Saturday, September 30, 2006

A (not very worthy) Tribute

For a tribute album like Hello Radio: The Songs of They Might Be Giants, I think the best way to review it is to compare the songs to the originals, so here goes:

1 Ana Ng performed by Self—I really didn't like this one at all. I mean cutting out the “I don't want the world, I just want your half” line sucked. Not anywhere near as good as the original.

2 Pet Name performed by The Long Winters—“Pet Name” isn't my favorite TMBG song, but this cover isn't half bad. Not all that great either, though. Not quite as good as the original.

3 Narrow Your Eyes performed by David Miller—I liked this one a lot. I think it's the vocal or maybe the way the music was done. I don't know. Nearly as good as the original.

4 She's An Angel performed by Charles Douglas—I love this song, but God this cover blew. Terrible.

5 Road Movie To Berlin performed by Frank Black—This was a pretty good cover. I like what was done with the tune. Nearly as good as the original.

6 They'll Need A Crane performed by The Wrens—The original version of this song has incredibly sad lyrics and a bouncy upbeat kind of tune. This version has sad lyrics and a depressing tune. It still works. I like this one. Different but almost as good as the original.

7 Dead performed by Steve Burns—I like the vocals on this one. I seem to recall seeing a video of this one on YouTube. I like this cover. Nearly as good as the original.

8 Letterbox performed by OK Go—Ugh! They use some weird distortion that makes the lyrics hard to understand. Sure, TMBG uses that sort of thing occasionally, but not anything as bad as this. Nowhere near as good as the original.

9 Boat of Car performed by Recepter—This song is taken in a very odd direction. The lyrics are virtually incomprehensible, and the whole thing is very strange. It's not half bad. Not quite as good as the original.

10 Don't Let's Start performed by This Radiant Boy—The lyrics seemed to be changed subtly in a few spots. The vocals are terrible. Nowhere near as good as the original.

11 Doctor Worm performed by Jason Tratchenburg—Mr. Tratchenburg, learn to pronounce criticism! And learn to sing and how to play the guitar better This just sucks. Not even close to the other in terms of goodness.

12 It's Not My Birthday performed by Fluid Ounces—This one's not half bad. The vocals are good. The tune is close to the original. I like it. Almost as good as the original.

13 Another First Kiss performed by Brett Kull—I like the original “First Kiss” better than this version. That said, this cover is pretty good too. I like the vocals, and there don't seem to be any major changes to the lyrics or music. Nearly as good as the original.

14 The End Of The Tour performed by Hotel Lights—I'm not entirely happy with the vocals on this one. They're not bad, but they're not all that great either. Really, I think this is a rather mediocre cover. Not as good as the original.
This CD is a very mixed bag. Some of the covers are great, some suck, and some are mediocre. I can't see my way to recommending it. I can only give Hello Radio: The Songs of They Might Be Giants three yo-yos.

A new ALbum

Well, I finally received the copy of Weird Al's Straight Outta Lynwood. I'm writing this as I listen to, so here are my thoughts on the tracks:

1 White & Nerdy –I've actually heard this one already, because the video for it premiered online last week. Still, I really like it. Like most of the parodies on this CD, I don't know the original (“Ridin'” by Chamillionaire) at all. Still, it is funny. It hits just about every nerd joke imaginable.

2 Pancreas –It's educational (I guess). I'm not very thrilled with this one. I just don't think it's all that funny. The style seems to be an amalgam of assorted old-timey styles. I think.

3 Canadian Idiot—Making fun of Canadians is always fun, though not as much fun as mocking the French. This parody of Green Day's “American Idiot” is more of a parody of America's Canada bashing. It's pretty good.

4 I'll Sue Ya—This is a funny original about our litigious society.

5 Polkarama!—Before I listened to this, I wanted to say, “Al, you've done about a zillion of these dumb polka medleys. Give it a rest already.” Listening to it really didn't change my mind. It doesn't help that I don't know any of the songs Al uses.

