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Book Review: Boundless: A Drizzt Novel by R.A. Salvatore
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A Drizzt Novel Boundless header

Boundless
Generations: Book II, A Drizzt Novel
Hardcover | Kindle | Audiobook
By R.A. Salvatore
Publisher: HarperVoyager
Release Date: September 10, 2019

I opened the box carefully, reverently even. The last thing I wanted to do was damage the contents and though chances were slight, I closely monitored how deep the incision was, insuring that nothing inside would be harmed in any way. First one flap, then another, continuing on until all four were flipped out so as to facilitate the removal of the treasure within. A bit of packing paper and bubble wrap is all that separated me from the coveted prize inside its current containment. Lifting the multiple items from their home, I slowly removed one after another from the stack, setting them down carefully on the table beside me. After taking out four of them, I spotted it. It was next to last in the bundle, just waiting for me to take it up lovingly. I touched the cover, maybe to remind myself that this was no dream but in fact the time had come for it to be part of my life, to be a part of the world. Six books arrived that day from my editors, but only one was Boundless by R.A. Salvatore. And regardless of how my day was going, it had been redeemed, for Drizzt had come home again.

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Book Review: Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction
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Astounding
John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction
Hardcover | Paperback | Kindle | Audiobook
By Alec Nevala-Lee
Dey Street Books
Paperback Release Date: July 30, 2019

You know, I went into this with a completely different mindset. When I saw this book in the lists for review, I truly thought it was an anthology of classic science fiction. Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction is actually a highly detailed exploration of the rise and evolution of modern science fiction as I knew it growing up. It has continued to evolve, but this book delves into the life of John W. Campbell and how he influenced not just what readers saw in print, but also, in many ways, what many authors were writing.

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Game Review: Dungeons & Dragons: Essentials Kit
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Dungeons & Dragons: Essentials Kit
D&D Accessory
Boxed Set
Wizards Of The Coast
Release Date: June 24, 2019 (Target exclusive release) September 3, 2019 (worldwide release)

So, truthfully, this is less of a review and more of an alert. The Dungeons & Dragons Essentials Kit is effectively what it says it is, the essentials to play the game. Is it everything you will ever need? Probably not for most of us. But for the casual player, perhaps. Wizards Of The Coast seems to be doing everything they can to make the world’s greatest roleplaying game accessible to everyone. And for a game that has always been diverse, this inclusiveness is heartwarming.

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Comic Spotlight: Strayed #1
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Strayed #1
Print | Digital
Written by Carlos Giffoni
Art by Juan Doe
Letters by Matt Krotzer
Covers by Juan Doe, Dustin Nguyen
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: August 21, 2019

If you have ever had a cat, then you know how regal they can be. It is almost as if they know more than anyone or anything else; basking in that knowledge and superiority. If you ignore their aloofness and their ever-present need to have humans cater to their every whim, they are actually marvelous little creatures. So is it really a far stretch to imagine that one of them could be able to travel ethereally to help one they have befriended. But such is the case in Dark Horse ComicsStrayed #1.

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Comic Review: Once & Future #1
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Once & Future #1
Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Dan Mora
Colors by Tamra Bonvillain
Letters by Ed Dukeshire
Cover by Dan Mora
Boom! Studios
Release Date: August 14, 2019
Cover Price: $3.99

A modern take on an Arthurian legend? Abso-freaking-lutely! I grew up reading everything I could about Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. Many authors, many tales, but the message always bled through as being simultaneously heroic and tragic.

But what if things were not always so cut and dry? What then? Perhaps Once & Future #1 will be a pleasant change from the norm.

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Book Review: Becoming Superman: My Journey From Poverty to Hollywood by J. Michael Straczynski
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Becoming Superman: My Journey From Poverty to Hollywood
Hardcover | Kindle | Audiobook
By J. Michael Straczynski
Published: Harper Voyager
Release Date: July 23, 2019

You think you know a writer by the works they produce. And oftentimes, this is spot on. However, in this case, I was sadly mistaken. Becoming Superman: My Journey From Poverty to Hollywood is a harrowing tale that will break your heart and uplift your spirit, all at the same time. I have never met J. Michael Straczynski, but I hope to meet this amazing man one day. But before I give you an overview of his autobiography, let me just say I will not be able to do this book justice. But I will try my best.

