This volume of Fables wraps up the first story arc with the invasion of the Homelands. We get war stories and spy stories, heroic sacrifices and attemThis volume of Fables wraps up the first story arc with the invasion of the Homelands. We get war stories and spy stories, heroic sacrifices and attempts at redemption. The story is nothing short of epic, and heartrending as we lose some we've certainly come to love... and we get a bit of insight into why the Emperor chose to do wht he did.
Before you even have time to catch your breath "The Dark Ages" begins and ushers in the second Fables arc. Right back from the heels of a massive war more trouble emerges, a foe a good bit more frightening than the Emperor had been. One has to wonder where this is heading, though I will say it really doesn't look good for the Fables about now.
Wonderful writing, and great artwork - though I wasn't crazy about the guest artists this time around. ...more
This has definitely been my favorite addition to the Fables series.
The bulk of this book is focused upon Prince Ambrose (better known as Flycatcher) fThis has definitely been my favorite addition to the Fables series.
The bulk of this book is focused upon Prince Ambrose (better known as Flycatcher) fulfilling the destiny that was alluded to in a previous volume. It was during this book that I felt incredibly grateful for having earlier read 1001 Nights of Snowfall as certain stories from it gave this one a more subtle depth. In particular Frau Totenkinder and Ambrose himself. While the vital bits were examined briefly in this volume, 1001 Nights of Snowfall still offers a bit more and lends credence to small asides.
Anyway, this story follows the best of the Arthurian legends. The hero's journey is heartwarming, tragic, and ultimately the most moving that Fables has offered so far. I teared up at the end, I worried along with everyone gathered in front of the Magic Mirror as old villains plotted. Ambrose has certainly won his spot among the best, if not the very best, of this comic's heroes....more
1001 Nights of Snowfall would work as an introduction to the series, or as an addition in the midst ofWhat a fantastic addition to the Fables series.
1001 Nights of Snowfall would work as an introduction to the series, or as an addition in the midst of the action to bring greater depth to he already rich characters that make up the Fables tapestry. Structured akin to the 1001 Arabian Nights myth that gave it its name, this is a collection of stories about the Fables before the Adversary took over... and what came after, how their lives have been.
1001 Nights of Snowfall is brilliant, subtle, and as comforting a collection of bedtime stories as anything from Brother's Grimm.
Plus there's a Reynard the Fox story in there and a Porcupine story. What more could you ask for?...more
New characters are introduced, and the plot advances in a number of surprising ways. Fables manages toAnother wonderful volume in the Fables series.
New characters are introduced, and the plot advances in a number of surprising ways. Fables manages to introduce crucial plot points in something as mundane as a Christmas story, and to interrupt the action at just the right point with a short aside that will come into play later in the series... Excellent.
The artwork is brilliant, with the exception of a single story that I felt was a bit too cartoony for my taste. Never did it feel like the stories dragged, however, and that's the best thing to be said for any graphic novel....more
Brilliant continuation of a truly wonderful series.
This gorgeous hardcover edition contains a decent amount of added material in the back. The scriptBrilliant continuation of a truly wonderful series.
This gorgeous hardcover edition contains a decent amount of added material in the back. The script for the main story, artwork, alternative covers.. it's beautiful and I love it.
In addition to continuing the main thrust of the Fables series plot this volume contains two additional tales. One is from the perspective of a Wooden Soldier, which adds an interesting depth to the enemy that hasn't been previously seen. The other is another Cinderella adventure, which is always entertaining as I'm a bit of a sucker for a good caper. What more could you need?
The artwork is stunning, the writing sharp and effective. Every page just pushes the reader onward deeper into the rich and vibrant worlds that Bill Willingham has created. Who could ask for more?...more
You know, this short story gets thrown around quite a lot.
I've seen it copied and pasted in comments threads, seen it appear as an image on imgur, aYou know, this short story gets thrown around quite a lot.
I've seen it copied and pasted in comments threads, seen it appear as an image on imgur, a short film on YouTube, even as a Facebook status once or twice. It's a bit of a meme in and of itself, and it just won't die. The first time I saw it, I feel, was when I was a little kid though I doubt that's actually the case. It's more recent than that, isn't it?
Maybe it's insidious in some way. It slips into your mind until you're convinced it's something you've always known. Maybe that makes it a great work of art, or at least a decent one. I'll give it that. If it's the first time you've been exposed to this sort of philosophy it definitely will stick with you. If you're of a bit more of a philosophical bend and this is not news to you, then it won't really impact you that deeply.
I'm more of the latter, and I've seen this before. I've seen it in The Matrix, The Fountain, and in the works of Jonathan Carroll. I've seen some of the better aspects of it in [Book: The Magician King] and The Dark Tower. It's a mish-mash of popular ideas with a heady dose of Deepak Chopra.
