Monday, June 24, 2013

Musing Monday - June 24, 2013 Edition

Here's today's Musing Monday's as posted by Should Be Reading's blog 
Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying with it.
Just like last week, for this week's musing, I'm going with point three and talking about what I'm reading right now.

I have finally made it back to reading the Queen's Blade Series by T.C. Southwell - Master of the Dance.  This book follows in the same line as the other ones, but the story is getting a bit repetitive.  There are only so many times the "hero" of the story can be captured, tortured, rescued, etc. before the pattern gets dull and boring and it is very close to being too repetitive for me now.  While the story is still good - and I'm 300 pages from the end of the novel - I'm waiting for something different.

It's almost like the author has a constant need to remind you that the character is a dick but there's something more to him, but keeps teasing that because he's too much of a bastard to show it.  Seriously, I got the point already - he's got redeeming qualities - let's just get past the BS and show it already.

Yeah - the book might be dragging on a bit now for me.   We'll see how I finish it and start the next one..

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Game of Thrones - Red Wedding Recap and More

As a sporadic book reviewer, reviewing books when I get time, I haven’t touched the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin yet - and there’s a pretty good reason why. It’s too hard to review without leaking spoilers about the series. Each book left me frustrated and wanting to throw it across the room, especially the last book, which made me happy, made me sad, made me angry - and if I wasn’t on a Nook and it had been a paperback book, I likely would have tossed it across the room in a fit of anger before going back the few pages to make sure I read it right then getting upset again.

The June 2 episode, titled the Rains of Castamere, would have been more aptly named The Red Wedding as that is what every fan and every enemy of the show will remember it as. Which prompts this quote from Twitter - because it’s true.
Amanda Rainey @vodkandlimeTwitter today has just basically been people announcing they’re about to watch game of thrones followed by an hour’s silence then a meltdown
So many people, who obviously didn’t read the books, were so upset about this scene - they didn’t see it coming? How could they? However, the hints were all there. Subtle, very subtle hints throughout the season. And it was just as subtle in the books - you don’t realize what is happening till it happens. I’ll go over that in a bit.

However, if for some reason you came into Season 3 of Game of Thrones on HBO and expected things to come out with a happy ending - where the fuck have you been the last 2.5 seasons? Seriously? How could you expect anything to go well? 
As @KimD+Trinh posted on Twitter “If you’re watching game of thrones tonight and haven’t yet read the series...You know nothing of pain, sweet summer child.”
So very true, especially since I’ve been through all 5 books and am waiting till 2015 for the next damn book to come out.

So let’s get this out of the way here and now. No character, no matter how important or awesome they may be, is safe from horrible mass murders. No event is holy and sanctimonious. Remember the Godfather? And the scene where his daughter is killed after the opera? Yeah, it’s like that. Nothing is holy. If you think something is going to be a good event, you need to get checked. Plain and simple, if you like a character, they will likely be killed off at some point in the series - probably horribly and violently. There is no “fairness” in this. This is about the good vs. evil and good is losing because GOOD IS BEING STUPID (though evil characters get their day too, don’t fret).

That being said, stop now if you haven’t read the books or watched through Episode 9 of Season 3 as this will contain spoilers. If you continue reading and get upset, that’s your fault. I warned ya - that would make you qualify as “good being stupid” if you continue reading and haven’t seen the episodes or read the books.

Now, let’s go over a few things - the deaths in each season - and why they happened.

Almost all of the “good” characters have character flaws which results in their untimely demise.

The first death, the Night’s Watchman, died because of a character flaw - cowardice. However, he saw white walkers and knows them to be real and true. And from what we’ve seen so far, the White Walkers may end up being more fearsome than the Lannisters.

Then you have the near-death of Bran. He had a character flaw as well - curiosity. Curiosity does kill the cat and Bran was lucky to have survived.

There are a few other minor deaths, which I’m not going to go into detail on, but rather the two major ones - Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark.

Robert was a character flaw of drunkedness and lewdness. Had Robert been thinking, considering, he would have known that he was drinking too much and stopped hunting. Or that the drink might have been tampered with a bit to make him a bit more drunk than he should have been - something that was implied in the books and in the episodes as well. It was an accident waiting to happen. He was killed due to his drunken stupidity.

Of all the characters, Ned’s death probably bothered me the most - well out of books 1 - 4. A death in book 5 tops that, but I won’t spoil it. To be perfectly honest, I wanted Sansa to die, not her dad. She was a moron and continues to be moronic till sometime at the end of book 3, but she’s still a pawn no matter what. Ned’s death was due to his honor - plain and simple - and Joffrey’s lack of morality and ethics. It was the first show of Joffrey saying “I’m the king. Fuck all of my advisor’s advice, I’m going to behead him because he dared to speak treason (which was truth) against me.”

