George V. Reilly

Review: Fire and Blood

Title: Fire and Blood
Author: George R.R. Martin
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Bantam
Copyright: 2018
Pages: 736
Keywords: fantasy
Reading period: 28 December, 2018–1 January, 2019

I've been waiting longer than most for George R.R. Martin to finish the A Song of Fire and Ice series: I read the first book when it was newly published in paperback in 1997. Fire and Blood is a new addition to the series, but it is a prequel and does not advance the plot at all. This book is a history of the first half of the three hun­dred–year reign of the Targaryen dynasty, the dragon riders who conquered Westeros with their fire­breath­ing dragons. The Game of continue.

Review: Watership Down (miniseries)

Title: Watership Down (miniseries)
Director: Noam Murro
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Released: 2018
Keywords: animation
Country: UK
Watched: 30 December, 2018–1 January, 2019

Two years ago, just after the death of Richard Adams, I reread the book of Watership Down for the first time in many years, having originally discovered it when it was new in the mid-1970s. There's a beautiful new adaptation, an animated miniseries made by the BBC and Netflix.

This adaptation is largely faithful to the original book: The brave young rabbits striking out on their own before their home warren is destroyed; creating a new warren on Watership Down; the war with the to­tal­i­tar­i­an warren of Efrafa; the peaceful aftermath. One short­com­ing is that although the continue.

Review: The Heart's Invisible Furies

Title: The Heart's Invisible Furies
Author: John Boyne
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Hogarth
Copyright: 2017
Pages: 592
Keywords: fiction, gay, irish
Reading period: 30 October, 2018

Before I begin to describe The Heart's Invisible Furies with abundant spoilers, let me say two things. Despite what I describe below, the book is very funny, as Cyril recounts his frequent fuckups. You would never know, from reading the back cover or the excerpted reviews inside, that Cyril is gay. Yet Cyril's sexuality is the central theme of the book. I can only assume that this is a marketing decision, with which I strongly disagree.

16-year-old Catherine is forced out of her Cork village by the parish continue.

Review: Coco

Title: Coco
Director: Lee Unkrich
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Released: 2017
Keywords: animation
Country: USA
Watched: 25 December, 2017

Coco is another delightful movie from Pixar: It's a magical tale of a Mexican boy who pas­sion­ate­ly wants to play music, even though his shoemaking family has rejected music ever since his great-great-grand­fa­ther pursued his own musical ambitions and abandoned his wife and child—the eponymous Coco, who is now ancient. Miguel discovers that his despised ancestor is none other than Ernesto de la Cruz, the most famous musician of his time. In order to enter a talent com­pe­ti­tion on Día de los Muertos, he steals Ernesto's guitar from his mausoleum, whereupon he is trans­port­ed to continue.

Review: Skinny Dip

Title: Skinny Dip
Author: Carl Hiaasen
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Warner
Copyright: 2004
Pages: 496
Keywords: humor, crime
Reading period: 18–19 February, 2017

Joey Perrone is very surprised to find herself thrown off a cruise ship on her second wedding an­niver­sary. After a night of swimming, she washes up on a small Florida island in the company of a pre­ma­ture­ly retired in­ves­ti­ga­tor. Joey persuades Mick Stranahan not to report the attempted murder, but instead to in­ves­ti­gate and torment her worthless husband, Chaz, who turns out to be a biostitute for a major polluter of the Everglades, as well as a relentless pussyhound, an inept killer, and an all-round shitheel.

Hiaasen has a lot continue.

Review: The Italian Job

Title: The Italian Job
Director: Peter Collinson
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Released: 1969
Keywords: heist, comedy, cars
Country: UK
Watched: 17 Febuary, 2017

The Italian Job movie is worth your time. One of the quin­tes­sen­tial movies of the Swinging Sixties, its British sen­si­bil­i­ty wears well, almost 50 years on. The humour still works. And it's probably the best ad­ver­tise­ment that the Mini ever had.

Charlie Croker (Michael Caine) has inherited a plan to rip off $4 million in gold bullion from Fiat in Turin. He and the lads are going to help the balance of payments by bringing the loot back from the Common Market. (They're proto-Eu­roskep­tics.) And they're going to do it by causing the continue.

Review: Kill Me Three Times

Title: Kill Me Three Times
Director: Kriv Stenders
Rating: ★ ★ ★
Released: 2014
Keywords: black comedy thriller
Country: Australia
Watched: 10 February, 2017

A jealous husband engages a private detective-cum-killer for hire (Simon Pegg) to follow his wife. Upon proof of her infidelity, he orders a hit, which triggers a comedy of errors and double crosses, which ultimately leaves most of the cast dead at each other's hands.

There's not much to like about this Australian noirish comedy. It's bloody but not that funny. The characters are thinly drawn and unengaging. They're a far cry from Taran­ti­no's gonzo mo­tor­mouths or the Coen Brother's quirky killers.

Review: I Shall Wear Midnight

Title: I Shall Wear Midnight
Author: Terry Pratchett
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Harper
Copyright: 2010
Pages: 355
Keywords: humor, fantasy
Reading period: 3–5 February, 2017

Tiffany Aching is now the overworked and overly re­spon­si­ble Witch of the Chalk. People everywhere are fearing and dis­trust­ing witches more. When her patient, the ailing Baron dies, she is blamed. Other troubles multiply. Eventually she realizes that the Cunning Man, a long-dead witchfind­er, is seeping poison into people's hearts. Aided by the trou­ble­mak­ing Nac Mac Feegle, she defeats him.

Rec­om­mend­ed.

I Shall Wear Midnight follows The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky, and Win­ter­smith.

Review: Gone, Baby, Gone

Title: Gone, Baby, Gone
Author: Dennis Lehane
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: William Morrow
Copyright: 1998
Pages: 256
Keywords: crime
Reading period: 7 January–3 February, 2017

Four-year-old Amanda McCready has dis­ap­peared. Her aunt, desperate to find her, engages PIs Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro to find the child. The mother, Helene, is drunken, slatternly, and neglectful: in short, unfit and un­sym­pa­thet­ic. Kenzie and Gennaro don't want the case—the odds of finding Amanda alive and unharmed are low. They'll go through hell before they succeed.

This book veers from blackly funny to gutwrench­ing. Kenzie and Gennaro come up against the worst of the worst and against decent people doing wrong for reasons that seem right continue.

Review: The Rhesus Chart

Title: The Rhesus Chart
Author: Charles Stross
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Ace
Copyright: 2014
Pages: 359
Keywords: Love­craft­ian spy thriller
Series: Laundry Files, vol. 5
Reading period: 27–29 January, 2017

“Don't be silly,” Bob, said Mo, “everyone knows vampires don't exist!” Thus opens The Rhesus Chart. We quickly come to realize that vampires do exist and we come to wonder why everyone in the Laundry is so dog­mat­i­cal­ly sure that they don't. One of the nest of baby vampires that sets the plot in motion is Bob's toxic ex-girlfriend, Mhari, who manages to convince the Laundry that they should recruit her clutch rather than ex­ter­mi­nate them. But there are old vampires who have continue.

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