The Wheel of Time, #1: The Eye of the World (BOOK REVIEW)

Posted on

Insomnia176:

Bless you, sir. I tried to read this book and just couldn’t do it. I may pick it up and try again one day, but not right now. Heck, it took me three tries to get started on The Dark Tower series, so maybe The Wheel of Time isn’t too far out of my reach.

Originally posted on Geekritique:

With the Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan set out to do something truly epic. Although he set out to write a six-book series, he would eventually write 11 books and a prequel before he passed away, with another author finishing the series’ last 3 installments. At the time of it’s arrival the series was extremely popular, becoming the second most successful fantasy series after Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Now nearly 25 years later, after an onslaught of brilliant fantasy literature that constantly evolves, builds upon itself, with strong deviations from clichés and stereotypes, the first work of Robert Jordan’s long-winded series struggles to keep up.

The first and most egregious err on Jordan’s behalf was his attempt to try and fix Tolkien. He attempted to beef it up with more factions, with more realistic scenarios. But the parallels between the Wheel of Time and the Lord of…

View original 398 more words

Currently Reading: Infernal by T. Joseph Browder

Posted on Updated on

I’ve actually had this book for a few weeks, but unfortunately due to family activities and other events have just started reading. So far, I’m all in to this new adventure Mr. Browder is launching us on. More to come when I’m finished!

716R9acoqhL._SL1500_

Follows & Subscribes (April 14, 2015)

Posted on

I’d like to begin taking a moment every now and then to show my appreciation to those that are kind enough to click the Follow or Subscribe buttons on my little blog. It certainly lifts me up knowing I’ve earned a tiny bit of your attention in the vast expanses of the Internet and World Wide Web.

The following are the latest folks to follow my blog and I extend my thanks to you. :) Welcome, and if you have any suggestions for improvement, please feel free to let me know!

the alchemist (antryump.com)

facetioussoup (momentarylapseofsanity)

SuperMovieManiac (no blog/website provided)

criticaldispatches (As I Please)

A.D. Martin (A.D. Martin)

laurensaysitall (Lauren Says It All)

Hush Money

Posted on Updated on

* With this short story, I found myself a bit out of the normal range of tales I enjoy writing. This one has no supernatural, horror or science fiction turn to it. Perhaps that’s why I was a little uncomfortable posting this one. But here it is for those that would like to give it a run through. *

Hush Money
April 12, 2015

***

The loud thumping at the door woke Stewart from his nap. Cursing, he lowered the leg rest of the recliner, pushing himself up from the thick cushioned comfort and toward the front door of his apartment. Grumbling the entire way, he ran a thick hand through the thinning strands of bangs that were hanging to his forehead, damp with sweat. Squinting an eye through the peephole, Stewart could see a hazy profile of someone outside. Male or female wasn’t very clear, but it was broad daylight outside so he unlatched the door and swung it open without much hesitation.

“Yes?” he managed without sounding too groggy from sleep.

The girl stood about 5 foot 5 inches, weighed maybe 125 pounds. Her hair was tied into a ponytail that was curled around to hang from her left shoulder. The paleness of her skin set off a stark contrast against the raven black hair and charcoal sweater that clung to her body like a second skin despite the 69-degree temperatures predicted all week. She did wear a thin pair of stretch pants, sort of like those leotards the dancers wore. In the folded crook of her left arm she held a clipboard with a pen attached by a little chain and some papers resting under the spring loaded catch. A small handbag was tucked under her other arm.

“Mister,” she glanced at her clipboard, as if studying it. “Mister Stewart Dauber?” Her eyes went to the number on the outside of his door, which he now stood beside. “228 Sherwood Court?”

She was maybe in her mid-20’s, if Stewart had to guess. Possibly a college student? He honestly wasn’t sure if a girl in her mid-20’s would even still be in college. She was pretty, though, in a pale, homely girl-next-door sort of way. He’d had worse, if he had to form a crude statement about it.

“Last time I checked,” uttered Stewart, perhaps a bit more harshly than he originally intended. He shifted uncomfortable to balance his weight on the opposite foot, his left.

