Monday, August 29, 2016

The Kingkiller Chronicles books I and II: A Response

Ok so  a couple of months ago my girl and fellow goddam nerd Sam wrote a review of the Kingkiller Chronicles and I in no way want to distractfrom her thoughts about the the two novels that Patrick Rothfuss has released thus far. HOWEVER,  >_>  <_<    , I have my own. FIGHT ME SAM!!

Spoiler free overview: so this section of the review has to be called the "spoiler free" section, bc the second section pertains particulary  to the second novel and therefore offers spoilers and i FUCKING HATE THAT so, ahem. yeah.

Sam and I agree: I have no idea how the shit to say this dude's name. It's spelled Kvothe, but pronounced "Quothey"? regardless, my mans is a washed up hack when we meet him. his hole in the wall, backwoods, 2 bedroom-1 bath inn is "busy" in the sense that a grocery store bathroom is busy. people use it but only when they, like, gotta i guess. his companion Bast is FULL of mysteries, and this bro he comes across, the Chronicler, has a reputation that precedes him. what's more, he suspects that Kvothe has more in him than the capacity to baste a mutton chop and pour a shitty brandy for the literal sheep-fucking locals. in fact, Kvothefonzwhatever has a an incredibly full and vibrant history. i mean the "KingKiller" series is ostensibly named after him and when we meet him, he's polishing bottles of rum. so. yeah. something the fuck is going on here.

The Name of the Wind is a clever framed narrative wherein Kvothe tells his story to this Chronicler as Bast watches on. we meet his family and watch (as sam eloquently describes in her review, from which i will not pilfer) as he and they get their shit fucked up by some like demon people called the Chandrian. it's wild. Kvothe's recovery involves extreme poverty and an incredible, irreverent, and recurring brilliance that carries him towards his life's goals and beyond them.

Spoiler-free thoughts:
Ok so. I rarely read a book in which very little seems to actually happen. upon reflection, this is an inaccurate assessment of this novel, however, considering that our protagonist is an "old" man sitting at a table throughout it's entirety (save one badass spider-demon slaying thunderstormy scene) I find myself finishing Name of le wind really interested in what Kvothe manages in the second novel.
Characters:  the strength of this novel and the series as a whole is the awesome supple brilliance of these dymanic characters. they grow, man. they surprise, they are evocative, they remind me of myself way to often for me to not personally hear  the rebukes they receive. When Kvothe struggles to figure out if a girl likes him, i catch myself saying "SAME, BRO" aloud on the metro, when he's a trifle too confident and errs on the side of conceited, i feel my own cheeks (theoretically) turn red at the rebuke
Writing style: ingestible af.. at times overwrought but not so heavy handedly so that i want to put it down. just a lot of adjectives and advebs in the typical fantasy style. (In this he is MUCH improved in the second novel, btw. Vastly.) He sneaks ciritcal pieces of info in any seemingly trivial passage so watch out for easter eggs as you read, they are def there.  Rothfuss' similes are quite evocative, as are his feel for the end of a paragraph or chapter.

Spoilers aka I hate this aka the second (read: better) novel

 i'll give some credit to Rothfuss. he creates some in depth and awesome languages in these novels. and that's why i find myself unbothered when considering the reliability of the narrator.  there are so many moments where we get some truly gorgeous prose, whole paragraphs are compelling and painful and gruesome and infuriating. Rothfuss evokes all these in me while telling a what is really a pretty cool story. Ultimately,because of the events outside Kvothe's lil framed narrative, i think we're gonna find out whether he's full of shit or really, truly, about that action. Though i suppose I'll resign myslef to wait until the third novel is released to get that answer.

