WFTM Episode 25.2: Sword Fights & The Not-So-Good Dino

Leslie and Fernando return to talk television and movies. Was The Good Dinosaur any good? Is Into the Badlands bad? Did season 2 of The Leftovers make Leslie want to lie on the couch and die like the first season did? And exactly how ridiculous was The Flash/Arrow crossover last week? All these questions are answered along with some more Star Wars talk, new development news and the latest Marvel MCU rumors.

Download it from the iTunes store here!

We’re now on Stitcher as well!! If Stitcher is your chosen app of podcasting choice, listen to the Working for the Mandroid podcast here

So what’s in Episode 25.2?

Where we just talk about television and movies!

News:

Joe Hill’s Nos4a2 getting developed by AMC

People already in line for Star Wars: Force Awakens

Marvel Netflix Characters Probably Won’t Be in MCU Because It’s Too Complicated?

What We’re Watching:

The Good Dinosaur

Into the Badlands

The Leftovers

Arrow/Flash crossover extravaganza!

Our Favorite Thing We Watched This Week:

Fernando: The Leftovers

Leslie: Into the Badlands


Follow us on Twitter @WorkforMandroid and @fernborrego

Email your questions, concerns, thoughts and comments to WorkingfortheMandroid@gmail.com


Intro & Outro Music is “Robot Army” by Quiet Music for Tiny Robots, provided via freemusicarchive.org through a Creative Commons License

 

WFTM Podcast Episode 25.1: Adult Faerie Tales & Terrible Black Widows

Leslie & Fernando return to talk books and comic news, including the release of Black Panther concept art, what President Obama bought on Small Business Saturday, and where you can read a free horror comic online. We also discuss Naomi Novak’s Uprooted, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel and the new YA novel appearance of Black Widow, Forever Red by Margaret Stohl.

Download it from the iTunes store here!

Review: Last Song Before Night by Ilana C Myer

Note from the Blogger: I've been lacking motivation lately, so if you'd like to hear more book reviews sooner, check out the WFTM podcast. Any episode ending with a .1 is all about books and comic books. I'm hoping to get back into the swing of writing more reviews regularly, but until I bust out of this obnoxious depression, it might be scattered at best.

Last Song Before Night
Ilana C Myer

Tor Books
I received a copy from the publisher in return for an honest review.
Published September 29, 2015
416 pages
High Fantasy / Magic

Find it on Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indie Bound

Long ago, poets were Seers with access to powerful magic. Following a cataclysmic battle, the enchantments of Eivar were lost–now a song is only words and music, and no more. But when a dark power threatens the land, poets who thought only to gain fame for their songs face a task much greater: to restore the lost enchantments to the world. And the road to the Otherworld, where the enchantments reside, will imperil their lives and test the deepest desires of their hearts.

I have been kind of an epic failure at life lately. Nothing really excites me and I have no attention span or energy to write reviews of the books I have managed to muddle my way through. I fear that this gray lethargy might have colored most of what I’ve read in the last two months. With this knowledge available, please read my review of Ilana C. Myer’s Last Song Before Night with a large “Your Mileage May Vary” warning on top.

Last Song Before Night should have been a bright spot in my otherwise dull interpretation of life right now. It features magicians that weave their magic through song, so much of the writing has more of a lyrical bent to it. The chosen one is a female with untapped potential. It all takes place in some vaguely Edwardian age with the type of giant festivals I believe only take place in fantasy settings. I should have enjoyed Last Song Before Night, but I found that I was dragging myself through the pages, rarely ever captivated by the story it was telling.

Lin ran away from her abusive brother after her mother’s passing, and has been living as traveling Poet for the last year. She traded the life of a noblewoman for freedom and an escape from the cruelty of her family. She arrives with her partner in the capital to compete in a musical competition where the winner is chosen to serve at court. During the lead up to the festivities, she crosses paths with an infamous wizard who has returned from years abroad with a dire warning that also happens to be treasonous. This sets Lin on the path to rediscover the secrets that have kept true magic buried in their land for the last 100 years.

There are a half dozen other characters introduced, including the roguish Darien, who charms away the rich Rianna from her life of comfort with the geeky Ned; Darien’s musical partner, Rayen, who carries around such hatred and jealousy that he doesn’t care whose world he tears apart as long as he gets what he wants; and Marilla, Rayen’s former prostitute girlfriend, who likes toying with the men in her life to get the pleasure she desires from their pain. Meanwhile signs of a blood magic-induced plague are causing everyone to become a little on edge.

This is a high fantasy in the sense that there is an epic journey with all the long bouts of walking one would expect. For the most part, the world building is solid and all the characters have filled in back stories to explain their hurts and motivations. None of these things were where I had a problem.

