Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Silver Eyes

Published Post author

The Silver Eyes Book Cover The Silver Eyes
Five Nights at Freddy's
Scott Cawthon & Kira Breed-Wrisley
Horror
CreateSpace
December 17, 2015
Paperback
464

Based on the bestselling horror video game series, Five Nights at Freddy’s follows a young woman named Charlotte, who reunites with her childhood friends on the anniversary of the tragedy that ripped their town apart. It’s been exactly ten years since the murders at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, and Charlotte, who goes by the name Charlie, has spent the last ten years trying to forget. Her father had owned Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, and had built its four adult-sized animatronic animals. After meeting up with her friends, curiosity leads them back to the old pizza place, and they find it hidden, but still standing. They discover a way inside, but things are not as they used to be: the four mascots that delighted and entertained them as children have changed. The animatronic animals have a dark secret, and a murderous agenda.

 

Five Nights at Freddy’s (the game) is a pretty popular survival-horror hit, something of a modern cult classic. Personally, I have not played the game but when I saw there was a book I thought, “Hey, I could use this to get into it.” Unfortunately, the book had its fair share of issues. If anything, it did more to deter readers who are not already familiar with the franchise. That in and of itself may have been a key issue though; maybe the book makes the most sense if you have already played the game. It is not that the story could not be followed standalone, but maybe knowing the other story from the game would have made it flow better. Although author Scott Cawthon has said the games and book are not in the same continuity.

Scott Cawthon is, you must remember, a game developer. He is not a full-time, professional author. That being said, you should not expect The Silver Eyes to be on par with Stephen King or Anne Rice. The writing here is…ok. It is not bad (there are certainly worse books out there) but books and video games are very different mediums. In game form, the story of Five Nights at Freddy’s is probably told much better considering the popularity of the franchise.

The characters here are fairly bland and, for the most part, fairly stupid. So, they fit the role of teenagers in pretty much any standard horror story. If the characters have the proper amount of IQ points, it is not really horror. But The Silver Eyes did feel very “not horror” for the level of danger presented to the characters. The video games seem scary because if you mess up your character is brutally murdered. The animatronics were threatening, but not that threatening in the book. It felt a lot more R.L. Stine than anything else.

There were a bunch of unanswered questions in The Silver Eyes as well. I know that the video games leave a lot to speculation so maybe the book was trying to emulate that? It is never really clear if the animatronics are just malfunctioning robots or if they are haunted. From what I have read up on regarding the games, it seems like they are supposed to be haunted. Up until the very end though the book does not convey this and even then, it seems sketchy. Oh well, maybe the game is better.

February 18, 2018

Intimacy on the Plate

Published Post author

Intimacy on the Plate (Extra Trim Edition): 200+ Aphrodisiac Recipes to Spice Up Your Love Life at Home Tonight Book Cover Intimacy on the Plate (Extra Trim Edition): 200+ Aphrodisiac Recipes to Spice Up Your Love Life at Home Tonight
Olga Petrenko
Cookbook
Identity Publications
July 28, 2017
Paperback
310

Every couple knows that the key to a harmonious home is a healthy love life, but keeping your time in bed spicy isn’t enough – you need to turn to the kitchen and amp up the flavor.

Olga Petrenko is a housewife who dedicated years of her life to crafting original dishes that combine tradition with innovation, creating new tastes that everyone can enjoy. In the process, she discovered something new: by applying scientific research to her recipes and by using the correct ingredients, all meals had the potential to be the perfect aphrodisiac. After a decade of hard work and experimentation, she finally had an extensive collection of recipes designed to make every bite erotic - Intimacy On The Plate: 200+ Aphrodisiac Recipes to Spice Up Your Love Life at Home Tonight

Every dish in this erotic cookbook pays as much attention to presentation as to flavor and science. If you want to create the right mood for your loved one, you need to feed the eyes before you feed the stomach. Olga has worked hard to make every sensual meal beautiful and visually appetizing so that you and your partner will feel the food love before you even sit down to eat.

Within these pages, you’ll find 200+ healthy, easy-to-cook recipes known around the world to contribute to sexual desire. Using a wide range of ingredients, including dozens of types of vegetables, mushrooms, fish, seafood, fruits, nuts, herbs, and spices, you and your partner will experience the full range of erotic properties the world of food has to offer. You’ll never run out of new and exciting places to take your meals. From appetizers, to main courses, to side dishes, beverages, and desserts, you’ll always have something scintillating to offer up on date night.

 

Intimacy on the Plate was sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Food is a topic that goes hand-in-hand with human culture. It does not matter which culture you are referring to; anywhere on Earth, food plays a part in society. On the topic of Intimacy on the Plate, people have long since used food when it comes to love. When someone says the phrase “go on a date”, what do you think of? The specific answer may vary a little from person to person but I bet food was involved. Understanding just how this works can really help to spice up your love life.