What it rates: NoTW: 3.75/5 guinesses; TWMF: 4.9/5 Bell's Two Hearted Ales (bc favoite beer and this second novel warrants such praise)

What to pair it with: well how long do you have to read? are you a "finish this work in a weekend reader? if so, a light american POS  millerlite might be the move just because of the sheer volume the series will occupy, even just two books in.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

Hey everyone, I hope your week has been nice. So I’m pretty sure this is a book that I found purely because of Sam. I think it was mentioned at her book club which I crashed so it ended up on my to-read list and then ended up coming free at the library (because I’m cheap and I love a good e-book) before Sam could get to it! Woo, go me.

I have to admit, I’m on a family trip so thanks family for the drinks, lets just say there was a lot of prosecco hadby me tonight. Tomorrow morning will probably suck!!! But I’ll be at the beachso who really cares…

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
by Catherynne M. Valente  

 The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland, #1)
Spoiler Free Review: A little girl named September is whisked to Fairlyand and things kind of immediately go wrong, but September is one of those sweet, kind-hearted kids who is yearning for adventure and willing to dangerous shit. She makes friends with a few creatures like aWyvern that thinks it’s dad is a library (It’s name is A-through-Ell and he’s very charming) and whatever the hell Saturday is supposed to be (because I don’t remember and I don’t feel like looking it up). Fairlyand is ruled by the Marquess who at times doesn’t seem so evil as much as she is the irritating part of bureaucracy, and everyone misses the good queen Mallow. The book is conflicting because at times it’s really cute and at other times it gets really dark. I kind of got the feeling that it wasn’t sure who it was going to be marketed to. There were jokes that were clearly meant for younger audiences, but a lot of the book seemed like it would be too intense for a youjnger audience. Then again all I have to base this on are my cousins. Basically it’s a small pool and I can’t tell if they’re “r” or the control group…. (woo Science!!!???). That being said the formatting is what you might expect from a book like this; a fairly consistent tale of one quest leading into another. I was pretty impressed by some of the ideas in this book. I’m not particularly familiar with fairy tales so maybe these are tropes that are just new to me, but there were some creatures that surprised me; a golum made of soap, a wyvern ( like a dragon but without the t-rex arms) that thought it’s dad was a library, inanimate objects that gain sentience at the age of 100. I liked the inventiveness of this universe even though I was confused by the target audience.

Spoilered Review

Back to non-spoilers

All the spoilers being said, I did enjoy the book, and the supporting cast was fairly strong. A-through-Ell was quite a bit of fun and I did enjoy September and a lot of the one off characters. There are a few people that I hope show up in the future books in the series; a la the various big flying cats, who could be fun, and a few of the characters that September helps along the way.


So this book wins 4 shots out of 5. It was overall a nice read (and a fairly quick one at that) but I want to see what changes in the future books before I would tell people to read this, though as I said above I liked the creatures that appeared.

This book is a high alcohol cider of some sort. It seems like it’s aimed at youjnger people but still has those darker moments that aren’t meant for someone new to this…

signing off ginny

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany and Jack Thorne

HELLO!!! It's Doctor Night.....

What I drank prior: Okay so, it's Doctor night. But Doctor night has evolved into Supernatural night because we ran out of Doctor Who episodes. I drank something like 8 beers and half a bottle of wine. Wait... there was a shot of vodka in there somewhere.

Spoiler-free Overview:
YO. Okay so this is new Harry Potter cannon. Like, it wasn't written by Jo, but it was approved by her. So that's a thing. But the VERY FIRST thing you have to understand when you read this script is that it was NOT written by the legendary J.K. Rowling herself. Additionally, you have to understand it is a script and not a novel, so the plot and the backstory are tough to develop in this format.

So the main premise is that Harry's son Albus is dealing with some crap in that he has to deal with being the famous Harry Potter's son. This is Albus's story, not Harry's. There are things that happen, that are sketchy and unorthodox for the Potter family. Adventures happen. I really don't want to spoil you because it's such a fast read as a script that it makes it tough to describe the plot without spoiling so I just wont.

