I read this book a couple of years ago and while I’ve been on a bit of a LitRPG quest recently, I recently came back to this universe with Shadows of the Fall (Duchy of Terra Book 8) which was quite enjoyable. I thought, however, that before we get into what happened in that book, it made sense to explain everything that had come before so you had a full and complete grounding.

In the Terran Privateer, the Earth is on the brink of a technological renaissance with the discovery of inertialess hyperspeed drives, and compressed matter armor. However, this discovery puts them square in the crosshairs of the universe at large which they realize when an alien armada destroys the UESF (United Earth Space Force) and takes control of the Earth.

While this occupying force is a self-proclaimed benevolent race, the remaining government of the Earth determines their only hope is with Captain Annette Bond. Bond commands the Tornado – Earth’s only experimental hyperspace cruiser & provided with a letter of marque, she sets off to find allies and technology that she can take back to Earth to help remove the occupying force.

Written by Glynn Stewart, the Terran Privateer is a much more ambitious story and universe than the one that I previously read in his book Space Carrier Avalon. In this universe, there are a host of different aliens, each with their own motivations and desires, and the Earth is almost an afterthought to the larger struggles at play.

Characters (4.0)

While there are other bit characters around, from the old French Admiral to the lonely tech genius, this story is all about the lonely Captain Annette Bond and her struggles to save Earth from the perceived tyranny of alien occupation.

Her story actually starts before the invasion when we learn that she was drummed out of the service by other officers when she tried to bring a rapist to justice. While a bit heavy-handed, it does serve to give her a bit of justification and validation, but it is sad that none of the other officers backed her as it’s hard to believe a worldwide navy would allow such corruption to continue.

Now, while I stated the story is all about Captain Bond, I might have been fibbing just a bit. When we talk about important characters, we cannot afford to ignore the alien occupiers themselves. As the story progresses we learn that the A’Tol Imperium truly is benevolent. While they might be occupying Earth, they do so in some respects to help keep humanity safe. For along with the A’Tol, another race of slave trading aliens is also on Earth’s doorstep.

When discussing the aliens of the A’Tol – one we get exposed to over the course of many books is K’Tana. Her introduction helps us understand the A’Tol in a way that would otherwise be impossible. While her inclusion is convenient as a plot device and guide, it is also well done and I can excuse it due to her unique circumstances.

Plot/Story (3.5)

The overall idea of the story is quite good. Earth being taken over by aliens and a single, lone starship captain forced to find a way to help remove the heel of the alien oppressors sounds interesting.

As we gradually learn more about the A’Tol and their inability to lie along with the other aliens in the universe at large, the underlying story becomes even more interesting. In some ways it echo’s the challenges of Battlestar Galactica but perhaps with a mix of Mos Eisley added to it.

As we continue to learn more about the technology and the differences between the core and rimward empires, new mysteries and puzzles are introduced. Bond and her crew do seem to navigate these waters with a bit more aplomb than you’d expect of the first humans to meet aliens, however, I’m willing to give that a pass. Also, the characterizations and motivations of the aliens and how “human” they are, might be a bit too generic also. There were no real motivations that would not make sense to us which was I believe a real miss.

Opinion (4.0)

Overall, I quite enjoyed this book – I’ve read quite a few of Glynn’s books over the years that I hope to review in future posts and this series is one that I’ve enjoyed through 8 books and counting.

I will say that there are some elements of risk that I feel is missing from the book. I do not think any of the key characters are ever really in danger and Tornado itself seems to gradually become a Mary Sue in its own right as she continues to get upgraded and more powerful. In fact, while in the early stages she would struggle to defeat a single vessel from the A’Tol imperium, by the latter stages of the book, she’s become quite capable of defeating a small task force on her own.

Recommendation (4.0)

In the early stages, you’d think this series somewhat similar to Weber’s Honor Harrington books, but you get quickly disabused of that notion in a positive manner. Weber spends chapters and even books on character and world-building which can become excessively tedious. Fortunately, that is not the case here. The book starts off with some decent action and that trend continues throughout.

This book does however offer a bit too easy a path for Annette Bond and her crew though as they quickly stumble across an interpreter and guide. A guide that is able to surprisingly take them to the only place in the quadrant able to upgrade their ship and help them retake Earth. This giant space station hidden away from sight is the Tortuga of space and has technology that can magically retrofit and upgrade Tornado into a force worth reckoning.

As with any good adventure story there are a few twists and turns along the ride but I have to say that the surprise at the end was…well…surprising. There are some overtones of LGBTQ preaching in the book, but in all honesty that didn’t really bother me too much. With the way the world is right now, I don’t really have an issue with it except perhaps to say the sexual natures of any of the characters are somewhat inconsequential to the story as a whole. Having that information in the story did nothing to either add or detract from the story in my opinion.

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While I’ve been writing on this site for years, I’ve recently fallen a bit further behind in my posting duties which I plan to rectify. One reason for my getting back into the game is the inspiration of my daughter. She’s only recently started blogging and writing and her site – Mayas Bookshelves – is doing really well. Of course, as a teenager, she has a bit more time than I do, but I won’t let that stop me!

