Movie Review: Game Night

The premise of Game Night is relatively simple: a group of die-hard gamers (who indulge mostly in board games) enter a real-life ‘game’ of their own where the stakes are life or death. And hey, it’s a comedy!

Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams star as Max and Annie, and they are introduced to us in an almost Up-esque montage of two people who meet over common interests, bond, and then host game nights forever. Once the cutesy montage is over, we reach a point in their lives where they are trying to have children, but Max is brutally told by the doctor that his sperm are lazy and tells him that it’s also most likely a by-product of his sibling rivalry with his brother, Brooks (played by Kyle Chandler, whom I discovered in Early Edition which I LOVED). Brooks is constantly living the jet-set life much to the envy of Max, but he returns one day and offers to host the couple’s regular game night at his new swanky digs one day. He hires a company to engage them in a real-life mystery game, but that’s when it all horribly goes wrong. Brooks is taken by real goons and, while the group of six don’t realise it at first, they soon catch on that this is playing for the high stakes, where nothing is really transparent.

So I said group of six. In addition to Max and Annie, we have Billy Magnussen as Ryan (who is a character that’s slightly blank and seemingly superficial) who, to this game night, brings along Sarah (played by Sharon Horgan), who is pretty different from the usual kind of date he has on hand. The final two are married couple Kevin (Lamorne Morris) and Michelle (Kylie Bunbury). Added to this is the standout performance of Jesse Plemons as Gary, the next-door neighbour of Max and Annie’s, who is their friend Debbie’s ex-husband as well as a cop.

This is a movie with comedic moments, sarcasm, hilarity, and some brilliant deadpan moments. The chemistry between Bateman and McAdams is pretty good, and both their comedic timing is perfectly in tune with each other. Plemons, as I said earlier, steals the show. His character is devoid of any reactions of personality and his blank face and creepy expressions just add to the fun in the movie. And Chandler is great as a rake!

By creating sub-plots for most of the characters, the writers have cleverly pulled off depth and backstory for them, which is nice. There’s a few cool set pieces in the movie, one involving a dog, and the other involving a fairly absurd chase through a huge mansion. The plot isn’t necessarily straightforward though – there are twists and turns, and by the climax scene, it’s almost like the characters are acknowledging that there have been an almost silly number of ‘gotchas!’ – you’ll see what I mean when you see it.

So yes, the story gets absurd at some points. But what works in this movie is that it doesn’t take itself seriously. It’s a game night-themed movie that was presumably set out to entertain audiences, and that’s just what it does.

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Movie Review: Black Panther

nullIt’s been a while since I saw Black Panther, but I’ve been:

  • (a) too busy to pen all my thoughts down
  • (b) letting these thoughts percolate into something more cohesive than: ‘OMG THAT WAS AMAZING’.

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, have a look at the trailer before moving on… I’ll keep this as spoiler-free as possible.

So here’s the basics: Black Panther sees the return of T’Challa whom we saw in Captain America: Civil War, where we witnessed the death of his father, the king of Wakanda. In this movie, he returns home to the African nation of Wakanda to assume his role as king. But an enemy of the state returns, and he must work with his friends and allies to keep both Wakanda and the world safe.

This is possibly one of my most favourite Marvel movies yet. What struck me straight off the bat was the visual oomph this movie possessed. Not only how everything looks from landscapes, architecture, and overall set design, but also clothes. I’m not exactly someone who notices outfits in movies, but the vivid colours and designs lent themselves to the story. It’s not just that, but the music is beautiful. Beyond the fantastic work by Kendrick Lamar on the songs, the background score is also fitting. It’s a great way of showcasing how music and design enhance storytelling.

The characters are equally vivid. Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa is restrained, and sometimes I wanted him to break free of those restraints but as the movie progressed I realised that actually added to his nuanced performance. Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger was brilliant; he showcased a range of emotions from rage to sensitivity, to cruelty with aplomb.

The women though. Oh. My. Goodness. These are not women who need to be rescued. These are not women who could just as well be written out of the plot. These are women who are an integral part of the story and that was absolutely amazing. Lupita Nyong’o plays Nakia, who plays a spy/activist/protector-of-all. She’s also the woman T’Challa loves, but isn’t defined by it. She fights alongside and without him, she is there to support him but is there to protect Wakanda and all that she holds dear.

