Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online Review

GGO Alternative

Hiyo, everyone! Today, I’ll be covering a story in a franchise loved by many and bashed by perhaps even more! Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online takes place in the world of Gun Gale Online as seen at the beginning of SAO season 2, but the cast of characters is entirely new! No Kirito here! SAO Alt GGO (as I will be calling it for the rest of the review) evades several of the pitfalls of mainstream SAO. Since it will doubtlessly come up, I’ll start by saying I do like the existing SAO anime despite acknowledging that they are rather flawed. Personally, I just try to take as much enjoyment as I can from stories! But I would prefer to focus discussion to just SAO Alt GGO for this review, so for now, let’s just forget about the rest. Even if you hate normal SAO, you may enjoy this!

SAO Alt GGO is focused on Karen Kohiruimaki, a Japnese woman who is quite tall and has a complex about it. At the advice of her friend Miyu Shinohara, she decides to retreat into a virtual world to escape, and converts from game to game until she finds one where her randomly generated avatar happens to be short and cute, as she wishes she could be. Naturally, that VRMMO is Gun Gale Online. At first, she plays just for the escapism, but, as time goes on, she becomes fond of the game, advancing her character and meeting new people.

One of those is a quirky woman whose avatar is named Pitohui, a long-time veteran of GGO. She takes LLENN (Karen’s avatar) under her wing, and the two become friends and teammates. Pitohui, too, plays GGO to avoid real world problems. She says that, some day, she and LLENN will go all out against each other in GGO, and, if LLENN wins, the two will meet in real life – a prospect LLENN finds scarier than appealing, I think!

One day, Pitohui convinces LLENN to sign up for Squad Jam (SJ), a free-for-all tournament between teams of up to six players. Pitohui herself is unavailable that day, so she has LLENN partner with her friend M, an experienced man with a knack for strategy. Since LLENN’s own real life plans fall through on the day of the Squad Jam, she agrees to enter alongside M, as part of a team of a mere two players. Of course, I’m not going to tell you what happens after that! SAO Alt GGO is only twelve episodes long, so if you’re interested, you ought to check it out for yourself!

While I don’t intend to get into spoilers, one of the things I loved about this anime was how it showed how several VRMMO players were driven together in the world of GGO by their real life insecurities and problems. Karen/LLENN and Pitohui were both ultra relatable to me. It felt quite nice to explore virtual reality themes without intrusive fanservice.

It’s hard to go into too much detail without spoiling something, because the meat of SAO Alt GGO’s story occurs after the Squad Jam plays out. So, instead, I’ll just recommend that if you’re interested in virtual reality based anime, this one is worth checking out. If you liked the original SAO, you’ll probably like this too, and if you wanted to like SAO but found some of its flaws difficult to look past, you may find them absent or mitigated here. SAO Alt GGO is provides a lot of good action and an interesting story surrounding characters who feel capable without being too overpowered. As in normal SAO, the music is good, too!

I’d rate SAO Alt GGO 4.4/5. It got me hooked early on, and before I knew it, I had marathoned the series and waiting for a season two. xD

Have any of you watched Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online? If so, what did you think? Let’s try to avoid talking too much about normal SAO in the comments; I don’t want a flame war on my hands. That said, I’d love to hear your opinion on the VRMMO-centric genre of anime! Personally, I’d like to see more of it, so I welcome your recommendations! Hope ya have a wonderful week! Ciao!

Danganronpa 3 Review (Anime)

Danganronpa 3 Future Arc

Hiyo, everyone! Today, I’m gonna review Danganronpa 3, which is an anime, not to be confused with the game Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony. Full disclosure – I am utterly obsessed with the Danganronpa franchise, so that may affect my opinions. =p

Since this anime is nothing new, and I absolutely cannot recommend watching it unless you’ve completed the preceding games (Danganrona: Trigger Happy Havoc, Super Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, and Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls) I’m going to assume most people reading this know what happens, so this review will be positively teeming with spoilers. If you’re invested enough in the games to have played the first three but haven’t yet watched this anime, I recommend it. It’s split into three arc: Future, Despair, and Hope. By the way, the correct watching order for the episodes is Future 1 > Despair 1 > Future 2 > Despair 2 > … >Future 11 > Despair 11 > Future 12 > Hope. It’s rather convoluted, I know. xD

Aaanyway, that said, I’m not going to explain the differences between the three sides of the anime, ’cause I presume that going forward, my readers already know! Instead, I’ll talk about the parts that really stood out to me, starting with the Future Arc.

