Bookish Wednesday: Holes by Louis Sachar

I’m back for this week’s Bookish Wednesday with another classic novel I read when I was a kid. It’s Holes by Louis Sachar!

Plot: The plot is a mix of interconnected stories with characters from the 18th century to the present day. It’s all pretty interesting, although a younger kid, who isn’t like me, would most likely be confused by the constant timeline changes that take place over the course of the book. Still it was a good story and I enjoyed it as a kid despite not meeting the “advised” age. Of course considering I’d read books like War and Peace, The Stand and Stranger in a Strange Land by the time I was 12 that isn’t too surprising.

Characters: The entire cast is pretty good, although my favorite character was Stanley the protagonist. Still every character is unique and has their own “charm” so I don’t dislike them all that much, though when I was younger I definitely had some characters I wouldn’t mind tossing into a few holes myself.

Overall: A solid book, and definitely worth a read if you never read it before, this is a book for almost anyone of any age, except maybe kids younger than 8, unless they are oddballs like myself.

For those who like: Triparite Storylines, Great Plot, Good Cast of Characters.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Serial Saturday: Siphon Volume 2 by Jay Boyce

This week for Serial Saturday I’m back with the second volume of the Siphon series. It’s Siphon Volume 2 by Jay Boyce!

Plot: First let me say that yes I do know that there is an audiobook release of this already out, but I had this post planned for a while and had a rough draft stored in my notes of my thoughts on the original unedited version on RoyalRoad so I won’t be covering the released versions until the third book is released.

With that out of the way let me say that this second entry in the series was pretty good and covered a ton of threads that came up by the end of the first book and has Jade actually attending the school Dracona that was teased way back in the first few chapters. There were some points where I cringed, but that might just be due to Jade being a dork at times.

Characters: We get to meet a bunch of new characters in this entry, which makes sense given all the new people she has to meet at Dracona. Of the newcomers I think Brady is my favorite, if only because he is the small blades teacher and I’ve always loved the rogue archetype. The rest of the cast is good, although there were some characters that felt a bit forced that may or may not show up in the edited release.

Overall: A solid entry, although I do wish the author was more timely with her releases I am given to understand she has been dealing with health issues.

Anime Sunday: Arifureta Episode 01 Impressions

This week for Anime Sunday I’m back with my first Summer 2019 series. It’s my Arifureta Episode 01 Impressions!

Plot: I’m pretty happy with the pacing of this first episode, as it seems the series is taking the plot fairly slow which allows for the anime to do the story justice. That said it is handled a bit fast, and doesn’t cover everything that I’d have hoped from the adaptation of a series I thoroughly enjoy. Maybe that’ll change in future episodes, but I am a bit disappointed.

Characters: We get introduced to our main protagonist, Hajime in this episode along with a couple of the heroines, Kaori and Shizuka. That said the plot is mostly focused on Hajime which is understandable given what the first volume of the Light Novel covers is mostly focused on him and another heroine, Yue.

Art: The art is fairly good, though there were some points where I thought I could see CG used, which is worrisome given how I tend to despise the use of CG if it’s detectable compared to the rest of the animation. Hopefully that is something I just thought I saw, but still it doesn’t bode well for my overall opinion of the series if it continues into later episodes.

Music: The score is well done, and I enjoyed both the opening and ending themes.

Overall: A fairly solid first episode, but there are some parts that led me to dampen my hopes that this adaptation would be as good as some other ones I’ve seen before.

For those who like: Fantasy, Isekai, Magic, Drama, Action, Adventure, Good Plot and Excellent Cast of Characters, Good Musical Score.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Anime Sunday: Senko-san Episode 01 Impressions

Hey all I’m back with another Spring 2019 Anime series. It’s my Senko-san Episode 01 Impressions!

Plot: This is a heartwarming, or as some call it “fluffy”, slice of life series, and I’m not just saying fluffy because of the main character’s tail and ears. Honestly this is a pretty laid back and much more subdued series than my usual fare so it’s a nice change of pace for me to have watched this first episode. I’ll most likely get around to watching the entire series sometime in the near future.

Characters: Our main characters are Senko, obviously, and Kuroto who is a fairly gloomy and overworked man whom Senko decides to care and pamper for. The interactions are rather cute, and honestly I enjoyed their relationship quite a bit, if only because I can see the same type of gloomy nature that pervades my own life in Kuroto.

Art: The art is okay, but it’s nothing amazing either and certainly not close to reaching my gold standard of ufotable in terms of quality. That being said it’s not terrible either.

Music: The musical score fits the series perfectly, so I was pretty happy with this first episode in the audio department.

Overall: A solid and entertaining first episode, this looks to be an excellent series if you just want something heartwarming to watch.

