J.J. Abrams highly anticipated book triumphs through production values, but falls down over plot.

S is a bold creative project, conceived by Lost creator J.J. Abrams and written by Doug Dorst (Alive in Necropolis).

The story is told through a stolen library book, Ship of Theseus, authored by reclusive author V.M. Straka and translated by F.X. Caldeira. In the margins of the book, disgraced graduate student Eric attempts to solve the mystery of Straka’s real identity, and in doing so, beat his old academic mentor to the discovery of a lifetime.

Jen, a restless college senior, stumbles upon the book, and begins exchanging notes with Eric as they attempt to solve the mystery of Straka and Caldeira’s identities, and come to terms with their own struggles along the way.

The production value of the collection is incredibly high – it can really only be described as absolutely stunning. The hardcover has been cleverly packaged as the worn library book, with every page coloured to mimic its distressed nature. The book itself gives no hint that it is actually a work of fiction by Abrams and Dorst; only the box it comes in bears the authors’ names.

Between the pages of the book, readers will find photographs, postcards, letters, and even a graffitied napkin, all of which look and feel just like the real thing. The notes from Jen and Eric that feature throughout the novel are very clearly handwritten, and the pictures are drawn in – there is no cliched handwriting font here.

Yet the highly constructed nature of S also proves to be one of its greatest weaknesses. The additional materials make it difficult to physically read the book without them becoming dislodged. This would not pose such a problem if the various materials were not often directly linked to the notes on the adjacent pages.

The handwritten notes also ensure that the reading experience is more complicated than normal. Inevitably, the interactions between Jen and Eric are far more engaging that the text of Ship of Theseus, and it is difficult not to skip through simply to read their storyline.

The most disappointing aspect of S is that the very story that consumes the two would-be scholars is not all that engaging. Perhaps Dorst’s intent was for this story to move slowly and steadily, merely to provide a jumping off point for Jen and Eric. If this was this goal, Dorst has succeeded masterfully, yet the somewhat dull storyline does make it difficult to accept why so many people would be so concerned with Straka’s book. It also makes it difficult for readers of S to stay engaged with the multiple layers.

No fault can be found in the writing, and Jen and Eric’s voices are particularly enjoyable to read, as is the slow exploration of their own personal problems. The changes in their pen colours are used effectively to give the reader some indication of where in their relationship they are. While their correspondence does not demonstrate a linear progression of their relationship (they have obviously gone through the book multiple times, adding notes as they do), their interactions are not as difficult to follow as they initially appear.

S is far from perfect, but is worth reading for the experience alone. The book offers something entirely unique, and Abrams’ involvement may spark the increase in this type of product. Its strength lies in its production values, and while it is at times too slow or overly complicated, it offers readers a damn good first attempt at a completely immersive, multifaceted reading experience.

S by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst is available now through Mulholland Books and Allen & Unwin.

Images: Amazon

With Captain America: Civil War coming to theaters this week in the U.S., the Russo brothers are teasing their plans for Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 and Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2!

In an interview with Uproxx, the Russo brothers revealed that they believe that the current titles for the next Avengers films are misleading. Joe Russo stated, “The movies are two very different movies.” However, the current title makes it feel as though it’s the same story just split into two different films. It looks like that’s not what they’re going for, though.

“The intention is we will change it, we just haven’t come up with the titles yet. But, yes, we will change it. And, yes, that is a scoop: we will retitle them,” Joe Russo went on to say in the interview. Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 is currently scheduled for release on May 4, 2018 so it may be quite a while before we learn what the new title is. Thanos will be serving as the main antagonist in both of the films, with the conflict revolving around the Infinity Stones.

Before we even get to Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1, Marvel still has several movies to release. Including, Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, and Black Panther.

Marvel recently pulled Inhumans from their upcoming Phase Three slate. It was supposed to be released July 12, 2019 after the release of Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2. It’s still unclear whether the film is cancelled entirely or if it is simply being pushed back.

Are you glad to hear ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ will be retitled?

Cami O’Connell has always been wise beyond her years and station on The Originals, and we will carry her most important words with us for a long time to come.