So without further ado, let’s talk about Life in the North. This is the first book in a still in progress 10 book series. Written by Canadian author Tao Wong it is the quintessential LitRPG and was one of the earliest books in the genre for me. In fact, it is quite possibly the book that got me hooked on LitRPG itself.

With that being said, Life in the North might not initially jump out as a LitRPG as while it does have elf’s and orc’s, they are very different to those from any Tolkein book you might consider as gospel. Within the System Apocalpyse universe dungeon worlds are created when an abundance of raw mana needs an outlet.

This outpouring of mana forces animals to rapidly mutate and change becoming much more dangerous. John Lee discovers this change while on a camping trip in the Yukon. Stuck in an area significantly higher than his basic level, John needs to rapidly acclimate to the changes in the world if he wants to survive.

Plot

John was on a camping trip trying to escape from the problems in his life when the world changed all around him. When Earth becomes a dungeon planet, monsters start spawning all around him.

As a bit of a gamer and geek, John intuitively understands the changes, but his camping location in the Yukon has him starting in a location well above his current level. While this location does afford him with some unexpected benefits and bonuses, his initial survival is very much in doubt.

With very little in the way of weaponry or skills that can help, John struggles to escape the campground and make his way down the mountain to civilization. However, after making his escape he is shocked to find that he has not in fact gone insane as he half hoped for. With death and destruction all around him, the System Apocalpyse has transformed the Earth itself and everyone on it.

Characters

John Lee is our protagonist of choice but is not the only character of interest at all. Along with John we’re introduced to a wisecracking spirit that helps John navigate the changing world.

Along with John and Ali, we get a whole host of other interesting characters which include orcs, elves, and other fantasy tropes. In this case, however, the elf’s, minotaurs, orc’s, and others are actually alien species that have chosen Earth as a new home.

Setting

Dungeon worlds offer lots of rewards but with those rewards comes significant risk. John and the surviving humans have to quickly make their place in this new world. John himself manages to acquire a mecha suit with overtones of Iron Man as he continues to grow in skills and ability.

While he’s advancing, he also understands his limits and knows when it is best to fight and when it is best to cut and run. However, John is the hero you need and not necessarily the one you want. He continues to put himself out there in an attempt to save as many humans as possible.

Unlike traditional LitRPG books with a focus on the fantasy element, with Life in the North, the LitRPG elements are more SciFi in nature. While monsters abound so do lasers, guns, machines and robots giving the story a nice twist.

Writing

As a LitRPG quite a bit of the book covers different abilities and how they work. There is also a lot of focus on the character sheet as individuals advance through levels and grow in their abilities and capabilities.

I will be honest that I often end up skipping the character growth and counting of different levels as it’s not really necessary for me in understanding the story. However, with that being said, it doesn’t take you out of the story too much.

Final Opinion

While I’ve read lots of LitRPG books since this one – check out my review of Land of the Undying for example – it was one of the first and one that I’ve actually read several times.

At this point I’m nine books into the series and while there are some growing pains along the way, this book got me started on the series and I think its a solid and enjoyable read.

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I’ve talked a bit about Scribd in previous posts so I won’t repeat how much I love that platform. Suffice it to say that it is my “go to” source for content 80% of the time. However, every now and then I run across another book or title that seems interesting on either Audible or Amazon and I feel the necessity of splurging.

In this case, a title that I’m waiting for with baited breadth is the upcoming new release of Book 4 of the Stormlight Archive – Rythm of War. It will only be released in November and I’ve absolutely loved everything else Brandon Sanderson has done so wanted to get this immediatel. As I’m trying to multitask now more than ever, audio books are my go-to source when exercising or even driving around so Audible had to be my port of call. Now I’m not a fan of paying $30 for a book so the monthly $15 membership seemed logical (although if you do the math, I’ll have paid more than $30 by the time the book is actually released) as that would give me credits I could use. Which is where Legend of the Arch Magus comes into the picture.

You see, as a past member of Audible, they were offering a promotion where I could get 2 credits for coming back. So with one credit being dedicated to Rythm of War, I had to find something else to spend the 2nd credit on. Reading the blurb about this book, made it seem like a good, uncomplicated read that could help me fill some time. Surprisingly, the book jacket did not lie!

As fans and readers of this blog know, I’m a fan of SciFi and Fantasy. However, I’ve recently become quite hooked on a sub-genre of Fantasy known as LitRPG or Literature, Role Playing Game. Initially, I thought that this book fell into that category, but without the character sheet elements, as you had a character that progressively got stronger and more capable throughout the course of the series. However, I was fairly quickly disabused of this notion in the early chapters of this book. With this series, the main character is a little bit overpowered (aka a Mary Sue) and with his knowledge, able to do almost anything he wants. There are some growth and development as the body he inhabits is a bit weak, but I’m currently halfway through the 3rd book in the series and he’s yet to run into any significant roadblock.

The book starts with a wizard and his disciples. This wizard (I’ve forgotten his name, to be honest) had attempted to come up with an elixir for everlasting life, but instead, his attempts only ended up killing him. He eventually “woke up” in a different land thousands of years later in the body of a spoiled rotten noble named Lark Marcus. Marcus had been exiled from court and his family due to his actions and he was basically just a drain on society. However, he had been kidnapped for ransom and the criminals who took him went a bit far and ended up unknowingly killing him, giving the wizard the empty shell he needed. This all occurs in the first couple of chapters so I don’t believe I’m ruining anything for you if you were to read it. As the story progresses you come across the accepted tropes you’d be looking for – the redemption of the character (check), character skills growth (check), unbeatable monsters that are handily defeated (check and check).

