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mystickeeper [userpic]

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November 2nd, 2020 (03:02 pm)

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Useful Posts:
Intro Post
Glee Fic: My Recs & To-Read list
Wishlist
Anime log
My Favorites
Comfort Books; Favorite Storytelling Devices.

I maintain a booklog at Goodreads as 'ribbonknight.'

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mystickeeper [userpic]

Reading Wednesday on Sunday

The Whim of the Dragon - I actually loved the ending, and how things worked together. Glad I read this trilogy, and glad I've already been able to find each installment used at various Half-Price Books.

Bioluminescence: Lisp - Borrowed from someone in comics club (who also drew it!). Short & sweet.
The Ink Dark Moon - Recommended to me by [profile] lavendarsleeves because I was complaining about Basho on twitter ^^;;;
And she was right in that I did like this a lot more! I preferred Shikibu's poems to Komachi's, but am glad to have read it regardless. I likely made it through in part because it's so short.

An Artificial Night - Third installment of the October Daye books. I understand why many people say this was the book to really pull them into the series. spoilersCollapse ) I continue to look forward to reading more. These seem particularly fitting to read during the month of October, ;)

One Piece, volumes 16-18 - Not much happened in these volumes except that the team obtained Chopper, the blue-nosed reindeer. I feel excited when Nami and/or Princess Vivi appear on-screen. I'm also finding this arc as they finally enter Alabasta to be interesting.

Bee and Puppycat, #1-3 - Borrowed from a member of comics club. I liked the whimsical art style, as well as the basis premise (Bee and her puppycat get odd jobs from a "Temp Bot"). I particularly liked #2's use of QR codes to associate music with a number of music boxes opened by the characters. Other than that, though, there wasn't much to grasp on to.

The Pulse, vol. 1: Thin Air - The follow-up to Jessica Jones's story in Alias. I really didn't care for the art style in this volume? But the story was good enough that I didn't mind.

The Pulse, vol. 2: Secret War - I really liked this one. Done by a different artist, which helped, but the "secret" war/SHIELD + Hydra thing is an interesting through-line to me? Also, coming to Marvel comics from the MCU means I'm always surprised when Nick Fury shows up & is white.
Neither my city nor university libraries carry The Pulse, vol. 3, and the city can't obtain it via outerlibrary loan, either. Where do people go to *ahem* US comics?

Spider-Man SP//dr - Seems to be the last installment of a five-part mini-series that's building up to a new event/crossover/series/SOMETHING. I picked it up because it was written by Gerard Way & the premise sounded interesting. If the direct influences of Neon Genesis Evangelion on this weren't clear, Asuka, Rei, Kaworu, and Shinji literally appear as the protag's classmates on one page. Way does cite other influences (Akira, Chrono Trigger[??]) in interviews I've seen, but I find it weird that Evangelion isn't mentioned at all. Maybe it was only an influence for an artist, & not the writer. I'd like to see more of Peni but am not sure what this series is jumping to now.



Reading Now:
A Solitary Blue by Cynthia Voigt, because I was feeling a little melancholy last night and am craving her writing.

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Lazy blogging on this season's anime

October 17th, 2014 (07:13 pm)

I LOVED the first two episodes of Akatsuki no Yona, lovelovelove.

I'm surprised by how much I'm enjoying Shirobako. This review does a good job explaining why.

I remain incredibly disappointed by Sailor Moon Crystal. This review of the latest episode explains why. It's making me nostalgic for the original anime, which is something I never thought I'd say.

In addition to these currently airing series, I've been watching the Cardcaptor Sakura anime for the first time, now that it's streaming on Crunchyroll. I like this anime more than Sailor Moon. It's making me want to reread xxxHOLiC and Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle in their entirety, though. I never actually finished either series, although I own complete sets of both.



Unrelated, & this is from a while ago, but I keep meaning to link to [personal profile] general_jinjur's post on capitalism and trigger warnings.
anyway. a woman in the audience asked a relatively thoughtful question that displaced fannish ethics onto a commercial capitalist setting - and that's the problem. you can't do that. i mean, that's part of why monetizing fandom doesn't work, even though people keep right on trying to package and sell us. but this was in the opposite direction. "would you consider putting trigger warnings on your work?" the answer was no. of course it was no.