And what can I say about Danai Gurira’s character Okoye? I’m not going to lie, I do not like her character in The Walking Dead, so I was almost ready to dislike her here. No such thing. Her role as a warrior and the leader of the all-female troop of bodyguards is pretty cool. I loved her sass and her complete dedication to Wakanda.

But for me, Shuri, T’Challa’s sister, was the best. She is intelligent, smart, irreverent (and has amazing outfits omg), and is the backbone to her elder brother. Played by Letitia Wright, she is funny, has these great one-liners and is responsible for a lot of laughs in the audience when I watched it. She is integral to so many plot points, and her portrayal of this cool geek was on-point.

Martin Freeman as Everett Ross and Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue lend admirable support, as does Winston Duke as M’Baku, who was more or less an antagonist but then rallies around for the good of Wakanda. There are many more well-written characters with not as much screen time, but were important to the plot, from Angela Bassett as the queen mother, to Forest Whitaker as Zuri, and Daniel Kaluuya as W’Kabi.

I clearly found the movie impressive, but my only niggle is with the slight abruptness of a certain moment at the end of the final battle sequence, but that’s it.

Something else that’s absolutely relevant and beautiful about this movie is its diversity and inclusion; it’s something many others have written about so I’ll let you explore that on your own (as a starting point, read this piece by TIME).

Can’t wait to watch the movie again, if I’m honest!

I mean, even Michelle Obama loved it!

Book Reviews: Discworld 36-41

And we’re back! This is the final installment of my Discworld reviews. I set out on this mission in January 2016. Between life, work, and reading other books, it’s taken me two years to go through the entire Discworld series. It’s been a fantastic journey, filled with laughter, lessons learned and some bittersweet moments too. I will take a break from Discworld for a bit, but I’m sure it’s something I can return to, time and time again…

Earlier installments: Books 1-4, Books 5-10, Books 11-15, Books 16-20, Books 21-30, Books 31-35

Making Money: Discworld, #36

Moist Von Lipwig returns in this book, which many might assume (somewhat correctly) is a repeat performance of Going Postal. Well, it sort of is. After his success with changing the fortunes of the post office, Lord Vetinari ropes in Moist yet again – this time to fix the fortunes of the Bank. There’s a rather old, wicked woman, golems (obviously), and a few strange characters in the bank. It’s a typical Pratchettian Discworld novel, and while some may feel like there’s a sense of repetition, it’s actually still ridiculously enjoyable.

Unseen Academicals: Discworld #37

While this this is part of the Rincewind series, I was thankful that he wasn’t the central focus in this book. Rather, the focus is on all the wizards at the Unseen University, who might have to resort to leaving their comfortable space to engage in…physical activity *shudder* – football. And while this is ongoing, a Romeo/Juliet is playing out against the background of this sport, unbeknownst to the wizards. And then there’s Nutt…who is he? Or rather, what?! I found the book slightly long in places, and some jokes a bit flat – but it’s still an enjoyable read.

A Collegiate Casting-Out of Devilish Devices: Discworld #37.5

This is an online-only piece, and can be accessed here. I was a little confused by the appearance of the Dean, since he was absent in the last book (#37) due to his defection to another university. A short read, but entirely missable – really not that entertaining, and slightly pointless.

I Shall Wear Midnight: Discworld #38

The fourth Tiffany Aching book shows her grown-up (I think she’s 15 or 16 in this book?) and as the Witch of the Chalk takes care of many people. Roland is also back, but what’s this? Their relationship has slightly changed, because he’s engaged! Letitia is his fiance, and there’s more to her than anyone thinks – and Tiffany can’t help but like her when she meets her. I have begun to love the Nac Mac Feegles more than ever before; I initially found them annoying but I’ve found them more and more endearing as the books went by. Not my most favourite Aching, but a good one.

Snuff!: Discworld #39

Ah Vimes. A really good, satisfying Vimes adventure – and his final one. Sybil finally manages to drag Vimes off to her ancestral home, which he, of course, now commands. He hates it but Vetinari signs it off, and off he goes. While there, he feels like something is afoot, and he gets embroiled in an adventure involving goblins and shady landowners. What I loved about this book was the continuation of themes of acceptance and diversity. Vimes fighting for what is right, rather than following the status quo. I found the river climax fairly lengthy but once that was over it got interesting again.

