A surprisingly cute tale from a surprisingly cute comic universe populated with enough diversity to appease the most woke of audiences. The multiracial multispecies queer characters in this book set off on a quest to defeat an evil magician who stole one of their friends’ butts.
The butt is technically the centaur’s 50% of him, so he’d just been turned into a regular person with legs, something he hates, pants and all.
But there’s all this mystery and oodles and I mean oodles of relationship drama. And it had every chance to be twee and silly, from the storyline to the cutesy bubble-shaped drawings, but it managed to work quite nicely by not giving in to the lowest bar expectations and with some genuinely funny moments.
Plus, all the characters were just so much fun, in that lovable monster fun way. Made for a quick quirky read.
I’m such a fan of Moreno-Garcia. I didn’t even read the description of her most recent book, when requesting it from the library. She’s such a talented exciting author…how could one go wrong with her latest work?
Well, this is how. By expecting a dark supernatural or noir thriller, liberally flavored with Mexican and/or South American mythology, etc. and getting a vapid romance set in a place that appears to be inspired by sometime ago France.
Why is Moreno-Garcia writing this crap and why does she think that just by giving her two protagonist telekinetic powers, it’ll make it something other than a wrist-wringing-bring-n-the-feinting-couch romance novel?
Seriously? It’s just sad. For the author to waste her considerable talent on something like this? Was it done for a paycheck alone? Or is she courting a…less discriminating more basic audience?
Who’s to say? And this book did gather oodles of acclaim from respectable sources, but really…romance? Eeewww. I mean, it’s still a well written one, Moreno-Garcia is just too good of a storyteller to offer something less, but it really is quite basic.
Specifically, a plot as trite as a good old love triangle. A famous telekinetic magician, the torrid love affair of his youth who is now a wealthy married dame of society of the eponymous Beautiful Ones, and her niece by marriage, an uncouth but well born young woman who becomes her rival.
The performer and the lady once were all googaa for each other, one summer a decade ago. Then he went off to make his fortune and she gave in to her familial pressures and married for money. To a perfectly nice man, but still…she resents the situation and him along with it, a resentment that soured her entire existence.
Now she has to babysit her spouse’s country cousin with the goal of marrying her off.
The magician performer dude, meanwhile, made his money but never got over the woman who left him and now he’s back in town and circling her. And for convenience’s sake decides to court the niece to get closer to the aunt. Nifty, right?
Well, sure enough sparks, however one-sides, do the thing that sparks do and the young woman falls for him. They both can move things with their minds. Yey.
But alas, the course of true love and all that…
Things don’t work out then. And when the two of them pick it back up a year later, the sparks are more dangerous, almost enough to start a fire.
There. I made it sound as exciting as a romance novel can be. Which isn’t very.
If you’re a fan of the author, you just expect more. The entire time. And it doesn’t come. It’s just this. This slow-simmering slow dance for three, trite, twee, and predictable to boot.
What a waste. Seriously. It’s like watching Christian Bale do a Geicko commercial or something.
Mostly it made me angry for being tricked into reading a freaking romance novel. You know, those things written for people who have no concept of how real life/love works.
If you want telekinesis and lurv, Eleven and Mike have a more exciting and realistic romantic subplot on Stranger Things. Sheesh. Ok, here’s hoping this was a one off and now a new direction for Moreno-Garcia. Because otherwise, this (like the book’s prestigious society) is all the wrong kind of beauty.
I was familiar with Young’s work from his superhero comics, and he did very well with those, despite the natural superhero imposed restrictions, so I was interested in checking out how he does with completely original material. Turns out he does pretty well.
This macabre love story or this haunting haunted tale or this relationship cautionary story was perfectly entertaining and nicely told.
The protagonist of it, Ro, is an artist who fears she may have become an arteest, pretentious and out of ideas. She rents out a place reputed as haunted on purpose, to see if it sparks something inside her. Well, it does. Turns out the ghost is real, although not quite a ghost. And the relationship between Ro and him is real also, although far from conventional.
This is an atmospheric tenebrous tale about the dangers of loving in the dark or being in the dark about the ones we love.
Nice quick read. Quite gothic. Quite fun. Recommended.
Steadily maintaining the same lightly humorous style, daredevil antics, and brisk action-driven pace, Mickey7 is back and sequelized. Of course, the man in no stranger to replication; in fact, that’s kind of his thing.
Mickey7 is a once professional and since retired Expendable colonizer of a distant world. Once he specialized in risky/impossible jobs and being brought back as a rebootable clone of sorts.
But not anymore. Now Mickey’s retired from all that, enjoying the good life of mindless chores and spending time with his girlfriend, Nasha.
Now the winter is coming…and if we learn one thing from seven season of Game of Thrones it’s that you gotta prepare for the winter.