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Anatsuki no Yona

October 15th, 2014 (08:21 pm)

W O W it has been a long time since I've enjoyed a currently-airing anime so much. Just. Wow.

I watched the first two episodes today, and it was just fan-fucking-tastic.

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Reading Wednesday-on-Thursday

A Local Habitation - I keep marveling over the fact that I find the world-building in these books interesting, as attempts at "faerie" urban fantasy novels have failed utterly in the past.

In this one, October Daye is sent to investigate the sudden silence of her liege-lord's niece, who lives in a different city. Upon arrival, she learns that members of a faerie start-up tech company are being murdered one-by-one, and it becomes increasingly clear that the murderer has to be one of their fellow employees.

As always, I'm suckered by metaphors. "Long dresses weren't designed for walking in the woods. My mother could've made the walk without stumbling; she fits into the world that well, even insane. That's what it meant to be a pureblood. I stumble and fall, and I always get up and keep going. That's what it means to be a changeling."

Also loved the last few sentences, after reflecting on the mutability of her world (for plot-related reasons I won't spoil). "Something endures, no matter what happens. Something last."

Many friends have been delighted by some sort of world-changing plot spoiler that happened in the most recent installment in this series [The Winter Long], so I'm glad to know that this series doesn't get stale.


I'm a little surprised to see so many others rated this so low on Goodreads! Usually I'm somewhat on-par with my fellow readers, lol.


Alias, vol. 4: The Secret Origins of Jessica Jones - Loved this, sad it was a finale. I really like this series, and I think this volume was hands-down the best installment. I'm glad to see the story continues in "The Pulse," and I've already got all the volumes of that on hold, bahaha. I'd like to own these some day, and highly recommend them. I remain excited for the upcoming Netflix series based on Jessica Jones's story.


This One Summer - I didn't like this as much as Skim, which was done by the same pair of cousins? But still worth reading.


Rhapsody: Child of Blood - Recced to me by a coworker. Some of the worst prose I've read in a while, sadly. Only made it to page 92.


Letters to Olga - This one might be "abandoned for now" rather than forever, due to library due dates.

I'm half Czech, but know next to nothing about the country from which my mother's family came. Letters to Olga is a collection of letters Havel wrote to his wife while imprisoned for his human rights activities. Havel later became president of Czechoslovakia. Abandoned on page 35 (for now?).


A Sand County Almanac - I field weird giving this a 3, but I really only cared for the beginning third, "A Sand County Almanac." Feel like it should be required reading for those who live in Wisconsin.

I was less enthralled with "Sketches Here and There" and "The Upshot," save for the essay on Land Ethic.


Gotham Academy, #1 - COMIC OF MY ID!!!! This was everything I'd hoped it would be. I want to roll around in it. So glad this series exists.

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[video game] Long Live the Queen

Purchased as part of a weekly Humble Bundle deal consisting of video games with female protagonists (still good for 16 hours! anti-rec to The Cat Lady, massive suicide/gore warnings!), this was my first time playing a visual novel RPG. The player controls Elodie, a pink-haired 14-year-old princess whose mother just died. She will inherit the crown and become queen on her fifteenth birthday - if you can keep her alive until then.

As the player, you can regularly control two aspects of her life: what she studies in her classes during the week, and how she spends her weekend. Classes range from court demeanor to animal husbandry to military logistics. Elodie's lessons affect her "skills" stats, which can also receive a boost if you choose to have Elodie wear the associated outfit (e.g., military uniform for strategy, cat suit for political intrigue, etc.). These skill sets affect Elodie's performance in the game's events, such as her abilities to fend off assassins, adequately deal with criminimals, and sense the plots - both political and magical - of those who want to steal her throne. While Elodie can choose how to respond to would-be suitors or political attacks, her options are shaped by her skillset (in this case, flattery/composure for the former, intrigue and her kingdom's history for the latter).

