Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Places: New York Comic Con

Don't judge too quickly. I am a huge fan of the New York Comic Con and you should be too. Besides being a mecca for all things comics, it also houses the latest news for film and television. I read a few comics here and there, but the reason I attend is to learn more about my favorite tv shows and films. Each day is filled with panels that include the filmmakers, writers, and actors of the series' you love. You get to see clips and previews months before anyone else. There is also a question/answer part to every panel, which usually ends up being pretty funny depending on the fan questions. I have attended three years in a row, and this will be my fourth. (It starts this Thursday October 13th-16th). 
In the past I have seen panels for Hellboy, Wanted, The Chronicle of Narnia: Prince Caspian, The Hurt Locker, Dollhouse, Watchmen, Fringe, Friday the 13th, Terminator Salvation, Nikita, The Vampire Diaries, The Thing, Battlestar Gallactica, Hanna, and Your Highness. 
 Your Highness 
Vampire Diaries
Each day is extremely long but completely worth it. Its great to hear the thoughts and ideas from the creators and actors of these tv/films. You get to learn crucial information about where a tv series may be heading or see 20 minutes of a film long before it will hit theatres. 

Besides the tv/film part there is also a huge gaming following at NYCC, a massive amount of signings, shopping from hundreds of retailers, so much free stuff or special edition things you wouldn't believe, and it also holds the Anime Festival. 
It wouldn't be Comic Con without costumes. You will see every type of costume you could ever imagine (though superheroes definitely take the cake). Don't worry! You don't have to dress up to fit in, there are plenty of people not in costumes as well. 

I highly recommend attending if you are in the tri-state area, if you're not, there are tons of travel accommodations that NYCC will help you with. For more information click HERE

Monday, October 10, 2011

Books: The Magicians

I have just finished this book and am still in the limbo period of not knowing whether I liked it or not. 
The book follows Quentin Coldwater, a high school student who feels trapped in his life. He is in love with his best friends girl and learns slight of hand magic tricks as a hobby. He's also still wildly obsessed with a childhood book series on a mystical land called Fillory (think Narnia). On a miserable rainy day he goes to an interview, finding that the man he is supposed to interview with is dead. His day turns into the adventure of his life as he finds himself accepted to a magical school called Brakebills College. The novel follows him through his college years as he learns the positives and negatives of magic, which can be devastating and dangerous at times. Quentin also learns that the magical land he fell in love with, Fillory, is actually real. He sets out on an expedition with his group of flawed friends to right the wrongs of the fallen kingdom of Fillory with their newly learned magical abilities. They, of course discover that nothing is as it seems as the journey soon becomes treacherous and life threatening. 

The first half to two-thirds of the book are dense. There is a lot of information and complaining as Quentin is unsatisfied with much of his life. Even Brakebills starts to lose its appeal to him. I grew to dislike every time Quentin discussed the plot lines to the Fillory series, it seemed out of place much of the time. It also started to aggravate me how similar Fillory was to Narnia. It was like Grossman recreated Narnia and slapped another name to it adding a few  bits and pieces here and there to prove it was different. Instead of Aslan it was two rams called Ember and Umber. It was changes like that, that came to bother me making it hard to read. There were a few other issues I had with this novel, including the time lapse. Time changed so fast that you barely had a chance to adjust. All of sudden you'd be six months to a year ahead of the last paragraph you read. The author, Lev Grossman, seemed to be rushing through Quentin's school years to get to the climax. If you read the book, you'll also find that some parts are just beyond the world of understandable (even in a fantasy novel) to the point of totally bizarre. You're left shaking your head going, "oh my god, what is this?" 

With all that said, and I'm sure it sounds pretty terrible, I must admit the last hundred pages are incredibly addictive. All the strangeness and bizarre quality to the novel end up making perfect sense. All the stories of Fillory that I thought were boring, became very important and crucial to the overarching story line. Those last hundred or so pages become so overwhelming and page turning that you'll read it in one sitting. Everything up to the climax now fits into some part of the larger puzzle. You learn to appreciate and understand why Grossman put some of the denser material in; he had to. It was the only way to reach the surprising and gut-wrenching finale. 

As you can now see, this is why I'm in a dilemma on whether to say I liked the novel or not. The beginning and middle felt like you were going through the motions of following the character. You're not attached to him but you're not totally unattached. It isn't until the end that you find the novel so enrapturing and a perfect whole. 

Many reviews will tell you this is an adult Harry Potter, it's the reason I picked up the book in the first place. Do not be fooled, this book is nowhere near being like Harry Potter. The differences stop at a boy going to magic school. 

If you've read The Magicians, please let me know if you felt the same. 

If you haven't HERE is a link to purchase the novel. I would recommend to give it a try because the ending is just magnificent and tragic. It really saves the novel. The sequel to The Magicians has also been released, you can purchase The Magician King HERE

Monday, October 3, 2011

Books: The Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Wow, what a completely strange book. This book was nothing that I expected, and nothing that you could even predict while reading. I must say I was pleasantly surprised. 
The book is about Karou, a seventeen year old art student in Prague who works for a mysterious man and his most unusual cohorts (she considers her family). This demon father figure has her collect teeth from around the world through use of magic portal doors. The purpose of the teeth is unbeknownst to Karou. As I said, this book is strange. One day while she is collecting teeth, she meets an angel and her life's mysteries begin to unravel. 

What I liked about the book was that it really was a book that you couldn't predict how it would end. Often books are given too much foreshadowing that the climax is ruined. The Daughter of Smoke and Bone was so unique that it was a definite page turner. 

I really don't want to give anything else away because its something you must read on your own and experience for yourself. I will say that Laini Taylor, the author, did a superb job of setting up the book for a sequel. 

If you would like more information click HERE. You can also purchase the book HERE for about $10.50. 
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