209 is a lot of recipes and they are broken up into sections. First, there is a section on vegetables, then fish, and so on and so forth. The beginning of each section highlights a variety of key ingredients and how they affect the libido. Some of this information involves modern science, citing how the ingredients can affect hormone levels, increase blood flow, and have other such effects on the body. Other information details how various ancient cultures correctly associated these foods with romance. Another important note includes the different effect that some foods have between male and female physiology.

This information is all useful as well as interesting but of course, the bulk of the book is the actual recipes. For this review, I decided to try out two of these dishes myself. The first of which was “Baked Cod with Cheese Sauce”. The cod itself was fairly simple here, just needing to be thawed in preparation. The cheese sauce (which I will be somewhat vague on as to not give the recipe away freely) was primarily parmesan cheese and sour cream with various herbs mixed in. Pour it over the cod and bake. Normally, I am personally not a fan of sour cream. But this fish was absolutely divine. It is now in my own cookbook as a go-to recipe for guests.

Needing a dessert to go with the main dish, I also tried the “Chocolate Velvet” recipe. Primarily dark chocolate with white chocolate on top, this dessert ended up with a unique texture. It felt somewhere in-between pudding and mousse and was impossible to put down. Needless to say, I ate far more of it than I intended in a single sitting. With how delightful both of these recipes turned out, I will surely be trying more from Intimacy on the Plate in the future.

February 11, 2018

Unity

Published Post author

Unity Book Cover Unity
Jeremy Robinson
Young Adult
Breakneck Media
July 26, 2016
Hardcover
430

Euphemia Williams, known to her few friends as Effie, and everyone else as Eff-Bomb, will punch you for looking at her funny, for using her full name or for noticing that she’s a genius. But when an elite global entity known as Unity takes note of her intelligence and offers her a chance to escape the hum-drum life of a foster-child, she signs up. At best, she expects her time abroad to be a vacation. At worst, an actual challenge. But what she finds, upon being swept up in a futuristic transport, is far, far worse.

En route to a secret location in the Pacific, a meteor punches through the atmosphere triggering an electromagnetic pulse that sends the transport plummeting to the ocean. While fighting to escape the crash and climb onto an island beach, the meteor slams into the sea. A tsunami races across the island, pursuing Effie and her fellow survivors deeper into the volcanic island’s lush jungle.

Beaten, terrified and abandoned, the small group discovers that they are not alone on the island. The locals are ruthless and well-trained. With the survivors looking to her for leadership, Effie struggles—and fails—to keep everyone alive as they fight for survival.

Along the way, Effie uncovers a series of shocking truths: the parents she never knew were part of the island’s strange history, which includes massive robots known as Shugoten, and the meteor that sent them careening into the ocean, wasn’t a meteor at all.

The daikaiju have arrived—and one of them is headed her way.

Jeremy Robinson, creator of the ‘Kaiju Thriller’ genre, and international bestselling author of the Project Nemesis novel and comic book series, launches this new series combining the behind-enemy-lines themes of Red Dawn with the high-tech monster-fighting robots of Robotech, infusing it with his frenetic pacing and character driven plots.

 

Unity is one of author Jeremy Robinson’s first “new” books. For those who are new to his work, most of his previous books take place in a multi-verse (think Marvel comics or Stephen King’s works) and they were all more or less wrapped up in one last adventure in Project Legion. So, Unity kicks things off fresh-ish (more on the “-ish” later). Going in to Unity, I was unaware that it was a YA book and that did throw me a little. Robinson’s previous kaiju books, the Nemesis saga, were not YA oriented so the same was expected here. In no way did that diminish Unity, it was just one of those “oh, okay” moments.

Being a YA book centered around a kickass girl, Unity cannot help but make my brain go to Hunger Games. Effie was fantastic as a central protagonist. She has something of a bad attitude and life has not been easy on her, but at the core of things she is a good person. Her friends manage to remain interesting throughout as the team is built up over the story. The villains are also interesting, though suffering from a bit of generic bad guy syndrome.

This book (and probably it’s sequels) do differ from the Nemesis Saga in one major way, the robots. Nemesis focused mostly on the monsters, not introducing a giant mecha until the 4th book (out of five). In this story, there are no good/allied monsters. All the monsters are the bad guys. This time around humanity uses giant robots to fight back (think Pacific Rim). I say this time around because the characters do mention Nemesis at one point. In the same breath they also name a few fictional kaiju, so it is a little unclear whether this is at some point in the future after the Nemesis Saga or if the character speaking that line just read the Nemesis book. Maybe that will be touched on a bit more in a sequel.