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Book Review: Stranger Things: Darkness On The Edge Of Town: An Official Stranger Things Novel
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Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town
Stranger Things Book 2
Hardcover | Kindle | Audiobook
By Adam Christopher
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: May 28, 2019

I freaking love the Stranger Things franchise! The nostalgia, the horror, the Dungeons & Dragons references, I just love it all. So I jumped when this tie-in book to the television series came up for review. Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town is the second official novel to be released and it is probably destined to be a fan favorite since it is all about Jim Hopper. In fact, this dives head first into his time as a New York detective. Curious? So was I!

The year was 1977 and New York City was suffering as it was one hot summer. Add to that the ongoing danger that was Son of Sam and you can only begin to imagine the fog of terror that surrounded all those living within. The reader is given the chance to see Hopper and his family, at relative peace with the world, struggling like any young couple with a small child would. The story starts off quite mundane and relatable. In fact, Hopper is only a fraction as intense and anxious as he will one day become. I have no doubt the events in this story helped elevate his issues.

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Comic Review: The Magicians: Alice’s Story
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The Magicians: Alice’s Story
Based on the novel The Magicians by Lev Grossman
Hardcover
Written by Lilah Sturges
Art by Pius Bak
Colors by Dan Jackson
Letters by Mike Fiorentino
Cover by Scott Newman
Publisher: Archaia Entertainment
Release Date: July 16, 2019

Before I dive into the review of The Magicians: Alice’s Story, I would like to give you a bit of the history of the source material. I was a store manager for a Waldenbooks, but little did I realize how close to the end that company was. In those days we got ARCs (advance reader copies) of virtually everything and let me tell you, that is no small perk. So when an ARC came in that was touted as an adult Harry Potter-esque book about a magical college, I was intrigued. I have some vague memories of starting it during a lunch break and being swept away by the realism of it all. Lev Grossman‘s book grabbed me by the throat and refused to let go. The book became a trilogy, then later a SyFy series that is spectacular in its own way. So yeah, this graphic novel only adds one more dimension to an already breathtaking franchise. Allow me to elaborate!

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Book Spotlight: Magic: The Gathering: Rise Of The Gatewatch: A Visual History
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Magic: The Gathering: Rise Of The Gatewatch: A Visual History
Hardcover | Kindle
Magic The Gathering Accessory
Abrams ComicArts and Wizards Of The Coast
Release Date: July 23, 2019

I try to be upfront with everything I write, folks. So when I say I have never in my entire life played Magic: The Gathering, I hope you know I am not kidding. When it was first coming out, I was well aware of it but only because at that time I was living above a comic shop and found myself constantly in there for one reason or another. This now defunct but eternally glorious shop was my refuge, just as it was for so many others. I saw the fervor with which newcomers took to the game but it sadly held no allure for me. I was and still am a diehard tabletop role-playing fan, but the entire concept of a trading card game just did not appeal to me. And until quite recently I had no idea there was more to it than the simple mechanics of gameplay. This is in no small way because of Magic: The Gathering: Rise of the Gatewatch.

The book itself is a fairly straight forward homage to the game with elaborate backstories and beautiful art for each of the eight planeswalkers, plus the added bonus of one of the most evil beings in the multiverse! The histories included show the planeswalkers in a variety of lights. Not every one of them is heroic, though most are to be sure. And while I may never play a single round of the game, I now see what appeals to those who do. It is just as gripping as what I would consider traditional gaming, though this has been around long enough that I must give it the due it deserves.

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Book Review: Dungeons & Dragons: Monsters & Creatures (Young Adventurer’s Guides)
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Dungeons & Dragons: Monsters & Creatures
Dungeons & Dragons Young Adventurer’s Guides
Hardcover | Kindle
D&D Accessory
Wizards Of The Coast
Release Date: July 16, 2019

I am of the opinion that Wizards Of The Coast is doing something amazing these days. Access to Dungeons & Dragons was so restricted when I was growing up due to the stigma it held at the time. But now that everyone has (finally) realized that playing is not going to damn their souls, Wizards has opened the floodgates of marketing and has begun creating some amazing books for younger potential gamers. You may even have seen my review of the The A*B*Cs Of D&D and The 1*2*3s Of D&D that I wrote earlier this year. The newest releases are focusing on the intermediate age bracket with the Young Adventurer’s Guides, one of which is Monsters & Creatures. So let us discuss it, shall we?

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