Category Archives: Entertainment

TV, Film, Music & Books – Opinion & Reviews

The Vagrant by Peter Newman

The Vagrant (The Vagrant, #1)The Vagrant by Peter Newman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read this book because of the intriguing main characters, and the fantasy setting. Stay with it because of the GOAT! That’s a farm animal with one hell of a survival instinct!

The Vagrant has no name, and he never speaks. His only purpose initially is to keep his ward alive, a young baby, hidden within his cloak. He has come into possession of a mystical sword, and it is this item which drags him into the plot of the novel, somewhat reluctantly. Since an invasion by an infectious entity (or two) from the underworld, the human inhabitants struggle to survive in this new reformed world. Many humans and creatures have become infected with mutations, or are mind-controlled by the entities as they spread their influence and corruption. The invasion is described in flashback passages whilst the current narrative continues.

I’ve not read pure fantasy in a while, and it took me some effort to conjure the setting, characters, and entities in my mind. These types of books are very good for exercising your visual memory and imagination. If you don’t have a particularly “visual-brain” then fantasy can be tricky to follow. I’ve certainly got to be in the right mindset to begin with, when starting one of these novels. But they’re usually worth the effort!

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Looking for Alaska by John Green

Looking for AlaskaLooking for Alaska by John Green

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


OK, so this book was really quite the downer. Quite a lot of teenage-angst from the beginning.
The fact that there was a countdown throughout the first half of the book, obviously meant that someone was going to die, and yes of course it’s going to be the one character who “seemed” to be outgoing and adventurous, the titular Alaska. For anyone who is remotely familiar with the symptoms of a hidden mental illness, be that depression, or some form of post-traumatic-stress-disorder, then the signs were glaring from the beginning.

Following that tragedy, the main characters are convinced that something “other” could be the explanation for Alaska’s demise, but ultimately their investigations only lead them to the knowledge that they really knew very little about their friend.

I guess, it teaches you to pay attention to those around you more. When someone is “acting up”, there could be a very good reason for that, but it can be impossible for that person to open up, explain what’s going on inside their head. Sometimes the words simply aren’t there to be expressed. Be mindful of each other.

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Hannibal by Thomas Harris

Hannibal by Thomas Harris

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book. Twice. I know it’s not everybody’s cup of tea, but that just depends on who’s in the tea…!

Here’s the thing, there’s no criminal case as such that the FBI are trying to solve, other than “where is Hannibal?”. It’s more a character piece, for both Clarice and Hannibal. WHY do they both intrigue each other so much that they are arguably attracted to one another, for better and for worse. There’s the scapegoating/politics of the internal workings of the FBI, combined with the influence and bribery of the rich Mason Verger (both situations with roots in reality, sadly).

Between the larger set-pieces – those being the opening shoot out for which Clarice is subsequently reprimanded/scapegoated, the Hannibal/Pazzi altercation, Verger and his man-eating pigs – there is primarily quiet contemplation from each of the main characters about who they are, and why they are doing what they are doing.

There’s also the theme of co-dependency resulting from an abusive relationship – Hannibal/Clarice. They know they are bad for each other, and to each other, but yet they are still drawn together. Yes, one’s an actual serial killer, but I’m referring more to their personal relationship. Being a psychopathic serial killer and a driven FBI agent, respectively, these character types only amplify what can happen in ordinary life through toxic relationships.

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The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

The Colour of Magic
The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The book where Terry Pratchett was beginning to find his voice as a writer. Clearly he had a unique vision and the oddness of the Discworld was starting to take shape.

Rincewind is the main protagonist, who ends up having to escort a tourist, Twoflower, to various places around the continent. The entire concept of a “tourist” being unknown to Rincewind and the residents of Ankh-Morpork. The most curious character in the book has got to be the luggage! A sentient piece of furniture/baggage who really does mind who looks into it, and will follow its owner to the edge of the world (literally) at great speed and on its many legs.

There’s plenty to keep you entertained, from the language used and the comical allegory of our modern world (which is one of Terry Pratchett’s best qualities in his writing, particularly in later novels) to the magic and dragons, and of course DEATH.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (in Haiku verse)

Dancing Baby Groot.
Kill betentacled monster.
Drax claims victory.

My Dads a planet,
and somewhat nefarious.
Where is the big brain?

Sisterly Love/Hate
My spaceship trumps your huge gun.
Blame Thanos, not me.

No, sexual love…
Ahhh… HA ha ha ha!

Lets break out of here.
NO! Don’t push the death button.
Who cares? I AM GROOT.

I need my new fin.
I’m Mary Poppins Y’All!
You were my real Dad.


(Header image via James Gunn on Facebook)