[personal profile] jtniehof
Gryphon in Glory, Gryphon's Eyrie, Zarsthor's Bane, Horn Crown, The Art of Agile Development, The Android's Dream, The Human Division, Seveneves, Shimoneta, Heroic Legend of Arslan, My Wife is the Student Council President, GATE, Working!!!, Hackadoll, KAGEWANI, Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note, The Asterisk War, Gunparade March, Shomin Sample, Gotham Season 2, Supergirl.

Gryphon in Glory (Andre Norton) (reread): I didn't find this as engrossing as Crystal, maybe because it was a "find your heritage" story rather than something with more concrete goals and dangers? It also felt like the characters weren't driving things: in Crystal Gryphon they were trying to maintain their balance as huge changes happened around them, a nice balance of too-big-for-one-person-to-change and some direction from the individual. This was just coasting to a conclusion.

Gryphon's Eyrie (Andre Norton) (reread): This sadly didn't distinguish itself terribly well from Glory, again being driven by "mysterious promptings from within". I like the spiritual connection to the past, but it's dull to give the present character basically nothing to do besides be a vessel. The back quarter or so managed a lot of weaving-together of threads both from the Gryphon trilogy and the rest of Witch World.

Zarsthor's Bane (Andre Norton): As with some of the other weaker Witch World novels, this was driven by a character having mysterious inner promptings that basically push them into the plot, through the plot, and then hand out the secret to the final confrontation. It's hard to get terribly excited about that. Still, the callouts to the other novels make me loathe to excise the weak works.

Horn Crown (Andre Norton): A bit more interesting than the last few Witch World novels I've read, going back to the origin of the Dales settlers. There's still the issue of plot-coupons-from-the-past, but this time the protagonist had to expend some effort to figure out what was going on and act. Not an obvious "ending point" as such; Witch World is a setting of interwoven tales rather than a series. But it's a good place to rest for now.

The Art of Agile Development (James Shore): A really solid intro to Agile as implemented in XP. I mostly liked the organization, and the individual examples served well, but one more big example of how it all fit together would have been nice. Gave me a lot to think about in organizing development tasks.

The Android's Dream (John Scalzi): No doubt, this is a bit uneven and too clever for its own good. Still, it's a fun ride, has Scalzi's usual ridiculous take on alien politics, and does not end with the obvious stupid trope. Far from his best, but a lot less committing than the OMW series.

The Human Division (John Scalzi): I read this in novel form rather than as the episodes came out, and I think the experiment worked really well. Each episode stood on its own and wove together into a big collision at the end. The fly in the ointment was the recap material for those who had somehow missed previous episodes. Format aside, this is a very different angle on the Old Man's War universe, a continuation of the story while not a sequel per se. The interesting action has moved away from John Perry and the CDF, and the book follows. Ends on a really solid gut-punch and a nice call-out to KSR's Mars trilogy.

Seveneves (Neal Stephenson): By this point most people have decided if they're Stephenson readers; it's sort of an all-or-nothing thing. This might work as an entry point. It is not a particularly shiny-happy optimistic story, although there's a certain grim tribute to muddling through in difficult circumstances...kind of counterpoint to the Mars trilogy. Awe-inspiring scale of spending resources (including lives) to reach a point of safety. There's definitely a setup for a trilogy here.

Shimoneta: Started very strong and had a decent finale, but bogged down in the middle once the easy jokes were done and they took the premise seriously for awhile. This is one solely for the amusement factor.

Heroic Legend of Arslan: I have not gotten into the franchise in any previous incarnation, and my main fear is that this is HUGE, so I doubt they'll get enough episodes to finish off. (I hear there's a second order coming, though.) It's a fascinating setting, the moral conflicts are a bit trite, very pretty.

My Wife is the Student Council President: Mostly amusing, WAY past the ecchi line, kind of ended in midair.

GATE: I wish they had played up the political angle a bit more...there's a lot hinted in the background, but we only see it when it comes out and touches our main characters. Fortunately they're all interesting enough, if perhaps a bit stock. Itami has the Captain Tylor vibe going and that seems to work out for him.

Working!!!: A bit more even than season 2, and they're definitely wrapping it up (upcoming movie aside). Obviously there's no reason to watch if you hated season 1, but if you felt season 2 was a drop, it's worth coming back.

Hackadoll: Didn't last the first episode, animation was pretty cruddy and the whole thing felt done before.

KAGEWANI: Managed to get past the paper-cutout animation but still didn't continue past the first episode. Just too cheesy.

Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note: Soooo predictable, tossed halfway through the first episode.

The Asterisk War: Got most of the way through the first episode but just wasn't interested.

Gunparade March: Gave it four episodes of bland and just didn't see anything happening. It's not really running with the battle against the mysterious enemy, nor exploring the societal implications they've set up. It's just kind of bouncing some not very interesting characters off each other.

Shomin Sample: Three episodes. The premise is hilarious and it seems there's one killer joke per episode, but the rest of the time is just repeating the premise, over and over. Got bored.

Gotham Season 2: Made it halfway through the second episode before throwing the whole thing over. I'm not sure what they're doing besides building artificial tension by taking everything established about the Batman mythos and running away from it: we know Jim's an upstanding and by-the-book guy, but what if he wasn't? How did he get that way? It's just...tedious, and getting cartoonish.

Supergirl: Made it through the first episode by sheer force of will. Could not abide the cheesiness; not the self-aware fun type, but felt like it was hitting all the essential points without any soul. I got really annoyed by the combination of diminishing the importance of women (and oh sure "girl" is just fine, stop whining!) and, frankly, the writers asking for cookies because they were writing a female superhero.
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March 2017


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