Milk. It’s been a loyal companion for centuries. We like how it makes us look. We like its mustache. We like asking if someone has any. We like how it helps us find those who are lost.
But now, milk is in danger thanks to BLISS. Unlike BLISS, milk strengthens bones. Milk is healthy. Milk goes great on cereal. Milk has no side effects (unless you’re lactose intolerant). Milk is available at any store instead of some dirty back alley.
Next time you need a cool drink or help finding a lost child, think milk…the only true bliss.
Stone Star, a comiXology Originals, follows the adventures of Dail aboard the nomadic space station Stone Star. The station is similar to a traveling circus but instead of bearded ladies and cotton candy, you get gladiators and death marches.
Dail begins his tale as a scavenger and thief but soon runs into a retired gladiator who sees that Dail has a special skill. Not much is revealed at first, but it appears he can control machines and become an energy being.
Eventually, he meets Kikanni, an on-the-run royal who’s family is displaced because of a coup. Dail witnesses the murder of Kikanni’s family at the hands of Stone Star workers. He and she then have to escape and hide.
The plot was a typical story about an average person with a great destiny and strange powers. The characters seemed pretty bland. The displaced princess, the good guy thief, the stoic and wise mentor, etc. Even by the end of the book, the characters didn’t seem to grow much–but it is the first book. The first book is meant to introduce the characters, setting, and plot.
Stone Star does have a somewhat interesting plot. Someone murdered Dail’s father. His murder happened shortly after he refused to rig the fights. I think we can see where this is going.
So, if the characters are typical and the mystery is pretty standard, why did I like the story? It was one of those hard to put down books. I finished it in about an hour.
Part of the reason was the art. It was pretty impressive; though sometimes it did look rushed, there were some moments that made my mouth drop.
I think the other part that made the comic so appealing was Dail’s powers. At first I wanted to know what they were. Then I was like, “Oh, he can just control machines. Big deal.” But then he merged with a fighting robot, and later he was able to semi-merge with Kikanni and learn her backstory. So, even though right now it seems like all he can do is control technology, they hint at something greater.
I also think pacing had something to do with my enjoyment. There weren’t many slow points and when you did slow down, you felt like you needed the rest. You felt like you were on the run with Dail and Kikanni; you felt as much in danger as they did.
Finally, I think it was the world. The setting of a traveling space station that works as an entertainment center is kind of unique. Also, it was neat seeing all the different alien beings. I liked the variety and creativity in each one. Each showed the personality well. I also liked how Dail looked human but not so much you’d think he was human. You know he’s an alien. The design choice allowed me to empathize with him but at the same time not wonder “How’d a human get here?”
While on the surface, Stone Star seems typical, the pacing, unique characters, and the deigns of the setting and world pull you in and make the read worthwhile. While I would like to see more adventures with Dail, Stone Star isn’t at the top of my To-Read list. I’m going to pre-order the book, but I’m also not marking down the days till its release on June 1. 4.1/5
A couple images from Season 1.
Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading!
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A young thief named Dail discovers a dark secret in the depths of Stone Star and has to decide where his destiny lies.
A young warrior named Dail has been drawn into the ring and is trying to prove himself in the Grand Arena, but there are forces on the station determined to see him destroyed as revenge for his father’s fighting legacy.
Maiginary is an interactive adventure story by Semyon Polyakovskiy. But it is not your typical interactive story. Instead of choosing from various choices, you interact through your device’s microphone, display settings, compass, and more.
When you first start the story, it asks for your name, which it then just calls you by your first initial–so giving a full name seems pointless. You then meet the previous “owner” of the story, who is now trapped within the book. Your job is to help him escape. Soon things get worse as a clock appears, with each new page turn time is deducted. If you fail to rescue the trapped character before the clock runs out, they are doomed to remain. Luckily, since the the timer counts down with each page turn, you don’t have to finish the book in one sitting.
I found some of the puzzles to be a little difficult. I ended up having to burn through many page-minutes in order to find a hint. Also, it was annoying trying to find the right level to activate the continuation prompt.
In one puzzle, I had to use the microphone to blow away some mist. I kept blowing and blowing and nothing would happen. I had to get a specific level of breath in order for the app to accept it. In another puzzle, I had to adjust my screen’s brightness levels in order to find a hidden object. I kept having to go from the app to Settings as I tried to find the correct percentage level.
People who have more experience with interactive stories or know more about their device’s features might have better luck.
I enjoyed that this story involved me more. I wasn’t sitting there clicking Choice A or B, I had to figure out compass directions or how to get something out of a vending machine that appears within the story.
I did roll my eyes at the moments where the character would hint at becoming trapped in the story because he chose to not finish reading.
I found the adventure app to be immersive and funny. Certain words would join together to form an image. For example, a group of letters spelling out “tall grass” would hook together and wave like grass blowing in the wind.
The part I found the most annoying was running into the paywall. I was just starting to enjoy and figure out the game when BAM paywall. If I wanted to continue I need to pay; fortunately, the price is pretty fair–especially for what you get.
While there were some annoying moments, thanks to the puzzles, in general the app worked fine. It didn’t crash or run slow or have long load times. I didn’t feel like I was a distant observer–I always felt like I was part of the story…at least until the paywall.
Overall, the story provided a good mystery and sense of tension and urgency–but not so much you fell panic. It had a nice balance between easy and difficult puzzles. Finally, I did not feel forced out of the fictional world that was being created. 4.3/5