The Saga of Tanya the Evil, Vol. 2: Plus Ultra

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The Saga of Tanya the Evil, Vol. 2: Plus Ultra Book Cover The Saga of Tanya the Evil, Vol. 2: Plus Ultra
The Saga of Tanya the Evil
Carlo Zen
Light Novel
Yen On
March 27, 2018 (English); May 31, 2014 (Japanese)
Paperback
406

The Saga of Tanya the Evil Novel Volume 2 is written by Carlo Zen with illustrations by Shinobu Shinotsuki."Girl--this, this is war." After being reborn and becoming a magic wielding soldier in the Imperial Army, Tanya Degurechaff bemoans her fate of being placed at the very edge of the front lines instead of a comfy place in the rear. Swearing revenge on Being X, she plunges head-first into battle, dragging her subordinate along with her!

 

Like the first volume, Plus Ultra is long for a light novel. None of the books in The Saga of Tanya the Evil are quick reads. They take about as long as a standard western novel. For readers who watched the anime first, Plus Ultra goes from partway through Episode 5 to partway through episode 11. There is also a side story at the end which the anime shows at the end of Episode 2. This is where The Saga of Tanya the Evil differs from many other anime adaptions of light novels.

Typically, an anime adapted from a light novel tries to match pace with the books. This series does not do that. The end of an episode does not necessarily coincide with the end of a chapter. The pacing is readjusted for the anime adaption and while that is not necessarily a bad thing, it is unusual. That being said, it could even be viewed in a positive light depending on your outlook. The alternate narrative techniques used by the anime tell the same story, but in a different way. While the book has more focus on geopolitical analysis, the anime more focuses directly on fighting and warfare.

With all that in mind, Plus Ultra continues to be an already impressive series. This is the point in the story where WWI and WWII analogies start to mix. The first book showed more of the WWI side of things with notions such as the geographic location of the Not-Europe nations and trench warfare. Plus Ultra starts driving WWII-era points home, such as the application of new technology and tactics on the battlefield. All of this is obvious to Tanya, who is from Earth and has knowledge of WWII history. But to everyone else in the world, this is all new.

The Empire is newly established as a potential world superpower. However, they are surrounded by other countries on all sides. While their country is not landlocked, areas the size of the English Channel are the only waters between them and other nations. Some of these other nations are superpowers and want to prevent the Empire from becoming one as well. This is where The Saga of Tanya the Evil differs from real history. The Empire (Not-Germany) is always the defender (thus far). They have yet to attack first. And their military leaders 100% expected any potential wars to happen that way. How their plans of national defense will ultimately turn out in the face of a reacting enemy remains to be seen.

October 13, 2019

The Rising of the Shield Hero, Volume 3

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The Rising of the Shield Hero, Volume 3 Book Cover The Rising of the Shield Hero, Volume 3
The Rising of the Shield Hero
Aneko Yusagi
Light Novel
One Peace Books
February 16, 2016 (English); December 21, 2013 (Japanese)
Paperback
344

Naofumi Iwatani, an uncharismatic Otaku who spends his days on games and manga, suddenly finds himself summoned to a parallel universe! He discovers he is one of four heroes equipped with legendary weapons and tasked with saving the world from its prophesied destruction. As the Shield Hero, the weakest of the heroes, all is not as it seems. Naofumi is soon alone, penniless, and betrayed. With no one to turn to, and nowhere to run, he is left with only his shield. Now, Naofumi must rise to become the legendary Shield Hero and save the world!

 

Volume 3 of The Rising of the Shield Hero is where things start to pick up. While the last book did not 100% wrap up the intro sequence, readers start to see that here. For you anime watchers, Volume 3 covers episodes 9 to 13. This time around, existing character development and plot advancement take precedence over introducing new characters. Volume 3 primarily revolves around the Heroes fighting the next wave, including prep work and the aftermath of the battle. Readers also get to see the first hints at behind-the-scenes politics going on within Melromarc, and their influence.