Nothing that Robinson does in Unity can really be described as new. Most of it was already done in his previous books. Giant monsters, giant robots, teenagers saving the world…come to think of it, this was basically the Nemesis saga mixed with Power Rangers. Do not get the wrong impression; Unity is not a knock-off of Power Rangers, Voltron, Ultraman, etc. Jeremy Robinson is certainly recycling old plot elements, but he is using them to make something new. Something new and entertaining. Even though the ideas here are standing on the shoulders of giants, it is still very much Robinson’s own thing.

February 4, 2018

Tammy and the T-Rex

Published Post author

Poster for the movie ""

Tammy and the T-Rex

He's the coolest pet in town!

19941 h 22 min
Overview

An evil scientist implants the brain of Michael, a murdered high school student, in an animatronic Tyrannosaurus. He escapes, wreaks vengeance on his high school tormentors and is reunited with his sweetheart Tammy. Together, the couple try to elude the mad scientist and the police and find a more appropriate vessel for Michael's brain.

Metadata
Director Stewart Raffill
Runtime 1 h 22 min
Release Date 28 December 1994
Details
Movie Media Other
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Not bad

Full spoilers ahead for this review. This is so wacky that it cannot be properly reviewed without spoilers and if you are truly that upset about spoilers from a near-25-year-old B-movie, seek help.

Tammy and the T-Rex came to my attention when I stumbled across a synopsis for it online. It was something along the lines of: A young Paul Walker plays a high school student who gets dumped onto a wildlife preserve by bullies and is then mauled by a lion. So a mad scientist takes his brain and puts it into a robot T-rex that goes on a rampage of revenge against the bullies while also trying to reunite with his girlfriend, Denise Richards.

I have given that description to a dozen friends since watching the movie and at least half of them tried to call BS on it. But even that description does not fully do the film justice because it leaves out the highly effeminate gay black friend who helps Denise Richards and is also the son of the police chief who is trying to take down Robot Rex/Paul Walker.

By no means does this movie try to take itself seriously (thank God). Like the part where Paul the Dinosaur helps the gay friend off the ground and brushes the dirt off his shoulders with his little T-Rex arms. Or before that, when the tiny T-Rex arms are used to successfully make a call on a pay phone (here is a picture for you kids who do not know what a pay phone is). Or when DinoWalker attends his own funeral and no one notices the giant robot lizard hiding behind a tree 15 yards away. Or when they break into the morgue and hold corpses up to the window for Paul Walker Rex to look at and pick out a new body for his brain. The list obviously goes on and on for a film like that.

For a B-movie, this film has everything you could possibly want. It manages to parody sci-fi, horror, and romance all at the same time. Everyone involved with making Tammy and the T-Rex must have known exactly what they were doing, and they excelled in that regard. Without question, it is my new favorite B-movie. Fingers crossed that MST3K gets to it on their next season. In the meantime, you can find the full film on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfxeN2YN3Q8

January 28, 2018

You Dear, Sweet Man

Published Post author

You Dear, Sweet Man Book Cover You Dear, Sweet Man
Thomas Neviaser
Fiction
Thomas Neviaser
August 23, 2017
Paperback
304

In an attempt to bring his fast food company back to the heights of success it previously enjoyed, a CEO decides to change its image to include a healthy food venue.
The use of a sophisticated, beautiful, adult film model as the centerpiece of the ad and two youthful computer nerds, specializing in holography and animation, leads to a most intriguing and ingenious advertisement ever invented that only responds to vibrations of whatever vehicle on which it is attached; hence, an exciting yet subtle motion to entice viewers to concentrate on the company's message.
The Ultimate Advertisement!
Of course, there are antagonists who are trying to sabotage the efforts of the company, but these attempts are thwarted through the devious and innocent maneuverings of the computer wizards.
The model's temper leads to revenge when her suggestions for the ad are repeatedly rejected by the CEO and board members, and she secretly uses her sensuality and paranormal skills to telepathically force the creators of the ad to produce ads to include unhealthy food images such as burgers and fries. She invents an alter-ego to serve as a replacement for herself in these ads; however, there is one component missing. To finalize her ad, there is a need to add a contrasting overweight and unattractive man. To find that person, the alter-ego must leave the ad, become a human image, and succeed in seducing such a man to return to the ad with her.
In the end, she uses his hunger for a burger and fries to coerce him into entering the ad. As he does, he finds himself in an unexpected predicament from which there may be no escape. As a result, she considers the ad complete, falsely believing the ad will exist forever.

 

You Dear, Sweet Man was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

You Dear, Sweet Man was a bit of a mix of a story, on more than one level. The synopsis on the back gives too much of the story away. Like, everything. Reading the story by itself gives readers a bit of a mystery element and it works. But if you have skimmed the synopsis, you already know what is coming next. The summary does its job too well; it reads like cliff notes. Which in turn leads into our second point, the length of the book.

