Books Review

Book Review – Firefight (Brandon Sanderson’s Reckoners #2)

I enjoyed the first book in the Reckoners series (Steelheart) despite some silly YA trappings that felt like they were there just to check a box on a form (let’s have some new slang for the kids!) but I’m a sucker for some good comic book action, and I like the hook here.  In Sanderson’s world, anyone who gets powers (which started after an event called Calamity, a red star appearing in the sky), turns evil.  Firefight is a very good middle novel of a trilogy, as it both delves deeper into the question of WHY that happens, as well as amps up the danger for David and the other Reckoners heading into the final chapter.

In Firefight, David and Prof head to what once was Manhattan to seek out the Epic Regalia, who has been sending Epics to Newcago hunting them.  The intrigue only increases as it becomes clear Prof and Regalia had some history – possibly even before becoming Epics themselves.  David is also looking for Megan/Firefight, who he believes is the key to his understanding the link between Epics, their powers turning them evil, and their weaknesses as well.  Oh, and he loves her.

It’s a quick read, and it manages to both have a solid cliffhanger ending and not feel like it just cut off halfway through a story.  If you don’t mind the YA trappings, it’s worth checking out this series as a palate cleanser between your latest massive high fantasy series or space opera.

Movies Review

Lightning Movie Reviews – Ant-Man, Ultron, Minions

I have some catching up to do, so you get some quick thoughts on some recent flicks.

Avengers: Age of Ultron – The first movie was so successful, so it would’ve been difficult to meet expectations here. Ultron definitely was a half-step down but still had some great action and humor. Ultron himself could’ve used a bit more menace – something Spader would’ve been capable of, and in the end Ultron comes off a bit odd. I loved the Vision though, and for all the worry about Quicksilver and the comparison to the X-Men movie version, he and Wanda were great in their limited role. Special shout-out to Hawkeye who filled the ‘heart of the team’ role admirably, and was probably the funniest of the Avengers.

Ant-Man – Okay, I really enjoyed Ant-Man. Thought of as the riskiest project in the MCU after Guardians of the Galaxy, especially with all the turmoil surrounding Edgar Wright’s departure. It didn’t catch fire like Guardians but has performed solidly, tracking to match or exceed Captain America: The First Avenger. The visuals were a ton of fun and seemed to keep some of the Edgar Wright weirdness around. I wish Hope could’ve been Wasp here but I’ll deal as long as they get her in for future MCU movies. I also hope we get to see more Hank Pym – I’d love to see Michael Douglas as Hank going toe to toe with Tony Stark.

Minions – Minions is the classic example of something that is funny in small bursts but drags when expanded out to feature-length. Like how Pinky and the Brain were funny on Animaniacs but significantly less so with their own 30 minute show. There were a few chuckles and it certainly wasn’t so bad as to be painful, but it’s telling that the biggest smile for me came from when (spoiler alert) young Gru appeared at the end. Catch it when it’s on FX or whatever.