Rat Queens, Vol. 3: Demons

Rat Queens, Vol. 3: DemonsRat Queens, Vol. 3: Demons by Kurtis J. Wiebe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have enjoyed every volume of the Rat Queens.

The comics are great, and I am even more impressed they dumped the artist who assaulted his significant other. That combined with the whole idea that the Rat Queens are a strong, female only group means it is refreshing step away from the regular tropes.

As a gamer/DM I have ran countless campaigns. I have been very fortunate to have a very high proportion of women in my games, usually more than half. The whole sleazy, sexy, camaraderie in the comic book matches up pretty well with my experiences with women gaming.

The new art brings out the Queens even better, albeit I have to admit I still love Betty the most. The personalities are drawn very clearly, and only inspires me to find more like this.

I waited this long to read it because I had heard it ends on sort of a cliffhanger and I didn’t want a long waiting times. Well Volume 4 is out now so I had finished this one, and am already ordering Volume 4.

The cliffhanger is the only reason this comic gets 4 and not 5 stars.

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The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard BookThe Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is for the audible audiobook version.

I saw this book on a very good sale on audible.com and I bought it on a whim. I like Neil Gaiman and while I haven’t read everything of his (American Gods here I come) I have always liked it.

What I didn’t realize with The Graveyard Book was that it was a children’s book. It wasn’t what I was aiming for, but it sucked me in and I don’t regret it.

The writing itself is very good, penned with a cadence that kept my interest. The story of a child growing up in the graveyard presents a lot of surreal imagery, along with the impossible characters and situations.

The most interesting is the story is snippets of Nobody “Bod” Owens childhood from infancy until his teens and the circumstances that befall him during that time.

All I can say without revealing any spoilers, this is a wonderful children’s book that adults can enjoy.

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AHS: Hotel (Season 5)

Now AHS has finally hit its stride and is in that sweet spot of horror and drama.

Overall this is the best season so far that I have seen. The stories all wrap around a hotel, a countess, things that are similar to vampires, spirits and serial killers. The base idea is wrapped around a similar serial killer H.H. Holmes who owned a hotel that was sometimes called the Murder Castle in Chicago.

The real serial killer claimed at least 27 people were killed in various rooms when they checked into his hotel. Of course in traditional American Horror Story style the body count is upped by tenfold, using chutes to hide bodies, ghosts to kill guests and visits from other serial killers.

Even though the story focuses on a possible serial killer, my favorite character is Liz Taylor, played by Dennis O’hare. He as fantastic, and I found his story definitely interesting and touching.

My favorite character!

Lady |Gaga made her AHS debut here, and she did well, along with Kathy Bates and the returning cast. I really didn’t have anything negative to say about this season at all.

Pros: The show finds its groove, the cast are at their best and Lady Gaga does fairly well in my first exposure to her acting.

Cons: I wish they had focused on Liz more.

The show keeps putting out good content, it doesn’t feel like they have exhausted the theme of the show yet.

Helix (up to Ep. 10)

Don’t even bother, you have seen this a thousand times.

I wasn’t sure about the tv series. It sat on my Netflix queue for awhile, waiting for me to decide. Finally I pulled the trigger and started watching, and at first I was pleasantly surprised. Sadly, this surprise only lasted two episodes and then it began to bog down.

I wasn’t sure how the pretext of CDC investigating a disease would work or how long the premise would last. I thought maybe it was about a legitimate CDC team and we would see them go to fight Ebola, Bubonic Plague, something man-made. I thought even if they made each season about a specific outbreak I would be good with that as well. So when the first episode revealed zombie like disease I was interested, but more wary.

Sadly, the actual show seems to be about a group of “immortals” (approximately 500) who control a corporation and they want to either control or cleanse the world. Honestly the show never made it clear what exactly the consequences of those 500 immortals was, and by episode 10 I didn’t care to know anymore. This would explain why it only had a two season run. I have seen this in many many incarnations whether it was aliens, vampires, demons, or some super secret cabal of non-humans. Totally not worth it.

The acting was good, I didn’t have a problem with the cast at all. I found some of the characters interesting and if they had kept with the CDC investigating worldwide outbreaks I would have been ok with that, at the very least I would have finished watching both seasons.

Pros: The acting and the characters were interesting.

Cons: The show itself is something we have seen in different incarnations a thousand times already. A small group of aliens/immortals/vampires and those struggling against them to stop their control.

Just move on, don’t do it.

