Book of the Week: Trickster’s Choice

Welcome ot my newly weekly segment. Now, drugs normally I’m going to be posting this around Thursday, ed Friday or Saturday to keep it nicely spaced out from the Tuesday Three. For now, approved the first one will be posted today because I’m sick in bed and I need something to do besides watching Once Upon a Time reruns.

So now, I will introduce you to the new weekly blog: Book of the Week. Each week I will review a book for you. It may be a book that I’ve already read in the past, it may be a new book, it may be a book I absolutely hated. Eitehr way, I’m sharing a book with you guys :D I also asked my good friend, Jackie, the awesome nerd-writer over at seekingbazinga.com, to help contribute to this.

For the first week, I decided to do one of my favorite books of all time. This book is both popular and overlooked at the same time.

Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce

Book One of The Trickster Series by Tamora Pierce

Tamora’s Series (in Order)

The Song of the Lioness (Alanna)
The Immortals (Daine)
The Protector of the Small (Keladry)
The Trickster Series (Aly)

The Plot:

This is the first book of Tamora’s fourth series in the Tortall world. Now, it IS helpful if you read the series in order. But it doesn’t ruin the experience. The first Tortall book I picked up was this one. Tortall is a fictional land where there are kings and queens, knights and mages, magical creatures and all sorts of fun and awesome stuff.

Now, Alianne of Pirates Swoop is the daughter of the King’s Champion (who also happens to be the first female knight in over 100 years) and the King’s Spymaster. Her brother, Thom, is learning to be a mage at the palace university and her twin brother, Alan, is being trained to be a Knight of the realm. Aly is sixteen years old, an adult, and has yet to find her way in the world.

However, she knows exactly what she wants to do: she wants to be a spy. Trained at her father’s knee, she is clever and knows the way of a spy world. Of course, she is a well-bred, noble girl and that is out of the question. After getting into an argument with her mother about her future, she does what any other normal sixteen year old would do: she takes her ship out to sea, to go on a nice little sail until her mother leaves again.

Her ship is soon attacked and boarded by pirates and she is sold into slavery in the nearby Copper Isles. Ever the clever girl, she makes herself as ugly as possible in the slave pens to deter anyone buying her as a bed warmer. Instead she is given to the Balitang family, a rich noble family in the heart of the Copper Isles kingdom. She begins to learn the history of the country: how it was once called the Kyprish Isles and was ruled by the brown-skinned raka people…that is until the white luarins from the nearby countries invaded and took over.

It doesn’t take long for Aly to get swept up in a secret, underground rebellion involving the raka slaves and servants of the Balitang house, a trickster god by the name of Kyprioth and the two eldest daughters of the family, Saraiyu and Dovesary, who are both luarin and raka, and have royal blood in each line.

The Good or the Bad:

Obviously since this is one of my favorite books in the entire world, it is definitely good. There are several reasons for this.

Tamora Pierce is amazing at writing fantastic strong female characters. And I love strong female characters (see: Joss Whedon). Aly is only sixteen-years-old and gets sold into slavery in a foreign country, a country which is hostile toward her own. Despite all of this, she’s insanely clever and smart. She fits herself in so well, and gets information without seeming like she is getting information. She forms a bond with the trickster god, Kyprioth, that is more like friendship than worship. Once she uncovers the rebellion going on in the house, she’s intrigued. She’s fighting her hardest to escape and make her way back home but the history of the country and the intricacy of the rebellion is almost like fun for her. Its a chance to finally use all the skills and intelligence she has.

As much as I love all the series of Tamora’s, I love this one the most. Yes, because it was the first series I read of hers, but also because I love how much more complex this story was. The ideas of slavery and invading another country and taking it as their own…these are not new ideas. These ideas are part of our own history. It seems like almost a little bit of a political statement on the part of Pierce. Its just another interesting way to read about slavery and conquering, from the conquered point of view.

There are also amazing characters in this book, besides just Aly. If anyone ever needed a lesson on character development, this is a person to go to. Every single one of her characters are individual and unique and written so well. There’s a character for everyone. All these characters are so round and believable, I can’t think of any of the characters that are flat. And the villians, the royal family of the Copper Isles, are so evil, in such a conniving, sneaky, slippery ways. You’re literally disgusted at the things they do, especially once you start reading the second book.