Of course, Elodie's ability to retain knowledge to boost her skill set is controlled by her mood, and her mood is controlled by the choices you make as the player about how she spends her weekend, or sometimes by forces beyond her control (aren't we all). For example, playing sports on the weekend increases her anger, and being angry helps her retain military-related lessons at a faster rate. Touring the castle's barracks on the weekend, though, can make her feel more pressured.

ALSO THERE IS AN OPTION TO BECOME A MAGICAL GIRL?!

While there's more than one way to win, and winning is fun, so is dying - sometimes attacked by bandits, or from poisoned chocolate. There are at least two achievements in Steam that you can win for finding a certain number of ways to die!
Tonight I gave a human sacrifice to satisfy a kraken, & also saved my kingdom from invasion by singing.

Basically, this game is great fun, and I didn't know games like this existed. (I mean, I was aware of visual novel RPGs, as they sometimes inspire anime series, but not the details.) I'll be messing around with this one for a while, but am very interested in finding and playing more.

Oh yeah. I'm ribbonknight on Steam - just signed up Monday night.

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mystickeeper [userpic]

Reading Wednesday

September 25th, 2014 (06:59 pm)

Anne of Avonlea - A decent follow-up to the first book, although I gave it one less star because it felt a little floundery in the middle.

Matthew is not discussed much in this book, but in the first part of the novel characters are pretty preoccupied about what heaven is, what it means.

I loved the resolution to Lavender's storyline, and also take a lot of joy in seeing romance bud between Anne and Gilbert. I'm excited to read the next one, where they're at college.


Anne of the Island - So, I love the relationship between Anne and Gilbert in this book. I also really identify with Anne's heartbreak about growing up, and the realization that even your closest friends change over time, and that nothing can be as it once was, even if you still have old writings from you/your friends that transport you right back to old times. Also loved her friends cackling over gossipy situations.

That said, the book feels like it's bumbling from one scene to the next, season to season, year to year, with no transitions, just filler to try & resolve the main plot (Anne and Gilbert). I know that a long period of time was covered in the first book, but it didn't feel like this, I don't think.


Jim Henson's Storytellers: Witches, #1 - I don't remember where I saw a link about this months ago, but I pinned it and saved the date. It's gorgeous, and wonderful. I'm so glad I read it, and I'm really looking forward to the next one. These are stand-alone, and there are going to be a total of four.


Liminality's first issue came out. While I'm not usually much for poetry, I did enjoy my friend Gabby's The devil riding your back.

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Reading Wednesday on a Thursday

Otherbound - read for [community profile] beer_marmalade (whose DW is terribly neglected, lol self). This got a three from me because it really stuck the landing.

This is a fantasy book where the idea is more interesting than the execution. Nolan is a high school teenager who has a problem - every time he closes his eyes, even to blink, he lives the life a girl named Amara, a servant to a princess who lives in a different world - one with magic. In his own world, Nolan's inability to control when and where he slips into the other world causes his family and doctors to try and treat him for epilepsy, to no avail.

Coming to this while in the middle of Pamela Dean's Secret Country trilogy, it makes me think a lot about the characters and their responsibility to another story's narrative. They're participating in worlds they're not sure are real, and it's difficult to discern how much duty they owe to people who live in a different world, especially when their activities in their fantasy world are costing them in their "real" life. It's an interesting concept, and I think it's now a trope that I enjoy.

So, yes - interesting concept & ideas, but overall I really didn't care for the writing until the last few chapters. I believe Corinne Duyvis is a relatively new author (younger than me!). I'd be willing to try other books by her, given the concepts in this one, to see if the writing improves.

Content warning for violence/abuse and self-harm.


The Narrow Road to the Deep North - [not the one by Basho] Put this on hold at the library because it was on the Booker list. So, this book is about an Australian doctor who becomes a POW during World War II. He's forced by his Japanese captors to do slave labor with his comrades, working on their railroad.

The story of his experiences in World War II is interspersed with his celebrity in the present as a war hero.

The author lifted this story from his own father's, but I pretty much hated the protagonist, who likes driving drunk & having affairs.