But that is not to say that the plot-lines from Volume 2 are all wrapped up. Naofumi continues (to his frustration) to clean up the messes left by the other heroes. And his relationship with Melty, the newest member of the group, continues to develop. Moreover, Raphtalia begins this book still cursed following the battle against the zombie dragon. Suffice to say, the group is kept busy prior to fighting the next wave. But the wave does come and this time around Naofumi is properly prepared and ready for a real fight.

The wave itself is one of the best parts of Shield Hero up to this point. Naofumi has gained a lot of experience, both personal and as a leader, since the last wave. And it shows. Whereas the other heroes do what they did last time (run off seeking glory), Naofumi marshals what forces he can and rallies a defense. And does this job well enough that he starts to outshine the other heroes. By the time the battle is said and done, it cannot be denied that Naofumi played the most pivotal role. Between that and his travels, public opinion is starting to sway in the Shield Hero’s favor.

That is not to say that everyone is happy with this outcome. The Shield Hero still has many powerful enemies who want public opinion of him to stay as-is. People who care more for their own personal power than the safety and survival of the citizens under their rule. Or even of the world. Once again Naofumi finds himself falsely accused without so much as a chance to defend himself. But anyone who thinks he will go down without a fight this time is a damn fool. Despite everything, he persevered once and is damned determined to do it again. How that turns out will be revealed in Volume 4.

October 6, 2019

The Banana Splits Movie

Published Post author

Poster for the movie ""

The Banana Splits Movie

Tra la la terror!

20191 h 30 min
Overview

A boy named Harley and his family attend a taping of The Banana Splits TV show, which is supposed to be a fun-filled birthday for young Harley and business as usual for Rebecca, the producer of the series. But things take an unexpected turn - and the body count quickly rises. Can Harley, his mom and their new pals safely escape?

Metadata
Runtime 1 h 30 min
Release Date 26 August 2019
Details
Movie Media DVD
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Bad

I have seen a lot of horror movies over the years with many different premises. It is very rare to get a brand-new idea for any movie, let alone a horror film. Yet The Banana Splits Movie did just that by adapting a children’s show from the 1960s into a horror-comedy. Conceptually, it is such a strange idea. Not Sharknado strange or WTF-did-I-just-watch strange, but just strange. How many people today still remember the original Banana Splits show? It has been almost 50 years since it went off the air. But that is part of why this movie works too. It is not like anyone else is doing anything with this franchise.

The Splits themselves are dated enough that modern viewers may not even realize this was once a real children’s show. I myself would not have realized that if a few reviews I read had not mentioned as much. So, in this version, the titular Banana Splits are animatronics instead of people in costumes. I know what you are thinking, we are all thinking it: Five Nights at Freddy’s. Maybe there is a connection there, maybe not. No one who worked on this film has confirmed or denied that.

There were two areas where this movie suffered. Unfortunately, they were big ones. The first was the lack of humor. Despite being labeled a horror-comedy, there was not much comedy here. Aside from the concept of children’s show characters going on a murder spree, there is no real attempt at humor. It felt like they were trying to pull off a low-key style of humor but just fumbled the ball. The other thing was the acting. Considering the horrific life-or-death situation, the characters did not seem very afraid outside of their death sequences. The actors seemed to really try when they were about to be knocked off, but there was no general sense of fear.

Ultimately, The Banana Splits movie was just another mediocre horror film. If you, like me, enjoy mediocre horror films, then this is for you. But it is not a film likely to appeal to a wider audience. When you boil it down, this is a low-budget slasher. The bad guys are just robots instead of people. Maybe it is different for people who watched the original Banana Splits show, but considering it is a 50-year old program there are probably not many people still around who fit into that category.

September 29, 2019

The Honor of the Queen (Honor Harrington #2)

Published Post author

The Honor of the Queen Book Cover The Honor of the Queen
Honor Harrington
David Weber
Sci-fi
Baen Books
June 1993
Paperback
422

It's hard to give peace a chance when the other side regards war as a prelude to conquest. That's why Manticore needs allies against Haven, and planet Grayson is placed to make a good ally. But the Foreign Office overlooked a cultural difference when they sent Honor Harrington to carry the flag.

