Tag Archives: fantasy

Reading Room: Spectyr & Wrayth

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I haven’t been to the bookstore and ages. In fact, it’s been so long that I can’t remember the last time my foot crossed the threshold of a bookstore that didn’t have used/thrift somewhere in the mix. So, it was kind of cool to hit Barnes & Noble this weekend after a random conversation we had on the bus about Robin McKinley’s Sunshine (I would buy it for her if she was interested in reading it, she declined). We both wandered around the store looking at books (she was all over the teen paranormal romance section. Yes, they have one! And I was camped out in science fiction and fantasy) and craft kits (you can buy a crockpot with a slow cooker cookbook… at B&N, y’all), Harry Potter gear (they are still selling it!) and all the cool new board games (Munchkins? Apparently, it’s a funny take on D&D) too.

We were winding down, just about to head out the door when I thought about a series, Books of the Order, that I had started when I still worked at the book warehouse. The first book was called Geist and I thoroughly enjoyed it. So much so that I was on pins and needles to read the next book… but life intervened and I forgot all about it. Well, today I got Spectyr and Wrayth, the second and third books in the series. I haven’t started the new books (I’ve got like five things going right now) but I’m excited to start them when I cross a few of my current reads off the “currently reading” shelf.

Are you reading anything good lately?

Snow White and the Huntsman

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Friday, I went to see the fairy tale epic, Snow White and the Huntsman, with my cousin at Kent Station. I’d been anticipating this movie for months, so I was a little excited. I’m not understating my excitement level for effect either. I literally was only a little excited; after waiting that long for the movie to come out my initial desire to see it had waxed quite a bit. Still, I got my $6 ticket. (I love the opening day matinee!)

The movie opens with a voice over by the Huntsman (costar Chris Hemsworth) giving us the back story on how Snow White and Queen Ravenna become mortal enemies. We learn that Snow is a miracle baby to her parents, that her mother (who was already ill when she had Snow) dies a few winters later, that the king is inconsolable, and how Ravenna is able to scheme her way onto the throne through the king’s grief. We also meet Snow White’s childhood friend and fellow noble, William.

Soon the evil queen realizes that the only way to prolong her reign of terror is to consume the still beating heart of her step daughter, Snow White. Of course Snow White escapes and the Queen brings in The Huntsman to track down and bring her “prize” back.

The opening is brilliant and fairly well paced but when Ravenna makes her move to kill snow the pacing starts to falls apart. There are large sections of the movie that, while beautifully filmed, drag the story down. Instead there are lingering shots of (admittedly beautiful) scenery… and Kristen Stewart’s face that don’t add anything to the story. If any thing they take you out of the story and make you think about taking a quick trip to the concession stand.

Charlize Theron delivers a solid performance despite the odd direction of her character’s motivation. She convinces as a victim that is heedless of the fact that she has become exactly what she most hates in the world. Chris Hemsworth was also a treat as a widower whose lost faith with himself and the world. He actually brought me to tears with a moving speech he gives to Snow towards the end of the show. His action sequences are a bit shadowed somewhat by the badassness of the grownup William, played by Sam Claflin (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) who executes some moves with a bow that would make both Hawkeye and Legolas proud.

The weak link in the main cast is Kristen Stewart. She is wooden, uncharismatic, flubs her accent, and has zero chemistry with either male lead. Snow White is a character that should elicit some compassion because of her plight but Stewart barely manages to make her sympathetic. I kept wishing they would have cast someone who actually had the acting chops to pull off the character, taking her believably from an orphaned girl in fear for her life to an armed and ready warrior and focused less on looks.

Aside from the pace and the miscasting of Kristen Stewart, I enjoyed the production design and the soundtrack including the two songs with vocals used in the film, especially Florence and the Machines’ end credit burner.

All in all? Not horrible. If you’re seeing it on the big screen, I recommend a matinee or second run. Until next time!

Reading Room: The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack

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I picked this up from the science fiction and fantasy paperback shelf at the library. It’s been sitting in a stack in the dining room while I’ve been reading (lately slogging) through Russell Kirkpatrick’s In the Earth Abides the Flame. I decided to ditch the latter for the moment and give this book, by Mark Hodder, a go.

I have only read a few pages but the writing is solid but easy to follow and the premise of a steampunk type escapade appeals to my love of adventure. Of note to me while reading the famous author blurb in the inside cover: Michael Moorcock (he’s famous for his Immortal Champion books) waxes poetic about his great a story this debut novel is. We’ll see. Still, that’s a hefty rec.

I hope your Thursday was fifty flavors of awesome! I’ll catch you tomorrow. 🙂