The past few days I haven’t been able to schedule the time to continue the Time Trial Challenge, due to work. In the meantime, I’ve been reading and watching DVD’s.
I’ve just finished book two of The Bartimeus Trilogy, called “The Golem’s Eye.” It’s a young adult’s book about three characters: Nathaniel, an up-and-coming young wizard who works for a despotic government, Bartimeus, the Djinn he summons and who he has an adversarial relationship, and Kitty, member of a small resistance cell. It’s very well written for a YA book, but hard to like. Perhaps they humanized Nathaniel in the first book, but he comes off as annoying and self-indulgent, if not downright scheming. Bartimeus is snarky and funny, but he doesn’t act that much on his own due to his fictional nature, and Kitty is really the only admirable character. The plot is weak as well, with some clumsy foreshadowing of a true big bad. My guess is we will see a “Voldermort returns” gambit in the third book. The writing is excellent though, and I will pick up the first and third in the series.
I also watched Mamoru Oshii’s Sky Crawlers. In an alternate WW2-era world, war only exists in the form of companies fighting each other professionally. War is needed in the human psyche, so these companies use Kildren: genetically modified, ageless children to fight in prop-driven planes.
The flight sequences and backgrounds are incredible. They manage to evoke a timeless and lonely world set back in an almost mythical past. The plot is a very slow burn at start, but towards the end becomes very chilling: this Oshii film is more like Jin-Roh rather than Ghost in the Shell. There could also be more action and information given, but I enjoyed the film very much. I don’t think any film has managed to make agelessness so terrifying, and war so pointless.
I’ll be resuming the TTC tomorrow since I have more free time.