Batman: Detective Comics (Volume 4) Intelligence (Rebirth) by James Tynion IV

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“The Holy Sword of Dumas no longer needs to be wielded by an imperfect man. It can be the weapon all on its own. Faith given body in shining metal. It does not doubt. It does not waver.”

— James Tynion IV, Batman: Detective Comics (Volume 4) Intelligence

    After a slightly messy and tumultuous story arc, James Tynion IV comes back strong with Batman: Detective Comics (Volume 4) IntelligenceCollecting issues #957 to #961, this volume kicks things off with a quick reminder of Spoiler’s solo adventure and then dives into a solid and well-executed story around Jean-Paul Valley, also know as Azrael, as well as Zatanna. While there has yet to be an update on the subject, issue #962 is actually the finale to the Intelligence story arc, but seems to have been excluded so far in the collected edition’s blurb. I doubt this is an intentional and cleverly thought-out marketing ploy by DC Comics since you’d be left with no closure and a huge cliffhanger if you end things at issue #961; the logical way to go will be to include issue #962, the final part of Intelligence into this trade paperback. In this volume, James Tynion IV explores the lore behind Azrael and his infamous sword and armour as science bursts through the front gates of religion. Reinventing Azrael by adding a technological explanation to the sword and suit of Azrael in order to explain his radical beliefs and his enhanced combat, James Tynion IV brings forth an original story that blends science and religion in a very riveting compound. The story is also enhanced with a touch of magic and nice past and present narrative as Zatanna is finally introduced into this universe.
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The Court of Broken Knives by Anna Smith Spark

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“Why we march and why we die, and what life means… it’s all a lie. Death! Death! Death!”

— Anna Smith Spark, The Court of Broken Knives

    It’s always refreshing to dive into a pool of murky grimdark water after a long thriller swim. With fantasy books, the world alone transports you to unimaginable places filled with impossible people and creatures. Set in environments that take a life of its own, you’re bound to find yourself chained to the details of the land and to lurk in the shadows of its people. Anna Smith Spark brings us a new and gripping debut story that swears to have everything you’d want, from blood and betrayal to magic and dragons. The Court of Broken Knives, book one in the Empires of Dust series, offers us four different and unusually fascinating point of views to tell a story filled with back-stabbing decisions and rightful ownership. Although each character (mercenary captain, mercenary recruit, politician and high priestess) all have their own goals and slowly discover the harsh reality of the decisions they are to make, Marith, the latest recruit to the company of soldiers, remains the center of attention as his uncommon background resurfaces and takes a hold of his life.

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Yesterday by Felicia Yap

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“How do you solve a murder when you can only remember yesterday?”

— Felicia Yap, Yesterday

    The memories we have can play some sneaky tricks on us. Two individuals can remember completely different things about the same event. Based on their experience, their angle, their perspective and their intentions, everything can be seen differently. It can get quite complicated when you realize that some things last longer than others. The mind can go ahead and retain information that you never thought you’d remember and then decide to forget the things that you so desperately need to know. Felicia Yap however has something much more simpler, yet so much more devastating to offer us with Yesterday. In this parallel universe or alternate reality, the world is classified into two categories: Monos and Duos. The difference, you wonder? Monos can only remember up to 24 hours, while Duos have the blessing to remember up to 48 hours. In this world, Monos are seen as an inferior, although numerous, class compared to the elite Duos. It is thanks to their unique little iDiary that everyone is able to remember their past. Or at least what they want to remember.

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Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber

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“The only thing more dangerous than a lie… is the truth.”

— Kathleen Barber, Are You Sleeping

    Imagine leaving behind a huge chunk of your past in order to start fresh, to unburden yourself and to look forward rather than behind. This is the dream that every person chases after when they realize their lives have hit rock-bottom. But the past has other plans for them. Never does it truly disappear or leave you alone. It rather lurks around in the shadow until a golden opportunity arises. Are You Sleeping is Kathleen Barber’s debut thriller and already receives praise as being a harmonious mix between hit podcast Serial and best-selling author Ruth Ware’s In a Dark, Dark Wood. As inaccurate as these comparisons often end up being, this is one that definitely highlights this books strengths. Are You Sleeping is the story of Josie as one of her family’s tragedy is dragged out of the darkest corners of her life by investigative journalist Poppy Parrell through her new sensational podcast Reconsidered. The question that now haunts both Josie and the readers is: What will be brought to light after so many years of silence?

