pyrostinger: They say the eye is the window to the soul (Default)
PosterThis movie was... alright, I guess.  Eddie Murphy plays a high-powered, fast-talking agent whose life is silently falling apart around him.  When he goes to secure a book deal from new age guru, not only is the book woefully inadequate for mass production, but a mysterious tree shows up in his back yard, losing leaves for every single word he utters.  That being the most absurd part of the movie, I'll... well, I'll go into that later in a Microscope post.  Anyway, hilarity ensues as a man who's gotten by with shooting off words everywhere suddenly finds his most valued asset horribly restricted to the point where he can't even leave notes for people without leaves falling.  But he learns a valuable lesson, blah blah blah.  This story pretty much ends the way you think it does, so it spoils pretty much nothing saying that the agent learns his lesson, and at the eleventh hour the tree is reborn, and everybody lives happily ever after.

Honestly, the reason why I am writing this review is for this one aspect, a relatively throwaway scene in a wider movie that gets better only at the end.  See, Eddie Murphy's agent character has a dorky white assistant.  Now, as he wordlessly comes in to try and communicate something or other, said assistant suddenly breaks down and admits that he and a female coworker have been cavorting about in Eddie Murphy's office as animals.  Seeing the scene as a furry, I am massively disappointed as having furry be this guy's weird thing, mostly because Hollywood had decided to misrepresent the fandom. Again. 

Go see it if you want to; now that you can rent it for a buck twenty it sorta makes it worth it.  In my opinion, the movie only really gets good at the end when Eddie Murphy finds his epiphany and uses his last few words to repair his crumbling life in an almost beatific way.  Other than that and some scattered scenes that almost rescue the movie, it was mostly meh. 
pyrostinger: They say the eye is the window to the soul (Default)
Note: The copy of the novel was generously provided by the author. 

By Sword and Star
by Renee Carter Hall aka Poetigress

Published by
Anthro Dreams

Red Eye Reviews: By Sword and Star
by pyro wolf

As TV Tropes can no doubt attest, an original story in terms of all-new, never before seen content is pretty impossible. I remember hearing once that there were only seven distinct stories in the world, with every story being derived from one of those few. The trick, then, is to make it seem if not new, then told in an interesting, novel way. And I believe that Renee Carter Hall, also known in certain circles as Poetigress, achieves that.

The story isn't necessarily going to set the world on fire. Prince Tiran is a fairly archetypical wayward medieval prince, who prefers to hang out among the common folk and help out every now and again rather than attend his princely duties. He doesn't see eye-to-eye with his father the king, who thinks he shouldn't be associating himself with such rabble. His world is thrown for a loop when the mantle of kingship quite literally falls on his shoulders at his father's assassination due to the magic that exists in this world, and he has to hightail it as the usurpers come after him. Then, he has to gather himself an army and take back his father's kingdom, growing up along the way. Again, fairly standard.

However, Mrs. Hall ups the stakes a bit more by saying that if Tiran, a unicorn, does NOT assume his rightful place as ruler of all Asteria, then the whole kingdom will stop being farmers and princes and knights and go back to being feral, four-legged animals. In this, she neatly justifies using animal people (not that this necessarily needed it) as well as forces the young king to act quickly because the world as he knows it will end should he not.  

Along the way, there are a few subplots that she weaves into the narrative, though there's very little wasted space along the pages. To her credit, Mrs. Hall creates a very tight, entertaining story with plenty of endearing characters, along with a great excuse to explore this world of Asteria. And you do get to explore it: Tiran first escapes into a neighboring area of squirrels, then finds himself pushed to the outskirts to some plains inhabitied by Awakened but four-legged horses, and finally to a tribe of wolves before coming back home.  

If you're looking for something that you've never seen before, you may not like By Sword and Star. If, however, you are looking for a very well-put together, with action and comedy, along with a bit of romance, then you will enjoy the story as I did.
pyrostinger: They say the eye is the window to the soul (Default)
The Royal Tail coverYou may (or may not) remember A Royal Tail, a collaboration between writer Tredain and artist Zel (or DarkZel, but it's reasonable to expect that the "Dark" portion has been grown out of).  This comic series and other comic collabs has been bouncing around the furry mag scene, appearing in Genus Male a few times, then coming to Rabbit Valley's Spooo color special.  Now, Rabbit Valley granted the two an entire comic book they've called The Royal Tail, with thirty pages to tell the continuing story of the runaway rabbit prince Luka and Sirus, vagabond wolf warrior. 

Summing up the story in the Spooo color special, Sirus has rescued Luka from the clutches of an insectoid monster, otherwise known as a lot more adventure than the rabbit had planned for.  Luka was quite thankful for the save (brown chicken, brown cow).  The Royal Tail picks up here, with Luka being recognized though he's left the trappings of royalty behind.  A wizard, with nefarious designs involving Prince Luka the Pure, steals the prince away from Sirus, leaving the wolf to once again come to the rescue.  This story leaves an extra eight pages to fill, so a silly little story about rookie punishment (in space!) rounds out the magazine. 

The stories are rather simplistic and straightforward, and this is by no means an insult.  Rather, the story compliments the art, with Zel's whimsical anime-inspired style switching between chibis and detailed monster slaying.  There's comedy, there's humping, and the two blend very well together.  Fans of either Tredain or Zel should pick this up, and if you like a bit of comedic porn with a great story and fantastic artwork, then I would heartily recommend The Royal Tail. 
pyrostinger: They say the eye is the window to the soul (Default)
I think Kyell Gold dropped the ball a bit when he wrote Bridges, because there are bridges in almost every sense of the word except for an actual, physical bridge.  If you think about it, the bridges are everywhere.  The city is named Gateway, even!  And, of course, there's the bridge of Heyward, called Hey, the sultry, sexy fox who builds bridges between people using his own body.  The story's first three chapters detail his escapades in that respect, and really it's interesting how you get the three perspectives of it, from three very different characters.  Trust me when I say it gets quite steamy during the sexy bits, but by the third time I found myself drifting away from the heat and toward the differences between the scenes and the characters in them.  Because quite honestly, if you're going to relieve the same thing three times, there had better be some considerable differences between the scenes, and I think it was pulled off quite well. 

Even though the story only touches on his perspective for one chapter, it's quite clear that the story is about the flirty fox, as everything in there seems to revolve around his many, many connections.  Though I have to say, that's gotta be the hottest way to hook somebody up.  But as you get into the nitty-gritty of who Heyward is and why he does what he does, it is gratifying to see that somebody finally seems to care about the bridge itself, rather than the areas it connects.

If I must admit something against the story, it's the fact that the illustrations are a bit underwhelming... but that's probably because I'm spoiled by Blotch's stuff. 

But in short, if you're looking for a pretty hot story that is definitely about bridges, then go pick up Bridges.  Do it.  Now.

October 2013

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