The last post has way too many comments, so we need a new blog, but I've been so busy that I don't have a whole lot to say.
That sounds contradictory, but it's true.
I was going to do a quick review of Us, but that's not really a whole blog post so much as two lines: "All the acting, directing, and dialogue are excellent, but the rules of the world are vague, confusing, and contradictory. B+/A- depending on the degree to which world-class acting and writing can make you forget that what's happening doesn't make a whole lot of sense."
So in that case, I turn to you! What movie (or game) would you like me to review next time I don't have any news for the blog?
I'll review basically anything except books. I don't want to use this space to pick on other authors, so the only time I'll review a book is if I think it's fantastic. But I don't mind tearing apart movies or games...or praising them if they're awesome.
Anyway, tell me in the comments which filler content you'd like to see! Go!
And, of course, real news will be the priority if there is any to share.
As most of you know, I took last week off for a post-book vacation. It was awesome, very refreshing, and I only had to wrestle 3-4 manticores. Usually I have to take care of at least five a week, so that was a nice break.
But since I got back, things in my personal life have been hectic. Nothing dramatic. It's just a mix of prior commitments, catching up on what I missed while I was gone, and some random crap hitting my family all coming this week.
Bottom line: this week was a lot harder than I expected. However, catching up on work has meant also catching up on the fan response to Underlord.
You all are amazing.
I came back to an endless stream of encouragement. A truly crazy number of positive reviews, messages expressing excitement, and so much discussion of the story that I couldn't read it all.
I'm just very grateful for you guys right now. You've been more supportive of me than I deserve, and I thank you.
[No spoilers, just my impressions.]
Every once in a while, when I'm watching a movie and a line of dialogue is especially wooden, cliché, on-the-nose, or just plain stupid, I say "gross" out loud. It's a reflex. I don't know I'm doing it.
I said "gross" a lot during this movie.
I'm usually not one to throw stones about dialogue, because Lord knows it's not like my characters belong in a Tarantino movie. But there were a few lines in Captain Marvel that...stood out in an unfortunate manner.
That's my least-important observation out of the way. The bulk of the movie was just forgettable. It's a bland sandwich. I can't picture myself ever watching this again, and I can't imagine a reason to do so.
There were some fundamental story issues I had with it; for instance, the film pretends that the heroine goes through an arc, but she doesn't, which robs the ending of all tension or emotional weight. She's the same person in the first scene that she is in the last, barring only superficial changes.
That's an example, and I could go on, but there's really no point. The underlying story structure of the movie wasn't as broken as many others, and that's too much of an intellectual argument anyway.
Let's get to the heart of it: it was boring. I was bored.
Most of the action sequences are chase scenes with no stakes. If the good guys fail to catch the bad guys...so what? I'm not led to believe that something terrible is going to happen. Just that the chase will go on. So the chases feel pointless.
Carol (Captain Marvel) is the strongest person around from the very beginning, so I'm never afraid she's going to lose a fight. In fact, there are a few times where the movie pretends she's going to lose, but it's contradictory to the powers she already has--she gets physically restrained by ordinary humans at one point in the middle.
Whenever we watch any solo superhero movie, we know they're going to win in the end. In that sense, there should be no tension. But there usually is, because the story is told well, and emphasizes what's at stake and how the heroes might lose if they don't dig deep and evolve beyond the person they were.
Here's the bottom line: my sister was really looking forward to Marvel's first solo superheroine movie, and she was excited to buy a Captain Marvel cosplay to wear to conventions this year. She usually goes as Wonder Woman, or Belle, or Rey.
When she walked out of the theater this time, she said, "Man, I'm glad I didn't buy that costume."
This will probably not surprise you, but to my great excitement, Underlord was the biggest and most successful launch we've ever had.
It's been vastly out-selling what Ghostwater had sold at this point, and worked its way up the Amazon rankings to the #5 best-selling book overall. Out of all books on Kindle.
More amazing than that, though (to me), was how long it stayed up in the rankings. As of this time, Underlord is still in the Top 100 on Amazon. It has been there all week. That is many times longer than any other of my books have stayed on that list.
Even on top of that, you all have been incredible with the reviews. It has surpassed Soulsmith and Skysworn in number of reviews already, and is on its way for Blackflame.
425 reviews in a week is just not right. It's too fast. You've broken some kind of natural law. And for it to still be at a 5.0 review average after 425 reviews makes me wonder if somehow a wizard got involved.
So from the bottom of my heart: thank you! I've interacted with many of you over the past week, and the response to this book has really blown me away (not literally, don't worry). I'm honored by you reading my stories at all, and the fact that you enjoy them is what makes this fun for me.
As a small celebration, we're giving away the Traveler's Gate Trilogy Collection ebook over this weekend (March 9th and 10th). So for the next two days, my whole first trilogy will be available for free. Just take it.
I'm not sure what else to do or say. This has been awesome!
P.S. I'm going on vacation for a week starting tomorrow, so I'll be out of touch. I'm therefore scheduling my review of Captain Marvel, which several of you requested, to go up while I'm gone. That doesn't mean I'm around! It just means I scheduled a post.
He landed, examined the arrow, nodded appreciatively, and tucked it away into his void key.
90% of draft
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