Trailer Park: Avengers: Age of Ultron

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The Age of Ultron teaser trailer was leaked briefly yesterday. This was Marvel’s initial response:

After that, they went ahead and put the trailer up on YouTube for all the world to see, and the Marvel fandom spent the next several hours collectively freaking out. Of course, after you watch the trailer, you can totally see why:

Yeah, I’m REALLY excited about this one. :-D

*quietly sings “I’ve got no strings on me”*

Robin Williams – Rest in Peace

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Yesterday evening, the news broke that Robin Williams had died.

I’ve spent so much time trying to think of something eloquent to say, but I just…can’t. I don’t have words.

So, in honor of Mr. Williams, here are three of his movies–well, two movies and a stand-up special–that mean something to me.

Thank you for all the laughs, good sir. You will be missed.

Aladdin
As with most people my age, Aladdin was my first exposure to Robin Williams, and remains my favorite of his films just for sheer nostalgia’s sake. The energy he puts into his vocal performance is amazing, and it’s likely one of the reasons the Genie is such a beloved character. Aladdin wouldn’t be half the film it is without him.

(Apparently he would tell jokes to the cast and crew of Schindler’s List to cheer them up, since it was filming at the same time as Aladdin.)

Live on Broadway
Since I grew up watching Robin Williams in family-friendly movies, I was understandably surprised to learn that 1) he did stand-up comedy, and 2) he did stand-up comedy with swearing. I watched Robin Williams Live on Broadway for the first time when I was a freshman in college, and probably saw it twenty times that year alone. It was hilarious, and is still one of my favorite live comedy performances.

The bit on the invention of golf still cracks me up.

The Fisher King
The movie itself was so much more serious than most of his other films that I’d seen, but his performance in it sticks out in my head, most particularly this scene below. As someone who loves romance of all kinds, Williams’s words here resonate deeply with me and why I love it so much.

Obviously, this is only a small fraction of what he did, so please, let me know what I’ve missed or what I need to see. What are some of your favorite movies of his?

Book Review – The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

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the-100-thousand-kingdomsI first heard about The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms on the Writing Excuses podcast, when the crew was talking about magic systems. They mentioned that the magic system in the book didn’t have a lot of explicit rules (at least, not to the level that Brandon Sanderson does in his novels), but that it was okay because the story didn’t need it.

So, when it went on sale for 99 cents, I snapped it up. I’m glad I did, because this book was amazing, and I have been gushing about it to literally EVERYONE who has asked “So, read any good books lately?”

Yeine is the leader of Darre, a small, matriarchal kingdom in the north. After her mother’s death, she’s summoned to Sky, the capital of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, where she’s named as heir to the throne.

The problem is, two other heirs have already been named, which, as Yeine herself puts it, makes her “two heirs too many.” But the battle for the throne is not the only battle going on in this duplicitous city, and unbeknownst to her, Yeine is about to play a much larger part in both than she ever suspects.

Yeine is easily the best thing about the book. I loved her voice, I loved the way she told her story, I loved how completely and utterly out of her depth she was and how she still managed to fight her way through. Her talents are not, at first glance, well-suited to the deeply political situation in Sky, but by God, Yeine learns fast and makes the most of what she has. She screws up, but she doesn’t shy away from fixing her mistakes, and she’s willing to go to great lengths to protect the land and people that she loves so much.

Fantasy novels aren’t often told solely in first person (and if they are, it’s usually a mixture of first and third), but The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is entirely from Yeine’s point of view and it works wonderfully.

It’s woven with an art that shows you she’s jumping back and forth in time, interspersed with interesting asides and digressions, but it never gets dull and it’s never confusing. It’s so well-written that you just want to swim in it and roll around in the words.

I also loved the mythology of the world. We get a lot of stories about the gods’ history and the way the world came into being, how everything got to the way it is now. And it’s not just worldbuilding added for flavor; it’s all important, vital pieces of a puzzle that we need in order to understand what’s happening in the story.

There’s a very strong theme of love and family running through the novel: how you can love someone and hate them in equal measure, love someone and still betray them, how even families that have been broken can still be mended.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is a rich, lovely fantasy novel that, on the one hand, I want to gush about for ages. On the other hand, half the fun of the book is the discovery, learning things as Yeine does, and I don’t want to rob anybody of that joy. If you’re looking for a new fantasy novel, pick this one up as soon as you can. It’s so, so worth the read.