However, there is also lots of world-building which is nice and one big mystery that has still not been answered – why did he wake up at that time and in that body? Also, considering how advanced he was – you would expect society to continue to advance afterward… but something has curtailed that advancement. What is it? OK, maybe two big mysteries – at the least!!

The book has been written by Michael Sisa and in itself, each book is quite short, however, the good thing with Audible is that they were combined into a two-book omnibus which made it still very palatable and easy to read. The recording and narration itself were quite good with each character being easily recognizable based on the changes in tone and voice. The characters themselves are fairly one-dimensional, good guys are good and bad guys are bad with very little in the way of grey tones. However, if you’re looking for something simple and easy to get into you, you are probably not looking for complex characters in the first place.

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Overall, I’d probably rate this book quite highly as I did enjoy it and it definitely distracted me and made me want to come back for more. It is by no means perfect – for that, see my feelings on Brandon Sanderson – but it was a lot of fun and I’m very curious to see where Lark ends up in book two and beyond.

SPOILERS AHEAD!!

With three sisters in line for a crown that they have to fight to the death for, the Three Dark Crowns series is packed full of history, action, and drama. The Island of Fennbirn’s history begins with the Goddess who was the first ruler and she birthed triplets, giving gifts to each of them. Elementals, naturalists, poisoners, oracles, and warriors are born throughout the triplet line and sent to fight for the crown on their 16th birthday using their gifts. 

BOOK ONE – THREE DARK CROWNS

I began this series hoping I could get lost in a fictional world on the Island of Fennbirn. Instead, I took a long time getting past the first few chapters. The book began more abruptly than I would have liked, with very little backstory. However, as each chapter progressed, I did find it easier to get into the flow of the book. Each chapter provided a different point of view based on the cities that each of the three queens were living in. This book was interesting surrounding the history of the island and it was like nothing I had ever read before. 

After getting past the first few chapters, I enjoyed learning about the history of Fennbirn and the way they worship a Goddess who created the Queens. Each of the characters believes that the island is owned by the Goddess and their purpose is to serve her and her alone. This by itself made the book easy to fall into as I too wished to have a gift from the Goddess to make me different! 

We follow the stories of Arsinoe, Mirabella and Katherine, three queens who have been birthed into the line of rightful queens. Queen Mirabella, the elemental (can control the elements) is the strongest of the three, and was an interesting character through her development of the book. She began as someone who was controlled by priestesses (followers of the Goddess), however she comes into her own and tries to run away in part of this book in order to save her sisters. This is one of the things I admired her character for, because she learned how to become her own person which made me really enjoy reading her parts of the book. 

Queen Katherine is probably my least favorite of the queens. From the beginning Katherine seemed to be a character who was controlled by the people above her. Katherine was the last born of the three and as the book progresses, we learn from Mirabella’s memories that she has always acted like the littlest too. Katherine was meant to have the poisoner gift (can ingest poison with no trouble), however, her gifts did not develop, which left me wondering why two of the sisters did not have any sign of a gift. 


DC Cover Girls Poison Ivy by Frank Cho Statue

from: Things From Another World

Queen Arsinoe was definitely my favorite queen. She had guts from the beginning and her character was so easy to fall in love with. Her friends Jules Milone and Joseph Sandrin were supportive from the beginning, however, Joseph wavered between Mirabella and Arsinoe after a quick encounter. Arsinoe was meant to have the gift of a naturalist. Naturalists were able to control plants, however, they also had familiars. Jules (her friend and guardian) had the familiar of a cougar. The stronger the familiar, the stronger the naturalist. Arsinoe, who had no familiar and no sign of the naturalist gift also contributed to my wariness of the two queens who were giftless and resorted to other methods to seem strong. 

The ending of this book shocked me and showed me exactly what I had been wondering from learning about the three queens in the beginning. It definitely made me want to continue onto One Dark Throne. 

BOOK TWO – ONE DARK THRONE

After the stressful ceremony of the Quickening, this book begins during the Ascension Year where the queens are free to kill their sisters for the crown. This book gives us a lot more information about the characters we are following and shows that some sisters don’t want to kill for the crown. 

Throughout this book I found it hard to follow Mirabella’s story. In the previous book she had not wanted to kill either of her sisters, but after the Quickening Ceremony, she believes that Arsinoe really wanted to hurt her, so she tries to do the same. This made me lose a bit of interest in her because from the beginning I believed that she was different and worth following because she would rather do good than harm for the crown even if it meant she wouldn’t be the one with it on top of her head. 

[Editor: for those fans of the original Highlander, please note that the Quickening referenced in Three Dark Crowns is unrelated!]

Arsinoe’s intentions were clear from the beginning, she did not want to harm Mirabella, and was mostly trying to stay out of the way so she could figure out her new discovery of a gift. 

