Friday, December 14, 2018

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (dvd)

First, know that I am a fan of Harry Potter. The original 7 books (I don't count Cursed Child as cannon; it's really more like fan fiction), the film adaptions of those original 7 books, and, to a lesser degree, spinoffs like Beedle the Bard, which is a cool novelty thing. Anytime something new is introduced into the Potterverse, I read it...or at least read about it. Also, my House is Slytherin and my Patronous is a cat. 

Yes, I AM a geek. That's something I proudly admit.

Still, I was reluctant to watch the film adaption of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, despite great reviews. Basically, a guy running around the city trying to catch a bunch strange creatures? Snore!

"That sounds like Pokemon Go," I complained to my husband when he asked if I wanted to go watch the movie in the theater. "If I wanted to watch that, all I have to do is go...anywhere."

That was a couple years ago when the movie was in theaters and Pokemon Go was still super popular (something I never got into, by the way). We ended up watching a different film that day, although I don't recall which one. In hindsight, I probably would have liked Fantastic Beasts better...

Recently, the trailer for Fantastic Beasts 2: The Crimes of Grindewald has been circulating heavily. And yeah, it looked awesome! Jim insisted we watch it when it came to theaters. But in order for either of us to have any clue as to what was going on (other than awesome special effects), the original film had to be watched. Especially since my husband, a muggle, has neither read nor seen Harry Potter and has no experience with that world whatsoever aside from what he's learned from me. And still...there is too much to even sum up. So I rented Fantastic Beasts 1. I admit my hopes were NOT high. At all.

But that's the great thing about going into something with low to no expectations: Sometimes you end up pleasantly surprised. And this movie was absolutely that sort of situation. Yes, the basic plot sort of does have a Pokemon-Go-Gotta-Catch-Em-All thing going on. That's unavoidable. But the characters, their relationships, the special effects, and the sense of adventure and suspense throughout are so, well, fantastic that resemblance doesn't even matter. It was a completely enjoyable film, and I am so glad I finally watched it. Even better, it's a movie that can be enjoyed even if you have no knowledge of the original Harry Potter series. So Muggles rejoice! 

I'm definitely looking forward to seeing Fantastic Beasts 2 on the big screen! If the trailer tells me anything, this next one will be even better than the first!


Thursday, December 6, 2018

Space Boy (vol. 1), by Stephen McCraine

I may have never picked up Stephen McCraine's Space Boy if its sequel hadn't been left on the desk awaiting pickup by a patron. Curious, i paged through it and was intrigued enough by the story to track down part 1. And it was totally awesome!

The story centers on Amy, who lives with her parents in a mining colony in deep space. She has synthesia, which causes her to assign a flavor to each person she encounters. For the most part, she's happy. But then her world is shaken up: Her father loses his job and her family must move to Earth. This journey will take 30 years, so Amy and her parents are cryogenicly frozen for the trip. When they arrive, nothing is as Amy imagined. Not only must she adjust to the ultimate culture shock, but the knowledge that everyone back 'home' have aged 30 years while she is still a teenager. Mind blowing! But after a few humorous blunders, Amy makes friends and begins to adjust to life on Earth. Until she encounters a mysterious boy whose presence has no flavor. This is a first for Amy. Her friends warn her to stay away from him. He's bad news, they say. But Amy is curious...

The first volume of Space Boy was so good! Amy is a character everyone can relate to. Not because of the Deep Space thing, but because who hasn't had to make a BIG adjustment at some point in their lives? Whether moving away to attend college or starting a new job or even making the transition from middle school to high school. Change is an inevitable thing, and this first issue is about one such journey. 

I absolutely recommend this! And I can't wait to read the rest of the series! --AJB

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Nightingale by Amy Lukavics

When I first read the description of Nightingale, I knew that it would be a book that I added to the collection.  It sounded right up my alley.  1950's, not wanting to conform to the norm, wanting to be a writer.  Then add the insane asylum (an iffy trope for me) and something that sounds like maybe cannibalism and I knew that I would have to read this.

Nightingale goes back and forth in time, dividing this time into "the institution" and "days past".  We learn that June is in the institution because she believes that her parents have been replaced.  Leading up to this incident, June has been under a lot of stress.  She has been writing a horrific sci-fi novel and wants to be published someday.  While her parents map out the perfect future for her with her father's boss's son, June has secretly applied to a writing program.  But the morning after her disaster of an engagement party, June's mother calls her "nightingale" and June is sure that her parents are no longer her parents.

Shipped away to Burrow Place Asylum, June finds herself in a strange kind of nightmare.  She befriends her roommate, Eleanor, who thinks that she is dead, and Eleanor's friends and quickly discovers that things are not normal here.  The nurses and doctor seem off.  The medical treatments are brutal.  The sanitation is questionable at best.  Even worse, when someone speaks up they are bound to disappear or die.  Can June unravel the mystery of the asylum and of herself in time to save them all?

I was surprised by the direction this one took.  It definitely had a twist that I should have seen coming but didn't.  I don't know what was more horrifying: the institution or watching June being forced into a mold at home.  This was a great read and much more horror than I expected. -RYQ