Movie Review: Dune (2021)

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.

February 2022 Illumicrate

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.

Mach’s theme is A Life of Its Own.

January 2022 Monthly Wrap Up

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.

Books:

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.

Video Games:

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.

January 2022 Fairyloot

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.

February’s theme is To the Moon and Back.

Video Game Review: Persona 5 Dancing in Starlight

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.

January 2022 Illumicrate

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. January’s theme is Royal Secrets.

The items included in this box are a We Hunt the Flame Puzzle, a set of fluffy socks, a phone holder inspired by The Prison Healer, and a spinning pendant inspired by The Never-Tilting World.

Illumicrate, like other book boxes, include a new hard cover each month and most months a letter from the author. This months book is This Woven Kingdom By Tahereh Mafi which follows Alizeh, the heir to the Jinn Kingdom, who is hiding as a servant and Kamran the crown prince who is prophesized to die and doesn’t realize that a servant girl will change everything. This special edition has a exclusive naked hardcover and digitally printed edges.

This month Illumicrate also included a softback copy of The Ivory Key by Akshaya Raman which has sprayed edges, an author letter, and is signed.

February’s theme is Bad Blood.

December 2021 OwlCrate

Owl Crate is a young adult book subscription box where every month you receive one new hardcover book and an assortment of bookish goodies connected to the monthly theme. Some of these items are very practical and some are better suited as décor or for a pin/bulletin board. December’s theme is Beneath the Waves.

Each box includes different bookish goodies that fit the theme of the month and are connected to other books. This months items include the reading planner that was missing in November’s box, a wooden ornament, an oversized mug that finishes the 2021 drinkware collection, a magnetic dry erase board, a necklace inspire by A Darker Shade of Magic, a cleaning cloth, and a foldable reusable shopping bag.

Every month Owl Crate has a new young adult hardback book that has an exclusive cover, is signed and comes with a letter from the author. The enamel pin that is in every box is also inspired by that months book. This months book is Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen and this edition also has art on the reverse of the dust jacket, a full color hardback, and gold gilded edges. The story follows Simi a Mami Wata, a mermaid that collects the souls of those lost at sea. However, when she saves the life a a boy thrown overboard she must journey to the Supreme Creator to make amends. Though there is something that wants to see her fail which could risk the fate of the world.

January’s theme is Thrill of the Hunt. Personally, I have not been that impressed with the items or book selections that Owlcrate has made lately. Because of this I have cancelled my subscription for now but I could see myself getting boxes in the future.

Obsidian Moon Crate December 2021 Box

Obsidian Moon Crate is a newer book box based in the US that focuses on adults with interest in the darker elements of life and books. Each box comes with a new hardcover book, one crystal, one candle, and four to six other items.

The items included in this box are a full size bath soak inspired by the Winternight Trilogy, a Snow Maiden wood wick candle, a wooden sign, a His Dark Materials enamel pin, peppermint hot cocoa mix, and an opalite crystal star.

The book included was a hardcover copy of The Midnight Girls by Alicia Jasinsk. This edition also came with an author letter, a signed book plate, and purple sprayed edges. The story features two rival women who each want to steal the pure heart of the prince. If one consumes a pure heart they will gain immense power. But as their attraction to each other grows their rivalry might cost both of their lives.

Overall, if you are interested in a darker aesthetic or darker book this could be the book box for you. I do plan to order other boxes from them in the future.

Video Game Review: Persona 5 Strikers

Persona 5 Strikers is an action RPG that takes the hack and slash style of the Dynasty Warriors franchise and combines it with Persona’s JRPG style. The story once again follows Joker and the rest of the cast four months after the end of Persona 5. They are getting together for a camping trip during summer break and while prepping for the trip use the new app EMMA to find everything they need. During this prep time Joker meets Alice Hiiragri, an up and coming idol, who gives him a code word to use in EMMA for an event she is hosting. However, this code word ends up transporting Joker, Morgan, and Ryuji into a Jail that is in the Metaverse where Alice’s Shadow is stealing peoples desires. The Phantom Thieves are needed once again to stop people’s desires from being stolen and finding out who is creating the Jails. The story also introduces two new characters a sentient AI called Sophia and the police officer Zenkichi who will help in the search to find out why the Metaverse is back.

Persona 5 Strikers is technically a direct sequel to the story of the original Persona 5. However, it can be seen as a sequel to Persona 5 Royal but there is no mention of any of the characters specific to Royal or the event of the third semester but one can understand the story of Strikers regardless if you played the original Persona 5 or Royal. Personally, I love the world of Persona 5 and just like the fact that there is another full game with its own story set in this world.

The game play overall is definitely more of an action hack and slash game with hordes of enemies. They did include some of Persona 5’s game play with some stealth, the switching between personas, and surprise attacks but between the two I prefer Persona 5’s game play. The only criticism I have is that later on in the game you are given challenges in the Jail which some require you to be very stealthy. I feel like its a little too easy to be noticed by enemies which can force you to start some challenges over. However, I feel like if you are a fan of Persona 5, Strikers is a game that you should play.

December 2021 Illumicrate

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. December’s theme is Cursed.

The items included in this box are a mug with art from the Winternight Trilogy on it, a Ninthhouse book mark tin, a 2022 calendar featuring different star-crossed lovers, a pin banner, and a Nevermore sticker sheet.

Illumicrate, like other book boxes, include a new hard cover each month and often a letter from the author. This months book is A Marvelous Light by Freya Marske which is a historical fiction fantasy where Robin Blyth becomes a civil service liaison to a hidden magical society due to an administrative mistake. Along the way he meet Edwin Courcey, Robin’s counterpart in the magical bureaucracy, together they find a plot that threaten all the magicians in Britain and secrets that others have died to keep. This edition also has an exclusive cover with a transparent overlay jacket and printed edges. The monthly pin is also inspired by this book.

January’s theme is Royal Secrets.