Ok, ok, it really is clever. The world that’s almost like the real one, but with a superpowered mayor of NYC. The politics can draw you in whether you like them or not. Though not so much, not as much as other wilder worlds Vaughan had imagined in his other comics.
This time it gets all too personal. Not only Mitch gets to find out some secrets from his own past, but also one of his employees, the young Journal, gets all too involved in a war protest. Because young people can get like that about protests. Can the intrepid mayor machine maintain his balance grasp on power? Of course, he can. It’s kind of his thing. That and his much-hinted at sexuality.
Anyway, a quick read. Entertaining enough. Remains the least fun Vaughan. For this reader, anyway.
Yeah, much the same as with the first two books. I really love Vaughan as a writer, but not so much this series. Conceptually, it’s very interesting and original. An NYC mayor with superpowers. But as a story it just doesn’t do much for me – it’s simply too heavily political for my liking.
Not enough unconventional superhero shenanigans, too much mayoring. Not enough world-building – too much real world.
The writing’s great, solid dialogue and all that. The art’s great too. It reads quickly enough. It just doesn’t have the same excitement, the same wild energy, the same WOW factor of Vaughan’s other works.
Though the Wachowskis love it. They did an introduction to the books before they were sisters. About how much they like the concept. And it is a neat concept. And probably a much more fun read for fans of politics.
Alias Emma by Ava Glass
I don’t care for the spy genre. I do try, I don’t like to put limits on my reading, but time and again, spy stories just don’t do it for me. Too overdone, too convoluted with intrigue, too action-driven.
This one is no exception, except that it’s pretty streamlined. Maybe because it’s short, maybe because it’s meant to have a wider appeal, but either way this is the popcorn edition of spy fiction. A movie-adaptation ready one night/real time sort of adventure across London as an intrepid spy known as Emma is trying to bring her designated protectee to safety.
Of course, he is handsome and of course, sparks do that thing sparks do, and of course, the evil guys are oh so evil and have tapped into London’s extensive CCTV network so they see all and of course, Emma is tough as nails and nothing, not even bullets, can stop her, and of course, she’s had some super training by her boss which will be flashed onto in flashbacks and made her the superspy that she is. You name a cliché and you can probably find it in here, but that’s spy genre for you.
The overall production is kind of silly, but it’s fun enough, nothing that overworks one’s brain, lots of action, some romance, a decent serving of cheese et voila, a spy thriller.
Is it going to change my mind about the spy genre? No, definitely not. But it’s obvious the effort was made. Wherein normally spy fiction can get too cerebral, this book strategically went the opposite way, straight into the cheeseboard.
That name alone…seriously, a spy with an alias Emma Makepeace. Can we be more obvious? Nothing more creative for a woman on a lifelong revenge mission?
What about the romance? Does it have to be quite so cheddary? Not an ounce of subtlety. At least, the ending didn’t go too cheesy. But who knows, maybe it’s just gearing up for a sequel. Seems to be the thing to do these days.
But it’s readable, it’s entertaining. It’s like spy fiction for people who don’t care about spy fiction. Very much an action movie of a book. If you’re into that sort of thing. Reads quickly too. Thanks Netgalley.
The Fairy Tellers A Journey into the Secret History of Fairy Tales by Nicholas Jubber
There are the names you know. Brothers Grimm. Andersen. And then so many you don’t. So many that have been lost amid the sands of time. And yet their work – the stories that brought into the world – live on, have done so for centuries, one reiteration after another, one adaptation after the next. They are some of our most beloved stories of all – the fairy tales.
We know the modern versions, mostly Disneyfied, cleaned-up for the public at large. And yet, fairy tales are meant to be dark. Tragic. Sad. They were written as cautionary tales. Morality instructionals. But made entertaining, with witches and magic.
Those are the fairy tales I know and love. And their origins go back centuries ago, when cross the globe, the intrepid creators and collectors created (original material) and collected (and adapted existing folklore) to produce books of stories that would beguile the world’s collective imagination.