We begin with your typical killing game, this one lacking much of the usual charming presence of Monokuma and using members of the hope-centric Future Foundation as participants. Honestly, we aren’t given much time to get attached to many of the new characters; emphasis is placed on the returning Makoto, Kyoko, and Aoi as well as Munakata and Sakuraka. The eventual twist that the “attackers” were all killing themselves due to brainwashing was a bit surprising, but the lack of anything resembling class trials made this killing game completely unlike the ones in Danganronpa 1 and 2. Instead, the focus was on character development for a select few.

Unsurprisingly, Kyoko alone was capable of solving the whole mystery. What wasn’t expected was her “death” via a rather devious forbidden action. It was sort of obvious she’d find some way to survive, but, even so, the assumed loss allowed for some good character development in Makoto. (I also enjoyed the few cute moments between the two.)

I’m not going to lie. My fav –

Actually… *Casts flame shield around herself.*

As I was saying, I’m not going to lie. My favorite part of the Future Arc was the inclusion of Monaca, who is also my favorite character in the franchise. xD Her newfound apathy is ultra relatable to me. She didn’t have all that much screen time, but what she did have was good, and expanded on the character discernible to the careful observer in Ultra Despair Girls. She was never actually all that invested in despair, just in finding a place for herself. In the end, Nagito convinced her that acting as an avatar of despair was not really right for her, so she decided she had no place in the world at all and left to become a space NEET! To the casual observer, that decision may seem incredibly random, but it’s actually pretty consistent with her character. I’m glad she didn’t die. But, since she’s my favorite, I hope we haven’t seen the last of her. xD

Let’s shift gears and talk about the Despair Arc a bit. It re-introduced us to all our favorite characters from Danganronpa 2, including the human version of Chiaki. That said, the real star was, unsurprisingly, Junko. Really, the whole arc is about how she took all sorts of things – many good, like class 77’s close friendship, and others bad, like the unethical Kamukura project – and twisted them all to the purposes of despair. In brutal fashion. Some of the parts that most stood out to me was the Student Council’s little killing game and Chiaki’s death. Junko was totally the star of the show.

Most of the members of class 77 were not really expanded upon as characters in Danganronpa 3. We did get to learn more about Chiaki, who is basically the protagonist of the Despair Arc, and we got to see Izuru in action, which was amusing in its own way. Mukuro’s portrayal was a bit… odd. But the story was otherwise rather predictable. Then there’s the whole brainwashing issue. Honestly, it was disappointing to see Junko rely so heavily on that despite the talent to inspire despair through setting up brutal situations she showed in the games. It would have been much more compelling if she had convinced class 77 to turn more naturally.

The brainwashing issue extends into the Hope Arc, which ties Future and Despair together. Mitarai’s goal to brainwash the world into ridding itself of negative emotions was kind of boring. Really, the final episode existed largely to give cameos to the post-Danganronpa 2 versions of class 77. They ended up being the ones to stop Mitarai and take all the blame for the Future Foundation’s killing game. I suppose the point was to show us hope in the form of the seeds Makoto planted by saving the former-Remnants finally bloom. Since Kyoko survived, none of the characters from previous games actually died. (The real-life version of Chiaki is technically a different person than the AI version.) That left the whole series feeling a bit meaningless. I guess Danganronpa has just made me a junkie for character death~

Anyway, despite Danganronpa 3’s many flaws, as a fangirl, I’m still gonna rate it 4.2/5. I found it quite entertaining. I really hope to see even more of the characters we’re become familiar with thus far.

Have you played or watched any Danganronpa stuff? If so, what do you like most about the series, and what did you think of my review? If not, why are you still reading this? xD I mean, I kinda of just spoiled the whole series, but I still recommend you check it out. =p Until next time, may your days be shining beacons of hope… or may they drag you into the depths of despair. Whichever you’d prefer. =p Buh-bye!

