Showing posts from October, 2019

A Study in Emerald (graphic novel adaptation)

A Study in Emerald (graphic novel adaptation) Original story by Neil Gaiman, adaptation by Rafael Albuquerque, Rafael Scavone, Dave Stewart, et. al., 2018 Premise: A certain notable detective and his partner try to solve a crime in a very different version of Victorian London. When I heard there was to be a graphic novel adaptation of "A Study in Emerald," I was immediately intrigued. Intrigued, and a little hesitant. It's a clever mashup story, combining Sherlock Holmes with Lovecraftian elder gods. I've read the original many times. The story is already a visual feast - there's a fantastic version laid out like a period broadsheet , complete with advertisements full of easter eggs. But the conceit of the story also hinges on what is not seen by the reader, so I was curious how well the art would balance the need to illustrate the story with the desire to maintain a certain ambiguity. Overall, I think it does very well. It helps that Rafael Albuque

A Deepness in the Sky

A Deepness in the Sky Vernor Vinge, 1999 Hugo Winner - 2000 Premise: Two grand fleets are converging to attempt to solve the mystery of the On-Off Star and potentially profit thereby. The inhabitants of the circling world face war and revolution, as do the humans coming in from the stars. Set in the same universe as (but having only subtle connections to) A Fire Upon the Deep . This book is really impressive, but it wasn't quite for me, at least not right now. It might be another book that suffered from my recent change in reading habits. It’s long and hard to read in snippets. It's really, really long. It’s good, but it’s just so... long... that I might have quit reading it if not for this project. There are a lot of characters to introduce and civilizations to set up, and the plot takes forever to really get started. The villains are extremely villainous (to the point that anything other than a final victory by the heroes would have been extremely unpleasant to rea


Graceling Kristin Cashore, 2008 Premise: Some people are born with a special skill; they are talented beyond normal mortals. This one is a singer, this one a dancer, this one can read minds. Katsa is a killer. I came at this book from the reverse direction from many readers because I already read and loved Jane, Unlimited , a much more recent book by the same author. (I remember hearing some dissatisfaction that the books were so different from fans of this series.) I knew this book had awards and lots of fans. I wasn’t looking for anything beyond an entertaining and relatively easy read, and I got that and a little more. I’ve been reluctant to read YA again recently after being burned a few times, but this was quite good. Katsa is a great character, both vulnerable and strong, thoughtful and determined. She almost unconsciously finds ways to care about people despite her own suffering and difficulties. The romance is well written and any sappiness is fully justified. The wo

The Queen of Ieflaria

The Queen of Ieflaria Effie Calvin, 2018 Premise: While Princess Esofi is en route to her marriage, the prince she was to marry dies suddenly. To save an alliance and bring aid to a beleaguered kingdom, Esofi must decide whether she will instead marry the prince's irresponsible sister. I found this fantasy/romance novel promising; in fact, I bought it on the strength of the sample. Unfortunately, for me it fell sadly short by the end. The intriguing aspects include the magic and the larger world, including the complicated religion of this group of small kingdoms. Even more interesting were the two main characters, who each subvert their initial stereotype. Esofi, who is frothy and girlish, is also a stone-cold magical badass and has been raised with all the training befitting a future queen. Crown Princess Adale is an action girl on the surface: she wears pants and goes out hunting and drinking. Once she starts trying to impress Esofi, Adale eventually finds that her actua