Book Review: Immortal at the Edge of the World

Immortal at the Edge of the World, Gene Doucette

Immortal at the Edge of the World, Gene Doucette

Finally! I’ve been looking forward to the final book in the Immortal series by Gene Doucette. You could read my review of the first book, Immortal and Hellenic Immortal. I had an advance copy of the book, courtesy of the lovely people at The Writer’s Coffee Shop, but to be honest I would have gotten it anyways, because I love this series!

Blurb

“What I was currently doing with my time and money . . . didn’t really deserve anyone else’s attention. If I was feeling romantic about it, I’d call it a quest, but all I was really doing was trying to answer a question I’d been ignoring for a thousand years.”

In his very long life, Adam had encountered only one person who seemed to share his longevity: the mysterious red-haired woman. She appeared throughout history, usually from a distance, nearly always vanishing before he could speak to her.

In his last encounter, she actually did vanish—into thin air, right in front of him. The question was how did she do it? To answer, Adam will have to complete a quest he gave up on a thousand years earlier, for an object that may no longer exist.

If he can find it, he might be able to do what the red-haired woman did, and if he can do that, maybe he can find her again and ask her who she is . . . and why she seems to hate him.

“You are being watched. Move your loved ones to safety . . . trust nobody.”

But Adam isn’t the only one who wants the red-haired woman. There are other forces at work, and after a warning from one of the few men he trusts, Adam realizes how much danger everyone is in. To save his friends and finish his quest he may be forced to bankrupt himself, call in every favor he can, and ultimately trade the one thing he’d never been able to give up before: his life.

From the author of Immortal and Hellenic Immortal comes Immortal at the Edge of the World, the breathtaking conclusion to the best-selling trilogy. Will Adam survive?

My Review

First up, I think I need to let you know I haven’t been in the right headspace lately to read a book. It might influence my impressions a little bit, just because it’s currently harder for me in general to finish a book.

On to the book, what I have always loved from this series is Adam’s sense of humor. He is somehow ancient, you could see from his perspective of the world, with plenty of sarcasm, which I suspect helped him (sort of) being sane. I think I said this every single time I reviewed the book, so I’m just reporting happily that it didn’t change. I am going to miss Adam!

This time around, we get to explore a little more of Asian culture, with the introduction of one of Adam’s friend, Hsu, faeries, and the trade world to the Orient. Perhaps it was also because my lack of interest of this topic that made it slightly harder for me to read it, so it does feel slightly lackluster in the middle… BUT I am so glad I do carry on because it picked up and become immensely good in the end. I love the conclusion of the trilogy.

I do think you would need to at least know what’s going on in the previous book to be able to completely enjoy this one. Although it does have a good intro into the recurring characters so you won’t be completely lost… It’s just much more fun to read the first two.

I like how the author weaves the past and the present into this book. I think it made much more sense, especially because it’s all Adam’s point of view, and it’s always amusing to me to see his perspective on the past events. Like what he said about the beginning of Islam… (no, I won’t give you the spoiler, you’d have to read it).

Would I recommend this book? Hell yes, I always recommends all of them. If you like a sarcastic, sometimes half drunk, always real main character who happens to be immortal, then you should read this. The only downside is you probably couldn’t find this easily in a bookstore in Germany. There’s always Amazon though. And kindle edition! I don’t get a cut or anything for this. I just think this is a good book!

 

Notes:

Thank you Cindy at The Writer’s Coffee Shop, who gave me a chance to review this book and participate on the blog tour.

 

Fantasy Film Festival – Berlin 2014

Fantasy Film Fest Berlin 2014

Fantasy Film Fest Berlin 2014

More good movies! I think this is one of my favorite film festivals because it’s fun! (Yes I do think bloody zombies are funny)

I originally planned only to see four movies, but ended up seeing twelve fourteen(!) movies. (Yes I’m a movie addict – my hobbies keep me sane!)

This year’s selection was pretty good in my opinion. There’s some fresh humor, good scares, and strange ideas. I’m trying to separate my impressions based on the type of movies I’ve seen.