 

Why are we so invested in fictional characters?

Hiyo, everyone! Today, I’m going to talk about something I’ve been thinking about for a while – and, as a result, I’ll be making my first ‘philosophical’ post in quite some time! Why do we care so much about fictional characters?

The obvious initial explanation is that most of us are capable of empathy. Although we probably haven’t been on the sort of wild adventure many fictional characters experience, we’ve all faced our own struggles in life, so we’re able to relate to characters who are going through anything at all similar. But what I want to discuss is something a bit deeper than that. Something that may be common or may just be a quirk of mine. You see, I find myself often more attached to fictional characters than real people.

That’s a surprising outcome, to say the least. After all, you can’t really interact with fictional characters, They’re almost without exception not as thoroughly fleshed out as real people. So I’d like to explore a few reasons our (or, at least, my) interest in them is so strong.

To that end, I’ll list some differences between being attached to real people and to fictional characters.

  • Fictional characters exist to entertain. To do that, their writers find ways to show us as much about important characters as they can. The point of building up a character with a hidden past is to eventually reveal it. That’s not something you can say about the real world. Everyone you interact with in your daily life has their own personal issues to deal with, and they often won’t tell you all the details, if any. As a result, some of them will forever remain enigmas to you. There’s also the fact that, once a series involving a character is complete, they’ll never surprise you again. You don’t have to worry about them having interests you find unpalatable. They can no longer disappoint you when their stories are over. I expect that, to some people, that stability is appealing.
  • The fact that there are so many gaps in our knowledge of characters can actually make them more relatable. That’s because we can project ourselves – or whatever else we want – into those gaps. Many characters are written to face challenges broad enough that a wide variety of people can see connections between themselves and the character facing them. Think Elsa from Disney’s Frozen. There’s a reason the song ‘Let it Go’ was so popular. While I doubt any of us are harboring hidden ice magic, many of us have thoughts, experiences, or feelings that we feel the need to hide from others. By putting her fear behind her, Elsa delivers vicarious catharsis.
  • As humans, we’re curious about a broad range of emotions, but many are not ones we welcome into our own lives. No one wants to experience overwhelming guilt, or the grief of losing a loved one, or the devastation left in the wake of a catastrophic event. By letting characters have those experiences for us, we can explore those scenarios without anyone ‘real’ getting hurt. Tension that would turn to panic in real life instead becomes a source of entertainment when fictional characters are exposed to it. That’s why media like Game of Thrones are so compelling. Instead of worrying about how imperiled characters’ predicaments will unfold, we’re able to look forward to what will happen next.

All of that largely boils down to one truth: People are driven by conflict. Without some conflict, however minute, life quickly becomes boring. That’s why it’s such a central component of stories made to entertain. We yearn for conflict, but we want to experience it in a low-risk way. Stories can give us our fix of it without jeopardizing the relatively harmonious lives many of us wish to lead.

Anyway, that’s my initial take on the matter. If you guys are interested in this topic, I’d totally be willing to think on it further. For now, I’m curious to hear how others feel about it. Do you share my feeling of heightened interest in fictional characters, or have any thoughts of your own on the matter? Are you interested in seeing more posts like this? Please let me know in the comments below. Until next time, I hope you find stories that seize your attention!

The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky Review

Trails in the Sky FC

Hiyo, everyone! Today, I’m gonna review a delightful RPG called Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky. Before I get into the details, I’d like to mention that, despite what the above image says, the game is no longer only available on the PSP; you can get it on Steam, too. It’s also the beginning of its own story arc, so it’s a great place to jump into the series if you haven’t tried it before!

Our story begins when the protagonist, a little girl named Estelle Bright, welcomes her father, Cassius Bright, home after an extended absence. Cassius was gone on a mission – he is a member of the Bracer’s Guild, an organization that strives to help people with their requests, big or small, as long as they deem them worthy. But, this time, Cassius’ return is different, because he comes back with a mysterious boy around Estelle’s age named Joshua. Joshua’s past is completely unknown to Estelle, but Cassius seems to know something – enough to feel comfortable adopting Joshua as a son.