Raising Steam: Discworld #40

The final Moist Von Lipwig adventure, this one was pretty satisfying. The railway is here, and it’s ready to power its way through the Discworld. Connecting Ankh-Morpork to Quirm, to Uberwald, and beyond… I enjoyed reading of Moist’s adventures beyond the Ankh-Morporkian borders, and it was nice to see yet another species – goblins – continue to make their mark felt in the series. Plus, the appearance of characters like Nobby Nobbs, Colon, Cheery Littlebottom and so on on the side are welcome. Loved the ‘reveal’ at the end, although I’ve suspected it for a while, this is definitely one to read and cherish. Ties up the Watch/Moist side of things nicely enough… considering it’s the last we will see of them…

The Shepherd’s Crown: Discworld #41

Finally… the last Discworld novel. It’s not his best book, but it’s a pretty near perfect end to the series, even though, as the afterword reveals, we will now never know about the new adventures he was clearly planning. The book has some goodbyes (keep tissues handy), and some new characters creep in. I’m grateful to have been able to read this book, because it brings together so many beautiful elements across the entire Disc-verse. Thank you Sir Terry Pratchett ❤

Note: there is a 39.5, called The World of Poo but I wasn’t able to obtain a copy, so haven’t penned anything on it.

Book reviews: Discworld #31-35

And we’re back!

Earlier installments: Books 1-4, Books 5-10, Books 11-15, Books 16-20, Books 21-30

Monstrous Regiment: Discworld, #31

Can I say that this is absolutely my favourite??? I read this via a copy from my library, and I need to buy my own copy. There’s a war ongoing, and Polly’s brother Paul has been missing since he joined up. She decides it’s time to find him and the only way to do that is join the army. The problem? They don’t accept women. So she cuts her hair, wears male clothing and adopts ways of behaviour that include burping, scratching and walking in a ‘male’ manner. She signs up, along with a vampire, a troll, a zombie, and many more odd members. As she goes along with the charade, she finds that everyone is hiding their own secrets – and learns the value of a well-placed sock! Pratchett was a feminist, really, and it comes across in this book. Regular characters from Discworld have cameos, like Vimes, Willam de Worde and more. This book is the third in the Industrial Revolution sub-series.

A Hat Full of Sky: Discworld #32

The second Tiffany Aching book is excellent. I know I wasn’t enthusiastic about the first, but this one is brilliant. I went in with zero expectations and really liked it. Tiffany is such a resourceful young girl, and Granny Weatherwax such a wise woman – having them almost ‘work’ together was a joy to read. Tiffany is sent to apprentice with Miss Level, but finds that something is following her. The Nac Mac Feegles have sensed this too, and eventually go off to rescue the big wee hag.

Going Postal: Discworld #33

Forming part of both the Industrial Revolution and the Moist von Lipwig series, I enjoyed reading this book the second time around, about five years after I read it the first time. Moist is a 26-year-old expert con-man, who has literally and figuratively reached the end of the rope – or has he? Lord Vetinari steps in, and Moist is given another shot at life – as the man in charge of the now-defunct Post Office. With the Grand Trunk Company more sinister than ever, will Moist be able to resurrect the Post Office and make it profitable? In a way, now that I’m reading the Discworld books in chronological order, the more I appreciate Vetinari. His character is impressive, and the way in which he masterfully deals with the ‘enemies’ of Ankh-Morpork, while oddly enough knowing whom to give second chances to, is just applause-worthy.

Thud!: Discworld #34

Another one from City Watch, this one has a new character in it: a vampire joins the Watch! In the book, politics is thrust upon Vimes much to his annoyance, where he’s forced to hire Sally, and also deal with a problem between the dwarves and trolls when the subject of Koom Valley comes up. While the political arc is actually pretty interesting, it’s the human elements in the book – as with the others – that keep you engaged. Angua showing her insecurity, in a way, of Sally’s preening for Carrot, who’s oblivious to everything but the case and Angua’s well-being; Vimes wanting to be home at 6pm every day so he can read a book to his son; and a troll who just wants to understand what’s happening around him… The conclusion is pretty amazing, and hey, Death makes an appearance!