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The Lost Ones by Sheena Kamal

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“His desperation is so fresh and raw I can almost taste it.”

— Sheena Kamal, The Lost Ones

    The lies we tell each other will always be followed by the truth. If there’s one thing that seems to be inevitable, it’s the past that forged us into the person we are today. Sheena Kamal’s debut thriller demonstrates her ability to develop a greatly flawed protagonist in Nora Watts as she is thrown into a dark road to the truth. In The Lost Ones, Nora Watts receives an unexpected call from desperate parents who claim their daughter has gone missing—a daughter that is also Nora Watts’. Drawn by a compelling urge to seek out a child that she had given away years ago in order to sever ties with a past that no mortal would want to hold onto, Nora Watts finds herself drifting down lanes that never make any sense until the pieces finally fit together and unveil the danger that remained in the shadow for far too long. Told in first-person, Sheena Kamal has succeeded in creating one of the most fascinating protagonist that easily reminds us of Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

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The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

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“I need you.”

— Ruth Ware, The Lying Game

    After In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10, Ruth Ware brings us a character-oriented thriller with The Lying GameUnlike her previous stand-alone stories, this one focuses a lot more of the bond that lies tie together between friends and family. All grown-up, Isa Wilde is now a mother to her little girl Freya and a wife to Owen. She contemplates a typical life of adulthood, balancing both her new responsibilities as a mother but also as a lawyer. However, The Lying Game wouldn’t be much of a thriller if it didn’t suddenly shift gears and raced head first into danger. In fact, that is exactly what happens as Isa Wilde receives an unexpected text from a friend she hasn’t heard of for over 17 years: “I need you.” Left clueless to what kind of history compels an individual to rush back to a dark place from the past, readers are kept at the edge of their seats as Ruth Ware slowly but surely unravels the lies that have kept a couple of friends connected together, whether they liked it or not.

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Batman: Detective Comics (Volume 3) Leagues of Shadows (Rebirth) by James Tynion IV

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“She is Cassandra Cain. She is Orphan. And she knows that ghosts are very real.”

— James Tynion IV, Batman: Detective Comics (Volume 3) League of Shadows

    If I had to bet money on the Batman-related Rebirth series that would thrive first between James Tynion IV’s Detective Comics run and Tom King’s Batman run, I would’ve thought Tynion IV was on track to delivering the better content. While his run is still highly entertaining and generally much more intriguing than what Tom King has to offer, there just seems to be roof that his run can’t seem to burst out off in order to place a mind-blowing story arc out in the market. Batman: Detective Comics (Volume 3) League of Shadows is the third main story arc by James Tynion IV within the Rebirth era. Collecting issues #950 to #956, the story explores one of the most well-known group of villains within the Batman universe: the league of shadows. Unfortunately, this secret organization remains a myth to the eyes of most individuals until now. Presenting us a rabid introduction of the league of shadows, James Tynion IV also places Cassandra Cain, also known as Orphan, at center stage and dives into her origin story with sheer brutality.
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The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 ¼ Years Old by Hendrik Groen

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“Another year, and I still don’t like old people. Their walker shuffle, their unreasonable impatience, their endless complaints, their tea and cookies, their bellyaching. Me? I am eighty-three years old.”

— Hendrik Groen, The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 ¼ Years Old

    There’s nothing like jolting down your daily activities and thoughts on a piece paper and be able to look back on these logs to reflect on life. Journalistic entries can also serve as a great method to create structure and routine into ones life. Through them, as personal as they can be, you can learn a lot about a person’s way of life, about the people around them and about the time period they’re in. After all, values, beliefs and practices change over time. But what’s truly beautiful is that once you get used to writing a diary, it sort of becomes an instinct that’s hard to detach yourself from as the pros overshadow the cons. And so, Hendrik Groen explores the world of diaries by writing one of his own as an octogenarian. This book is his uncensored exposé in which he offers us « a year in the life of the inmates of a care home in North Amsterdam ». Embodying cynicism, Hendrik Groen gives us a humour-filled look at his surroundings, the people he meets and his precious rebellious thoughts as a man who sees it all.

