Sunday, October 22, 2017

Double Book Review: Son of Neptune and The Mark of Athena

Sorry for the delay. Today I'm going to be doing a double book review in Rick Riordan's Heroes of Olympus series: The Son of Neptune and The Mark of Athena.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Story:
Percy Jackson, while on the run from monsters, finds himself at a camp that is modeled after Rome on a smaller scale. While settling in, some of his new friends are assigned a quest to head north to find a lost relic that could save the camp from an incoming invasion of Gaea's forces.
It was interesting to see a camp that was modeled after Rome instead of our own camps. The author clearly did his research in the lifestyles of Ancient Rome, and managed to bring them successfully into the twenty-first century. The term for the location of the quest, The Land Beyond The Gods, reminded me of Hadrian's Wall in Britain, as the Romans were never able to push their way into Scotland. When reading this, I felt like Riordan took that piece of history, and added a mythological twist to it. I did enjoy how he took the traditional descriptions of some monsters, and managed to make them work in this story. He has successfully expanded his mythology universe to include the influences of Rome, and that will continue to build as the series progresses.
Caution:
A girl is skewered, but doesn't die. Monsters attack the characters, and many are injured. Some action sequences may be intense.
Lessons:
If we ignore the counsels and teachings of the prophets, we may find ourselves in spiritual and physical danger. People deserve a second chance to do the right thing. We can learn a lot about ourselves by learning about our ancestors.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
When it seems like everything's going smoothly, they go wrong. Camp Jupiter and Camp Half-Blood end up preparing for war while Percy and his friends have to flee across the sea to Rome in order to stop Gaea. Annabeth is forced on a side quest by her mother to right a wrong committed to the goddess centuries ago, and she may not survive it. No one in the team is going to walk away from this unscathed.
I really enjoyed how the characters are leaving the New World and heading back east, to the lands of ancient myth. It adds more to these modern myths by having them retrace the roots of the ancient heroes. My biggest pain with this book was Athena, and the quest she gives her daughter just screamed "suicide" to me. However, upon thinking about it, I saw things differently, and while my initial shock has abated, I still gained one lesson, one that several adaptations seemed to forget: the gods of Greece and Rome were petty, and cared nothing for humanity. I did enjoy the history and archaeology involved with this story, and waiting for the next book will be torture.
Lessons:
We should learn what we can about our heritage and learn from the mistakes of the past. There will come a time when we will be tried and tested, and it will be painful and difficult times for us, but if we have faith and persevere, we will emerge better than before.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Book review: The Cataclysm shows hope lives in dark times

Hallo. I am back, and today I am review another Dragonlance book, The Cataclysm:
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Plot:
The Cataclysm. The event when the gods of Krynn threw a fiery mountain (or meteor, if you want to get technical) upon, the world, shattering it and ending Istar forever, and ushering in The Age of Despair. Here, we are given a series of short stories depicting how the people of the world survived the aftermath, surviving in a world that has been changed. With darkness reigning not only in the corners of the world, but in the hearts of the people as well, it will take special, strong heroes to find the light in a world without gods, a world without faith, a world of despair.
Like The Reign of Istar, this book has multiple plots from containing different stories written by different authors. Some where humorous and well written, while others were touching. The highlight of this book has to be the novella depicting the rise of Lord Soth, and how in a surprising twist he shows how darkness isn't a physical manifestation but an inward choice.
Caution:
Characters in peril, with some blood and broken limbs. Uses of h-word and d-word.
Lessons:
A person's true worth isn't found in their outer appearance, their rank, or their nationality, but in their heart and soul. We should strive to have faith even when those around us choose not to. Even when it doesn't appear so, light and goodness still abound.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Book Review: Ruins of Gorlan is a fantastic series start

Good evening. For those who are still awake, I have chosen to do a review for a book I just finished: The Ruins of Gorlan, the first book of the Ranger's Apprentice series.
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Story:
Will is a ward of Baron Arald, who is chosen to be an apprentice for the ranger Halt. As his training progresses, he learns not only skills for his new trade, but of the threat of a defeated baron called Morgarath, who has been amassing forces from beyond the kingdom, and now is ready to make his move. Will the rangers be able to stop him before it is too late?
I was recommended this series by a friend, and I'm glad I picked it up. It is a good book for a person starting to get into fantasy series. What helps this book stand out is the focus on what it takes for a person to be a ranger, and the training they go through. The exclusion of traditional fantasy races also helps it stand out on its own, and shows creativity on the author's side as he crafts two original races for this world of his. The story isn't drawn out, and while it's too the point, you can still get a lot is happening. Definitely a series worth the read.
Caution
A few uses of the d-word and h-word, and one person uses God's name in an exclamation of shock. Some fights break out, and blood is seen. The description of a monster might be terrifying.
Lessons:
Every one of us is given special skills that we must learn to develop. Knowledge can overcome suspicions.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Book Review: The Reign of Istar shows life before Krynn's darkest moment

Good day everyone. I'm back with another book to review. Today I'm reviewing The Reign of Istar:

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Story:
This is actually a collection of various tales instead of a single plot, but each one shows what was going on in the world of Krynn while the city of Istar was in power. It was not the best of times, for the Kingpriest of Istar was ruthlessly persecuting the people and races of the world, trying to force them to his way of thinking. Intolerance reigned throughout the land, with some races being looked down by the rulers of Istar as pestilences that should be exterminated. Not just races, but people of certain professions, from the robed wizards of Wayreth to the Knights of Solamnia, all faced problems with Istar. Through the different stories we can see just how deadly and dangerous persecution and intolerance can be, and how everyone had to deal with it before the wrath of the gods fell upon the world.
After reading about the days preceding the Cataclysm in Time of the Twins, it was interesting to see more of how difficult life was for other races and people at the time. Often it could be hard to continue with certain stories because of the different characters being followed, but it's good because it shows that things that go on in the world affect many different people instead of a select few. Often I could see similarities between the events of this book with times of religious intolerance and persecution in our world, and people managing to overcome them. If you enjoyed the War of the Lance or the Dragonlance Legends trilogy, you might want to consider picking up this book.
Caution
Blood and gore appear in some of the stories, and some are killed. Some uses of the d-word.
Lessons
When men are proud, they distance themselves from God. Just because someone is different or thinks differently than we do doesn't mean that they are wrong or bad. The world is full of diversity, and we should take the time to appreciate how wonderful our world is because of it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Book review: Dragons of Summer Flame signals beginning of the end

Hi everyone. I know it's bee a while, but I'm back. To signal the advance, I'm going to be doing a review for a book I finished this morning: Dragonlance: Dragons of Summer Flame.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Story:
The War of the Lance is over. The heroes who have survived have moved on with their lives, started families of their own. However, things aren't peaceful in Krynn. Takhisis, the Queen of Darkness is still at work trying to rule the world and is sending her forces out to find strategic points. Among these locations are the island of the Irda, a race of beautiful beings who want nothing to be left alone. To do so, they turn to a mysterious item called the Greygem, believing that by cracking it open they will be able to keep themselves from being conquered by anyone. That turns out to be a huge mistake, as they end up releasing Chaos, the Father of All and None. Angry at having been imprisoned for so long, Chaos decides he will punish all his children by destroying the world of Krynn, pulling it back into the void from whence it came. Stopping Chaos will require something that has not happened in the history of the world: The complete alliance of everything. Good and evil. Light and dark. Every nation, every race, they must all put aside their differences and work together or the entire world will be erased from existence.
I've been enjoying reading the Dragonlance series ever since I picked up Dragons of Autumn Twilight. I did enjoy the story and the plot because it was an interesting idea to bring everyone together to fight against something that will destroy all of them. I did enjoy reading about how many of the characters I had spent the last few books reading about moved on with their lives. However, I had to deduct a star because I found the ending lacking. I just wasn't pleased with it like I was with the other books. I won't give away spoilers, but I'm not sure I'll be continuing the series into the new age of Krynn.
Caution:
Some uses of the d-word and h-word. One use of the g-word. The appearance of Chaos may be in written word, but the description given to fuel the imagination might create the stuff of nightmares. People are killed, and blood is mentioned.
Lessons:
We must honor our parents, but we must also be allowed to choose our own paths in life. Learning from the examples of our ancestors can help us make tough decisions. People can still be redeemed from poor choices they made in life.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Started a Patreon

Hi everyone,
As you know, I started a Patreon last week. The patreon I do is not only for art I do, but I also feature works done by other artists that I commissioned. As a result, the money I earn from Patreon will go to supporting other artists in their endeavors through paid commissions. Here are the rewards you can get on my Patreon. 

$2 - access to my black and white sketches. Also, give suggestions for the names of some made-up beasts for my works. Possible access to pictures of non-Dymos characters that I commissioned other artists. 

$5 - Access to colored versions of my sketches, plus maps of locations of fiction, and access to previous rewards. Access to comics, and can give suggestions as to what comics I commission next.

$10 - Access to previous rewards, plus a say when polls are put up. Also, fully colored maps and other pieces of work revolving around the world of Dymos, and access to the works in progress for comics.

So if you want to help the circle go round, please become a patron. Your donations will go to helping other aspiring artists gain recognition and work, so everyone wins. If you're interested, then click the link and choose your reward tier. However, no one is under any obligation to support me. If you can't afford it, then that's okay. 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Designs for Wild Tribes

Hi everyone. Sorry I haven't been posting, but I've been busy. I have been working hard at the world of Dymos, and one of the things I've been doing is developing the Wild Tribes. I even commissioned an artist on DeviantArt to do these pictures.

Yes, there are people in my world who live in the wilderness. I thought it would be a good way to nod the stories written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I know often that when it comes to crafting worlds with prehistoric animals that people stereotypically dress people who are supposed to be primitive in fur bikinis and loincloths. However, there are several reasons why I chose not to do that.
1. Those outfits are impractical. In my world, there are still massive ice caps akin to those that were supposed to have existed during the Ice Ages. That means that the winters in my world will be cold, and a person running around in furry underwear would freeze to death. The outfits here are more for spring and summer, but they also have outfits for the fall and winter. 
2. Historical accuracy. I like to try to make things as scientifically accurate as possible, with the exception of fantasy creatures, and when I came up with ideas for people who live in the wilds of my world I thought that it would be best to model them after the people of the Stone Age and the legends of the Wild Man. According to the artist I commissioned online, these outfits do resemble what people wore during the time, even though I added the blue markings. 
3. Desire to be different. One of the important things an author must remember is that they must find their own way to be unique. Even when people use mystical races like centaurs or elves, each story uses them differently from one another. I decided if I was going to have people who live in the wilds, that I would be different, and go more with what science would say they looked like rather than what people stereotype.