Spoiler-free thoughts:
YOUGUYSTHERESNEWCANNONANDICANTHANDLEIT!!!! Like literally, I cannot describe how excited I was to get this new book. It actually caused drama within my fam because I was the only one to pre-order and they were fighting as to who got my copy first. YOU GUYS! THERE IS NEW HARRY POTTER!

So those were my initial thoughts. Additionally, I love that this si not a HP story. His story is over. It's time for his kids to start dealing with life.

Plot: So the plot is what you expect for a play script. There are only so many things they can explain right? Like, there are things I want to know more about, but considering the format, we (as the audience) need to udnerstand that it's just a thing tha t we have to accept. Right? But at the same time, this story has a full plot arc. Intro, problem, problem solving, conflict, etc, etc, etc. (Please read that as EXCETERA like they do in the King and I musical.)

I really did love this book for what it was, a play. There were times where I was legit tearing up. Some of the dialogue hits you right in the fucking feels. You have to be prepared for that. Otherwise you'll be a goddamn mess forever.

Writing Style: It's hard to describe this because it's a play right? So, if you get past the fact that its only dialogue I was pretty happy with ti. There are "stage directions" that help with udnerstanding what the characters are feeling at the moment and to ve completely honest...... sometimes I didn't need them. The writing was good enough that I KNEW what the characters were thinking.

Characters: YOOOOOOOH, okay. I don't think that the characters in this book are developed enough. But to be vompletely fair, it's a play, i'm not sure how much room they had to develop characters. So, there are a couple I want to talk about.

1. Albus: Errybody like "Albus, no." Albus be like "ALBUS YES."
2. Scorpius: He's BAE. Fight me.
3. Harry: This is a side of him that I think personally as HP fans needed to see
4. Hermione: I have some pretty major issues with this character... we'll talk more in spoilers
6. Draco: Loved with all my soul.

Spoiler thoughts:

Rating: 5/5 Shots. All of the shots.

What to pair it with: A dirty shirley (a shirley temple with vodka.) because it reminds you of your childhood.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

a note: I'm gonna try to write substatnively about this piece of art but it was incredible and my puny human emotions are inusfficient a a set of watercolors with which to paint it.

what i drank: I had a half-doxen pints of miller lite and three and a half glasses of white wine and half dozen shots of boodles gin (out of a Duke shotglass that I hate because fuck Dook, amirite?!?!?)

EDITORS' NOTE: Hi, it's Sam. The next morning. Last night he was the drunkest I'd seen him in a while. This review is NOT edited for spelling/grammar only to ensure the book and the author's name are spelled correctly and capitalized. Ms. Gyasi deserves that.  And I'm dying reading this. 
WRITERS'S RESPONSE: Dammit, Sam, let me live.

spoiler free plot
a week after reading "Homegoing" it's hard not to cry thinking about it. i didn't cry reading it, though i put it down four separate times to walk away and.. i dunno put my life back together.

 Yaa Gyasi's novel is beautiful. it is heartbreaking and beautiful and a fantastic accomplishment in poesy and story writing.

in the novel she traces an  18th centrury west african family' split at the hands and "benefaction" of british slavers through history and across the atlantic. as two distinct familial lines emerge, society and happenstance come to bear on their luck and, again, fuck. 

this brilliant artist manages to remind to remind me of the struggles i encoutner today in America without even adressing them directly. by painting a viscerally accurate panorama of the children of the diaspora she draws me and my family. again, it was incredible

"Homegoing" stars dozends of  protagonists who each encounter a complex stet of interal and external conflicts. whether in a Village in Ghana or Harlem or Arkansas or Palo Alto, CA, the progeny of  Gyasi's first chapters all evolve, though not over the page widths that novel readers traditionally expect. these men and women succeed and fail, are raped and conquer kingdoms, attend prestigious universites and mainline heroin instead of feeding themelves and their children.

as i read it, the real protagonist of this novel are the children of the forced diaspora. we hardly spendmore of a chapter with any one generation (let alone character!) and yet Gyasi writes well enough that i feel great grandparents' wrath and blessing as if it were the childhood memory of the twenty-somethings whose vignettes end the novel. time manages to function as a vehicle and object of  the grand themes that weave this novel together. again, FUCK.

