Review: Angel Mage by Garth Nix

First, a confession: Garth Nix is one of those authors whose books had a fundamental impact on my childhood. The library’s copy of Sabriel was usually checked out to me because I read and reread it so often. I say this because it’s only fair for you to know upfront that I shrieked with glee when I opened the box and saw his new book, Angel Mage, waiting for me to devour. In other words… I might be a little biased but I really did enjoy this latest offering.

It has been 137 years since the Fall of Ystara. Liliath, a powerful mage, has finally remerged from her unnaturally long slumber with one singular goal still in mind: be reunited with her angel lover, the archangel Pallenial. In the neighboring kingdom of Sarance live four seemingly unconnected young men and women who find themselves drawn together and then drawn into a conflict bigger than any of them could possibly imagine possible. It’s all part of Liliath’s plan… Continue reading

Age of the Time of My Life

Do you know how sometimes you get an email and you have to read it a few times before it really sinks in because it can’t possibly be saying what you think it’s saying except it is? I got one of those last November. It ultimately resulted in this:

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Maker’s Breath, I Did Not Sign Up For These Cullen Rutherford Feelings Except It’s BioWare So I Guess I Kinda Did

Before I started playing Dragon Age Inquisition, I made one firm declaration to a friend. “I don’t care what our friends say but I am NOT romancing Cullen in this game. I’ve already romanced two blond white guys in this series and this one is a Templar and I STILL haven’t forgiven him for what he did in Origins. Jerk.” Romance aside, I was dead set on continuing to not like him even though the game clearly wanted me to. My Inquisitor may have been meeting him for the first time but I wasn’t and I was not about to forget his whole “kill all of the mages!” request to the Warden or his “Mages cannot be treated like people. They are not like you and I” line to Hawke because HOW DARE–

*takes a deep breath* *sets down the homemade FUCK THE TEMPLARS sign*

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Review: Shatter the Sky

Woman of color protagonist! Dragons! Queer Girls!

These are just a few of the reasons why I totally dug Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells, a rad new young adult fantasy novel available from your preferred bookseller starting today.

When the Aurati arrive in Ilvera and forcibly take Kaia away to join their ranks, Maren is heartbroken. Kaia was her girlfriend, her heartmate, and she can’t imagine life without her so she hatches a plan to get her back. It’s an absurd one to say the least but Kaia is worth trying to steal a dragon if that’s what it’ll take to save her. All of this is set against the backdrop of a world with a less than kind emperor and a prophecy about a lost prince. Maren may be on a quest for her love but she’s about to find herself swept into a far larger struggle, whether she wants to be or not.

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Review: The Soul of Power

In The Soul of Power (out today,) we’re headed back to Eren and Caeris for the conclusion to Callie Bates’s The Waking Land trilogy. This time around, we’re in the head of Queen Sophy, the bastard daughter of the king from across the sea who has taken the crown for herself. The battle is far from over though especially since this book picks up prior to the end of The Memory of Fire with Caveadear Elanna finding herself in trouble and there’s nothing Sophy can do especially since she has more than her fair share of problems to deal with. Continue reading

When Chicago Becomes Coruscant

Or… how I spent my unexpectedly snowy Star Wars vacation to Chicago. (Did you know that I hate snow about as much as Anakin Skywalker hates sand? Because I do.)

Snow aside, Star Wars Celebration was an incredible five plus days. I’ve been to a lot of conventions over the years but none of them are quite like Celebration. This is a convention that brings together thousands of fans from across the world just because we all love the same space franchise and then that franchise puts on the best damn show for us… literally. I’m not sure the Star Wars fandom fully grasps how lucky we are that Lucasfilm puts on the Star Wars Show live from the con and broadcasts so many of the major panels but that’s beside the point. What is the point is this: despite all the other cons that I love and routinely attend, Celebration is the convention I can’t fathom skipping. Why? It’s one big family reunion. Continue reading

Damnit Anders: The Dragon Age II Feelings Essay

Anders broke my fucking heart. And he told me right from the start that he would. I just didn’t listen.

Listen, you must know the drill by now: Bria plays a BioWare game and has a lot of feelings about it and then writes about them. Except this time, this isn’t my third play-through of Mass Effect. It’s my very first play-through of all the Dragon Age games and I am somehow mostly spoiler free. However, this is BioWare so I knew to expect two things: romance and devastation. This game absolutely delivered on both fronts. Continue reading

Welcome to the Padmé Renaissance

Last week was Padmé Week. It was a damn good week.

When you’ve loved a character for a good two-thirds of your life and have consistently seen parts of fandom look down on her dismissively, in part because she died of a broken heart thanks to less than stellar storytelling decisions (that droid was broken, damnit!), it can be a little disheartening. It’s especially disheartening when done so to raise up other female characters. Hollywood has given the world a strange and, quite frankly, incorrect idea of what makes a strong female character. While yes, it’s fantastic to see women in warriors roles in media, women like Shmi Skywalker who never lift a finger in combat are equally strong. There’s no right sort of capable lady and we should stop acting like there’s only one. This isn’t Highlander.

But that’s beside the point.

(Yes, I have a point.) Continue reading

My BFF Vega

James Vega is the shipmate I never thought I’d like.

By the time you get to Mass Effect 3, you already have your team and your friends. Some of them have even been with you since the first game. It doesn’t matter whether or not you romanced Garrus because when you run into him on Palaven’s moon, you know he’s got your back because it’s Garrus freaking Vakarian. Liara may have gone through some drastic characterization changes over the years but you know she’s there for you no matter what. Vega though… Lieutenant James Vega is the new kid. He hasn’t hunted down Saren or gone through the Omega relay on a suicide mission with you but right now, he’s the guy you’ve got watching your back as you’re forced to abandon Earth and start forming yet another team to take on the Reaper invasion. As I slowly rebuilt my team, I figured I’d start phasing him out from my ground team and yet somehow, he kept going out more often than not. Continue reading

Mass Effect, Murder, and Morality

Mass Effect made me feel like a monster and it’s all my fault.

Wait. Let’s back up a minute and let me explain.

I have a long history of playing Bioware games. Honestly, I’ve mostly played Bioware games exclusively with occasional diversions elsewhere. Knights of the Old Republic was my jam in middle/high school and I adored the (non-Bioware but it felt like Bioware) sequel game just as much. There was something about being a part of Star Wars and getting to make choices that would affect not only me but the entire galaxy that was thrilling. Even though female Revan and female Exile will always be my preference, I made it a point to play through each game with all four potential paths at least once: light side female, dark side female, light side male, dark side male. It appealed to not only my completionist side but also let me experience the story in new ways.

And then Mass Effect happened. Continue reading