Monthly roundup culture consumed – January 2016

So, what did I do with January?

Books

Surprisingly not a lot of reading. The only two books I finished during the month were The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch and The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson.

The Lies of Locke Lamora was a interesting read. The Locke Lamora of the title is a thief and leader of The Gentlemen Bastards, a thieving band that uses mummery and deception to make their scores. After some initial origin story (which remains interwoven through the rest of the book), what follows is a twisted tale of deception and betrayal, populated with an array of characters that range from anti-heroes to outright villains. I enjoy the grimdark style of story, especially in books like this that maintain a better gender balance. I enjoyed the book and will probably get the next in the series eventually.

The Bands of Mourning is the next in the second era Mistborn novels by Brandon Sanderson. Set in a world that has started to mix technology with magic, the story combines elements of the American wild west, an almost steampunk vibe and fantasy. These books are very popular, and extremely readable.

TV

I’ve started to watch The Shannara Chronicles, based on the books by Terry Brooks. The show has high production values and is beautifully shot, however I’m struggling with the acting, which is very wooden (including actors who I’ve seen give much better performances in other shows). I like fantasy enough that I’m giving this more of a chance, but it isn’t looking hopeful.

The sci fi series Killjoys has just started on Foxtel. Space based bounty hunters. I like the production values, but I’ve only seen the one episode so far so I’ll save commentary until a bit further in.

I started the second season of From Dusk Til Dawn, a horror series based loosely on the movie of the same name. I like what they’ve done to expand the world of the vampires, and seeing the guy that played the foreign exchange student in That 70s Show as a bad-arse vampire has a certain amount of comic value.

My 7 year old has started to watch Teen Titans, a cartoon about five superheroes (Robin, Starfire, Beast Boy, Raven and Cyborg). The story lines are pretty wacky, but in a sign of my enduring immaturity, I’m finding Teen Titans as funny as my daughter does. If you’ve got kids and you want them to like superheroes then I certainly recommend checking them out.

Regular readers of the blog will know that I’ve become somewhat addicted to superhero TV. DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is the latest in the TV that brought us Arrow and The Flash. I’ve only watched the first two episodes, and it is OK so far. However, I must concede that I’m struggling to see how the central conceit can last for the next few episodes, let alone more than one season. I guess I’ll have to watch along to find out.

The latest season of Grimm caught us a bit by surprise, so we missed the first few episodes. I really like Grimm, they have been doing a great job building the world season by season. One of my concerns at the start, around the dearth of strong female characters, has been slowly addressed and while it is not a perfect show on that score, it has significantly improved. If you haven’t watched it though, I recommend starting from the beginning – jumping in on season 5 would be a little disorienting.

Movies

None! A few coming up in February, but my movie watching in January was severely limited.

Coming Up

During February I’ll be continuing to watch the TV shows above and work out which of the new shows I’ll continue with. I’m also planning to watch the new Sherlock feature length The Abominable Bride. I’ve started reading the Isobelle Carmody series The Obernewtyn Chronicles. I’m looking forward to Zoolander 2 and Deadpool at the movies.

Author: mark

A writer of speculative fiction and all round good egg. Well, mostly good. OK, sometimes good.

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