The best part? There’s romance (which I do love) but its not mushy or forced and roll-your-eye worthy. And  no love triangle. Aly feels something for her new friend, Nawat, but she is more concerned with her task at hand than love. She’s so focused and driven. LOVE it.

So I definitely recommend this book, to anyone. I would recommend it more to girls/women but I’ve heard of guys liking it as well. The link above is a direct link to its amazon page, where you can pick it up in paperback for under 10 dollars. I hope to hear from some of you that you’ve read it or that you plan to! Check out the Tuesday Three tomorrow and keep an eye out for my Comikaze blog coming soon!

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Being a Fan-Too Expensive?

I’m a fangirl. I think we’ve discussed this before but I am definitely a fangirl. I’m a nerd. I love fandoms.

And something that comes along with that is a desire to buy everything in sight from that fandom. I want all the Blu-rays, sale I want a kick ass cosplay outfit. I want phone covers, viagra order and posters, prop replicas and books, shirts and bags and stickers and toothbrushes and EVERYTHING.

But as years have gone by, as I’ve tried to collect everything in sight, I’ve realized something:

Being a fangirl is really expensive.

I mean, really expensive. I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of money on my wand and my Ravenclaw sweater. I’ve held off on buying the blu-rays of Doctor Who because of how expensive they are. I’ve paid money for limited edition this and limited edition that because I just *had* to have it.

And I do it because I love fandoms. I want the limited edition of whatever you’re selling me. Most of the time, things just are so cool that I have to have. I HAVE to.

Even if it means dipping into my already small wallet. The average wand replica for Harry Potter runs about 30 to 40 dollars. An iphone case? 40 dollars. A sonic screwdriver, with accompanying noises? About 35 dollars. A replica Hogwarts sweater and robe? You’re looking at about 40 and 180 dollars. Things start adding up fast and next thing you know, you’re looking at your credit card bill, feeling a little letdown.

Why am I bringing this up?

Well, two reasons: a recent boxed set release from my Warner Bros. friend and a soon to be released boxed set. Both of them? Ridiculously over the top, insane expensive.

Last weekend, Warner Bros. released the long awaited 8 movie box set of the epic movie series, Harry Potter. Topping out at 350 dollars for 31 discs, it was a crazy release.

And to answer your question, no I did not buy this set.

Sure, this looks like a really aweome set. It literally has 31 discs! That’s crazy. There’s a DVD of each movie, a Blu-Ray of each movie and even the 3D version of the last two. There are 12 discs all for bonus features. It comes in this awesome box, with all these maps and even a replica Horcrux. And yes, I totally want it.

There are two things holding me back. One, it only has the extended editions of the first two movies (but that’s a whole ‘nother story). And two, did I mention the fact that it is 350 dollars? Its astronomical….especially for a college student who gets paid about that same amount in an entire month.

As for the other box set, damn, I want this one even more. It’s great. its the expanded version of the Harry Potter Wizardry Collection. This includes: five books that relate to the film making process of the Harry Potter films, a cloth-bound copy of Harry Potter: Page to Screen (I have the normal one…), AND a prop replica of the Monster Book of Monsters. This is pretty badass, I’m not going to lie. There are only going to be 3,000 copies worldwide which makes it super limited and they’re going to be numbered.

AS of right now, its only listed on Amazon UK, and its listed at 552 pounds…or about 880 U.S. Dollars. My eyes literally popped out of my head when I was that. I definitely don’t have the money for that. Who does have the money for something like that? It’s just insane, or as Harry Potter news gurus, Mugglenet, said, “Harry potter and the Astronomically Priced Box Set”. This is a nice thing to dream about but I highly doubt that owning this box set is in my future.

Things like this…it almost makes me feel like these companies are taking advantage of our love and devotion to these fandoms. I love Harry Potter, I love Star Wars and Doctor Who and so on and I want to keep them all alive for as long as I possibly can. I want to show my love and appreciate for them and for what they’ve done for me. But I don’t like being taken advantage of. Just because I am willing to buy everything Harry Potter in sight and wait in lines for releases doesn’t mean that I am willing to drop an insane amount of cash on something just because its limited edition. I’ve already spent a ton on movies, and I’m starting to buy TV seasons, I’ve spent money on clothes for cosplay, I’ve spent money on posters…I’ve spent money on tattoos! But sometimes, I have to draw the line.