 

The Honor of the Queen takes place three years after On Basilisk Station. In that time, Honor has used her command to hunt down space pirates and protect Manticore’s ships. Now she has received new orders to join a small fleet headed for the world of Grayson. In the three years since the first book, Manticore’s relations with Haven have continued to worsen. Both sides know that the prospect of war is a matter of if, not when. With that in mind, both sides are seeking alliances with star systems near their territories for tactical superiority.

And this is the part where certain people may get offended by the ideas presented in The Honor of the Queen. Grayson, simply put, is sexist. Their people are descended from a Christian, Luddite-type culture. While the reasons for their sexism are fleshed out further in later books, in The Honor of the Queen it is very blunt. Their culture views women as delicate and needing protection. This creates one of the central conflicts in the book in the form of Honor. Manticore sends her on this mission for political reasons as much as her skills. To show Grayson that working with Manticore means viewing women as equals.

Anyone who read the first book should have a rough idea of how this turns out. Honor is a badass and far, far from needing anyone else to protect her. That being said, the people of Grayson are aware of the limits of their culture and planet’s technology and acknowledge that allying with a more powerful nation like Manticore will require them to adapt and change rather than digging in their heels. On the flipside of that, Grayson’s sister planet and enemy Masada takes the sexism and turns it up to 11. They are also more religiously extreme, viewing non-believers as infidels who deserve only slavery and death.

When The Honor of the Queen came out 25 years ago, sexism and religion were starting to become touchy subjects. The social developments of the last 25 years have made these problems in our society much more apparent. It would be a bit much to claim David Weber was ahead of his time for addressing these issues when he did, but he was up to bat a lot early than most other people with a following and influence.

While the story, characterization, and other literary aspects of The Honor of the Queen are on par with the first book, modern readers may ignore those factors and only focus on the real-world applications of the subject matter instead. If you are an individual sensitive to those types of things, even when the heroine comes out on top, this may not be the book for you. For those readers who want to read one of the best military sci-fi series out there, Honor Harrington continues to impress.

September 22, 2019

The Skull Throne (Demon Cycle #4)

Published Post author

The Skull Throne Book Cover The Skull Throne
The Demon Cycle
Peter V. Brett
Fantasy
Del Rey
March 31, 2015
Paperback
681

The Skull Throne of Krasia stands empty.

Built from the skulls of fallen generals and demon princes, it is a seat of honor and ancient, powerful magic, keeping the demon corelings at bay. From atop the throne, Ahmann Jardir was meant to conquer the known world, forging its isolated peoples into a unified army to rise up and end the demon war once and for all.

But Arlen Bales, the Warded Man, stood against this course, challenging Jardir to a duel he could not in honor refuse. Rather than risk defeat, Arlen cast them both from a precipice, leaving the world without a savior, and opening a struggle for succession that threatens to tear the Free Cities of Thesa apart.

In the south, Inevera, Jardir’s first wife, must find a way to keep their sons from killing each other and plunging their people into civil war as they strive for glory enough to make a claim on the throne.

In the north, Leesha Paper and Rojer Inn struggle to forge an alliance between the duchies of Angiers and Miln against the Krasians before it is too late.

Caught in the crossfire is the duchy of Lakton--rich and unprotected, ripe for conquest.

All the while, the corelings have been growing stronger, and without Arlen and Jardir there may be none strong enough to stop them. Only Renna Bales may know more about the fate of the missing men, but she, too, has disappeared...

 

In fantasy series, the 2nd-to-last book always seems to be the weakest installment. Usually, authors have the spend the majority of these books setting things up for the grand finale. Big events are usually kept at a minimum before the final battle. While The Skull Throne does this somewhat, Peter V. Brett toned it down compared to many other authors. Most of this novel is spent getting all the ducks in a row for the last book, but it is not without excitement. Minor characters see their development beginning to wrap up and the loose threads of side plots start being sewed up.