Wintersmith: Discworld #35

We’re in the third Tiffany Aching book, and I have slowly warmed up to this character. In this book, she makes a mistake. And because of it, the Wintersmith has fallen in love – with her! But this is causing havoc to the natural order of things, and it’s up to Tiffany to fix it and bring back the person he was meant to dance the dance with. Super happy to see Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg back again. It’s a bit of a coming-of-age story of sorts, but while it was a good read, it wasn’t a memorable one – for me.

Note: there is a 34.5, called Where’s My Cow? but I wasn’t able to obtain a copy, so haven’t penned anything on it.

Discworld Books #21-30

Discworld Books #21-30

Welcome to the next installment of my Discworld adventure… 

OK so it’s definitely been a while since I updated this. But here are the next 10 (instead of five) in the Discworld series. I’m currently reading #33 – not long until the end!

Earlier installments: Books 1-4, Books 5-10, Books 11-15, Books 16-20

Jingo: Discworld #21

This is part of the City Watch series, and it’s essentially quite anti-war – which is great! Ankh-Morpork and Klatch look like they’re going to war, and it all gets messier and messier by the day. Vetinari has a meaty role in this one, and we get to see Leonard of Quirm get involved as well. Very pertinent, as using words and comedy, Pratchett deals with the issues of war, racism and much more ‘real world’ to get a point across.

The Last Continent: Discworld #22

OK I actually didn’t like this, which is surprising. I rarely NOT like a Pratchett book, I just think they’re average. This one, however… So it’s the sixth in the Rincewind series, which is already frustrating because if you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll know I don’t like Rincewind very much! So this book is based in a continent that is suspiciously similar to Australia, but I felt like the jokes fell flat and it seemed all a little bit forced. As if it was easy to pick stereotypes or common jokes for this one. I’m also not 100% sure what the plot was all about!

The Sea and The Little Fishes: Discworld #22.5

A short story with the Witches of Discworld – I highly, highly recommend you read this. It’s focused on Granny Weatherwax and the annual Witch Trials, which she has been winning year after year after year. This year, the other witches want her to sit out. And then Granny Weatherwax turns terrifyingly…nice…to everyone. Find out more, you will enjoy this.

Carpe Jugulum: Discworld #23

I LOVED THIS BOOK! This is the sixth in the Witches series within Discworld, and it was an absolute joy to read. So, King Verence of Lancre and Magrat have had a child together, and as part of the celebrations, the Magpyrs of Uberwald show up – with his Verence’s invite of course. But these are ‘modern’ vampires, who like the sun and eat garlic. And they don’t want to leave. Agnes Nitt has a meaty role in this one, and of course, Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg jump into the fray to save their home from the vampires. If there’s ANY vampire fiction you must read, make it this one. Plus: I’ve just found out this is the last of the Witches series (but not the last you’ll read of the Witches, so never fear)!

The Fifth Elephant: Discworld #24

Another one from the City Watch – I really, really enjoyed this book. I think it’s because Carrot and Angua have some meaty roles in this one, and they’re among some of my favourite characters. In Ankh-Morpork a scone is stolen from the Dwarf Museum, and while the Watch are trying to figure out why, off to Uberwald goes Vimes and Sybil as representatives of Ankh-Morpork. It’s time for the Low King of the Dwarfs to be crowned. But Angua mysteriously disappears and Carrot, naturally, tries to find her. And…they head for Uberwald too. What happens next, amidst diplomacy, werewolves and vampires? This book is an absolute blast.

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My well-thumbed copy

The Truth: Discworld #25
OK so I’m totally biased with this book, purely because of my chosen profession. William de Worde (on that note, I just LOVE all the character names in the Discworld books). BTW this is part of the ‘Industrial Revolution’ series, which we’ve already come across with ‘Moving Pictures’, the tenth book in the overall Disc-verse. So de Worde is a person who sends reports, if you will, of happenings in the city to a number of people who pay him for it. And then, somehow, almost by accident, he ends up running Ankh-Morpork’s first newspaper, and becomes a journalist, with his nose to the ground for a good story. And then, there’s a murder… Honestly, even if you don’t like or read Pratchett’s Discworld series, definitely pick up this one if you work or are associated with the media industry. It’s such a fun story, with elements that you might actually identify with!

