Thursday, June 12, 2014

Bite-Sized Reviews: The Winter Soldier, Dreamtreaders, Andrew Peterson, and More!

I figured I should do something more productive with my blog time—and since I'm a highly opinionated person, hey, I should do some reviews!

Except I don't have time to write long ones.  The result?  Bite-sized reviews!  A paragraph or two, just enough to give you an idea of what the story is like and how I liked it.  Anything from movies to books to TV shows.  Ready?

First up:

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

8.5 out of 10 points.

Despite the high violence content (I don't have much tolerance for machine guns), this was surprisingly enjoyable.  I love Captain America as a character, and the theme of the story was very much needed in our post-morality high-tech world.  Sure, the movie would be miles better if some of the fighting scenes didn't drag on, but at least the main character doesn't completely destroy whole cities. (*cough* MAN OF STEEL *cough*)

Also, can I say, the scene where Cap breaks out of S.H.I.E.L.D is just awesome?  Definitely looking forward to his third movie—and Avengers: Age of Ultron!

Reapers (Bryan Davis)

7 out of 10 points.

Bryan Davis forges on into new territory with Reapers, a sort-of-secular novel that's got a great concept and a likable narrator.  Some of the usual Davis problems surfaced, however: the plot didn't have any particular goal (although the pages certainly turned), and the characters felt stilted.  Worst of all, the villain had little or no motivation for what she did—she was completely flat, something I disliked very much.

Still, it's got an enjoyable concept.  It's worth reading, despite the fact that it doesn't touch the goodness of Davis's original novels.

Dreamtreaders (Wayne Thomas Batson)

7 out of 10 points.

This was the first Batson book I was actually disappointed with.  While it has a fantastic concept, it falls into the great pitfall of Young Adult writing: a Young Adult writing style.  For whatever reason, the tight, descriptive prose of GHOST and Sword in the Stars has given way to a style fraught with oddities and appears to be a desert of action beats.  (There's a lot of murmuring and yelling and shouting and bellowing - but nobody actually says their words, and nobody actually moves while they're talking.)

On top of that, the characters seemed to be a little flat, with a plot that took awhile to get going. Like I said, I love the concept.  I just wish that Sir Batson had worked on it a little longer—taking the time to polish the prose, fill in plot holes, and deepen the characters would have helped it immensely.  Still, it's worth reading, if only because it's a Batson. (And it's got a beautiful cover.)

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

8 out of 10 points.

I was surprised by how much I liked this one, since I thought the first movie was so-so.  While some of the action felt cheesy and the humor forced (save for the "chimney" scene), the ending was remarkably good, and the making of the Green Goblin was very well done.  I look forward to the third movie!

Now, wouldn't it be great if he joined the Avengers?

The Warden and the Wolf King (Andrew Peterson)

9.5 out of 10 points.

Of all of the books that have come out in the last year, this was the one I was looking forward to the most.  And it did not disappoint.  It had sneakery - it had devastating plot twists - and it had an ending that was like a punch in the gut.

You see, for the first time since fourth grade, a book has succeeded in making me cry.  Not just a single tear, mind you.  It has possibly the best ending I have ever read in a Christian fiction book, and one that moved me to the core.  Perhaps it's because I identify so much with the main character—I don't know.  Whatever it was, this is, thus far, the best book of 2014.

Buy all four books, and in the words of Larry the Cucumber, "I laughed, I cried—it moved me, Bob."


Marvel is continuing to make tolerably good superhero movies, and though Christian fiction often has good ideas that lack good execution, Andrew Peterson's latest book is a shining exception.

What about you?  What did you think of these stories - and have you read or watched any that weren't discussed here?  Tell me about it.


Sarah said...

Thanks for posting these mini-reviews! I've been thinking of checking out all of them, so this post was really helpful. AND OH MY PUMPERNICKEL WARDEN AND THE WOLF KING. I want to read it so much that it's not even close to funny.
On a side-ish note, the amount of destruction in Man of Steel was one of the things I didn't like about the movie. (How in the world is anyone still alive at the end? Seriously, HOW?) Glad to hear that The Winter Soldier (which I think sounds awesome) has less of it.

Anastasia Cross said...

I've nominated you for the Liebster blog award!