Book Review – Lucifer’s Fall

Book Title: Lucifer’s Fall (Celestial Downfall, Vol 0)
Author: AJ Flowers
Format: Kindle
Published: 2017


So, this is a short story that goes along with the Celestial Downfall (I think) series by AJ Flowers.  I have never read the series, but the book popped up in an email about free ebooks and I saw it was a short story, so I decided to give it a go and jumped in blindly.

The story starts with an angel speaking.  “Another malformed embryo.”  Angels, apparently, hatch from eggs.  These angels are tasked with checking the eggs for imperfections.

This is a short story.  Really short.  So I don’t want to go any more into the story because I don’t want to give it away.  But I loved this.  It showed Lucifer in a light that we don’t normally see him.

And I want to read the whole series, which is the point of short tie in stories.

I will say this.  The short is really short, and 75% of the e-download is actually chapter one for one of her other books, so I’ll leave it up to you to decide how much money it’s worth.  I got it free and it was worth reading it.

A solid 4/5.


Book Review – My Little Pony, Friendship is Magic: The Journal of the Two Sisters: The Official Chronicle of Princess Celestia and Luna By Amy Keating Rogers

Title: My Little Pony, Friendship is Magic: The Journal of the Two Sisters: The Official Chronicle of Princess Celestia and Luna
Amy Keating Rogers
Interior Becky James /  Cover by Ross Stewart

At the library my nephew insisted on a My Little Pony book, so we browsed the catalogue and thought this looked cool enough to place a hold and wait for it to come in.  The Journal of the Two Sisters gives additional background on the Alicorn princesses from the television show My Little Pony, Friendship is Magic that rule over Equestria and how they came to be in charge of raising the sun and the moon.  The first two-thirds of the book alternates between journal entries by Luna and Celestia, and then abruptly that ends.  The remaining third is a rehash of journal entries and episodes from the television show. 

My nephew, who is 5, was reasonably sated.  I on the other hand was horribly disappointed.  This was such a good concept and so poorly executed. The biggest fail is the character voices.  If you’re going to write first person, particularly alternating first person, capturing the distinct voice of each character is important.  While reading, I found myself wondering if the author had bothered to watch the My Little Pony episodes that feature Celestia and Luna.  She wrote them in a style that I could best describe as stereotypical preteen.  For instance, the first page has Celestia (a normally articulate character) use the word “amazing” seven times, and Luna’s first journal entry has her declaring that her signature Royal Canterlot voice is “silly”.

I’m willing to accept that Celestia might develop a more advanced vocabulary over a 1000 years, but seeing as how her sister was essentially in suspended animation most of that time, there’s no reason Luna shouldn’t sound like Luna. The Royal Canterlot voice thing becomes a symbol of everything wrong with this book.  It glazes over why Luna and Celestia were chosen to be princess, but apparently it’s a surprise promotion given to them for purely genetic reasons (Alicorns are a mix of the other three pony races) but for some reason they were taught the “Royal Canterlot Voice” while they were fillies by the other Alicorns who…psychically guessed they would be chosen over other Alicorns to be princesses?  It’s not clear because the other Alicorns are never really mentioned again.

I know some of you are wondering why I’m taking a book based on a children’s show so seriously.  But there’s a reason MLP is popular with 30 year old men.  The TV show is funny, smart, and well written.  But the book was none of these things.  I had some hope it might tie some of the show’s unique mythology together a little better, but it did little in that direction.

It started picking up some hints of plot about midway through, but then the book abruptly stops, and the last third is an entirely different book or part of a book, “The Journal of Friendship”, which would have been a cute idea if it actually logged all the entries made over the course of the show.  Instead it’s a rather random assemblage of episode scraps and references.

Really the only thing saving this from being one star is that it’s pretty and I’m a sucker for pretty hardbacks.  The interior and exterior artists did a wonderful job (at least through the Two Sisters Section), but the writing just doesn’t stand at the same quality.  To be fair, with a franchise book it’s hard to know where to put the blame, since the writers often have to work under restrictions, but really, even with six to ten year old girls as the primary audience, our kids deserve better books.

2 out 5.

Book Review – Road to Marvel’s The Avengers

Title: Road To Marvel’s The Avengers

Created By: Various/Multiple Authors and Illustrators

Format: Paperback/Comics bound as a graphic novel

Written: 2010-2012

Published: 2012 (this binding)

This book features four ongoing comics – “I am Iron Man!,” “Iron Man 2: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D,” “Iron Man 2: Public Identity,” and “Captain America: First Vengeance” – and runs at least a hundred pages (they’re not numbered, I’m totally guessing).

These are supposed to be the lead up to the Avengers movie (and movie cannon).  The first part was written after the movie and based totally on it.  The other two Iron Man parts are sort of a lead up to the second movie.  Captain America is a lead up to when Rogers was chosen to be Cap –so the first bit of the movie.

Here’s the thing, I tend to like comics for their artwork.  (There’s not enough substance to the story for me to justify them otherwise.)  The artwork in here was –dark.  It sort of lost a little for me.  Most of the backgrounds are dark, there is hardly any white, etc.  I think that it would have benefitted from brighter artwork.

And the story lines are meant to be related to the movies, but the drawings don’t exactly look like the Tony Stark or Pepper Pots that we’ve seen so many times on the big screen.  If this was really done as a way to bridge comic fans and the movies…  what did they draw?  A hybrid?  Whatever they wanted?  I’m not familiar enough with the comics to know if they kept that aesthetic or started a new one.  But for what it is, I sort of expected Tony Stark to have an uncanny resemblance to Robert Downey, Jr., instead of just sorta looking like they could pass for the police sketch. Nevermind Chris Evans – he doesn’t look a thing like the drawings of Captain America.

Which brings me to another issue that I have with this.  There’s like one page that mentions something about old magic and shows a drawing of Odin.  Not even Thor.  If this is really the road to the Avengers, why don’t we have a Thor story of some sort, something about Hulk, etc?  There’s a bit about Natascha (Black Widow), since she goes undercover to keep tabs on Stark, but that’s it, and not a single word/mention/nod in Hawkeye’s direction.  I would have liked to see it a little more rounded.

In fact, I think that if it weren’t for the Captain America/Daddy Stark connection that they would have considered discluding him, too.  (And yes, I probably made that word totally up.)  This also opens my rant that they did stuff bass-ackwards and I would very much have liked to see Cap before Iron Man, just so you get the chronology and Iron Man’s history in the right order.

In the end – if you’re a fan of the Iron Man movie franchise, go ahead and pick this up.  If you’re psycho into the Avengers, you should have it because I’m quite sure you have everything else.  But if you’re a casual fan, you can watch the movies, skip this entirely and not have missed anything at all.  Not sure where that fits on the pages scale, I guess a three?

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