And so, from Italy to Siberia, from India to Scandinavia, this book will take you on an adventure to track down those unfairly forgotten fairy tellers and honor their talents, for those writers deserve to be known. For their perseverance, for their passion, for their creativity, imagination, for the way they saw the world and the legacy they left behind.
These might not have been the happiest of individuals, who faced great many challenges in their personal and professional lives, but they were never deterred. They intended to tell fairy tales and they did. And the readers of the following centuries have enjoyed them since. Everywhere a written word has reached.
Now that’s legacy.
So yes, a resounding yes, this book is great. Written by a fairy tale lover for fairy tale lovers, the author’s passion for these stories really comes through. The writing is fun and engaging. This book is a travelogue, a biography collection, a literary study all in one. It draws fascinating parallels between different stories from different cultures and times and shows their meaning within the sociocultural context of their day. And more importantly, it shines the spotlight on the people who so very much deserve it, so that their names may live on along with their magical stories. A great read. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
Daphne by Josh Malerman
Malerman has got to be one of the most uneven authors working in genre right now. At least, that’s’ been my experience with reading him and I’ve read just about all he’s ever written.
The man peaked with Inspection and Mad Black Wheel and steadily though variedly disappointed with most of the rest.
Thing is, I like his writing enough to just download his books off of Netgalley on name recognition alone, but now it’ll have to change. I’m gonna have to actually read the plot summaries. Because had I read the plot summary for this one, I wouldn’t have been so put off by being stuck with a YA book about basketball playing teens with anxiety.
And so, Daphne might be the Malerman’s most disappointing one yet.
Sure, it’s great that he gets to write about things he loves (basketball) and things he lives with (anxiety), but that just isn’t enough for a good book. And also, WHY THE F isn’t there a YA label on it? Because one can make more money by peddling it as a coming-of-age story, that’s why.
That’s also cheating. For this book, anyway. I’ve read plenty of coming-of-age stories perfectly geared for adult audiences. This one is geared for kids. Kids like the kids in the book, a bunch of fourteen-year-olds.
The structure of the book the writing, the short sentences and simple logistics, the angst and overall tone – it’s all YA. As in strategically dumbed down for undercooked minds.
Oh yeah, here’s the plot…a bunch of basketball loving kids or ballers in a small town are dealing with the possibility of an urban legend of Daphne (a seven-foot-tall denim clad local weirdo) coming to life to take her revenge. Is it something spooky and supernatural or a serial killer sort of thing? Well, read and find out. The book is, at least, short and because it’s YA, it’s easy and quick to read. Should you read it though? That’s another question altogether.
This one appears to have gathered quite a lot of good reviews on GR so far, so mine is a minority opinion, but there it is. You’ve been warned, readers. Thanks Netgalley.
Say, have you ever read Snow White and thought it was too tame? Well, apparently Neil Gaiman did. And so he gave it a full Game of Thrones style makeover.
Oodles of sex, blood and nudity – check.
Naked women shame-dragged through public streets – check.
Incest – check.
Sexual objectification of minors – check.
And on and on it goes…a dash of necrophilia there, a smatter of murder there.
The thing is Gaiman is one of those organic storytellers who can spin any yarn into gold. And the art in this book is absolutely stunning and perfectly suited to the story. The book is slim and makes for a quick and easy read. There’s a beauty to it, but it’s also hugely, highly disturbing. Especially, the more you think about it.
So let’s just say it was…interesting and visually gorgeous and might not for everyone.
Me, I’m a fan of fairy tales dark as night (which is when you’re supposed to be telling them anyway), so for me this was kind of fun.
Demon Dagger by Russell James
Russell James has been around for a while. Writing perfectly serviceable if unremarkable genre stories. This is a fine example of it. A story of demonic possession with the titular object heavily featured as a killing object. Not exclusively, but the best one for a book title.
So you have your protagonist Drew who as a boy learned to see demon-possessed people (psst…they cast no shadow) and became an apprentice to a demon slayer. As an adult, Drew just wants to have a normal life but those demons just won’t leave him alone. So he does the normal adult thing by day and slays demons by night until his diurnal and nocturnal activities eventually bleed into each other. Notice the use of bleed for it is a bloody business.
