Category Archives: Reviews

Starting in early 2012 I decided that I would make a habit of reviewing everything I read and all the movies I watched. On top of that I’ve begun to review other products and sometimes tv shows as well.

These reviews are just my personal thoughts on my entertainment choices. I wouldn’t use them as your sole guide on what to read or watch, but if it helps… great!

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Book Review: The Accidental Alchemist by Gigi Pandian

Urban Fantasy is an extremely popular genre and one that supports quite a range of styles. With The Acci­dental Alchemist Gigi Pandian may have come up with an entirely new sub-genre, or at least one I was not previ­ously familiar with. It is part mystery, part recipe book! I'm exag­ger­ating here, but only slightly. The book is a light-hearted one that certainly belongs in the Urban Fantasy fold, though marking itself apart with an absence of were­wolves, vampires or demons.  There is a gargoyle though. A French one. The central and sole view­point char­acter for the story is Zoe Faust, an immortal alchemist (the acci­dental appel­la­tion is explained in the story) who has just moved to Port­land, Oregon.

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TV Review: Gotham S01E09 — Harvey Dent

It's been a while since I checked into Gotham with a review, but I have been watching it every week. The show is more compelling than I would have predicted from the first episode. Why review this partic­ular episode? Well it is called Harvey Dent. And that should catch the atten­tion of anyone with more than a passing famil­iarity with the Batman mythos. Gotham's biggest strength so far has been its cast of actors.  Whether it's Ben McKenzie as the earnest Jim Gordon, Robin Lord Taylor as a perfectly cast Penguin or Donal Logue as a lovably slovenly Harvey Bullock, this is a cast that makes the most of every­thing they're given. The plots them­selves are rela­tively pedes­trian really, but much like with Batman himself it is the cast of char­ac­ters that enlivens things.

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TL UK

Book Review: Raven's Shadow Book 2 — Tower Lord by Anthony Ryan

Tower Lord is the second book in the Raven's Shadow fantasy series by Anthony Ryan. Obvi­ously if you haven't read the first book, this isn't the place to start but I'd recom­mend reading it and you can see my review of Blood Song right here. Where's The Tower? [amazon template=image&asin=0425265625]While this is most defi­nitely a contin­u­a­tion of the story that Ryan started in Blood Song, he makes a bold, and risky, choice by changing narra­tive format. In the first book it was all the story of Vaelin Al Sorna as related by Vaelin to a scribe. It's not a literary device I partic­u­larly care for so I was quite happy to see it go away this time round. However, moving from a single view­point char­acter to four is a pretty radical change to pull on you readers. And judging by the online reac­tion some of them really didn't like it.

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TV Review: The Flash S01E05 — Plastique

Although I'm watching it weekly it's been a while since I checked into The Flash with a review. So let's take a look at episode 5 Plas­tique. While its TV sibling Arrow has, largely, steered clear of super powered char­ac­ters it seems The Flash fully embraces them. Right from the pilot episode where it gave us a reimag­ined Weather Wizard, the show has not only openly embraced super powers, but also the, rather goofy, villains that are Flash's Rogues Gallery. Plas­tique, however, is not tradi­tion­ally a Flash villain but rather a spar­ring partner for Captain Atom. As, I'm sure it's no coin­ci­dence, is General Eiling. Monster Of The Week So far The Flash has largely stuck to a supervil­lain of the week format with only the CW soap-opera elements and the little tags at the end about Dr. Wells serving to move along any larger plot.

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Book Review: The Thirteenth Tower by Sara C. Snider

The Thir­teenth Tower offers a rather different style of fantasy story from the usual epic.  It's a much more personal tale and also smaller in scale. The world does not seem to be in the balance here. The story here is all about Emelyn and her place in the world. You might be forgiven, on reading the opening chapter, for thinking you were reading some sort of Downton Abbey type of novel. Certainly that seems to be the type of world that Emelyn lives in, working as a servant in a house owned by a well to do family. But this low key begin­ning lulls the reader so that when the weird­ness begins happening, it is all the more striking. And the strange carnival of wildlings or fae crea­tures with the towns­folk firmly in their spell has an almost dream­like quality to it that is also very effective.

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Doctor Who Review: S08E12 — Death In Heaven

As I mentioned in my review of Dark Water, Steven Moffat doesn't have the greatest track record when it comes to concluding two parters. Indeed if there's one crit­i­cism you can always levy at him it's that he tries to cram too many ideas into his stories. I loved Dark Water which kept the action going from begin­ning to end and set up multiple cliffhangers for the season finale. But would Death In Heaven be able to deliver? Yes and no. There are some really strong elements to Death In Heaven with the inter­ac­tion between Missy and The Doctor being right there at the top of the list. But there's also some clever use of imagery and  a solid reso­lu­tion to the Danny/Clara rela­tion­ship as well. Looking purely at the plot outlines almost every­thing is right.

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Dragonlance Re-Read: Dragons Of Autumn Twilight — Part 2

Part two of my re-read of Dragons of Autumn Twilight picks up, unsur­pris­ingly, right where I left off at the end of part one. This time out we're covering chap­ters 5 through 9 and at the current rate it looks like there will be about 10 parts in total. The constel­la­tion known as the Queen of Dark­ness and the one called Valiant Warrior. Both are gone. The Story So Far Our brave compan­ions flee the town of Solace making for the Crys­talmir Lake in an effort to escape the goblin search parties. An effort that has mixed success. They finally hole up for the night in a cave and we learn some of the back­story of River­wind and Gold­moon. During the night Raistlin notices an alarming thing.

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