It felt like You Dear, Sweet Man could not decide if it wanted to be a novel or a short story. The story features a decent-sized cast and each chapter jumps between their perspectives. We really get walked through the whole process of this ad that the story focuses on. From a business point-of-view that is neat to see but it does make other elements of the story take a while. It felt like the ball did not fully get rolling until the last 1/3 of the story or so. More details could have made this a full-length novel (despite the page count, I read it in about 3 hours due to the small pages and large-ish font) while the synopsis shows it could have been a short story as well.

The characters of the story are a bit of a mixed bag. Some get a lot of a focus in many chapters while others make scarce appearances. The heroes of the story came off as more interesting than the villains. The good guys do get more face-time and that is a factor there. The businessmen running the burger restaurant are nice, normal people instead of the evil businessmen we typically see in fiction, which was a nice change of pace. There is an evil, rival business man but his schemes were more of a subplot than a driving force.

Our true villainess gets more focus, but her character was a bit…odd. By the end of the story it is clear that she is unstable and very used to getting her way. There is a bit of a supernatural element surrounding her but the explanation for it was very rushed. In the span of a page or two she explains how her apparent psychic powers work and the character who learns this just kind of rolls with it. There was also a very adult scene with her, which makes sense within the story but felt out of place compared to the rest of the book. Everything just became very fast-paced at the end and it did not 100% fit the slower beginning and middle.

Overall, You Dear, Sweet Man was a good little read. The premise is interesting, the characters are enjoyable, and it is a good length something short and sweet. The synopsis spoiling pretty much the entire story is what really hurt the book for me. If you skip the synopsis, WHICH I HIGHLY RECOMMEND, this is a 4-star story.

January 21, 2018

Log Horizon, Vol. 1: The Beginning of Another World

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Log Horizon, Vol. 1: The Beginning of Another World Book Cover Log Horizon, Vol. 1: The Beginning of Another World
Log Horizon
Mamare Touno
Fantasy
Yen On
April 1, 2015 (English); March 31, 2011 (Japanese)
Paperback
224

Thirty thousand Japanese gamers awake one day to discover that the fantasy world of Elder Tales, an MMORPG that was formerly their collective hobby, has become their cold hard reality. Severed from their everyday lives, they confront a new horizon filled with ravenous monsters, flavorless food, and the inability to die! Amid the chaos, veteran gamer Shiroe gathers his friends, the guardian Naotsugu and the assassin Akatsuki, and together they embark on an adventure to change the world as they know it!

 

Log Horizon is one of those “trapped in a game” stories, kind of like Tron. But there are a few differences from the standard stuck in cyberspace story. For one, the characters have absolutely no idea how they were sucked into a video game. Due to that there seems to be no obvious way to get back home. The rules of this new world do not seem to 100% line up with the game, Elder Tales, either. There are plenty of similarities but also aspects in line with real life, like needing to eat and sleep.

On its own, this first book really does not do too much. Despite being a full book it really feels more like just a prologue. We are introduced to the central characters and get a feel for their personalities. The people stuck in this situation start dealing with the fact that they are stuck in this new world. A fantastic element of the story is the characters ability to fight (or lack thereof). They are all used to playing a video game on a computer. In this new world they have to actually fight, swinging swords and firing bows, and it is terrifying. They are fighting literal monsters with all the sights, sounds, and smells that are present on a battlefield. This is a big change of pace from the many stories where the characters are one-man armies from the start.

Because this is a video game world, the characters cannot die. If killed they just revive in the nearest town like in any other game. This puts a big philosophical question on all these people: if death is not a variable, what is the value of life? These people are all just thrown into a new world together. There is no pre-established society here. No rules, no laws, no government, no stability. Everyone can do whatever they want, for better or for worse.

We mainly just see how all these questions are answered by main character Shiroe and his closest comrades. Standalone, this first book is ok because there is not much plot advancement. A lot of the book is spent explaining things, from the characters figuring out their new world to explanations about how their game (and MMO games in general) work for the audience’s sake. Both these factors lay the groundwork for quite a few things. Many questions are still unanswered by the end of the book, so the story could go in a few different directions. The Beginning of Another World is just that, a beginning. Not phenomenal start but certainly with the potential to lead to greater things.

January 14, 2018

One Among Us

Published Post author

One Among Us Book Cover One Among Us
Paige Dearth
Fiction
CreateSpace
December 12, 2014
Paperback
630

Kidnapped and forced into human sex trafficking, Maggie has only one way out.

Eleven-year-old Maggie Clarke is an average suburban girl known for her intelligence and beauty. Suddenly, her life’s path is tragically altered when Maggie is ripped from her family and thrust into the horrific underworld of human sex trafficking. In captivity, Maggie watches over a young boy, who gives her a reason to live. Robbed of her innocence and freedom, Maggie does whatever it takes to survive.

