This both is and isn’t a review. Yes, I’m among those who read Dracula via the Dracula Daily newsletter and I had a great time. On the other hand, it’s really hard to review or critique something that’s not only a book but also a minor cultural phenomenon, with the latter part being rather essential. You cannot talk about recommending or not recommending an experience that is unlikely to repeat for others to take part in, or at least not at such scale. But I had to write something for goodreads to mark it as read, and, well, turns out I have a lot to say.
The r/Fantasy Bingo is a yearly challenge run by Lisa (Way Too Fantasy) that takes place on the r/fantasy subreddit from April to April. It’s pretty much the only reading challenge I regularly participate in, and I’ve been doing it since the very beginning. And I honestly love the 2020 card. It’s much easier than the 2019 one, while still having plenty of squares that’ll take me out of my comfort zone.
This year was the first when I experienced the one advantage of being a moderator: the ability to plan your card a little in advance. So this is technically my second draft. Like in 2019, I’ll again be doing only one non-themed card, and I tried to give priority to books I either already own or can borrow, to the point there are only two books on it that don’t belong in this category.
But as they say, no plan survives contact with the enemy, so it will be interesting to see how will the completed card compare to this list a year from now.
So. The end of March also means the conclusion of my favourite reading challenge, my sixth in a row. Unlike in 2018, I decided to try for only one card. The reason for that was twofold: first, doing a double two years in a row burned me out. I wanted to have the freedom to read random shit again, and not worry about how every book I read could fit on the damn cards. But also, the new card was difficult. Cyberpunk? LitRPG? Tie-In? Afrofuturism? Local author?! I doubted whether I could cobble together one card, much less two.
In the end, I finished on March 12th, with more than enough time to spare 😄
Rogue One and Solo were the last two movies left for me to watch before I dived into the shows and books. I initially intended to watch them much earlier (release order and all), but in the end, it made more sense to leave them for last – both because it made more sense to group them together separately from the sequels and because I wanted to watch The Rise of Skywalker as soon as possible to avoid spoilers.
As for the two movies themselves? I find them incredibly intersting to compare. So similar in so many ways, yet one was a riot and the other…not so much.
Since these movies are relatively new, spoilers will be covered up with white text inside square brackets: [spoiler] (highlight to reveal). If this method does not work for you – and it should on my blog – proceed with caution, as the post gets increasingly full of tags around the middle.
There was one thing I knew about the sequels going in: they are wildly divisive. While the originals are mostly revered and the prequels mostly reviled, the reactions to the sequels run to both extremes and everything in between even among the reasonable fans. That made me doubly curious. I have “done my duty” in watching the rest of the movies, but my history with Star Wars doesn’t go back even a month. I had no expectations except a strong suspicion that the dialogue will be better and the CGI finally unnoticeable. All I had was hope.
Strap yourself in because this is going to be long. Really long.
Here it is, the show that turned my most stubbornly reluctant self into a massive Star Wars fan. Initially, I thought I’d give an episode a try out of curiosity, that I’d watch it for Baby Yoda. I was gloriously wrong. I fell in love with every single aspect of the show, from the titular Mandalorian, to the world, the soundtrack, other characters, and I fell in love hard. I fell in love with it as I fell in love with The Gray House, the obsessive, all-consuming, dorky passion that’s as intense as it is rare. It made me happy in a time when I needed it the most.
I have talked about it some in the intro already, but I really did not want to go into it too much until it was finished and I have watched all the episodes, just in case it fucked up in the later episodes. Which I’m glad to say it did not! After the last episode, I can comfortably say this is my favourite show, and generally one of my favourite pieces of media ever.
I’ve heard a lot about the prequels. Mostly negative, mostly that I should avoid the first one at any cost. But as I said in my intro post, I want the full experience. Skipping would not do. I went in forewarned, armed with a bucketload of popcorn, and ready for anything. However bad a trainwreck, it had to be done. And I was curious – will I hate them as much as everyone else, or will my opinion be unexpectedly positive?
I don’t think that I’m going to say anything particularly new – which is hard to do with movies as well known as these anyway – but I hope the reviews will at least be entertaining and result in good discussion.
My blog hasn’t been very active for a while and there’s a very simple reason for that: I’ve been binge-watching Star Wars instead of reading. For the first time.
Because yes, despite being a lifelong, massive SFF nerd, I had somehow never watched Star Wars before. This is not surprising: I live in a hole when it comes to pop culture. If you ask me about anything, the likely answer will be “nope, haven’t seen it” – I watch like one movie a year, my TV watching habits are limited to cooking shows and documentaries, and I didn’t watch The Lord of the Rings until 2010 either. As for Star Wars…I have simply never been interested. The toxicity I saw online around the release of The Last Jedi did not help either. And besides, there’s no movie you have to watch or book you have to read without which you can’t consider yourself a SFF fan, so there might have been some (misplaced) hipsterish pride involved too.
My usual disinterest lasted about until I saw my first Baby Yoda gif. I got more and more intrigued. I sought out The Mandalorian. And I found myself, unexpectedly, completely obsessed. I wanted more of the world, what the hell do you do after binging all the available episodes within a day and you need more but there won’t be more until a week later?
You start binging the movies, of course.
And it’s time for a Top Ten Tuesday post again! I skipped two weeks – Books I’d Give Different Titles To because I had no idea what to write, Halloween Freebie because I was simply too busy, but I’m back and hopefully able to do it more often.
I really like the idea of this week’s prompt, even if it proved harder than I thought it would be – I know lots of summer books and lots of winter books but few autumn ones.
As usual, listed as I remembered them, in no specific order.
I’ve been aware of the Top Ten Tuesday challenge for a while, but never actually did one myself – well, until now! This week’s prompt seemed interesting, so even though I’m a day late on it, I’m going to give it a try (also thanks to Keikii for alerting me to it).
Books are in no specific order.