First up is what stood up to me most. Can you guess? No, it’s not how scary or bloody, but…

Music

Yes, music! It’s so prominent on some of the films that it sticks in my head. There’s the obvious one, like

Metalhead, a film from Iceland about a sister who tries to cope with her brother’s tragic death. From the title, it’s quite obvious the music genre is metal. And it’s Iceland, with a little bit of church thrown into it. Not really recommending this one except for the music. The rest is just too cliched.

Wrong Cops, is simply brilliantly fun! If you love Quentin Dupieux’s Rubber (or other sort of crazy utopia), then by all means, do yourself a favor and go see this movie. I’m not a fan of electronic music, but this one made it work so well. Plus you’d want to see Marilyn Manson in this one.

Life After Beth, the closing movie in FFF. It’s a dark comedy zombie movie with a little romance thrown into it (don’t worry it’s nothing like Warm Bodies). Here the music works as a different element, just because the zombies react well to smooth jazz… !

Haunted House

Of course, right? No horror festival should be without one. There’s some good scary ones this year too, I’m actually a wimp when it comes to haunted scares.

The Babadook, sounds like a children movie based on a children book and a character called Babadook. No, surely not. So please don’t take your children to see this one. It’s in the same line as Conjuring with some nice psychological twists.

Oculus, a story about two siblings who tried to resolve their twisted past by destroying the mirror that somehow created the illusions in their head. Quite interesting premise but somehow fell a little flat in the end.

Housebound, is a smart take on the haunted house theme. Comes with a sarcastic crazy daughter who ia housebound from her criminal behaviour. It’s a New Zealand movie and now I’m starting to think if there’s a New Zealand type of humor that I really like? Totally recommended, and this movie also happens to win the Fresh Blood award (audience award) at the FFF Berlin.

Fantasy World

Give and take, all movies are fantasies anyways, but these movies just take it to a different level of fantasy.

Patema Inverted, a story of two worlds with polar gravity. What happens when these two people from these two worlds meet? Could you actually fall to the sky? It’s an anime movie that’s somehow sweet but also well made.

Get Shorty, true, it’s a compilation of shorts, but I’m just going to mention two I’m very impressed with this year… Orbit Ever After, which is a story of love in the orbiting small spaceships, with a rather rogue and apocalyptic feel to it. Sequence, what if you’re in everyone’s super scary nightmare last night?

Mockumentaries

What We Do in the Shadows. I’ve seen this at the Berlinale, and I love it!! The vampire genre is already supersaturated and I didn’t think anyone could come up with a nice take on it… until this one. It’s that good and funny!

Others

Couldn’t really find good categories for the movies here. I wanted to say Asians, but that’s just where it comes from and not really reflects what it’s about.

Go Goa Gone, zombies meet Bollywood. It’s just funny to see how different culture “react” to this. Has its fun moments for sure!

Man on High Heels, tries to deal with a deeper meaning than just an action movie. He’s a superpower cop guy who always wanted to have a gender reassignment surgery. Interesting drama, especially when set in a culture and environment where this is highly frowned upon.

13 Sins, how far would you go when you are desperate for money? It’s a remake from a Thai movie (which, from IMDB seemed to be a comedy – I really want to see it!). Anyhow, this has some good stuff going, although I don’t really like the ending. Also, Daniel Stamm, the director, was present at the screening. Didn’t know that he’s German (the movie was USA/English)

These two movies, I don’t like them at all, but I’m mentioning it just for my own reference.

The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears, it’s one of those overly pretentious movies in my book. There are plenty of “metaphors” going on in this movie (yes, I’m putting it on quote consciously and on purpose). It’s one of the longest movie I’ve ever seen, and it’s only 100 minutes.

Wer, it tries to be a new take on werewolves but failed. The only thing I’d remember about this movie is that it’s set in Lyon. Other than that, it’s one of the movies who wanted to be smart about tackling werewolves but ended up doing every cliches in the book.

Recommendations

What really the stands out for me: Housebound, What We Did in the Shadows, Life After Beth, and Wrong Cops. Go see them when you have the chance!!

