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The children are placed with their aunt Josephine who is defined by her fear of everything. It’s a bit of a change of pace from the first two. Josephine’s fear of everything comes off a bit one-note, even among the typically clueless adults in the series.

Olaf’s plot is pretty obvious from the start too.

There is a scene that stands out with a bit of gratuitous transphobia and fatphobia as well.

Despite all that the relationships between the siblings and the fun of watching them work to free themselves from their situation make up for a lot and leave this a pretty enjoyable story.

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I came across this book at the library, and, having heard of the associated podcast I decided to give it a try.

I’ve never actually listened to said podcast, and if I’m being honest I’m not a huge fan of the McElroy Family family of podcasts in general.

That said, this was a delightful read. As with other recent D&D live play adaptations into other media (see: “The Legend of Vox Machina”) it really does capture the spontaneous humor of play at the table, while (I assume) cleaning up some of the diversions and focusing on the plot. I enjoyed the DM interjections in particular.

Definitely a fun read, and I’ll be on the lookout for others in the series.

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Really enjoying reading this series to my child. She and I both have a similar dark sense of humor and that fits well with these books.

The villain’s scheme is more abstract and less gross than in the first one which is much appreciated.

Already started on the next one. I feel like we’re going to blow through the whole series this year.

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I found this book much more interesting than a lot of nonfiction books I’ve read lately, but it still had that same feeling of “I want to convince you that this thing is good, so I’m going to spend 200 pages telling stories about people who were already convinced”.

The stories were actually interesting, though. Demonstrating how experts in construction, aviation, and medicine rely on checklists so they won’t trip over the mundane aspects of their jobs. I guess the point is to show that these respected professionals use checklists, so the reader shouldn’t feel as if they were beneath them.

I could have used a bit more advice on how to make a useful checklist. There was some in a few places, but it was definitely not the point.

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Read this to my kid after we’d watched the Netflix show together.

I really enjoyed the asides to the reader. They reminded me a bit of The Hobbit even if the tone was quite different.

It’s definitely very dark. My kid and I share a taste for the macabre so we both ate it up. It starts with a tragedy, then moves into a nice mix of farce and heartbreak. I’m excited to start the next one.

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Not sure why it took me so long to get to this. I’d already been a fan of Watchmen and V for Vendetta. I know there was a poorly-received movie some time ago which I haven’t seen. Maybe that’s what put me off.

I have a passing familiarity with the characters from their original stories, and that was enough to grip onto as everyone was introduced and we got to see how they got on. I did probably miss out on something by not having read the entirety of 19th century British literature before this, but one only has so much time for homework.

The story itself is quite good. It’s fast paced, and the banter between the team is snippy and sharp. I liked the pastiche of a contemporary action serial magazine for boys, which added a bit of fun in the literal margins.

There’s unfortunately plenty of casual racism and sexism, which I hope was meant as part of the pastiche but even if it was it doesn’t land so well in 2024.

Despite that it was a fun read and I’ll probably head to the library soon for volume 2.

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“A human is, to a first approximation, a pillar of liquid about two meters high, in which are suspended various moist and jiggly biological systems — digestion, waste storage, sense of balance, the movement of blood. All of these systems evolved in an environment where a 6-billion-trillion-ton sphere called Earth sat at the pillar’s foot.”

— Kelly Weinersmith, Zach Weinersmith: A City on Mars, p. 43

Most of this book is about how settling space is much harder and less desirable than most people think. I’m glad it’s so funny because otherwise it would be too depressing for my nerd brain.

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“Staying alive on Earth requires fire and a pointy stick. Staying alive in space will require all sorts of high-tech gadgets we can barely manufacture on Earth.”

— Kelly Weinersmith, Zach Weinersmith: A City on Mars, p. 22

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“My husband plays the trumpet, which is a sort of loud pretzel originally invented to blow down the walls of fucking Jericho and, later, to let Civil War soldiers know it was time to kill each other in a river while you chilled eating pigeon in your officer’s tent twenty miles away, yet somehow, in modern times, it has become socially acceptable to toot the bad cone inside your house before 10:00 a.m. because it’s “your job” and your wife should “get up.” What a world! If one was feeling uncharitable, one might describe the trumpet as a machine where you put in compressed air and divorce comes out, but despite this—despite operating a piece of biblical demolition equipment inside the home every bright, cold morning of his wife’s one and only life—the trumpet is not the most annoying thing about my husband.”

— Lindy West: The Witches Are Coming, p. 122

I saw this quote floating around the internets a while back and as a husband and former trumpet player I knew I had to read this book.

I’m nearly done with it and so glad I picked it up.