I had trouble with Gandalf-light, the infamous wizard that swoops into a party, delivers an ominous message via a treasonous song, and then gets Lin wrapped up in an epic quest to return magic to the Poets and stop the Court Poet from destroying the entire country. Mr. Gandalf-light (they called this character by several different names, none of which I can remind at this moment in time) never mentions that the Court Wizard is evil and attempting to bring back an insanely deadly plague. He gives no guidance on how Lin can achieve the goal of her quest. He just says “go do this thing, you have magics and are the chosen one” and she goes off and does this thing. He then pops up on occasion to give reassurances that she can accomplish this task, but stays safely out of the way only to pop up at the end and becomes the reason the thing is accomplished. Not once does he ever explain why Lin has to go on this deadly adventure instead of him, though he’s apparently the most powerful Poet in the land with influence over other versions of magic that don’t exist in Lin’s country. He never clearly explains why her or why now or provides much useful information at all. Instead he would just pop in periodically and I would get frustrated why this character even had to exist at all. He was a useless mentor figure that really needed to serve another purpose.

Or I’m just in the throes of a pretty grey depression and all the walking and intricate mythology couldn’t break through. I had some fairly visceral reactions towards the conclusion of the book, but I had difficulty getting into the atmospheric writing and world building. By the time it felt like anything was ever going to actually happen, I was a bit done with the whole thing mentally. The characters are interesting, though there might be a few too many of them given a main focus (I’m still not sure the purpose of the Riana, Ned, Marialla, Rayen, and Darien trapezoid). I liked that they all had their own pains and scars to drive them (with the exception of Gandalf-light),

The writing itself was fluid and captivating enough to drive me along despite my general disinterest in the plot. Perhaps I would have enjoyed this story more had I been in a better state of mind, but some of the things that dug at my brain a little too much would have probably bothered me still. This is an interesting standalone that seemed to cram to many aspects into a book that never quite came together for me. The writing is lovely, but I wish I could have loved it more.

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher because I was on the blog tour. All thoughts are my own.

WFTM Podcast Episode 18.1: Robots Hate Their Boss, Too

Robots! So many robots! This week Leslie and Fernando discuss some of the short stories from Robot Uprisings along with Last Song Before Night, a potential sequel to the original Civil War comic event, Locke & Key becoming a free audio play, Patrick Rothfuss’ Lionsgate deal, and another bizarre project from Mark Z Danielewski.

Download it from the iTunes store here!

We’re now on Stitcher as well!! If Stitcher is your chosen app of podcasting choice, listen to the Working for the Mandroid podcast here

So what’s in Episode 18.1?

Where we just talk about books and comics!

News:

Locke and Key has been turned into a radio showand it’s currently FREE!

Patrick Rothfuss signs deal to turn The Kingkiller Chronicles into a Movie, a TV Show and a video game

Mark Z Danielewski’s The Familiar - a 12 part serialize book, part 2 comes out on October 27 (read a review of part 1 on NPR here)

New Civil War comic event in Spring 2016?

What We’re Reading:

Robot Uprising edited by Daniel H Wilson

·         Complex God by Scott Sigler

·         Cycles by Charles Wu

·         Lullaby by Anna North

·         Eighty Miles an Hour all the Way to Paradise by Genevieve Valentine

Last Song Before Night by Ilana C. Meyer

What We’re Reading This Week:

Fernando: Robot Uprisings

Leslie: Uprooted by Naomi Novak and Robot Uprisings

Follow us on Twitter @WorkforMandroid and @fernborrego

Email your questions, concerns, thoughts and comments to WorkingfortheMandroid@gmail.com


Intro & Outro Music is “Robot Army” by Quiet Music for Tiny Robots, provided via freemusicarchive.org through a Creative Commons License

 

Author Blog Tour: Last Song Before Night by Ilana C Myer

Welcome to the Working for the Mandroid stop on Ilana C Myer's blog tour for her debut novel, Last Song Before Night! We are so happy to be part of this tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. I'm about midway through the book and it's a beautiful and captivating world of song and magic along with some creepy mystery and really well formed characters. I'll have a review for you in a few days, but in the meantime learn more about Last Song Before Night and Ilana before entering to win one of three hard cover copies from Tor!

Last Song Before Night
Ilana C Myer

TOR
Releases September 29, 2015
416 pages
High Fantasy | Magic

Find it on Goodreads

AMAZONB&NiBOOKS | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY | INDIEBOUND | MACMILLAN

A high fantasy following a young woman’s defiance of her culture as she undertakes a dangerous quest to restore her world’s lost magic

Her name was Kimbralin Amaristoth: sister to a cruel brother, daughter of a hateful family. But that name she has forsworn, and now she is simply Lin, a musician and lyricist of uncommon ability in a land where women are forbidden to answer such callings—a fugitive who must conceal her identity or risk imprisonment and even death.