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The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

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“If I have learned anything in this long life of mine, it is this: in love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.”

— Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale

    By now, it’s pretty hard to go around talking about historical fiction without mentioning The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. This story quickly gained a solid fan base and became an instant classic for most people who got the opportunity to flip through it. Set during the dreadful World War II period, this is a story that focuses on the Nazi occupation in France. As rare as that angle is, The Nightingale also strives to tell a powerful and emotional story of two French sisters who’ll discover the meaning of love and war in all their shapes and forms. Vianne, the eldest of the two, is a married mother to Sophie and wife to Antoine. Her struggles begin with the departure of her husband as he’s called to war. Stern by nature and always looking to remain safe rather than be sorry, Vianne’s adventures throws her into a tornado that will harden her personality and open her eyes to the choiceless choices that will shape her life forever. Isabelle is however a fiery and reckless young adult who has strong beliefs and will give you a fight to the death in order to do what’s right for the greater good, no matter the cost. It’s when the war begins that both of these two sisters find themselves pinned against a terrifying world and will inevitably have their bond put to the test.
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Cinedote Review – Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

 

Summary: Several months after the events of Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker, with the help of his mentor Tony stark, tries to balance his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens, New York City while fighting crime as his superhero alter ego Spider-Man as a new threat, the Vulture, emerges.

Director: Jon Watts

Writers: Jonathan Goldstein (screenplay and story), John Francis Daley (screenplay and story), Jon Watts (screenplay), Christopher Ford, (screenplay), Chris McKenna (screenplay), Erik Sommers (screenplay), Stan Lee (based on the Marvel comic book by, Steve Ditko (based on the Marvel comic book by), Joe Simon (created Captain America) and Jack Kirby (created Captain America)

Stars: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Kr., Marisa Tomei and more!

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    Spider-Man returns to the big screen with its second reboot within two decades. After a controversially badly-written The Amazing Spider-Man featuring Andrew Garfield as our friendly neighbourhood superhero, all the pressure in the world was on Tom Holland to raise the bar and deliver a MCU-connected Spider-Man who’ll bring the much-needed hero side-by-side with some of Marvel’s greatest heroes. The real question is if Tom Holland’s performance will deliver a stunningly superior Spider-Man than what we got from Tobey Maguire. Without much of a surprise, Spider-Man: Homecoming manages however to do exactly what we all expected from it based on the hero’s 10 minutes of fame in Captain America: Civil War. Its pure jolly and light-on-its-feet action surges onto the big screen in an exhilarating and beautiful fashion and offers us a teenager who’s being thrown in the world of adults and needs to learn the ins and outs before moving forward. Without being stagnant and repetitive by going through the same origin story that the whole world should know by now, this Spider-Man movie draws us right into its story about responsibility and identity.
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Upcoming Superhero Movies and How to Prepare For Them (Chapter 2)

HELLO WONDERFUL PEOPLE!

I really hope everyone is enjoying their summer to the fullest! Personally it has been pretty hectic with work as free time became quite a luxury! Nothing to worry about though. Come July, the world will still keep on spinning and superhero movies will keep on coming out by the dozen! 😀

Way back in November, I started this feature with the very first chapter and had a feeling that it would be nice to help compile a list of upcoming superhero movies that are soon going to hit the theaters (first trailers are already launched) and get people psyched for all the superhero goodies that both DC Comics and Marvel have in store for us! Continue reading

Batman/The Flash: The Button (Rebirth) by Tom King

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“And the moment I saw you… I knew every choice I’d ever made had been the right ones… Because they led to you.”

