: I just finished The masked city
by Genevieve Cogman. (c) Genevieve Cogman 2015; Pub Tor 2015; ISBN 978-1-4472-5625-0.
TMC is a romp, with a wonderful swashbuckling librarian-spy-magician as the protagonist. It's a bit middle-book in some ways, there's a lot of drama and jeopardy packaged up as a nice episode. The main antagonist is barely mentioned, and the book ends with the immediate crisis resolved but the characters in trouble. I love the portrayal of exactly how dealing with the Fae is so dangerous. Nobody much is straight, and there are a lot of platonic relationships as well as flirting and sexual yearning. Looking forward to where this series goes from here. Watching
: Wreck-it Ralph 2: Ralph breaks the internet
. I enjoyed the original, which I watched on a plane some time. And the sequel is everything I hoped for. Lots and lots of jokes, most of them just in the background scenery. Lovely exploration of the tension between Ralph wanting to be with his friend and keep her safe, and Vanellope wanting to have adventures. And the ensemble of Disney princesses is just brilliant (they reunited all the original actors except Snow White's). A very good film for a mixed age audience, which is how I saw it, with my OSOs
and their children. There are two absolutely brilliant bonus scenes after the credits, so if you see it in the cinema, do stick around.Playing
: Tabletop, a bit of Codenames
which I continue to love, and which Judith is rediscovering with a bit more world-knowledge than a couple of years back when it first came out.
And video games, a lot of Alphabear 2, the very worthy sequel to the best mobile word game ever. They've improved on the original by introducing rotating types of bears so that you don't keep playing the same top three all the time. I also like that levelling up the bears is more intentional and less random. I'm a bit annoyed by the story mode not letting you replay levels, but it's a pretty good story mode. The difficulty ramps up very nicely; I'm ludicrously good at word games and I was finding it challenging by level 4 or so. Its monetization model is a bit odd; it does have microtransactions, but not in a pay to win way and it genuinely doesn't degrade game play if you ignore them. I made a one-off payment to remove ads, because I've easily had £4 worth of fun out of it. But the ads are, admittedly, more intrusive than the ones in the free version of the original game.
Also Stellaris on PC; I've started a co-op multiplayer game with jack
, and we rarely have an evening free to get stuck in, but we're having fun. I was impressed with how multiplayer mode via Steam just works.