6 Virus Alert—This is pretty funny. It's about an evil “Stinky Cheese” virus that does all kinds of silly things, like forwarding your porn collection to your grandma and creating a hole in the fabric of space/time.

7 Confessions Part III—This is a parody of Usher's “Confessions Part II.” I don't know that one either. I really have to listen to more popular music. This one is pretty funny, too. These confessions are extremely silly and bizarre, like I “Really like to dress up like Shirley Temple and spank myself with a hockey stick.”

8 Weasel Stomping Day—I saw the video for this one on Cartoon Network's Robot chicken the day before the album was released. It's pretty funny, and it has a nice tune, but it promotes cruelty to animals. I know it's a joke—and a pretty funny one at that—but still, don't stomp on weasels, kiddies.

9 Close But No Cigar—This has a nice tune too. Thematically, it reminds me of Al's “Good Enough For Now.” It's pretty funny, but it's an awful lot like something he's done before. P. S. Mama Cass didn't actually choke to death on a sandwich;that's just an urban legend.

10 Do I Creep you Out—This is a parody of “Do I Make You Proud” by Taylor Hicks. This is a song about a pretty creepy stalker type, like in Al's previous song, “Melonie.” Again, it's good, but not terribly original.

11 Trapped In The Drive-Thru—This is a parody of “Trapped in the Closet” by R. Kelly. After about the first three minutes, I felt like screaming, “Please Dear Lord, Let it End!” Then it kept going on for another seven minutes.

12 Don't Download This Song—This one has been available for download for weeks. It's a good song, though.

This isn't just a regular CD: it's a DualDisc. That means there's a DVD on the other side. So here's my take on the DVD side:

It has the complete album in 5.1 Surround Sound, PCM Stereo, and Instrumental/Karaoke. Since I don't have Surround Sound or stereo, I took a quick listen to the Instrumentals. It uses some nice background pictures of a young Al.

There are also videos for all of the original songs on the album. As I mentioned, I've seen the videos for “Don't Download This Song” and “Weasel Stomping Day.” I liked them both, especially “Weasel Stomping Day.” The video for “I'll Sue Ya” is even better than the song, because the animated Al just looks so darn angry. “Close But No Cigar” features a cat and was animated by the creator of Ren '& Stimpy, which really says a lot. I didn't really like the song “Pancreas” all that much, but the video was OK. It used a lot of really weird stock footage. “Virus Alert” was freaky as heck, and featured a brief cameo by Dubya. I loved it!

Finally, there's a documentary called “Al In The Studio.” It's pretty standard making-of type video. I can't really think of anything else to say about it.

I loved the videos. I thought the songs were a mixed bag. Some I liked. Some I knew I'd like once I listened to them a few more times. Some I know I'll never listen to again (the polka). Add it all up, and this is a pretty good album. I give Straight Outta Lynwood four yo-yos. Expect a review of Hello Radio: The Songs of They Might Be Giants later today.

Friday, September 29, 2006

A Great Trilogy

While I haven't reviewed them here, I loved the first two books in Sarah Ash's Tears of Artamon trilogy. I read them back during that year or so when I got lazy and stopped updating the blog. Now I've read book three, Children of the Serpent gate, and I am writing a review.

First off, If you haven't read Lord of Snow and Shadows and Prisoner of the Iron Tower--the first two books in the trilogy--you need to read them first. Even having read them, I was a bit confused as to what was going on in the beginning of the novel (mainly because it's been a few months since I read the books). The first two novels take place directly before this one and are vital to understanding what's going on. That said, you should buy all three books because they are great books.

Children of the Serpent Gate
brings this exciting series to a, largely satisfactory, ending. The ending does seem a bit rushed, but it's still very satisfactory. There is a lot of character development throughout the books, for all the characters. Even some of the characters who start off as villains end up becoming more sympathetic and even heroic. Some of the characters who start off seeming good end up as villains. For people who like their books exciting, this book has lots of action. Unfortunately, there are also a few lose ends that almost seem to be pointing to a sequel (I hope not though, because this was a great ending and I hate it when a series just keeps dragging on).