The biggest difference between The Skull Throne and the previous three books is the lack of flashbacks. Readers know everything they need to about the major characters at this point. A new character introduced in this book gets some flashbacks, but that is it. Everything else is focused on the present and advances character development. Mind you, it is more character development than plot that is advanced in this book. While the key main characters and a few others are off doing…things…most of The Skull Throne focuses on everyone else. The Daylight War is still in effect with humans warring on humans, but the demons are just about done sitting still.

That being said, the characters that this installment does focus on get some good development. Leesha has been a bit of a hectic character but really finds her footing too. Rojer also gets a lot of focus, which is great since he did not receive much in the previous book. But these events do make The Skull Throne feel a bit slow at times. There are less demon butt-kicking scenes and more to do with politics, strategy, and people’s love lives. Not quite the same excitement of life-or-death battles, but these are things that need to happen narratively, which Brett understands.

While the action is scarcer, it is also more intense. At the start of the series, the demons were basically just animals. Animals that are very hard to kill, but essentially just vicious, hungry animals. Now, they are strategizing. They are beginning to move like armies and fight like soldiers, testing the mettle of the humans who have grown overconfident as they have become drunk on the power of magic. They know their ancestors have fought this war before, more than once, and failed to vanquish their enemies. The final book will show whether they can accomplish what the heroes of their myths and legends could not.

September 15, 2019

The Rising of the Shield Hero, Volume 2

Published Post author

The Rising of the Shield Hero, Volume 2 Book Cover The Rising of the Shield Hero, Volume 2
The Rising of the Shield Hero
Aneko Yusagi
Light Novel
One Peace Books
October 20, 2015 (English); October 24, 2013 (Japanese)
Paperback
300

Naofumi Iwatani, an uncharismatic Otaku who spends his days on games and manga, suddenly finds himself summoned to a parallel universe! He discovers he is one of four heroes equipped with legendary weapons and tasked with saving the world from its prophesied destruction. As the Shield Hero, the weakest of the heroes, all is not as it seems. Naofumi is soon alone, penniless, and betrayed. With no one to turn to, and nowhere to run, he is left with only his shield. Now, Naofumi must rise to become the legendary Shield Hero and save the world!

 

The Rising of the Shield Hero, Volume 2 starts off shortly after Volume 1 ended. For people who watched the anime, Volume 2 covers episodes 5 through 8. Despite coming out of his shell a bit and newfound trust in Raphtalia after the end of the previous book, Naofumi is still in a dark place. But this is still the beginning phase of his journey, as Naofumi and his allies rise into becoming true heroes. While Naofumi and Raphtalia and still a key focus here, they pick up a third party member in this book: Filo.

Filo is a creature called a filolial, a large, intelligent bird creature that is totally definitely not a chocobo. Basically, filolials are this magical world’s equivalent of horses. But they can also be trained to fight monsters and whatnot. Having a large creature that can also pull a wagon quickly puts Naofumi on the next track of his journey: becoming a trading merchant. With the kingdom still ostracizing him, the group journeys around the countryside fighting monsters for experience and selling medicines, food, and other needed goods to the poorer areas who see little trade. But Naofumi is not the only one having adventures.

Over the course of this book, Naofumi’s group hears rumors about the other three heroes. And all three of them are very much still treating this new world like a video game. But Naofumi realizes that this world is no game and that in the real world, actions have consequences. The group’s journey soon develops a pattern of cleaning up the other heroes’ messes. The actions of the other heroes inadvertently lead to Naofumi becoming stronger. While the other heroes “know what they are doing” from their video game knowledge, Naofumi continues to learn from scratch and pick up on things the other heroes remain unaware of.