— Tom King, Batman/The Flash: The Button

    The crossover events are back with Batman and The Flash teaming up to pursue one of the greatest mystery to hit the DC Universe in the Rebirth era. With Batman/The Flash: The Button, fans are presented with a highly anticipated story that continues things right where DC Universe: Rebirth #1 by Geoff Johns left off. This four-part crossover, collecting Batman #21-22 and Flash #21-22, presents us with a couple of fantastic cameos of classic DC characters as well as a thorough recapitulation of one of the most important event that took place in the DC Universe: Flashpoint by Geoff Johns. With the hunting yellow smile button and its little smudge of blood, both the World’s Greatest Detective and the World’s Fastest Man look to decipher its eerie origin and meaning. This storyarc kicks things off with the arrival of another character who sees something devastating in this enigmatic button and propels our favourite heroes on an adventure through time that will surely leave lasting scars, both physically and mentally.
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The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

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“It’s only when the dream is over that you see how odd it all was, how it actually didn’t make sense at all.”

— Shari Lapena, The Couple Next Door

    The Couple Next Door is one of the most wildest story that occurs within just a couple of days. This debut thriller by Shari Lapena offers fans a captivating yet highly insane whodunit featuring a couple and their infant. On the night where both Anne and Marco go over to their neighbours for a little dinner party, the two of them decide to leave their child in its crib while bringing with them a baby monitor to keep an eye out for trouble. It’s by keeping in mind that the neighbours really wanted a baby-free night, that our married couple leave themselves open for a nice little disaster that will cunningly sneak its way into the dark and into their house. Past midnight, our highly confident couple decides to return home only to realize that their worst nightmare has come to life: their baby is gone. As this marks the end of chapter 1, The Couple Next Door will promise you with a paradise of twists and turns to satisfy the most gluttonous of thriller fans in this undeniable page-turner.
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The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov

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“Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.”

— Isaac Asimov, Foundation

    Mind games at their finest! In The Foundation Trilogy, comprised of Foundation (Book 1), Foundation and Empire (Book 2), and Second Foundation (Book 3), you’ll quickly find yourself in front of an author whose grasp on science-fiction is beyond belief. Far more idea-driven than character-driven, Isaac Asimov crafts the rise and fall of civilization in an intricate and astonishing prose. Tackling subjects ranging from religion to politics, this story will challenge your comprehension of individuals, but especially of collectives. Spanning over centuries, the Foundation series is nothing like you’ve ever seen before. Foundation propels us in a time period where the Galactic Empire has thrived for over 12000 years. Psychohistorian Hari Seldon however shocks the world by announcing an impending Dark Age where the Empire will fall and dwell in barbarism for almost thirty millennia unless the Empire’s Commission of Public Safety permits him to establish a back-up plan that will guarantee a much more shorter age of barbarism and the promise of rebirth. It is on this premise that resides the adventures to come and thus leaves us with the torturous question: Will Hari Seldon’s plan bear fruit?

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The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy

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“How to tell a shattered story? By slowly becoming everybody. No. By slowly becoming everything.”

— Arundhati Roy, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

    20 years after the release of the classic Booker Prize winner The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy releases her second work of fiction, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. Although I have yet to read the former—I do plan on doing so in the near future—my first experience of Roy’s writing wasn’t exactly a very compelling one. Tackling the social climate and various taboo subjects in India and its proximity, Arundhati Roy brings readers the story of multiple different characters who will all have their lives connect together at an unlikely juncture. Focusing greatly on these characters and the unbelievable misery that clouds their lives, Arundhati Roy does the impossible and presents us with the relativity of happiness and the rarity of normality. She does so by embracing the Indian culture in all its forms and shows us in different forms the problems that people are submerged in for countless years.
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Our Little Secret by Roz Nay [+GIVEAWAY]

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“Do you really want to know what happened?”

— Roz Nay, Our Little Secret

    This is one of those rare thrillers that actually succeeds in telling a fast-paced, completely immersive and strongly manipulative story in the most concise and addictive way possible. I’d mention that I’m slightly exaggerating, but I’m really not. In under 230 pages, Roz Nay will initially make you feel things towards certain characters and later compel you to embrace polar opposite emotions as the story unfolds. Her writing is brilliant and draws you into the story like none other. Expect time to fly and emotions to be played around with. But what is Our Little Secret about? This psychological thriller focuses on the disappearance of a woman and a love triangle that is in the midst of it all. The whole tale is our protagonist, also the narrator, who’s being interviewed by a detective who’s trying to figure out what happened to this missing woman. What comes next is our lead character telling us the story of her teenage days as she builds the intrigue in an completely addictive and manipulative fashion. For a thriller this short, this one delivers its story brilliantly!
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Cinedote Review – Wonder Woman (2017)

Summary: Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.