Thief of Time: Discworld #26

While this is part of the Death sub-series, there was more reading time for Susan, Death’s granddaughter than Death himself. That’s fine in itself, but I didn’t enjoy this book that much. I’m not exactly sure what it was, but I think I felt that the characters were going through the motions and there wasn’t much development or chemistry between them. In this book, a clock that could potentially stop time is being built, and the Auditors are involved. Susan sets out to stop them, and we even visit – through Death – the other members of the Riders of the Apocalypse. Nanny Ogg also makes an appearance – which was very cool btw.

The Last Hero: Discworld #27

So it’s another Rincewind book. It wasn’t all bad though (see: previous comments on not enjoying Rincewind books) – it’s tempered with the presence of Heroes. It’s time for Cohen the Barbarian to go on his final quest, with a band of old friends. They set off for the highest mountain within the Discworld – to meet the gods! The Last Hero is Cohen, who is determined to return to the gods something that the First Hero stole. And because Vetinari believes this will bring about the end of the world… he’s determined to stop them. With the ragtag team of Captain Carrot and Leonard of Quirm – and unfortunately, Rincewind – and assisted by Ponder Stibbons. Do they succeed?

The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents: Discworld #28

I believe this is the first young adult novel that Pratchett wrote, and I absolutely loved it. Think Pied Piper with a Pratchett twist. Maurice the cat can talk (and we have encountered talking animals in the Discworld before) and so can the rats he hangs out with. This motley crew works with a young boy to scam towns or villages into thinking the boy can get rid of a rat infestation with his cat. But one town isn’t as straightforward as it seems… there they meet a young girl who joins them on an adventure which leads them to a mysterious and strangely powerful monster that no one can see. It’s funny as always, and despite being a young adult book, it does deal with fairly dark or serious themes – but then, quite a few Pratchett books do that. A book I’d really, really recommend.

Night Watch: Discworld #29

Part of The City Watch series, this is potentially one of my favourite City Watch books for the pure human drama. In this book, Vimes and his team were in pursuit of a serial killer, and in a series of unfortunate events, both are, essentially, thrown back in time. To a specific point in Ankh-Morpork’s bloody history, where Vimes – shall we say – meets people from his past. But will his actions change the  future? We shall see. The time travel element adds a nice twist, and it’s a book that will make you think, and maybe cry. Enjoy it.

The Wee Free Men: Discworld #30

This book marks the introduction of a new sub-series within the Discword: Tiffany Aching. A new witch! It’s defnitely aimed at a younger reader (I mean, it was in the young adult section of my library), so I’m not sure it was completely my cup of tea. However, as in Pratchett tradtiion, the writing is excellent. In this book, Tiffany finds herself working with the Wee Free Men, the Nac Mac Feegle who live in the Chalk (where she lives) to find her kidnapped brother. To do this, they must venture into Fairyland, and face the Queen of the Elves. What I really liked about this book was Tiffany’s characterisation – she’s a no-nonsense, sensible girl who is extremely curious and resourceful. It’s a great way to introduce a younger person to the joys of Terry Pratchett, and with a strong, intelligent female character no doubt. However, toward the end, I felt like it was a bit tedious to read, and I skimmed over a couple of pages.

Geek alert: Mystery Box ME

Do you like sci-fi (books, movies, everything)? Anime? ‘Verses like Star Wars, Star Trek (yes you can like both – look at me!), Firefly and more? Comics? Gaming? OK, well you’re going to want to know about Mystery Box ME, if you don’t already!

I’m not sure how I came across the geek-themed Mystery Box ME, but I’m really glad I did. If I had to hazard a guess though, I’d say it was something I found via the geek-in-the-know, @theregos.

Anyway, the premise is simple. You sign up to receive a… well, a mystery box every month. You don’t know what’s in the box, other than that it will arouse the interest of all geeks.

