Books · Favorites · graphic novels

The Chillling Adventures of Sabrina: Comics vs. Show

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My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Back in 2018 Netflix premiered The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and fans of the original show from the 90s (myself included) rejoiced. It was apparent right off the bat that this newer version of Sabrina was hardly anything like the family-friendly version we remembered. It was a darker – much darker – filled with occultism, satanic rituals, orgies, murder, and the Dark Lord, Satan, himself.

I don’t know if everyone was pleased by such a huge shift in nostalgia, but I ate season one up. I enjoyed the newer, more twisted iteration of Sabrina, possibly even more than the original show. Back in the spring, Netflix released a second season, which, to my delight, was just as good as the first. It wasn’t until season two came out that I found out that the show was actually based on a comic series, set in the Archie universe. Recently, I picked up a copy of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: The Crucible (vol. 1) to see just how the two compared.

There are some major differences between the comic and the television show. The comic, believe it or not, is even darker and more mature than the show. The story arch is similar: Set in the 1960s, Sabrina is a half witch on the verge of turning sixteen. The eve of her dark baptism is approaching – the occasion in which Sabrina signs her name in the Book of the Beast and fully commits herself to Lord Satan – but, naturally, she has some conflicting feelings. Is she really ready to give up her friends, boyfriend, and all that she’s come to know in the mortal world?

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I really liked the comic version of Sabrina. Her mortal friends and boyfriend were a little less present than they were in the show, which I actually preferred because I found them a little annoying at times. (Both versions of Harvey are boring and too white bread for me.) There was more Salem in the comic and he actually talked, just like the original 90s version. More talking cats is always a win for me. I also liked the crossover with Riverdale and Archie characters (I was also delighted to see Sabrina make an appearance in the Afterlife with Archie graphic novel.), although I don’t think this would have worked in the show. Sabrina’s backstory is quite different here and far more fucked up. Her parents aren’t dead this time. Rather, her mother is trapped in a mental hospital and her father is trapped inside a tree. There’s less misogyny than the show. We don’t really learn much about the coven the Spellmans belong to and there’s no Father Blackwood contending for a spot as the biggest douchebag in the series. Thankfully, Madam Satan (disguised as one of Sabrina’s teachers), is still present, following her own agenda and meddling in all of Sabrina’s affairs in a deliciously wicked way. Even without the brilliant performance of Michelle Gomez, comic version of Madam Satan is just as satisfying.

So far, there’s only one graphic novel and there’s some speculation as to whether or not there will be another. For now, I’ll keep my fingers crossed and just have to wait for Netflix to make another season to tide me over. 

Favorites · Sci-Fi

Strange Things, Indeed (Season 3 Review)

SPOILER ALERT. DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN’T FINISHED WATCHING SEASON 3! 

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Eleven and the gang are back for another season, only this time around there’s way more hair and bad outfits to go around. Everyone’s been busy since we last saw them: Eleven and Mike have been busy sucking face, Dustin has been off at summer camp, and Steve landed a job slinging ice cream at the brand spanking new mall, Starcourt.

Everyone is ready to have a normal summer, filled with teen love and angst when shit gets weird…again. Russian communists have infiltrated Hawkins and are trying to re-open the portal to the Upside Down, which had been closed by Eleven last season. On top of that, Max’s big brother Billy seems to be acting more douche-y than usual…

This season was amazing. I was worried that it was going to be lame, with all the teenage drama and whatnot, but I actually ended up liking this season better than the previous one. Despite the weird and sometimes horrific stuff going on, the writers managed to add comedy and lightness to this season that hadn’t been there before. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just watch any scene with Steve and Dustin.) The younger characters were a little more mature (except Mike, he was whiny and kind of annoying) and complex this time around, dealing with real-life issues that all teens experience: romance, strained friendships, boundaries, standing up for your friends, etc. There were some great new characters thrown into the mix, as well, like smart and sarcastic Robin. Of all the relationships we’ve seen evolve on the show, the big brother/little brother relationship between Steve and Dustin is by far my favorite. They are absolutely hilarious together and I just love them.

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The girls were more front and center this time around, too, which I really liked. Eleven finally gets to have a somewhat “normal” life and figure out who she is. It was fun to watch the friendship blooming between Eleven and Max and see how much Eleven changes throughout the course of the season.

Overall, this season was a huge win for me. I have some theories on that last scene we saw and what it all means, but I guess we’ll  have to wait and see if there is going to be another season.

Are you a Stranger Things fan? What did you think of season 3? 

 

Fantasy · Favorites · graphic novels

Book Review: Saga (1 & 2) by Brian Vaughn

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Last weekend I attended the highly anticipated, annual HeroesCon here in Charlotte. It’s a 3 day event celebrating all things comic books, graphic novels, superheroes, and nerdy pop-culture. This was actually my first year attending and I’m now wondering why the hell I haven’t gone sooner. It was so much fun. There was some interesting panel topics, but I was so busy checking out all the graphic novels, merchandise, art, and amazing cosplay (HeroesCon takes its cosplay seriously) out on the floor that I only managed to check out one panel. I will definitely be attending multiple days next year.

