The Avengers: A guide for what to watch before you see the movie!

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The Avengers is coming to theaters on May 4th, and is destined to be one of the biggest movies this year. As a Nerd, I’ve read Avengers comics for years  and have watched movies with Marvel characters since I was an annoying 3rd grader. I know not everyone grew up being a Nerd, and know next to nothing about superheroes. But never fear! I have compiled a list of the Marvel movies associated with the Avengers, and what order you need to watch the films in.

Now, let’s get started! 😀

Captain America: The First Avenger— Since Good Ole’ Cap is the leader of the team, you have to start here, no ifs ands or buts. Also, there are some nice goodies that have to do with the other characters. (Oh, and Iron Man’s Dad is a character. )

Iron Man— I AM IRON MAN!………..Okay, this character has nothing to do with Black Sabbath. This is the story of Billionaire weapons manufacturer Tony Stark, and how he becomes Iron Man. More goodies in this one. And appearance by a one eyed Samuel L. Jackson (That scene is after the credits.)

The Incredible Hulk— Now, you might remember a Hulk movie from 2001 directed by famed filmmaker Ang Lee. Now take a wire brush, cut open your head, and scrub your brain with soap until it hurts, then scream HULK SMASH PUNY DIRECTOR! Doesn’t that feel good getting that horrible movie out of your head? This movie thankfully retells an accurate version of the Hulk origin tale. Oh, and there are some nice Captain America references.

Iron Man 2— Since Iron Man did great at the box office, they had to make another movie! 🙂 This film introduces another Avenger. You’ll find out when you watch it. Like with Iron Man 1, wait to the end of the credits, and you’ll see something that belongs to yet another Avenger.

Thor— Thor the God of Thunder is introduced, along with the world of Asgard, and the beginning of Loki’s evil ways. This is a great tale of learning to be humble. Then, another Avenger makes an appearance, and wait for the credits to end to see a scene that is crucial to the plot in Avengers.

There you go! You are now ready to see The Avengers. See you at the theater! 🙂

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The Pirate King by R.A Salvatore REVIEW

NOTE: “The Pirate King” is the second book in the Transitions Trilogy by R.A Salvatore. The series takes place in the Forgotten Realms world called Faerun, and is about the Dark Elf Ranger Drizzt Do’Urden. If you have no idea who that is, I would read “The Crystal Shard”, then read the book before this one called “The Orc King”. Or read all the prior Drizzt books beforehand.

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Tie in fiction is not always crap. I can name a lot of really good fiction written in franchises like HALO, Star Wars, Dragonlance, etc.  The setting of The Pirate King is in Faerun, the setting for the Pen & Paper RPG Forgotten Realms.  If you are a gamer, you may have encountered Faerun in the famous Forgotten Realms computer game Baldur’s Gate.

The Pirate King is written by R.A Salvatore, and has to do with one of his creations known as the Dark Elf Ranger Drizzt. He’s not evil by any means. He is just a species of elf that’s black instead of having fair skin. In the books, he fights racism constantly, and always proves his worth. In all of fantasy, Drizzt is a perfect way to attack racism and bigotry.

This review would be a very boring read, if I chose to explain everything that has happened in the 30+ years Salvatore has been writing books about Drizzt. So, I won’t spoil the plot. 🙂

The plot starts with a bang, and then gets boring in the middle. When I was in the middle I was thinking of giving the book a very low score. Since I’m a fan of Salvatore, I kept reading the book. My mind was changed when I neared the last act of the tale. All the stuff I thought was useless became important to how the story was wrapped up. If you like politics, good vs. evil, magic, and of course Pirates, read a book by Salvatore.

The characters were written very well. All of them had very clear motivations for how they behaved. I not only loved the heroes, I also loved the villains (Kind of hard not to like Pirates.)

The writing was classic Salvatore. The action was described very well. Once in awhile though I wish I had room to imagine more during the fight scenes, rather than being told every single little move in a sword fight.  My favorite thing about the book was the witty dialogue between characters, and the epic magic duels between wizards.

Overall, I give the book 4 stars out of 5! If you haven’t read a Salvatore book, sooner is better than later.

Available in all popular eBook formats and in print.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins REVIEW

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Young adult fiction lately has been flooded by books about Vampires, Witches, Werewolves, and all sorts of paranormal subjects. They have also invaded movies that are for young adults. The Hunger Games is here to challenge that clichéd trend.

The Hunger Games  is in the genre of Science Fiction and Post-Apoocalyptic Fantasy. (So think Mad Max meets Death Race 2000 meets 1984.) That being said, it’s not for children below the age of 13.

The setting is a future North America where the nation that was once the United States are divided into 12 Districts ruled by an authoritative regime, al a 1984. And every year, as punishment for the past Civil War between the government and rebels, each District sends two kids, 12 and up, to fight to the death in the arena.

When Katniss Everdeen’s sister is chosen to go to the arena, she volunteers to take her younger siblings place.

That is all I’m going to spoil. 🙂

The plot moves at a very brisk place in the beginning, lags a little in the middle, then moves quickly at the end. The book has many twists you’ll never see until they happen. If you love twists in books, The Hunger Games is perfect.

When reading the book, I was reminded a lot of Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Having to survive in the arena wore down the participants, many went insane after having to fight tooth and nail, and kill. And the people watching the games, like the tribe of children of Flies , cheering as people were killed. And like Ralph in Flies, Katniss  fights to remain civilized.

Now, before I go on a long literary discussion, let’s look at the writing. Collins wrote the book in 1st Person POV, so the only viewpoint in the story you get is Katniss’s. I think 1st Person kind of limited the story. I wanted to get into the other character’s heads, and learn more about what makes them tick.

As for the use of language, Colllins shines. Imaginary drool dripped down my chin at the way she described food. The technology was described simply, like reading Farenheit 451 and Dune. The action scenes were fast and hard-hitting, just as action should be.

Overall, this is a very good book. I give The Hunger Games 4 out of 5 stars!

Available for Kindle, and in print.