Katherine’s story in this book was incredibly interesting because certain actions had been taken for her during the Quickening Ceremony, causing her to be different and stronger. It was confusing at first, but eventually it became obvious that her need to kill her sisters was stronger than her need to stay away from the poison she could not ingest without harm. 

The book’s ending was intriguing as one of my favourite characters sadly passed away, and left me in need to find out if my two favourite queens had made it to safety.

BOOK THREE – TWO DARK REIGNS

Two dark reigns was probably the book with the most history involved. With Arsinoe and Mirabella safely away from Katherine and her reign of the crown, Arsinoe begins to have visions while she dreams. Not only are there visions, but it is like she is in someone else’s body.

We learn about the history of the Blue Queen and how the protector of the island – the mist – came to be. I think this book was the most interesting for me especially because of the history involved. The Blue Queens story proved that not every Ascension Year ended with the killing of two queens and one crowned, and there is a possibility for more choice. 

Along with this book however, I did not like the storyline of the rebellion. Jules Milone, who is supposed to be Arsinoe’s “guardian” ends up with the title of the Legion Queen. This was probably one of the things that ruined the whole series for me, especially because Jules was supposed to be one of the side characters of the queen. 


Marvel Gallery Goblin Queen Comic PVC Figure

from: Things From Another World

BOOK FOUR – FIVE DARK FATES

The final book of the series was very up and down for me. I mostly wanted to finish it to just see how it ended, but the ending was definitely not what I expected nor what I would have liked it to have.

With the rebellion growing and spreading across the land, Mirabella ends up with Katherine which I actually liked because Mirabella was kind of like a barrier between Katherine and Arsinoe. It was nice to see the sister relationship develop between the two, even when it resulted in one of their deaths. This was probably the most heartbreaking part of the entire series and the reaction of the other queen definitely made me sad. 

The ending of the book ends with the battle and the rebellion taking over the capital and in the end, two out of the three rightful rulers are dead. With a Legion Queen taking over the throne, I hated the ending, especially because it ruined the history involved in the making of the island. 

DO I RECOMMEND IT?

Overall, I would recommend this series if you’re looking to pass time, but not to throw yourself into a fictional world and fall in love with the characters. It was at times very hard to follow. It did have its ups and downs like any book, and like me, you might find a favorite character in the series. 

I’ve been reading a lot of LitRPG over the past couple of months if not longer and while quite a bit of it is on Scribd, I found this one on Kindle Unlimited. I’ve found that Scribd has lots of audiobooks to keep me entertained and while I don’t get to keep them like you can with Audible, the price is much lower. I’m currently listening to a book by Drew Hayes called Going Rogue which is the third part of a really interesting story which I shall get into in a future post! This book by Dave Willmarth is different to the many other LitRPG’s I’ve listened to or read so I thought I’d share my thoughts with you all on it.

You see generally with a LitRPG the hero of the story needs to transfer his consciousness into the game to:

  • Atone for a crime (he did or did not commit) like you can find in the Way of the Shaman by Vasily Mahanenko.
  • Use the game as a source of income to save his family like Project Daily Grind by Alexey Osadchuk.
  • Escape from the end of the world like Rapture: Apocalpyse Gates by Daniel Schinhofen. Alternatively, escape from a personal doom as you see in Alterworld: Play to Live by D. Russ

Also talking about end of world LitRPG stories, we absolutely must mention the exceptional System Apocalpyse series by Tao Wong.

There are other variations but in general terms they do tend to follow one of these formulae in their creation. Now that’s not really a problem by itself, but it does get a bit frustrating when they are all so much alike. Perhaps that is why this book struck me as something different.

Escape from Earth

You see the common factor with the apocalypse type series is that escaping into the game is the only recourse. This is due to a global cataclysm and the game just happens to be there and extremely popular so humans figure out how to get their minds uploaded into their virtual avatars.

Now Land of the Undying isn’t different in this respect. There is a global cataclysm which is actually really well explained. And the impact of that cataclysm causes humans and basically all other lifeforms on the planet to go insane. The death of all life happens almost overnight and only a relative handful manages to survive.

What is different though is that the two main characters have a life outside of the game also. While their characters continue to grow and evolve in-game, their relationship and romance in the real world also blossoms. There is no easy button push transfer from the real world into the game – rather it has taken months of development simply to bring an AI online to set the stage for possible eventual integration.


Zombie Tramp Statue – Gray Bikini

from: Things From Another World

The Land

Not to make a mistake between the Undying Land from Tolkien or even just “The Land” popularized in Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, the land here is nothing more than a very complex computer simulation. The land itself is vibrant and has its own character and personality. Perhaps unsurprisingly the NPCs are self-aware and know the difference between themselves and their undying visitors. In the book Mace plays a Drow Elf called … Mace (that was easy, right?) while Shari is a light elf. The two races are at constant war in-game, but with any luck Mace will survive his journey to meet up with Shari on the surface of the land.

As the story progresses many other interesting characters are untroduced and both Shari and Mace take on companions to help them grow. The gradual growth in the abilities of the characters is nice and realistic and they do not get too many windfalls of divine providence which is good.