While I was at the con I (obviously) picked up some reading material, including the first two books in the Saga series. I immediately devoured both of them and will be picking up more of the series pretty soon.

Saga (#1) – When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.

Saga (#2) – The smash-hit ongoing epic continues! Thanks to her star-crossed parents Marko and Alana, newborn baby Hazel has already survived lethal assassins, rampaging armies, and alien monstrosities, but in the cold vastness of outer space, the little girl encounters something truly frightening: her grandparents!

This series has it all – outer space, plot, romance, weird ass fantasy creatures, raunchy sex, and comedy. It’s told from the point of view of Hazel, daughter of Marko and Alana, who was lucky to be alive. Her parents are from warring planets and have gone through hell to escape multiple assassination attempts. (The things we do for love, right?) We learn bits about where Marko and Alana come from – Landfall, the largest planet in the galaxy, and Wreath, satellite of Landfall. We see pretty quickly that not everyone is as ready to overlook centuries old feuds as the couple is.
The cast of characters in this story is brilliant, including teenage ghost Izabel (who makes one hell of a babysitter), a sidekick cat with the ability to tell when people are lying, and robotic royalty with televisions for heads.
Read this series. You can thank me later.
(Note: These probably aren’t suitable for younger readers, due to some pretty graphic sex illustrations)
Books · Fantasy · Favorites · Life

I’m a Geek! (And It’s Okay!)

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Last weekend Boyfriend and I were walking out of Gamestop, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild clutched happily in my hands, and he jokingly asked when I became such a geek. I brushed off the question, only for it to resurface in my brain later on. When did I become a geek? I wondered, feeling like it was almost a trick question.

In truth, I’ve always been a bit of a geek. For the greater part of my adult life, however, I’ve felt like I had to hide it. When I was a kid I owned a Sega, Playstation, and a Game Boy. One of my best friends was super into video games (and Hanson). I fondly remember sleeping over her house and staying up half the night to play Crash Bandicoot, while Mmm Bop played in the background. I’ve been a book nerd ever since I was old enough to read. My obsession with Harry Potter began when the first book came out, when I was around 11 years old. Those things alone were reason enough to make me feel like a geek. But this didn’t necessarily feel like a good thing. Twenty years ago, people typically used terms like “geek” and “nerd” in a negative way. Geeks were uncool, unattractive, and were supposedly destined to live in their parents’ basements well into their 30s.

I didn’t want that to be me.

As I grew older, I constantly felt like I needed to tone down my geeky side. In my twenties I started hanging around people who made me feel like that side of me was childish and undesirable, so I held back. If I saw a cool Harry Potter shirt for sale, I would look at it and think “I wish I could get away with wearing that,” then quickly dismiss the idea. Those types of things were meant for other people – younger people and people who went to fantasy cons, not for wearing in every day life.

Fast forward to now. We’re halfway through 2019 and I’m approaching 31 years old. I’m currently wearing a jacket with a tiny TARDIS pin on it. There’s another pin on my bag that says “Book Nerd,” which I purchased at BookCon a few weeks ago. There is representation of the fandoms I belong to all over the house. I talk about the books I love and other “geeky” topics on my blog frequently. I plan on attending HeroesCon this weekend.

So, what’s changed? you ask.

A small part of it is the fact that nerd culture and being part of particular fandoms is becoming more mainstream. There are comic and fantasy conventions all over the country, nerd makeup brands, Instagram pages dedicated to cosplay, shows like the Big Bang Theory, etc. Being a geek no longer has the same shameful connotation that it had twenty years ago. Not only is it acceptable now, but in a lot of ways, it’s cool. I don’t deny any of this, but at the same time, it’s not the only reason that I’ve decided to stop hiding my inner geek away from the rest of the world.

Ironically, despite all my griping about turning thirty, I’ve learned quite a bit about myself this past year. I’ve started focusing more on the things that make me happy and letting go of the ones that don’t. I’ve stopped trying to hang around people who make me feel like I need to change or hide who I really am and started spending more time around people who encourage me to be myself. I’ve stopped caring what people think of my pop culture shirts and anime pins. If they don’t like it or want to judge me for it that’s their problem, not mine. Finally letting go, not worrying as much, and just letting my inner geek out in all it’s glory has been a huge breath of fresh air. One that I didn’t realize I needed.

For anyone else out there feeling like they need to hide the things they enjoy: Let it out. Let your geek flag fly.

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Adult · Books · Fantasy · Favorites · Fiction

Book Review: Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb

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My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

King Shrewd is dead at the hands of his son Regal. As is Fitz—or so his enemies and friends believe. But with the help of his allies and his beast magic, he emerges from the grave, deeply scarred in body and soul. The kingdom also teeters toward ruin: Regal has plundered and abandoned the capital, while the rightful heir, Prince Verity, is lost to his mad quest—perhaps to death. Only Verity’s return—or the heir his princess carries—can save the Six Duchies.