What do you guys think? How much is too much? When is it an awesome new release and when is it just a release to make more money? How much have you emptied your wallet as a fan? As always, share in the comments.

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Update: at time of post, Amazon UK had this box set up on its website. As of now, it is no longer up there. Was the price so astronomical they had to take it down so they could really beef up the excitement for it? Or does this box set even exist? Time will only tell…

The Tuesday Three

As I spend most of my days lately burning to a crisp from the still lingering hot weather here in Southern California, drug I sit in my room, thumb full of wonderful air conditioned air, ready to bring you the Tuesday Three.

1. Dinosaurs on a Spaceship

I could listen to Matt Smith saying “I know! Dinosaurs…on a spaceship!” about a hundred times. I loved this episode. This one seemed more fun than the season opener. While Asylum of the Daleks had more serious things going on, this one seemed more playful, bringing back that awesome fun that we’ve been missing for so long. I adored Mark Williams as Brian Williams, Rory’s dad. He just kind of went with things and did his part and it was fantastic. I always love when there are other companions there (except River Song, ugh). Queen Nefertiti and John Riddell (apparently an English explorer…Doctor Who teaches history!) were awesome characters. Nefertiti was sassy as hell and Rupert Graves, from Sherlock, was hilarious as Riddell. This was a definite change from the previous episode, where serious stuff was going down. This was fun and playful and I liked it. True, there was seriousness in it. First off, it kind of called in the question of killing creatures, and the circumstances with that. Then there was the fact that Amy and Rory aren’t staying with the Doctor anymore. Matt Smith looked so heartbroken. I feel like Amy and Rory leaving is going to suck really bad. Bring out the tissues.

2. Comikaze Expo

So this weekend is Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo, a smaller con but a supposed really fun one. I’ve been trying more and more to go to more cons. For one thing, man, they are so much fun! I am surrounded by people just like me and I finally feel like I fit in. And there’s stuff everywhere that just makes me have nerdgasm after nerdgasm. There’s always super fun panels and cool people to meet and…the best part, really awesome cool stuff to BUY! My wallet always gets into trouble on cons. I’m really excited for this one though because its the first time I will be cosplaying in something other than just my standard Ravenclaw outfit. No, this time around, I’m cosplaying as the 11th Doctor from Doctor Who and I am SO excited about it. Its going to be a little different; I wanted to do a girl version of it: a brown cardigan instead of the blazer, a skirt instead of pants, etc. We’ll see how it goes. I feel like its going to be exciting! I will definitely post pictures!

3. NerdsForObama

Now, I’m gonna get a little political. But only for a second, I promise. Someone sent this picture to me a few days ago and I was SO into it. Its amazing! So I decided to check out where this came from and I came across the site, NerdsForObama. Its fantastic. Without getting too political, I think Obama has been a good and fair president, and I think that we need to give him more time to get this country back in order and to guarantee the things that we deserve (healthcare, gay marriage, etc). I think that there are tons of nerds out there that support this because the fandoms that we are apart of all teach us to be tolerant and accepting. So finding this website (which literally has fandoms from Harry Potter to Firefly, Doctor Who to Game of Thrones) was really awesome. Its a real way to get involved and to encourage those who aren’t involved to get involved. I would support a “Ravenclaws for Obama” button anytime.

Stay tuned in. I have a couple blog posts coming up VERY soon. I’ll do a post for Comikaze definitely, I have a couple annoucements to make in the next few days and I am definitely starting another little weekly blog post, with my good friend Jackie. So don’t go anywhere, plenty more coming whatanerdgirlsays!

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The Tuesday Three

Hello, viagra everyone! Hope that your week is going okay so far. For you U.S. nerds out there, nurse the week is just starting as we just had a three day weekend. I hope everyone had a good weekend and was SAFE! I’m big on the safety :D

I had myself a pretty good weekend, troche spent some time with the boyfriend and the family, watched some Doctor Who (check out the last blog post for my review of the season premiere!), went to the beach, etc.

But now it’s that time of week again! Time for the Tuesday Three…the three things on my mind in the nerd world tomorrow.

