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

 

Review: School for Sidekicks by Kelly McCullough

School for Sidekicks
Kelly McCullough

Feiwel & Friends
I received an ARC from the publisher
Released August 4, 2015
336 pages
YA / Superheroes / Fantasy

Find it on Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indie Bound

Being a hero isn't always what it's cracked up to be in this funny and genuine novel from adult fantasy author Kelly McCullough.
Evan Quick is a GIANT superhero geek who dreams of one day becoming a superhero himself. Every morning he checks to see if he's developed his powers overnight, and every day there's nothing. No flying, no super strength, no invulnerability—that always hurts to check—no telepathy, no magic. Not even the ability to turn off the alarm clock without smacking the switch.
But then Evan somehow manages to survive a supervillian's death ray, and is sent to the Academy for Metahuman Operatives. Unfortunately, his new school is not what he expected, and instead of fighting bad guys, Evan finds himself blacklisted, and on the wrong side of the school's director. If Evan ever wants to realize his dream, he must convince his "mentor" Foxman, a semi-retired has-been, to become a real hero once again.

School for Sidekicks is a strange little book, straddling the line between middle grade and YA. It’s much longer than the standard middle grade novel, but the protagonist just turned 13. It deals with friendships and parental relationships more than coming of age, but at the same time protagonist Evan Quick is far more rational and less emotional than someone his age usually is. It’s written for an older audience, but its characters and subject matters are more directed at a pre-teen audience. It’s a weird book that can’t quite figure out what it wants to be, which left me feeling more distracted by the book’s form than I really should have been.

School for Sidekicks is an interesting idea. Evan lives in an alternated version of our world, where a bomb went off in Minneapolis/St. Paul in 1988, resulting in thousands dead and even more discovering they suddenly have super powers. Slowly afterward superpowered individuals start appearing all over the world. By the time Evan is growing up in Minneapolis – now dubbed Heropolis – it’s been a generation since the explosion and superpowers are a big money making machine. The original heroes and villains are brand names with movie franchises, merchandising, even theme parks where their fans can worship their deeds and history. Evan desperately wants to join the elite group of powered people, but wakes up every morning to find that he’s just super boring.

Soon after his 13th birthday, he goes to Captain Commanding’s local theme park, where weird things start happening to him. A few weeks later, during a school field trip to the local Museum of Heroes, he finds himself trapped by Spartanicus, super villain extraordinaire and ultimate nemesis of Captain Commanding. A chain of events unfold unlike anything Evan could ever imagine and he suddenly finds himself waking from a coma at the School for Sidekicks. He’s surrounded by superpowered teenagers and a million questions that lead to conspiracy after conspiracy for him to unravel.

The world Kelly McCullough creates is really fun with superheroes and powerful villains being a bland part of everyday life. Evan is a capable and often enthusiastic narrator, though at other times his internal monologue can get a little annoying and repetitive. The other powered teens are difficult to tell apart with either generic or non-descript code names that often sound similar. A mean girl has no real motivation other than because it felt like there should be an antagonist at the school and her front never really develops into much.

The conspiracies and larger plot threads keep School for Sidekicks intriguing as Evan tries to figure the truth behind why villains don’t seem to stay locked up for long and how he can help make the world better. For a book titled after a school, there aren’t many boarding school shenanigans here and most class scenes are told in bits of dialogue that can often seem more intriguing than whatever thing Evan is internally moping about that causes him to not pay attention in class. I really wanted to learn more about what you learn in a class about turning dinnerware into weapons!

I’m not sure if this is the first book in a series, but the ultimate conflict at the end wrapped up very quickly considering how much buildup there was and it made the ending feel a bit more like things being checked off a list rather than a natural conclusion. Perhaps future books could shed some light on all the open ended questions Evan is left with while working in more consistent pacing throughout.

I think School for Sidekicks would be a very entertaining book for kids about the same age as narrator Evan with same types of interests. This would be a great wish fulfilment tale for a 13-year-old superhero obsessed boy, but outside of that narrow readership, this book feels like it’s missing something to tie everything together and make it all gel more completely. 

 

I received an advanced reader copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.

Review: I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest

I Am Princess X
Cherie Priest

Arthur A Levine Books
Released May 26, 2015
256 pages
YA / Comics / Thriller

Find it on Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indie Bound

Best friends, big fans, a mysterious webcomic, and a long-lost girl collide in this riveting novel, perfect for fans of both Cory Doctorow and Sarah Dessen; illustrated throughout with comics.

Once upon a time, two best friends created a princess together. Libby drew the pictures, May wrote the tales, and their heroine, Princess X, slayed all the dragons and scaled all the mountains their imaginations could conjure. 