The series as a whole would get five yo-yos, but Children of the Serpent Gate only gets four and a half, because of the aforementioned loose ends and the somewhat rushed ending.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I Don't Know Jack

I don't know why, but for some reason I was thinking that All the Rage was F. Paul Wilson's second Repairman Jack book, but it's actually the fourth. Probably because it makes much more sense to have the first and second volumes available for $4.99 than it does to have the first and fourth. It doesn't really make much difference, it's still a great book.

This is a real page turner. If I could have, I would have kept reading all damn day. Unfortunately, I had to go to work and stuff, but I still managed to finish it in about 24 hours, which isn't a bad speed for a 500 page book. It's a superbly paced book.

If you read my review of Infernal, you know that my biggest complaint there was all the references to Repairman Jack's previous books. There aren't anywhere near as many in this one. The Otherness is mentioned, but it actually gets a brief explanation. There are several references to the first book, The Tomb, but I have read it, so they didn't bother me and I think someone who hasn't read it would be bothered either. The Tomb was about these two Indians, and one of them had these demon things called Rakosh (I'm guessing the name is based on the Rakshasa, but I'm no expert on Hindu mythology). Anyway, Jack killed all the Rakosh, except for one, which reappears in this book.

This book is all about a designer drug called Berzerker, which gives you an edge, but if you take too much you literally go berserk. There are corrupt scientists and business men involved in it (and a very scummy drug lord). There's also a very odd freak show run by a guy called Ozymandias Prather. He is a very interesting character, because he is both malevolent to the outside world and very loving towards his freaks. He seems to be very sinister and somewhat evil, yet I can't help thinking that he's not all bad. According to Wilson's introduction, Oz and his show first appeared in an anthology (edited by Wilson) that was called Freak Show. I'll have to try and get a copy to see if I can find out more about this guy.

Anyway, this is a great book. Buy it and the other Repairman Jack books. All the Rage
gets a well deserved five yo-yos.

Five Yo-yos

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Shaman's Crossing

I really liked Robin Hobb's Farseer and The Tawny Man trilogies (I didn't care for The Liveship Traders on as much). So, when the first book of Hobb's The Soldier Son trilogy, Shaman's Crossing, came out in paperback, I knew I had to buy it.

That was a very good choice on my part, because this is a great book and looks to be part of a great trilogy. The Soldier Son books don't appear to be set in the same world as Hobbs' other series. This is a good thing, because while I like the other series, constantly reading about their world and characters would eventually get dull.

This is the story of Nevare Burvell, the second son of a member of the new nobility. According to the mandates of their god, a nobles first son is the heir, his second son is a soldier, his third is a priest, his fourth is a an artist (I think), etc. All sons of non nobles are expected to follow in their father's footsteps.

Nevare's people have recently conquered another people called the Plainsfolk, who have magic which is vulnerable to the iron of Nevare's folk. Now, Nevare's people have moved on and are trying to defeat a forest-dwelling race called the Specks, who have even more powerful magic than the Plainsfolk. The Specks seem to be controlling a horrible plague that is decimating enemy garrisons set at their borders. Nevare has unwittingly had a piece of his soul stolen by one of the Speck enchantresses, and their using it to kill his fellow recruits at the military academy.

Hobb has done an exceptional job in building the world for this book. Instead of being a standard good-versus-evil plot, the characterization of both sides leaves little doubt that neither side is wholly good or evil. Navere's people are a lot like us (or like we were one or two hundred years ago); they believe it is their good thing to go out and "civilize" the barbaric people like Plainsfolk and Specks. They are fractious and constantly arguing over the recent creation of the new nobles. The Specks, on the other hand, seem to be more unified. They have to be, since they're defending their home from invaders. Unfortunately, the methods they use are pretty horrific.