1. The Powerpuff Girls…Mystery?

I’m a huge fan of the site 9gag and I stumbled upon this little picture today. I LOVE the Powerpuff Girls. I think I’ve mentioned plenty of times previously in my blog posts, but I just LOVE girls who kick ass…especially these ones. Sugar, spice and everything nice…with a little bit of chemical X mixed in. Buttercup, Blossom and Bubbles were some of my favorite cartoon characters growing up…especially since I had two sisters and we liked to pretend to be them. Plus their episodes often times had cool little history and pop culture references in them. Great show. So seeing this poster made me get all fan girl crazy. I’ve searched google and bing and I’ve scoured messages boards and I just can’t seem to find anything about this. But I’m not giving up quite yet. I gotta figure out what this mysterious poster means. It could mean the return of the show to Cartoon Network (which would be cool, because I miss watching that show) or it could be new stuff…and you can’t go wrong with new Powerpuff Girl episodes. Only time, and much internet trolling, will tell.

2. 10 Unbelievable HP Fan Moments…

Well, according to Hypable anyway…Now some of these crazy fan moments are pretty crazy and unbelievable. The guy who actually changed his name to Lucius and calls his home Malfoy Manor and wants to adopt Tom Felton? That’s not fandom, that’s just plain crazy. The craziness at The Wizarding World opening was overwhelming…though when the Los Angeles counterpart opens, you better believe that I’ll be camping out. But the others? Not really unbelievable…but maybe that’s because I’m part of this awesome Harry Potter fandom. Harry Potter tattoos? Check…I have four. Anger at the Half Blood Prince postponement? Check! Oh man, that ruined my LIFE. Owning everything Harry Potter in sight? Check. Playing real quidditch? Check. Wizard rock? Check. Fan made music videos? Check. Fan fiction? Check. A Very Potter Musical/Sequel? Check, check. These aren’t unbelievable, Hypable…this is just my life.

3. Harry Potter Pub Quiz

Tomorrow, I’ll be heading out to a pub near the beach with a few of my friends to take part in a Harry Potter pub trivia night. I’m really excited about this because I’ve never done it before. I’ve done trivia contests with my meetup group, the Los Angeles Dumbledore’s Army, and I’ve won most of them (Hey, I’ve read these books a million times!) but I’ve never done an official trivia thing. I’m both supremely confident and super nervous at the same time. I know these books backwards and forwards. I know the movies like I’ve lived them. I even know a lot of the obscure out of books information that J.K.R. has released and said over the years. I know my stuff. But I’m a little nervous because I don’t have Beedle or Quidditch Through the Ages or Fantastic Beasts memorized. I know, not that big of a deal but still. I want to win! I want to prove I’m an ace when it comes to Potter.

So that’s the Tuesday Three everyone. I’ll keep you updated on anything that I learn about this mysterious Powerpuff Girls poster and I’ll definitely let you know how the trivia night goes. Hope you all have a fantastic week and keep things nerdy, always!

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So I’m thinking of making whatanerdgirlsays stickers. I’m heading out to a few conventions this year: Comikaze, Long Beach Comic Con, Gallifrey, Anime Expo, hopefully San Diego Comic Con and I really want to get the word out on this blog. I’m thinking of getting stickers, simple ones with just my website on it to hand out. Any ideas out there, or any suggestions on where to get these done? Thanks!

Doctor Who Returns

So it’s finally happened. After what feels like a million years, health Doctor Who has finally returned. My boyfriend and I sat down to watch series 5 and 6, salve baked some Doctor Who cupcakes (where I failed miserably at spelling ‘doctor’) and enjoyed the first episode of series 7.

I’m going to warn you right now. If you haven’t watched the first episode, sale Asylum of the Daleks, yet and you’d really like to enjoy the awesomeness of it without any spoilers, stop now. Seriously. Stop. The next few paragraphs are going to be waaaaaaaaay spoiler filled.

All right, you’ve been warned. Turn back now.

Asylum of the Daleks was FANTASTIC. It was such a great way to bring back this series. It starts with the Doctor meeting up with someone mysterious, someone who needs to the Doctor to fetch someone from the Daleks, then he is kidnapped. Then we meet up with the ever so gorgeous Amy Pond, signing her divorce papers with the adorable Rory Williams. Cue massive disappointment on my part. The Ponds are quickly kidnapped as well. They end up in the Parliament of the Daleks, where obviously things are going to go down. This is the Daleks we’re talking about, the Doctor’s oldest and longest enemies. In a completely surprising move, the Daleks need the Doctor’s help to help destroy the place called, you guessed it, the Aslyum of the Daleks, where the worst of the Daleks (what could possibly be worse than normal Daleks) are sent.