With the help of Detective Rae Harker, the Clarkes’ frantically search for their daughter. Haunted by his own demons, Detective Harker vows to find Maggie—dead or alive. Meanwhile on the vile streets of Philadelphia, a strange man approaches Maggie with a dangerous proposition, and she risks everything to break free of the network of unsavory characters that control her. Not even she can know how far she will go to get even with the people who ruined her life.

Raw, edgy, and intense, One Among Us ultimately offers hope through Maggie, who grows stronger and more resourceful through her experiences. You’ll be on the edge of your seat, rooting for Maggie as she fights for her life.

**WARNING**18+ Readers Only. Graphic content and subject matter.

 

One Among Us was sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

This is a book that could have gone a lot of different ways. The subject matter is very, very dark; about as dark as it comes. Human trafficking is a subject that everyone needs to talk about, but no one wants to discuss. There was a delicate balance here of how descriptive the text can be vs. should be. Some people will love One Among Us for that and others will criticize the book for it. In its own way, this leaves some aspects of the book open to interpretation.

How you interpret One Among Us will largely depend on if you view it as a work of fiction or as something more real. Paige Dearth seems to have intended to readers to fall into the second category. The book is nowhere near as graphic as it could have been, which makes general audiences more likely to read it. From a fictional standpoint, there were some things the story could have done better. For the large page number, each chapter is very short (I do not think any exceeded 10 pages). Some of these lead right into each other while others skips days, weeks, or months ahead. Time skips are necessary since the story takes place over a near-decade, but the short chapters make characterization hard. Few characters are present for the whole book and the less seen ones all seemed two-dimensional. The stereotypical drug addict, pimp, detective, etc.

From a more real-world point of view, these decisions are understandable. Horrible things happen to a lot of people in One Among Us, but “crap happens” is not the intended message. It is true that many parts of this book are unrealistic. Are some of the characters a bit flat? Yes. Do we really need to see that the drug hustler/pimp has a little good in him? No, not really. Some people do lack morality to varying degrees. Life does often get worse before it gets better and sometimes it just gets worse. Parts of the book do feel a bit forced as we seem to mainly see Maggie’s life when big events are happening. A few “normal” bits might have made those big moments feel more dramatic and helped with further characterization, but again I do not believe that was Paige Dearth’s main point in writing this.

Personally, I found it hard to put this book down and ignored other hobbies to squeeze in extra reading time. The key thing to remember while read this is: This actually happens. Somewhere, right now, even here in the United States and other first world countries, this is happening to someone. Many someones. One Among Us is not a perfect work of fiction, but Paige Dearth is not trying to create a perfect work of fiction. She is trying to get that message out to more people so that real children and young adults like Maggie can be helped. The bottom line of this book can be summed up in one word: hope. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for Paige Dearth’s other novels in the future to see if she addresses similar subject matters just as well as she did this one.

January 7, 2018

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Published Post author

Poster for the movie "Star Wars: The Last Jedi"

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

The Saga Continues

20172 h 32 min
Overview

Rey develops her newly discovered abilities with the guidance of Luke Skywalker, who is unsettled by the strength of her powers. Meanwhile, the Resistance prepares to do battle with the First Order.

Metadata
Director Rian Johnson
Runtime 2 h 32 min
Release Date 13 December 2017
Details
Movie Media Cinema
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Very good

Star Wars: The Last Jedi has received a lot of analysis in the short time since its release. Some have loved it, some have hated it, and a fair number are somewhere in-between. I put myself in the third category, though leaning more towards the “love it” side of things. For all the haters out there, let me say this right off the bat: Yes, the film did have issues. It was not a perfect cinematic masterpiece. But it was nowhere close to having the issues of the prequels. Everything you can complain about in The Last Jedi had an equivalent, yet dumber, scene in the prequels (comparisons will not be made in this review for the sake of avoiding spoilers).

Considering how much The Force Awakens mimicked A New Hope, many people expected The Last Jedi to be reminiscent of The Empire Strikes Back. While there are reused thematic elements, The Last Jedi is not a soft reboot like the previous film. You probably could successfully argue the point that it is, but that is not how it struck me.

The Last Jedi seemed to focus a lot more on character development than plot. As far as plot progression goes, there really is not too much here. But the character development is fantastic. You can feel the new generation of actors getting these roles set up for the next film. The Force Awakens told us who these people are. The Last Jedi shows us who they are going to be. Episode IX will likely take that to its conclusion as destiny is a fairly prevalent theme in Star Wars.

There does not really seem to be a general public consensus on what this film should be, or have been. Long-time fans of the old Expanded Universe (novels, comics, video games, etc.) want to see more of those elements implemented. Some people want more of the same from the original movies. Others do not seem to know what they want and are somehow still upset. But it feels like this film set out what it was meant to do; ushering out the older, Lucas-era concepts to bring us to the new age of Disney. Star Wars has never been this grand, perfect thing people seem to envision. Parts of the old Expanded Universe sucked and needed to go. The films have used newer, unknown actors. The plot tends to be full of holes. The Force is mysterious and largely unexplained (or at least works best that way; damn you midichlorians!). At the end of the day, these are campy sci-fi family films. Enjoy it for what it is, not what you think it should be.