Ned should have never trusted any of the folks on the small council except for Sir Barristan. Instead he trusted everyone, including Littlefinger who said he shouldn’t trust him. Littlefinger had it right - of course he’s probably one of the biggest snakes in the books so far.

Of course, if we went back, Ned should have sat his happy ass on the throne, then none of this would happen - but it comes back to honor, he was fighting for Robert and Robert was his best friend and Robert was going to be on the throne, not him, but had it been different...well we’d never know.

Then we look at Daenerys, Drogo and Viserys. Other side of the world trying to make their way back across the ocean to the Seven Kingdoms.

Viserys dies from his greed and impatience. He wants his crown and throne and he wants it NOW. Who the hell would threaten a Dothraki lord? No one sane, that's for sure.

Drogo dies, ultimately, because Daenarys expected someone to help her when the woman really poisoned and cursed them all. Not a huge surprise there either - her village was just slaughtered and captured as slaves by the Dothraki. Once again, naivety at play.
Season 2, not as many characters die, but some still do die. I'm going to just gloss over the deaths. Sir Meryn got what he deserved, the followers of King Stannis "died" because the red witch wasn't with them and Renly died because his brother wanted him dead. The list there would go on quite a long time of people who wanted others dead or those who people expected to die (like Tyrion) and didn't.

Season 3...those of us that read the books knew The Red Wedding was coming. And even though we knew it was coming, most readers, if I had to guess, didn't really want to see it happen. And while some things changed from the book to the TV series, I think it was done to give a bigger impact and to create a smaller story than there currently is because if they did things exactly like the book, it wouldn’t have created as much impact.

No one wants to see Robb, who has won every battle thus far, die to a sniveling "Late Frey" because Frey is upset that he broke his vows. No one wants to see Catelyn, who thinks her boys are dead, see another of her sons killed then herself killed. Nor the hundreds of Stark bannermen that died because they followed their leader.

But then there were the "added" killings. In the books, Robb's wife was a distant relative of a Lannister and was left behind at Riverrun to protect her from Frey's tongue and behaviors - and in case she was pregnant with an heir (she wasn't). So the brutal stabbing of Robb's Valyrian wife in the womb and killing her wasn't in the book. Nor did Catelyn kill Frey's new wife, it was his mentally struggling child who was also a jester. So in many ways, the Red Wedding was worse in the TV series than in the books - not that the books weren't bad enough.
Now, after all of this, I want to talk about the twitter posts I’ve seen.


@e__music “A big huge eff you to the Games of Thrones author. Thanks. Thanks, jerk. I hate you. YOU ARE THE WORST!!! The Worst!!!”
And they go on and on. People cursing him for being a horrible writer. People cursing HBO for doing The Red Wedding (those obviously hadn’t read the books). People being upset because their favorite characters died - being very upset and having *gasp* an emotional reaction to characters they grew to love, who they hoped would go further and succeed in the name of whatever dying.

That’s not the sign of a horrible writer - that’s the sign of a GOOD writer. You love the characters. You don’t want them to be killed, not after three books (seasons with them) but here they are, brutally murdered at what should have been a happy little wedding where bygones were bygones. But that's not what happened. What should have been a sanctimonious event was ruined. The wedding isn't even consumated that night (wow has to suck for Edmure huh?)

There were hints of things to come, both in the books and in the series. They were subtle. You definitely don't catch them. Remember the letters that Tywin were writing and Tyrion asked about and was blown off with a vague phrase? Those letters were promising Frey backing if he did this one thing. The burning of the three leeches with each one named? Yes, only one has died from that so far....I won't spoil the rest.

Don't expect happy things, not from weddings, not from funerals, not from anything in the series. Game of Thrones isn't lilly white good winning over evil. It's not going to be that and if that's what you're expecting, you're reading/watching the wrong series.
And to finally sum up The Red Wedding and Episode 9...thanks to @nurberxo for putting it so eloquently. “You know why the end credits had no music? The sound of your sobbing and sniffling is the music.”

Pretty much.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

WWW Wednesdays - June 19, 2013 Edition

Here's the answers to this week meme's from Should Be Reading's blog. Feel free to leave your comments with the answers to these questions and be sure to check out their blog as well for other's answers.

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions in the comment section or in your own blog then link it from the comments.

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I look forward to seeing your answers below!

What are you currently reading?
Stormlord Rising, by Glenda Larke.  This is the second book in the Stormlord series and seems to be moving at a slightly slower, but more reasonable slower pace, than the first book.  This one, I believe, will move at the same pace as the last book, which I've completed, and will explain some of the other things missing from reading the third book first.

