Monday, November 13, 2017

Paragons is Really Good!

I finished reading my copy last week and there are some excellent stories in this anthology!

Nightstick by Kai Wai Cheah is wall to wall action-thriller. It is begging to be put to film. Any fan of Jason Borrne, Taken, or Batman is going to love it.

Someone is Aiming for You by JD Cowan is an ode to The Shadow. The mysterious Seeker brings evildoers face to face with their secrets. Great action with some horror elements thrown in.

Blackout by Morgon Newquist is Justice League style heroic action with ::GASP:: an intelligent villain! Fun story and a most intriguing set-up for future stories.

All three stories do a great job with world building and fans of comic book action will be left wanting more. I know I was.

You can find these stories and more for less than $3 on Amazon.

Thor: Ragnarok

The god of thunder is back in his third stand-alone film. We've seen him face family strife and his own arrogance. We've seen him crush two alien invasions and a robot horde alongside Earth's mightiest heroes.

This time, he faces the goddess of Death, the Norse version of the end of days, and Jeff Goldblum as a pompous windbag.

(Some spoilers)

Friday, November 3, 2017

Reading List: Treasures of Dodrazeb: The Origin Key by S. D. McPhail

[This review is long, long overdue. I received a copy of S. D. McPhail's debut novel some time ago and I hope she'll accept my abject apologies for not delivering this review sooner.]

Treasures of Dodrazeb: The Origin Key is a science-fantasy set in ancient Persia. It follows prince Rasteem, on the trail of a mysterious warlord called The Viper. He follows the trail of this rebel to the city of Dodrazeb, a hidden land full of wondrous art and knowledge. Now Rasteem must uncover the secrets of Dodrazeb and defend both the hidden city and the Persian Empire against The Viper's plots.

If I did not know from hearing the author discuss it herself, there is no way I would have known that this is a debut effort. The characters start as archetypes, but she keeps coloring them in with details until they finally come to life. Her writing is clear, the pacing brisk, and the dialogue very believable.

The best part is the setting. Many historical settings are modeled on Medieval, Greek, Roman, or even Egyptian civilizations, but very few have dealt with Ancient Persia. The very unfamiliarity lends an air of mystery to the tale. You can tell both from the book and from the author's other writings that she is very well versed in the history of this era.

Add to this fantastical elements that would feel at home in H.G. Wells or Jules Verne and you get an even more heightened sense of wonder.

The Origin Key is an excellent blend of action-adventure, palace intrigue, and mythic legend. I enjoyed reading it tremendously and look forward to future installments.

You can keep up with Susan at her blog.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

I started watching this series on the recommendation of a friend. The first episode was so good, I backed up and got my wife to start watching it with me.

Set in the Napoleonic Wars in an alternate history Britain, the story follows two gentleman magicians (older recluse Gilbert Norrell and his young protege Jonathan Strange) as they preside over the return of English magic 300 years after it mysteriously faded from the island.