The girl smiled back and wrinkled her nose, almost as if she appreciated his snarky reply. “Pleasure to meet you, Mister Dauber. I’m Anita Halbreath and I’m a volunteer with the Grace Waldron campaign committee.” She produced a button from nowhere and handed it to him politely, careful to hold it by just the edge as if to avoid contact should he reach for it. As soon as he’d pinched it between thumb and index finger, she released her own grip and returned her attention to the clipboard and paper on it.

“As I was saying, Grace Waldon’s currently campaigning for the Mayor’s office of our fine city, and we’d like to take the time to get to know some of the members of our community. To hear what you have to say and get a feel for the issues that need to be addressed, should she be elected to office. Would you have a moment to spare of your time for the benefit of Mrs. Waldron and our city’s future, Mister Dauber?” She flashed a smile that revealed a perfect set of polished white teeth, straight and untouched by nicotine or soda stain.

Stewart sniffed and ran a finger along side his nose, thinking for a moment. Then nodded his head slowly and stepped back from the doorway. “Sure. Would you like to do it here? Or you can come inside if you’d like. I’d like to have a drink myself, I can fix you one, too.”

Anita smiled and nodded. “That would be lovely. Thank you!” Anita stepped inside and passed Stewart’s wide girth.
Stewart nodded and pushed the door shut behind them both, turning to follow her into his apartment. She paused beside his television, an older floor model that still ran fine, once it was good and warm. The volume was muted, but images of a soap opera flickered across the screen. Anita seemed to take a moment of interest in the happenings then smiled and looked Stewart’s way.

“My Granny loves these shows. Her stories, she calls them,” she giggled briefly.

Stewart nodded his head and offered a quick smile. “It just happened to be on that channel when I turned it on earlier. I don’t watch them myself, don’t watch much of anything lately. Too much evil in the world to keep up with for my taste.” He turned toward the open area of his kitchen, no walls separating it from the tiny living room, just a bar that a couple of cups and a fake bowl of fruit sat on. “What’s to your liking, Miss? I have bottled water, some homemade sweet tea and diet cola. No alcohol or coffee, I’m afraid.” he glanced back at her.

“Water would be great,” Anita smiled, comfortably.

Grabbing two bottles of water from the refrigerator, Stewart crossed back to the living room and handed one to his guest. “Would you care for a seat, ma’am?” he asked, motioning to either a straight-backed cloth chair, his recliner or the love seat. “None of them are very comfortable, but they do their job.”

Anita took the tan, straight backed cloth chair and Stewart settled back into his recliner, glad she hadn’t chose it for herself. He gave her a moment to look back over her clipboard, as if she were searching for a place to begin, before he cleared his throat and took a swig from his own bottle.

“How long have you lived in the community, Mister Dauber?”

Stewart swished another swallow around in his mouth before answering. “Oh, since I was a little boy, I reckon. We moved here when I was about 8 or 9. Lotta things have changed since then, but a lot has stayed the same, too. My parents use to own a house over on Lowell Street, but once they both passed on I sold it. Times have been hard for me, I’ve done what I could to keep money in my pocket and a roof over my own head. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to keep the one they’d provided all those years.”

Tapping the pen on her lower lip, Anita nodded thoughtfully. “And just how old are you, Mister Dauber? Have you ever been married? Have any children?”

Another swallow and a moment of silence. “I’ll be 47 in June. Never been married, ma’am, no. Come close a time or two, but dodge both those bullets. As for children, none that I’m aware of,” he smiled real big and chuckled, absently swirling the water in the bottle.

Anita shared his laugh and jotted a note down on her pad. “How active in the community are you, or have you been? Do you vote or attend any public meetings? Have you ever petitioned the town council for any requests or problems?”

Stewart shook his head. “No, can’t say as I’ve ever been real big into politics. I sort of keep to my self. Easier that way. No one else to worry about or likely to step in my way. What with my hip and back problems, I don’t get out much anyways. Taking in what little disability I can get is pretty much my only interaction with any type of official.”

“Oh, and was that related to work injury?” she asked.

Stewart shrugged. “You could say that. I met with the wrong end of another vehicle. Broke my hip, did a number on my back. Can’t stand for very long period of time, can’t sit for very long either. Kind of a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.”

“Oh my, I’m sorry to hear that,” whispered the girl, her eyes wide and she stared at him. She sniffed and scratched a note down onto her clipboard. “One last thing. Have you ever heard of or met mayoral candidate Grace Waldron before? Went to school with her? Worked with her anywhere? Bumped into her at the super market, anything? Do you know her and would it affect your voting decision if you were to cast a vote right now?” Anita leaned in, as if anxious for his answer.