Here’s an example of just one month:

Other months have included a Batman-themed fidget spinner, a Baby Groot bobble-head, a t-shirt with Futurama’s Bender, a Deadpool chef figurine, a t-shirt with Serenity (the ship) on it, a variety of comics, and so much more.

The website lists all the subscription opportunities; you can buy a one-off box for AED 199, or take monthly plans, ranging from a three-month plan to a one year plan, with prices obviously dropping with the volume that you purchase. I find that it’s always worth it…opening that box has never disappointed.

This month, the website released a “themed” box – Star Wars. The website also currently lists a video game-themed box. These do list what you’re getting when you order the boxes. Definitely looking forward to more of these!

Check out the official website for more information and to order your own box!

Want to see more? I’ll end with one of my (many) unboxing videos… 

Reading Discworld Books 16-20

Welcome to the next installment of my Discworld adventure… 

Earlier installments: Books 1-4, Books 5-10, Books 11-15

Soul Music: Discworld #16

The third in the Death series, Susan remembers the grandfather she forgot: Death. Upset after his daughter and son-in-law die, Death disappears (again). This time, instead of zombies, his granddaughter takes on the mantle. But during her work, something strange happens. One human doesn’t die. Music takes him over at the time he was meant to die. And then Music With Rocks In is born. This music is alive, and it’s determined to make its way. In a way, this book reminds me of Moving Pictures, which annoyed me ever so slightly. However, the book manages to hold its own.

Troll Bridge: Discworld #16.5

This short story with Cohen the Barbarian is a lovely little treat! Cohen wants to fight a troll to the death, just like the old days. But what he finds is that trolls are dealing with the passing of time, much like himself. The bridge troll and Cohen have a bit of a chat and find out they have more in common than they realise… a quick read, one for Discworld fans.

Interesting Times: Discworld #17

I first read this book in 2012, and gave it three stars on Goodreads. And you know what? I enjoyed it much more the second time around – four stars,if not 4.5. In fact, I’m not sure I remember the book as much as I did this time… The fifth in the Rincewind series, this one follows the hapless wizard (or wizzard, as it were) in his next adventure, where he is reunited with a friend from the past, along with a few barbarians. Maybe even Luggage. Sent to the Counterweight Continent, he’s thrown into a situation where people assume he’s the “great wizard” and barbarians are trying to take over. Guest appearance by Death at one point, wahey! Genuinely enjoyed this one, it really helped to have read the other books in the Rincewind sub-series, to really get into the zone with this one.

Maskerade: Discworld #18

The fifth in the Witches sub-series, this book is the first one where Magrat Garlick (last seen in Lords and Ladies) is absent. Having become Queen, she’s busy ruling Lancre, and the coven of three is now two. Sensing Granny Weatherwax is dipping into depression (and potentially turning bad), Nanny Ogg is keen to get that number back to three – picking Agnes Nitts (or Perdita) as a successor. But Agnes/Perdita has run off to Ankh-Morpork to become an opera singer, and she’s been thrown in the midst of a Phantom of the Opera-style murder mystery. The witches, naturally, arrive to get Agnes back … and then they have to figure out who the phantom really is… I’m really liking the murder mystery style of Discworld books, definitely a good read.

Feet of Clay: Discworld #19

A wonderful City Watch series book, this is third in the story of Captai Vimes and his band of merry men. This is a murder mystery, and Vimes and his team has to figure out whodunit – and who’s also poisoning Lord Vetinari! Throw in a few characters like dwarf Cheery Littlebottom, and you have a winner. We also learn more about Golems, made of clay, and their standing in the social confusion that is Ankh-Morpork – a lot through the eyes of Dorfl. A few places in this book made me want to tear up, but that’s just the nature of something written by Pratchett.

Hogfather: Discworld #20

I first read this in 2012, and picked it up again for my Discworld journey. It’s the fourth in the Death series, and so marks the return of my favourite character (Death FYI). This one marks the return of Death’s granddaughter, Susan. She’s trying to live a ‘normal’ life – as much as a Duchess and the granddaughter of Death can live a normal life – as a governess. But some things are trying to kill the Hogfather, the merry figure who appears on Hogswatch, and they’re nearly succeeding. And Death has stepped in… HO HO HO. The wizards make an appearance too, and what a merry bunch they are. All in time for the season.