Years later, Estelle and Joshua are sixteen, and have finally been accepted into the Bracer’s Guild as Junior Bracers. Cassius has to leave on another of his missions, so he gives the easier set of his unfinished tasks to Estelle and Joshua. At first, they start small, but they quickly find themselves involved in matters of increasing importance. Then, it is revealed that the airship Cassius was on went missing. Estelle and Joshua set out to travel the kingdom of Liberl in search of their father and to earn the recommendations needed to become full-fledged Bracers. Unbeknownst to them, they will soon find themselves involved in matters that will shape the future of their country.

I don’t want to spoil the story any more than that! If you’re into jRPGs, I promise, this one is very much worth your while. Battles take place in small fields where the position of your characters matter, reminiscent of a strategy RPG, but aside from movement issues, the combat system felt more traditional to me. The characters are quite customizable thanks to magic-granting artifacts called orbments. Trails in the Sky has a pleasant anime aesthetic, and the music is quite good, often cheery or exciting.

The game shines most with regards to story, worldbuilding, and characters. I found myself always eager to see what was going to happen next, and quite invested in all the characters to join my party. Liberl’s orbment technology gives the world a slight steampunk vibe, though most characters wear clothing more typical of a fantasy RPG. There are plenty of mysteries to be solved and revelations to witness. Then there are the character interactions! I really enjoyed watching their relationships develop. I couldn’t help but feel close to them, especially to Estelle and Joshua!

The only large downside with the game, in my opinion, is that some sidequests and other important items are extremely easy to permanently miss. You’ll often need to go to exactly the right place within a very small timeframe to unlock hidden events. Therefore, if you’re a completionist, Trails in the Sky is best played with a guide.

That said, for the above reasons, I simply love this game, and can’t recommend it enough. Therefore, I rate it 4.9/5. I’m super excited to play the sequels!

Have you guys ever played a Legend of Heroes game? If so, which were you favorites? (Please don’t spoil me!) If not, what RPGs do you love most? I’m eager to hear your opinions in the comments below! I hope you all have a charming week!

My Top 5 Favorite Moments in Code Geass R2

Code Geass R2

Hiyo, everyone! Today I’ll be offering the follow-up post to my previous one concerning my favorite moments in Code Geass R1. As before, I will assume the reader has already watched the anime. If you haven’t, please, watch it first. It’s ultra worthy of your time, and reading all the spoilers ahead of time would make for a much worse experience.

Anyway, time for the list!

5. Happiness

This is another short scene, but one that always struck me as profound. Lelouch, after coming to terms with the fact that he’s going to have to fight Nunnally, returns to Ashford academy to find that his friends have foregone their school trip so they could spend time with him and Rolo. Brought to tears, the Lelouch recalls a discussion he had in the past. Here’s the quote (English dub version):

“A long time ago, Nunnally, Suzaku, and I talked about something. We wondered what happiness would look like if we could give it a physical form. If I’m not mistaken, I think it was Suzaku that said that the shape of happiness might resemble glass. His reasoning made sense. He said that even though you don’t usually notice it, it’s still definitely there. You merely have to change your point of view slightly, and then that glass will sparkle when it reflects the light. I doubt that anything else could argue its own existence more eloquently.”

I’ve held that thought with me ever since I first saw that scene. It’s just so beautiful, and it rings true. When you reflect on the past, even on times you thought were difficult in the present, you’ll sometimes find that hint of nostalgia waiting for you in the memory. Happiness can blossom in even the hardest times. That’s something we should always keep in mind.

4. Rolo’s Death

Another emotional moment! With Lelouch exposed as Zero and revealed to have been manipulating people with Geass, the Black Knights themselves decide to finish him off. But he’s saved by Rolo, even though he’d just finished telling Rolo their relationship as brothers was a lie and that he’d been trying to kill him. Using his Geass – which greatly strains his heart – Rolo escapes with Lelouch aboard the Vincent. Various enemies give chase, and Rolo uses his Geass over and over, freezing the perception of time for others. As Lelouch tries to explain he has no reason to live, Rolo says that even if Lelouch was using him, out of all the people who used him throughout his life, only his time with Lelouch felt genuine. Therefore, he chose to save Lelouch of his own volition. As the scene progresses, the beautiful song “Like a Bird” plays throughout, charging it with extra emotion.

