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M. E. Quinn (Ottawa, ON CA)
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Deceived: Star Wars (The Old Republic)
Deceived: Star Wars (The Old Republic)
by Paul S. Kemp
Edition: Hardcover
14 used & new from CDN$ 3.24

3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting characters, but plot and writing are dull, Nov. 14 2011
This was a slog to get through, as interested as I am about the battle of Coruscant. Darth Malgus was by far the most interesting and nuanced character and even the glimpses of Eleena's character were really well done. The start is strong until you realize that it's no joke that the pilot's name is "Z-man". Then you have an empathetic jedi who freaks out and goes on a roaring rampage of revenge with very little labouring over the idea of revenge until the very end. There's really not too much plot going on either, other than Malgus' personal journey. A good deal of the actual writing is simplistic and boring; I really wasn't engaged or pulled in except at the very start. The beginning has great action and it's unclear who you should be rooting for, but soon after everyone's motivations become obvious and predictable.

Overall, I doubt I'd read this book again (and I'm a big re-reader) or really recommend it unless you're looking for background for the Old Republic. Or just skip to all the sections with Malgus. I say this even as someone who is not a fan of Sith Lords in general. I have to disagree with the other reviewers and recommend Sean William's Fatal Alliance or John Jackson Miller's Knight Errant if you're looking for a good story in the Old Republic time period.

Shades of Milk and Honey
Shades of Milk and Honey
by Mary Robinette Kowal
Edition: Hardcover
12 used & new from CDN$ 26.72

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely, magic book with a true Austen feel to it, Sept. 22 2010
I have been a great fan of Jane Austen and other contemporary fiction for a long time, but for much longer I've enjoyed science fiction and fantasy. So after hearing good things about this book, it really wasn't much of a surprise that my sister gave me this book. She knows me well!

It's a delight, really. It feels authentic and natural in voice - you could imagine that if Jane Austen wrote fantasy, it would look like this. The manners, the reality of life as a middle class lady, the traditions and fads of the day - they are all here, with the magic (glamour) woven in seamlessly. Shades of Milk and Honey has such great world-building that even those completely unfamiliar with the time period will understand, but I am certain this will amuse and fascinate any Austen-lover.

The story is of a youngish woman, the eldest daughter of a middle class gentleman, approaching spinsterhood, but still with hopes of a happy marriage. Jane Ellsworth has no immediate beauty, but possesses a talent with art, music, but most of all glamour. It's presented as a sort of parlour glamour, but seeing two very skilled pratitioners in the book, other applications leap to mind - use in war is mentioned. The idea of the deception of beauty comes up a few times, both in the concept of glamour and in Jane's lovely sister, Melody. Much of the story is of the everyday meetings of people in Jane's circle and matchmaking between them. I love that I was left almost as much in dark about where people's hearts lay as Jane was - it really reinforced how little power of influence she has in what is the most important decision of a woman's life. I also loved that Jane shows many times that even if she is disappointed in love, she doesn't depend on it entirely. Yet she still hopes. Jane Ellsworth really is a relatable charater to a modern woman, while remaining true to her time period.

I especially loved Jane Ellsworth's approach to her art. She's almost scientific in how she creates and handles it, while acknowledging the beauty and effect. Her inquisitiveness gets her in trouble with a visiting master, Mr. Vincent, who doesn't seem to care for his creations being examined down to the framework, so to speak. So many of my favorite Austen books have great discussions on subjects like this (landscapes in Northanger Abbey, personality in Pride and Prejudice, secrets in Sense and Sensibility). Here it is how to approach art - to simply enjoy it, or to examine it? Which is more respectful, and which is desireable to the artist?

I'm reading it a second time because I agree with both viewpoints. I read a work first to sink into it and something that seems there simply to show off skill or technique, but draws you out of the story can ruin it for me, but this is not at all the case with this book. The second time I'll read something I enjoy to find out why it works so well. I hope that's respectful enough for Mr. Vincent.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Volume 7 Dueling Ambitions
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Volume 7 Dueling Ambitions
by John Jackson Miller
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.15
30 used & new from CDN$ 7.75

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Low point for a great series, April 21 2010
After the abolsute high of the last volume (#6), which wrapped up the main storyline, the next installments are something of a disappointment. Even ignoring expectations based on what happened before, everything meanders and nothing really seems clear. Zayne and company all had such strong motivations leading up to the big confrontation and it was their wants that really drove the story. It's as if they lost all motivation in this volume, though. They do things, but I can't figure out /why/. Hints had been dropped in past volumes that something weird has gone in on Jarael's past, but it really came off ham-fisted the way the plot point was shoved back into the story, when it's kind of obvious who she is now is all that has ever mattered to Zayne.

I love the idea that Gryph and his "henchman" would go around making money and doing inadvertent good, but I don't care for how it's played out here. It's really just not nearly as fun as you'd think it'd be. There's this air of melodrama that dampens everything. Coupled with the lack of any driving force to the character's motivations, it really makes for a boring story. It meanders.