The retirement was only good until Mickey’s inimitable services are needed once again. Now he must go retrieve the bomb he left with the locals two years ago. Absolutely must as in the survival of the colonizing mission depends on it.
And so once more into the…exoplanetary madness of it all. This time with a team, reluctant as they may be. Follow Mickey’s adventures amid the semi-hostile planet and its fascinating denizens. Follow the fun.
And it is fun, Almost exactly as much fun as its predecessor, which is to say considerable amounts. Mickey’s story is slick and movie adaptation-ready. The characters have that winsome easy-breezy charm that almost seems glib, an action-flick devil-may-care attitude, always ready with a joke or spunky banter.
It might be great art or great literature for that matter, but it’s very entertaining and enjoyable, well written with some nice world-building, and reads very, very quickly. No wonder it’s one of my favorite recent science fiction reads. Sometimes you just want pure snack food sort of fun and Mickey got oodles of it. And by the looks of it, is gearing to return in further adventures. Because, you know, colonizing a planet is complicated…and series from a marketing perspective are easy money. And I’d probably read the next one too, though I’m not much into series, because, you know, fun. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
This was some sort of mad wizard thing, wasn’t it? Well, wizards, plural, co-authored into existence out of a podcast and mind-bogglingly original, inventive, and exciting, Night Vale is one literary destination you do not want to miss.
It’s a town unlike any other that exists in accordance to its own wildly bizarre rules. Then again, most places have bizarre rules. Night Vale is just…odder than most.
In this town, a pawn shop owner stuck at age 19 gets an unusual item: a paper with two words written on it. It seems like a place name only it’s a place she has never heard of and seemingly no one else has either. The paper stubbornly refuses to leave her possession and so she sets off to investigate the existence of this other place, enlisting the assistance of another local, a woman with a shapeshifting teenage son.
None of the things in the paragraph above are actually the oddest things about Night Vale, but it’ll give you the idea.
There’s so much to like here, there’s so much to LOVE here. It’s clever, completely unique, and wryly darkly humorous in all the right ways. There’s a mystery, well, there are lots of mysteries, really.
The strangest most interesting characters; the strangest most interesting places.
I’d read and enjoyed Fink’s Alice Isn’t Dead before, so I knew to expect good things and yet this book still managed to impress.
It was certainly helped by the fact that it marked my return to audiobooks after a couple of years away. The narrator did such a great job with it, getting the sardonic cheeky tone of it just right. It’s atmospheric, immersive, it completely draws you in and, while Night Vale might not be a place you might wish to visit in person, in literary form it’s an absolute must see. Loved it. You might to. Dare to believe in mountains. Recommended.
A family can be very much like a country. For one thing, it can be difficult to leave. But also…best case scenario, it can provide a sense of belonging and pride, somewhere to be safe, loved, taken care of. At worst…well, it can make for some terrific literature.
That’s what this book is…terrific. Stunning. Awesome.
There are plenty of mother/daughter relationship stories out there and most of it falls prey to cheap sentimentality, triteness, clichés. This novel does none of it, averting every pitfall along the way with expertise of a car race driver…something especially notable for a debut, and resulting in a story that hits all the right notes and then tears the strings out. Bam. Done. Make of it what you will.
This novel is unapologetically unsentimental, unflinchingly visceral, and unorthodoxly about love. Albeit, love – the real thing, the kind that guts and scars.
A most courageous endeavor and a most courageous novel about it.
Don’t make a mistake of dismissing it as just a coming-of-age novel either, although the narrator is sixteen. There’s nothing teen or twee about it.
Lara is a smart kid who has been denied any semblance of a normal life for so long, that she ends up craving it desperately. Alas, with a mother like hers - an embittered émigré, emotionally crippled by childhood abuse, intellectually frustrated well-read pentalingual, promiscuous, alcoholic, daring, wildly unconventional and seemingly comprised of razor blades and edges – normalcy is an impossible thing.
When the two of them come to their most recent temporary landing at the Oasis trailer park in California desert, things at long boil over, all the frustrations, all the resentments, all the misunderstandings.
What a book. What a powerhouse of a book. Absolutely riveting. If you follow my reviews (and you really should ;) ) you know how many books I read and this was a definitive standout among them. The way this author writes, the emotional punches she throws…just wow.
The characters of this book come alive, every wrinkle, every flaw, every aspect of beauty. Especially the main two. Especially the mother. The way the author (who isn’t Eastern European it seems) gets the dark melancholy of the Slavic soul – it’s poetry in motion. Many kudos.
This novel is what looks and hopes for in proper literary fiction. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
Oh, I am such a fan. This is my fourth read by the author, and time after time, Steadman produces the exactly perfect popcorn thriller: exciting, completely absorbing, fun.