Once the two have escape, as Rolo lays dying of heart failure, he asks for assurance that Lelouch was lying about trying to kill him. Lelouch gives it (even though he really did try to kill Rolo) and, with a sad smile, leaves the locket once meant for Nunnally with Rolo’s corpse, a sign that he does now accept him as a brother.

I’ve always been so moved by this scene. The way Rolo remains loyal to Lelouch despite everything shows that he’s grown as a character, and has finally come to understand what he values most. And Lelouch’s response in the end, once he believes he has lost everything, brought me to tears. After the two of them had such a rocky relationship, it felt quite good to see them each put their own desires aside and, for a moment, accept the strength in even connections not tied by blood.

3. C’s World

It happens in a world outside of space. About 80% through the series, we finally learn of C.C.’s past, and of the terms of Lelouch’s contract. In return for his Geass, C.C. would have Lelouch kill her and take her place as an immortal. She views her time on earth not as living, but as accumulating experience, and claims life has no value unless it is finite. Lelouch, of course, refuses to kill C.C., so she sends him off to see her past and lets Charles do the deed.

Lelouch then sees that C.C. was born long ago, that she was an escaped slave, and that she made a Geass contract with a nun. Her Geass made others love her. But, in time, she learned that infinite love was just a meaningless farce. It prevented anyone aside from the nun from seeing many parts of her personality. One day, C.C. explained that to the nun, and the nun finally revealed her scheme – she had been using C.C. all along. She forced C.C. to kill her and inherit her immortality.

Lelouch returns to the place where Charles and C.C. are on the verge of C.C.’s death and promises her something that she never had. A smile. Impulsively, C.C. pushes Charles away, and she and Lelouch are ejected from C’s world. But, when they get out, Lelouch finds C.C. left something behind – her memories. In an instant, she transforms from an enigmatic witch to a timid servant.

C.C. has always been one of my favorite characters in the series, so it was nice to see her play a major role in an important scene. And everything about her is so relatable! Her desire to be loved having come from a background where no one loved her and her desire to die when life lost all meaning. C.C. is someone who feels both life and love lie in their limits, and there is something to be said about that opinion. Learning so much about C.C. made me like her even more. In this scene, she finally dropped the mask and showed her genuine self.

2. Nunnally’s Smile

Lelouch, along with Suzaku and C.C., faced off against his immortal father and his not-so-dead mother. They rejected the plan to hold the world in a constant state of past. The Thought Elevator is falling, broken by Lelouch’s request to the collective unconsciousness. Charles and Marianne are dissolving. But they haven’t given up. They try to appeal to C.C., to get her to switch back over to their side. She, however, now knows that they only love themselves, and says as much. Marianne says that’s false, and that they love their children. Then Lelouch delivers possibly the most powerful line in the series.

“Do you have any idea what the meaning is behind Nunnally’s beautiful smile?”

Naturally, Charles and Marianne don’t know. Lelouch explains that Nunnally is aware of the many things she can’t do without help due to being blind and crippled, and that she smiles to show her thanks. Charles rejects that idea and lunges at Lelouch – but with a few words, he dispels both of his parents forever.

That one question is all it took for Lelouch to expose his parents’ true motives. They didn’t understand Nunnally, nor did they even try to. C.C. is exactly right about them. They only look at things from an abstract angle, and, in doing so, they miss the people before their very eyes. That one question refutes all of their claims so easily. It was the perfect thing for Lelouch to ask, for it revealed a truth Charles and Marianne themselves were not aware of.

1. Zero Requiem

Was there ever any question?

Lelouch presides over a the public executions of his enemies as the evil emperor of the world. Everyone hates him, but they dare not speak out. But as his parade advances down a street toward its destination, they encounter someone unexpected.

Zero.

But Lelouch was believed to be Zero! How can there be another? Zero charges through Lelouch’s guard with comical ease and prepares to plunge his blade into Lelouch’s chest. That’s when Kallen – and we, the viewers, see the truth. Zero is Suzaku, who is not actually dead after all, and Lelouch arranged for his own assassination. He focused all the world’s hatred on himself then arranged to be eliminated, and that hatred discarded with him. His death would pave the way for the world to move forward.