Steward cocked his head back and took down nearly half the bottle of water in a single chug. He exhaled sharply and slowly twisted the top back on his bottle before turning to make eye contact with the little girl sitting almost across from him. He smiled a large grin and revealed a couple of empty slots where teeth should have been before belching. Then he laughed. Not a long drawn out belly laugh, just a chuckle that would set some folks on the edge of their nerves.

“Let’s cut the crap, honey. What do you really want? What does that whore boss of yours want from me this time? I already gave her some of the best shagging she could have ever dreamt of, and now here you are asking me all kinds of questions about if I know her and from where.” He didn’t even bother to move, and he was surprised that Anita Halbreath didn’t bother to move either.

“I – I’m sorry, sir? What are you -“

“I said cut the crap!” his voice raised a bit. “It’s obvious you know that I know Grace. That’s why you’re here. I knew when I saw she had thrown her hat into the mayor’s race that I’d be hearing something from that white trash tramp.”

Anita finally let her little smile fade away and she sat her clipboard down on the arm of her chair.

“Yea, I’m not stupid. I knew folks would come snooping around to keep my mouth shut. So let’s just get to the good part. How much do y’all want to offer me, and how much am I really going to take to keep my mouth shut about her whoring past?”

Anita shrugged innocently. “What past would that be, Mister Dauber? Enlighten me.”

“You -“ he shook his head. “Well, you may not know, come to think of it. Maybe she didn’t give you all the information you need. Maybe that’s why you agreed to come into my home and question me. Maybe she didn’t tell you just how bad a man I am.” He sneered, but his guest didn’t budge. “I know Grace. I knew her years back. We dated for a brief bit, but she tried to break it off. Tried to tell me we weren’t in love. She wanted to be with a higher class of people, even then working her way to sleeping to the top. She had goals, and they didn’t involve a poor old boy like myself.”

He snorted and pulled a handkerchief out of his front pocket, spitting into it. “We’d done some wild things in our short time together. Even then she didn’t think she could trust me. So her new boyfriend, some fancy attorney, sent her to have a final meeting with me, see if they could pay me off. Well, all that got her was one last fling with the king.” Stewart chuckled a deep throaty laugh before clearing his throat.

“You raped her?” Anita asked.

Waving his hand absently, Stewart sneered. “Rape. Not what she called it all the other times. Either way, I should have killed her right then and there.”

“But you didn’t.”

“But I didn’t,” confirmed Stewart.

“That’s how she was able to climb across into the front seat of her car and run you down, breaking your hip and damaging your spine. Not paralyzing you, but hurting you enough to keep you down.”

Stewart had a grim look come across his face as he remembered the night. “They paid to keep me quiet then. Paid for my operations, had my disability approved so I’d never have to work again.” he nodded to himself more than anyone. “But not anymore. I think it’s time I got a little more compensation for my time and suffering. After all, that’s was near 20 years ago. I’m due a new judgement.”

Anita stood up. “Funny you should say that. And, for the record, it was 25 years ago. That was the night I was conceived. Born of a hateful act of jealousy and rage between my mother and a man that would overshadow her entire career all my life.”

Stewart sat stunned for a moment. He didn’t utter a word as he slowly slid to the edge of the recliner. “I can see her in your eyes,” he whispered to no one in particular.

“I’m sure you can. However, I wasn’t sent here to renegotiate a new contract with you.” She reached into the small handbag and withdrew a handgun. “I’m actually here to terminate the current one.”

Stewart burst into a deep gutted laugh and threw his head back at the site of this little girl holding a gun on him. “I’m sure you did, sweetie. I’m sure that is what you thought you were going to do.”

Anita cocked her head to one side then pulled the trigger. The muffled shot made them both jump, but it was the look of shock on Stewart’s face at the growing stain of red blood forming beneath his t-shirt that captured both their attention. She looked up and managed to force her own mouth closed, meeting his gaze. His large form started to move, despite the wound. Anita lifted her arm again and put a hole in his forehead. He fell back into the recliner, the springs creaking under the force of the weight.