Discworld Books 11-15

Welcome to the next installment of my Discworld adventure… 

Earlier installments: Books 1-4, Books 5-10

Reaper Man: Discworld #11

So, if you’ve been reading my Discworld series of posts, you will know Death is my favourite character. For me personally, this wasn’t my favourite book – which was a disappointment. The second in the Death series after Mort, the book explores what would happen if Death just wasn’t there. Death has been fired, and isn’t picking up the dead witches, wizards and others. Instead, he’s become Bill Door and is working on a farm. And … he makes friends, and shows, believe-it-or-not, empathy. In Ankh-Morpork, a wizard has died, and he’s tired of waiting for Death to pick him up. And so…he becomes undead and joins a society of the undead. Both stories are intertwined – the fate of Death and the fate of Ankh Morpork. A good read, but not my favourite.

Witches Abroad: Discworld #12

The third in the Witches series… the trio of Nanny Ogg, Granny Weatherwax and Magrat Garlick are slowly gaining ground as some of my favourite characters (Death, don’t let them beat you!). In this book, the three witches take a trip to Genua on a fairy godmother mission, when Desiderata passed away and left her wand to Magrat. And obviously Granny and Nanny had to come along, especially when they find out they weren’t meant to. Their mission is to prevent a young girl, Emberella, from marrying a prince, and thwarting a power-hungry witch in the process. Throw in voodoo, coachmen and pumpkins, and  a whole lot of sarcasm and common sense, and it’s a fairy tale for all!

Small Gods: Discworld #13

I first read this book in 2013 and gave it five stars. I read it again, and gave it five stars…again! In this book, the Great God Om has woken up as a turtle – and he just wanted to be a bull again. The Discworld is peppered with many gods, all competing for believers. He needs to find someone to believe in him, and make him great again. In comes Brutha, a novice, who believes. Imagine his surprise when he finds Om the turtle. Om’s challenge, should he choose to accept it: make Brutha make everyone believe in him again. Really believe. Or else he’ll become a “small god”… perish the thought.

Lords and Ladies: Discworld #14

Okay, this was a massive surprise – I fell in love with this book! The Witches Series is really fantastic. Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Eve is here! After the three witches have been out and about seeing the world (see book 12!), they are back. In Magrat Garlick’s absence, her wedding seems to have been planned with the King of Lancre. But something is afoot…elves? Fairy lights and twinkly beings? No. Dangerous elements. Evil. Mischief. And only Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax remember there’s more to the beautiful creatures… But the lords and ladies are trying to re-enter the Discworld… there’s a way to stop them. Will they? Absolutely intelligent and superb writing.

Theatre of Cruelty: Discworld #14.5

Short online read, a play on Punch and Judy, with Carrot and Death thrown in. Not my favourite, but Discword fans should read it. You can read it for free here.

Men at Arms: Discworld #15

The City Watch series is in its second outing after Guards! Guards!, and what an outing it is. Carrot is back, but so are some new recruits. While no one really knows what Nobby is, the Night Watch now has recruited a dwarf (Cuddy; a real one, no offence Carrot), a troll (Detritus), and a woman (and a werewolf, sorry for outing you Angua). And Sam Vimes is retiring! To become a gentleman and get married. In the midst of angst within the Night Watch, the royalists are coming back… and they seem to think a citizen of Ankh-Morpork may be the real heir. The Patrician is not amused. Neither is the Watch, especially when there are a serious of mysterious deaths. And a new and missing weapon called a gonne. Is this a murder mystery? Yes. Read it. Brilliance.

#Reading Discworld books 5-10

Welcome to the next installment of my Discworld adventure… 

Sourcery: Discworld #5

The third Rincewind. Not the biggest fan of him, though he’s slightly growing on me. In this book, the eighth son of the eighth son of an eighth son has arrived. He’s a sourcerer. And he’s out to wreak a little havoc on the world. Other characters include the Librarian (remember, ape not monkey), and Conina (daughter of Cohen the Barbarian), Nijel the Destroyer, and Cresosote. Not sure I liked these three very much – the narrative that included the wizards, Coin the sourcerer, Death and *shock* Rincewind was more interesting than these three. Easy to read, not the most engaging.