However, one point to note is that both of the characters in real life do seem a bit too competent. Similar to Terry Mixon’s book The Scorched Earth that I talked about earlier they seem to be able to have exactly the right skills needed. While Terry Mixon’s protagonist was a gun nut with a 4×4 that could go anywhere he needed, Mace is a computer whiz & Shari a doctor.

Fast Zombies, Slow Zombies or Undying Zombies

There are many different types of zombies out there. The Slow Zombies of Max Brooks (World War Z) – that’s the book, not the atrocious movie by the way & George A Romero’s Living Dead are one type. Basically nothing more than walking corpses, they are fairly easy to avoid as long as you do not get caught in a swarm of them.

Contrast this with a more recent trend of Fast Zombies like those from the movie 28 Days Later directed by Danny Boyle. Now, say what you will about the fact that these shambling corpses can all suddenly move faster than the fastest sprinter – the fact that you cannot simply walk a little bit faster to escape makes Fast Zombies a true threat.

The zombies portrayed in this book however take this one step further. In addition to their speed, they also grow. Basically the more they eat, the bigger they get. When you think about the fact Zombies can be 8 to 10 feet tall with a proportionate amount of strength, understanding why escaping into a video game is something to look forward to, starts to make a lot more sense.


Zombie Survival Guide Recorded Attacks GN

from: Things From Another World

Getting from A to Uploaded

See if you consider the skills you’d need to configure a game to allow someone to upload themselves into it, you really could not ask for more in terms of characters could you? I mean, a computer whiz that can reprogram and build an AI capable of running a building seems like a perfect start. Added to that, a doctor that can analyze the virus infecting humanity and the world, and also understand how to sync humans and computers together … well that would be a perfect fit wouldn’t it?

Now don’t get me wrong … while I’m complaining about the coincidence, it’s not really that big a deal. They both are more than just these two facets and are a lot more fleshed out than many other characters I’ve read in the past.

Some elements that struck me as really interesting were the fact that this process is taking time and this time is impacting the inhabitants of the game also. With the global pandemic impacting everyone almost simultaneously, the inhabitants of the land are similarly impacted. Like we’ve seen in real life with shopping establishments and businesses going under due to Covid-19, the land has also been impacted by a lack of adventurers.

Now I won’t spoil the surprise and let you know whether or not our intrepid adventurers make it. I’ll let you read that secret for yourself. Suffice it to say that this is one that I would recommend considering all of the other books and more specifically LitRPG I’ve read over the past little while. The characters are interesting and I actually want to know what happens to them and their world. I think you’ll enjoy finding out also!

The upcoming movie, The Woman in the Window is a mystery thriller inspired by the 2018-thriller novel with the same title by A. J. Finn. The message is simple – curiosity is one of the biggest boons and vices for our-kind.

The Plot of The Woman in the Window

The Woman in the Window features the female protagonist – Anna Fox who prefers being alone. Anna is a drunk addict and tries to overcome her anxiety by taking pills. She also suffers from severe agoraphobia that prevents her from leaving the house.

Anna being housebound and drunk spends her days spying on her neighbors, until one day she witnesses an attack in the window of Russell’s home that no one believed her. Anna takes a path that is intensely exciting and highly mysterious. The thriller presents an almost otherworldly premise which sounds like something supernatural.

Anna’s life begins to turn upside down when she attempts to report what she saw, and soon everything is being questioned: Is Anna being hallucinated? Is it alcohol and pills? Or is there a reason no one wants to believe her. The Woman in the Window seems similar to Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window where a photographer spying on his neighbors witnessed a crime.

The Woman in the Window Disney

The Woman in the Window Cast: Who is in it?

The main cast for an agoraphobic woman is headed by Amy Adams in The Woman in the Window. The American actress has gained international fame for her comedic as well as dramatic roles.

Amy Adams

She is best known for playing Lois Lane in the DC Universe, Superman’s love interest. Besides this, the actress has notably appeared in Arrival, Vice, Catch Me If You Can, American Hustle and Sharp Objects.

Julianne Moore; an American actress who plays the role of Jane Russell, joins Amy as a supporting actor. Jane is the mother of the family that moves in across Anna’s house.

Julianne Moore The Woman in the Window

Julianne is widely regarded for her depiction of emotionally disturbed women on-screen. She gained significant prominence after starring in The Lost World: Jurassic Park. She also performed a tremendous job in The Big Lebowski, Still Alice and Crazy, Stupid Love.

Gary Oldman plays the role of Moore’s on-screen husband. He has won an Oscar, three BAFTA Awards, two Critic’s Choice Awards, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award. Oldman is known for appearing in movies like Harry Potter, Darkest Hour and Air Force One.

Brian Tyree Henry is best known for playing Paper Boi in ‘Atlanta’, is also a part of the movie’s cast. Fred Hechinger, Anthony Mackie, and Wyatt Russell are among the other cast members.

The Woman in the Window is directed by Joe Wright known for the famous Pride & Prejudice. The British filmmaker is also known for his other noteworthy movies like Hanna, Anna Karenina and Darkest Hour.

The screenplay for the thriller of the movie is written by Tracy Letts. Danny Elfman composed the movie’s music score while Bruno Delbonnel handled the cinematography.

Valerio Bonelli contributed to the editing of The Woman in the Window. The production companies attached to the movie are Fox 2000 Pictures and Scott Rudin Productions while 20th Century Fox has its distribution rights.

