Dune (2021) is the first movie in the new Dune adaptations, staring Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Oscar Isaac, and many other amazing actors. The story starts with Duke Leto Atreides and his family being given control of the desert planet, Arrakis also know as Dune. Arrakis is the only place that spice exists which gives users longer lives and other abilities. The main plot follows Paul, Leto’s son, and his mother Jessica after the family is betrayed and many are killed by the rival family the Harkonnen’s as they escape into the vast desert of Dune and met up with the local population the Fremen. This movie is only part one, so it ends with Paul meeting and joining the Fremen. I expect that the sequel will continue from this point and tell the rest of Paul’s story.
Personally, I liked this movie but I don’t feel like its a good adaptation. If you have never read Dune or seen any of the previous attempts at a good Dune movie you will be very lost while watching this. This adaptation seems to expect that you know how things about the world and technology work, and to some extent who the characters are and the background of why House Harkonnen is planning to assassinate House Atreides.
This movie is visually amazing and very well acted but not movie should require you to know everything before watching. For example, I often see some of the Marvel movies with my dad but he doesn’t watch all of them. When we went to see Avengers: Infinity War he didn’t know everything but was able to understand enough to enjoy it without having seen everything that came before. Dune is one of those movies where you need to know at least the basics of the world to really understand which could be a detriment to those who just want to see the movie. Even if you haven’t read Dune and want to see the movie you should try it but go in knowing that you might be confused and you might not get all the answers that you want.
Illumicrate is a UK based fantasy and science fiction book box that has monthly boxes or just a monthly book only subscription. Each box also includes a selection of bookish goodies some more practical, others more decorative set around a monthly theme. February’s theme is Bad Blood.
The items included in this box are A Memory Called Empire inspired tumbler, a fabric pouch, a Medusa trinket tray, a bath bomb, and a set of magnetic coins.
Illumicrate, like other book boxes, include a new hard cover each month and most months a letter from the author. This months book is A River Enchanted by Rebecca Ross which follows Jack who is returning to Cadence when girls start disappearing. With the help of Adaira, Jack’s childhood enemy they hope to find the missing girls and appease the spirits but darker secrets are lurking which could undo everything. This edition has an exclusive cover, foiling on the hardback, artwork endpapers and printed edges.
In January I read four books and finished two video games. I haven’t been watching that much except for a few documentaries, The Return to Hogwarts Special on HBO was the only one that I loved.
The first book I finished for this year was Dune by Frank Herbert which I had started in October but it took me a long time to finish. I feel like Dune is one of those stories that you hear a lot about but is still kind of hard to explain. We follow Paul as his family is given control of Arrakis, a desert planet know as Dune. When his family is betrayed Paul and his mother escape into the desert a way from the cities and join the local inhabitants the Fremen. Paul becomes a chosen one/messiah know as the Muad’Dib and plans to take over the galactic empire. Dune is one of those books that can take a while to understand what is happening due to all the information that is parceled out through the story but its also very readable. Personally, I found the ending weird and somewhat confusing though I like the book overall. Dune is the first book in a series but it reads well as a standalone and I don’t plan on continuing. I feel like if you are interested in reading Dune you should give it a shot but its not this amazing must read and it might not be for you.
Next I read Greek Myths: Meet the Heroes, Gods and Monsters of Ancient Greece by Jean Menzies which is an illustrated children’s books about Greek Myths. I bought this primarily for the art and to support the author. Since its a children’s book I knew most if not all the information in this book but this one of those books that I wish I had as a kid.
Siren Queen by Nigh Vo is an adult fantasy novel set in 1930s Hollywood in a world where the worst monsters are not on screen and immortality can be gained by being in the movies. I received an early review copy through Netgalley and I also have a full review posted. Luli Wei is a Chinese-American girl who wants to be in movies but would rather play the monster instead of the maid. When the studios own everything Luli is willing to do what ever it takes to become a star. Siren Queen is an amazing critical and magical take on old Hollywood. Luli is one of those characters that you love but is not the best person. This book made me want to read more of Nigh Vo’s work.
Hide by Kiersten White is a contemporary horror/thriller where fourteen people are in a competition to play hide and seek in an abounded amusement park to win enough money to change their lives. The main character Mack feels like she can beat the others but when people start disappearing two a day it becomes clear something else is going on. I loved this book and it reminded me somewhat of the movie Cabin in the woods. I received an early review copy through Netgalley and I also have a full review posted.
I finished two video games in January Persona 5: Strikers and Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight which I have full reviews posted for both.
Persona 5: Strikers is a hack and slash Dynasty Warriors style fighting game that combines game play elements from Persona 5. The plot is set during the summer break after the events of Persona 5 where Joke and the rest of the Phantom Thieves are planning a camping trip but end up having to go back into the Metaverse to destroy newly created jails where the shadow of the jails ruler is stealing desires. This was a fun game that I loved but I’m not a fan on how the stealth works in the game. If you are a fan of Persona 5 you should give the game a try.
Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight is a rhythm dancing game that is very light on the plot. The twins bring the Phantom Thieves into the Metaverse through their dreams to try to win a dance competition between the siblings that help in the Velvet Room. This is one of those games that you will like only if you are both a Persona 5 fan and don’t mind rhythm games. I liked it but its one of those games that I don’t think I will ever play again.
Fairyloot is a Young Adult book subscription box focusing on fantasy based out of the UK. Each month you receive a new Young Adult hardback book and 5-6 bookish goodies. Like most book boxes the hardback are special editions and the items are a combination of both practical things and more decorative items. January’s theme is Monsters Within.
The bookish items included this month are a James Herondale Trinket dish, a Scythe enamel pin, a metal bookmark with a character from this months book on it, a These Hollow Vows tea towel, and a puzzle featuring August Flynn from This Savage Song. The monthly tarot cards have character art work form the Red Rising series.
All Fairyloot books come with exclusive covers, signed by the author and include a letter from the author. This month the book is Only a Monster by Vanessa Len which also has stencil sprayed edges, art on the endpapers, and foiling on the hardback. This is a fantasy story set in London with monsters, hidden powers, and romance where the main character might not be the hero of this story.
Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight is a rhythm game where you control the Persona 5 characters in dancing challenges and includes a very basic plot. The plot essentially is that the twins, Caroline and Justine, learn about the events of Persona 4: Dancing All Night in which Yu Narukami used dance to defeat the villain of that game. The twins are jealous and challenge their sister to dace off to see who has the better guest. The characters are summoned to the Velvet room for the dance off and will not remember the anything after they leave.
While Dancing in Starlight really doesn’t have a plot you do learn insightful things about each character and its a fairly fun game overall if you are already a fan of Persona 5. I have played both the Persona 4 and the Persona 5 dancing games between the two I preferred the Persona 4 game. Persona 4: Dancing All Night is much more of a plot driven game and as that is what I like in video games I enjoyed it more. However, if your a fan of Persona 5 I think you will enjoy Dancing in Starlight.