This was a 'meh' read to me. Eclipso is super-powered and super-evil, but he's also super-annoying. I don't care much for posturing villains, and he'sThis was a 'meh' read to me. Eclipso is super-powered and super-evil, but he's also super-annoying. I don't care much for posturing villains, and he's that in spades. when his origins are revealed, you are thinking 'what a whiny baby!' instead of being scared of him. That's not to say he doesn't wreak a lot of habit in this book. He really does. I gave this three stars because the action is pretty epic, and there is no guarantee of a happy ending. You pretty much think it's all over until the last few pages. I've liked the first couple of JLA titles, but this one didn't do much for me. I'm not very familiar with this team, and it was interesting getting to know them, such as I did.
I had trouble tracking the story between the graphics and the prose. One of my pet peeves with graphic novels. They can be done very well where this is not a problem, but it wasn't in this volume. It doesn't help that the cast of characters is so expansive. Eclipso has the ability to take over and make people into his minions, and the confusing part for me is not knowing what the various characters are normally like, makes them as evil minions sort of meaningless. Probably someone who has more background in the DC Universe than I do may feel different. On the good side, the artwork is very good. I find Donna Troy's outfit mesmerizing, a jumpsuit with quasars and stars on it. It was almost hypnotic, quite honestly. Probably one of the aspects I liked most about this book.
My experience with the JL and JLA graphic novels I've read is hit and miss. This one was more of a miss for me....more
This proposition player has become a whale. He's playing for the highest stakes he has ever been handed--human souls.
I wasn't a big fan of this graphiThis proposition player has become a whale. He's playing for the highest stakes he has ever been handed--human souls.
I wasn't a big fan of this graphic novel. While the idea was very interesting, I didn't like the direction the story took or the main character much at all. Joe is a jerk, a lowlife, and a self-absorbed, insensitive putz. Strong words, but warranted. The folklore and mythology aspects could have been an advantage in this book, but they weren't. The situations in which they acted sort of stole their thunder, considering the opportunity to have all the mythological godfigures in the same place. It would have been interesting to show traits that distinguished them from each other to people who had some background in their various folkloric origins. I had hopes that there would be a big stakes poker game with the mythical godfigures and Joe, but the author chose to end this one differently. Also, I think this is one of those stories where a jerk gets rewarded for his bad behavior. Not a fan of this plot device in the slightest. Lastly, the humor is irreverent and in some places, downright perverse.
I can't think of a whole lot to recommend about this book, other than the artwork was lovely and the concept mildly interesting. As much as I love the Fables series by Willingham, I didn't care much for this one.
Dancy Flammarion is quite an unusual character. A young teenager who has been on her own for a while, guided by a seraph who leads her to monsters sheDancy Flammarion is quite an unusual character. A young teenager who has been on her own for a while, guided by a seraph who leads her to monsters she needs to kill. I first became acquainted with Dancy in Alabaster, and I was drawn to her character. I wanted to protect her, even though she is much more fierce than I could ever see myself. In Alabaster, I wasn't quite sure of how much was real and how much wasn't, as the writing was quite surreal. In this graphic novel, I think you pretty much know that Dancy isn't living out a psychosis of what's happening to her. Sometimes graphic novels don't tell stories well, but that is not the case with this one. This story leads itself very well to the visual medium, so I am glad that they decided to make it into a graphic novel.
The artwork is beautiful. Although some imagery is dark and disturbing, I still see a lot of beauty in the manner in which Dancy's fine features are drawn and painted (as well as another young woman she encounters), and even the choices of color and design in the darker scenes. The motion of the wolves is conveyed very well, even down to their musculature and sinews. Dancy is an albino, and the artist captured this excellently, from her white hair, white skin, and to her red/pink eyes. The artwork also brings the Gothic Southern atmosphere to vivid life. It is spot on with that otherworldly feel of the South, where a bloody history and rich folkloric heritage (slavery and Civil War) has tinged the land in so many ways. Even in the daytime scenes, the hot sun seems barely able to protect against the dark monsters lurking in the shadows.
