I don't read a lot of Star Wars EU books, but I'm aware of the recent criticism of them. That they have mostly abandoned character for plot and ever-i...moreI don't read a lot of Star Wars EU books, but I'm aware of the recent criticism of them. That they have mostly abandoned character for plot and ever-increasing danger. If that is your crisism too, then Martha Wells' Razor's Edge subverts that. It's a character-driven, bottle story, with little impact to anyone but the characters directly impacted by its events.
Razor's Edge is the first in a Lucas stunt-cast trilogy. All three will be written by established Fantasy and SF authors (Wells, James S.A. Corey and Kevin Hearne) who are known for their character-driven series and excellent world-building. Each book will feature one of the big three of the SW Universe: Leia, Han and Luke. In Razor's Edge, the focus is on Leia.
Set between New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, Leia and Han are on a mission to secure material for their new base on Hoth. If nothing else, Wells makes Leia finally deal with the destruction of Alderan, and her torture at the hands of the Empire. I have no idea if these have been subjects of other Star Wars EU books, but I doubt it. It helps show how Leia went from her character in New Hope to the stronger, woman of agency in The Empire Strikes Back. I enjoyed it. If all SW EU books had this much depth of character, I'd probably read more. (less)
"There are 1000 comic books on the shelves that don't contain a philosophy lecture and one that does. Isn't there room for that one?" — Alan Moore
Stude...more"There are 1000 comic books on the shelves that don't contain a philosophy lecture and one that does. Isn't there room for that one?" — Alan Moore
Student Sophie Bangs, while researching a college paper, discovers several references to a character named Promethea. These references are in a variety of literary works including epic poetry and comic books. Curious Sophie investigates and eventually finds Barbara Shelley, the wife of the now-deceased author of the latest incarnation of the character. Her attempt to interview Ms. Shelley is unsuccessful.
Her investigation has been noticed, and she is warned by Barbara Shelley. On her way home she's attacked by a Living Shadow, but is rescued by a curious figure - Barbara, dressed as the latest incarnation of the Promethea character.
After they escape, Barbara tells Sophie how her husband's imagination made it possible for her to become Promethea. She explains to Sophie that in ancient Egypt a magician tried to save his daughter from the religious persecution that would kill him by getting his gods to preserve her forever as a story. Barbara further explains that some authors including her husband enabled her to cross back into the material world through the power of imagination as the superhero Promethea. Barbara warns Sophie that they have only managed to slow the Living Shadow down. She suggests that Sophie try and use her creativity to summon Promethea or they are both doomed. Sophiewrites about the character, imagining herself as Promethea, and succeeds in fully embodying her. She manages to fight back the creature as it returns, but her troubles have only just begun.
Now Sophie has to figure out how to be Promethea and herself. She has to learn to identify and deal with Promethea's enemies, and for that she seeks guidance from the former incarnations of Promethea. This involves journeys into the Immateria, where individual imagination and a more universal plane of ideas meet.(less)
My first reaction. Gah. Another X book? I don't have the time or money to follow these. Then, I saw that Jason Aaron wrote it and it was bringing Nigh...moreMy first reaction. Gah. Another X book? I don't have the time or money to follow these. Then, I saw that Jason Aaron wrote it and it was bringing Nightcrawler back. Okay, I'm your Huckleberry.
Everyone's favorite Fuzzy Elf died while trying to save Hope Summers from the anti-mutant villain Bastion. It's been three years now and except for Gwen Stacey, no comics character stays dead for long.
It was a fun, breezy story. It introduced a version of the afterlife/dimension where Kurt has been. It's been a very boring after-life for our Bavarian swashbuckler. It also introduces the core team of X-Men for this book, which includes the return of Firestarter, back to teach physics at the School. It was very exposition heavy and a bit leaden, but I hope to see the action ramp-up considerably in the next issue. But, the art. Ed McGuinness and Dexter Vines create beautiful pages of comics. It's one of those books that I just enjoy looking at. Just beautiful. I'd give it 3 and a half stars, but since Goodreads won't let us do half-stars, I'll bump it up to 4.
This is titled 1 of 5 and it involves finding and returning Kurt back to the land of the living, after that, I'm not sure what it's raison d'etre will be. But with Jason Aaron writing and Ed McGuinness illustrating, it's sure to be a notch above most of the other 250 X-Man titles out there. (less)
Think Holmes on the Range mixed with Harry Dresden and Anita Blake. Unlike most Occult Detective literature, the protagonist -- Cora Oglesby, has no p...moreThink Holmes on the Range mixed with Harry Dresden and Anita Blake. Unlike most Occult Detective literature, the protagonist -- Cora Oglesby, has no powers. She doesn't commune with the Fay, she isn't half-something-or-other or an enchanted creature. Cora is just a deeply, deeply psychologically disturbed, but highly capapable, 100% human.
