Tag Archives: fantasy

The Eleventh Hour

Just whipped up a quick book trailer for Jeff Hirsch’s debut novel, The Eleventh Plague.

It was agreat read and I really wanted to do another book trailer… try out some different flava’s, y’know!

The song in the background is Stem/Long Stem/Transmission 2 off of DJ Shadow’s AMAZING album, Endtroducing. Check out the full song here on the Youtubes.

Hope you like my latest creation:

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Notes from a Totally Lame Vampire

Collins, T., & Pinder, A. (2010). Notes from a totally lame vampire: Because the undead have feelings too!. New York: Aladdin.

  • Emo Vampires
  • Killer squirrels
  • Mortal love

… this book’s got it all!

Nigel wants his vampire nickname to be “Nightwalker” it instead becomes cutesy ol’ “Fangy.” This is typical luck for Nigel. He was turned into a vampire, but never received a vampire’s superhuman speed & strength nor their mesmerizing good looks. Worst of all he is about to turn 100 yrs old and he still hasn’t ever had a girlfriend! FML, indeed!

Tim Collins does well to capture the usually obstacles and insecurities that teenagers face in this diary. When I find myself both laughing and relating to a fictional vampire teen/centenarian I feel I’ve found a good book.

Andrew Pinders drawings go perfectly with the diary medium and the lanky awkwardness that is Nigel’s life.

PS- Apparently there’s a sequel diary out called Prince of Dorkness : more notes from a totally lame vampire

Half World

Goto, H. (2009). Half world. Toronto: Puffin Canada.

If you are reading this post looking for a good book to read then stop reading my blog and go get a copy of Half World as fast as possible! This is my favourite book in the list so far.

The story is based on the premise that there are three realms: Life, Half Life, and the Spirit realm. Long ago these realms were joined and people passed from Life through the Half Life world to eventually end in the Spirit realm. However, evil tainted the realms and they were divided. This division is the source of most discomfort and void of connection all three worlds are dying. Only Melanie can unify and save them. Fat, friendless, 14 year old Melanie. The main character of the story and my current heroine. Half World is a coming of age story. This is a story about the power of choice and the necessity of growing up. So many fantastical things happen in this book, but the underlying moral of Melanie’s journey is so applicable to daily life. We live in a world where people can be cruel and only by our own choices and our own inner strength can we change things for the better. With the help of friends, who can always be found, if we are willing to look for them, this is what Melanie does.

I chose it because it had a cool cover and because one of the quotes on the back described it as being a “Boschean delight à la Goto”. Hiromi Goto herself often relies on describing her characters simply as Bochean, which they definitely given in her in depth descriptions of them. An example of Bosch’s work can be seen on the left, click it to view more! However, she also invokes the work of Frida Kahlo, and M.C. Escher when describing the setting and characters within the Half World, all of which are rather accurate, although I think that many scenes, especially ones involving the ever melting, elastic Mr. Glueskin reminded me of Dali’s work.

If you liked Half World even half as much as I did I strongly recommend that you either read the graphic novel, or watch the movie Spirited Away. Similar plot about a girl who has to go into an alternate realm full of bizarre creatures to save her parents and discover her inner strength.

Guardian of the Dead

Healey, K. (2010). Guardian of the dead. New York: Little, Brown and Co

I don’t know why, but reading this book gives me the feeling of watching a movie. Partially this is due to the cover on which the main characters white mask can’t help but remind me of countless scenes in popular culture horror where killers and creeps walk around in similar disguises. While the story started out formulaically enough for that to have been the case, I am pleased to say that after all the suspense was built and built, Healey delivered with some interesting twists! No spoiler, don’t worry, unless even knowing there’s a twist spoils it for you.

I like Ellie as a main character because she’s strong and doesn’t put up with garbage from people. I’m not a huge fan about her always being upset about being bigger than average, especially since that size is part of what helps her kick butt! Still I think that she’ll rub off on most of you readers and the story (after about 60-80 pages or so) gets into some really cool stuff with Maori folklore and mythology. Kia mau ki to Maoritanga.