But Fitz will not wait. Driven by loss and bitter memories, he undertakes a quest: to kill Regal. The journey casts him into deep waters, as he discovers wild currents of magic within him—currents that will either drown him or make him something more than he was. Goodreads

Overall, this series has become one of my favorites. The world of political intrigue, corruption, and the magical veins running beneath the surface far exceeded any expectations I had when I first picked it up. That being said, my feelings towards the final book were not quite as strong as the first two.

The story started out promising – Fitz just came back from the freaking dead! – and for the most part, I enjoyed it. As always, the storytelling and details are so stunning that it’s hard not to get sucked in. Poor Fitz, he’s gotten his second chance at life and, once again, he’s sucked in the middle of a political and familial shit show. The personal turmoil and reflections in this book definitely showed how much Fitz had grown since the first book. And how much he has lost.

Despite all the horrible things he’s witnessed and the arduous journey he embarks on, there is one thing that remains constant in his life: Nighteyes. Oh Nighteyes. I adore Nighteyes. He is, hands down, the best character in this entire series and even if this book had turned out to be horrible, I would have read it anyway because of Nighteyes. The relationship that Fitz has with his Wit companion is more touching than any other relationship in the series. Or any other book, period. The new characters we were introduced to kept things interesting, although I can’t say that I was particularly attached to any of them. (By the end, Kettle got on my nerves.) I loved that we got to see more of the Fool and learn about his role in Fitz’s life.

I appreciated this book for all it’s details and intricacies, but was left feeling a little disappointed with the last quarter of it. Without wanting to give too much away, I will say that there was a lot of big and important things going on. Unfortunately, I felt the explanations of these things were glossed over. Of the explanations we did get, they hardly scratched the surface. I kept itching for more and coming up with a million more questions that never went fully answered.

I felt like the ending was a bit bittersweet, although I’m not sure if that was intended or not. It definitely didn’t go in the direction I expected, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Despite the few things that bothered me about this one, I still really enjoyed it and would read it again in a heartbeat, if not for Nighteyes alone. ❤

Books · Favorites · food · Non-Fiction

Book Review: Buttermilk Graffiti by Edward Lee

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My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

According to Chef Lee, the best way to get to know someone is to eat the food that they eat. Not only do you learn about their personal tastes, but you develop a deeper connection to them and where they came from. This is exactly the notion that Lee chased when he began travelling all over the country, in search of American immigrants and the food and stories that they bring to the table.

In Buttermilk Graffiti we’re introduced to Lee and his own background as a Korean American chef with one foot in the deep South, the other firmly rooted in his family heritage. On his journey he takes us everywhere from New Orleans to learn about beignets, Connecticut to learn about smen, West Virginia to sample slaw dogs, and Louisville for some down-home goodness. And that’s only the beginning. The point of his journey was not only to taste delicious foods, but to learn about how they’ve evolved, if at all. How did authentic Korean food come to be in Montgomery, Alabama? How did Brighton Beach become a haven for Russian immigrants? At times, the answers he recieveonly inspire a dozen more questions.

Sometimes he’s the odd man out, other times he blends in flawlessly. That’s both the beauty and (sometimes) ugliness of American culture. Throughout his travels, Lee gives a voice to the other odd ones out, the ones who have much to say, share, and cook about. The ones who so seldom actually get a voice.

This was not only an inspiring and creative story about food, but an incredibly insightful look into the lives of who really makes up the melting pot that is America.

Adult · Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Favorites

Book Review: The Hod King

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My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Fearing an uprising, the Sphinx sends Senlin to investigate a plot that has taken hold in the ringdom of Pelphia. Alone in the city, Senlin infiltrates a bloody arena where hods battle for the public’s entertainment. But his investigation is quickly derailed by a gruesome crime and an unexpected reunion.

Posing as a noble lady and her handmaid, Voleta and Iren attempt to reach Marya, who is isolated by her fame. Edith, now captain of the Sphinx’s fierce flagship, joins forces with a fellow wakeman to investigate the disappearance of a beloved friend.

As Senlin and his crew become further dragged in to the conspiracies of the Tower, everything falls to one question: Who is The Hod King?

Every book in the Books of Babel series is completely different than the last, but, once again, Josiah Bancroft hits the nail right on the head. The structure of The Hod King is different than the previous two books. Each chunk of the book follows a different member of Senlin’s former crew and chronicles their misadventures in Pelphia.

I really appreciated the character development in The Arm of the Sphinx. This time around, the characters we’ve come to know and love throw some unexpected surprises at us. Of all the characters in the story, I think I was most impressed with Voleta in this book and how different she is now than she was when we first met her. Even Iren, who didn’t do much for me previously, has finally found a place in my heart now that we got to see things from her perspective.

Pelphia is quite strange. It’s definitely one of my favorite ringdoms we’ve gotten to experience so far, even though most of the people there are quite ghastly. Even after reading book three, I am still in awe of the incredibly unique and richly detailed world of the Tower that Bancroft has created. The story only gets better and better as it goes along and I already know that I never want it to end.

I want to say so much more about this book, but I don’t even know how to begin critiquing perfection.