In the years just after the Civil War, she became a bounty hunter--then, after a chance meeting with a priest dealing with a pesky nest of Vampires--she became a legendary Hunter of monsters, carnivorous cryptids and mythic humanoids like vampires, werewolves and Wendigos. It's not quite made clear if the existence of such creatures are common knowledge in this Universe, as in Anita Blake, or if only those "in the know" are aware, like the Dresden series.
In trying to tag this book, I finally hit on its primary problem. Mystery? No. Noir? Nope. Hardboiled? I'll answer that when I stop laughing. It's rea...moreIn trying to tag this book, I finally hit on its primary problem. Mystery? No. Noir? Nope. Hardboiled? I'll answer that when I stop laughing. It's really about, nothing. It starts out with promise. It's the day of Bond's 45th Birthday, 1969 and he's having recurring dreams about WWII. Specifically when he was a 19 year-old Lieutenant on the day after the D-Day landings, in the farms surrounding Normandy. It's the day he first faces death. Even though, since the war, he's lived a life where he's faced death many, many more times, it's that first time that still haunts him. And then the rest of the book happens. He's sent to a small African nation to stop a revolution, so there's cold war imperialism, poverty, racism and misogyny. You know, Bond stuff. But even that, which either sounds offensive as hell or a laundry-list of Bond tropes, is boring. Stuff happens. He sort of falls in love or something(?). Seriously, I don't know. Then he's shot, goes back to the UK to recover and then ... GOES SOLO! Because REVENGE. (or something, again--no clue). In this book it means nothing special. Just Bond traveling to England, Africa and Washington, DC buying stuff. Eating stuff. Running into Felix's nephew. More stuff, more food, more buying stuff and then shooting folks. And then, thankfully it ends. It ends well. With a very cinematic and very Bond novels flourish. I've JUST finished this and if you held a walther ppk to my head, I couldn't tell you what it was about. Seriously, no clue. Good start, good finish and ... stuff in-between. I want my couple of hours back, or better yet, I'll just go watch From Russia With Love.
Addendum: I don't give one star ratings lightly. I very rarely do it. I try very hard to find something positive and redeeming in a book and push it up a star. The word-salad I had to wade through and the racism were deal-breakers. Sure, it's of the period, but it was awkwardly shoe-horned in as if to say: "Hey, I know this book is set in 1969 and I totally haven't described anything of the late 60s for about 50 pages now, so here's some ugly casual mid-20th century colonial racism. Okay?" No. Just. No. (less)
Blood and Circuses, the 6th Phryne Fisher mystery, is so far, the least satisfying, and I think I know why. Kerry Green...moreI can tell what happened here.
Blood and Circuses, the 6th Phryne Fisher mystery, is so far, the least satisfying, and I think I know why. Kerry Greenwood has written the character for 6 books and five years at this point. I can almost hear her inner monologue: Am I in a rut? Are all of the books going to follow a pattern? Do I want to switch things up a bit? She did that.
This is essentially supposed to be a fish out of water story, with Phryne playing the fish. Specifically a play on a subtrope of FOW -- City Mouse. Phryne is stripped of her wealth, privilege, house, car and family. How will she survive? Except Ms. Greenwood seems to forget what she has told us in each of the other five books in the series: Phryne can take care of herself, that is her superpower. She grew up poor. She didn't gain wealth until she was a teen and even then, didn't take it seriously. She was always Rose in first class finding a poor bloke as a lover and dancing with the rabble in steerage. So now we're to believe that going into the countryside and living for a few weeks with a traveling tent circus will bring her nearly to the breaking point? That she will be so weakened she will take a lover not out of libidinous desire, but for protection? Um, no.
For much of the book there are two story-lines: Phrynie's circus investigation and Lt. Robinson's Melbourne murder. Obviously they were linked and it took until the last act of the book to bring them together. Some of the plot details were sketchy and there were also a few jarring perspective shifts in this one. The period and circus vs freaks research was flawless. I think Ms. Greenwood was so busy showing off her talents at meticulous detail, story and structure suffered.
Basically, Phryne lost her agency, just enough, and in such an unbelievably trivial (for her) way, it lost me. I get why Ms. Greenwood did it, but the reason Phryne broke was just too little. Phryne is a superhero. She's Bond. She's Nero Wolfe. She's flawed, but she doesn't break easily. I just didn't buy it and to be honest, I don't think Ms. Greenwood did either.(less)