Napier: Ellie’s home town

GloomCookie Vol.1

Valentino, S. & Naifeh, T. (2001). GloomCookie. San José, Ca: Slave Labor Graphics.

The GloomCookie world reminds me of being 14 to an almost painful degree… oh the drama and angst of it all!
I like the art, although Ted Naifeh has done better stuff. Mostly this is because things of a gothic nature appeal to me (hence the HR Giger in my featured artist section). The story is fairly interesting, although there were a few too many characters and I had a hard time keeping up with who wasSebastian’s Monster related to who and who was in love with (or at least sleeping with) who… Also Sebastian’s Monster confused me at first, but I kinda figured it out. After all, I think It was my favourite character!

I’m not sure how old the characters are supposed to be, they drink and have sex, activities associated with people aged 17+, or so, but the dialogue is junior high material, at best! In fact, there are many places where…excuse the junior high lingo… the dialogue is downright barf worthy. Still though, I think this is an entertaining book and effectively stylized to give the reader a good sense of what being in the GloomCookie worlds is all about.

Another interesting addition to this book is that Naifeh has a bunch of his preliminary sketches in the back of the book (not uncommon in the graphic novel world). As well, there are a few pages of fan art, which isn’t that great, but it’s nice to see the GloomCookie community supporting its own.

This book is exactly what I picture a gloom cookie to be. A nice dark treat, with little nutritional value.

The Manga Guide to Electricity

Fujitaki, K., & Trend-pro Co. (2009). The manga guide to electricity. San Francisco: No Starch Press.

This is a really interesting format for learning! The manga style is both nonthreatening, yet detailed and credible. The plot is intriguing, but the technical language can get pretty intense at times. Here is an example of the dialogue on page 177:

“Two types of transistors are NPN and PNP transistor. They have three electrodes referred to as B (BASE), C (COLLECTOR), and E (Emitter).”
“They have one more electrode than a diode!”
“If an NPN transistor is connected like this… [quote is set inside a technical diagram of a transistor]…The electrons in the collector are drawn to the positive pole where they accumulate.”

I suspect that the story is strong enough to carry average to committed reader through the technical bits, probably even educating them along the way. The plot involves a girl, Rereko, from the planet Electropia being sent to Earth for a summer study session. She is teamed up with a young earth student, Hikaru, who tutors her in the “simple” principles of earths electricity. A bond begins to form… but can two young people from distant worlds really get along. Read the manga to find out!

If you like this want to learn about more science & tech stuff you’re in luck because this book is part of a manga series that also has titles on Statistics, Databases, Physics, Calculus, Molecular Biology, and many more!

Artemis Fowl: The Arctic incident

Colfer, E., & Parker, N. (2004). Artemis Fowl: The Arctic incident. New York: Listening Library.

Listening to this audio book was my first dip in to the ocean of the Artemis Fowl empire and I am glad that I finally got my feet wet! I think a lot of guys will especially enjoy rooting for Artemis Fowl because he’s a good guy, for the most part, but is forced by the circumstances of his life to play that bad guy… until the REALbad guys show up! Action, emotion, a whole lot more action, some gripping characters, and then even more action is what one should expect from reading/hearing this book (and, I suspect, others in the series).

Nathaniel Parker’s narrate’s in a good range of character voices which is a bonus to the fact that he has a great speaking voice in general. So, I was pleased to see that he narrates other Artemis Fowl audio books.

However, when I do get another Artemis Fowl book (which I will be doing soon!) I will be getting a paper copy…unless I am going on a road trip, or out to a cabin in the woods. Why? Well, personally, I am very easily distracted. I listened to most of this book on my computer which means that after about 30 minutes I was listening to the book and playing Euchre or poker online, checking my e-mails, Facebook, and Twitter, and surfing around the web. The parts I listened to on a CD player lead to me sweeping the floor, folding my laundry and cooking. The story was interesting, but the format was the gateway to distraction… which means if I might want to reconsider using it as road trip material 😛

For a taste of the story and of Nathaniel Parker’s narration go to Youtube