I am kind of late posting this review. I wanted to think about it and I got sidetracked by other tasks.
First of all, I am so glad my precious local l...moreI am kind of late posting this review. I wanted to think about it and I got sidetracked by other tasks.
First of all, I am so glad my precious local library had this! I had heard about it and was recommended this book, but graphic novels aren't in my budget. And look how the Lord does provide!
Saga is a fun, fast-paced, visually appealing graphic novel. The art is beautiful and subtle, possessing a clarity I appreciated despite the simplicity of the drawings. The lettering keeps the prose equally clear. I loved the fact that Hazel (the infant that Marko and Alana make together)'s POV is rendered in a different style/font. It threw me at first, but then I realized what was going on. That not only are we seeing this intriguing couple's story play out, but we're seeing there is a future for them, since Hazel must have made it to a certain age in order to narrate. That gave me some hope, since things feel pretty dire for Marko and Alana.
I was recommended this graphic novel on the Fans of Interracial Romance group, which is awesome, and I do have to say the romance is a good driver of this story. I think it shows how fundamental a love story is in many settings. Love and the force it exerts on us and how it drives our actions. Love is not a conflict so much as a precipitator and a facilitator for the movement within a story. In the case of this young married couple, their love for each other drove them to escape from their respective, although reluctant roles in a senseless war, and their love for their baby they made together, drives them to fight for a new life and a safe haven for their family. So it's very organic to the story. Also, there is a strong theme about the foolishness of conflicts and wars and our reasons for hating people who are different from us. This story is practically begging for an interracial/cross-cultural romance. Although Alana looks black and Marko looks white, the color difference is secondary in this novel (and they have strikingly different morphological touches--Marko has ram's horns and Alana has vestigial (underdeveloped) wings). Instead, the bigger disparity is the fact that Alana and Marko are from different planets at war with each other. I really appreciated how these very different people came together and decided to commit to their love for each other, regardless of the obstacles in the way. Their strengths and weaknesses complement each other perfectly, and I can see the respect they have for each other, and their commitment to stand together no matter what.
As far as the conflict and the action, it was well done. I would consider this rustic sci-fi, along the lines of the tv show, Firefly. It also had shades of the original Star Wars films (which is in my mind sort of rustic sci-fi as well). The story keeps active, and the writing doesn't bog the narrative down with going in depth with the sci-fi world-building. This book is quite gory and violent. There is a very explicit scene that I know would be really gross if this was a live action movie, (along with a few others that are pretty in your face) although I can understand what motivated the act. Along with violence, there is a fair amount of profanity and sexual content, including full frontal nudity, and frank sexual situations. Even a disturbing part in which the readers are confronted with the vileness of child prostitution (thankfully no scenes depicting it).
Yeah, so I'm not being very coherent. What I'm trying to say is that I was impressed with this book. It is the beginning of a series I can see myself eagerly following. Yes, it's quite out there as far as sex, language and violence, but the story is good and it gives us two leads that you really like and root for, and of course, their daughter, who is all sorts of intriguing.
Amber "Hawkeye" Rodriguez is a young research librarian who is asked to travel to the mysterious Southern lands on the human-colonized planet of Jigsa...moreAmber "Hawkeye" Rodriguez is a young research librarian who is asked to travel to the mysterious Southern lands on the human-colonized planet of Jigsaw with a group of the equally mysterious Neighbors, the original inhabitants of the planet. Their goal is to talk to the Spirits of Glory, and they ask Hawkeye along for her sharp eyes that see farther than anyone else. The curious Hawkeye has studied the Neighbors her entire life. She goes along because she wants to learn more about all three things: the Southern lands, the Spirits of Glory, and the Neighbors. Not to mention why the Southerners suddenly disappeared in the first place.
Spirits of Glory starts out with a huge question mark. Initially, I had no clue what was going on. The writing brought to mind the fantasist Catherynne M. Valente in which information is given that doesn't make sense until you keep reading. A lot of interesting ideas are presented to the reader and it takes further reading to see where Devenport is going. As the pieces came together, I gained a coherent idea of the story. I liked it before that point, and with its completion, the further insight I gained made me appreciate the story more, although there is plenty of mystery when this novella ends to leave me pondering the world of Jigsaw and its original inhabitants.
Hawkeye is a character that is very easy to feel for, with her humble but inquisitive nature, and good heart. I loved her assistance animals, Wolfy, a Retriever who has almost figured out how to speak English, and Brat, a cat with the ears and nose of a seasoned tracker. The bond between the two assistance animals and Hawkeye and the Neighbors, and Daisy, one of the mules that goes along on the journey made me smile. Animal lovers will appreciate these aspects of the novella.
Devenport imbues this short novel with plenty of tension as Hawkeye journeys into new places and faces dangers from those environs and their decidedly untrustworthy companions, humans who are called Scavengers. They show humans up poorly next to the considerate, composed miens of the Neighbors.
For a short story, I become very emotionally entangled as I read. It was interesting discovering the mysteries of Jigsaw, where time and space are not fixed, but highly mercurial. Although this is set on another planet, and concepts of science are prominent, there is a palpable vibe of the supernatural and otherworldly, with ghosts and arcane beings that the humans and Neighbors refer to as gods.
