Morning Glory Academy is one of the most prestigious prep schools in America—as the collection opens, six tr...moreFull review posted on Across the Litoverse
Morning Glory Academy is one of the most prestigious prep schools in America—as the collection opens, six troubled teens pack their lives into a single suitcase each and tie up loose ends in their hometowns. Casey's thrilled with her scholarship, while Ike's mother can't believe the school would scout her psychopathic son. Zoe's a serial dater with a disinterest in school, Hunter's a Canadian sweetheart from a broken home, Jade (formerly Jane) has an obsession with vampires and a clear stalker streak, and Fukayama Jin has a quick wit and a killer's instinct. However, once the teens arrive on campus—in a drug-induced blackout, no less—their fight for survival begins, and the mysteries behind these hallowed doors reveal themselves one by one…
Nick Spencer's written quite the introduction to his series, and his main cast possesses quite the loveable crew of anti-heroes. I took an immediate shine to Casey, the blonde bombshell who's also the leader of the new recruits. She's clever, organized, and she puts a bit of fear into her über-sadistic teachers. Also, I will have to honour fellow Canadian, Hunter—his talents have yet to be seen at this point (aside from his good-natured, beta-male approach to this murderous new life), but I get the sense he's got a few tricks hidden up his sleeves.
I found Joe Eisma's panels were well-structured and the pacing of the horrific scenes was good—the nightmarish images averaged about one-per-comic and tended to occur after a page flip (again adding to the general warning at the start of this post…). I did find some of the artwork became repetitive at times and duplicate panels or panels with minimal differences between them were regular features.
I expect I'll pick up the next volume in the series, if only to delve deeper into the dark secrets of Morning Glory Academy. Of course, next time around, I'll make sure to start reading well before 10 PM…
Ideal for: Readers craving a labyrinthine mystery in their sci fi horror; Teens looking for clever, convoluted, sixteen-year-old protagonists; Fans of secret societies, government training programs, or other sinister (and lowdown) groups.(less)
Tom Taylor's no stranger to the limelight—of course, the fame was never his to start with. Tom's father, Wil...moreFull review posted on Across the Litoverse
Tom Taylor's no stranger to the limelight—of course, the fame was never his to start with. Tom's father, Wilson Taylor, won critical acclaim and a massive, dedicated fanbase for his thirteen-book series about a boy wizard named Tommy Taylor—since Wilson's disappearance, Tom has toured the convention circuit in his father's place, and he's learned to pander to the legions of adoring readers who see him as the flesh-and-blood incarnation of Tommy. Tom goes through the motions, all the while pressuring his manager to land some decent acting gigs for the would-be performer.
While attending London's 30th Annual Fantasy Convention, a woman calling herself Lizzie Hexam challenges Tom and accuses him of being a fraud. Lizzie's in the process of completing her doctoral thesis, and she's uncovered some inconsistencies in Tom's personal information and his childhood records. As Tom struggles to deal with the fallout from these recent accusations, the young man finds himself drawn into an ever-widening mystery regarding his origins in the Taylor family and his father's whereabouts. As he sifts through the information at hand, and as he returns to the scene of Wilson's disappearance, Tom's life begins to mirror Tommy's life in eerie and dangerous ways…
An excellent introduction to a sinister, magical world—for starters, I loved how much bookish knowledge is required on behalf of The Unwritten's readers—of course, we're treated to Tom's in-depth awareness of London's literary geography and Wilson's obsession with his son's education on that front, but it's the subtle, insider's nudge that pleased me the most. So far, there are five books to the series, and I will certainly be checking out the others in the near future.
Ideal for: Book nerds checking out comic books for the first time; "Pott-heads" intrigued by a re-imagining of their beloved hero's archetype; Comic book readers looking to distance themselves from the usual superhero fare, or looking for a fantastic re-jigging of the everyday world.(less)
Bureaucratic magic meets stifling political deadlock in the Cold War–inflected novel, The Night Watch. Unbekn...moreOriginally posted on Across the Litoverse
Bureaucratic magic meets stifling political deadlock in the Cold War–inflected novel, The Night Watch. Unbeknownst to the human citizens of Moscow, a war between agents of the Light and the Dark has marred their streets for generations. Supernatural beings known as the Others maintain the fine balance of Good and Evil among the human population, and among the Others themselves, under the guidelines of The Great Treaty—a tense "ceasefire" signed by the leaders of the Night Watch and the Day Watch.
The Night Watch opens as Anton Gorodetsky, a young Other from the aforementioned watch, patrols Moscow's streets as an active agent for the first time. As he tracks down a renegade vampire and his newly made mistress, Anton stumbles across a young woman on the metro with trouble brewing around her. A powerful curse swirls over Svetlana's head and threatens to unleash great terror over Moscow, but Anton has his hands full after saving Egor (a young, uninitiated Other) from the clutches of the Dark Ones. At the command of his boss, Anton teams up with a powerful Other named Olga, a woman locked into the form of an owl as punishment for a past error in judgement. Together, and with the rest of the Night Watch, they struggle to remove Svetlana's curse and to protect Egor from the vampires after his blood.
I had a mixed response to this book: on one hand, I loved its paranoid atmosphere and its densely bureaucratic treatment of magic (e.g. licenses to hunt as a vampire and werewolf; licenses to use magic as a healer or a seer, etc.), but there was a definite energy lag toward the second half of the book (where cold vodka and repetitious Anton-angst rule the narrative). However, fans of the fantasy/horror blend will discover great action and heady philosophical debates in this first book of The Night Watch tetralogy.
Ideal for: Readers with a penchant for Cold War politics and fantasy/horror mash-ups; Nerds who like a shot of the philosophical in their genre fiction; Folks who like their morals in a fine murky grey inside of a solid black or white; Readers who like to feel paranoid while diving into a new work. (less)
This book defies the simple confines of genre, form, and narrative and offers a maze of writing to wander through. The shifting, disorienting presence...moreThis book defies the simple confines of genre, form, and narrative and offers a maze of writing to wander through. The shifting, disorienting presence of the house is mirrored through the physical layout of the book, an ingenious trick to lure readers into the text. It is interactive fiction at its finest and it will force readers to leave the light on for the long hours of the night.
The book will also inspire readers to reassess the general structure of their own homes, inducing a paranoia that perhaps there are pockets of darkness where none should be. Each creak in the walls will help stoke that general, inexplicable fear. Also, the desire to produce writing with ample footnotes is considered a symptom of reading said novel.
Ideal for: readers with a penchant for the paranormal; folks who welcome sleepless nights; multi-taskers; former undergrads in love with footnotes.(less)