I was at my local library recently, just browsing the shelves, when one particular book caught my attention. It was called Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake, and it had the most interesting premise of any book I’ve come across this year. The flap copy alone had me racing to check it out and take it home. So imagine my disappointment when Three Dark Crowns turned out to be not only nothing like what I had been advertised, but also just a generally poorly-written story.
Gentle readers, you may or may not know that I love me some Steven Universe. You may or may not also know that a new Steven Universe ongoing comic series debuted earlier this week.
I’m usually not that interested in comics series that are directly tied to ongoing series—for example, although I liked the various six-issue Adventure Time series that delved into the backgrounds of characters who might never get a lot of showtime, I never really felt the urge to pick up the actual Adventure Time comic. However, I broke with my personal tradition this week to try out the new Steven Universe series, because, well, I love me some Steven Universe.
Crossover fanfiction is usually not for me, and neither are time travel stories, for that matter. But every once in a while, I come across one that, against all odds, works really nicely. Visitorverse is one of those stories. Written by three different authors, Visitorverse is, at the time this article is being published, a series of nineteen fics taking place in the world of Assassin’s Creed, only the rules of the universe are the same as those in Sense8. Six Assassins—Desmond, Ezio, Altaïr, Edward, Avaline, and Connor—as well as two Templars—Haytham and Shay—find themselves connected across time and end up visiting each other at seemingly random moments in their lives.
I’m not generally a fan of horror, and while Neil Gaiman perhaps isn’t specifically writing horror, his fantastical worlds are often quite scary. However, I love literary explorations of mythology, faith, life, and death, and most of his writing, from The Sandman to The Graveyard Book, deals with these themes in one way or another. As such, I’ve been meaning to read American Gods for a rather long time. With the TV adaptation of this book fast approaching, I finally picked it up. Gaiman succeeds, as always, at setting the perfect atmosphere and at creating mysterious characters. However, although I love the exploration of mythological and religious themes, there are also a couple of things that prevented me from completely falling in love with this book. I will delve into all of it below.
Spoilers for American Gods (the author’s preferred text version) to follow.
I admit it, I’m bad about checking out browser-based games. Brilliant titles like Depression Questoften slip past me for months even when I’ve read numerous articles about them and made a point to play them. That was what happened with A Normal Lost Phone. I read about it, thought “that sounds amazing, I need to check it out” and then… just didn’t, even when it started coming up in my alerts for “games like Gone Home”. So when I saw it available on the App Store, I had to download it immediately, and I’m glad I did.
Heads up: you will forget it’s an app at some point.
The premise of A Normal Lost Phone is both simple and incredibly innovative. You have just found a phone and you are looking through it. That’s all. The entire interface of the game is a simulated phone with a handful of apps, and the puzzles are essentially just figuring out various passwords and finding where to type them. But as you do that, two things start to happen: you begin to get drawn into the story of the person whose phone it was, and you become increasingly aware of the fact that you are role-playing an invasion of privacy, effectively hacking a particularly vulnerable person to find out more details about their life.
Warning: spoilers for basically the entire game after the break.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m a Red Sonja fan. After Gail Simone’s run with the character ended, Marguerite Bennett took over for a soft reset of the title that ran for several issues before tapering off to an end. For the first time in a long time, I found myself without the promise of more Sonja in the future, so when I heard that the She-Devil with a Sword would be appearing in a new ongoing series this year, I was excited to see where new author Amy Chu would take her.
Having read the latest Red Sonja #1, however, I was rather disappointed. Aside from not loving the latest plot concept, the issue had, well… issues.
The second season of Voltron: Legendary Defender came out on Jan 20th, the same day as Inauguration Day here in the States, and like many others, I wanted to watch it in lieu of watching the inauguration. But I ended up watching the ceremony with my family, and then I made the decision to go get drunk instead of binge-watching Netflix. (Note: We at LGG&F do not formally advocate getting drunk as a coping mechanism, even if one’s country is crumbling into a pile of orange Cheeto dust.) However, I’ve now finished the series, and I’m happy to report that I liked it a great deal more than I thought I would, given my lukewarm review of the first season.
Massive spoilers below!
From left to right: Hunk, Allura’s aide Coran, Allura, Lance, Keith, Shiro, and Pidge. (via technobuffalo)