She glanced around the small apartment and saw nothing of interest. Nothing to show the man that lay bleeding and dead before her was anything but a twisted ball of hate. The apartment, much like his life, was empty. Devoid of any one thing or object of affection. Some people lived only to serve as obstacles to others in the world. Forcing themselves upon people that no longer wanted or needed them. Standing in their way when they tried to move ahead. This man, this stranger – her father – had been nothing but one obstacle after another for as long as she could remember. A cause of pain and agony in her mother from his past indiscretions. And he’d willingly taken money to keep his mouth shut for all those years. Now, even upon discovering he’d had a daughter with the woman he supposedly loved, all he could think about was money. Just like mother had said.

Anita dialed her mother up and waiting until she picked up on the other line. “Yes. Yes, just like you said. I know, I’m sorry, too. It’s okay, mama. Yes. Just give me 15 minutes and then they can come in behind me to clean up. Okay, love you, too. I’ll see you tonight. Bye.”

Daredevil, Season 1, Episode 2: Cut Man

Posted on

The following review/opinion piece contains major spoilers about the Netflix original series, Marvel’s Daredevil. Be warned, here and now, that I’ll be giving rundowns of the episode and commenting here and there about what I’ve watched and opinions on certain scenes or events. Read on if you’d like to share your own comments below, or come back another time after you’ve watched the show. Thanks for your time!

Daredevil-9

Episode two of the Netflix original series, Marvel’s Daredevil, brings us a look into how Hell’s Kitchen is starting to adapt to the idea of a dark figure protecting their own. At the end of episode one, a young boy was kidnapped by Russians. Episode two picks up with a young man finding an unconscious Daredevil (okay, to be fair, he isn’t yet known as Daredevil, he’s simply referred to in the subtitles as “masked man.”) The young man runs to get a neighbor, a woman named Claire who happens to be a nurse. They carry the injured Matt/Daredevil back to her apartment where she discovers he’s been stabbed a couple of times, has several broken ribs, a possible concussion and pressure on his lungs. She’s confused when she pulls off his mask and shines a light in his eyes to check his response, and of course his pupils don’t dilate at all (psst, he’s blind!)

Matt comes too, eventually, and tries to walk out of her apartment, upset that she’s seen his face. He passes out again due to his injuries. Claire bandages our hero up as best she can, and when Matt comes to, they have a small conversation about why he can’t go to a hospital. They’re interrupted when he senses a man a few floors down asking questions door to door of the buildings residents. The two try to fool the man into moving on, but he doesn’t fall for it. Matt forces himself to his feet and manages to overpower the man, taking him to the roof and tying him up with Claire along for another conversation.

To highlight what he’s currently going through, Matt (as well as this episode) has flashbacks to his youth. His coming to understand that his dad has been throwing fights just to earn money from some fairly bad men. We also see Matt has heightened hearing at this young age, as well. Loud sounds seem to hurt him, and he’s able to eavesdrop on his dad having a conversation about a big fight with some guys about throwing a fight with Creel. Murdock vs. Creel is evidently a very big thing as Matt’s dad is really excited that he’s going to get the chance to take a shot at the man. However, he’s pressured to throw the match in the 5th round.

Matt overhears this and gives his dad an aside pep talk about how Murdock’s get knocked down a lot, but they always get back up. Dad Murdock feels he has something to prove to himself as well as his son with this match, however he knows that by winning instead of throwing the match will cost him his life. He makes a final call to a bookie and puts all his money on himself with instructions for the bookie to take the money to an accounting firm and put it into an account with Matthew Murdock’s name on it. He then makes a call to who I assume is Matt’s mother, telling her she’ll be all he has now because he’s about to take a stand.

Murdock wins the fight against Creel, and he does go out on top. However, having expected as much, he’s gunned down in an alley, where Matt hears the gunshot and runs to his side through a couple of cops blocking off the boy. He cries over his father’s fallen body, feeling of his face and listening for any signs of a heartbeat. His father dead, we leave our flashbacks with young Matt behind and come back to present day.

The entire flashback story dealing with Jack (Matt’s father) and young matt was touching. It was sad enough to see how much Matt worshiped his father and how his father hated what he was having to do to bring money to their table. His decision to stand up for himself and finish that final match with Creel was a big stand he took, knowing it would inspire his son and raise him back up in his young eyes. Jack decided, basically, to go out on top rather than see his son and fans see him sink to the bottom and remember him in a more negative light. As Matt knelt crying over his father’s body, I felt my throat tightening up and felt a little emotion over the scene. Very strong, watching the bond between father and son and seeing it shattered.