December 31, 2017

Canto Bight

Published Post author

Star Wars: Canto Bight Book Cover Star Wars: Canto Bight
Star Wars
Saladin Ahmed, Rae Carson, Mira Grant, John Jackson Miller
Sci-fi
Del Rey Books
December 5, 2017
Hardcover
295

Soon to be seen in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, welcome to the casino city of Canto Bight. A place where exotic aliens, captivating creatures, and other would-be high rollers are willing to risk everything to make their fortunes. Set across one fateful evening, these four interconnected stories explore the deception and danger of the lavish casino city

- An honest salesman meets a career criminal as a dream vacation turns into the worst nightmare imaginable, in a story by Saladin Ahmed.

- Dreams and schemes collide when a deal over a priceless bottle of wine becomes a struggle for survival, as told by Mira Grant.

- Old habits die hard when a servant is forced into a mad struggle for power among Canto Bight's elite, in a tale by Rae Carson

- A deadbeat gambler has one last chance to turn his luck around; all he has to do is survive one wild night, as told by John Jackson Miller.

In Canto Bight, one is free to revel in excess, untouched from the problems of a galaxy once again descending into chaos and war. Dreams can become reality, but the stakes have never been higher--for there is a darkness obscured by all the glamour and luxury.

 

Viva las Canto Bight! No, that is basically all this book is. Canto Bight seems to just be Star Wars Vegas. Great works of art these stories are not. Each one just seems to be about some general characters, who will never be impactful in the series again, in a big casino city type setting. If you removed the sci-fi bits from the book, this could have been a Las Vegas, Reno, etc. story.

Rules of the Game, the first story, follows a schmuck and a not so nice man. The schmuck repeatedly states he has worked at his job for over a century. So, this guy is at least 100 years into his adulthood. Apparently, wisdom does not come with age for his species; it is a miracle he survived the story. Despite that, everything just works out and there is a happy ending because…reasons?

Wine in the Dreams had some of the more interesting characters in the book. The protagonist was clever, and the twin sisters were cunning while the villain was ruthless. Not stereotypically so and that made their characterizations work. The issue is more the premise. This whole battle of wits is over…drumroll…a bottle of wine. Granted wine snobs can be kind of crazy, but usually not life and death crazy. Nor does brewing wine seem important when a WAR is brewing.

Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing was the best of Canto Bight’s four stories because it felt like it actually mattered. A man’s daughter gets taken by the mob, but they underestimate him, and he goes after her. So, Liam Neeson this alien masseuse/former badass manages to raise a little hell and all turns out well. As just a story, this one was good. But like the rest of the book it is still a one-shot thing that does not contribute to the rest of the franchise as a whole.

The Ride was also fairly entertaining, #2 in Canto Bight. The lesson of the day here is: Whenever you gamble, my friend, eventually you lose. Except when you do not, because sometimes luck can straight up outdo The Force. Also, all the stories are intertwined kind of but not really or something like that…being #2 in a book overall rated 2 stars really is not saying much. Maybe Canto Bight (the city) will at least play an important role in The Last Jedi.

December 24, 2017

From A Certain Point of View

Published Post author

From A Certain Point of View Book Cover From A Certain Point of View
Star Wars
Various
Short Story
Del Rey
October 3, 2017
Hardcover
477

Experience Star Wars: A New Hope from a whole new point of view.

On May 25, 1977, the world was introduced to Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, C-3PO, R2-D2, Chewbacca, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Vader, and a galaxy full of possibilities. In honor of the 40th anniversary, more than 40 contributors lend their vision to this retelling of Star Wars. Each of the 40 short stories reimagines a moment from the original film, but through the eyes of a supporting character. From a Certain Point of View features contributions by best-selling authors, trendsetting artists, and treasured voices from the literary history of Star Wars:

Gary Whitta bridges the gap from Rogue One to A New Hope through the eyes of Captain Antilles.
Aunt Beru finds her voice in an intimate character study by Meg Cabot.
Nnedi Okorofor brings dignity and depth to a most unlikely character: the monster in the trash compactor.
Pablo Hidalgo provides a chilling glimpse inside the mind of Grand Moff Tarkin.
Pierce Brown chronicles Biggs Darklighter's final flight during the Rebellion's harrowing attack on the Death Star.
Wil Wheaton spins a poignant tale of the rebels left behind on Yavin.
Plus 34 more hilarious, heartbreaking, and astonishing tales from Ben Acker, Renée Ahdieh, Tom Angleberger, Ben Blacker, Jeffrey Brown, Rae Carson, Adam Christopher, Zoraida Córdova, Delilah S. Dawson, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Paul Dini, Ian Doescher, Ashley Eckstein, Matt Fraction, Alexander Freed, Jason Fry, Kieron Gillen, Christie Golden, Claudia Gray, E. K. Johnston, Paul S. Kemp, Mur Lafferty, Ken Liu, Griffin McElroy, John Jackson Miller, Daniel José Older, Mallory Ortberg, Beth Revis, Madeleine Roux, Greg Rucka, Gary D. Schmidt, Cavan Scott, Charles Soule, Sabaa Tahir, Elizabeth Wein, Glen Weldon, Chuck Wendig