Looking at Amazon's reviews, a lot of people didn't like this book. They think it was too slow. I think they're idiots. This isn't some actiony, sword and sorcery thing, and anyone who expects every fantasy novel to be like that is some kind of moron. This is really more of a coming of age story about a young man who is starting to learn to think for himself. Action really isn't the focus here.

I loved this book, and I give it a full five yo-yos.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A Horror DVD I Actually Kind of Liked

I was at WalMart the other day and I picked up a couple of DVDs from their 2/$11 bin. They were both Japanese horror stuff. I've watched the one called J-Horror Anthology: Legends. Judging from the Amazon reviews (2 one star, 1 two star, and 2 five star), most people either loved this DVD or hated it. I just sort of liked it.

The DVD is made of six short segments, which appear to be from some sort of Japanese anthology series (like The Twilight Zone). From a strictly "are they scary" perspective, they're not all that great. Of course, from that perspective almost no horror movie is that great since none of them scare me. The only one that even came close for me was "she Bear," which is about two schoolgirls who get chased by a demoniacal woman with a teddy bear.

"Nurarihyon" wasn't even remotely scary, but I don't think it was supposed to be. It's about a boy who befriends a mischievous spirit. "Yamaba" is a pretty generic story about some kind of evil spirit. "Peony Lamp" is a fairly decent story about a samurai and the ghost that loves him. "Heartbroken Trip" is a decent story about a woman who goes to a haunted hot springs. "Lost Souls" was pretty spooky, but confusing.

I should point out that this DVD isn't dubbed; it uses subtitles. I would have liked the DVD if the subtitles weren't so crappy. They aren't at the "All Your Base Are Belong To Us" level of Engrish, but they sure were pretty bad in spots.

With the sub-par subtitles, and the varying quality of the stories, I give J-Horror Anthology: Legends three and a half yo-yos.

Three and a half Yo-yos

Friday, September 22, 2006

Keepin' It Real

Okay, so I read another F. Paul Wilson Book: The Keep. Wow, this is a great book.

The plot is about a bunch of WWII German soldiers who take over a place called the Keep to use as a fort. One of them accidentally releases an ancient evil and it begins killing them. They call for help and some SS goons show up. The Nazis drag in a Jewish scholar and his daughter to figure out what's going on.

I do seem to vaguely recall seeing the movie that was based on this book. I also remember that I didn't like it all that much, but I loved the book. It has a hell of a lot going for it.

The atmosphere in The Keep is genuinely creepy and menacing. Then there are the characters; they are presented very realistically. I actually cared what happened to the Jews. I hated the Nazis and the monster. I even had a grudging respect for Woermann, the leader of the soldiers (who was not actually a Nazi). The monster was genuinely scary. The writing is superb.

If you haven't read this book, do it now. You can get a copy for $4.99, which is a damn good price. I give The Keep a full Five yo-yos.

Five Yo-yos

Thursday, September 21, 2006

You Don't Know Jack

Many years ago, I read (and loved) F. Paul Wilson's The Tomb. For those of you not familiar with it, that book features a character called Repairman Jack, who fixes problems for people. Unfortunately for Jack, those problems usually seem to feature some sort of supernatural element. Wilson went on to write a whole series about repairman Jack, but I didn't find out about it until recently when I saw Infernal at my grocery store and picked up since I knew I needed some more reading material.

Infernal is the ninth Repairman Jack novel. Since I've never read volumes 2-8, some of the material in the book was a little confusing. Like wondering exactly what in the hell "The Otherness" is. Still, there were only a few minor points like that, and they don't detract from the story too much.

The book introduces Jacks brother Tom, who is a grade-A asshole. We also get to see their father get murdered by some Islamic terrorists (which is what reunites the brothers). Jack and Tom end up taking a little trip to Bermuda, where they find a magical grapefruit-like thing called the Lillitongue of Gazpacho (or something like that), which causes all kinds of trouble.