 

9 Things I Learned from Running Half Marathon (Post Half Marathon Thoughts)

I did it! Finished the half marathon…

Medals and All :)

Medal and All :)

Yesterday was the day and today as I recovered from that muscle pains and blisters, I am writing this down as I still have somewhat a post run bliss…

1. It’s Not Going to Be Easy

Probably around half of the time, I’m still thinking “WTH am I doing here, there were always someone taking me over… I’m not good at this and so on :D”.

At km 2: OMG I’m only 10% done.

At km 3 to 6: I was so desperate for a drink… kept spying for the water stand, but then getting more motivated as I realized I actually run faster than on my trainings. There’s hope!

At km 7-8: Oh dear, there wasn’t ever going to be shades, wasn’t there?

At km 9-10: Hey, there’s Silke and Daniel! And shades!! Yay, I can do this! Clocked in at 1:20 for 10k, realizing I can totally finish under 3h.

At km 11-14: Running through Kudamm! Kind of a haze but it’s good when I walked the streets before I kinda now where I am. Kinda. It’s hard when you’re huffing and puffing.

At km 15-17: Abi’s knees started to give in. So we had to speed walk instead (We’re in this together!). And then I realized I speed walk faster than I slow run… Should I do power walk next time instead?

At km 17-18: It’s so close yet so far away…! I remember someone cheering me saying it’s only 4km more and I wanted to run again, but my brain gave up trying to tell my feet to run.

At km 19-20: Even closer but felt even further away. By this point I was not going “WTH am I doing here anymore” I was on to “Let’s do this! Let’s run strong…!”. But my feet still saying no.

At km 21:  OMG where is that damn finish line!!! We had to turn a corner and then… when I see it, I ruuuuuuuuunnnnn!

PS: My husband just told me I look dead all the way. Hahahaha that’s probably true!

Before the race. And no, I don't look like this throughout the run! :D

Before the race. And no, I don’t look like this throughout the run! :D

 

2. Running With Someone Does Make It Easier

I’m so lucky to run with my husband. I mattered to have someone next to you and cheer each other up! I believe he could actually go faster but he decided to stay with my phase.. Although in the end he injured his knees, which was the only reason I’m slightly faster than him (sprinting the last 50m).

Thank you Abi, for making this a much more fun and bearable thing to do!!!

Yay! We made it!!

Yay! We made it!!

3. So Thankful for Everyone Cheering on the Streets!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!! For everyone clapping, calling my name, giving me high fives, yelling “You’re Awesome, You Can Do IT!”. It REALLY lift my spirits up and extra boosts every single time :).

Extra shoutout to a guy in Kurfurstendamm who handed me a bottle of Fanta. He must’ve been an angel… I really needed that! Thank you!!! You’re awesome!

4. And for My Friends Who Cheered on Us

Silke and Daniel, what a lovely surprise to see you guys!! That kilometer became slightly faster ;).

Yasmina, Robert, Heather, and Stefan, thanks for cheering us at the last kilometres! Also it was so nice to have lunch together afterwards :).

And Dom, for being a training buddy and motivator… plus watching a movie and sharing a beer afterwards make me feel slightly normal again (aka not self pitying from muscle ache). Plus the movie turned out to be awesome!

5. Don’t Under/Over estimate the Weather

Being Indonesian and thinking that 18 degrees C is cool… Well, think again. I’m probably used to Berlin weather anyways, and I underestimate that there were almost no shade along the way.

My throat was dry by km 3, and I kept looking forward for water all the way throughout the course… Then again, that kept me going… just a bit more until the next water station!

Clothing wise, I could probably go with something lighter. I have my jacket on, just because I don’t want to let go of my phone (aka source of music and running time). Next time I should invest in more types of running gear (you never know what Berlin weather is going to be!)

6. Starting Takes Awhile

We were on the last starting block (of course… and I don’t think I will ever be out of that block). But it took us almost 40 minutes just to get to starting line. Think someone was joking that by the time we start, the elite athletes are already finished :D. Almost true,  just by 5-10 minutes. Which totally reminds me of the hare and tortoise story ;).

Where is the Start Line?

Where is the Start Line?