And so, alternating between past and present, alternating between character drama and demon-slaying action, the novel rolls on at a fairly steady pace, unfolding much as one might expect. You can just see a tagline for a B-movie adaptation – Demons. This time it’s personal.
Drew has a cute kid but a terrible wife. Seriously, what’s with Drew’s wife? For all their supposed lurv, she’s constantly on a verge of a divorce; all too willing to believe the worst of her dearly beloved and all too willing to boot him out. Terrible, really.
The rest of the characters are ok. The writing’s ok. Toward the end it gets sillier and cheesier, but the backstory kind of offsets it, balancing out the overall tone. The entire thing is ok. That’s sort of the author’s base level – ok. Like write by numbers sort of thing with all the boxes checked, but nothing special offered. And yet, he continues to have a productive career and being featured by publishers like Flame Tree Press so either he’s doing something right or the audience has a certain yen for mediocrity.
Anyway, a thoroughly decent thoroughly average read of demons and demon-slayers…and daggers. Thanks Netgalley.
Ah, our library has gone and done it. They bought pron. Comic book porn. Great and kudos for diversity, but considering how many awesome books they leave by the wayside and how many series they leave unfinished, this is a…questionable choice at best.
Thing is, I like graphic novels, and so I read most of them our library acquires, outside of YA and Manga. I figured this might be corny going by the cover, but I didn’t expect it to be porny too.
Should have done more research, the publisher goes by (kid you not) Smut Peddler.
So this smut is…well, smutty. Which would be fine enough in and of itself, but that’s about all it is. Guess expecting more would be like watching pornos for plots.
Not much of a plot here. Two maids in Edwardian era meet, fall in love and have sex. One is a fat Scot ,the other is a lithe half-Indian, so you got that fish out of water element. And diversity. Plus, there are all the political goings on of the era, women’s rights and all that.
The characters themselves…they have no arc, nothing. There are stretchmarks, heavily featured stretchmarks. Must be one of those fat is beautiful things, but is it really? Especially on a girl of 19?
There’s some very explicit imagery too, sex, all kinds of sex, all sorts of body parts. Quite precisely drawn for a book that often omits things as basic as its main character’s facial features.
Then art in general is pretty basic. Some of the characters, including one of the main ones have all the facial nuances of LEGO people.
But then again, this is smut, so it probably isn’t meant to wow you with its plot or its art. Which is just…ah, whatever.
There are two supplemental stories, one of which sets the protagonists in present day world, which actually tries to say something important about relationships. Almost seems out of place, given the main narrative.
Overall, ok, congrats, library. You’ve tricked me into reading porn. It’s as silly and trite as I imagined it would be. Now, go buy some real books.
And another great chapter in the Descender adventure. Fun with robots is seldom THIS much fun. This creative. This original. This engaging. There’s so much intricate plotting, so much intergalactic intrigue and yet, it is so very emotionally engaging that it completely draws you in.
Traditionally, space operas don’t work for me, but SAGA series and these books are complete game—changers, presenting a possibility that maybe space operas (for me, anyway) are meant to be enjoyed specifically in comic book format.
Lemire, great writer that he is, expertly balances grand concepts like the fate of the world with smaller plotlines like a poignant love story between two orphans. And then, of course there is Tim-21, the AI who can shoulder this entire production with his nothing-artificial-about-it emotional wingspan.
All in all, this is storytelling at its best and featuring some of the most devastatingly stunning art out there. Recommended.
This binge is over. Now the wait for our library to get the final two volumes begins.
The greatest thing about the robots Lemire created for the Descender series is how humane they are. Just as flawed, just as complex, just as affected by nurture and nature. Just look at how different the two Tims turned out.
This is more or a “pause the action and let’s get to know our characters more” kind of a book. Since I really like the characters here, I enjoyed it. Lemire is a very good writer. Plus, the art…that art…what a thing of beauty. Recommended. On to the next one.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.