Narrated by a full cast, including:

Jonathan Davis
Ashley Eckstein
Janina Gavankar
Jon Hamm
Neil Patrick Harris
January LaVoy
Saskia Maarleveld
Carol Monda
Daniel José Older
Marc Thompson
All participating authors have generously forgone any compensation for their stories. Instead, their proceeds will be donated to First Book - a leading nonprofit that provides new books, learning materials, and other essentials to educators and organizations serving children in need. To further celebrate the launch of this book and both companies' longstanding relationships with First Book, Penguin Random House has donated $100,000 to First Book, and Disney/Lucasfilm has donated 100,000 children's books - valued at $1 million - to support First Book and their mission of providing equal access to quality education. Over the past 16 years, Disney and Penguin Random House combined have donated more than 88 million books to First Book.

 

From A Certain Point of View is a bit difficult to review, as is any short story collection. To that end, the stories will each get a mini-review with a compiled score.

Raymus by Gary Whitta (5/5 stars)

Picking up immediately where Rogue One ends and going into the start of A New Hope, this story is crucial to the overall plot of Star Wars.

The Bucket by Christie Golden (4/5 stars)

Focusing on the stormtrooper who stuns Princess Leia, this is a reminder that Imperials are people, not just faceless drones.

The Sith of Datawork by Ken Liu (5/5 stars)

This follows an Imperial desk worker who is great at getting things done despite the Empire’s bureaucracy. Using these skills, he helps cover for his colleague, the gunner who decided not to shoot down the escape pod with R2D2 and C3PO in it. This one is hilarious as they shift the blame onto someone else because you know the poor sap who must report this failure to Vader is probably going to get Force Choked.

Stories in the Sand by Griffin McElroy (2/5 stars)

The story of the Jawa who captures R2D2. Not terribly interesting, but it shows just how much of a close call that was for our favorite astromech droid.

Reirin by Sabaa Tahir (2/5 stars)

This story shows a Tusken Raider (Sand People) with dreams of spaceflight. Not important in the grand scheme of things but the story is well written.

The Red One by Rae Carson (5/5 stars)

Featuring the red astromech almost purchased instead of R2D2, this story delves into how droids are people too, with hopes and dreams and the ability to be heroes.

Rites by Jon Jackson Miller (3/5 stars)

Another Tusken Raider story, this one features the Sand People who attack and knock out Luke. It delves into the culture of Sand People, which is nice to see in the new Disney continuity.

Master and Apprentice by Claudia Grey (5/5 stars)

Featuring a character who was not actually in A New Hope but it crucial to Star Wars, this story also expands Obi-Wan’s character development.

Beru Whitesun Lars by Meg Cabot (5/5 stars)

Told by Luke’s Aunt Beru after she becomes one with the Force, we gain a rare bit of insight from one of the people who raised the future Jedi Knight.

The Luckless Rodian by Renée Ahdieh (2/5 stars)

Greedo is a jerk, then Han shoots him. ‘Nuff said.

Not for Nothing by Mur Lafferty (4/5 stars)

Explains how the cantina band went from being galactic stars to playing in the middle of a hive of scum and villainy. Overall these are good characters and their story was legitimately interesting.

We Don’t Serve Their Kind Here by Chuck Wendig (4/5 stars)

The bartender in Mos Eisley’s cantina provides a good link to the prequels, with his life during the Clone Wars explaining his misdemeanor and personality.

The Kloo Horn Caper by Kelly Sue DeConnick & Matt Fraction (2/5 stars)

This one really felt all over the place and it was one of the longest stories in the book. The writing was good, the content not so much.

Added Muscle by Paul Dini (1/5 stars)

Boba Fett is featured here, and this story felt like it hurt his character. His inner monologue feels much more in line with young, cocky, arrogant Boba from the Clone Wars tv series than the near-silent, cool bounty hunter of the original films.

You Owe Me a Ride by Zoraida Córdova (4/5 stars)

While not important to the overall plot of A New Hope, the Tonnika Sisters are sassy and entertaining, making for a fun story.