On the eve of a great festival, Lin learns that an ancient scourge has returned to the land of Eivar, a pandemic both deadly and unnatural. Its resurgence brings with it the memory of an apocalypse that transformed half a continent. Long ago, magic was everywhere, rising from artistic expression—from song, from verse, from stories. But in Eivar, where poets once wove enchantments from their words and harps, the power was lost. Forbidden experiments in blood divination unleashed the plague that is remembered as the Red Death, killing thousands before it was stopped, and Eivar’s connection to the Otherworld from which all enchantment flowed, broken.

The Red Death’s return can mean only one thing: someone is spilling innocent blood in order to master dark magic. Now poets who thought only to gain fame for their songs face a challenge much greater: galvanized by Valanir Ocune, greatest Seer of the age, Lin and several others set out to reclaim their legacy and reopen the way to the Otherworld—a quest that will test their deepest desires, imperil their lives, and decide the future.

 

About Ilana C. Myer

Ilana C. Myer has written for the Globe and Mail, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Salon, and the Huffington Post. Previously she was a freelance journalist in Jerusalem for the Jerusalem Post, the Jewish Daily Forward, Time Out Israel and other publications. She lives in New York City.

Ilana was born in New York but grew up in Jerusalem, Israel, where she spent her teen years haunting secondhand bookstores in search of books written in English—especially fantasy. It was in one of these shops that she discovered David Eddings and realized that epic fantasy continued after Tolkien, and from there went on to make such marvelous discoveries as Tad Williams, Robin Hobb, and Guy Gavriel Kay.

Since learning to read, Ilana had decided she would write books, but during college in New York City was confronted with the reality of making rent, and worked as a receptionist, administrative assistant, and executive assistant where she on occasion picked up dry cleaning. She afterwards found more fulfillment as a journalist in Jerusalem where she covered social issues, the arts, and innovations in technology, and co-founded the Middle East environment blog, Green Prophet. It was during these years in Jerusalem, on stolen time, that Last Song Before Night took shape.

She writes as Ilana Teitelbaum for various outlets, but decided early on—since the days of haunting bookstores, in fact—that “Teitelbaum” was too long for a book cover. “Myer” is a variation on the maiden name of her grandmother, whose family was exterminated in Germany. It is a family with a long history of writers, so it seems appropriate to give credit—or blame—where it’s due.

WEBSITE | BLOG | TWITTER | GOODREADS

 

Enter to Win a Copy of Last Song Before Night!

3 winners will receive a finished copy of LAST SONG BEFORE NIGHT. US Only.

Tour Schedule

Week One:

9/21/2015- Library of a Book Witch- Interview

9/22/2015- A Book and a LatteGuest Post

9/23/2015- A Trail of Books Left BehindReview

9/24/2015- Working for the MandroidPromotional Post (Future Review)

9/25/2015- Chasm of BooksInterview

 

Week Two:

9/28/2015- GalleywampusReview

9/29/2015- DanaSquare- Guest Post

9/30/2015- Fic GalReview

10/1/2015- The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan ClubInterview

10/2/2015- History from a Woman's PerspectiveReview

WFTM Podcast Episode 16: Riding in a R2-D2 Plane

In this week’s episode, Leslie and Fernando discuss changing the format of the podcast before reviewing all the things they’ve watched and the things that have been read, including the final volumes of Brian Azzarello’s run on Wonder Woman, the film version of The Scorch Trials, Doctor Who’s return, Typhoid Mary and much more.

Download it from the iTunes store here!

We’re now on Stitcher as well!! If Stitcher is your chosen app of podcasting choice, listen to the Working for the Mandroid podcast here

So what’s in Episode 16?

We’re changing the format of the show starting next week. Instead of one really long episode, there will be two more reasonably length episodes – one about books and comics at the first part of the week and a second about movies and television towards the end of the week. This way if you’re only interested in one subject or the other, you don’t have to search through an hour+ of us yammering to hear what you care about!

News:

Japanese Airline Debuts Star Wars Planes!

StarWarsplanes.jpg

The Martian Premieres on the International Space Station to Real Astronauts

What We’re Watching:

We finished season 1 of Empire

We grumble a bit about the first episode of season 9 of Doctor Who, “The Magician’s Apprentice”

Mix Feelings on Best Night Ever with Neil Patrick Harris

Was there anything surprising about the Emmy awards this year?

Should you see The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials?