Blood of Elves (Witcher Book 1)

Blood of Elves (The Witcher, #3)Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is for the audiobook. Possible Spoilers Ahead

I came to this series through the Witcher video games, so I was vaguely familiar the world. I played all the way through Witcher 2 which picks up before this novel, and Witcher 3 which is after this novel. It is because of those video games that I tried this novel out.

THE PROS

What I noticed was the world was even richer in the book. I really like the in depth writing about Geralt, Ciri and Yennifer. Magic made more sense after reading the book, and an appreciation for Geralt was even better. Hearing his thoughts and seeing him interact with Ciri and Yennifer changed a lot of my perspective from the game. I think when I go play the DLC for Witcher 3 it will be even better. I still like hooking up with Triss better than how the book works and I still Yennifer is still cold and distant and I don’t like her, but the infighting between Geralt, Yennifer and Triss makes more sense.

THE CONS

The book itself is will be very slow for most people. Coming from the video game I expected the book to have a lot more action and adventure. It is actually a lot more talking and passive interaction between characters. I don’t think this is bad in itself it was just a surprise and I think it would have been better served to have a quicker pace, or a more ruthless editor.

The writing itself is very dense. The author likes to use in-world languages and then translate them and it throws things off. I realize for “realism” there would be other languages, but this is probably the most extreme situation like this. I grew a bit tired of listening to the author first have a character say something in a language I didn’t know, then translate it and say it again.

I also haven’t figured it out if its so distracting and ponderous because the way the novel itself is written, or if its because it is a translation from Polish, or because it is an audible book of a translation of a book that is already too dense. Either way the writing does lose some of the steam it built in other areas.

Overall I appreciated the book. I will probably still get the second book but I won’t hurry to it. If you can get this book on sale, then I would recommend it, otherwise just play the video game.

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The Babysitter (2017)

Release Date: October 13, 2017

A fantastic comedic horror movie, once again showing how Netflix handily beats out the bigger movie companies.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS

The story is pretty straight forward, a boy just entering teen years who is picked on by bullies and who is afraid of everything.

Cole is surrounded by a lot of people including his parents who love him, but are distant. A close female friend that encourages and supports him. Then there is Bee, the babysitter who is attractive, smart and loves spending time with him. It is unfortunate that he is then surrounded by a satanic cult, and large tarantulas.

The movie is fast paced. Shortly after you learn to like Bee, you learn to hate her about as much as Cole accidentally learns that Bee leads a Satanic cult, intent on drinking blood, praying to Satan and killing Cole.

The Satanic Cult is priceless. I loved Max, the bad guy quarterback (played by Robbie Amell, first cousin of Stephen Amell who plays Arrow). John was also a great character, wanting sex, but screaming a lot when trouble happens. Unfortunately I wasn’t as impressed with the two other women in the cult, not because they were bad actresses but because of their roles.

I cannot express how much I loved Max being a murdering satanic cultist chasing Cole, who stops and shows Cole how to defend himself against bullies. I won’t say anymore, but that scene is the high point of the movie for me.

The movie is directed by McG, the same person that brought us Supernatural, and you can see his influence. The movie feels like something that could happen in the Supernatural world.

The good: Everything about this was good. I especially enjoyed the back and forth between Cole and Max.

The bad: That it was over in less than 90 minutes (actually that is probably good, they didn’t let it drag).

This just shows why I will almost always watch anything done by Netflix. Even with a few stinkers, Netflix usually supplies what I look for.

AHS: Freakshow (Season 4)

Now we are getting back into the wheelhouse of horror. Some scary things, some bizarre things, and some good acting by everyone means this is a definitely better season.

This story about a freak show run by Elsa Mars, a German woman who leads the group in Jupiter Florida in the 1950s.

The story is about the Freakshow itself, the new people they meet and the subsequent background stories, a murdering clown, a possible second clown, a summoned creature and references to two other seasons of American Horror Story.

The acting is very good, there are several main characters of people who are unique, and there is Michael Chiklis (from the Shield and the Commish). There is some scary parts, and a lot of trying to figure out where a person fits in.

My only part I didn’t like was Sarah Paulson’s role. She was an excellent actress, but trying to play both twins of a Siamese twin, just didn’t work for me. However, it wasn’t Ms. Paulson’s fault, she did well, I just couldn’t buy her character for some reason.

Pros: Even better then the first three seasons, the story is fairly unique, the characters are very entertaining and Jessica Lange can sing really well.

Cons: The Siamese Sister bit didn’t work for me.

I am looking forward to Season 5, where we get to meet Lady Gaga in a role.