Wyrd Sisters: Discworld #6

This marks the return of Granny Weatherwax, last seen in ‘Equal Rites’, making this the second of the Witches sub-series. I really enjoyed this one – Granny Weatherwax forms a non-social coven with two other witches, Nanny Ogg and Margat Garlick, and during the course of their reluctant socialising, help save the kingdom of Lancre from the clutches of an evil Duke. Throw in ghosts, supernatural occurrences, and a healthy dose of Shakespeare satire, and you’ve got Wyrd Sisters. I quite enjoyed the down-to-earth nature of these witches, who aren’t what you’d expect from “witches” – as Nanny Ogg said in the book, as witches get used to magic, it’s a special kind of magic to not use any! One of Pratchett’s more enjoyable books.

Pyramids: Discworld #7

This is the first time I’ve read this book in the series, and absolutely loved it. I’ve always enjoyed history in general, and this book references Egyptian pharaohs and mummies and pyramids, and takes readers for a fun ride. Teppic has trained to be an assassin in Ankh-Morpork. But his father passes away – and he’s the new king! Teppic goes back home to rule and to build the biggest pyramid ever seen. But pyramids have power, and this developments leads to a series of hilarious incidents. This book has mummies, camel-mathematicians, and nubile handmaidens. Along with a few gods thrown in. It’s a standalone book, so doesn’t necessarily need to be read in the order that it was written.

Guards! Guards!: Discworld #8

The eighth in the Discworld series, the first in the City Watch – this book was absolutely fantastic in setting up the story of Captain Vimes and the Night Watch. We are introduced to Carrot, Nobby and Colon, all of whom are beloved characters in the series. Lady Sybil is also introduced, and her relationship with Vimes is wonderfully set up in the book. In this novel, Ankh-Morpork is subjected to a few dragons, one of whom decides it wants to take over the city and rule. How will the Ankh-Morporkians deal with this? And how does Vimes turn from a bottle-hugger to a hero? How does Carrot turn from thinking he’s a dwarf to transforming the Night Watch? One of the best books I’ve read so far in the Discworld series – I give it five stars.

Eric: Discworld #9

Rincewind returns in his fourth outing! While trying to summon a demon to make his teenage wishes come true, Eric somehow manages to end up with Rincewind the wizard (who picks up from where we left him at the end of Discworld #5, Sourcery). Join the pair as they embark on an adventure to the beginning of the universe, a war over a woman whose appearance may or may not have launched a 1,000 ships, a sacrificial empire, and perhaps even…Hell. It was quick reading, but I didn’t like it as much as I thought I might. Good moments, but I’ve never been the biggest Rincewind fan to begin with, so perhaps that contributed to me not loving it as much as I could.

Moving Pictures: Discworld #10

A standalone novel, Moving Pictures is a straight parody of Hollywood culture, with the Discworld version Holy Wood. In this book, alchemists discover how to create moving pictures, with the help of imps. But is this magic, or science? And why are people being drawn to Holy Wood, and who or what is putting mysterious dreams in their heads? We join failed wizard Victor and milkmaid hating Ginger on their adventures in tinsel town. I struggled with the beginning of this book, it felt like it was dragging on. About halfway through it got a bit more interesting, although the ending felt rushed/contrived. Even so, it’s a decent Pratchett book, but not one to read first if you’re not a Pratchett/Discworld fan already.

ADDENDUM: Death and What Comes Next: Discworld #10.5

So I cheated a little bit. I found this novella listed on Goodreads as Discworld 10.5, with my favourite character in the series – Death. Some of the reviewers shared where it could be read (here you go): all I will say is, it’s very short, but filled with the wit and sarcasm you would have grown to expect from Pratchett by this point.

Some autism movies on my to-watch list

In the last few weeks, I’ve come across two movie trailers, where the main protagonist is autistic. I’m always curious to see how people with autism spectrum disorders are portrayed in the cinema. So I’ll definitely try and watch them. I’ll post reviews if I get to see them!

Here are the trailers, let me know what you think:

  1. Jack of the Red Hearts
  1. Janes Wants a Boyfriend

Jane Wants a Boyfriend | Official Trailer from William Sullivan on Vimeo.