Saturday 17 November 2018

Elara and Issyria

I had to step out of my comfort zone while working on these two. Firstly, because I'm not a big fan of the aesthetics of Warmachine miniatures. Secondly, because the buddy for whom I painted them asked for an unusual color scheme. It involved colors that I don't typically use and hardly ever mix them on a single model. It was a big hurdle to overcome but I think in the end it worked out pretty well.

#16/2018 Bird Box

I won't lie - prior to seeing the trailer for Netflix's most recent movie, I'd never heard of this novel before. It immediately caught my interest and I got the audiobook for Josh Malerman's novel.
The story is told through the eyes of Malorie, a young college student who discovers her pregnancy. This realization coincides with the advent of worrying news spreading all over the internet. Incidents of people going mad and hurting themselves violently become more frequent and the death numbers increase worldwide. When "the Problem" reaches her neighborhood, she eventually ends up seeking shelter among a group of other survivors. It becomes apparent that seeing "something" is the cause of problems and thus no one can keep their eyes open when leaving the shelter. This part of the novel is contrasted with events that happen later on as Malorie, with two children, decides to make a desperate attempt at reaching a safe house that can only be accessed by sailing in the river.
Such structure allows Malerman to make the reader focus on two timelines at the same time. While we know that Malorie eventually ends up alone with children, we have no knowledge of the events that led to that, which keeps the story so interesting. The atmosphere is truly suffocating and the emotions experienced by the protagonists are something that can easily be imagined. Actions dictated by fear, distrust, often lead to chaos.
The author cleverly distributes the tension without using cheap literary devices (like "jumpscares" where evil/ugly/powerful creature appears suddenly). Quite the opposite, I often felt puzzled as there were no direct clues to what was actually happening and only slight portions of the terror were being revealed. Just enough to cause me to try imagining the rest myself.
Definitely the best horror I've read in months and something that reminded me of some of the earlier (and better...) works by Stephen King. I'm going to chek out some of Malerman's other works for sure!

#15/2018 Where the Crawdads Sing

This novel has a few genres mixed in; the coming-of-age story of a lonely girl living on the marsh, thriller, mystery, and love story that is not banal and offers a broad view on the society of coastal North Carolina during the 1950s and '60s. Nature plays a big part here as Owens manages to successfully paint a vivid and diversified view of the swamps with their unique  wildlife. 
The story moves back and forth, which adds tension and builds a more complex view of Kya. The world is presented through her (naive initially) eyes, but that changes as she matures both physically and mentally. The main story revolves around a murder, and there are many viewpoints on it, which adds some extra depth.

#14/2018 Elevation

Nothing works here. The story is simple and predictable without any memorable characters. The supernatural element is a recycled theme from one of King's earlier novels. Instead of building tension and making the plot more complex, it feels like the more you read the more of a chore it is to finish this short novella. I was hoping that this might finally be a good one from King but I guess I will keep on waiting and hoping a bit more...

Saturday 3 November 2018

Hodgepodge Emissary

This has to be one of the best models from Malifaux range. It's extremely well detailed and has that extra tongue-in-the-cheek factor to it that was characteristic for 1st ed models. An elderly man clutching reins, sitting atop a pile of random baggage carried by a donkey. If it wasn't for numerous firearms and swords, it could even be described as the most pacifist mini in the range.
The main challenge I faced while working on it was that I received it completely assembled. As a result, getting to some areas proved extremely difficult. At first, the number of elements on this model put me off but I just kept at it, adding a little every other night.

I also painted a Nino model from Puppet Wars.

#13/2018 The Godfather

Godfather is another big classic that I hadn't read before so I decided to give it a shot. I wasn't impressed... While the portrayal of crime family with its honor code and complex relationships is deep and well laid out, I just never felt that the story was strong enough to draw me in for good. Throughout the novel we get to learn about each of the sons of Don Corleone and follow their stories. While distinctly different, none felt like something that made me curious to learn more and follow other interactions with that given character. It just felt like reading a family chronicle that never was exciting or overly complex. I realize that it's not a popular opinion but this novel just didn't appeal to me the way I expected it to.
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