Saturday, August 19, 2017

Odd and True

Trudchen grew up hearing Odette's stories of their mother as a monster hunter and later Odette's own stories of carrying on her mother's legacy. Now that she's grown up a bit, she's not so quick to be fooled by her sister's stories. Because of a childhood bout of polio, Trudchen is disabled and in constant pain. She lives with her aunt after her parents died as did Odette until she abruptly left with no explanation. Odette is back after two years and eager to get Trudchen out of the house and on adventures while Trudchen remains reluctant. The Leeds Devil is terrorizing a town and Odette is convinced they can beat it. Trudchen ends up going, but will she live to regret it?

The book is told in alternating narration between Trudchen in the present and Odette in the past. Trudchen was my favorite character because she was a genuine, nice person being manipulated and lied to by her sister. I felt for her the most and it was clear that her sister didn't really care about her health or wellbeing. Trudchen, being the younger sister of the two, doesn't remember all the hardships of their childhood, but Odette chooses to lie to her and keep her in the dark about their past instead of being honest.

Odette had a hard life and remembers more than she'd like. She tells lies about everything or tells half truths or omits information altogether. I felt for her tragic story, but nothing justifies lying to her sister and whisking her away where she doesn't seem to keep in mind her sister's safety or comfort. Shes seems to care more about her egotistical need to have Trudchen witness her accomplishments than actually building a relationship and spending time with her. Odette, the least likeable, dominates the story with half of the narrative and the dominating aspect in Trudchen's. Trudchen has small moments of independence and power, but it's not enough for me.

Other aspects of the novel are annoying as well. Based on the cover and the synopsis, I expected the sisters to fight monsters and bond over it. Unfortunately, about 200 pages go by without any indication if monsters are just another Odette lie or if they are real. I'm guessing it was for suspense, but waiting for an aspect to show up that I expected to be a fundamental part of the book feels like being lied to, just like Trudchen. Very disappointing. Cy is Odette's love interest. However, he's manipulative, takes advantage of Odette, and doesn't listen to the sisters when they express opinions. Not good characteristics in a love interest. Other than that, the book had some merits, but I found it a huge let down. I would read another Cat Winters book, but if this is going to be a series, I'm done with it.

My rating: 2/5 fishmuffins

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

SDCC 2017: Best Cosplay Part 4

* Luke Skywalker from The Force Awakens - This was a popular costume and this one blew the rest of them out of the water. The robotic hand alone is crazy well crafted.

* Tiny Negan - The most adorable homicidal maniac you'll ever see.

* Brave Little Toaster - This cosplay is not only incredibly obscure, but accurate in almost every detail. He told me the appliances were made out of foam. It looksl like it all stepped out of the cartoon.

* Creepy clowns - I know the one on the left is from Killer Klowns from Outer Space, but I'm not sure about the one on the right. Either way, they're successfully creepy.

* Gamora, Starlord, and Baby Groot - There were a lot of Peter Quills at the con, but this one left the others behind with the props. Gamora had the best makeup of any other and the itty bitty Baby Groot was adorable!

Monday, August 14, 2017

SDCC 2017 Panels Part 3: iZombie

The only other panel I was was iZombie, one of my favorite TV shows. I arrived about 15 minutes late due to the line, but I saw plenty of what's to come from the series. The characters go through some changes in the next season. Blaine's dad Angus will become a regular on the show. I'm excited. He's so sinister and the sarcastically cheerful moments between him and Blaine are delightful. Let's see if either of them will successfully kill each other after so many attempts. Peyton will have more power under the zombie mayor and will spend more time in the court room. Ravi just used himself as a guinea pig, so we'll see how zombie Ravi reacts to the antidote. Clive is adapting to the new world after getting used to zombies existing. Blaine pines for Peyton, but David Anders mentioned that Blaine doesn't actually have any hope in the relationship and will likely continue on with business as usual. Major and Liv will have opposing opinions on how zombies should exist based on their past. Major was part of the zombie military with basically unlimited power while Liv used her power to help people on her own with relative freedom from authority figures. Liv will also have another love interest in the next season. I'm not super happy about this because things are unresolved between her and Major let alone with her new ex-boyfriend Justin and her one night stand with Chase Graves. Her love life seems messy enough without adding to it.

