My Favorite Things: Treasure Hunters, Dragon Companions, Ghost Stories, and Timely Dystopias

They might not be raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens, but that doesn’t mean that we love them any less. Welcome back to My Favorite Things, a weekly column where we gab about the greatest in geek. This week, we’re all about a successful remake of a childhood favorite, a touching urban ghost story, a timely dystopian novel, and the latest installment in the Uncharted franchise. Read on for more.


Shara’s Favorite Thing is… Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day!

Like most things Seanan McGuire releases, I pretty much want it the instant it’s announced, and of course, I have to wait months and months and months for it, only to get a happy surprise when it finally shows up on my Kindle one magical morning. And since carving out time to read is surprisingly difficult of late, when a McGuire release shows up, I’ll drop everything else just to read it.

So I’m happy to say that her latest novella from Tor, Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day, is a beautiful and bittersweet story. I had no idea what to expect, because when it comes to me and my must-buy authors, I don’t bother with blurbs: I just start reading. And this urban ghost story, while leaving me with some questions, hit me right in the feels. Maybe it’s because I finished reading this book while also wondering if I was going to have to say goodbye to my beloved cat of nearly fifteen years, or maybe it’s because McGuire’s take on ghosts and time is something we can all relate to, because who here hasn’t lost someone we loved, and who here hasn’t witnessed someone we loved suffering and wished we could take it all away, wished for a little more time?

This makes Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day easily my favorite thing, and I dare you read it and see if it doesn’t knock you right in the feels too.

 

Betsy’s Favorite Thing is… Pete’s Dragon!

I have to admit that I was a little skeptical about the remake of Pete’s Dragon — especially having seen the original 1977 version many times in my childhood. As good as some of the remakes have been, others have been disappointing to say the least. In the end, this one is a pleasant surprise. It’s been a long time since I’ve actually seen the original, but I feel like this one kept most of the spirit of it while clearly being a new interpretation. Because the trailer spots were enigmatic, it was hard to know what to expect. Among other things, I didn’t realize I would see Robert Redford and Karl Urban in major roles. Elliott (the dragon), in particular, is a lovely character — part nanny dog, part best friend, in the end it was easy enough to overlook the logical discrepancies in favor of enjoying a gorgeously rendered, family-friendly story that could prompt (but doesn’t demand) a variety of conversations about everything from adoptive families to believing people’s testimonies, conservation and the environment to the possibility that we haven’t discovered all the creatures in the world. And it truly is a gorgeous movie, which convincingly portrays an entirely fictional character living and interacting in an entirely mundane (though beautiful) setting. In the end, because we have a great home theater setup and we live in the middle of nowhere, I can’t regret waiting to see it, but I’m certainly glad we didn’t miss it either.

 

Janicu’s Favorite Thing is… Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End!

OK, this is going to sound silly, but please note that I am someone who doesn’t play video games (I haven’t played one in years). On top of that, it feels like I haven’t watched someone play video games in a very long while. So this month’s fave is basically enjoying being the audience after my husband bought a PS4 and played Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. I really enjoyed the experience. The game is well done: snappy dialogue, relationships that felt real, puzzles, treasure hunting, baddies. It was great fun to spend the time enjoying the game with someone and (my favorite bit) ask if there was a hidden treasure hiding behind a waterfall every two seconds (I love finding treasure and hidden caves behind waterfalls). I do feel that gaming is something I’m utterly clueless over (“Whoa, technology these days” is a legit thing I have exclaimed watching this game), and this makes me feel old, but I had a good time.

 

Tez’s Favorite Thing is… Metaltown!

I didn’t plan for Kristen Simmons’s Metaltown to be my first read of 2017, but that’s when my library copy arrived. The novel felt instantly familiar, as it fits the classic underdog plot. But instead of a feel-good story, Metaltown is dark and dystopian — and not everyone gets a happy ending.

Mostly the story rings true because it shows how to create change.

Ty and Colin work in the small parts section of a manufacturer. There are no health benefits, and they often aren’t paid in a timely manner, enough, or at all. A workplace accident leads to acid burns and a lost job. Ty has nothing left to lose — she’s now an unemployed, homeless orphan, and even her best friend Colin seems to be slipping away from her. And so Ty does what she can lead a “press”– a workers’ strike — against the manufacturer.

But she can’t do it alone. One person can’t be the entire movement in order to create real change. Ty needs the entire small parts section — and other sections, too — to band together in the press. If everyone stops work, the manufacturer will be forced to employ and train more workers. That will make it more difficult for the company to fill the order for their products. This will be bad for business, so the manufacturer has something to lose unless they agree to the workers’ demands.

Can one person make a difference? Maybe. But there’s strength in numbers, and we can’t expect one person to shoulder all the responsibility. We each need to find our personal tipping point; what we’re willing to risk for the greater good. We must PRESS BACK.

Metaltown is a timely read that I won’t soon forget.


Any thoughts on the selections above? Let us know in the comments.

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