeny bopper drama, NEXT." But something (I honestly don't remember what) got me to sit through a few episodes, which turned into binge-watching seasons 1 and 2 and watching season 3 now live.  This is good stuff. They made him a little Batman-ish, but that's not so bad.

Brandon Sanderson
I try to write sometimes. And then I read Brandon Sanderson and feel a complete and utter failure. Man, this guy is good. I was behind so I read both The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance this year (as well as his YA books). Just read his books. All of them. Any of them. But particularly the Starlight Archives books.

Quiet year for the movies for me.  Seen a good number. Just nothing I feel worth talking about too much. Good movies were generally the ones you'd expect from me. The Hobbit, Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America. I suppose John Wick was an unexpected surprise of a good, fun movie.

Dungeons & Dragons
Nerd card admission time. This is the first time I've ever played D&D. Just never seemed like it would be my thing. A friend in town wanted to start a new game and asked if I'd like to join and I finally just said "why not?" So. Much. Fun. And an excuse to write. I think I've written around 30 pages of backstory for my character. Dwarf Fighter incase you were wondering. And yes, my first act was to go to the bar and get a drink.

This gets two nods. 1) Cibola Burn came out (book... number...  four?). And it was one of the best of the series in my opinion. And 2) the TV show starts in 2015 on SyFy. Trailer is out now. Go look it up. Then sit and wait as impatiently as I am.

It needs to be said that way.  Got a few Ravens games on TV up here (I don't live in Baltimore). And they made it to the playoffs, only to lose to Evil Little Bill (as GRRM calls him) and the Pats. /grumble.

Game of Thrones
Continues to be on TV. I continue to watch it. And continue to wait while GRRM does everything but write the next book. I'm not buying that coffee table book. No way I'm supporting him stalling the next book even longer.  I'll think about it after Winds of Winter comes out though. I like big coffee table books.

Hunger Games
I was not a huge fan of the books. Just. Not. Thought the first one was ok. But from there, meh. Not that it was awful. Just wasn't for me. But the movie was good. And then the second movie was really good. I know the first part of the third movie (why do we keep splitting third movies into two?) is out, but I haven't seen it yet.  Looking forward to it though.

I should probably have used H to talk about The Hobbit. Oops.

Joe Abercrombie
Binge-read the First Law books. I don't know why I was so reluctant to read them. I had heard countless recommendations for him. Was already following him on Twitter. Just never felt the urge to pick up the books.  Did. Loved them. Third was my favorite, so worth sticking it out if you haven't read all of them.

Keep moving.

Lawrence, Mark
If I want to cheat and use last names for some and first names for others, I can. It's my blog. Bugger off. No, don't do that. I'm sorry.  Keep reading. (Deckard Cain voice) Stay awhile and listen. So, this was a year of Mark Lawrence. I was rather far behind with his books and read all four in 2014. Prince, King & Emperor of Thorns. Prince of Fools. All good stuff. Thorns if you like the bad guy anti-hero type. Fools if you like the humorous anti-hero type. And the next Fools book is out in 2015, so there's that to look forward to.  Pretty sure I reviewed the Thorns books on here. Not sure I did Fools. SO. FAR. BEHIND. on book reviewing.

Yeah. Insert something Marvel did here.  Awesome.  Next.

Binge watching TV shows? Check. Weird movies I'd never go to theaters to see? Check. Wasting huge chucks of time in front of the television? Why not? I watched Troll Hunter. Yeah. I don't think I can say anything else. I might be a TV addict. And it'll be worse in April with Daredevil (see M), Game of Thrones, ... ... ...

On to the next one.

Got a puppy.  Forgot how much work they are. But he's cute. And he's definitely not a Schnoodle. He's a Giant Schnauzer mix. What's he mixed with? A Standard Poodle. So, a Schnoodle? No. Be quiet you. Maybe a Giant Schnoodle. Speaking of... time to walk said pooch.

Just because.

Rothfuss, Patrick
While we wait for the third book of the Kingkiller Chronicles. And wait. And wait. And wait. *Looks at watch* Still waiting. Pat has released The Slow Regard of Silent Things. I'm not sure I need to mention this here. The book has been getting much praise. And for good reason. However, it's not for everyone. I just happen to like the playful language. Plot people shouldn't go for it.

So, I am going to take my PMP (Project Management Professional) in 2015 (goal is for June, but we will see). How not bloggy for me to talk about work stuff.  This is supposed to be my escape.  Oh well. So, once I get studying for that you'll likely get some radio silence from me (again). But the bills must be paid, so...  yeah.

Jumped on the Twitter thing. Don't use it too often. Follow / reply to people more than I post my own thoughts. Do put up some random comments or word counts or playing with the trending stuff. So, some activity. I use the Twitter under @DougCFisher. Think it might be time to remove the Szever name from this and just call it like it is.  Hi, I'm Doug. And I'm outta heeeeeere.  Maybe someone will get that.  Maybe Szever sticks around and the Doug name gets buried with this post.  We shall see.

2014. The year that U2 clogged our iDevices. Listened to it once. Yup. That's it. I think they apologized for that afterwards.

VNV Nation
A new album out for VNV. Transnational. Typical VNV album. Two or three really strong songs...  Retaliate...  Awesome. Then the rest on the slower end. Not that slow = bad. But, I just love a nice strong beat.

Very, very, very slowly. Currently at 9,100 words though and the story has barely begun, so shaping up to be something big.

Ok, so I saw the latest X-Men installment.  Meh. What I'm really looking forward to are X-Force and Deadpool. Thank you, Fox for FINALLY getting Deadpool going. Took long enough.

Yo Gabba Gabba
Kids are now 5 and 2 (almost 3). I think I've seen every episode of Yo Gabba Gabba 100 times over.  Been watching it since the older one was an infant.  Still going.

Z...  zebras? zoo? zodiac? zero... ZERO!  I got nothing for Z.

Now I know my A, B, C's...