Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Jack of Blades by Peter David Review

Since I am a big fan of the Fable series and its associated villains, (having played all of the games aside from Fable: the Journey as I refuse to buy yet another extension for the sake of it), I have started reading some of the (much cheaper) related fiction. In this review, I am looking at the short story Jack of Blades eBook, written by Peter David and part of the Fable Legends series.

I read each page in consistent trepidation, on the basis that this was seemingly focused on one of my favourite villains. Or at least, the blurb on Amazon leads one to believe so. Thus ultimately, upon finishing I was a little bit disappointed that the whole story primarily was about an imposter. An imposter, who had some tenuous links to the Fred of Blades grave in the later Fable games. From the grave description, Fred was Jack's actual brother, not 'like a spiritual' brother in a way, which Xiro stated. This I found contradictory to canon information already supplied by the Fable games.

Personally, if I had the license to write brand new canon material for the Fableverse I probably would have not made up back stories for irrelevant wannabes (psh!). Thus I was a little disappointed that it did not shed any more light on Jack of Blade's character like I had hoped it would. This would be my primary source of disappointment being a sadly devoted Jack fan. Moving on.

Any form of colloquial expression used, in what seems overall to be a short story in formal tone, is a little bit cringeworthy somehow, in my opinion. Especially when there are free fan fictions out there using more sophisticated language. While I can appreciate that the Fableverse has an overall humorous tone in dialogue, 'what the hell' seemed a little inappropriate where it was used. Almost like a feature of a My Immortal-esque fanfiction. Thankfully, it wasn't consistent throughout, and David is a clearly skilled writer.

I must admit I initially thought Jack sounded out of character until the reveal happened, which obviously made a lot of sense progressing to the end. Xiro however turned out to be one harsh son of a gun. Well, to the Blacksmith's daughter, anyway. The others clearly deserved his unforgiving side. This makes me wonder, was he perhaps the reincarnation of Jack? Especially with his harrowing final words. Just a thought.

Rating: 5/10
Reviewed by Abigail Lewis/Ab-nor-mew

Edit: Apparently Xiro is Jack of Blades, but on first impression I didn't pick up on this. It would make ten times more sense, but there seems to be a lack of continuity here given that Xiro is not donning the mask.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Dark Skies Review

Previewed before watching Mama during the trailers, Dark Skies promised to be a supernatural-horror-come-UFO film. Dark Skies' poster, plastered about the Underground, looks like an exaggerated version of the 2011 Insidious poster, the little boy with a nosebleed and white eyes. Nothing new. But also not surprising considering the film was by the same people who produced Insidious.

Extremely similar in nature to the 2012 supernatural horror film Sinister and Insidious (2011), it seems whoever directed this film observed the flaws of Sinister and remade the film to some extent with a significant amount of plot holes resolved. Of course there is a different monster completely being that the villains of Dark Skies are the 'greys', aliens come to abduct one particular member of certain families. The unstoppable paranormal force come to abduct children aspect stays the same, however.

This was a satisfying film, if not borderline predictable. The plot twist, for any horror watcher, was almost obvious, thus the recap/flashback of information at the end revealing why the other son was the chosen subject was tediously unnecessary. There is truly not much to complain about with the narrative, it was completely logical, albeit the father character who, under the circumstances would probably suspect something paranormal. As already mentioned, extra care had been taken to reinforce understanding of the plot with the flashback, but how on earth after all the warning did the parents allow the other son to be taken?

Admittedly the setting was a little bit boring, as alongside the plot is where it shows too much to be like a reinvention of Sinister. The acting was pretty good, the entire Dark Skies floorshow wasn't so original, but it was a decent horror movie watch, and that is all that was expected in this sudden flood of supernatural horror, along with the Conjuring, Evil Dead, and Mama.

Rating: 6/10
Reviewed by Abigail Lewis/Ab-nor-mew