Since Hawkeye is only sixteen, this story works fairly well as a young adult themed work. However, Hawkeye has a sheltered aspect to her personality, and at the same time, has suffered a great deal for her age, making her a mature, balanced main character. She serves as a good role model to young female readers, which is why I would recommend this as a young adult novella. The content is suitable as far as violence and adult situations. However, there is a maturity to the thematic content that encourages any reader of any age to read and ponder the questions of humanity, existence, time, and the legacy that human and other beings leave behind, both good and bad. When I finished this novella, I was a satisfied reader. I would recommend Spirits of Glory to readers who like stories with a nice mix of science and fantasy/paranormal elements.
This was a fun, quick read. A collection of short stories with steampunk themes in various incarnations. A good dose of sweet romance as well. Recomme...moreThis was a fun, quick read. A collection of short stories with steampunk themes in various incarnations. A good dose of sweet romance as well. Recommended if you can find it for an affordable price for your ereader (only about 100 pages).
More thrilling twists and turns and character conundrums for the reader to keep up with. Very enjoyable. I didn't always like what happened, but I def...moreMore thrilling twists and turns and character conundrums for the reader to keep up with. Very enjoyable. I didn't always like what happened, but I definitely was hooked and wanted to keep reading. All in all, a successful follow up to Retribution Falls. I recommend it.
Disclaimer: It was hard to convey my overall views on this book. I feel like this review is very much a 'I can't put my fingers on what was wrong' typ...moreDisclaimer: It was hard to convey my overall views on this book. I feel like this review is very much a 'I can't put my fingers on what was wrong' type of review, so I apologize if it seems rather chaotic.
Incarceron is a book with some interesting ideas, and some intensely visual imagery. Catherine Fisher put some imagination into crafting this story, and I tip my hat to the author for that. However, my overall feeling after finishing it is disappointment. Unfortunately, there were aspects that worked for me, but as a whole creation, I wasn't impressed.
One could argue that the disconnect might be due to having listened to this on audio, but I don't think that is the cause. I liked the narrator, and this would have been a more pleasant listening experience if everything had made more sense and tied together more fluidly.
My biggest issue: I felt that the ideas didn't come together coherently. I continued to listen, hoping that I would gain that clarity I was seeking. Sadly, further listening didn't correct this deficit, and I gained little to no further evolution in my understanding. Unfortunately, my interest level suffered as a result.
I never realized the author's end-goal here. I realize this is a series, but I am a big believer that books in a series should end in such a way that they are self-contained, even if one doesn't continue the series. I hate that emotional blackmail of a cliffhanger ending or feeling I need to 'read more' to get that total picture. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth. I think Fisher is a good writer when it comes to imagery and ideas. But the overall plotting and story-structure of this novel was weak, in my opinion. Perhaps I am being too harsh, but this is my overall perception. Expectations are a powerful thing. For me, at least, they can make or break a book. I found myself wanting more than I was getting from this story because of the interesting ideas stimulating my imagination to believe in its potential. That was an emotional failing for this book. On an analytical level, I felt as though my thought processes were pulled in too many directions, like a flow chart that goes all wonky and it never gets to the final destination. Instead, I was on a wild goose chase to find out the overall point of the story.
Other Things I Want to Touch On: 1)I really liked the concept of the self-aware prison that had developed its own ecosystem and many generations of inhabitants. The idea of the prison recycling its inhabitants and using inorganic components when necessary was rather twisted, but it makes sense. The prison(as a 'great experiment') microcosm does shine light on the inherent flaws of any so-called utopian ideal, which I believe is doomed to fail, due to the flawed aspects of human nature. 2)I liked the idea of the lost prince who finds himself living as a pauper, with a secret destiny that calls him to something bigger. 3)There are mystical aspects with the legendary Sapphique, who is the only person who has successfully escaped the prison. But I was left with a big question mark that felt like a set-up for the next book. As I said, that is a Major pet peeve of mine. 4)The concept that a futuristic group of peoples might reject the ideals of scientific progress and retreat to the classic/archaic modes of living--that gave me something to think about, and I felt it was pretty clever. 5)I loved Claudia's relationship with her teacher, Jared. Jared is probably one of my favorite characters, in fact. Their relationship was a substitute father/daughter bond teamed with a level of deep friendship and mutual respect. This was one of the most well-developed relationships in the book, and part of why I would give this book three stars rather than 2.75 stars, which I was leaning toward doing. On the downside, I wanted to know what his chronic illness was. That lack of explanation really nagged at me as I read about his symptoms/suffering. 6)I liked Attia a lot. She was feisty, resourceful, and loyal. She turned out to be a lot more complex character than I expected. I would have liked her as a romantic interest for someone, be it Finn, Keiro, or even Jared (since I get the feeling he's not that much older than Claudia. Maybe ten years or so). 5)Finn and Claudia were okay. I agree with my GRs friend Zeek in that they never really touched me. Claudia fell flat as a character, and Finn needed more fleshing out. I was okay with the romantic possibilities between them, but I probably needed more romantic tension if that was the author's goal to develop their relationship in this direction. 6)Keiro was annoying and unlikable for most of this book. The reveal about his anxieties and self-doubt didn't endear him to me, because it was came too late and too abruptly. His motivations didn't speak to me at all. He seemed like a shallow, self-serving bully who only cared about two things: 1) Himself and 2) Finn. I do think he cared about Finn, and that was his saving grace in my mind.
Overall, I can't really cheer for this book. It left me feeling rather flat and ambivalent, with an "If Only" feeling. Sometimes you want more than a book can deliver. Such was the case here.
Will I read the next book? I'm not in a hurry to do so. If it shows up at my library on audio, perhaps.