Once upon a few years later, Libby was in the car with her mom, driving across the Ballard Bridge on a rainy night. When the car went over the side, Libby passed away, and Princess X died with her.

Once upon a now: May is sixteen and lonely, wandering the streets of Seattle, when she sees a sticker slapped in a corner window.

Princess X? 

When May looks around, she sees the Princess everywhere: Stickers. Patches. Graffiti. There's an entire underground culture, focused around a webcomic at IAmPrincessX.com. The more May explores the webcomic, the more she sees disturbing similarities between Libby's story and Princess X online. And that means that only one person could have started this phenomenon---her best friend, Libby, who lives.

There are some books that I have to file away in my head to share with my niece whenever she becomes of an appropriate age to enjoy them. Considering she just turned 3, I have a ways to wait before she’ll be ready for I Am Princess X, but I’m already so excited to share it with her. Cherie Priest’s first foray into YA is a fast-paced real world story that has an odd glimmering feel of fantasy in its use of a story within the story by way of a web comic. This is definitely a realistic/contemporary fiction story, but using a second story built around a fantasy realm made me keep forgetting this was more realism than swords and elves.

I Am Princess X follows May as she unravels the story behind the web comic Princess X. May developed the character of Princess X with her best friend Libby in fifth grade, but Libby died three years ago in a car wreck. So who started up a web comic with their Princess X character and why does it seem like it’s filled with clues that only May could decipher? Is Libby still alive? As May continues to read the web comic, she discovers clue after clue that leads her to believe that Libby is alive and in danger. After recruiting Trick, the computer genius that lives upstairs, she goes on a wild goose chase through Seattle to find out the truth about her missing best friend.

There is something altogether charming and addicting in I Am Princess X. Perhaps it’s the interspersed comic book pages in purple ink showing the adventures of Princess X trying to escape from the Needle Man or maybe it’s just how much friendship drives this story that made me love it so much. May never doubts that Libby is the writer of the comic and must be alive somewhere. She doesn’t consider the dangers of going into places she’s not meant to go or the potential dangers from a mysterious kidnapper. All she knows is that her best friend is in trouble and she must help. That friendship-conquers-everything mentality is something so rarely seen between two girls in the fiction that I read that it was so refreshing and filled me with such joy to read about it.

There are also no romances in I Am Princess X. The two male characters introduced are just platonic friends with no hints or under-pining of romance. This is all about May and Libby and their undying, unbeatable bond as friends. Whether that means running across Seattle, being chased by a deranged lunatic in an SUV or throwing oneself in front of a gun, May never got distracted from her main objective – finding and saving her friend.

I know I’m repeating myself, but it was such an addictive and unusual message that made me love I Am Princess X from the beginning to the end. The addition of the web comics pushed my adoration of this book over the top. I liked figuring out the hints and clues hidden within the comic’s dialogue and images alongside May. I always like when novels incorporate another medium or writing format into the greater novel. The art is pretty simple but filled with meaning and emotion.

I just really, really loved this book. Can you tell yet? I loved that May dad doesn’t dismiss her concerns and theories when she confesses she believes Libby is alive. I loved that the girl gets to be the hero and defend herself and her fight for what’s right. I just really loved this book and I hope that everyone else will love it too. It’s not a complicated book, but it’s full of heart and great messages for girls and women of all ages I think. It’s also a fun little conspiracy plot with a comic interwoven, so it’s really a win all around. I hope Cherie Priest writes more in the YA genre. It really works for her.

Random Tuesday: Wooden Superheroes, Bookish Food, Map of the Moon & More

Oh Random Tuesday, you show up so randomly that I never know when I will find you. After several weeks' absence we have returned to random things of randomness full of geekiness and bookishness for your random pleasure.

Amanda Visell creates wood dolls of different characters complete with accessories. I'm very fond of her version of Wonder Woman and really want an animated cartoon in this style. You can see her Wolverine later in the post. Both of these are unavailable for sale, but you can see what she does have for sale here.

When I'm not thinking about books, I'm probably thinking about food. This list from Bon Appetit of fictional restaurants that are now real combine my two favorite things.

Black Milk is going to debut another overly-priced line of superhero-inspired clothing next week. I'm a super geek, but I don't think I would be able to wear those caped superhero bathing suits out in public. (On FashionablyGeek.com)

If you click on this link, you may blink and find you've lost half an hour. Here is an interactive map of the moon that you can explore with a few clicks. (found via io9)

Even though there were fewer female-fronted films in 2013, they still managed to make more money on average than the male-fronted blockbusters. You'd think film studios would piece things together by now. (found via TheMarySue.com)

Charlie Jane Anderson ranked all the characters from Lost from most annoying to least annoying on Jezebel. #1 made me happy.

