Friday, July 24, 2009

Brisingr Review

I just finished Brisingr by Christopher Paolini. It's the third book in what was originally supposed to be the Inheritance Trilogy but what is now the "Inheritance Cycle" since the story has spilled over into a fourth, yet-to-be-published volume. Not the first time that's happened to a series, but I really do think that it's symptomatic of some of the problems with this book.

The funny thing is, that in the acknowledgments, he talks about how long the first draft was and thanks his editor for helping him pare it down. Sheesh! The finished book is 750 pages long. I can only imagine how monstrous the original manuscript must have been. I know that it's supposed to be epic fantasy, and I'm sure Paolini was inspired by Tolkien... perhaps too inspired? One of the beefs I have about the Lord of the Rings is that while it is certainly beautifully written, Tolkien describes everything in excruciating detail. And he "tells" rather than shows. Same with Paolini. I found that there were many, many parts of the book where nothing much happened and it just seemed to drag and drag on forever. There were also several scenes where two characters had long and awkward conversations about certain plot points, just so Paolini could get the information across to the readers. A lot of it was unecessary.

And the details! I know that details help to flesh out a fantasy world and make it real, and you can tell that Paolini must've done a LOT of research for the book. But is it really necessary to go through all the steps of how a sword is made? Or all the proper names for Eragon's armour? There were certain points of the book where it was so detailed that I didn't even understand what he was talking about, and I'm sure 99% of Paolini's readers were in the same boat. Though perhaps somewhere there was a blacksmith or an ancient weapons enthusiast that was very pleased.

I'm all for having descriptions and authenticity in books, but a lot of it was over the top. And I thought there were many scenes that did not advance the plot in any way, help us get to know the characters better, or even really help in fleshing out the setting. They were just there, taking up space. I think the book could have been about 150 pages shorter than it was.

Having said that, I think the first part of the book was the worst for this. It picked up about half way through, and I ended up really enjoying the second half of the book. I think Paolini's writing is really coming along, and some day he's going to be great. Just not today. Still, if you like the series, Brisingr won't disappoint (there were a couple of plot twists that I didn't see coming) and I'm sure the fourth book will be the best yet.

P.S. If you're ever bored, go here. Hours and hours of time-wasting fun, I promise.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

FAIL blog hits close to home

Hee hee. Someone finally sent in a picture of the Welcome to Tisdale sign to FAIL Blog. The sign has been around for a while. For those not in the know, "Rape" actually refers to "Rape Seed" aka Canola. But I agree that the sign is in poor taste. Rape? Really? Couldn't think of a better way to phrase that? Perhaps change the motto? I think "The Land of Wheat and Honey" sounds pretty good. Reminds me of the "giant hoe" episode of Corner Gas.

In other news, HP6 was good. I wasn't blown away by it, but I enjoyed it. There were a fair number of differences from the book, and I'm talking major scenes that were not in the book at all, but I think it was still okay. As long as the plot and characters are true to the spirit of the book, then changing stuff up so it works better as a film is okay. One thing that someone pointed out to me today was that they really didn't explain the whole Half-Blood Prince thing. Which is kind of dumb, since that's the title of the movie. Anyway, defs worth another watch, and I'm going again with my sister on Saturday.

Also, just had an interview today. It went okay. Not great, not terrible. Just okay. So, we'll see. If I get the job, things will certainly get interesting.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Harry Potter is an Atheist!

Or at least Daniel Radcliffe is. Way to go Dan.

One more reason to love Harry Potter. I'm definitely getting excited about the sixth movie. Goodness knows they've had us wait long enough for it. The trailers are looking pretty good. The director that did the fifth movie, David Yates, also directed this one, and is also currently working on Part 1 and 2 of Deathly Hallows. I really hope he does better with this movie. I enjoyed The Order of the Phoenix, but disagreed with some of the characterization, particularly of Dumbledore.

Eeeee! I can't wait!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Woe Canada

Is it just me, or does Canada kind of suck right now?

I just rented Passchendaele (God I love Paul Gross), and I was watching the documentary on the making of the film that's included in the extra features and they were talking about how World War I really brought Canada together. The Canadian Corps was admired by the allies, and feared by the Germans. They talked about how the Germans had a special name for the Canadians, Stormtroopers, and they knew to expect the worst when the Canadians were on the field of battle.

Not that I'm getting all romantic about war. It's awful and horrible, and I'm not sure that I should feel proud about how good this country was at killing other people. But at least it was something.

Lately, I'm not feeling like Canada has much to be proud of anymore. I used to feel that Canada was a great country and I was so lucky to be living here. We were peacekeepers, we were leaders in human rights, we were something that the international community admired and emulated.

I just look at the news now, and I think "What has Canada got to be proud of now?"

Our military is still floundering around in the quagmire of the Middle East, searching for an impossible victory. We seem to be backsliding in the human rights department left, right and centre (think of the shit the RCMP have been up to lately, and their blatant cover-up attempts, think Abousfian Abdelrazik and the government's attempts to weasel out of bringing him, a CANADIAN CITIZEN (brown skin notwithstanding) home, and this lovely bullshit from my home province).

We are one of the most advanced countries in the world, and instead of using our wealth and knowledge to better ourselves and the planet, our government is actively engaged in obstructing the world's efforts to actually do something about climate change.

In short, I feel like lately this country has not shown leadership in a single area. I am so sick of our little government of Bush-wannabes sneaking around trying to see what little acts of sabotage they can get away with before the public finally clues in and kicks their fat asses out of office. How I wish that Michaƫlle Jean had had the ovaries to make Stevie boy face the music back in December last year. Though frankly, I'm not entirely confident that Ignatieff and the Libs would do much better. Same shit, different pile.

We've become a nation of apathetic, arrogant ignoramuses, with nothing better to do than sit on our fat asses and watch the latest lobotomizing reality tv shows. I just don't know what it's going to take to shock us out of this.