Our library bought book 1 of Descender a while ago. I fell in love with it madly. And then nothing…for month. Until now when it added volumes 2,3 and 4 to their digital catalog. And so, naturally, I binged. It was a sheer delight.
Lemire is something of a genius storyteller. Versatile, engaging and wildly original and imaginative. An absolute pleasure to read.
Even if I didn’t love robots. Although I do, I love robots so much. The Tim series in the books are almost exactly the robotic companions I dream of. They also might be galaxy’s only chance at defending itself against a race of giant robots that rained such destruction upon the worlds a decade ago. And so everyone wants Tims. There are interplanetary intrigues built around it. By a variety of humanoid species and robots too.
This is such a spectacularly well-imagined and rendered universe with solid internal logistics and all that. Great characters too, on any world.
Plus, there’s that art. Oh what a stunning art. Watercolors. It looks like no other. It looks like proper art. The Descender books are so gorgeous to look at that even if you don’t care for the plot, you can enjoy they purely as art. But you are going to care for the plot. You’ll see. Even if you’re not a fan of space operas. It’s just that good. Recommended. On to the next one.
Black Mouth by Ronald Malfi
Tale as old as time (or at least, it is with fans) of a group of young kids facing something/someone evil back in the day and coming back as adults to revisit it/sort unfinished business decades later. So ok, maybe Malfi doesn’t reinvent the wheel here, but he spins it oh so nicely.
I’m a fan of his work, have been for a long time. So much so I don’t even read plot summaries before going for his latest books. This one didn’t disappoint either. Technically, had I read the plot summary beforehand, I would have loved it for having magic, magicians and circus in it alone. As is, it was just an awesome bonus, a perfect cherry atop of this nightmare cake.
A small West Virginia town, once industrial and since then abandoned and hopeless. A quarter of misfit toys of kids. And a Magician that lives in the woods and wants to teach them some tricks.
Oh what fun…until the Magician demands something back. Turns out the cost or real magic might be too high to pay.
Fast forward a couple of decades. The kids are now in their thirties and no longer in touch, but then come together like the intervening years were but a dream, for it looks like their old friend The Magician might be back. There’s been a recent sighting of him and he looks just the same. Can it be a mistake? Or is there something more sinister at play here?
Meanwhile, there’s a man, a terrible man, whose life path is set to a collision course with the group of friends. Once upon a time, his life too was irrevocably change by an encounter with The Magician. Only the lessons he learned were of an entirely different kind.
Poky, disturbing, atmospheric, character-driven and oh so well-written, this book is definitely a winner and would please any genre fan out there. Yes, it is ever so slightly overwritten and repetitive at times, yes, I didn't personally love any of the characters, and yes, I’m still not entirely sure how much I loved the last few chapters, but for the overall quality of narrative and engagement, this is still pretty freaking awesome.
The way Malfi draws you in, the way he tiptoes the thin line between natural and supernatural, alternating between real and imaginary nightmares…delicious.
Oodles of fun reading this. Definitely recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
I don’t normally read series and there’s really no good reason to have stuck around for all six of Nebraska books except that there were there, there were free, there were only six of them, I enjoy Reynolds writing and I’m a completist. To be honest, it’s mostly because of the latter.
The thing is the series started off pretty strong. The first few books were pithy and fun and then they started to get fatter, slower, and much less fun.
To be fair, they stayed pretty entertaining throughout, but the later books never lived up or even came close to the appeal of the first few. It’s plain to see why the series stopped after book six, which is another overwritten and all too serious (although not as much as its predecessor) tale of a famously last-name-only detective getting in over his un-fedoraed noggin into a case he can’t say no to.
It’s gangs this time. Gangs, you ask? In Nebraska. Yeah, apparently so. And while there might not be a Gangs of Nebraska coming to the theatre near you anytime soon, it’s enough to have unlicensed private investigator Nebraska dodging bullets as fast as he can.
