Monday, September 26, 2011

Library Book: Amulet: The Cloud Searchers

The Cloud Searchers continues the story of Emily and Navin. After saving their mother, they are now on their way to find Cielis, the legendary city of the Stonekeepers. Unfortunately, the city is believed to be either gone or hiding among the clouds. They will need to hire an airship to take them. But few captains are willing to chase after a dream. Few except Enzo and Rico that is.

Once again, the elves are hot on their trail. This time the Elf King has hired the assassin Gabilan to find and kill both Emily and his son. Unknown to him though, his son, Prince Trellis, and Emily have joined forces. Together they plan to take him down once and for all.

Unfortunately The Cloud Searchers is the final volume the library has. Book 4 is on order, so I'll be reading it once it comes in. I can't wait!

Library Book: Amulet: The Stonekeeper's Curse

Like The Stonekeeper, The Stonekeeper's Curse was a really fast read. Emily and Navin rescued their mother, but she was poisoned in the process. So they are on their way to the city of Kanalis in search of medical aid.

Unfortunately, the Elf King has decided that Emily is too dangerous to have running around. And since she refused to join him, she must be eliminated. To that effect, he has sent his son and Luger, a dangerous elf, to find and destroy her.

Luckily, Emily and Navin are not without allies. In Kanalis, they meet the fox Leon Redbeard, a member of the Resistance. With his help, Emily heads to the Peak of Demon's Head Mountain, looking for the fruit of the gadoba tree. This fruit is the only thing that can save her mother.

The Stonekeeper's Curse continues the fantastic adventures of Emily and Navin. This is a fun story with beautiful illustrations. Once again I can't wait to read more!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Library Book: Amulet: The Stonekeeper

While looking for a couple of Bone books at Chapters, I stumbled onto Amulet. I read the first little bit in the store and enjoyed it. But rather than buy it, I decided to see if the Library had it. Lucky for me, they had the first three books!

Amulet is the story of Emily and her brother Navin. The story opens with an accident where there father is killed. A few years later, due to financial problems, their mom moves them to their great-grandfather's house in a smaller town.

While attacking the housework the first day there, Emily and Navin stumble onto their great grandfather's library. While looking through some things, Emily stumbles onto an amulet. Swearing her brother to secrecy, Emily takes the amulet with her.

Later that night, everyone hears some strange noises in the basement. Their mother goes to investigate and is captured by a strange creature. Emily and Navin follow it into Alledia, an alternate version of Earth. There they meet their dying great-grandfather, who gives Emily the choice to become the Stonekeeper. Choosing to embrace the amulet's power, Emily can now use her great grandfather's mechanical creations to go save her mother!

This first book was a really quick read. I really like Kazu Kibuishi's style, and can't wait to read more!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


I started reading Bone a few years ago (before I started this blog). I got the first five volumes from the library. Unfortunately at that time the library didn't have the last four, so I wasn't able to finish the story at that time.

A friend of mine knew I was interested in reading this series, so he got me the one volume edition for christmas. It's taken me awhile, but I finally got around to reading it.

The story starts out with Phoney, Smiley and Fone Bone on the run from Boneville. Phoney's latest scheme got the three cousins run out of town.

The cousins get separated when a swarm of locusts appear. Fone finds himself in a valley where he meets Thorn and Gran'ma Ben. With their help he is reunited with his cousins.

But all is not well within the valley. The rat-men are testing the treay they have with the humans. They are preparing to wage war once again at the behest of the Hooded One, who is the speaker for the dreaded Lord of Locusts. The Hooded One sends the rat-men out searching for the Bone-creature with the star on its chest, which puts the three cousins right in the middle of everything.

As I've already mentioned, I've already read the first five volumes. While I didn't really remember it, as I was reading it everything was familiar. The first few books in particular are really funny with all the antics of Phoney Bone and Smiley Bone.