The stories are nicely sinister, with just enough menace to make for a scary/slightly disturbing read without going over the line into the grotesque and unpalatable. The lettering captures the feel of Kiernan's prose very well, and I could clearly hear the syrupy thick Southern accents as I read. I was holding my breath as I read, not sure if Dancy was going to make it out of the very sticky situations she faces. She's very good at what she does, but she's not invincible, so she faces very real threats along the way. I appreciate how things ended. I'm not ready to say goodbye to this special young lady.
I think this is a good read for those who are inclined more to classic horror, because it has such great atmosphere, and the storylines are tailored towards the older themes of horror. As I mentioned above, the Southern Gothic feel, but also a bit of the Lovecraftian sort of mythical feel. It makes me think of those occult detectives who are alone in their fight against the monsters of darkness, such as Manly Wade Wellman's Silver John and Kolchak. This is awesome because Dancy is a young woman, and she doesn't need a man to rescue her.
I have to give this one 4.5 stars because it was very nearly perfect. I hope for more Dancy adventures in the future....more
One of the most enduring motifs of the Western genre is the town in the forsaken deserts of the West where people go to run from their past lives andOne of the most enduring motifs of the Western genre is the town in the forsaken deserts of the West where people go to run from their past lives and to escape to a new one. In this novel, Golgotha is such a place, however the voice that leads travelers into its depths is a sinister, ageless one. A voice that also attracts all sort of supernatural phenomena.
Young Jim makes it to edge of this town, where the desert almost kills him and his beloved horse, Precious. His life is saved by a strange half-Indian man, Mutt, who turns out to be the town's deputy, and to have a supernatural heritage of his own. Jim gets hired to work for the Sheriff, Jon Highfather, a man who has cheated death again and again. A man who is the protector for the town from the supernatural evil always lurking in the dark.
Golgotha is full of strangeness, and also flawed humans, such as a wife and mother who has an incredible legacy. There is also a resident mad scientist, who has more interest in the dead than the living. And did I mention that Golgotha has a very large Mormon population? There might also be an angel lurking in the town. But I can't confirm or deny that.
The Six-Gun Tarot was very much a surprise find for me on the new arrival shelf at my library. I couldn't resist it, because I love the Weird West, and this book couldn't get any weirder. Many times, this book is more horrific than anything else. The deep, dark secret of this town is pretty darn harrowing, and the fact that its menace lurks behind a dark religious cult out to destroy the world as we know it.
There is a lot going on in this book. I think the author does a good job of holding it all together. The twisted threads of the story and the various character point of views come together as a cohesive whole that gave me a shuddery feeling as I read. I was glad I feverishly finished the last 160 pages during the day yesterday, trying to get it done, since it was due back at the library. It would have been a not so good thing to read before bed!
This isn't a feel good book, I must warn any who want to read it. It's dark fantasy/horror that seats itself very identifiably in the aesthetic of the Old West, where blood runs freely, and regret and prejudice are a part of the landscape. Where peoples of many heritages coexist uneasily, when they aren't at each others' throats, and the time comes to band together to face a darker, far from human threat which cares nothing for humanity, or anything right or decent. While not a feel good novel, the writing is very good and atmospheric. Belcher inspires empathy for the flawed characters in this novel. Their failures in some ways equip them for just the threat they face. There are many subtle references to works of weird fiction, such as a character who has Ashton Smith in his name, and quotes from Frankenstein by Mary E. Shelley. I want to read more stories in this town, since this threat they face in this book is neither the first, nor will it be the last.
If it's not obvious, I liked this book, even in its highly disarming moments. Good solid, weird fiction with a very credible Western setting and iconography. I'd recommend it to the brave reader who doesn't mind some tentacle, squirmy elements....more
This is a really good series for fans of angelic fiction. The angels aren't really that likable though, except for Remy. I like the insight into the AThis is a really good series for fans of angelic fiction. The angels aren't really that likable though, except for Remy. I like the insight into the Angelic War, although it's not very biblical in some aspects (others sort of). I didn't care for one aspect in the presentation of Christ, honestly. The lower rating is mainly because the pacing falls apart at the end. The cliffhanger is rather brutal too. I'll keep reading this because I really like Remy (and I'm fascinated with angels).
