Tag Archives: sci fiction

Traitor to the Blood

Step into the magical world of the Noble Dead. Traitor to the Blood is the forth novel in the series by Barb and J.C. Hendee which follows the adventures of Magiere (a dhampir, half-human/half-vampire), Leesil (a half-human/half-elf), and their equally unique companions. In this story, former-assassin Leesil tries to track down his parents that he left behind years ago. Meanwhile, he and Magiere are trailed by her half-brother, Welstiel, who is trying to use Magiere for his own gain. They also face many foes: a ruthless overlord, a woman that Leesil orphaned set on revenge, a group of elven assassins, and a mysterious shape-shifting couple forced into servitude, just to name a few.

This installment delves deeper into each character, but especially Leesil since this book focuses on his tortured past and what has shaped him into the man he is. And each book in the series gets better with more character development, more complex storylines, more mythological lore, and more action. Any fan of vampire stories or the fantasy genre in general will love this series.

Traitor to the Blood was also the first in the series to make the jump to hardcover. Look for the next hardback installment, Rebel Fay, January of 2007.

Check out http://nobledead.com for excerpts from the books, more on the world of the Noble Dead.


Underworld: Evolution

Underworld: Evolution was a bit different from the first movie. This film was able to delve deeper into a more complex story. Whereas, the first Underworld had to introduce all the characters so the story couldn’t be as deep.

I had my doubts as to how the second movie would hold up against something as new and fresh as the first one. But I wasn’t disappointed. The action was even more intense, the scenes a little a more gory. The special effects were great (especially, on such a small budget), with bigger, badder monsters this time around. We get more of a back-story on the original vampire and werewolf. And we get to see Selene (Kate Beckinsale) and Michael’s (Scott Speedman) relationship develop further. Though there wasn’t a lot of talking in the movie other than Selene’s narration, the acting was exceptional as well. Specifically, Marcus, played by Tony Curran, was a wonderfully, complex tortured-soul. I love when you can somewhat sympathize with the villains. It makes them much more believable than just soulless monsters.

This movie was quite a bit darker, but just as fun as the original.

Zathura

I was able to see an advanced screening of Zathura last night. And I was surprised to say the least. Zathura was much better than I thought it’d be. I was assuming it’d be just a remake of Jumanji but for children. And while, of course, the game-coming-to-life aspect resembled Jumanji, there the similarities stopped. Zathura’s story revolves more around two constantly-bickering brothers and their relationship with each other. The youngest, Danny, finds a game down in their creepy basement. And after his first turn, they find themselves in an outer space adventure. The boys must survive a meteor shower, a defective robot, evil aliens, and their own strained relationship, aided only by a stranded astronaut.

The story is very touching, with a couple fun twists thrown in. The movie was very action-packed and suspenseful, but even the Gorgons (the lizard-like aliens that attack them) are toned-down and almost muppet-like as to not scare younger children. This is definitely a movie for all ages. The only complaint I had were the few swear words that parents might need to talk to younger children about later. I saw a mother in front of me lean over to talk to her 6 year old girl after the youngest brother, Danny, swore at his older brother.

The two boys Jonah Bobo/”Danny” and John Hutcherson/”Walter” were amazing young actors and very convincing as brothers. And the supporting cast of Dax Shepard, Tim Robbins, and Kristin Stewart were great as well. Since the entire movie remained solely in and around the house, no other actors were even seen.

Zathura is a fun, science fiction, action, suspense, drama, comedy, family-friendly movie.

Greatest Game Ever Played

 

Well, this week is the week for sneak previews! I got to see The Greatest Game Ever Played last night, Oliver Twist tonight, and tomorrow night is Into the Blue. Then of course, Friday is Serenity. 4 movies in 4 days! If I didn’t love movies so much, I might be burned out on them.

The Greatest Game Ever Played definitely surprised me. The movie was funny and heartwarming, a pure feel-good movie. I love leaving the theatre with that feeling. This movie is based on a true story about Francis Ouimet, a poor American boy who had a passion and talent for golf. His father didn’t approve of Francis’ dreams; and being working class family was an obstacle as well. But still, Ouimet gets the chance to play as an amateur in the 1913 US Open along side his childhood idol.

Francis Ouimet is played by the Disney Channel’s own Shia LaBeouf who does a wonderful job of making his character lovable and relatable. His ten-year-old caddie, Eddie, was played by Joshua Flitter, who stole the show in many scenes!

One of my favorite things about this film though, was the unique, artsy film effects of the golf games. Even for people like me who don’t care for golf, the way this movie flowed and the great camera shots, made it much more interesting and fun to watch. Many times I found myself holding my breath when someone was making a putt.

This was a wonderful, wholesome family movie that seems to be so rare nowadays.

Brothers Grimm

Well, the Brothers Grimm wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. And I don’t know why the director, Gilliam, was complaining about the PG13 rating that they received. This movie is definitely not for young children. Stories in books aren’t as scary, but when you see something on screen it brings a different reality to it. Some of the gore could have been cut out, and it could have been still pretty creepy.

Matt Damon and Heath Ledger were perfect in their roles, and made a great team. Damon played the level-headed older brother who is always ready for action, and Ledger played the scholarly brother that loves fairy tales. There was a great blend of action and comedy. It reminded me a lot of The Princess Bride. Except in this movie, the suspense was pretty much non-stop.

And yet, for some reason, I still felt like something was missing. I was a tad disappointed with how the fairy tales were mentioned. I expected a little more, I guess. It’s hard to say anything more without giving away any spoilers. But overall, The Brothers Grimm was a very fun, entertaining movie. And it made me want to reread some of the Grimm fairy tales.

The Historian

The Historian is Elizabeth Kostova’s first published novel, and at 642 pages it was very impressive. She held my attention throughout the entire book. I hated putting it down. Kostova has a beautiful writing style and makes the history of “Vlad the Impaler” very interesting. Most of the story is told through letters and jumps around quite a bit, but it is very easy to follow.

The book begins when a teenage girl comes across an ancient book and containing some mysterious letters in her father’s library. The book is blank, save for the center pages which contain a woodcut rendering of a dragon with the word “Drakulya.” Her father then proceeds to explain his personal search for Dracula and the truth behind the historical figure.

The vast references to the history of the 1400’s in the surrounding eastern European countries, makes this book seem more like a work of non-fiction. But the supernatural qualities add an eerie, suspenseful dimension to this work of art. The only complaint I have is that the ending seemed somewhat anti-climatic. But on a whole, this was a great piece of literature. I highly recommend it to those who love historical fiction or just a good vampire tale.