All in all, this is a fantastic story. Bone is both funny and epic, and well worth the read!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Kindle Book: Chris Crawford on Interactive Storytelling

Chris Crawford on Interactive Storytelling is the second book my friend recommended to me on game design. Unlike A Theory of Fun, this one seemed a lot more technical and harder for me to get through. I am not a programmer and have never programmed anything, so the chapters on designing an interactive storytelling engine were especially tough for me to get through.

But with that disclaimer aside, Chris Crawford on Interactive Storytelling is a valuable book for game designers to read (and for game writers as well). Crawford details exactly what interactive storytelling is and how it is different from the stories present in games. He talks about the importance of verb thinking, how verb thinking is difficult for English-speakers, and how traditional games still give players the same few choices over and over. His book is difficult to wrap your head around in ways (especially if you are like me and lack certain frames of reference) but it is still worth reading.

About part way through, I came to the realization that I will benefit from rereading this book in the future. It's given me a lot to think about (and has made me want to try interactive storytelling), but I need to go off for a bit (and maybe learn some basics of scripting languages) before I come back to Crawford's theories.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Library Book: Mirror Mind

A friend of mine at the library recommended Tory Woolcott's Mirror Mind. This is the story of Tory growing up with dyslexia. When it was discovered that she couldn't read, the other kids in school started making fun of her in very hurtful ways. She was eventually sent to a different school that was supposed to cater to kids who need a little more help. Unfortunately she had a rather mean teacher. It was only after she was tutored by someone who was really patient and caring, and later got a teacher who understood dyslexia, that Tory was finally able to show the world that she simply sees things differently from most people.

As someone who has always been an avid reader and never had to deal with dyslexia, Mirror Mind is very eye-opening. This is definitely worth reading whether or not you have struggled with dyslexia.

Thanks for sharing your journey, Tory!

Library Book: Prince of Persia: the Graphic Novel

I was at work a few days after finishing my first play through of Prince of Persia: the Sands of Time and I went looking to see if the library had the music from the game. Instead I stumbled on Prince of Persia: the Graphic Novel.

Prince of Persia: the Graphic Novel is a really unique story. It is actually a tale of two centuries, where two stories are intertwined. Two separate princes (one an actual prince, and one a man who eventually marries a princess) confront the corruption of the ancient city of Marv.

The first prince, Guiv, is almost drowned by his brother Layth. His sister convinces Layth to forgive him. But while he was under the water, he received visions of the palace in flames and a child with a sword. So even though he is forgiven, he leaves the palace in an effort to discover what the visions mean.

The second story is more about a princess than a prince. She sets out to discover what her teacher has cryptically riddled about. She disguises herself as a boy and heads to a tree marked with a symbol near an old well. There she discovers a mysterious man who hides in the ruins.

Prince of Persia: the Graphic Novel is quite a feat of storytelling. A little hard to follow in places, it is nonetheless worth reading if you are a fan of the Prince of Persia series. And don't forget to read the afterword by Jordan Mechner! That alone has made me want to read both the Arabian Nights and the Shahnameh (although it may be awhile before I have time to get to either of them!)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Library Book: JLA: World War III

A friend recommended JLA: World War III to me the other day. He said it was a really good book. So I put it on hold and got it once he returned it to the library.

World War III is the story of a super weapon, Mageddon, speeding towards the Earth. Mageddon causes anger and rage, making people fight those they once considered friends. It leaves only death and destruction in its wake.

The JLA gets attacked in their own headquarters on the moon by Lex Luthor and a new Injustice Gang right when they discover Mageddon is coming. They try to warn Luthor that Mageddon is influencing him, but he refuses to listen.

Meanwhile, the world itself is going crazy. Countries are declaring war on one another andlaunching nuclear warheads left, right and centre. Those JLA members who were not on the moon have their hands full trying to save the world from itself.

World War III was a pretty good story, but isn't one of my favourites. I don't really like it when there are tons of superheroes whom I don't know. Yes, I recognized most of them (particularly the main ones), but there were just as many I wasn't familiar with. And with so many superheroes present in the JLA, there's no way to give them all screentime. But if you like the JLA, and having tons of characters throughout a story, you will like World War III.