More new developments in the new season include a refugee situation for zombies. There is not enough brains for everyone and I'm sure Blaine and his father will be fighting to fill that need. There will be a Zagat rated zombie restaurant that brings brains "from cemetery to table" called Romero's in a sweet tribute to the father of the zombie film. Zombie scratches are now illegal. An anti-zombie terrorist group called the Deadenders forms and stands against human-zombie fraternization. A clip shown detailed how brains get from the dead person to the tables of zombies. I'm incredibly excited for next season especially since parts of it are very apt for what's going on today in the news.

The stars of the show answered moderator and fan questions. Rose McIver talked about the process for deciding how to approach the brain of the week. She gives into a whim or concept and tries a bunch of different ways to go about it without being afraid of being too campy. There isn't a lot of time for her to prepare for each one and, although I have a few complaints, she does a good job overall. One of her new brains for next season will be a hockey goon. The stars had the most fun filming the Dungeons and Dragons episode, which allowed Major, Clive, Peyton, Liv, and Ravi to interact all at once which is rare. A fan asked about a musical episode and the only ones on board were Rose McIver and David Anders, who has a beautiful voice. Robert Buckley agreed if he could only dance and not sing, but he apparently sings Careless Whispers by Wham! and Rush Rush by Paula Abdul all the time. The others stars were either on the fence or not enthused. Robert Buckley got the lion's share of the questions and talked about wanting to do more scenes that show off his body. The panel was wonderful and I can't wait for the next season of iZombie!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

SDCC 2017: Best Cosplay Part 3

More of the best cosplay I saw this past SDCC!

* Puppet Ash from Ash vs. Evil Dead - This puppet is one of my favorite parts of the most recent season of the show. It was completed created by this man complete with chainsaw arm and magnetic pupils to change the eye color.

* The Flash and Deadpool plus bonus creepy clown - This clown ventured into my photo randomly and made for a memorable moment.

* Game of Thrones ensemble - This group has impressive costumes with attention to detail. They seem like they walked right out of Westeros and it's one of the largest ensemble cosplays I've seen.

* Scar and Maleficent/Star Wars - This maship works surprisingly well and the little details and excellent quality make this cosplay shine. I especially liked the plush Simba attached to Scar's belt.

More to come!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

SDCC 2017 Panels Part 2: Preacher and The Defenders

I braved the extremely long Hall H line to see Twin Peaks, which I missed. I still got to see Preacher and The Defenders which made the 2 hour wait worth it anyway.

* Preacher

Although I came in a few minutes late, the panel was chock full of awesome! Seth Rogan, Ruth Negga (Tulip), Dominic Cooper (Jesse), Joseph Gilgun (Cassidy), Ian Colletti (Eugene), Graham MacTavish (Saint of Killers), Julie Anne Embry (Featherstone), Malcolm Barrett (Hoover), and Pip Torrens (Herr Starr) moderated by Chris Hardwick. Seth Rogan talked about making the show, how complex it is, and how values have changed so it can be on cable TV. Each character was discussed in detail. Dominic talked about how Jesse toes the line between selfish and selfless. While his journey to find god could benefit others, a lot of his actions are very selfish and he seems to easily convince himself otherwise. Ruth talked about Tulip and her distrust of Jesse and the use of his power. Joseph talked about Cassidy's path to redemption and his human moments despite his vampirism. Jesse and Tulip offer him stability and a family that Cassidy wants to be honest with. Graham spoke of the Saint of Killers' motivation and the love for his family. Ian talked about the makeup for Eugene and how hard it is to emote around it.

Seth Rogan talked about The Grail, an all powerful organization, and introduced a never before seen clip of Herr Starr going through a gruelling screening process to join The Grail. It was the perfect balance of violent, unexpected, disconcerting, and hilarious. Audience questions were decent. Seth Rogan talked about how he and Ruth collaborated to create Tulip that make her strong and still feminine and emotional. A weird audience question had Seth Rogan jokingly replacing Dominic and renaming the show Rabbi. Another question about weird fan interactions had Joseph describe when a fan yelled from a balcony that he felt sorry for Hitler (which you would understand if you watched the show). Another fan asked about accents and Dominic based his on Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights. The last question was about pushing the envelope based on what's acceptable on TV. Rogan was shocked at how much they were able to get away with and wasn't really concerned about pushing further. AMC seems to be on board with this show with all of its quirks and weirdness.

