Monthly Archives: December 2015

And the winner is…

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Surprising absolutely no one, Sword of Shannara wins by a landslide!!!!

…. okay seriously, who voted for that thing?

No, the first three Wheel of Time books will be our next Let’s Read. In case anyone missed it, you can find the opening chapters covered here. As previously stated, the posts will begin on the 12 of January.

Now, I know a lot of people were enthusiastic about Night Angel. And even though it didn’t win, it’s not inconceivable that Night Angel-related content might appear on this blog within the early part of the new year. I’m just saying, I have these Christmas gift vouchers I’m planning on using to acquire a new Kindle paperwhite, and I’m going to need something to read on it. When you think about it, there really aren’t that many books in the world. If I just so happen to start reading a certain fantasy trilogy starring an assassin with a stupid name, it would be a shame not to review it while I’m at it.

I feel that the Quick Read format worked pretty well, so I plan to continue it going forward, not just as a way to select new blogging projects but also as a means to to quickly dip into something that seems interesting/”interesting” without making a huge time commitment, so look forward to more.

Anyway, have a happy new year and I’ll see you all again in two weeks.

 

The Poll

IT BEGINS

We’re convening today to decide our next Let’s Read, friends. Five options are open: the first three books of the Wheel of Time series, the entire Night Angel trilogy (go big or go extinct, as Pacific Rim taught us), A Game of Thrones, TesticleCanticle, and The Sword of Blahnnara.

Two of those options are actually multiple, fairly hefty books, so if they win I reserve the right to take a break and do something else between installments. Any options that don’t win may still be up for future consideration, except Sword of Shannara because I’ll be damned if I’m going to read another page of that drivel unless I absolutely have to.

Without further ado:

Voting will be open for 24 hours, and the next Let’s Read will begin on the 12th of January.

 

Talking Forever About Harry Potter

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Here at Doing In The Wizard we pride ourselves on only talking about two kinds of books: the newest, hottest releases and the obscure and little-known. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to cover a little book series you probably haven’t heard of by an author named JK Rowling.

…okay seriously, why now? Well, for one there’s a prequel movie series coming out and a sequel story that’s a play for some reason starting up next year, and between those and the new illustrated editions going into print international advisory committees have issued a category 6 Pottermania warning.

But the main reason is that I’ve been meaning to do this for a very long time, ever since I spotted similarities between the Potter and Kvothe books; that led to a wiki binge to fact-check some stuff, which in turn got me wondering how the books would actually hold up if I revisited them. At the same time there’s been a metric shit load of ink spilled both praising and damning this series, and I wanted to be sure I actually had something vaguely interesting to say. Also, I hadn’t actually read them in a long time and my memory of the series, particularly the earlier books, was pretty hazy.

Over the last several weeks I dipped back into the series, looking through detailed plot summaries and re-reading parts that I had forgotten. I also revisited the movies, so we’ll be talking about them as we go. When I was a kid and in my teens I was a fairly enthusiastic fan of the series (to an extent; I never fell head over heels for them like a lot of people did during those heady days), so a big part of the exercise was seeing if they still held up nearly ten years later.

With all that exhaustive research done, we can start answering a few pertinent questions: are the books any good, and to what extent? Do they deserve the fame they attracted? And just why were they so popular in the first place?

It’s going to be full spoiler territory within, so if you want to read these books and for some reason have not done so yet, go grab them. I believe Harry Potter paperbacks are abundant enough that the UN will, in the event that all the oil runs out, be able to keep civilization running for the next 100 years by burning them, so they should be pretty easy to find.

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Quick Read: The Sword of Shannara ch. Whatever

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Whoo boy. Let’s just get this over with.

But first! Some scheduling changes. I’m afraid my volume of college work at the moment means that I need to take a longer break than I had previously decided on; the poll will now be going up on the 27th of this month, and the next Let’s Read will begin on the 12th of January. There’ll be no regular posting between those dates, although you never know when you might get a review or something.

However, the Super Special Ultra Bonus Mega Christmas Post will go up as planned. It’s about a particular entertainment property known for its mellow fanbase and the calmness of the discourse surrounding it, so I’m sure it will be holiday cheer all around when the post launches.

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Incoherent Thoughts on The Force Awakens

This review is spoiler-free

I’m not going to write a full fancy-pants review for The Force Awakens, because fuck it, but I did want to jot down some quick observations.

This was a frustrating movie to watch. It has a lot of really strong elements, but they’re marred by a critical flaw. The new characters are all really endearing and likeable and the villain Kylo Ren is both cool and fascinating for a lot of reasons I won’t get into in detail. There are interesting story arcs and pivotal scenes are very well executed. Cool stuff happens.

The problem is that there’s too god damn much of it, as if you’re watching the plot of the entire original trilogy stuffed into a single movie, and it wreaks utter havoc on the film. Things that should be important don’t have the proper impact because they’re rubbing shoulders with seven others things that could have easily carried an entire movie but are instead sideshows to other sideshows.

The biggest casualty of all of this is Rey, our supposed protagonist. Instead of a character arc she’s got a Mysterious Backstory that’s held off entirely as a sequel hook even though it’s incredibly obvious halfway through the movie what her deal is.

This seems to be becoming a trend in blockbusters lately– I’ve noticed it particularly with Marvel movies like Age of Ultron, where the script is really sloppy and messy because the movie is trying to juggle fifteen different storylines and half of them are setup for sequels or spin-offs. The only real way to fix the problem is to simply cut out the chaff, but that’s not possible because we’re setting up a Cinematic Universe here and we need lots of nods and references to other movies that won’t get made for 2+ years, so these awkward plot threads that don’t actually go anywhere and detract from the main focus need to be included.

Actually the movie is similar to the Marvel movies in another way: it ends with a climactic action scene where there’s a big evil Thingy charging up or about to explode or summoning an army of whatevers and the heroes have to defend/destroy it in time. Normally I’d say that just having a fight scene or a thing exploding at the end isn’t enough and you need some kind of emotional component as well; the thing is, this movie does have an emotional component, and a good one to boot, but it’s drowned out by everything around it.

Despite all of this I did overall enjoy the movie a lot and I’m genuinely interested to watch the sequel and see where the story goes. I just hope it slows the fuck down a bit and picks something to focus on.