Showing posts from October, 2011

A Shadow in Summer

A Shadow in Summer Daniel Abraham, 2006 Premise: An assortment of unique characters plot with and against each other about the future of a powerful merchant city-state. While I really enjoyed reading A Shadow in Summer , it's been a couple of days since I finished it, and I'm already having trouble remembering it. I thought it was well done, an interesting magic system, pretty neat characters, but I don't just didn't hook me completely. The prologue was a bit intimidating in its use of new terminology; it took me a while to figure out what was going on. Once the story picked up I liked it (and understood it) more. I liked Amat, the older overseer, a lot at the start, but she didn't really grow on me. I liked the main two young men, both conflicted and searching for purpose. The magic was neat, it centers on binding ideas into a human form and using them to accomplish tasks. The people who can do this are called poets, which frankly confuse

LOTR Read-Along! The Two Towers Part Three

The Hobbit and LOTR Read-Along is hosted by Little Red Reviewer and Geeky Daddy This is the second part of The Two Towers. FOTR: Part One Part Two Part Three Bonus One: Photos of Books TT: Part One Part Two Here we are at the end of The Two Towers! It's kind of nice to be taking the time to savor each part of the book, because left to my own devices, I'd probably have kind of skimmed this section in my hurry to get back to the other characters. And that would be a shame, because following Sam and Frodo is wonderful. Discussion Topics: Faramir strikes me as a noble, intelligent fellow, especially concerning powers beyond his control.  Had he gone to Elrond's Council instead of Boromir, how might the story have changed?  Faramir is awesome. He goes on the short list of people who are not really affected by the Ring (and yes, they basically changed this up in the movies because they wanted the Ring to seem more dangerous). I think it's because he'

Comics Briefly: Avengers Academy #20, Legion: Secret Origin #1

Books were new in stores on 10/26/11 Avengers Academy #20 Writer: Christos Gage, Penciler: Tom Raney, Inker: Scott Hanna, Colorist Jeromy Cox I had mixed feelings about this issue. It's well done, decently follows the reshuffle of the cast, with a few really nice character moments. It does, however, feel like this is the appropriate jumping-off point, if I want to take it. Legion: Secret Origin #1 Writer: Paul Levitz, Artists: Chris Batista & Marc Deering, Colorist: Wes Hartman Hey! A story about the beginning of Legion of Superheroes, with characters I recognize! That's what I wanted, and didn't get, in the New 52 Legion books! So far it's cute and fun, although not much more. Mostly told from an external point of view with mixed success. It's just a miniseries, though, so it's less of a commitment to pick up the first issue. Read, Didn't Buy: Justice League Dark #2: I found this pretty dull, even though the angsty character du jour

Pirate King

Pirate King Laurie R. King, 2011 FYI: This is the eleventh book featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes. See my reviews of books 1:  The Beekeeper's Apprentice  and 10: The God of the Hive . Premise: After the tumult of the recent months, Mary Russell is looking forward to some time away from tangled politics and mysteries. Her plans are cast awry, however, when she is asked to investigate sinister happenings surrounding Britain's premier silent film company. When movies, pirates, and Gilbert and Sullivan are involved, you can guarantee that nothing will be what it seems. This was an extremely enjoyable read, although it falls a hair short in the climax of the plot. It's much more fun than the most recent Russell books, making it a welcome change of pace. The hectic world of early film is a fantastic milleu to visit, and all of the supporting characters were fascinating. My favorite parts of the book, though, were the few moments of connection between Russ

LOTR Read-Along! The Two Towers Part Two

The Hobbit and LOTR Read-Along is hosted by  Little Red Reviewer  and  Geeky Daddy This is the second part of The Two Towers. FOTR:  Part One   Part Two   Part Three TT: Part One This was the middle bits, wrapping up the Isengard plot and the beginning of Frodo and Sam's attempt to get into Mordor. Let's get straight to the discussion questions: 1. The Glittering Caves of Aglarond; Fangorn Forest: Which of the two would you be most excited to visit once the war was over? No fair! I love both forests and caves. Especially forests that lead to caves. Of course, depending on who you are and how careful you are, Fangorn might be more likely to kill you, so that would have to be taken into account... 2. How did you like the reunion of at least part of the fellowship at Isengard? Did any part of it stand out to you? I really like that Gandalf and Theoden went off to talk strategy and news with Treebeard while Merry and Pippin treat Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli to a casu