It is nice to see the development of the characters, especially Terelle and Jasper, as they grow up and learn from the folks around them.  And it's a bit disturbing to see just how depraved both Laisa, Taquar and Senya are.  In the third book, it is mentioned repeatedly that Senya is missing a morality compass, or something along those lines - and I have to agree.  Besides being a spoiled brat, she has no concept of right or wrong, good or bad - it's what she wants that matters, nothing more.
I am currently only 100 or so pages into this book on my nook.

What did you recently finish reading?

The Last Stormlord, by Glenda Larke.  This is the first book in the Stormlord trilogy and unfortunately was read out of order of the books, so I know how things will end up due to references in the last book.  As previously mentioned in another blog post, I started the Stormlord Trilogy with the third book on accident.  I picked it up at a store, not having seen a note that it was the last in the Trilogy and read it, enjoying it.  And in all honesty, book 3 can stand alone without knowing the backstory as the story can be pieced together from the third book alone.  That being said, this first book can't stand alone.  There are too many loose ends in it and it definitely has a cliffhanger to take you on to the second book.

That being said, The Last Stormlord introduces you to a harsh world where water makes it to the desert cities with the magical command of men and women who can shift water, create clouds, make it rain where it needs to - unfortunately, the last Stormlord is dying and all the other people who can manipulate water with their power are too weak to control storms and make them go where they are needed.  It causes strife in the cities and dune tribes to rebel because they can't get enough water.  It also makes the Stormlord send out folks to look for a future water sensitive that could become a stormlord - they find one in what turns into the series protagonist - Shale Flint.

The book covers a number of years in a short amount of time - the book is only 675 pages long and ends up seeming rushed at the end to get to the next book in the series.  Despite it being rushed, the backstory needed to be told and I don't really think the details were as necessary as the story.  And as I read Book 2, more of the backstory fills in the blanks left in Book 1.

What do you think you'll read next?

Master of the Dance by T.C. Southwell, book five in The Queen's Blade Series.  I've already read the first four books, just hadn't bought this one till my last trip to Seattle, now I have it and a few others to read and catch up on when I have time.  I still need to pick up the rest of the Slave Empire series, which is more sci-fi than fantasy, but was just as an enjoyable read.

You can learn more about the Stormlord Series here:

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tidbit Tuesday - June 18, 2013

As posted in April...and May...I got behind on writing and honestly a lot of it had to do with the lack of a muse to write about, really, anything.  Not fiction writing or book writing or my current favorite, video game writing.

Thankfully, my muse has started to come back and I think a lot of it has had to do with me looking to other outlets for creativity and vacation.  In the last two months, a lot has happened as well.  

The new endeavor that launched in December, Video Game Scoreboard, has had two successful events - including our booth at Emerald City Comicon and our most recent booth at Northwest Pinball and Arcade Show at the beginning of June (June 7-9).  Each event involves my travel up to Seattle - and will be doing so again at the end of August and again in September for other events we're hosting.  In addition to doing live events, I handle a  lot of the writing for the website in addition to website maintenance and updates.  It's been a lot of work lately, but it means I've been writing for another site (and some of the articles there have topped 4,000 words).

Then we had end of year stuff - which included high school choosing, high school orientation, football training introductions, completing middle school for my son, him turning 14 and then going on a 2 week trip with grandma.  You would think I would have gotten more done during those two weeks but I did not - I procrastinated - and unfortunately got very little writing or other stuff I wanted to get done, done.

And of course day-job stresses which killed my muse, as mentioned above.

All that aside, I'm trying to do more, trying to schedule posts not just for this blog but for VGS and my other website.  Tomorrow I'll have the WWW Wednesday done.

Now the key will be remembering to post this to my social media when I schedule posts.  Ahh well, one post at a time, one goal at a time.

Till tomorrow!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Musing Mondays - June 10, 2013 Edition

It's been a little while, okay a couple months, since I've done any of the daily writing themes for review sites.  So tonight I'm back with today's Musing Monday's as posted by Should Be Reading's blog 
Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying with it.
For this week's musing, I'm going with point three and talking about what I'm reading right now.

I've started reading the Stormlord series by Glenda Larke.  I originally started with book three, on accident, but have finally purchased the first two books for my Nook.  The books in the trilogy are:

  • The Last Stormlord
  • Stormlord Rising
  • Stormlord's Exile
I just finished The Last Stormlord last night and I'm still not sure how I feel about it.  A lot of time is condensed through a very short book (only 500 pages).  Unlike the last book (which I read first) it seemed very rushed.  I've only read it once so I'm not sure how I'll feel after I read book two then re-read the books.

Larke tells a good story and I think once I read all three books, it will all mesh together well, but for now, it's hard to say.

Check out more from me later this week as I talk about the books a bit more indepth on Wednesday.