Holiday Grades…

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Sorry about the long hiatus between posts but between the holidays and Italy’s always-dodgy wi-fi environments, it’s been hard… So this is going to be a catch-up post with a few of the things I enjoyed this summer, some of the stuff I didn’t like and a few meh – things that just didn’t move me either way.

The good:

Hannibal 2 – the tv series that keeps on giving gruesome nastiness and excellent actor performances. The excellent Mads Mikkelsen is a thorougly enjoyable Hannibal, perennial veering between charm and madness, with a subtle irony that’s always delightful. Some of the episodes are a little over-the-top, just the way a series about a cannibal should be though. And some of the recipes are quite yummy! I was a little put-off by the ending (no spoilers, don’t worry) but then again we live in a world where series have a tendency to become a little longer than they should – and i’ll be delighted to see Mikkelsen again next year, anyway.

The Long Price series by Daniel Abraham – a smart, bittersweet fantasy series with an edge. At times it digs in the political with dark overtones a-la Game of Thrones, before expanding on a wonderful magic construct that leaves you wanting more of the poet-wizards and their poor daemons. The twist in the tale is unexpected and nasty, but perfectly suited to the dark but hopeful world it’s set in. Do check it out, it’s a gem!

Meh:

I finally got to see/half read the YA phenomena of the last few years: Hunger Games and Divergent. Both have left me distinctly unimpressed – decent (if derivative) stories with a few plot holes, slightly annoying main characters and mildly entertaining action which becomes ponderous as you progress through the trilogies. Maybe I’ve read too much good science fiction thru the years, but they just both felt like they were exquisitely tailored to a narrow category of pre-teen/young girls. Slickly produced on the movie side, average writing in the books, nothing to call home about.

The book thief – great first half, lovely to get the younger generation aware/involved/horrified by the atrocities of the mid-twentieth century, but once again a little slow in the second part, with what feels like a stuck-on resolution.

The ugly:

Brazil’s performance in their own world cup. After having cried in my cup for the poor Italian performance in the groups, I, with the rest of the world, got to see an absolutely abject performance in the world-cup semifinal, by a team that should have known better. Hysteric, shameful and inept, it at least highlighted how panic can quickly spread through a group of people and render them powerless. The problem is if you tried to write it as a story, people would find it too unbelievable…

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