Is Volume 2 of Rising of the Shield Hero particularly exciting? Not really. This is a story full of side quests. These are the mini-missions you have to do in games to get the experience/loot to tackle the big story. But while the main plot crawls along here, the character development continues to expand. Naofumi, Raphtalia, and Filo all grow as people from these experiences. Both individually and in their relationships together as a team. Even characters who are not always directly involved, like the other three heroes, get some development via the actions Naofumi knows they have taken. Rising of the Shield Hero Volume 2 is very much a stepping stone, but it seems to be moving the series in the right direction.

September 8, 2019

Doctor Sleep (The Shining, #2)

Published Post author

Doctor Sleep Book Cover Doctor Sleep
The Shining
Stephen King
Horror
Scribner
September 24, 2013
Hardcover
531

Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special 12-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.

On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless - mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky 12-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the "steam" that children with the "shining" produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father's legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant "shining" power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes "Doctor Sleep."

Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan's own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra's soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of hyper-devoted fans of The Shining and wildly satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.

 

Stephen King sequels are a rare thing. While all of his books do have a shared multiverse, most of King’s stories allude to his previous works rather than directly interacting. Doctor Sleep is only the third time King wrote a direct sequel (which he has done one other time since). And The Shining came out in 1977, a good 36 years before Doctor Sleep. If you have not read the Shining in a while (like me), a brief reminder of how it ended: 5-year old Danny Torrance, his mother Wendy, and caretaker Dick Halloran scarcely survived the destruction of the Overlook and death of Wendy’s husband Jack, who had been possessed by the hotel’s ghosts.

Doctor Sleep begins a bit after the end of The Shining. The very beginning of the book covers parts of Danny’s childhood as he copes with the events at the Overlook. Not to mention his newfound awareness of his powers with The Shining. But life goes on and Danny the child becomes Dan the adult, someone in the real world with grown-up problems. And if you go into Doctor Sleep having only seen The Shining movie, it is drastically different from the book. While the movie is great in its own right, many changes were made from King’s original work.

The premise of this book involves the adult Dan meeting a young girl, Abra, who has The Shining. Like Danny, Abra loses bits of her childhood innocence early because of her powers. This time around, Dan takes on Dick Halloran’s role as he attempts to help this young girl with her gifts. But The Shining is not the only thing Abra and Dan have in common. Like Danny before her, supernatural enemies want Abra’s abilities and plan to take her life to get them. These “people” have killed children before to claim their Shining and are more than happy to do it again.

There are so many parallels between Doctor Sleep and The Shining. Despite what Dan and his mother went through, there is a lot of his father in him. Dan makes the same mistake as his father, alcoholism. He knows he is doing it. He knows that it is bad for him and the wrong thing to do. But he does it anyway in that moment of weakness and it destroys him for years. Despite the premise involving Abra and the danger she is in, Doctor Sleep is just as much Dan’s story as The Shining was Danny’s. His story features a battle between good and evil on the inside as much as on the outside. And every step of the way, King delivers a story on par with the first book.

September 1, 2019

John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous at Radio City

Published Post author

Poster for the movie "John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous at Radio City"

John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous at Radio City

20181 h 04 min
Overview

John Mulaney relays stories from his childhood and "SNL," eviscerates the value of college and laments getting older in this electric comedy special.

Metadata
Director Alex Timbers
Runtime 1 h 04 min
Release Date 1 May 2018
Details
Movie Media Other
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Very good
Actors
Starring: John Mulaney

Everyone, all throughout their life, listens to stories. Every culture on Earth is built around social constructs and storytelling is a key part of them all. Now, we have all heard bad stories. Sitting at a bar, hanging out at a friend’s place, or being forced to attend your spouse’s company holiday party are all areas where you are likely to hear a bad story. Even if the content of a story is good, the way it is told makes or breaks it. And this is where John Mulaney excels. He is a masterful storyteller, which played a large part as establishing himself as one of the best modern comedians.

