Monday, November 29, 2021

REVIEW: A Case of Need (book) by Michael Crichton writing as Jeffery Hudson

A Case of Need is a medical thriller originally published in 1968. I checked my copy out from the library.


Dr. John Berry, a pathologist, is interrupted at work by a call from his wife: Dr. Arthur Lee, an obstetrician friend of theirs, is in jail. John goes to see him and finds out what happened. Karen Randall, the daughter of a wealthy family, was brought into a hospital by her mother after an illegal abortion, bleeding profusely. She died, and Karen's mother claimed that Dr. Lee had done the abortion. Although he tells John that he did indeed speak to Karen, he hadn't performed the abortion - in fact, he'd turned her away, telling her that, at four months, she was too far along and he couldn't do it. She'd seemed to accept this and left, but clearly she'd gone to someone else instead.

Unfortunately, Dr. Lee makes a good scapegoat. He's half Chinese, so racism is a factor, and it won't take much work to uncover that he does, in fact, perform abortions (and people like John and other doctors helped him hide it). It won't matter to anyone but John and Dr. Lee's wife that he didn't perform this particular abortion. John figures that if he doesn't try to find out the truth, no one will.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Hades (the game), revisted

I've been playing Hades a lot this past week, but on my Switch rather than on my computer. I can't decide which option is better or worse for my hands, but I've learned to put on compression gloves before even starting to play on the Switch. I seem to tense up more the deeper into the game I get.

On my PC, I was determined to avoid turning on God Mode until I'd at least managed to beat Meg. On my Switch, I turned on God Mode early, and I can't say I regret that decision. God Mode starts you off at 20% invulnerability to damage and adds 2% each time you die. From what I've read, it's capped at 80%. I am now at...70%. If I remember right, it took about 34% to beat Meg, 40% to get out of Asphodel, and at least 60% to make it out of Elysium. I have not yet beat the final boss, although I've come painfully close.

The things I'm enjoying the most: The characters and voice acting. Finding out a little more about everyone (whether you know Greek mythology or don't, there are some fun moments). Unlocking new stuff. Petting the big dog (I pet Cerberus every time the game gives me the opportunity, even though the Switch version doesn't have an achievement for that). Discovering Boons I really like.

If I could skip one realm in each run-through, it would probably be Asphodel. Although I generally prefer the enemies there to the ones in Elysium , I'm not fond of the whole "lava can hurt you" aspect.

Crossing my fingers that I'm at least decent enough to beat the final boss before I hit the God Mode cap. My goal is to make it out of the underworld sometime in the next week.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

REVIEW: Loki: The God Who Fell to Earth (graphic novel) written by Daniel Kibblesmith, art by Oscar Bazaldua, Andy MacDonald, and others

Loki: The God Who Fell to Earth includes issues 1-5 of Loki (2019) and issue 1 of War of the Realms: Omega (2019). I checked this volume out from the library.


At some point prior to the start of this volume, Loki was eaten by his father, King Laufey, and helped save Midgard by bursting from his father's stomach and becoming the new king of the Frost Giants.

There are lots of things going on in this short volume. The responsibilities of a king don't rest well on Loki's shoulders, so he avoids the job as much as possible. Still, someone's got to do it, and that someone is Frösti the snowman. Meanwhile, some being that I think might be called Nightmare is on the loose, Loki's trying to convince Tony Stark to let him be an Avenger, and Loki makes a deal that messes with his perception of time.

REVIEW: The King of the Dead at the Dark Palace, Vol. 1 (book) by Tsukikage, illustrations by Merontomari, translated by Andrew Prowse

The King of the Dead at the Dark Palace is a dark fantasy Japanese light novel. It's published by Yen Press's Yen On imprint. I bought my copy brand new.


When this book's main character wakes up, he discovers that he's now what's known as a flesh-man, a low-level undead being. Horos Kamen, the necromancer who brought him back to life, names him "End" and appears to have complete control over him. End's only consolation is he's able to do whatever he pleases as long as it doesn't contradict the necromancer's orders. He's also incredibly lucky that Horos doesn't seem to realize that he's self-aware.

When he was alive, End's existence was agony. He'd had an incurable illness that sapped his strength and left him in constant pain. If it weren't for his lack of freedom, he'd consider being a flesh-man to be a blessing. He feels no pain, never gets tired, and is much stronger than he ever was in life. Now that he has a better existence to look forward to, he'll do whatever it takes to gain his freedom. He'll have to kill Horos. But is it even possible to kill someone whose every order you must obey? Then there are the additional complications presented by Horos' human slave, Lou, End's lack of knowledge about the undead and their limitations, and the Ender knights, sworn enemies of necromancers and the undead.

Saturday, November 6, 2021

REVIEW: Classroom of the Elite: Complete Series (anime TV series)

Classroom of the Elite is an adaptation of a light novel series. Wikipedia tells me it's considered to be a psychological thriller, but that's debatable.


Kiyotaka Ayanokoji is an unmotivated and unsociable student who has just started attending the Tokyo Metropolitan Advanced Nurturing High School, which is designed to support the country's future leaders. Students can't leave the school grounds, but the place functions like a self-contained city and provides students with a high degree of freedom. Everyone is given points that they can spend as they please, and more than a few students quickly spend everything they have, assuming that they'll regularly be given more points. 

However, the system turns out to be a little more complicated than that. Everyone is separated into different classes based on their academic achievement, and Class D, Kiyotaka's class, is at the very bottom. The odds are stacked against them, and no one expects them to rise any higher in the school's hierarchy. Suzune Horikita, a Class D student, is determined to make it to Class A no matter what it takes. Whether she can manage it depends upon the rest of her class...and whatever secrets Kiyotaka is hiding.

REVIEW: Giant Spider and Me: A Post-Apocalyptic Tale (manga, vol. 2) by Kikori Morino, translated by Adrienne Beck

Giant Spider and Me is is a post-apocalyptic foodie/slice-of-life series. It's licensed by Seven Seas but may be out of print now - Right Stuf doesn't have volume 2 at all and volumes 1 and 3 are listed as out of stock.


Volume 1 ended with Nagi, Asa, and a traveling peddler (does he have a name yet?) facing off against an armed stranger. In volume 2, the armed "stranger" turns out to be the peddler's daughter, Belle. Once Belle calms down, Nagi goes looking for a carpenter to fix her roof and finds herself up against the townspeople's perceptions of Asa. Somehow, Nagi has to convince everyone that Asa isn't a dangerous monster. And as usual, good meals play an important part in the story.