It’s actually all fine, but looking back, that’s probably the reason why I was so thirsty in the first kilometers already! But I did not want to drink extra because…

7. Try Not to Go to the Toilet

The queue was massive… looks like everyone is going (and there 32.000 of us). I happen to live on the other side of town though, so there’s no way I could avoid it… although my friend said the toilet outside is emptier.

If you’re able to avoid this somehow, do it. It’s quite stressful to wait at the toilet queue.

8. I Possibly Won’t Ever Be Great at Running

Somehow for me to be able to really truly love something, I have to be good at it too (it’s the feedback mechanism thingie). I realized I probably would never be good at running… I think it’s impossible for me to run less than 2h for half marathon (or, rather, I probably have to train 10x more to get there than normal people)…

BUT I also realized I kind of enjoyed it… For me, I should say the hell with speed. Just the fact that I could participate in this event, never would’ve dreamt it possible as a child.

On the other hand, I’m looking forward to try out other sports this summer… biking, dancing, slacklining, rock climbing…

9. I CAN DO IT!!!!

The most important lesson!! Wowza!!! I can be sporty too!

Such an awesome feeling that trumps everything. So I plan to participate again next year! Just once a year though… for now ;).

IMG_7129

Cheers!

And if you ever thought you want to do it, just do it! If I can do this, you could definitely do it too!!

Pre Half Marathon Thoughts

I needed to write this mostly just for my future references. I want to record how I feel before the half marathon because I think I will feel differently tomorrow, after the event. You know, those after-run bliss? Yet right now I’m feeling rather nervous.

WTF am I Doing?

This is my first run event. I never did a 5K, nor a 10K. I just do a half-marathon (originally thought I would just go straight to marathon, but now I’m glad I didn’t – more on that later). That being said, I ran a 5K and 10K before (I’m not that crazy!), just not on a race.

But still, WTF? I’m this kid who is the top three slowest runners in school. I don’t even love running. Why did I even sign up?

I still have no idea. But I signed up, and I will run.

Can I do it? YES YES YES! (Peptalking myself with pompoms in my head)

Maybe I didn’t Train Enough…

Maybe. Most probably. I couldn’t run 5 days a week. That was too much for my well-being. BUT I did run 3 times a week, which is 4 times more than before I signed up for this. And I do yoga to counteract running muscles stiffness and swimming.

Maybe it doesn’t matter. (I could hear voices from my runner friends telling me how crazy I am). That’s just what I can do best while being the head of twindly. I also still like to go to parties and hang out with my friends. SO there’s that.

But at least I know I’m way more fit than last year!

Muscles, yo!

Muscles, yo!

There’s no turning back, so let’s just do it!

Love, Hate, Love, Hate, Love ….?

Whenever someone asked me if I love running, I’m always going like.. Umm… no I actually don’t like it. But then why did I run, right?

I now realize running is a love – hate relationship to me. I love how it makes me feel afterwards, not so much when I start. I do realize, however, that I love longer runs while taking a new surrounding. It’s the fresh air, the parks, the “yay, I’m in an open space!” kind of feeling. Now that I don’t really have time for long walks, running gets me the feeling in just half the amount of time ;).

Then I think this half marathon is a new way to see Berlin! We’re passing through most of the tourist spots, even my beloved Schloss Charlottenburg and KaDeWe! And the Rotes Rathaus (because I need something to look forward to at the last kms!)

Berlin Half Marathon 2014 Route

Berlin Half Marathon 2014 Routef

So LOVE. The weather forecast is nice too… 18 degrees and sunny! (I know it runs the risk of being too hot, but I still much prefer this than running in hailstorms).

Will I Make It?

Ah, the doubts. My goal is simple. Finish running the whole course without the bus picking you up. That’s all. I don’t have a time goal, it’s my first one, and I don’t really care.

As long as I have fun running it, I’ll say I win already. I’ve never pictured myself as a runner before, and now that I could run comfortably for two hours, that’s already a big win for me.

So yeah, I suspect the hardest part of the long distance run isn’t running on the day, but the training leading up to it (3-4 months of intense running!). This needs to be confirmed after the event.

I will make it! For sure!!

Got my start number for the #Berlin #halfmarathon on Sunday!! Bring it on ;)!

BRING IT ON!