Showing posts from January, 2013

Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise, Part Three

Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise, Part Three Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru, 2012 Premise: Sequel to Part One , Part Two . The Harmony Restoration movement is in crisis. No one is willing to back down from the disputed city of Yu Dao, and it looks like the Earth Kingdom and the Fire Nation are headed straight for another war. The gang does what they can to try and convince the sides to talk, but ultimately Aang is going to have to decide what to do. How can he balance what he thinks is right with his loyalty to his friends and his terrible promise? Yeeeesssss. YES. Oh, this wraps up this plotline in a lovely way, and gives us the hook for the next miniseries. BRING IT ON. Everyone is just wonderful, although it hurts my heart in the best way to see them at odds. Katara starting to deal with the reality of not just being involved with Aang, but being with the Avatar, and how that’s different. Sokka, Suki and Toph are doing what they can from the sidelines, but it all com

Stand on Zanzibar

Stand on Zanzibar John Brunner, 1968 Hugo Winner - 1969 Premise: A fractured look at an overpopulated dystopia. It mostly focuses on how the decisions of two men in New York affect events in two small countries on opposite sides of the world. I fell asleep. Literally. I literally fell asleep at least three separate times while reading this book, never when it was late at night, or I was particularly tired. So it should come as no surprise that my take on this book can be summed up in three words: Slow, Long, Boring. This book is written in a “groundbreaking” style that was appropriated from an earlier work of historical fiction. It consists of different types of chapters: some follow the main characters, some follow minor characters who may or may not appear again, and some provide worldbuilding. I guess the latter are supposed to feel like information overload, but really I just read enough to get the idea (i.e. the next four-ten pages are examples of future advertising

Post Captain (Aubrey-Maturin, Book Two)

Post Captain (Aubrey-Maturin, Book Two) Patrick O’Brian, 1972 Premise: Sequel to Master and Commander . It seems that Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin would be settled into their new routines, except peace breaks out and they’re left on shore without a job. Being on shore holds a new set of complications for them, including the most volatile element of all: women. I forgot that the women who will be important throughout the series make their appearance so early! The naive, stable Sophie and the emotional, bitter Diana make trouble for the boys’ friendship over most of this book. Everyone’s emotional flaws are on full display as anger, uncertainty, attraction and betrayal war within all four characters. It can be frustrating seeing the gentlemen lose their senses and the ladies downright encourage it, but there is enough other plot to lighten the story. There is a wonderful scene where they abruptly put aside their differences to escape from Jack’s creditors, and a great deal

Broken (Extrahumans, Book One)

Broken (Extrahumans, Book One) Sarah Jane Bigelow, 2011 Premise: Broken used to be a superhero. Now she’s alone, living on the street, hiding from the authorities and her former friends. Michael Forward has a power as well: he can see possible futures, and he knows he needs Broken’s help if there’s a chance to save the child who could transform their world. Hey, an indie novel about superheroes that’s pretty awesome! Sign me up for that. The dystopian setting felt plausible without needing to know all the details, but the highlight was really the characters. Broken, Michael, and the other Extrahumans we encounter, like Sky Ranger and Lucky Jane, feel like true superheroes without ever feeling like copies of existing comic-book characters. Think Astro City-style, but a darker world. The description of Michael’s ability to see the possible futures is eerie and morbidly fascinating. Broken (formerly Silverwing) is a suicidal healer, angry and hopeless by turns, but capable of so

Lord of Light

Lord of Light Roger Zelazny, 1967 Hugo Winner - 1968 Premise: Sam, also known as Mahasamatman, also called Buddha, among other things, plans a war on Heaven. The people are not allowed technology, and those who speak against the gods often do not come out of the reincarnation machines. Sam will have to use all the allies at his disposal if he hopes to break the rule of the gods. In case you haven't guessed yet, this is not Earth. I liked Lord of Light , although not quite as much as I liked This Immortal . The books have a lot in common, with quasi-immortals, mythic themes, and purposeful anachronisms. The most interesting part of this one was trying to piece together what the people calling themselves gods actually are. Of course, we don't get a clear answer, but it's interesting all the same. Sam's quest, and the personal stories of those who help him, were intriguing, but it wasn't quite as satisfying for me as the earlier book. Many characters have

2012 in Review(s)

I was going to write this big long post about the best of the year, but I’m getting over a cold and the holidays, and now I’m thinking I’m just going to link you to reviews you might have missed. Most books I read this year and absolutely loved were either classics or graphic novels. There were a few books that were new in 2012 that got 5 stars from me, though. Without further ado... My Favorite Books published in 2012! Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance is the most recent, and it was a heck of a lot of fun. The Wise Man’s Fear is the sequel to The Name of the Wind , and both are magnificent. Code Name: Verity This is on EVERYONE’S Best of the Year Lists for a reason, people. If you haven’t read this, you are missing out. Classics! DUNE  Yeah, DUNE. Dune is awesome on so many levels, and only one of two Hugo Winners to get five stars from me so far. (And the other one is Downbelow Station , which I read before starting the Read-all-the-Hugos Project.) Master and Commander