The victim is a nineteen-year-old kid who was just beginning to turn his life around when he was found dead late at night in a gang-ridden neighborhood. From, of course, a drive-by.
The employer is Nebraska’s old friend and a former cop named Elmo. Together they navigate the dangerous world of Crips and Blood under a veritable rain of bullets.
It’s…well, it’s ok. Nice to see the writer tried to do something with social relevance, but all it does is just make you miss the earlier books, when Nebraska was fun.
Anyway, there, I did it. Read them all. Now I never have to set foot in Nebraska. Whew.
The end of Skottie Young’s reign of this series and he goes out with the bang. Just when I was finally enjoying reading more or less conventional superhero comics. Well, some might argue the notorious Merc isn’t all that conventional, but there you go. That’s the main appeal.
With blatant disregard for conventional morality and things like the fourth wall, this installment offers a bran-new slew of adventures.
Firs, an all-out Troll war down under. Then Weasel and Memphisto decide this guy will be their next great assassin. Are you sure about that, guys? If anyone can talk himself out a job, it’s that guy.
And if he survives that, his next job will be for an eight-year-old confronting Nightmare himself over some…well, nightmares.
Snappy snarky fun all around and fun art to boot. Bonus adventure stays well much true to the original tone of the series, so Young leaves it in able mitts. Very entertaining. Recommended.
If you love words and believe that a language is an ever-evolving thing of beauty, this is a book for you.
English, for all its simplicity, is an insufficient language when it comes to emotional intelligence representation. There are simply too many notions, moods, and obscure sorrows for which there are no words…well, for which they weren’t any words until John Koenig came along and made them up.
Joining the esteemed ranks of Shakespeare, More, Milton, and others, Koenig has been coning the words to describe all the things that used to take paragraphs to describe before for a while now through his website. Eventually, he accumulated enough of them for a dictionary…hence, this dictionary.
Obscure sorrows presuppose a certain melancholy tone and sure enough, there are many ways to be sad and say sad it in this book. Most of them are devastatingly elegant and strikingly clever. These words have a meaning, they have etymology, they don’t just exist, they deserve to exist.
And I really wish more of them stuck to the walls of my memory palace, because I would like to just casually toss them into the world now and then.
But then again, how often do you just sit down and read a dictionary? Not often enough, likely. This is no conventional dictionary – some entries get pages of description. Poetic in a way. Only not as pretentious and wonky as most modern poetry. Just kind of…meditative. Thought of the state of being sort of thing. Either way, it’s a perfectly readable dictionary. And for word lovers out there, it’s an absolute delight of a read. Recommended.
Deadpool by Skottie Young Vol. 2
Continue to surprise myself with how enjoyable these books are. Me, who normally doesn’t really go for superhero comics. Then again, this gabby Merc is about as nonconventional as superheroes get. Not even all that heroic, just superpowered. Selling skills to anyone who can afford them. Any age, any species.
Volume two collects three standalone tales: a charming holiday ditty, a noir tale featuring Jessica Jones (and tangentially Daredevil), an amusement park rivalry setup; and then a three story arc featuring a villain named Good Night (with a Dark Knight rip-off of an origin story) who has a Jupiter size grudge against the hired gun never found a wrong moment to tell a joke.
All in all, lots of fun, Especially the first three. Well drawn too .Recommended.
I like a good themed anthology. And as a lifelong apartment dweller, I have a particular fondness for apartment horror. Because house horror has been done to death and came back to haunt itself as a ghost. Being alone and scared is easy, being amid others and terrified…that’s another story.
So, that’s the idea here – one of those giant tower blocks one normally associates with England, but can find in any urban scenario. Ugly practical things that never quite feel like home, but ordinary, right?
Well, in Castle Heights, things are about to go wrong, very very wrong. One night, one blackout, 18 nightmares – one for each floor.