Mulaney has lost none of his thunder from his previous two specials. While this routine did not have me laughing as hard as the first two, it is still solid. Along with the core of the jokes remaining hilarious, Mulaney’s writing and delivery continue to improve. This should not be too surprising for anyone familiar with Mulaney. For those who are not, he was a writer for six years on Saturday Night Live. And it shows. It is also mentioned, as some of his stories reference his time and experiences back on SNL.

A lot of comedians stick to the same general topics. Politics and religion are always hot-button issues that are easy to poke fun at. Family is another one, especially spouses. And of course, themselves. Mulaney hits all these topics and more in this special. Unlike some other comedians, he never comes off as crass. His schtick is very well put together and while he is hilarious, he retains his sense of charm throughout. A large part of that comes from his impeccable timing. Timing is key to any good joke and Mulaney knows how to hit the bullseye every time there.

Some comedians are crude or cringeworthy, but Mulaney is neither of those things. His routine has him up on stage as what he is: a white guy. Mulaney is probably the best modern stand-up example of a white dude. He never outright says that (or even comes close to doing so), but it’s there. Not that Jeff Foxworthy blue-collar humor, but white-collar humor. This is humor for folks who work office jobs and had sort-of-typical but sort-of-weird childhoods. So, guys like me. It makes the humor more relatable and that makes it all the more hilarious.

August 25, 2019

The Daylight War (Demon Cycle #3)

Published Post author

The Daylight War Book Cover The Daylight War
Demon Cycle
Peter V. Brett
Fantasy
Random House Del Rey
February 12, 2013
Paperback
639

On the night of the new moon, the demons rise in force, seeking the deaths of two men both of whom have the potential to become the fabled Deliverer, the man prophesied to reunite the scattered remnants of humanity in a final push to destroy the demon corelings once and for all.

Arlen Bales was once an ordinary man, but now he has become something more—the Warded Man, tattooed with eldritch wards so powerful they make him a match for any demon. Arlen denies he is the Deliverer at every turn, but the more he tries to be one with the common folk, the more fervently they believe. Many would follow him, but Arlen’s path threatens to lead him to a dark place he alone can travel to, and from which there may be no returning.

The only one with hope of keeping Arlen in the world of men, or joining him in his descent into the world of demons, is Renna Tanner, a fierce young woman in danger of losing herself to the power of demon magic.

Ahmann Jardir has forged the warlike desert tribes of Krasia into a demon-killing army and proclaimed himself Shar’Dama Ka, the Deliverer. He carries ancient weapons--a spear and a crown--that give credence to his claim, and already vast swaths of the green lands bow to his control.

But Jardir did not come to power on his own. His rise was engineered by his First Wife, Inevera, a cunning and powerful priestess whose formidable demon bone magic gives her the ability to glimpse the future. Inevera’s motives and past are shrouded in mystery, and even Jardir does not entirely trust her.

Once Arlen and Jardir were as close as brothers. Now they are the bitterest of rivals. As humanity’s enemies rise, the only two men capable of defeating them are divided against each other by the most deadly demons of all--those lurking in the human heart.

 

The Demon Cycle continues in The Daylight War, marking the halfway point of the series. This book is a bit different from its predecessors, showcasing once again how Peter V. Brett is not afraid to mix things up a little. The Warded Man was the opening story, introducing his world and the characters and magic it contains. The Desert Spear expanded on character development and hammered home the point that humans will fight each other even with the ever-looming demon threat. The Daylight War still focuses heavily on the characters as the gears their actions put in motion continue to turn.

Whereas the first book began with the perspectives of main characters, readers get to see more POVs throughout this series. Even relatively minor characters get a chapter here and there to enhance their characterization. But the main characters are still facing challenges themselves. Arlen must make hard choices as people begin to deify him after years spent on the road alone. Old relationships will be tested as new ones are forged and his faith is tested as events force him to wonder whether some people are worth saving. Without spoiling anything, it is nice to see some characters from book 1 return instead of being forgotten forever.