Director: Patty Jenkins

Writers: Allan Heinberg (screenplay and story), Scott Snyder (story), Jason Fuchs (story) and William Moulton Marston (created Wonder Woman)

Stars: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielson, Robin Wright, and more!

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   Directed by Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman (2017) presents us with the most successful female-lead superhero movie to date. While the DCEU has been bullied since its debut with Man of Steel (2013) and has known nothing but hate from countless viewers and critics, Gal Gadot (known for her role in the Fast & Furious series) pummels her way to triumph with a well-crafted story, well-rounded characters, adequate setting and a memorable and timely message to leave the theaters with. Wonder Woman (2017) is an origin story told right after the events of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016). Born and raised on the island of Themyscira where all the Amazons live, Diana Prince is raised under the guidance of her mother Hippolyta (played by Gladiator‘s Connie Nielson) and aunt Antiope (played by House of Card‘s Robin Wright).  While her mother tells her stories about her father Zeus and the evil of Ares, she also forbids her daughter to embrace the life of an Amazonian warrior. Antiope however believes that Diana’s destiny is much bigger than what other’s want for her and offers guidance and training. High-spirited, hope-filled and driven, this is how a little girl fights for what she believes in.
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The Long Drop by Denise Mina

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“He knows too much to be an honest man but says he wants to help.”

— Denise Mina, The Long Drop

    Denise Mina delivers a true crime story infused with fiction as she tells the story behind Scotland’s very first serial killer. Deemed to be the trial of the century in 1950’s Glasglow, The Long Drop recounts the fight for innocence for the accused father, William Watt, and the denial of guilt by the known liar and murderer, Peter Manuel. While the outcome of this story is well-known, Denise Mina offers readers the opportunity to read about a trial—thanks to her access to transcriptions—interspersed with her own reimagining of the mysterious night that both William Watt and Peter Manuel spent together trying to bargain for freedom in their own particular ways. While William Watt only wishes to find the gun that was used to kill three members of his family, Peter Manuel attempts to play with an innocent man’s emotions and thoughts and secure his way to a win-win situation. In The Long Drop, the author proposes an exploration of the capital punishment, as well as the darkness within everyone, innocent or guilty.
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The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman

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“No, darling! To die it’s easy… But you have to struggle for life!”

— Art Spiegelman, The Complete Maus

    This is a dreadfully moving narrative that shines through the many dichotomies of life. The Complete Maus is not like anything you’ve read before. Containing both Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History as well as Maus II: A Survivor’s Tale: And Here My Troubles Began, this volume recounts the story of Vladek Spiegelman and his wife’s perseverance and ruthless ordeal through one of the darkest times in history: the Holocaust. Art Spiegelman also interweaves his own story as the son of a survivor and the impact of a dark and twisted historical event on his generation. While exploring the comic medium in all its subtleties, The Complete Maus dives deep into the struggles of every day life and sheds light on the complexity of trust, of survival, of fear and of guilt. It is a inter-generational look into the heart-wrenching and horrendous events pertaining to World War II and the weight that individuals carry since its end.
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Skullsworn by Brian Staveley

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“Give to the god the one who made your mind and body sing with love.”

— Brian Staveley, Skullsworn

    Skullsworn is a stand-alone story set in the same universe as The Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne written by Brian Staveley. Although having failed to get around to read the original trilogy that laid the foundation to Staveley’s popularity, I can still confidently confirm that Skullsworn remains a beautiful introduction to a great talent in the fantasy world and can easily be read without worrying about the potential references it could have to The Emperor’s Blades, The Providence of Fire or The Last Mortal Bond. This new tale features Pyrre as the main protagonist and recounts her Trial to officially arise as a priestess of Ananshael, God of Death. Presented with a song that unveils the very requirements to become a priestess, Pyrre embarks on an adventure in her hometown of Dombâng in hopes of completing the challenge under the eyes of two Witnesses, long time priestess and priest of Ananshael: Ela and Kossal. While the song instructs Pyrre to bestow death upon seven specific individuals, Skullsworn exposes us to the ramifications of love, and the deadly edge to it.
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