Follow Friday Oct 21

This is Follow Friday, hosted by  Parajunkee's View  and Alison Can Read Today's Question is: Q. What superhero is your alter-ego? I haven't Blog-hopped in a while, but I had to answer this one.  My real-life superpowers, FYI, are: - the ability to find almost anything in our apartment, no matter how long it's been since I've seen it or who had it last - the ability to make surgers behave. A surger is a machine that looks like this: that uses 4-5 needles and two blades to make edges that look like this: and it's a fussy, temperamental piece of equipment. For my super-hero alter ego, though, I'm picking Shayera Hol, aka Hawkgirl This version, obviously Not for her complicated love life or backstory, but because, like Hawkgirl, I can be a fun, loving, complex person but still often feel like there should be "Less talking, MORE HITTING!"

Comics Briefly: Batman #2, Star Trek/Legion of Superheroes #1, Supergirl #2, Wonder Woman #2

Favorite Issue this week: Batman #2 All books were new in stores on 10/19/11 Batman #2 Writer: Scott Snyder, Pencils: Greg Capullo, Inks: Jonathan Glapion Okay, this is really good. Gorgeous, basically note-perfect, solid good comic. Less fun than Demon Knights, but you can't have everything. Light but nice touch on Gordon and Dick, nice expressions on Bruce. That suspended feeling of a really breathtaking panel reveal. Nice work. Star Trek/Legion of Superheroes #1 Writer: Chris Roberson, Pencils: Jeffery Moy, Inker: Philip Moy, Colors: Romulo Fajardo. Jr. Yes, I picked this up because I couldn't resist the premise. Star Trek! Legion! CROSSOVER! Whoo-hoo! This first issue is mostly set-up, and I didn't leave it quite understanding what the full set-up is, but the writing is strong, the art solid, and the premise irresistible. The opening was pretty awesome, too. Supergirl #2 Writers: Michael Green and Mike Johnson, Penciller: Mahmud Asrar, Inker: Dan

Top Ten Tuesday - Books I Read Because of the Title or Cover

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and The Bookish This Week's Prompt: Top Ten Books Whose Titles Or Covers Made Me Buy Them I've been skipping a lot of the memes lately, but this one deserves a little comment I think. Although, in my case, many of these books should be called Books whose Titles or Covers made me take them home from the library... 1: James Bond Series, by Ian Fleming Okay, I read most of this series from the library initially, but I liked the covers on these editions so much that I bought them. They look like old school over-the-top movie posters, and I love it. They look great on the shelf, the colors are bright and bold, and each spine has a little piece of the picture above the title. I don't tend to take them on the subway, though... 2: The Manual of Detection, by Jedediah Berry I remember not liking this book as much by the end as I had at the start, but it was the striking cover that made me pick it up at the library.

Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Lost Adventures

Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Lost Adventures Created by Bryan Konietzko, Michael Dante DiMartino Various Writers and Artists, 2011 Woo-Hoo! Premise: This volume collects the A:TLA comics that were previously published in several Nickelodeon branded magazines, as well as many which were never published. They take place concurrently with the animated series, as a series of short stories that fit in-between the episodes. I adored this. It's a great assortment, from short two-page gag comics, to longer, in-depth stories. Twenty-eight stories total, including both stories I had read in the Free Comic Book Day sample. They are arranged in chronological order, and split up into sections for how they match up with the seasons of the series. There were a few shorts that had art which I didn't much like, but overall it's remarkably consistent. The writing is generally strong, all the characters are true to their on-screen selves, and the dialogue and situations

LOTR Read-Along! The Two Towers Part One

The Hobbit and LOTR Read-Along is hosted by Little Red Reviewer and Geeky Daddy Welcome to the first third of The Two Towers! FOTR: Part One Part Two Part Three I always forget, when I haven't read the books in a while, whether the two towers of the title are Orthanc (the tower of Isengard) and Bara-dur, Orthanc and Cirith Ungol, or Orthanc and Minas Morgul. It is technically the last one, but I think the only place I've seen that verified is in the very end of FOTR, and it's only there if you have a version that is split into three books. It could be any of them, or none, as far as the plot is concerned. The Two Towers contains all the middle bits of the story; I understand why it was hard to come up with a name for this volume. (In case you missed it, I did a bonus post on one of the off weeks: LOTR Bonus: Photos of Books !) I'm a little stretched for time this week, so I'm not going to respond to all the suggested questions. Selected discussion topi