I like this book, and I definitely recommend reading it. However, I'd recommend reading Repairman Jack volumes 1-8 first. Volumes 1 & 2 are currently available in cheap $4.99 editions (at least at my local store, Amazon doesn't seem to list them) as are a few of Wilson's other books. I've already got a copy of Repairman Jack volume 2: All the Rage, and a copy of Wilson's The Keep, because they were so cheap. Infernal is well worth reading, so I give it four and a half yo-yos.

four and a Half Yo-yos

Monday, September 18, 2006


I've finished reading the final volume of Robert E. Howard's Conan stories, The Conquering Sword of Conan. This is what an action story should be like. I thought it was a far better book than Haggard's King Solomon's Mine.

Like Haggard's book, Howard's works do have one problem that annoys me: racism. It is particularly noticeable in the short story "The Man-Eaters of Zamboula" in which blacks are depicted as horrific cannibals. The Picts are a bit of a problem too. They are referred to as a "white race," but they are, confusingly, also referred to as not being white. In general, they seem to be based on a stereotype of Native Americans as savages.

Unlike in King Solomon's Mines, I am willing to forgive this fault in Howard's work. Why? Because the white peoples aren't portrayed as being inherently superior. In Howard's universe it is the barbarian who is superior not the civilized man. The barbarian, Conan in this book, is a mighty warrior and follows a code of a sort, but the civilized people, like Aram Baksh in "Man-Eaters", will do anything for money (Aram Baksh attempts to sell Conan to the cannibals).

This book contains "Beyond the Black River" and "Red Nails," which are regarded as the best of the Conan stories. "Beyond" is based largely on the history of the U.S.A. and could easily be a tale of frontier life if the Picts became Native Americans and Conan a cowboy (or whatever). "Red Nails" is pretty damn creepy.

If you've never read Howard's Conan stories, you should. This book and the other two volumes in the series are well worth getting. Unlike most other volumes of Conan tales they do not contain any pastiches or "posthumous collaborations" or any of that nonsense. Nor do they attempt to put the Conan stories into some sort of chronological order; they are presented in the order Howard wrote them. Buy this book! It gets a very well deserved five yo-yos.

Five yo-yos

Friday, September 15, 2006

A Good Book off of Lulu

I ordered Kristan Alaric Korns' The Banished City based on a review in the comments section of Miss Snark's Blog, and I must say that I'm not disappointed. I don't think this is the best fantasy I've ever read, but I do think it's well above average.

There are a few points that annoy me. For instance Noro, the main character, has stolen a magical thingamajig that lets him appear as another person. Several years after the theft he runs into a minion of the wizard he stole the thing from, stares at the guy for a minute, and mumbles some lame excuse as to why he was staring when he's caught. Then he's surprised that he isn't recognized. He seems to think that since the bad guys should know he can change his appearance, anybody who stares at the wizard's minions must be immediately recognized as a disguised thief. This makes no sense.

There are a few other minor confusing and annoying bits, like his speech--even though he's disguised as an elderly wizard, he talks like the young street punk he is and nobody notices--but still I like this book. The idea of having gods play a prominent role in the story is good, especially since these gods aren't anywhere near omnipotent--though the god called The Tree is clearly a version of our God.

The character of Noro is very interesting, and his exploits are exciting, though I can't help but think it would have been better if the first chapter (telling the story of how he stole the magical whatsis) would have been told later as a flashback. , because the main focus of the book is what happens to him five years later when he goes on a quest to find the Banished City and release the god (and unbeknownst to him the people) that are imprisoned there. There are several hints that these people and there god might not be good people, but it's never made clear whether or not they are.

There is obviously going to be a sequel to this book, and I'll almost certainly read it when it comes out. Hopefully, the sequel will tie up a few of the lose ends in this book. I give The Banished City four yo-yos.

Four yo-yos

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

It's Mine, All Mine!

I know that H. Rider Haggard's King Solomon's Mines is considered a classic. A lot of people really like the book, and some people even love it. Sadly, I'm not one of them.