A terrific concept, albeit somewhat unevenly executed. It doesn’t start off very strongly (some distinct amateurish vibes at first); in fact, it doesn’t pick up until the fifth story. And since I can never remember the names, I tried to remember the story numbers, so it goes like this…the best ones are 5-6 and 9-14. I think. Didn’t quite like the final story either, so both bookends leave something to be desired, but the middle is quite good, which combined with a strong main concept made for a pretty good read.
Especially, considering that I wasn’t familiar with any of the author’s names.
So yeah, well done, atmospheric, freaky, eerie. All the things genre fans tend to enjoy. I was able to grab this as a freebie too, so…nice find.
Ah. Monsters. I love all monsters. Classic ones, modern ones, pink ones. You name it, I love ‘em.
So this collection attracted my attention immediately. Not only does it unleash on its audience an absolutely awesome selection of original takes on classic monsters, but its contents page read like the who’s who of horror fiction. Ok, granted, there was a number of author’s who names I didn’t recognize, but a small number compared to the sum total.
And the stories were terrific, one after another. Only a few out of the well over 20 entries didn’t quite work for me and even those were still pretty good, just not as bombastic as their companions.
Selection wise…well as one might have expected Dracula took the cake. Of course. Vampires have got to be the least original and the most overdone monsters out there and yet…
Tragically, only one mummy story. What? Why?
Most of the spins on the classic themes were notably clever and fun. Sure, there were some predictable clichés done over and over again, like gender-swapping, but some of that was quite clever too. In fact, a couple of stories were particular stand-outs using the monster genre to address social evils, such as sexism and racism. Those might have gone preachy had they not been so well done.
Also, some art. Not one for each story, but still…added bonus.
Overall, a killer anthology, pun intended. Does the monsters justice. Very enjoyable, fun, and a must for monster fans. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
What? Did you think it was over? Did you think it would be that easy? The supes defeated would just scramble off with their tales between their legs, Vought-American rebrand their corporate image and that would be that?
Well, maybe you just didn’t realize who the real villain of the story is here? Or, more like, just how many villains there really are in The Boys.
But this, this twist is a real doozy. Kudos to Ennis. To be fair, I was never really in love with this comic series. I read them because 1.I was a fan of the TV show and 2. I’m a completist and I love original twists on the superhero genre and 3. Our library had the entirety of them available digitally and 3. But the last couple of books had me positively riveted. Wow might be in order.
It’s tragic, it’s messed up, it’s terribly bleak, but, then again, it’s so good. It makes perfect sense within The Boys’ world logic, it simply takes you further than you thought it was going to go, extending the natural trajectory to a place so freaking dark that it seems the sun never shines there and yet…at the very end, there it is, those beams, shining through after all. Giving the readers something dangerously close to the proverbial happy endings.
The crazy thing is all of that, 12 graphic novels worth of stories, took place in The Boys universe over just two years.
And having read them all, it’s difficult to judge them, difficult to recommend them, even. They are certainly not for everybody and not just because they are hyperviolent, dark and raunchy. But there’s a lot that’s right with them, from originality to the character development. And Terror, lovely, lovely Terror.
So I suppose I’m glad to have read them. It’s been an experience, certainly. I’d be very interested to see what the TV show makes of it, provides it continues, because there’s so much material here and so far, the TV adaptation has been making strikingly interesting choices with it.
Until then, Boys, it’s been real. Or surreal, Well, you know how it is.
The Boys, Vol. 11 Over the Hill with the Swords of a Thousand Men by Garth Ennis
At long last, Butcher gets to do something about his slow boiling grudge about all supes and one in particular. It’s war, people, and it’s ON.
Book eleven builds up to the dramatic climax very nicely.
You knew things were going to go that, way, you always knew. The last few books have been relatively quiet, doing backstories, etc. but Boys only ever had one destination – the ultimate confrontation. Butcher’s backstory (and what those f*ckers did to Terror) only serves to remind the readers the trajectory that man is on. Butcher is and has always been a bullet and he’s about to find his target. Whoof.
Moving on to the dramatic conclusion in book twelve.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.