While Arlen is an amazing character, the others are not sitting idle during his adventures. Leesha finds herself thrust into a leadership position and all of the responsibilities that come with it. Rojer learns more of his own talents and the impact they could have in combating demons. The Krasian characters continue their crusade, determined to unite humanity (by force) under a single banner before waging a true war against the demons. In particular, readers will learn more about Inevera and her fellow Dama’tings. Outwardly, Krasia may seem like a male-dominated culture, but events behind the scenes are rarely the same.

Characterization is clearly one of Brett’s strong points as a writer and it shows throughout the series. In the first book, mere months before The Daylight War, humans could do almost nothing to demons. The Krasians were fighting a losing war and everyone else hid in their homes nightly. Now, demons can be killed as easily as game animals can be hunted. These people can suddenly fight back for the first time in centuries, let alone within living memory. For the first time in eons, they have hope. But with the power that brings that hope about, so too will they find hardship, pain, sadness, love, joy, and more than they ever expected in this brave new world.

August 18, 2019

The Many Adventures of Peter and Fi Volume I: Homecoming

Published Post author

The Many Adventures of Peter and Fi Volume I: Homecoming Book Cover The Many Adventures of Peter and Fi Volume I: Homecoming
The Many Adventures of Peter and Fi
Kelvyn Fernandes
Fantasy
Self-Published
December 14, 2018
E-book
273

Follow Peter and Fi as they work together, each searching for something uniquely special to them through the four kingdoms of their known world. It’s a tale of fantastical beasts, peculiar characters, remarkable settings, and a unique brand of biochemistry-based magic. A story that focuses on meaningful character interactions, delicate world building, and intense action battles.

She emerged within a dark sea of green, shielding her eyes against the crescent moon’s pale blaze. The twinkling stars hummed softly, discordant against the chattering birds below. The lush leaves rippled in the breeze, tempting Fi to dip her toes in for a swim. The wind blew at her back and she turned east to face it. The fresh air carried the salty spray of the Shimmering Sea. Although she could not see it, she knew it was right there. Her ears caught the distant waves crashing against the shore. One last step. She thought.

 

The Many Adventures of Peter and Fi was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

When author Kelvyn Fernandes contacted me, I was unfamiliar with his work. But the pretty cover art of Peter and Fi attracted my curiosity plus I am looking for new fantasy stories. Thanks to an e-reader I borrowed from a buddy, I had the means to read the story as well. It had been a while since I had read a brand-new fantasy novel that people were not already talking about. Going in blind was a refreshing change of pace for me that led to pleasant surprises with this story.

In any fantasy story, early world-building is critical. Told from the perspectives of Peter and Fi, readers learn quite a bit from their casual conversation. While there is a lot of information about relevant monsters and magic, it quickly becomes apparent that the world at large is a much bigger place filled with mystery and mystique. Several major countries exist and sort-of get along while implementing a fairly standard peasant-noble system found in fantasy worlds. The world they live in is a dangerous place, despite the advantages provided to society by magic.

While the cover art is bright and vibrant, almost giving the sense of a Young Adult story, Peter and Fi has its dark moments. In a dangerous fantasy world full of monsters, humans are not always at the top of the food chain. This is something touched on in graphic detail in certain parts of the story. And in cities and towns where humanity reigns supreme, people can be crueler and cutthroat than a simple hungry beast. This is a world where safety is a relative term. It is more like being “safer” than “safe”, with potential danger around many corners.

There are many characters throughout this story, but most are only present for a handful of chapters. Peter and Fi themselves are the ones who consistently have a role to play, this being their story after all. Peter is a 20-year old mage, holding the title of Bubble Mage. In this world, every mage has unique magic. Peter’s title may seem underwhelming, but his creativity and magical aptitude make him truly worthy of being a mage. Fi is a 14-year old girl who is quick on her feet and ready to wallop foes. While her youth shows from time to time, the life she has lived has made her a survivor. The pair of them are as close as siblings as they journey throughout the world on their mysterious journey in this fantastical adventure.

August 11, 2019