Don't get me wrong. I don't hate it. I just don't think it's a terrific book. I liked the beginning, and I thought the ending was exciting, but I didn't like the middle. I don't know why, but chapters 8 through 14 just seemed to drag for me.

Besides that, the book is very dated. The edition I bought (the Barnes & Noble one, which isn't the one linked to here) is full of endnotes and footnotes to explain all sorts of things that a modern reader wouldn't understand. It's not as bad a Shakespeare in that respect, but still it's pretty bad.

Then there's the racism. Haggard isn't as bad about that sort of thing as some of his contemporaries, but it has lines like "I know that he cannot cumber his life with such as me, for the sun cannot mate with darkness, nor the white with the black." That is spoken by a dying black woman who has fallen in love with one of the white heroes. There are other things too, like referring to Africans as "Kafir," which according to the footnotes is "a derogatory South African Term term for a black person."

With all of this, I can't see my way to giving King Solomon's Mines more than three and a half yo-yos.

3 and a half yo-yos

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Avengers! ... No Not the Ones from Marvel

I finally finished Necroscope: Avengers. Looking over Amazon's reviews for it, I see that quite a lot of people didn't like it, and some even hated it. Personally, I thought it was a terrific wrap up for the E-Branch Trilogy.

Don't get me wrong; I don't think it's as good as the Necroscope books that star Harry Keogh, but I still think it's a pretty darn good book. We get to see the evil vampires--Malinari, Swartz, and Vavara--destroyed. We don't get to see the Earth safe again though (I don't want to give spoilers, so I won't say exactly why). We do learn that eventually, in the distant future, everything will turn out all right.

It's a good ending for the series. Yes, I know The Touch was written later, but it happened before the E-Branch Trilogy, so I'm not counting it. I like it a lot, so I'll give this one four and a half yo-yos.

Sadly, I'm just about out of new books to read; all I've got left is King Solomon's Mines, which I'm not really enjoying all that much. I should be receiving a book I ordered from soon (it was reccommended by a reader in the comments section on Miss Snark's Blog), and my next book should ship from Zooba soon (It's a Conan book). Still, don't be surprised if it's a while before I post again.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Worst Book Ever

No, I'm not reviewing The Eye of Argon. I'm reviewing the worst book by my favorite writer: P. G. Wodehouse's Not George Washington. Of course, Wodehouse can't take all the blame for this one; it was coauthored by Herbert Westbrook.

Wodehouse's books are usually very funny. They're full of clever wordplay, convoluted plots, and and lovable characters. Not George Washington doesn't have any of that. I only laughed once while reading the thing, and that was in the next-to-last chapter. The wordplay is not even remotely clever, in fact it's almost non-existent. The plot is slightly convoluted, but nowhere up to the usual Wodehouse standards. Quite frankly, I almost hated the main character, James Cloyster, because he's boring and a scoundrel. Trying to marry one woman when you're engaged to another is not the sort of behavior one expects from a Wodehousian hero.

This really isn't a good book at all. At best it's painfully mediocre. I can only recommend it to Wodehouse enthusiasts who want to collect copies of all of his works. Everyone else should steer clear. I can only give Not George Washington 3 yo-yos, and that's being generous.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night...

I finally got around to reading a book by Anne Crispin of Writer Beware. I'm glad I did. I really like her Storms of Destiny.

The back cover makes the book sound as if it's all about Thia, an ex-priestess Boq'uark (a demon god), who runs away from her religion when she learns the true nature of her deity. Really though, she is only one of the main characters. Eregard, a prince of Pela, who is sold into slavery, is very important, as much of the book deals with his attempts to escape from slavery and to rescue his kingdom from an invasion. There's also Talis, Eregard's owner, who is also a rebel and a spy. There's Jezzil, a disgraced warrior who's in love with Thia. And finally, there's Khith, an non-human healer mage.

Most of the events of the book are influenced by Boq'uarin. Despite having a borderline unpronounceable name that would put Lovecraft to shame, he almost does seem Cthulu-like in appearance. Though, he isn't quite as cosmic as Cthulu; he actually seems to enjoy toying with people as opposed to not noticing them.