This series is very close to horror. The golem myth incorporation was really interesting, and of course, I'm always gaga for angels. Some of the violeThis series is very close to horror. The golem myth incorporation was really interesting, and of course, I'm always gaga for angels. Some of the violent elements were disturbing, especially with children being harmed. Nevertheless, this was very good.
This was a gusty work, quite interesting and different. Probably one of the most overtly Christian dark fantasies I've read thus far, although I don'tThis was a gusty work, quite interesting and different. Probably one of the most overtly Christian dark fantasies I've read thus far, although I don't think it will find favor with a person who is fairly fundamental in their Christian beliefs (ie. avoid anything related to the occult). I was scratching my head at some of the physics concepts, since they were over my head, also some of the occult elements. Either the author did some heavy-duty research or she has a great imagination. Even though I'm not sure it was successful on all levels, I felt impressed with this novel, even as I acknowledge that it won't be for everyone. Thus the 3.75/5.0 star rating.
I probably would have rated this higher if I hadn't been so strung out from sleep deprivation and just feeling so tired and worn out this past weekendI probably would have rated this higher if I hadn't been so strung out from sleep deprivation and just feeling so tired and worn out this past weekend. I feel bad about that, because that's the reason why I hoard my favorite authors' books for when I am in a good/receptive mood. Even with my beloved books, I can set the bar high and being moody can interfere with my reading experience. I guess it seems silly to qualify a four star rating. But Anne Stuart/Kristina Douglas is probably one of the authors I will have near my dying bedside, other than the Bible. That's how much I love her books. Anyhoo, let's get to the review.
I was looking forward to Michael's story because he seemed more light-hearted and jocular than the other Fallen. Lo and behold, he is a moody grump in his book. I can sort of get why. He's forced to get married for a prophecy to a woman who will die after he mates with her. He's chosen celibacy and the warrior life over sex, love and marriage (the Fallen variant). It's not that he didn't like sex. He gorged himself on it shortly after falling, and it was just empty for him after a while. He decided he likes his monastic warrior lifestyle better. Plus, he's repelled by the fact that Fallen are blood-eaters. Because of their curse for falling, they must ingest the blood of human women to sustain their lives. Fortunately, Michael can take just enough blood from the Source, the wife of the Alpha of the Fallen, to sustain his bodily needs. Other than that, he's not tempted in the least by women, neither for sex nor for blood. Until Victoria Bellona.
Now I thought the concept of Tory being a goddess was kind of weird. This story is based on Judeo-Christian legends of the fallen angels, although Douglas takes an extreme right turn with some of her theology. I can't say I love some aspects of that, which I have mentioned in my reviews of the first two books in this series. At any rate, throwing in the Roman pantheon just felt weird. She had a good explanation for it, and since it's her book, oh well. Having accepted who Tory was, I got over that, and just experienced her character. I liked Tory a lot. She's feisty and independent, especially considering the way she was raised. She could hold her own against Michael, and often kept him off balance. I loved seeing how she conquered her warrior angel with her personality and just being herself. He had no chance against her! I loved her silly names for him, like "Your Impeccable Angelic Magnificence." I mean, how does a stoic warrior angel confront that? He just has to give in.
While the world-building isn't award-winning (fairly basic), I love the interactions between the characters. How Douglas shows hate turn into love so well. She writes love scenes that evolve as the relationship between the characters evolves, which is the way it should be. You see these hardened heroes turn to slush before they even realize it. You smirk and say, "I knew it!", and enjoy the ride. I also love the description of the angels with their wings unfolded and their majestic beauty. I just love angels! Although Douglas is not a wordy writer, she conveys the heavenly beauty of even the fallen angels with words that say so much and paints such a vivid picture.
In the end, I didn't think much of the suspense elements. I don't care for the idea of Uriel being both the ruler of heaven and the big bad. Nor did I like the concept of Dark City and Beloch. But I did love the angelic romance on display. The interactions between the Michael and Tory, as well as catching up with the other Fallen make up for any world-building/suspense shortcomings. Had I been in a better mood, I would probably have been more forgiving. But four stars isn't bad at all.
Despite the things I don't like about this series, I do love the angels, the snarky heroines, and the romance, dark, although love always wins out, and I am excited for Rebel, because Cain looks to be a very bad boy indeed! Since I know who his love interest is, this should be very interesting!...more