While Matt and Claire deal with their captive Russian on the rooftop of Claire’s apartment, Foggy and Karen hit the bars. Foggy makes Karen go because she’s scared to go home alone, so he agrees to hang out with her until dawn. She reveals that she is unable to sleep at home because of what has happened there. Her friend’s blood won’t come out of her carpet, and there is a large indentation in her wall where the assassin threw her into it last episode. She reveals her fear to Foggy, who sticks to his agreement of keeping her company and being a friend – not just a boss.  A nice side story, though not necessary. I enjoyed the scenes these two had together, and liked that Foggy basically threw himself at her while making it seem a joke. I can relate to that kind of attitude, that way you may get hurt, but they don’t necessarily know it because you keep the joke rolling and the pain hidden beneath the smile.

Back with Matt and Claire and their captive Russian, Matt talks Claire into letting him handle the Russian. He throws a couple of punches, wanting to know where the boy kidnapped from episode one is. After toying with Matt, the Russian finally spills the beans thanks to Claire offering some advice on where to slice up his face with her medical knowledge. Matt then drags the Russian thug to the edge of the roof and instills fear into him, telling him it isn’t just because of the boy that he’s doing this – it’s because he enjoys it! He then knocks the man off the roof and into the same dumpster he was found in at the beginning of the episode. He and Claire share a moment as he tells her to go into hiding, but that he may need to see her again for patching up. She reveals that she helped him because she’s been following his masked persona at the hospital through victims coming in talking about how he’d saved them, and criminals coming in talking about how he beat them down. Having made a new friend, Matt heads off to have a final confrontation to save the young boy.

Claire is a good partner to have in your corner, a nurse with connections that can patch up our very human hero. I could see the medical ties coming in handy later on as far as information she might overhear at the hospital as well. I can see why she was such an important character to bring in early, considering how much damage he’s likely to take as the series goes on. And I like how the legend even builds with Claire as she keeps saying that he is taken his wounds in stride, despite him telling her that was all just part of his training he’d learned from his dad and his boxing knowledge. Being able to walk it off until the job was done, then spend your time healing. Even though he tells her this, she insists a time or two about his ability to withstand an inhuman amount of pain and injury.

As the episode closes, we’re given a very hard and uncomfortable fight between Daredevil and about a dozen Russian thugs in their narrow hall hideout. Daredevil stumbles, falls, trips but continues to get back up and deliver the beating the gang deserves. While he’s barely able to hold himself up in the end, he rescues the boy, assures him it’s okay now, and carries him out over the fallen bodies of the beaten Russian gang members.

If this were a Batman movie, in comparison, he’d take a beating but once the suite was on, he’d battle without so much as a hesitation. Here, we’re given a realistic look at what a “hero” would be subjected to, throwing himself into a fight while he himself is near death. You see his pain, his staggered punches and dodges. He falls, tripping on already fallen enemies. He’s exhausted, he’s in pain and he’s nearly at the point of losing consciousness again due to his injuries. He pulls it together, knuckles up and does the job he’s tasked himself with.

A very good episode that relied on flashbacks to finish the story of Jack Murdock and his legendary fight with the man named Creel. A fantastic portrayal of a father and son who lean on one another for support and bring one another up out of the darkness they’ve both fallen in to. A great display of friendship between Foggy and Karen, showing that just because this is a dark, gritty version of superheroes, they don’t have to resort to lurid sex and can just hang out and be friends. It was a big step in the story and legend being grown about the masked man who will become Daredevil that we learn of through the stories Claire herself has been experiencing in the hospital emergency room. And, of course, the addition of a valuable ally in Claire herself, a nurse that can aid our hero in times of medical need.

A nice rounded addition to what is already becoming one of my favorite shows.

But now for a little aside: am I going into too much recap detail for each show? Do I need to cut down the length of my posts and just stick to my personal opinions about what I’m watching? Am I rattling on too much with information we already know? I’d like feedback, if you’re willing! Thanks in advance!

See you next weekend with my reviews of episodes 3 and 4.