Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer

Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer is 432-page speculative fiction novel, published by Tor in May of 2016. I received the book from NetGalley for review.

Too Like the LightningI requested this novel from NetGalley because I loved the cover and the title font. So yes, I judge books by their covers. Luckily, I wasn’t burned–Too Like the Lightning turned out to be a slow-burning, thought-provoking story.

The beginning of the novel crawls a bit since the narrator, Mycroft Canner, is actually a historian from 2454 who sets up the reader for a history that takes place in the reader’s past (see the first line of the book below). It took a few chapters to get used to Mycroft’s manner of speaking and story telling–there are plenty of “thee”s and “thou”s in the book, thanks to the future’s use of language (they’re also partial to using Latin). The payoff for this slow build is absolutely worth it. More


How to Smoke Pot (Properly): A Highbrow Guide to Getting High by David Bienenstock

How to Smoke Pot (Properly): A Highbrow Guide to Getting High is a 288-page nonfiction novel published by Plume in April of 2016 (I can’t believe they missed out on publishing on 4/20!). I received a free copy of the book from Penguin’s First to Read program.

How to Smoke Pot (Properly): A Highbrow Guide to Getting HighThe novel begins with a succinct history of cannabis and goes on to discuss everything from humanity’s use of the plant in spiritual rituals, medicine, and daily life to the entrepreneurial efforts and scientific research of cannabis taking place today.

Bienenstock provides a fantastic and fascinating overview of the possibilities of cannabis–relieving patients who are suffering, community growth, and rapidly growing business opportunities. A plethora of careers–from budtenders (serving customers at a weed dispensary) to tourist endeavors (hotels and entertainment)–become possible with ending cannabis prohibition. It’s brilliantly argued that tourists (of states like Colorado) buying weed with no legal recourse to take the plant out of state would be more than happy to stimulate the local economy by seeing shows, eating at local restaurants, and staying in a hotel during their trip. The discussion on the history of legislation and stigma surrounding cannabis is a little indignant, but also quite accurate. More

Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Lost Adventures

For anyone who doesn’t know, Avatar: The Last Airbender was a show about a boy named Aang and his friends, Katara, Sokka, and Toph. They three nations (Air has been wiped out): Fire, Earth, and Water. The Fire Nation had taken over and was waging a war for domination over the other three nations. Aang is the avatar, the one who is meant to master all four elements and keep peace in the world.

In The Lost Adventures, we get quite a few fun tales about their adventures outside of what the show was able to portray. For avid fans and new readers alike, this is a great graphic novel to get into. It is separated into the same books/nations as the show, so if you are a follower of it, you will understand and enjoy the context of the short stories. If you haven’t seen the show, the group generally spends a good chunk of time in each nation allowing Aang to master that element. The graphic novel shows miniature flashbacks to let you know important plot points in the story.

The Last Airbender: The Lost Adventures

Fun adventures travelling the world.

I like every adventure, but there were a few that stuck out as especially enjoyable.

In one story, the group has stopped for a rest. Aang finds a merchant who is selling a relic of the air nation, and when the rest have finally gone to sleep, he goes to check it out. To his dismay, the Fire Nation traps him when he gets to an old airbender hideout. I love the history that is put into this story. Airbender relics are something even I would be interested in — they have been all but wiped out by the firebenders.

If you recall in the show, Toph scams firebenders for money by using her earthbending skills. In this story, they have to come up with a new way to get food in the Fire Nation. Appa (Aang’s sky bison) is hungry as well, and his stomach rumbles like an earthquake. Sokka convinces the Fire Nation citizens that he’s a great beast, and that he can scare him off if they pay for his food. Sokka is in for a great surprise though, when they find that the great beast is not Appa at all…

My favorite story with Toph has to be where she fights earthbender King Bumi. He is old and quite possibly senile, and they both think they are the epitome of earthbending glory. Sokka is the referee, and I think my favorite line from him has to be, “Rockalanche! Nice!”

Overall, this is a great read whether or not you’ve seen the show. It had so many fun stories about each character that it’s also not boring for people who have watched the series many times, like myself. I highly recommend it! I also want to thank NetGalley for giving me this book to review, I appreciate it.

Rage: After the Impact

After receiving quite a few graphic novels from one of my favorite publishers, Dark Horse Books, I chose to read and review Rage: After the Impact.

This is the first time I've read a graphic novel as an ebook. It was interesting, to say the least.

Rage: After the Impact is an introduction story to id Software’s game, RAGE. The story follows the brief beginnings of Dr. Elizabeth Cadence’s life after awakening from sleep in a cryogenic ark. A deadly meteor, Apophis, was headed for Earth, so the government took preemptive measures and saved the lives of many who would be necessary to rebuild humanity. Approximately 5,000,000 people were killed by the meteor. As Rage indicates, “They were the lucky ones.”

Once awakened from her cryo ark, Dr. Cadence is attacked by ‘Wastelanders’ and saved by The Authority, or the new form of government in this post-apocalyptic world. Once inside the scientific facility, she senses something amiss with the research that is being done on the mutants, the humans who have supposedly come into contact with feltrite, a substance from Apophis.

Arvid Nelson does a great job of building an interesting relationship between Drs Antonin Kvasir and Cadence. I am truly interested to see where Kvasir ends up. With his new outlook… he could go anywhere. Cadence, on the other hand, I see getting into a lot of trouble due to her gung-ho attitude.

Near the end of Rage: AtI, I was reminded of Serenity, a movie based on one of my favorite (one-season) shows, Firefly. I personally love being reminded that humans are often to blame for some of the bad things in this world, and that we have many faults, greed being a large one.

This was a fantastic snippet of what I imagine to be a great story line for a video game. I enjoyed this story, and can’t wait for the full novel, Rage, and the video game from id Software to experience more of this world.