Cami O’Connell may not have survived Lucien’s bite on The Originals season 3, episode 19, but her words and wisdom will never be forgotten. She helped Klaus find peace and goodness in the world, she showed Davina that she is powerful enough to make her own destiny, and she constantly reminded everyone on that show that rising above one’s circumstances and being a good person is completely possible, even in the supernatural world.

Thinking back to all the incredible moments we had with Cami over the three seasons she was a part of The Originals, we tried to find a worthy enough way to pay our respects to her character. She was constantly dishing out incredible advice and knowledge, some of which is applicable to the world at large. Here are a few of our very favorite Cami quotes:

‘The Originals’ season 1, episode 4, ‘Girl in New Orleans’

“People are not awful. They want to be good. Something makes them bad, makes them snap. There are always signs. Symptoms before someone has a psychotic break.”

Cami The Originals season 1 episode 4 Girl in New Orleans edit

‘The Originals’ season 1, episode 8, ‘The River in Reverse’

“You are the architect of your own happiness.”

Cami The Originals season 1 episode 8 The River in Reverse edit

‘The Originals’ season 1, episode 16, ‘Farewell to Storyville’

“No one can control you unless you let them.”

Cami The Originals season 1 episode 16 Farewell to Storyville edit

‘The Originals’ season 2, episode 4, ‘Live and Let Die’

“This is a city of death, fires, floods. To say nothing of the violence we do to each other. We may laissez les bon temps rouler, but really we’ve turned life into one big party to distract ourselves from a single, unavoidable truth: We’re all going to die.”

Cami The Originals season 2 episode 4 Live and Let Die

“There’s more to life than the pain they made you feel. A cold beer, a slow song, a good friend. There are good things, Klaus, and you need to see that, too. There’s no real peace in revenge.”

‘The Originals’ season 2, episode 6, ‘Wheel Inside the Wheel’

“You know, sometimes I ask myself why I let people like Klaus into my life. I have this destructive pattern. I’m always drawn to the bad boys. Maybe deep down, I feel like that’s what I deserve.”

Cami The Originals season 2 episode 6 edit

‘The Originals’ season 3, episode 19 ‘No More Heartbreaks’

“I was never naive enough to think that I was your light, but there is light in you. All that anger, the cycle of abuse that Mikael began, you can end it. You have to, so you can be the light for your little girl. For Hope.”

Cami The Originals season 3 episode 19 No More Heartbreaks Leah Pipes edit

“Love will make you strong. It will make you the man that I know you want to be, and you have to remember that because I won’t be here to remind you.”

Which quote will you remember Cami for?

Another nail has just been placed through the cable box coffin: Hulu has just confirmed reports that they’re putting together a live TV service.

Speaking in front of advertisers on Wednesday morning, Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins said that live TV on Hulu is in the pipeline and will offer consumers a way to watch network and cable channels live via Hulu’s suite of apps.

Hopkins’ comments arrive on the heels of a report in the Wall Street Journal which first revealed the streaming service’s plans. According to that report, ESPN, ABC, Disney, Fox News, FX are the first channels set to join Hulu’s live TV service. Hopkins didn’t confirm any channels during his presentation this morning.

When it launches, Hulu will likely have one of the best shots at making a live TV streaming service take off, and it may seriously disrupt the traditional cable box business. The only other major service currently offering live TV via streaming is Sling TV (with plans starting at $20/month), but unlike Hulu, Sling lacks brand recognition.

Over the past couple of years it’s been widely report that Apple has made several attempts at creating a live TV service like the one Hulu is trying to put together, but the iPhone maker has run into trouble striking deals with the various networks.

Hulu’s current packages allow consumers to watch TV shows from most of the major channels the day after they air on traditional television. Plans start at $7.99 per month.

For some fans, watching TV shows live is important so they can live tweet or discuss their shows elsewhere online immediately after they air. A live TV service from Hulu could cause many people to get rid of their traditional cable boxes, which tend to come saddled with bad user interfaces and extra fees.

Are you tentatively interested in Hulu’s live TV service?

The price of the service will be an important factor in how many people subscribe, of course. Hopefully it’s cheaper than most cable subscriptions.