The Woman in the Window Official Trailer

The Woman in the Window Release Date: When Does it Premiere?

The Woman in the Window was supposed to be released on May 15, 2020, in the United States. But due to the COVID-19, the official website for the movie has removed the date and scheduled it to just May 2020.

The exact date of the release is unknown. Owing to the pandemic outbreak, it is decided that the movie will be scheduled at any time possible keeping the global concern into consideration.

But one thing is certain: The Woman in the Window will be an intrigue-filled thriller with jaw-dropping suspense. Since the movie will give a Gone Girl vibe so it will hold a thousand and one secrets with its riveting characters.

With the Watchmen, for example, I hadn’t seen the original movie and while I’m about 1/2 way through the series, I’ve yet to finish it. I’ve done better this time as instead of starting to write a review while watching the show episode by episode, I’ve decided to binge the whole series first so I know what I’m talking about. I did better with the Boys so maybe I’m learning my lesson when it comes to all of the amazing television that is currently out there.

With the Witcher, I came into it green as I’d not really played the game at all so while I knew it was a fantasy type title, I didn’t have any real knowledge of the characters or challenges in that world. My immediate thoughts on starting the show were that it seemed to have been filmed as a direct competitor to Game of Thrones. Now, this was primarily for two different reasons:

  • The Nudity – there were lots of naked female bodies on display at various times and through various episodes of the show. In all honesty, I’m not really sure if it was necessary for the story? There were some scenes where it was definitely valid, but in others, it definitely seemed gratuitous which is a pity as that seemed to only be in response to the nudity in Game of Thrones.

  • The Death – just like Game of Thrones, it seems that no-one is safe as many characters that are quite cool and enjoyable end up dead. In addition, there is no lack of blood and guts in the way that people get killed and dismembered. Again, this seemed to be a direct response to GoT as other stories of a similar vein (Lord of the Rings for example) manage to fight without strewing body parts in all directions.

Now despite what I have just said … after watching the whole show, I have to probably say that by the end of it … I’d changed my mind. The Witcher is not simply another Game of Thrones. While there is definitely blood and gore and nudity aplenty, there is other stuff that makes this story a little bit more enjoyable for me. While GoT kept its monsters to the sidelines, the Witcher puts them front and center right from the beginning scene. Magic is used by many and while courtroom drama abounds, it is not where your attention needs to be focused.

The Witcher, as it stands right now, is Netflix’s highest-rated original series on IMDB, beating out the likes of Stranger Things, Peaky Blinders, Black Mirror, The Crown, Ozark and Haunting of Hill House. Game of Thrones took several seasons to build out its more fantastical elements. The White Walkers and dragons came later. Its first few seasons swirled around distinct characters and the courtly intrigue that kept the plot moving and all our favourite characters dying.  The Witcher manages to hook you in one season and keep you engaged.

It’s not that The Witcher isn’t a political story, just that it’s politics are radically different than Game of ThronesThrones is a story about the upper classes, the landed gentry who move the world. The Witcher is a story about the lower classes, the people oppressed by prophecy and power. For all his supernatural strength, Geralt of Rivia is a dog catcher. He’s a working-class guy who hunts monsters for a living. More often than not, the society he works for despises him and sees him as no better than the monsters he’s hunting.

While Henry Cavill’s character of Geralt is perhaps a bit too brooding and dour, his physique and sword skills cannot be discounted. It would be nice if he didn’t always talk like he was gargling rocks, however. Yennefer’s story played by Anya Chalotra gives another perspective of the world that Geralt inhabits & perhaps gives us our first insight into the time frames that these characters deal with.

Immortality seems to be a thing for those that have magic or the ability to use magic & one only wonders what might be possible for those that are truly old in this world? The opposing viewpoint in skill and age is off course the Princess of Cintra. Ciri played by Freya Allan is not your typical spoiled rich girl which is nice to see. However, she also does not seem to understand the true plight of her subjects or their ire at her Grandmother as she’s constantly surprised with the reception she receives. With some unspecified yet powerful power within her, Ciri is bound to play a much larger role in the second season.

With three different, yet intertwined stories, told across multiple different fragmented timelines, The Witcher is at times confusing, even if you’re a fantasy buff; are these elves different from the elves you’re familiar with, how does magic work here, which empire is evil, what the hell is a curse – that sort of thing. However, it kept me coming back for more and by the end, I was definitely a fan. The Witcher builds good drama and rewards your investment, rather than punishing it. While it can be quite brutal and bloody, it’s also often fun, with a goofy sense of humour that is refreshing in this often portentous genre. 

As mentioned in previous posts, Scribd has an excellent selection of Battletech novels. However they are somewhat out of sequence as I’ve discussed earlier and this book which I think should be the first or at the least one of the earlier titles, is considered #24 in the Legends imprint.

Book #1 in their consideration is Wolves on the Border which I shall talk about in a future post. I could see why they consider this #1 as a portion of the story takes place in 3023 … this is a very small piece though. Decision at Thunder Rift however is entirely set in 3024 which I believe warrants its inclusion at an earlier stage.