BUT! The next volume is ten times better! So, honestly, if you've come this far with the series you really shouldn't give up unless you are strapped for cash. The art is still amazing. The world of the Old Republic is still so interesting. But I wouldn't blame you if you left off before here, because the first 6 volumes are stellar all together.

Penguin Classics Cranford
Penguin Classics Cranford
by Elizabeth Gaskell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 15.75
36 used & new from CDN$ 11.30

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely, hilarious book, April 21 2010
Let me just say the cloth cover is amazing. So beautiful and it really seems like something that will hold up over multiple readings. Cranford itself is a book I've never read and only really know about because I kept missing seeing the miniseries on PBS. I'm glad I picked up it up along with the other books in the cover series because it is delightful. It is LOL-ful, seriously. And bizarre, and heartbreaking, and silly and just so well written I can't get over how I'd missed this. I blame every teacher I ever had.

The supplemental material, especially the index and the footnotes, is good stuff.

Dungeon Master's Screen: A 4th Edition D&D Accessory
Dungeon Master's Screen: A 4th Edition D&D Accessory
by Wizards RPG Team
Edition: Board book
15 used & new from CDN$ 72.41

5.0 out of 5 stars Other reviewers aren't kidding., Feb. 3 2010
It really is really slick looking. I didn't look it over, but others have listed the information included on it. I'm a player, I don't like to spoil myself! But my DM is delighted with it and it's pretty easy on the eyes from my point of view. It's a serious upgrade from the 2nd edition flimsy things, and we needed two of each of those because they didn't cover nearly so much space.

Goodnight Moon
Goodnight Moon
by Margaret Wise Brown
Edition: Board book
Price: CDN$ 9.49
160 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars I grew up with this book, but give it to people who haven't., Jan. 31 2010
This review is from: Goodnight Moon (Board book)
I loved this book as a kid. I don't remember it being read to me, but I read it to my younger sister as it's a good book for young readers as well. Now that my friends are having kids, I've rediscovered how good this book is. I'm from the states and most people I know in Ottawa didn't grow up with the book, but after some initial skepticism with an unknown and OLD book, they come to love it as a bedtime book. The rhythm is lovely and soothing and kids always love looking for the mouse! It's also fun enough that I smile everytime I read "Goodnight nobody" to this day.

Gallop!: A Scanimation Picture Book
Gallop!: A Scanimation Picture Book
by Rufus Butler Seder
Edition: Board book
Price: CDN$ 11.51
160 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars More entertaining than it looks.. and it looks so cool., Jan. 31 2010
Seriously I can't get over how my goddaughter gets excited over this book. I thought it was pretty amazing, but that's nothing compared to her reaction. I've always thought that some of the best books for kids make very little sense to adults, and this may be the case here.

Emma Vol. 10
Emma Vol. 10
by Kaoru Mori
Edition: Paperback
18 used & new from CDN$ 48.10

5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing finish to a great series, Jan. 31 2010
This review is from: Emma Vol. 10 (Paperback)
This is the ur-volume of Emma - it's everything you love about the series wrapped up with a big, Victorian bow. It's such a shame that the story is really finished, as Mori's art is better than ever and every detail and scene is so lovingly drawn in every panel.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Volume 1 Commencement
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Volume 1 Commencement
by John Jackson Miller
Edition: Paperback
23 used & new from CDN$ 4.81

5.0 out of 5 stars The Old Republic seen anew, Jan. 31 2010
I picked up this comic because I was a huge fan of the two RPGS, Knights of the Old Republic. I'm a Star Wars fan, but I sometimes get a little original trilogy weary in the Extended Universe. The Old Republic feels unexplored and full of mystery, despite being you know, the past. The comic creates this feeling to the same extent as the games - you're thrust into something familiar, but wholly new. There are Jedi, crooks, crime, politics, Sith, and people and aliens who just want to live their lives, but none of them are ones we know. The comic starts a little before the games, and the grand story told there is echoed here, but it's only peripheral and serves to make the universe feel really big and the problems of young Zayne Carrick seem so small. He's a terrible Jedi apprentice and he knows it. But when he lucks out of being killed by his usual bad luck and clumsiness, and is then framed for the murders that are committed, he's forced to go on the run with small time (but big ego) crook Gryph. It's hilarious, amazing, fun, and tragic. It's everything you want out of Star Wars without being the same old same old. The art is fantastic, especially the character and their surrounding design. I can't recommend it enough.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Volume 6 Vindication
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Volume 6 Vindication
by John Jackson Miller
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.87
19 used & new from CDN$ 3.23

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the payoff!, Jan. 31 2010
Zayne's journey to redeem himself comes to a conclusion here, and it's so very, very, very well done. Zayne and Gryph both get Crowning Moments of Awesome and the resolution makes you want to reread all the previous books. Great art, great characterization, and a very satisfying story.

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