What We’re Reading:

Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

Wonder Woman Volume 5: Flesh & Volume 6: Bones by Brian Azzarello & Cliff Chiang

Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

What We Predict For the Next Week:

Fernando: Still playing a lot of Madden and looking forward to television starting back up again. (Leslie predicts this is his prediction for the next few weeks)

Leslie: New shows! Also reading Uprooted by Naomi Novak and Last Song Before Night by Ilana C. Myer 

Follow us on Twitter @WorkforMandroid and @fernborrego

Email your questions, concerns, thoughts and comments to WorkingfortheMandroid@gmail.com


Intro & Outro Music is “Robot Army” by Quiet Music for Tiny Robots, provided via freemusicarchive.org through a Creative Commons License

 

Author Guest Post: Worldbuilding Magic University by Cecilia Tan

Working for the Mandroid is happy to welcome Cecilia Tan, author of the sexy fantasy Magic University series. The fourth and final book in the series, Poet and the Prophecy, just came out this past Tuesday. We're happy to welcome Cecilia to the blog to discuss the world building that went into the series as it comes to a conclusion. Take it away, Cecilia!

Back to School: Worldbuilding Magic University

by Cecilia Tan

Worldbuilding is fun, no doubt about it. I love creating magic systems and societies for my novels, and part of me hearkens back to my days as a teenage dungeonmaster, creating places and surprises for old Dungeons & Dragons campaigns. While writing the Magic University books, though, I had some interesting challenges in creating a magical college campus.

For one thing, I had to create the curriculum. What would the courses of study be at Veritas? In the books themselves I end up naming about a dozen departments, including alchemy, ritual arts, conjuration, and metaphysics. "Esoteric arts" is the name given to the study of sex magic because just calling it sex magic was too much for the founders of Harvard.

Yes, Harvard--my magical university is a part of Harvard, existing as a school within a school, with its own deans and degree programs. This meant my worldbuilding got to include a lot of funky facts about Harvard, like the fact that Lowell House rents out their dining hall to other houses (including magical ones) for parties and functions.

In fact I borrowed the Harvard house system to make four magical houses. Yes, that's also a direct nod to J.K .Rowling's Harry Potter series, but I also ended up with four because the "sorting" is done with tarot cards, and which suit you pull determines which house you end up in. Kyle draws the Ace of Swords which lands him in Gladius House. The fact that the sorting is basically random, despite each house having a "character," was also a commentary by me on the flaws of Hogwarts-style sorting based on personality traits. If you want, you can believe that a card draw is "fate," but really, it's just a one-in-four chance, ensuring even distribution over time.

I tried to be as consistent as possible within my magic system, but given that this is a university setting I left room for there to be debate about how certain parts of magic works, the same way scientists or economists or historians sit around and debate their subjects with each other. Also like with non-magical subjects, some classes require lab work, some tests, some term papers, and some subjects are easier than others.

Just like in any university, some of the degree programs have prerequisites or placement tests. To join the Department of Esoteric Arts, scholars have to prove they're bisexual, since ritual sex with partners of any gender might be required. At first Kyle isn't sure he can pass all of the tests to get into Esoteric Arts but it's really not a spoiler to tell you that he has what it takes to pass with flying colors. (In fact, he gets good at flying, too.) It is somewhat inconvenient when he has to practice to do his sex magic homework, though, and his roommate never goes out...

One of the subplots that runs through the books is that the departments of Applied Enchantment and Conjuration are being merged into one, something that happens in real-life universities around here (in the Boston area) all the time, wreaking havoc on the faculty and students. In the end Kyle may be able to save the world, but nothing can save the university administration from budget cuts!

The Poet & The Prophecy (Magic University #4)
Cecilia Tan

Ravenous Romance
Released September 22, 2015
318 pages

Find it on Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Kyle Wadsworth has mastered sex magic, dreamwalking, his bisexuality, and even poetry in his years at Veritas. But in this conclusion to the Magic University series of new adult paranormal fantasy romance, Kyle begins his senior year full of doubt. Will the dire ancient prophecy he has been studying come true if Kyle cannot find true love? The signs of the Burning Days seem to be everywhere—odd storms, earthquakes, and people losing their magic—and though Kyle has many loving friends and eager acquaintances, he has no true love in sight. The only person in Kyle's heart is Frost, and the last time they laid eyes on each other, it didn't end well.

Frost has a troubled past and deep secrets. Kyle begins to hope, though, when it appears he and Frost will be in a class together. A poetry class. Maybe Frost will start to thaw after all, though Kyle has a long way to go from nemesis to lover. If the prophecy speaks true, our hero will need love to keep the world, his friends, and himself from losing magic forever.

About the Author:

Cecilia Tan is "simply one of the most important writers, editors, and innovators in contemporary American erotic literature," according to Susie Bright. RT Magazine awarded her Career Achievement in Erotic Romance in 2015 and their prestigious Pioneer Award. Tan's BDSM romance novel Slow Surrender (Hachette/Forever, 2013) also won the RT Reviewers Choice Award in Erotic Romance and the Maggie Award for Excellence from the Georgia Romance Writers chapter of RWA. She lives in the Boston area with her lifelong partner corwin and three cats. 

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