Now when I first started watching, I was pretty bummed about Amy and Rory. I love them both dearly. I have a crush on both Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill (Darvill will be at the Gallifrey convention in February in Los Angeles, can’t wait!) and they’re awesome companions. I’m stoked that they got back together at the end of the episode, even though it was extremely cheesy and super obvious way.

I liked the Daleks. Some people don’t like the Daleks. Some people wish the Daleks would go away. Some think that they’re an overplayed villian. And the fact is, they are definitely the most used and the most common enemy in Doctor Who. But you gotta love them. To me, it doesn’t get old. Even though the Daleks look like little salt and pepper shakers, they’re badass and evil and they just want to kill things. And I was surprised that in this episode, the Daleks are asking the Doctor for help. What a turn of events! The Doctor is practically knocked off his feet in surprise.

But one of the best parts of the episode, easily, is the surprise appearance by one Miss Jenna-Louise Coleman, who will be replacing Amy and Rory as the next new companion to the Doctor. As far as I know, and as far as most people know, Jenna’s character will be named Clara. The character she plays in this episode? Not Clara. She is known as Oswin Oswald (what the hell kind of name is that?!) and she assists the Doctor, Amy and Rory in taking down the force field around the asylum and escaping the seemingly unescapble wrath of the Daleks.

In the end, the aslyum is blown up, Oswin along with it. Oswin, it turns out, has become a Dalek, without even realizing it. And the best part? She erases all memory of the Doctor from the Daleks…all of them. It was fantastic to hear all the Daleks freaking out asking over and over “Doctor Who? Doctor who?” and even better to watch the Doctor spinning around his Tardis, gleefully saying “Doctor who?” Brilliant.

Now, so far, I really like Jenna. She’s cute and quick and super funny. Her banter with the Doctor, and even Rory, is super hilarious. She has a wit and a charm and that sort of silly, quirkiness that the Doctor has. Her jokes about calling Rory “Nina” after the first person she had a crush on (“I was going through a phase”) is hilarious. While most people around the Doctor and his insane world seem to be confused and running around (there’s a lot of running in Doctor Who), Oswin seems to be holding her own, laughing, baking horrible souffles and having an amount of calmness and silliness while helping them. It almost seems like she has found her equal, someone who can play the same games.

The thing that is kind of confusing is…her name is Oswin. I know that Karen Gillan (Amy Pond) and Freema Agyeman (Martha Jones) both made appearances in Doctor Who before they became actual companions. However, their characters were small and unoticeable and in no way linked to the companions that they would become. Oswin was a pretty big character, a huge one, in fact, so its going to be interesting to see how they sort of work that angle. She died in the blast that obliterates the asylum, and she is supposed to appear as the new companion, Clara, in episode six, after the Ponds take their leaves in episode five, ‘The Angels take Manhattan’.

Either way, this was a great opening to series 7 and a fantastic way to get the ball rolling. The appearance of Jenna-Louise and her character Oswin was enough to get any Whovian thinking. The presses, the messages boards, Facebook and Twitter have been all aflutter about it, wondering how she’s going to come back and what this season has in store for us.

I, for one, can’t wait. I’m already looking forward to next Saturday, in which our favorites come back in “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship”. Some familiar faces will be appearing in this episode, or they will be familiar if you’re a fangirl/nerd like me. Mark Williams, a.k.a. Mr. Arthur Weasley from the Harry Potter films, will be appearing as Rory’s father. Rupert Graves, from Sherlock, will be in the episode as an explorer and David Bradley, more famously known for playing Filch in Harry Potter but also other roles in Game of Thrones and Captain America, will be starring as Solomon. And did I mention there are going to be dinosaurs on a spaceship? DINOSAURS! ON A SPACESHIP!

This is going to be epic.

So stayed tuned in, tomorrow I’ll have my Tuesday Three and next week I’ll be happy to share my thoughts on the next episode of Doctor Who.

For those of you who watched, what did you think? As always, leave it the comments.

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