I shall eat ALL THE DARK CHOCOLATE! (found via io9)

That's what I have for this week's random Tuesday. Hopefully we'll return for more random things next week.

Review: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart
Brandon Sanderson

Delacorte
Released September 24, 2013
384 pages
YA / Fantasy / Superheroes

Find it on Goodreads

Order it from Amazon

There are no heroes.

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics.

But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills.

Nobody fights the Epics... nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart—the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father. For years, like the Reckoners, David's been studying, and planning—and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He's seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

I never had read anything by Brandon Sanderson before though I’d come across his name more times than I could count. He’s one of those authors that people assume I’ve read since I’m such a fan of YA fantasy. He gets showered with accolades and fan praise everywhere I look. So add in that his newest book involved superpowered humans, epic evil and an awesome cover, and I thought it was about time I finally dove into the greatest that was Brandon Sanderson’s fiction.

Sanderson is a really good writer with speedy pacing, vivid characters and the capability of making the fantastical seem probable. He’s also a very stylized writer, which is a great thing for anyone writing fantasy but it’s always hit or miss with a reader on if the “stylization” fits. Unfortunately a lot about Sanderson’s style just didn’t work for me. It started with the relabeling of Chicago to Newcago once it was a city of steel hundreds of feet into the ground and grew as the protagonist went on numerous pointless internal monologues that made me want to slap him in the face.

Read More

Random Tuesday: Comic Art, Bookish Things, Sandman & More

Oh Random Tuesday, you strike once again. What random things do you have for me today? Anyone want to take bets on how long I can hold out before a Benedict Cumberbatch gif shows up?

I should know by now that there is a Fyeah____ Tumblr for just about any subject and yet I was still surprised to find this one for my ultimate OTP - Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon. Yes, I'm a giant comic book Batman nerd. If you didn't know that, you must be new around here. 

And speaking of comics, I came across this fantastic piece of art by Tumblr user Jasric of a gender swapped Trinity and I want it for my wall. You can see other great pieces by Jasric on her DeviantArt page. She also does Supernatural art that is gorgeous (see later in this post).

From Huff Post, the 7 unconventional reasons why being a book addict is good for you

The Business Insider put together a map of the most famous book set in each state. I haven't brought myself to read any Cormac Mccarthy, so I haven't read the Texas one. Have you read the one for your state?

I stay pretty far away from all the Goodreads drama, but I was surprised to find this article about it on Slate.

If diving into the epic 10 volume Sandman series is a bit daunting to you, The Mary Sue came up with a list of 11 Sandman stories you can read and understand without spoiling the entire story

Here's one of the Supernatural pieces by Jasric. She sells prints of some of her pieces on Society6.

This seems appropriate with Halloween being Thursday - the 6 Best Psychopaths of Film and Books on Work In Progress

Speaking of Halloween, if you don't already have a costume prepared, io9 has some suggestions on how to create a last minute costume.

Noomi Rapace will be playing septuplets in a dystopian film called Whatever Happened to Monday? We'll see if she can match Tatiana Maslany's portrayal of clones in Orphan Black (which is amazing if you haven't seen it). (From TheMarySue.com)

And because you honestly didn't think I'd get through an entire Random Tuesday without him...

Trailer Park Friday: Captain America, Robot Bromance, the Doctors & Silly Supernatural

It's Friday, YAY! That means I get to sleep in tomorrow morning and read for two days straight! I'm going to be on my best behavior and not do an entire Trailer Park Friday post full of Benedict Cumberbatch interviews that I found during several hours of Youtubing earlier this week. Instead have some superheroes, some robots and some silly Supernatural boys.

First up is Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which doesn't come out until next April. I thought the first Cap movie was just all right, though I did end up enjoying it more than I had expected. The preview of the second one looks far superior even if it doesn't have Peggy Carter.

Along with bumping the start date to November 17, FOX put out a new trailer for Almost Human. This video may be under 2 minutes, but it has me thoroughly convinced that this may become my favorite show. Television needs more snarky robots.

BBC finally released a teaser trailer for the 50th Anniversary episode of Doctor Who though it doesn't show any footage and it looks like Matt Smith is wearing a terrible wig. Either way, it got my excited to see the episode on November 23.

And just because it's Friday and my hours of Youtube perusing this weekend kept bringing me back to it, have Jensen Ackles being silly. And then even more Supernatural silliness.

 

What videos have caught your eye this week? If you send me links to Cumberbatch videos, you are sending me down a black hole of life sucking propotions (but I will love you anyway).