Sprinklers in the Rain Blog

Review: The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games

Official Synopsis

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

Review

When The Hunger Games was first released, I couldn’t escape it. My social feeds were flooded with friends absolutely melting over this novel, and for the subsequent novels as they came. For a long time, I managed to resist the hype. All I expected of The Hunger Games was an Americanized, watered down for a YA audience version of Battle Royale. I’ve seen Battle Royale. I don’t need to waste my time on a knockoff.

Then, of course, the movie came out. More specifically, it was the film’s soundtrack that had me questioning my stance on this series. The bluegrass, forlorn themes had me intrigued – what could this possibly have to do with a Battle Royale? I caved in, and went to see the movie. But this only heightened my curiosity! It wasn’t enough!

So I read the book, and here I am with my foot in my mouth.

(This review contains SPOILERS! Avoid if you haven’t at least seen the film.)

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Review: Rose Madder, by Stephen King

Rose MadderOfficial Synopsis

After 14 years of being beaten, Rose Daniels wakes up one morning and leaves her husband — but she keeps looking over her shoulder, because Norman has the instincts of a predator. And what is the strange work of art that has Rose in a kind of spell? In this brilliant dark-hued fable of the gender wars, Stephen King has fashioned yet another suspense thriller to keep readers right on the edge.

Review

Immediately gripping, this is not your typical tale of a woman rising above domestic abuse. Her husband, Norman, is a deranged, sociopath of a police officer who’s trained specifically to track people down. The point of view bounces between them in a game of cat-and-mouse, and the sense of impending doom for this woman only rises with each page. Settling into his mind as he hunts her down is unsettling to say the least, and becomes downright unbearable when you begin to actually understand him.

As she’s building a new life, unaware of how near Norman is to finding her, Rosie is drawn to a painting in a pawn shop. And this is where the entire novel goes downhill.

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What the fuck just happened.

So, it’s past two in the morning, and I’m on my way home from work. My closing cook needed a ride home, and it’s on the way, so we’re weaving through some dark ass suburbs as I try to understand him babbling directions to me in Spanish. After a lot of desperate gesturing, he finally just opens his door to signal that we have arrived. We bid each other a goodnight – at least I understand that much Spanish – and I begin to try and find my way out of the neighborhood. The streets are incredibly dark, and it’s been raining, so I’m driving slow.

Out of nowhere, some bitch dives out of the darkness to the hood of my car.

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Has FFXIV Stopped Sucking Yet?

SquareEnix is launching a Welcome Back campaign for players with inactive accounts to give FFXIV another spin for a ten-day free-to-play period. But is it worth bothering?

Garuda

It’s no secret that Final Fantasy XIV experienced one of the most disastrous launches in the history of MMORPGs. SquareEnix has gone through extreme lengths to win back player loyalty: The entire staff was replaced, the game went free to play for a year while they got their shit together, and they’ve gone as far as remaking the game from the ground up for re-release later this year. Many of these changes have occurred live, and it’s already a drastically different game than when it was launched.

The last year has actually been a pretty exciting period for FFXIV. Patches have been frequent and massive, to the point of a practically new game being introduced every few months. The battle and crafting systems have been redone, and continue to be refined based on player feedback. Classic Final Fantasy jobs were introduced. Grand Companies replaced Levequests as the main source of content, bringing with them raids, beautiful cutscenes, and primal battles with series mainstays such as Ifrit and Garuda.

But who the fuck cares about what they’ve done, people want to know if it’s any good. Is this shit worth coming back for? Of course, I can’t answer for everyone, but what I can do is tell you what I really enjoy about FFXIV, and what I’m still disappointed with.

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Is Buffy’s Transition to Comics Any Good?

Buffy 8x01When news first hit that Buffy would officially continue with season eight in comic book form, I, well… hit the roof. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never been much of a comic book reader. But more Buffy? Real Buffy? Like canon, with the original writers and everything? And this time with no budget constraints? Still my heart! I can’t breathe! I’m even willing to read comic books for this.

I preordered my issues the moment they became available. A marathon of the seventh season held me over as I counted down the days. But when The Long Way Home arrived, boarded and wrapped, I couldn’t open it. Faced with Jo Chen’s gorgeous cover art of Buffy, confident and indomitable with the words JOSS WHEDON printed above her head, I got cold feet.

What if it wasn’t that good? Actually, what if it was terrible?

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