Anyway, this is a great book, and I can hardly wait for the sequel. I give it 5 out of 5 yo-yos.

Monday, September 04, 2006

I Got the Blues...

Charles de Lint is probably my favorite fantasy writer, and his The Blue Girl is a prime example of why. This is a great book, even if the beginning is a little slow.

It's the story of a girl named Imogene who used to be in a gang and was an all-around trouble maker. Now her family has moved, and she's trying to reform. She's only managed to make one friend, a somewhat nerdy girl named Maxine. Imogene has also attracted the affections of her school's resident ghost, Adrian. He has some friends among the fairy folk, and they have caused Imogene to be noticed by some soul eating monsters.

I just love the character of Imogene. She's spunky and tough, but she knows how to pick her battles. She's picked on by bullies, but she doesn't let them get her down (and she doesn't beat the snot out of them even tough she could). Next to Jilly Coppercorn, Imogene is probably my favorite de Lint heroine.

For her alone this book deserves a good rating. The fact that it has lots of other interesting characters, scary villains, and a cool plot is a great bonus. I give The Blue Girl a well deserved 5 yo-yos.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

I Loved The Movie...

Ever since I saw the movie, I've been meaning to read Big Fish by Daniel Wallace. Usually, when I read a book and watch a movie based on it, I like the book better than the movie. The only exception was The Princess Bride, because I love that movie and I though the book kind of sucked.

While I don't think the book Big Fish sucked, I really didn't like it quite as much as the movie. Don't get me wrong, it's still a great book, and it's actually better than the movie in a few spots. For instance, in the book the town of Specter and the mysterious otherworldly town Edward Bloom passes through when he's leaving home are two different places. In the movie they weren't, which was just kind of confusing.

There was some stuffi n the movie that wasn't in the book, but was actually pretty damn good. Like that part at the circus with Danny DeVito as a werewolf (though I think showing his ass was a mistake Ugh!). The two headed woman played a major part in the movie, but just got a mention in the book. And seeing his own death in the witch's eye was a beautiful scene, but isn't in the book either (at least not in exactly the same form).

I do like the way the book is told: as a series of little legends about Edward Bloom with brief interludes about his dying. The interludes (there are four of them)all tell the same part of the story but each in a different way. As they progress, the narrator seems to come closer to understanding his father (as a part of the stories). While I might not of liked the book as much as the movie (which I would give 5 yo-yos), I do like it a lot, so I give it 4 yo-yos.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

You want Fries with That?

I don't know why, but for some reason, the name Ribbajack suggests a sandwich to me, rather than a monster. I could almost picture myself going to McDonalds and saying, "I'll take a Ribbajack, a small fries, and a large Coke." In actuality, Ribbajack is the title of a short story collection by Redwall author, Brian Jacques.

Like all of Jacques' books, Ribbajack is for children--this edition is listed as being for ages 9 and up on the back cover--but it can still be enjoyedd by adults. This book is in the tradition of his previous short story collection, Seven Strange and Ghostly Tales in that it too is a collection of horror stories for children, though only six in this case.

The first is "Ribbajack," is about a naughty little boy who hates everyone and summons a monster to get rid of an enemy. Then comes a smile and a wave, which is a fairly spooky ghost story about a girl who doesn't like her coat. "The All Ireland Champion Versus the Nye Add" is about a fisherman who tries to catch a mermaid. "The Mystery of Huma D'Este" is about a bully who runs into someone (or something) he can't bully. "Miggy Mags and the Malabar Sailor" is about a little girl, her pet mongoose, and her wicked uncle. "Rosie's Pet" is about a mean little girl who becomes a werewolf.

While I like the book, and all the stories are good, they aren't all great. "A Smile and a Wave" lacked a certain oomph, and I wasn't entirely satisfied with the ending of Rosie's Pet. Still I like the book enough to give it 4 and a half yo-yos.