Is it hyperbolic? Is it over-the-top at times? Well, yeah, sure, but that’s just part of the fun.
It never insults your intelligence, never panders to the lowest hanging fruit of the audience, instead it just reaches out from page one, grabs you, and takes you on a wild ride.
It’s the best possible version of the beach thriller, albeit one good enough to actually make you forget where you are.
Some of Steadman’s book have been summery, this one is definitively wintery. In fact, so much of it is set around Christmas that it almost made me wish I’d held off reading it until then. But of course, by then I had read the first chapter and wasn’t going to put it down.
So, true to its title, this story revolves around family. A very particular very wealthy kind of family that our young albeit not so innocent protagonist is about to marry into. And true enough, this family likes to play games. Dangerous, dangerous games.
And our protagonist didn’t sign up for that. She’s a humble English orphan who has found some measure of success with a best-selling debut novel when she meets her Prince Charming. Edward.
Edward proceeds to literally sweep her off her feet and into a New York fairy tale. Edward’s family is insanely intimidatingly old world moneyed, but one can only put off meeting the (future) in-laws for so long and now it’s time.
The family is welcoming, excited, but also complicated, secretive, and manipulative. And then of course, their penchant for games.
The novel’s first pages find our protagonist desperately trying to survive one of those games, then rewinds in time to see how she got there. And then, of course, how she gets out of it, complete with a delicious ending plot twist for genre connoisseurs.
And is it far-fetched? Sure, somewhat, but who cares. It’s so fun. Original. Mostly unpredictable. Riveting. Magnetic. Unputdownable. All one can ever want in a thriller, really. And all, most of the thrillers out there are aspiring to and failing at being. In other words, very, very good.
Popcorn thriller, sure, but gourmet popcorn, all the way. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
Taking a page out of the old masters’ books, this collection is as haunting and atmospheric in ambiance and as dense in writing style as something M.R. James or someone like that might have written, but (and this is a significant Kardashian-size but) this collection is infinitely more readable.
This reader, at least, gets put to sleep by a lot of old timey genre fiction, these stories were lively enough to stay awake to. Not so much slow as slow-simmering, tale after tale of ghostly goings on, this collection is a perfectly fun way to spend a dark evening or two, especially for genre fans. Specifically, genre fans who like their frights quiet, subtly eerie, and literary.
The only thing here is I’d recommend this collection for dipping in and out instead of reading straight through as I did. The latter method makes some of them appear too similar, blends them together in a way, one ghost after another. But taken individually, they’d likely shine more in their own individual ways.
Overall, a nice read. Thanks Netgalley.
Finally, after the underwhelming WindMaker and, especially, E.X.O., Okupe steps up his YouNeek YouNiverse game with Malika.
Malika is, presumably, the comic he intended to write all this time, one that got consistently buried under his desire to produce what are essentially superhero cartoons told in stills.
Same strong Africa-centric narrative, but this time the bulk of the narrative is set in the past and features historically relevant locations and kingdoms to tell a tale of a warrior queen (a mash-up of two real life figures) who kicks ass. Righteously.
Though it features similar motives, like sibling rivalry, etc., this is a genuinely stronger story and a more engaging protagonist.
The art is an improvement too. It actually looks like a graphic novel and not a video game.
The narrative really should have stuck to historical fiction where it shined, but instead it looks like Okupe is determined to drag all his YouNiverse tales into present or near future and tie them all together like Marvel Universe does.
The quality isn’t the same, of course, but he’s really trying. And for representation purposes alone, it’s great. This one was actually fun to read, albeit quite long. If you’re going to visit YouNeek YouNiverse, I’d suggest to begin with this one.
Nocturne by Alyssa Wees
Not quite traditional reading fare for me, but every so often a fairy tale seems like a good idea. A very adult fairy tale, of course, in content, but still…
And so, this gothic adventure/romance made its way onto my reading list.
Nocturne is essentially a mash-up of The Phantom of the…Ballet, Beauty and The Beast, and the myth of Persephone.
It’s nicely done, magnetically narrated, and of course, as is de rigueur these days, with a strong feminist message. And a strong female protagonist to boot.
Young as she may be, Grace Dragotta has dreams and the drive to follow through on them. She wants to be a prima ballerina and soon, suspiciously soon, gets her chance, albeit under a patronage of a mysterious dark figure.
Soon she ends up living with him and slowly but surely unraveling his secrets, while engaging in a complex emotional web of ambitions and desires.
The tale borrows entirely too heavily from its inspirations, so it’s difficult to speculate upon its originality, but it’s clever about mixing and matching its elements, well rafted, and reads quite nicely. Entertaining enough for something different. Thanks Netgalley.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.