It’s October now?!

Wow, is it really October? Guess it’s about time for another blog post. Can’t say that I’ve been doing anything interesting of late–I’m still mostly self-isolating due to Covid and Delta and a general annoyance with how this pandemic has been handled up until now, so there isn’t much to talk about. I have been consuming an awful lot of media lately, which has probably helped keep me from going entirely stir-crazy. Thank you, TV, video games and books!

Television has been my primary means of escape, and while I don’t want to bore you with detailing every single anime, cooking competition and Marvel show I’ve been watching, I’ll share the big stand-out for me: The Untamed on Netflix. I watched this together with some friends via Discord and it was AMAZING! The costuming, setting and storytelling more than made up for a few misses on special effects. I even picked up an additional streaming service so I could watch the movies! But I think what really made this a stand-out for me was obsessing over it with friends over Discord and chat, exchanging head canons, discussing theories and comparing the drama to the book, the donghua (animated) and the manhua (comics). It’s really quite a phenomenon, I’d encourage anyone to give it a try.

Video games have been another source of distraction with the added benefit of providing a mental challenge. Story of Seasons released their long-awaited “Pioneers of Olive Town” which I felt to be really engaging and challenging, with new functions of game play I hadn’t seen in a farming sim before. I liked that they would be slowly releasing new DLC in the form of new bachelors/bachelorettes over time, including some of my old favorites from other games, but felt the DLC fell a little short in that the added characters didn’t really interact with the main village. The premise and initial story are strong, though, so I recommend it to anyone who loves farming games.

The gacha games finally got me with Genshin Impact! I’ve been playing for almost a year now; I love the open world, similar to Breath of the Wild, almost as much as I enjoy winning new characters from banner pulls. For me, the best part is that expansions and updates come pretty regularly (about every six weeks), so in between updates, I can play pretty casually and focus on other things, then fully immerse myself in the new content once it drops. The character designs are beautiful and unique, and the settings and music are just gorgeous! And if you can avoid the allure of gacha, it’s actually free to play.

The game that absolutely has taken the spotlight for me, though, has been Hades. I know I’m late to this party, but WOW is that a perfect game, or what? It seems simple from the outset, but gains in complexity, making each play-through different from the last. The art design was top-tier and I loved completing each side quest and unlocking every weapon aspect. My favorite boons were from Dionysus, Ares and Artemis, my favorite storyline was probably Achilles (& Patroclus!). Fast favorite game of all time and highly recommended.

Playing Hades gave me a craving to read more Greek-based books, so I reread “Song of Achilles” and “Circe,” both by Madeline Miller and absolutely amazing books (though be forewarned: “Song of Achilles” is EMOTIONAL!). After those, I reread “The Captive Prince” trilogy by C.S. Pascat, which, while in a purely fantasy setting, gives me Greco-Roman vibes while reading it. There is just so much comfort in a good reread! So many amazing new books come out every single week that it’s been impossible to keep up, I was even stressing myself out as I realized how far behind I’ve fallen on reading (I seriously still haven’t read the latest Stormlight Archive book by Brandon Sanderson!) that I had to forgive myself and read some old favorites instead. I had been meaning to reread the “Six of Crows” books by Leigh Bardugo forever and it felt good to finally immerse myself in that world again. I’m hopeful for the “Six of Crows” spinoff from “Shadow and Bone,” as I really loved the portrayal of the characters Kaz, Jesper and Inej, as well as the tiny glimpse we got of Ketterdam!

And oh yeah, I’ve been writing, too. Quite a lot, actually, but I’ll have to tell you all about that another time. ^_~

I suppose that’s my pandemic in a nutshell. Amidst all the bad news of the past two years, I hope everyone reading this had found pleasant ways to break the monotony and find glimmers of light through the darkness. Stay healthy and, as always, happy reading!

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