Suzaku stabs Lelouch. lelouch tells Suzaku he is to sacrifice his own happiness to serve as Zero for the rest of his life, and Suzaku accepts. He pulls the blade from lelouch’s chest, and Lelouche slides down is vehicle and lands right next to Nunnally. She touches his hand – and sees it all.

To quote Lelouch: “Yes, I… destroy the world… and make it… anew.”

The result is bittersweet irony at its finest. The crowd chants “Zero!” as Nunnally wails, stating she had only ever wanted to be with Lelouch. The beautiful song Continued Story plays in the background as her cries grow louder and louder. Lelouch set out to make a better world for Nunnally, but, in the end, that lead to her grief and a bright future for the world.

In the subsequent scenes, we see how the world really is becoming a better place. Some people would argue that this ending is unrealistic, and maybe it is, but either way, it’s beautiful. It completes Lelouch’s and Suzaku’s character arcs in the strongest way possible. I sobbed like a baby! It’s the best ending of anything I’ve watched, read, or played ever. Thanks to this scene, my love for Code Geass is eternal.

Then there’s the debate about whether Lelouch actually died, but I’m not gonna get into that here! xD

Anyway, that’s my list! What were your favorite moments in Code Geass R2? What did you think of my choices? Did I miss anything you felt should have been included? Please let me know in the comments below! I command you, have a wonderful week! =p

Solo: A Star Wars Story Review (spoilers)

Solo

Hiyo again, everyone! I know I’m a bit late to the party, but today I’ll be reviewing Solo: A Star Wars Story. Since it has been so long since the movie released, I’m gonna assume all the diehard fans have seen it already, so, as the title of this post indicates, there will be spoilers everywhere. So watch the film before reading this!

Since I’m assuming you guys have all seen the movie, I won’t bother with a recap – instead, I’ll just talk about the stuff that stuck out to me.

Unlike Star Wars: Episode 8, I found Solo to be a fairly predictable film except near the end. In part, that’s because we already knew the outcomes of many of the events that happened. We knew Han wouldn’t end up with Qi’ra because she never shows up in the original trilogy. We knew Han, Lando, and Chewy would survive throughout the film, since they’re around in the original trilogy, which left us with only Qi’ra, Beckett, Dryden Vos, and minor characters to perhaps have die. We knew Han would survive the Kessel run, and we knew he would eventually end up with the Millennium Falcon. I found all that bounty of knowledge to rob the movie of much tension. So much screen time was devoted to showing us the pre-existing backstory.

Even the things that weren’t already known were, in large part, predictable; for example, that Han and Beckett’s attempt to rob that train would end in failure and with Val dead. The briefly touched-upon relationship between the two just raised her death flag through the roof!

All of that is not to say I didn’t enjoy the predictable parts of the movie, ’cause I did. I felt the actors all did well with their roles, and the action sequences were solid. One of the few things that did surprise me near the middle of the movie was Lando’s feelings for his droid, L3-37. A human-droid relationship would have been quite interesting to explore; it’s a (predictable) shame that L3-37 died.

Throughout the movie, I found Qi’ra to be the most interesting character. I had a feeling she would end up siding with Dryden Vos, but her feelings seemed mixed enough that I felt she might go either way. I also expected her to die, which she very much didn’t. That was the best twist in the movie. She betrayed both Han and Vos, killing Vos and letting Han go. I didn’t expect her to take leadership for herself, setting up a potential sequel.

The sudden appearance of Enfys Nest (the leader of the riders who attacked Han, Beckett and co during the train scene) to show up near the end of the film was also surprising – it felt rather abrupt, and Han’s decision to side with her seemed to come to him too easily. For someone who’s supposed to be a scammer, he sure ended up getting played by others a lot throughout the film.

If you’ve seen Solo already, you already know about the one thing in the movie that absolutely blew my mind. Darth Maul is alive? Initially, I thought it made no sense for him to be alive with the Empire in power, but, apparently, he survived being cut in half at the waist and falling down a very large pit. I did some looking into it; Disney’s animated Star Wars T.V. series gave him an out, and those series remain canon even now. Honestly, the twist was shocking enough to make up for much of the previous predictability. It makes me hope our favorite two-sided lightsaber user will play a more active role in a future Star Wars story film!

