Death Note Is The Perfect Beginner’s Guide To Hard Magic Systems

This post originally ran on Tor.com. There’s a lot to be said about the intersection of fantasy and the insanely large pantheon of anime content, to put it mildly. Today, I’d like to focus on Death Note and its smart, if a bit on-the-nose, use of a hard magic system to tell its story. My anime sample size…

Sandman Volume Ten: The Wake – Loose Ends

The Kindly Ones was the epic climax, tying together myriad Sandman storylines into a delightful culmination of the series. The Wake, then, takes the loose ends left by those threads and elegantly offers endings for characters whose stories still go on after the universe-changing events of the previous volume.  Hefty spoilers follow for Volume 9:…

The Dawn Of Yangchen – Something In The Air

Another year, another Avatar: The Last Airbender canon entry to review! F.C. Yee burst onto the scene in 2019 and 2020 with the Kyoshi duology. Both books were solid entries into the growing pantheon of Avatar stories. I even pined for Rise and Shadow to be adapted into a Kyoshi-centric movie. Now, F.C. Yee returns…

Starship Troopers – More Like Poopers

Starship Troopers came to me by way of Ian Simmons of Kicking the Seat. We regularly unite on his YouTube channel and podcast for his Page2Screen series to discuss books and their adaptations, for better or worse. Latest in the long line of adaptations is Starship Troopers, Robert Heinlein’s military sci-fi of yore. For a…

Sandman Volume Nine: The Kindly Ones – Nice

Points in my Sandman readthrough have sparked questions of a fatigued reader: where is this going? What does this mean? I was struggling by the time I reached The Kindly Ones, and I looked at the volume—by far the longest in the series by page length—only to double down on my exhaustion. Before I slipped…

Sandman Volume Eight: Worlds’ End – Stories Within Stories

Welcome to the inn between realms, where travelers shelter from reality storms and share stories to pass the time. Sandman Volume 8: Worlds’ End is my favorite sort of Sandman collection. Namely, the sort that features one-off tales in service of a grander theme and only tangentially related to the ongoing saga of Dream and…

Five Fantasy Cafes I’d Love To Visit

Sometimes, our favorite fantasy characters need a break—an escape from the woes of brutal, unforgiving worlds and a safe space to ruminate on life, or simply exist in peaceful solitude. Or perhaps characters just need a warm and welcoming atmosphere to encourage a few hours of friendship and laughter, insulated against the stress and harsh…

Sandman Volume Seven: Brief Lives – Delirious Road Trip

Welcome back once again to the Dreaming, where we continue our jaunt through Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. The Netflix adaptation looms, lighting a fire under my ass to plow through the remainder of the series so I know all there is to know about Morpheus and his entourage of mystical friends and enemies. What started as…

Batman Vs. Bigby! A Wolf In Gotham: A Fabled Crossover

Well, that does it. Batman Vs. Bigby is my second-favorite piece of Wolf-Bat media, closely following The Legend Of Korra’s pro-bending Wolf Bats. Bill Willingham returns to pen a story that pits Batman vs. Bigby wolf. Willingham’s troubled protagonist is somewhat of a detective himself, making for loads of entertaining crossover potential. This story is…