Storm Front (Dresden Files #1) Review

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Storm Front is the first book of the Dresden Files. Storm Front follows wizard Harry Dresden when he gets involved in a murder mystery in Chicago that the police is looking in to and asked to investigate the disappearance of a woman’s husband. Someone is using magic to kill which leads Harry in to Chicago’s underworld to catch the killer other wise Harry will be next.

I read Storm Front as an audio book which I rarely do. I’ve just never been a huge fan of audio books and find that narrators can put me off a book I would have otherwise loved. However, James Marsters’ narration of the book is amazing and is what really pulled me in and caused me to finish the book.

The Dresden Files is a series that I’ve heard of for years but never really considered reading until I heard that James Marsters did the audio books. Storm Front is pretty much a murder mystery novel with some magic and supernatural elements thrown in. Thought well written by Jim Butcher I never felt very invested in the story or the characters. It wasn’t until very close to the end of the book that I actually even wanted to finish it. So, I’m not sure if I will continue on with this series as the story was okay but I don’t really feel a need to know what happens in the rest of the books. 3/5 stars.

Rise by Mira Grant

27161826Rise: A NewsFlesh Collection is the compilation of all the short stories and the novellas connected to the NewsFlesh series. This collection is intended for those who have completed the series and would spoil the ending if read earlier. Rise contains 8 stories set before, during, and after the rising and continues after the end of the third book. These stories are: “Countdown”, “Everglades”, “San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats”, “How Green This Land, How Blue This Sea”, “The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell”, “Please Do Not Taunt the Octopus”, “All the Pretty Little Horses”, and “Coming to You Live”.

Countdown is the story of the rising, how the world got to the point that we see in the first NewsFlesh book Feed. This story is told in snippets giving the date and location showing how the cure for cancer and the cure for the common cold mutated and were able to create the zombie apocalypse. The story feels very real, like something that could happen today as it’s about people doing what they think is best and having the worst possible outcome. It also introduces characters that show up later in the series. 5/5 stars.

Everglades is the shortest of all the stories in the collection. It follows one young woman who has survived the initial rising but ultimately decides that living in this new world is not what she wants. I really didn’t like this story not because of the subject matter but because of the way its written. The story weaves current events with the woman’s childhood which fells a little disjointed to me. 2/5 stars.

San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats follows the events of the Rising at San Diego Comic Con and the only survivor of the incident. The story is told in sections divided by Mahir Gowanda interviewing the survivor Lorelei Tutt. This is my favorite story of this collection because of the comic convention angle. I’ve attended several comic conventions though never San Diego Comic Con and honestly it is probably one of the worst places that a zombie apocalypse could happen. 5/5 stars.

How Green This Land, How Blue This Sea follows Mahir Gowanda traveling to Australia and learning how the country deals with zombie kangaroos and other wildlife. This one is set after the original trilogy and primarily focus on the fact to not everyone/every country would deal with zombies the same way. Australia doesn’t have all the extreme systems in place as the United States and maybe that’s a good thing. Thought the story doesn’t have much of a plot to speak of. 4/5 stars.

The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell is essentially the back story of Foxy a character from the main series. This short story focuses on how schools would function after a zombie apocalypse where everyone is infected and can become a zombie at anytime and how the precautions end up failing. I found the kids in the story while realistic kind of annoying, as everything happens because one kid refused to tell a teacher that he had cut himself which causes the infection to spread and everything to be his fault. Also I don’t really get why anyone would be willing to go to  public schools in this world. 3/5 stars.

Please Do Not Taunt the Octopus follows Dr. Shannon Abbey and the difficulties of running her underground lap since the end of the series. This story real can be read without any of the others as it follows one incident that Dr. Abbey must deal with and the consequences from the end of the series. As I love Dr. Abbey anything with more of her is great. 5/5 stars.

All the Pretty Little Horses is the story of Stacy and Michael Mason in the aftermath of the rising but before they have adopted Shaun and Georgia. While it does give more back story on these character and allows the reader to have more empathy for them I still hate these characters.  But at least we finally have a justification for how they act during the main books. 3/5 stars.

Coming to You Live is a direct continuation from the trilogy that follows Shaun and Georgia in the aftermath of Blackout. I absolutely love Shaun and George which is why I feel like this story wasn’t really needed. The ending of Blackout was a great place to end their story and gives the audience the knowledge that their story isn’t over but they have done more than enough. Though I say this I still loved this story. 5/5 stars

Overall, Rise is a great collection but what each reader looks for in a good story will impact the enjoyment of this collection. However, I still give the entire book 5/5 stars.

The Witch Review

p11451256_v_v8_abThe Witch is a horror movie from 2015 that follows a family of pilgrims who have angered their community and church and have been banished to live outside near the dark creepy forest. After the disappearance of the family’s infant the family becomes increasingly paranoid and the younger members believes there is a witch in the woods that is causing all of the families problems.

I love horror movies so for me the movie was not all that scary but I think the movie isn’t try to scare in the traditional sense with jump scares and gore. The atmosphere and how creepy the movie is amazing which makes the viewers feel uneasy and paranoid like the characters.  The movie has the perfect setting, nobody know what is out in the woods and as a story about the Puritans the fear of the unknown/the devil being in the woods is incredibly accurate to history.

The imagery used in the movie is very similar to reported cases of the witch trials. The movie shows the witch near the beginning but at times like it’s more the family is experiencing real sickness and possibly mental health issues. Through most of the movie interactions between the witch and the family occur when only one member of the family is in the scene so there is no way to tell if what they are seeing is real or not. The witch preys on each member showing them what they want. Very few scenes include other people besides the family so for the audience what is happening can seem like it’s not really there. The end of the movie shows that there are witches in the woods but I feel if it was all real or not is up to interpretation.

As someone who has studied the Salem Witch Trials, I constantly questioned throughout the movie if the witch was real or not though the Witch is clearly shown at the beginning of the movie. One of the theories about the witch trials is that the food was contaminated causing people to have hallucinations and seizures which lead the Church and community to believe that Witches were real. I feel like if you don’t know much about the witch trials the movie would be more scary as you probably would not question the existence of the witch.

Overall, it’s a very atmospheric and creepy movie that is great to watch around Halloween.