I'm sure there are some interesting truths in the rest of the novel - toward the beginning, for example, Major Nakamura is arguing with the protagonist about "freedom" & colonization, essentially, after the protag asks for a day's rest for the other POWs to work more effectively. Nakamura says they're redeeming their honour by dying for the emperor. "Your British Empire...You think it did not need non-freedom, Colonel? It was built sleeper by sleeper of non-freedom, bridge by bridge of non-freedom."

Anyway, I'm sure there's more to uncover, but based on this prose & what I've read so far, I'm not sticking around to find out.


Once Was Lost - I'm not sure I can say anything about Zarr that I haven't already said, but I loved this one too. I'll read any book she publishes.


History of the Rain - Put this on hold at the library because it was on the Booker list. This was both heartfelt and amusing - a love letter to people who love both books & poetry (well, very white books & poetry, I should add).

The protagonist is bedbound, & she views the people in her village in Ireland through the lenses of books - characters, locations, how people say things, etc.
There's a lot of tragedy, too, as I guess happens with any book about the Irish.
I read this during the one-year anniversary of a friend's death, and found it helped me with my grief.
I'm not doing it justice, but this one touched me down deep. Here's a much better review from someone on Goodreads that gets what I liked.

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(no subject)

September 5th, 2014 (10:20 am)

[personal profile] troisroyaumes is doing a give-away of Zen Cho's Spirits Abroad.

A Datin recalls her romance with an orang bunian. A teenage pontianak struggles to balance homework, bossy aunties, first love, and eating people. An earth spirit gets entangled in protracted negotiations with an annoying landlord, and Chang E spins off into outer space, the ultimate metaphor for the Chinese diaspora.
Straddling the worlds of the mundane and the magical, SPIRITS ABROAD collects 10 science fiction and fantasy stories with a distinctively Malaysian sensibility.

The post is here, if you're interested. The condition is that you review it on your journal or blog or Goodreads.

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Reading Wednesday: It's uh, been a while

A True Novel - One of the best books I have ever read, hands down.

Reading this was like peeling an onion, layer by layer, tears leaking every step of the way.
At its heart, this book is about love, but it's also about jealousy, racism, class mobility, the westernization of Japan post-WWII & the emergence of the middle class.

I think this book is better than the source its adapting: Wuthering Heights. The English translation is the best English translation of any Japanese source material I've ever read. I hope that more of Mizumura's work gets translated into English.

I'll be thinking of this book for days; I'll be rereading it for years to come.


Avengers Assemble: Science Bros - I liked this much more than the first volume. For people loooking to jump in after the Avengers movie, I think this is a much better spot to start than volume 1.


The Hidden Land - I can definitely see how this & The Secret Country were originally published as a single tome, & it probably reads better that way? Regardless, I liked this one just as much as the first. In addition to Dean's prose & her commentary on daily life ("the [people] melted away around them as cats leave the room when people began to quarrel"). I've been saying this a lot lately, but I was glad to find this & The Secret Country used so that I can reread them many times in the future. & for now, I look forward to getting my hands on The Whim of the Dragon.


X-Men: Reckless Abandonment - I liked this as a wrap-up to the story's arc. I particularly enjoyed Pixie as a character.
Sadly, didn't care as much for the Domino/Daredevil story. But I think I'm getting the swing of X-Men, sort of?


X-Men: Primer - Technically a reread. It was nice to return to this with more X-Men background, having read the run-up that came before this new "reset to issue #1."

I'm a huge fan of the all-female cast, less so of Storm's mohawk :(

There's a lot going on & being set up, but it's a fun ride, & as a bonus, I like the art (hit or miss with me and Western comics).
Is there a collection or series about kids at the Jean Grey Academy & hanging out?


Alias, vol. 3: The Underneath - I think the thing with Alias that I like most is that it acknowledges that in a world of super heroes & massive popularity & ridiculous plots, there are also people with super powers who either cannot or choose not to engage at that level. There are other ways of living, & other ways of being heroes.

It seems to be a running theme that any Marvel series I enjoy, it will have either Jessica Jones or Carol Danvers (or both) hanging around in the background. They are my personal bat signal.

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