This title covers the founding of the Grey Death Legion – a famous Inner Sphere Mercenary Unit – by Grayson Death Carlyle. Carlyle is nothing more than a boy when his fathers mercenary regiment is destroyed by traitors and sabotage.

Forced to surive on a world that has become hostile to offworlders and without a mech to his name, Carlyle needs to learn how to survive. When the forces that attacked his father set their sites on the local cities and towns, Carlyle comes to the determination that even without a mech he can still defend the people.

When he joins forces with local militia to attack and kill a Wasp, Carlyle is able to rally the defenders even further. Driving off another Wasp, he manages to capture a Locust and its pilot – Lori Kalmar. This victory propels Carlyle into the limelight and he is hailed a hero by all and sundry.

Forced by the situation to come up with a plan to push the raiders away, Carlyle coopts Lori and trains a ragtag team of infantry anti-mech specialists to take the battle to the raiders.

The betrayal that initially plagued Carlyle while his father was the leader continue to plague him however as his force is trapped and ambushed. Managing to turn the trap around on the bandit forces, Carlyle escapes with his fathers Shadowhawk. With his forces almost destroyed however, Carlyle has limited options available to him when Kuritan forces under the command of the Red Duke land.

The Kuritans quickly “subjugate” the bandits leaving the citizens of the planet to believe that they are the their saviours. With Carlyle captured and imprisoned, it looks like everything is lost.

Lori however believes in Carlyle and is unwilling to let him rot in jail or in the hands of Duke Rikol. Breaking him out of his cell with Locust, Carlyle manages to once again regain control of his Shadowhawk and a running battle ensues.

Carlyle eventually escapes to the Thunder Rift – a series of caverns where his force manage to hold off the attacking Kuritans. Fortunately for Carlyle he has an ace in the hole and the arrival of Steiner forces end the stalemate.

As the story progresses Grayson Death Carlyle continues to grow into and develop his own character and style. It’s a good introduction to the Battletech universe as it gives a brief overview of the current political situation and history of the Inner Sphere without getting bogged down in the details. Mechs are mentioned with descriptions so that they easy to visualize and while later books actually include brief black and white sketches of the Mechs, there is enough detail here to know what they are capable of.

The underlying plot itself is somewhat overcomplicated and convuluted in all honesty but it’s a good way to introduce some key characters that will carry forward for a few books and story arcs. Similarly the politics on Trellwan and the local lords and ladies are a bit transparent in their plots.

These small negatives aside, it was a good start. If you don’t have a Scribd membership, I highly recommend that you consider one. For a fairly nominal fee you can access new and old books and audio books.

Chapter VIII – Empowering Escape

The Staging Bay raged with combat, blobs of plasma and gunfire sailed through the air as demons continued to appear from portals. The Marine was shooting in two directions at once, holding the shotgun and assault rifle in each hand, blasting holes into Imps and Demons with ease. A Security Marine on a higher landing suddenly becomes possessed, it took the strength of every nearby survivor to tackle it and push it from the railing. The former human falls and splashes into a toxic waste tank and quickly dissolved into the green corrosive sludge. The Marine climbs to the next level above with little effort and begins mowing down the hordes amassed there. He sensed a large-jawed demon closing in from behind. He pivots slightly, tightly swings his shotgun toward it and fires two rounds. The Demon collapses with a dying grunt.

A Hell Baron suddenly materialized on the main level, roaring fiercely. A blob of green plasma closely zips past the Marine. The Baron took a few steps toward him and reached its arm back to throw another volley when almost every survivor opened fire on the hulking demon. The beast roared with fury and hurled the searing mass toward the Marine, it roared past as he narrowly shifts out of its path. The Baron was staggering against the barrage but still standing until a screeching grenade rolled to a rest at the demon’s hoofs and explodes. The blast severs the Baron’s midsection and injures some nearby Imps, the alien splattered to the ground with its unusual organs spilling onto the cold floor. The Marine was starting to clear the level of invaders under a constant onslaught, but there were still several Cacodemon attacking throughout the Staging Bay.

He climbs higher and gets into range of the bloated abominations. The first shotgun blast went up what passed for the demon’s ass. Then crossing to the next demon, he presses the barrel against its single eye. Blue blood splashed over the walkway, the Cacos tumbled and splattered to the ground. A blob of blue plasma hurls toward him from a demon at the far end of the walkway, he dodges by briefly bounding onto the handrail. He approaches firing both weapons at once, the Cacodemon hissed angrily and sank into a bloody deflated mass. He then stomps up the adjoining metal staircase where a squad of survivors was holding out. They turn their heads and see him approaching. A Security Marine was continuing to bark orders, an Engineer wades through the squad and greets him.

“Amazing work, marine” he states, thankfully. “I don’t know if we would have been able to hold out much longer” he says, as he resumed firing. “I’m Takeshi, I used to be a technical specialist around here. Who are you?”

Unable to come up with an answer, the Marine remains silent. “How did all this happen?” he returns.

“Something to do with the teleporter, but that thing is way beyond my security clearance” Takeshi says in a mild Japanese accent. “From what I’ve heard, the damn thing just started running on its own, these freaks started pouring through and they couldn’t shut it down” he loudly explains, picking off possessed humans one at a time, the sound of exploding grenades echoed from below.