* The Defenders

This panel took a while to get going because the moderator, Jeph Loeb, received the Inkpot Award for his contributions to TV as a writer and producer. He was speechless and clearly surprised. Jon Bernthal, who plays the Punisher, came out also unexpectedly and introduced the first trailer for The Punisher series, which looks awesome. What was shown was very violent and a bit darker than the other Marvel shows. The cast and writers for The Defenders came out including Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones), Mike Colter (Luke Cage), Charlie Cox (Daredevil), and Finn Jones (Iron Fist) along with other actors who play more minor characters. They talked about the dynamic between their characters. Jessica brings sarcasm and mocking comments while Luke and Daredevil seem to really hate each other at the beginning. The new villain is revealed to be Alexandra, portrayed by Sigourney Weaver.

I had hoped for fan questions to the stars, but instead, we were shown the first full episode of The Defenders. I haven't seen Iron Fist and I don't really want to based on this show and what I've heard. Those bunch of characters are the ones I cared the least about. Jessica has refused to work anymore until a case catches her interest. Luke returns from jail and sees Claire for the first time in an amorous encounter. Matt has rejected his superhero life in favor of helping disabled clients as a lawyer without Foggy. Alexandra finds out she's dying in anywhere from weeks to months and accelerates a plan that causes a huge earthquake. I'm very intrigued and the episode was action packed and interested, going from character to character seamlessly and not spending too much time with one over another. It's a juggling act to make something like this work and I will watch the whole thing right when it comes out.

One last panel and then back to the usual posts!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

SDCC 2017: Best Cosplay Part 2

* Stone Age Lumpy Space Princess and Finn from Adventure Time - Crazy inventive, dynamic, and the right attitude.

* Batgirl and "Batman" - Both costumes are spot on and anything can be done with Deadpool and feels true to the character.

* Turnip Head from Howl's Moving Castle with bonus No Face from Spirited Away in the background - Miyazaki's movies are amazing and it's almost like they came to life with these equally amazing cosplays.

* Bucky and Frozen Captain America - A fun, unexpected costume with just enough Monty Python humor. 

More Comic Con to come!

Monday, August 7, 2017

SDCC 2017: Authors!!

I met so many authors and they were all awesome! Some authors I (mostly) internally freaked out about and others I either heard of or were pleasant surprises. I only took a picture of one author because I was too excited by books and meeting people. I will do better next year.

* Robin Hobb and Vic James

I randomly stumbled onto this book signing. I had heard of Robin Hobb as an amazing fantasy writer, but never read any of her work. I had not heard of Vic James before, but the beautiful cover of her book and the later random people spouting the book's praises won me over. Robin was very nice and Vic was exhuberant. She had never been to Comic Con before and wasn't expecting it to be so huge after some smaller cons she had been to. I will definitely be reading The Fool's Assassin and Gilded Cage and, if I like them, I will be looking into their other works.

* Sarah Beth Durst

I was so excited to see Sarah Beth Durst! She is one of my favorite authors and one that I don't think I've reviewed any of her books for one reason or another. My favorites of hers are Vessel and Conjured, both of which I will reread and review sometime soon. She was as excited to see me as I was to see her and she signed a copy of Queen of Blood, the start of her newest series that I hadn't read yet.

* Gail Carriger

Gail Carriger signed at the Mysterious Galaxy booth. Her new series that includes her newest release The Sumage Solution take place in the Soulless universe and focuses on the romantic relationships. I'm excited to read the change of pace for her unique literary world. I see her at Comic Con fairly often and it was nice to see her again. She had cinnamon roll oreo cookies which were delicious.

* Stephanie Perkins

Stephanie Perkins is famous for her contemporary romance series that starts with Anna and the French Kiss, an emotional series that I love despite not usually enjoying the genre. Her newest book is There's Someone Inside Your House, a thriller/horror about mysterious murders. I received a sampler that cruelly has only half the book, but it was nice to see her and chat about all her books. I never thought she would write a horror book and I'm eager to see how it turns out.

More SDCC to come!