For those who like: Slice of Life, Heartwarming Stories, Great Cast of Characters.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

 

Bookish Wednesday: To Serve and Protect by Glynn Stewart

This week I’m back with a book in one of my favorite genres. It’s To Serve and Protect, ONSET Book 01, by Glynn Stewart.

Plot: Let me get this out of the way, I absolutely despise this book, I’m not going to pull punches, and the fact that this book is an Urban Fantasy is as bad a blight on the genre as Twilight is. The plot is bland, uninsipired and completely nonsensical in terms of power levels for most of the story. Then there’s the constant repetition of the title phrase over and over and over again. It’s fine to make the title a part of the plot, but it is not okay to constantly bludgeon your readers with that phrase. After about the 5th time every time I saw someone say those words I wanted to throttle Mr. Stewart. By the end of the book I was thoroughly done with putting up with the nonsense title, and the almost complete lack of humor throughout the book was unacceptable to me. For me humor has always been a good sign of writing and the lack of it in this book just showcases how poor a writer Mr. Stewart is to me, especially when some of the best Urban Fantasy books I’ve read have humor in truckloads.

Characters: We get a small town cop that gets roped into the supernatural and is one of the most unlikable main characters I’ve ever read. David White is one dimensional, boring and all around a complete and total tool. The rest of the cast is no better, honestly every time a character died I cheered. I don’t tend to do that for characters ever, but because of the awful writing this book has I couldn’t wait for every single character to die a horrible death if it would spare me from hearing the stupid title phrase again. It’s a pity that David has a boatload of plot armor and does not die some horrible death, which is pretty obvious when you consider that this is the first book in a series about the character.

Overall: Stay far away from this book, series and I’m going to go out on a limb here and say author as well. Mr. Stewart took all the good things about Urban Fantasy and completely and utterly ruined them. If you want a good Urban Fantasy go read the Demon Accords series by John Conroe, it’s actually well written, has an amazing plot and cast of characters and is actually funny without any repetition of the title every single freaking chapter.

Serial Saturday: The Undead World by Donkereweg

Hey all I’m back with a review of a series I was asked to do much earlier this year during my Hiatus for this week’s Serial Saturday. It’s The Undead World by Donkereweg!

Plot: This is a typical Isekai/LitRPG but it’s much too dark just for the sake of being dark. The current big go to genre word in the fiction community is “Grimdark” and every newbie author is just tagging it into their stories just because it’s the new fad. Like Twilight and all it’s ilk, most Grimdark stories are utter trash and this one is not much different.

Example: Not only does the MC get NTRed in the first few chapters, which is always a mark in the negative for me, but he loses his first friend he makes after dying. Why? Just because the author felt like being a dick and trying to be dark. There are ways of creating conflict without killing off every other named character or making every MC an edgelord. Take some of the classics like Lord of the Rings. Of the main characters only one dies for good, and even then it’s after being a dick and betraying the party that said character dies.

Characters: Our main dude Dantalian or whatever he goes by now is not interesting to read about and about as 3-dimensional as a sheet of a paper. The rest of the cast is no better, and most character are either killed off or just forgotten because they’re no longer important at all to the Author. Heck even the weapon-smith that Dantalian meets in the Undead City is unnamed in a later chapter. Classic sign of laziness by the author right there.

Grammar: For being a non native English speaker and this being their first work the author’s writing here is about the only good thing I can give this story a plus for. It’s not amazing grammar, but I’ve read worse. Still needs a lot of work, and honestly it could use a few editing passes at the very minimum just for grammar.

Overall: Steer clear, it’s a blatant attempt at trying to get into the writing business by jumping on the latest genre fad, Grimdark.

For those who like: Terrible Stories, Twilight.

Not for those who don’t like: Either of the above.

Retro Game Friday: Rainbow Six

This week I’m back with an oldie for Retro Game Friday. It’s Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six!

Plot: The plot is okay, but pretty standard Clancy fare. If you’ve read any of his other books you’ll get the basic picture, US government agents and/or spec ops agent(s) go against foreign antagonists to save the day. Pretty cut and dry.

Gameplay: This is a tactical shooter, which means that you are given limited assets and you can’t go in guns blazing to win. You have to use your head in order to make it through each level and plan ahead if you want to win. Most levels are actually really short in terms of actual gameplay, but the planning of each mission takes much more time and if you do it poorly you’ll most likely fail. This did a fairly decent job at pulling off this concept and set the stage for many future games in the Rainbox Six series.

Art: The art is pretty terrible now, but back then it was fairly awesome. Still it’s nothing great looking at it now.

Music: I don’t remember much of the music, but I remember it feeling appropriate it for the game.

Overall: A fairly decent game, but later entries do a better job and look better as well.

For those who like: Tactical Shooters, Planning, Forethought, Tom Clancy.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.