writing style
Gyasi is versatile at times i feel an almost hemingway-like syntax. this terse she can break hearts. she slips in history. she builds context and tension until both swell like infected limbs and when the flies land they quiver with breathless verve. as each family/generation's story unfolds, she create an imperative tone that fills the senses. i had an interesting conversation about the plot arc ofthis novel. i think it ascends continuously to the end of the novel, instead of posessign the traditional rising action-climax-falling action setup, but please disagree with me about this.

this book reminds me of my family and what millions of families like mine have gone through. that sentence reads as sloppy or lazy at first, but do not mistake me; it does not remind me of individuals; rather, it recalls in me a generational memory. Gyasi's prose evokes anger in me, but not my own. it engenders a watchful and sullen observation ofthose whose lineage managed to avoid so many of these lashes and billy-clubbings. idk. the hour it took me to trapse through this reveiw was a teary one. that emotion was largely sadness, though anger plated a role, and somewhere, buried like a fleck of gold in a jet black stone was hope, was a desparate sense that home is there to be found if we can fight our fear of drowning.

rating: 5/5 plugs of 96% pure corn liquor for the 5/5 hours spent  staring at the drywall, comparing this novel's life to the history of your actual blood family who was enslaved in the south and succeeded and failed at navigating a series of systems designed to profit off its labor, struggle, its despair and death.

 a red with body. or a wit insofar as that's a good summer beer and as a novel of various passions and compasions, "Homegoing" is a good summer novel.

fuck. brb. weepy again.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

What I Drank Prior to This Review: At least a bottle of wine? Maybe more?

Going to be honest, today was THE WORST. I had a horrible day. So I kept drinking. And now i'm drunk enough for a review.

Spoiler-free Overview
First and foremost, Parker made me read this book. THANK YOU PARKER! So, so good. So there's this kid named Oscar (I feel liek this is pretty obvious.) His family is from the Dominican Republic. So this book is FILLED with Spanglish.

For those of you who don't know. My family is from Argentina. My father is the definition of an anchor baby. His folks (my Granny and Granpa --SHOUTOUT--) live in Buenos Aires. BA is one of the greatest cities ever. Needless to say, I speak my fair share of Spanish. This book is basically Spanglish at its best.

Anyway. Oscar is a nerd. A super nerd. And this story is about his life. He grows up in New Jersey. He also really (really) wants to fall in love (read: get laid). This story goes through his life. His ups, his downs....okay fine mostly his downs. And how he grows as a human.

Spoiler-free Thoughts
Alright. This book was awesome. You're totally engrossed in the story. It's not written in first person, though you kinda feel like it is. THe whole story seems like a huge metaphor while at the same time feels like it could actually happen. You also get some flashbacks into his mother and grandmother's past; stories that further reiterate a concept of karma. THough they call it fuku. The DR version of karma.

So what I love about this book is that no event is really crucial, you know? It's a "fictional memoir." Is that even a thing? Apparently it is. But I was completely taken by this story. I loved it. It was never slow, but it was never really fast either? It was well paced and the twists and turns were not super predictable but also not unpredictable (see spoilers). I just thought it was great.

What can I say. There is really only one. The narrator is Oscar's bff, but the story is his. Completely his. Even the side stories, they're all written with the intention of showing why Oscar is the way he is. I LOVED Oscar as a human. He was just so real. He had real feelings that effected his real choices. Let's be honest here ok? Any of us could have been Oscar.

You guys remember reading The Kite Runner and it took you until about half way through to realize it was actually fiction? If I hadn't already known it was fiction, i would believe this story to be true.

Writing Style
The writing style is beautiful. The end. Just believe me.


Rating: 5/5 Shots. Really. Inspiring book.

What to pair it with: Rum. Obviously.

For now, I am forever drunkenly yours,