(Also, did you notice the total amount of words spoken by Maul in Star Wars movies was like quintupled because of his brief scene with Qi’ra? He’s become chatty!)

Overall, I did quite enjoy the film despite its flaws, so I’ll rate Solo a 4/5. It’s definitely worth watching if you’re a Star Wars fan… although, if you’re reading this, I guess you probably already saw it. xD

What did you guys think of Solo? Do you agree or disagree with any of my opinions? Is there anything I should have discussed but didn’t? Please let me know in the comments below! Until next time, I hope you have a wonderful week!

Review: Edgedancer by Brandon Sanderson

Edgedancer

Hiyo, everyone! Today I’ll be reviewing Edgedancer by Brandon Sanderson, a novella that’s part of the Stormlight Archive series. As usual, I plan not to spoil Edgedancer itself, just discuss the premise; however, I will spoil a single interlude chapter in the preceding novel, Words of RadianceThe reason is because the information in that chapter is necessary to understand the position of Edgedancer‘s protagonist, Lift.

During that chapter, Lift, a quirky thirteen year old girl with special Surgebinder abilities, attempts to rob Azir’s imperial palace. However, the heist goes wrong, and one of Lift’s teammates, Gawx ends up mortally wounded when the group is attacked by another Surgebinder Lift calls Darkness, who is an agent of the law. At great risk to herself, Lift heals Gawx. It just so happens that the imperial viziers present in the palace had been struggling with an issue where their Prime Agasix (emperor) kept getting assassinated, and they were looking for a new one. They take Gawx’s healing as a miracle, name him their new Prime Agasix, and he legally dismisses Lift’s crimes, leaving Darkness with no excuse to execute her. He leaves, but Lift certainly doesn’t forget about him.

Our story begins when Lift flees the imperial palace, paranoid that the privileged treatment she was receiving was in preparation to eat her. (I did warn you she was unusual.) Lift goes with her spren, Wyndle, who is invisible to everyone else and entirely unenthusiastic about leaving the palace behind. She uses her special abilities (which she refers to as ‘awesomeness’) to quickly travel on a grand quest to… um, actually, she’s not sure. She just doesn’t like staying in one place for too long.

Nevertheless, her overpowering hunger (her abilities are fueled by food) draw her to the Yeddaw, a city built into the ground where trenches replace roads. Being Lift, she quickly gets into trouble for stealing things; her primary targets are pancakes. No, I’m not joking. Before too long, she discovers that Darkness is in Yeddaw, too. Well, maybe she was sort of following him. She’s not entirely certain. In any event, she decides to tail him, and the story takes off from there!

I would say the greatest appeal of Edgedancer is Lift herself. It’s rare to be treated to such an eccentric protagonist. She’s generally a lot of fun to read about, and I find myself wanting more characters like her. She has a rather unique perspective on the world, and that leads her to take actions that aren’t always easy to predict. I’m eager to read more about her in the remaining Stormlight novels.

The setting of Yeddaw is also quite distinctive, and invites the reader to imagine a city that’s probably unlike any other they’ve read about. In my opinion, Edgedancer‘s greatest shortcomings are in its plot and the rest of its characters, who feel somewhat generic. It was pretty easy to figure out what was going on early in the novella, and there was an unfortunate lack of especially emotion-provoking moments, unlike in much of Sanderson’s other work. That’s not to say Edgedancer wasn’t intriguing, ’cause it was, but I’d say it was at its best when giving Lift character moments and showing the reader things from her perspective. She had a solid character arc throughout the novella, one that made sense without being overly predictable.

Overall, I did enjoy Edgedancer, but I would say Lift herself was the only part of the story that really stood out. Therefore, I rate Edgedancer 3.8/5. If you’re a fan of Sanderson’s work (especially the Stormlight Archive), it’s absolutely worth checking out.

Have you guys read any of Sanderson’s work? If so, which did you most enjoy? If not, are there any other books or authors you’re particularly fond of? I’m eager to hear about them in the comments below! Until next time, I hope your life is filled with awesomeness!