“We sent a scouting party to find some escape pods, I hope we don’t have to send another”

About ten minutes passed when they noticed two of their scouts approach. They jogged toward the squad shouting,

“We found a bunch of pods! Sector-H has full suites of escape pods on all levels” they shout their report over the continuing gunfire. “The rest of our team didn’t make it”

“Excellent work. I’m sure your team did all they could” Takeshi says.

“You’ve just saved our asses” yells a survivor.

“We gotta go and fast” the scout continues. “One of those possessed cock-jockeys is going around destroying pods”

“That’s all I need to hear. Let’s lay down some suppressing fire and move out” Takeshi orders.

They moved strategically to the top level of the Staging Bay and through the passage leading to Sector-H, returning fire against the demons and former humans as they went. The corridor was wide, cables and large conduits stretched down its length and curved down intersecting paths, smashed maintenance robots lay motionless alongside the corpses of humans and aliens. Every meter they encountered more invaders.

Several waves of devilish skulls with tongues of fire charged through the air toward them and erupt against their storm of bullets. They turned down a right hand path and stumble upon a mob of Imps and Demons, the Marine quickly begins tearing limbs from their torsos, ripping into one demon after the other, painting the hall in dripping blood and leaving the survivors in disbelief as the hall vibrated with alien screams. The Marine slaughters the last Imp and they moved on. After a couple more minutes of fighting they soon had a clear path to the outer rim.

Something suddenly occurs to the Marine. In the brief gap from combat, he asks broadly, “Are there anymore survivors on the station?”

“Actually, there are some survivors in a Data Storage Vault in the Central Processing Facility. Sector-B. They’re trapped inside.” Takeshi recalls.

“You plan to go after them? It’s a bit distant” another survivor asks.

The Marine remain silent in thought, weighing his chances.

I can make it, I know it. He decides to himself.

They walked into the ring and the survivors wasted no time assembling into the escape pods on that level and trickling down the access staircase to the other pods below deck.

“I’m going after them” he states.

“You’re braver than I am, Marine” Takeshi states, pausing at a pod’s hatch.”I’ve gotta know, how did you manage to fight like that? It’s unbelievable”

“No idea, my instincts are taking over. I woke up from an artificial hibernation just recently and I have no idea how I got there” the Marine explains.

“Sounds like a classified project, possibly genetic testing. It doesn’t happen often, but the UAC won’t think twice about breaking laws to further their agenda” Takeshi offers. “This squad has had about all it can take, we’ve lost a lot of friends to these freaks. If you’re really going after them, then you should know that the reactor probably has a little less than two hours before the radioactive gas will leak. You need to secure your escape by then, because you won’t survive the initial flood of the gas”

Without saying another word, Takeshi ducks into the pod. “Good luck, Marine” he says, then closes the hatch.

The Marine studies a nearby station schematic posted to a wall, finds the most direct route to Central Processing before moving out. Outside the base, several escape pods undock from the station and are launched into space.

In Central Processing Administration, the emergency rescue squad lays defeated. Their bodies were scattered in close reach of each other on one side of the long rectangular common area, along with the charred remains of aliens. Their armour held cracks and gaping holes that revealed charred, smoking flesh. A pair of the fallen squad had been dragged to the centre of the room by large-jawed demons who were making disgusting blusts of noise from their feasting on the disgraced marines. The disturbing smacks and slurps of the gorging Demons rouses Major Sergeant Martinez from unconsciousness.

Knowing the danger undoubtably surrounding him, he stays perfectly still. He found himself on the cold floor with one of his marines strewn atop him. He allows his vision to restore, then quietly takes inventory of his equipment, he still had his pack stocked with energy cells, but couldn’t find his plasma rifle. He peeks out from his place on the floor and scans the area, carefully taking in everything he could see. He sees his dead and mutilated squad, the large-jawed demons were in view. He sees only one plasma rifle that wasn’t smashed or overloaded, lying on the hexagon floor tiles just behind the foul beasts. Silently, he reaches into his pack and readies a magazine of energy cells

He slips out from under the corpse and sneaks toward the armament with one delicately placed step at a time. He closes on the rifle and lifts it from the floor. Standing barely a meter away from the demons, he carefully extracts the magazine and sees that only three rounds remained. Gripping both at once, he almost drops the empty canister trying to insert the new one. Martinez reloads and a confirmation tone rising in pitch emits from the rifle. The demons made a curious grunt and turned toward the sound, Martinez fires point blank at the pair, turning them to finely textured, smouldering ashes.

He allows himself a sigh of relief, there didn’t seem to be any more aliens nearby. His eyes were inevitably drawn to the sight of his squad, they were mauled by Imps and missing limbs or heads. The image of their motionless bodies becomes permanently etched in his mind, fuelling his fury. He drops his pack onto a desk and retrieves the armour shards from an inner pocket, he snaps them twice into four sections and applied them to damaged spots on his armour. The nano-tech shards reform and patch the damage. During the repair, he finds his data-disc computer. He activates it and sends a signal to the USM Hurricane. Disturbingly, the ship did not respond. He uses a homing scan and received a signal from further out in Mars’ orbit, the ship had somehow undocked and moved away.