Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Mortal Instruments

Despite the fancy series title, this trilogy (as of this writing, although a 4th installment is said to be in the pipeline) by Cassandra Clare reads nothing like our regular dark sci-fi/fantasy fare. Unless, we consider a gay warlock with a demon-slaying teenage boyfriend dark. Or the sexual tension between two attractive teenagers tortured with the knowledge that they could be long-lost siblings.

Homosexuality and incest are not themes that often find their way into the young adult genre. But most of this story happens in New York, and I can imagine that being the excuse for such themes to significantly figure here. Never mind that except for the boyfriend of the gay warlock, all the other protagonists are under 18, including the whip-wielding girl-warrior with a penchant for heeled boots who dated many a Downworlder.

What I liked about it? That it read like a protracted teen-magazine story is one. Very readable. No pretensions or aspirations for the National Book Award. Just good, old storytelling.

The sexy characters is another. They kick demon ass in black, figure-hugging elastic outfits. They wear skin art, but not tattoos. They're called runes, markings burnt onto the skin with an instrument called a steele to give the warrior power. They have weapons with angel names, with which they slay demons lurking in the shadowy corners of Brooklyn. They can do all these, but they're not even legal yet.

I love that the story is supposed to happen right at the heart of New York, the gray, cynical city of corporate headquarters, and the people they employ. I love how the fantasy elements are woven into the urban texture of New York life, almost like a juxtaposition.

What I didn't like about it? Let's just say that Clare, although she is said to have written Harry Potter fanfic, is no J.K. Rowling. I'll leave it at that.

Monday, March 22, 2010

I'm not anybody

That's why there's no reason for you to read this blog. There's nothing in here that can shake your world. If you're looking for something, please leave this page now because it's not here.

I attended Alf's Creative Non-Fiction workshop the weekend before last. From there I learned that unless you're somebody to anybody, nobody's really interested in your 'distilled realizations,' or your opinion of the shitty world we live in. No one.

Which is just perfect for me. Hence, I continue to write this blog. There is no attempt at coherence here, or even logic. So if I'm not anybody to you and you've read this far, geez, get a life!

I watched the whole Season 2 of 'The Big Bang Theory' over the weekend. Laughed a lot. Can't wait for Season 3. It'll end this May, so I expect I could torrent all the eps by June.

Currently reading three books:

1. 'The Amber Spyglass' (3rd in the 'His Dark Materials' trilogy) - I read this in bed because I find the plot a bit too uppity and somewhat subversive for the young adult genre. It throws around terms like 'experimental theology.' In short, it's pretentious, and helps me sleep.

2. 'City of Glass'(3rd in the 'Mortal Instruments' trilogy) - I read this when I get some slack time at work, or when I'm killing time at a coffee shop. Too adolescent actually. The protagonists are all under 18. But there's a lot of action and the language is simple and fast-paced. Plus there's a formulaic moody, bad-boy-in-a-sexy-way (albeit too young) hero. It tackles themes like homosexuality and incest--that's something new at least.

3. 'The Last Olympian' (5th in the 'Percy Jackson' series) - I love this 5-book series. The hero has ADHD and dyslexia, and this is fleshed out in his thought patterns, language and actions. As someone working with words, I find the language exquisite in its simplicity. There's humor and a lot wit. Very subtle but effective. Rick Riordan, please don't stop writing.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

All the wretchedness

My neighbors are having a party. I wasn't invited but they're generous enough to let me listen to them belting out 'vocally challenging' numbers. By that I mean the carotid-bursting, falsetto-heavy songs of Martin Nievera, Aegis, and Journey. They're throwing in the videoke classics--ABBA, BeeGees and Barry Manilow--to concoct the perfect formula for making my life hell. Not even the loud groaning of my AC can provide me adequate shelter from this auditory onslaught.

What did I ever do to you people?! Why do you do this to me?