Comics Briefly: American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest #5, Batgirl #2, Batwoman #2, Demon Knights #2

Favorite Book This Week: American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest #5 (Demon Knights #2 close second) All books new in stores on 10/12/11 American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest #5 Writer: Scott Snyder, Artist: Sean Murphy, Color: Dave Stewart A great conclusion to this miniseries. Fun action, good lines, bittersweet close. I can't actually tell you much without giving important plot away, but I like Felicia so much, and I can't wait to see more of her. Batgirl #2 Writer: Gail Simone, Penciller: Ardian Syaf, Inker: Vicente Cifuentes Colorist: Ulises Arreola Not loving the art here. There's just something off about a lot of the panels. I think there's something promising in the story, but we'll see where it goes before I can wholeheartedly recommend it. Batwoman #2 Co-Writer & Artist: J.H. Williams III, Co-Writer: W. Haden Blackman, Color: Dave Stewart. This issue had a few funny moments and good lines, and the mys

The Mermaid's Madness

The Mermaid's Madness Jim C. Hines, 2009 Premise: The sequel to The Stepsister Scheme , this is the continuing adventures of kick-ass princesses Snow, Talia and Danielle. The Kingdom of Whiteshore had a friendly relationship with the local tribe of undine (mermaids) that included mutual respect and trade. Or they did until this year. The mermaid princess Lirea has returned to take command of her tribe, and she is determined to go to war with humanity. Danielle and the others need to find out Lirea's true history and how to stop her, before more people die. I liked this quite a bit, even though it risks being more of the same. I still like all the characters, I like the world, I like the way the story plays with fairy tale conventions. I really like the twist on The Little Mermaid that is central to this one. It's dark and twisted and awesome. Lirea is a sadly broken person, and as such is fairly sympathetic, despite everything. The culture of the undine was

Comics Briefly: Action Comics #2, Animal Man #2, Huntress #1, Swamp Thing #2

As we head into the second month of the New DC titles, I have to admit that this entire experience has got me somewhat burnt out on single issue comics. I'm just tired of most of what I'm seeing. I'll still be picking them up, for now, but we'll see whether I either get sucked back in by something great, or soon my pull list is going to drop way down. Favorite Issue this Week: Huntress #1 All issues new in stores on 10/5/11 Action Comics #2 Writer: Grant Morrison, Pencillers: Rags Morales & Brent Anderson, Inkers: Rick Bryant & Brent Anderson This continues to be mostly fun and intriguing. Good energy in the characters and the art. There's a substantial art preview and interview in the back of this issue, some of what is coming seems promising to me, and some of it seems less so. Animal Man #2 Story: Jeff Lemire, Art: Travel Foreman, Colors: Lovern Kindzierski Some of what happened in this issue was pretty interesting, but in the end I wa


Encrypted Lindsay Buroker, 2011 Premise: Tikaya is a linguist, but during the war, she became a master cryptographer, and was instrumental in protecting the allies of her island home from invading navies. After the war, the defeated Turgonians want revenge on the one they call the cryptomancer, but first they kidnap her to help them decipher some mysterious runes. Along with another prisoner with a mysterious past, Tikaya needs to help her captors enough to keep herself alive, but if the secrets lead to putting something dangerous in Turgonian hands, she'll have to try to stop them. I enjoyed reading this book, although it was fundamentally sort of fluffy. The romance is fine, the characters are sweet, the action is well done. It just didn't make a huge impression on me. It doesn't linger in the mind. Side Note: I hate the cover. It doesn't matter much as an ebook, but I really dislike it. I think it's misleading and that the art is just unappealing.

LOTR Bonus: Photos of Books

There's no Read-Along post this week, so I thought I'd share some pretty photos. While we don't have a copy of The Hobbit in our apartment (I had to get one from the Library last month) we do have a copy of The Hobbit Pop-up Book. It's quite pretty, and panels that pull out on the sides of each page have excerpts from the text. There's only about 6 pages in the book, though. (to spare Little Red Reviewer nightmares, I didn't take a picture of the Mirkwood spider battle 2-page spread...) Here's our copy of Lord of the Rings . The dust jackets feature an Alan Lee painting. While under the jacket each cover has this symbol in red and gold gilt. Fellowship of the Ring and Two Towers feature this big fold-out map in the back: And Return of the King has a map with more detail of the smaller area in which it takes place. However, I've been getting busy, and hard covers are heavy to carry on the subway, so I've also borr