Rooks

The Rook (The Checquy Files #1)
by Daniel O’Malley (2012)

“The body you are wearing used to be mine.” So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her.

She soon learns that she is a Rook, a high-ranking member of a secret organization called the Chequy that battles the many supernatural forces at work in Britain. She also discovers that she possesses a rare, potentially deadly supernatural ability of her own.

In her quest to uncover which member of the Chequy betrayed her and why, Myfanwy encounters a person with four bodies, an aristocratic woman who can enter her dreams, a secret training facility where children are transformed into deadly fighters, and a conspiracy more vast than she ever could have imagined.


This is a good read and entertaining throughout, mainly due to the writing prose style that has a very modern feel. A major part of the narrative is the flashback/info-dumps provided be the main character. They provide the world-building and explanation for the characters.
Frequently being extensive and long they often feel like short stories dropped into the main narrative. The disadvantage is that they act to break and interrupt the flow of the main story.

There is a distinct tone shift in the second half as more humour in introduced into the characters and situations. It almost feels like the author is trying to correct for the rather grim-dark tone of the first half. So over all, an engaging read. It looks like the next book will dispense with flashbacks and could be better for it.

Turbo

Turbo is a 2013 American 3D computer-animated comedy sports film produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by 20th Century Fox. It is based on an original idea by David Soren, who also directed the film in his feature debut. Set in Los Angeles, the film features an ordinary garden snail whose dream of becoming the world’s fastest snail comes true.
The film stars the voices of Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Michael Peña, Snoop Dogg, Maya Rudolph, Michelle Rodriguez and Samuel L. Jackson.

The film was met with generally positive reviews. Despite earning $282.5 million on a $127 million budget, the studio had to take a total of $15.6 million write-down on behalf of the film. A television series based on the film, titled Turbo FAST (Fast Action Stunt Team), was put into production a year before the film’s release and aired on Netflix on December 24, 2013.


A fun and well paced film with a (sort of) predictable ending. Recommended family viewing.

 

PM English

Simon William “Bill” English
(born 30 December 1961)

became Prime Minister-designate of New Zealand and leader of the National Party on 12 December 2016. Since 2008, he has been the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.

Midsomer 18.3

Midsomer Murders
Series 18 Episode 3 “Breaking the Chain”
Originally broadcast 27 January 2016

An international cycling competition comes to the Midsomer village of Burwood Mantle. When the race leader is murdered, DCI Barnaby and DS Nelson find themselves drawn into a ruthlessly competitive world of blackmail, bribery and bloodshed where winning comes at any cost.


I’m starting to see a pattern. It starts with an interesting setup. This time during a cycle race. People die, corruption, intimidation and rather inert policing. Then it all descends into the usual sex triangle, all revealed in the last 15 minutes. Far too predictable.

 

Crucible

Crucible (Star Wars)
by Troy Denning (2013)

When Han and Leia Solo arrive at Lando Calrissian’s Outer Rim mining operation to help him thwart a hostile takeover, their aim is just to even up the odds and lay down the law. Then monstrous aliens arrive with a message, and mere threats escalate into violent sabotage with mass fatalities. When the dust settles, what began as corporate warfare becomes a battle with much higher stakes–and far deadlier consequences.


This book just fails to take off. The chapters are long and not much happens. Then you’re in another location, there is talking, things happen blah, bhah etc. Just Boring.

 

One Choice

Choices of One (Star Wars Legends)
by Timothy Zahn (2011)

Set in the time between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back and featuring the young Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia Organa, and the beloved Mara Jade. The fate of the Rebellion rests on Luke Skywalker’s next move. But have the rebels entered a safe harbor or a death trap?

Eight months after the Battle of Yavin, the Rebellion is in desperate need of a new base. So when Governor Ferrouz of Candoras Sector proposes an alliance, offering the Rebels sanctuary in return for protection against the alien warlord Nuso Esva, Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie are sent to evaluate the deal. Mara Jade, the Emperor’s Hand, is also heading for Candoras, along with the five renegade stormtroopers known as the Hand of Judgment. Their mission: to punish Ferrouz’s treason and smash the Rebels for good. But in this treacherous game of betrayals within betrayals, a wild card is waiting to be played.


Another saga written to Timothy Zahn’s usual high standards. Recommended.

Alpha Wave Movement

Alpha Wave Movement is the electronic music project of Gregory T. Kyryluk. The musical style ranges from ambient to space rock, but mainly stays in the classic 1970s period German style known as Berlin school.

The best album would be:

Cosmology (2003)

Noosa

Here is a surprising find, a nice chill-out sound with female vocals.

There isn’t much to tell about her, just two albums on bandcamp and a few videos on utube:

 

 

 

Shadow Empire

Shadows of the Empire
by Steve Perry (1996)


The book introduces Prince Xizor, the alien overlord of the largest criminal organization in the galaxy. His goal is to take Darth Vader’s place at Emperor Palpatine’s side. The novel also resumes the storylines of the usual characters. Han Solo is still frozen in carbonite, being taken to the gangster Jabba the Hutt by the bounty hunter Boba Fett. It shows Princess Leia’s secret search for Boba Fett, the construction of Luke Skywalker’s new lightsaber and Darth Vader’s search for his son. It introduces a new character to the saga, Dash Rendar, a Han Solo-type smuggler, who acts primarily as a replacement for Han Solo and as a part of the action sequences.


Turns out that this is a novelization of a game. It’s a very average book, things happen in a very pre-determined a cliched way. The writing is OK, just not very inspired. So an OK book, but only for the fans.

PM Quits

John Phillip Key
(born 9 August 1961)

The 38th Prime Minister of New Zealand, in office since 2008. He led the New Zealand National Party from 2006 and has announced his resignation on 5 December 2016, effective from 12 December 2016.