The Secrets of Long Snoot by Delilah S. Dawson (3/5 stars)

A little reminder of how people, particularly aliens, are frequently tricked and screwed over by the Empire. This story makes you feel bad for a character who is technically a bad guy.

Born in the Storm by Daniel José Older (3/5 stars)

Even stormtroopers can think their job sucks and dream of just saying “screw it” to ride off into the sunset.

Laina by Wil Wheaton (4/5 stars)

Featuring the Rebel soldier standing in the tower on Yavin 4, he knows he is doing the right thing and that his family will be safe on Alderaan. Oh…

Fully Operational by Beth Revis (5/5 stars)

General Tagge is the smart person who points out, “Hey, the Rebels could be a threat since they stole the plans to the Death Star.”

An Incident Report by Mallory Ortbert (5/5 stars)

The Imperial officer Force Choked by Vader in the Death Star meeting room writes a formal complaint about the incident and comes to the realization that the Dark Lord of the Sith is more terrifying that the Death Star itself.

Change of Heart by Elizabeth Wein (5/5 stars)

Another story showing that Imperial stormtroopers are not just faceless drones, as one trooper witnesses the terror the Empire will inflict on even its own citizens.

Eclipse by Madeleine Roux (5/5 stars)

The final moments of Bail and Breha Organa, as they try to determine Leia’s fate in the final moments before Alderaan is destroyed.

Verge of Greatness by Pablo Hidalgo (5/5 stars)

Featuring both Director Krennic and Grand Moff Tarkin, both characters are portrayed perfectly as their thoughts dwell on each other and the faults that will lead to their respective downfalls.

Far Too Remote by Jeffrey Brown (5/5 stars)

A 1-panel comic featuring the Imperials looking for the Rebel Base on Dantooine. In a word: hilarious.

The Trigger by Kieron Gillen (5/5 stars)

Features Doctor Aphra from the Darth Vader and Doctor Aphra comic books. As a big fan favorite character invented in the Disney canon, this one was just a treat.

Of MSE-6 and Men by Glen Weldon (2/5 stars)

This is about the little droid Chewbacca growls at in the hall on the Death Star. This is one of the longer stories and basically boils down to “if Imperial officers weren’t idiots, the Death Star might not have blown up”.

Bump by Ben Acker & Ben Blacker (3/5 stars)

Same as the last story; if officers were not idiots, something something.

End of Watch by Adam Christopher (3/5 stars)

This story features the Imperials on the other end of the comm when Han, Luke, and Chewie rescue Leia from the detention center. More Imperial bureaucracy featuring a slice of life for the men and women of the Empire.

The Baptist by Nnedi Okorafor (1/5 stars)

This story literally and figuratively features garbage.

Time of Death by Cavan Scott (5/5 stars)

Obi-Wan Kenobi in his final moments, featuring the mental battle he waged with himself even as he clashed lightsabers with Vader. Also provides a much-needed explanation as to why the lightsaber fight was so tame compared to all the backflips and stuff in the prequels.

There is Another by Gary D. Schmidt (4/5 stars)

Featuring another character not actually in A New Hope, Yoda, this sets some of the groundwork for The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

Palpatine by Ian Doescher (1/5 stars)

A poem by Emperor Palpatine. Please note I never have and probably never will understand poetry, so my rating of this one is pretty biased.

Sparks by Paul S. Kemp (4/5 stars)

The first of several stories featuring Rebel pilots during The Battle of Yavin. Note for all of these that 30 starfighters went up and only 3 came back. Dex was one of the Y-Wing pilots who made the first run down the Death Star trench.

Duty Roster by Jason Fry (4/5 stars)

During the Battle of Yavin, the Rebel Alliance had more available pilots than starfighters. This story features one of the ones left behind.

Desert Son by Pierce Brown (4/5 stars)

Featuring Luke’s friend Biggs from Tatooine, this story is a shining example of the many rebels who sacrificed themselves for the greater good against the Empire.

Grounded by Greg Rucka (5/5 stars)

Every team needs a leader and even those leaders report to someone. When you are at a certain level in the chain of command, every loss in battle can hurt you personally.

Contingency Plan by Alexander Freed (5/5 stars)

This story did a lot for Mon Mothma’s character, namely explaining why she was not present at the Battle of Yavin. It also left me with a lot of mixed feelings about her as a person.

The Angle by Charles Soule (4/5 stars)

Yet another tale of a character who was not actually in A New Hope, this time Lando Calrissian. Not really in line with the other stories but it sets him up a bit for The Empire Strikes Back.

By Whatever Sun by E.K. Johnson & Ashley Eckstein (3/5 stars)

Another character pops up from the new Expanded Universe, Ahsoka’s friend Miara from the book Ahsoka. This story lends a bit of realism to the end scene of A New Hope.

Whills by Tom Angleberger (5/5 stars)

Hilarious and my new head-canon for George Lucas’ thought process.

December 17, 2017