So it goes.
Other authors have treated this material better, and in a more striking way. Even The Book Thief touched on this philosophy in a more meaningful way.
It's decent for first exposure, but I'm afraid many people will only get that first exposure and not delve deeper into what better writing and more ambitious projects have to offer....more
This proved to be a surprisingly charming short story. The artwork was positively gorgeous, and the writing quite flowery. It bordered on being a bitThis proved to be a surprisingly charming short story. The artwork was positively gorgeous, and the writing quite flowery. It bordered on being a bit too poetic, but reeled itself in before it became overdone. Altogether a touching tale. ...more
Jonas had fond memories of this book trilogy growing up, and upon hearing that I'd never read them, decided to give me the original trilogy for ChristJonas had fond memories of this book trilogy growing up, and upon hearing that I'd never read them, decided to give me the original trilogy for Christmas. :)
The fantasy tropes are back in force.
It's funny how a book that fit so perfectly into the fantasy tropes in general still can be surprising. It's funny how well the trope was played upon, and how unsettling the "something is wrong but we don't know what" concept can be played with when you reveal as little as Ursula K. Le Guin does. Once more, the perspective shifts away from Sparrowhawk and to someone new, in this case a young prince. Together the two travel to discover just what's going on in the world and why magic itself appears to be disappearing in some areas of the world. What's going on?
This book has massive ramifications for the world of Earthsea, and becomes a major plot point for the remaining books - including Tehanu in my opinion. It's a perfect ending for the original trilogy, and a prefect beginning point for the next one. ...more
I don't think anyone who read this far in the series would be particularly surprised by the ending. The hints of where things were headed were strongI don't think anyone who read this far in the series would be particularly surprised by the ending. The hints of where things were headed were strong in The Farthest Shore, overt in Tehanu, and embellished mildly in Tales from Earthsea though in a more veiled manner. The Other Wind is simply a natural extension of that, though a beautiful one it is. It pleased me immensely to see the conclusion of The Farthest Shore here, and I can forgive the ending, if only out of hope for there to be more to rebuild.
Earthesea is a magnificent world, and I adore all the people within it. To have come from the gorgeously crafted A Wizard of Earthsea in all its traditional beauty to the subversive and surprising Tehanu to this - it's perfect. I adored this book, and felt it a proper send-off to the series as a whole. Still, of course, I hope for more.
I loved living in this world, and the care given to it. I loved the dragons, the magical system, the way that the stakes were all too real and felt too keenly. I loved how unforgiving Urusula K. Le Guin was. What's dead is dead, what's gone is gone. We all make our choices and suffer for it. Hell, I loved Ged dearly in Tehanu and even more in The Other Wind. He's all the stronger for what he went through.
It's a beautiful, staggering series. More authors should learn from it and try to let go....more
The stories expanded upon Ursula K. Le Guin's world of Earthsea in a beautiful way, adding a richness of culture and history that wasn't there previously. She helped differentiate between the wild earthly magic of women and the more academic magic of men. She dealt in both familiar characters and unfamiliar ones. She even expanded upon legend.
While everyone wants more stories of Sparrowhawk in his prime, I'm quite happy with anything that takes place in her world. It's rich, it's beautiful, and it's stunningly well developed. The essay at the end that actually detailed the world from an anthropological perspective was gorgeous. I wish all fantasy was so well developed as this in a logical way....more
Remember Tenar from The Tombs of Atuan? Ever wonder what happened to her after? Remember Ogion and Gont? Remember that you've been hearing about how Ursula K. Le Guin is a strident feminist author but not really seen any evidence of that? Here it all comes rushing forth. There is no quest, there is no real magic or things of that nature. This is a book more grounded in reality, for what it is, and it bucks the very concept of a fantasy novel for the bulk of its pages.
This is an uncomfortable foray into gender studies and why things on Earthsea are the way they are. Why are there no women wizards? What exactly are the dragons? Why are women hated to the extent they are? It's an interesting situation, so long as you aren't expecting a straight up fantasy novel....more
Remember how I said the first book read like it was written by an anthropologist? This is where that distinction becomes all the more pertinent. SerioRemember how I said the first book read like it was written by an anthropologist? This is where that distinction becomes all the more pertinent. Seriously. In The Tombs of Atuan the focus shifts away from Sparrowhawk to a young priestess in the Karged lands. The entire culture is explored, as well as the concept of religion, in a way that is startling now for when it was written. I'm sure it'd startle the life out of a new young reader for sure, but hopefully in a good way.
Reading reviews prior to reading it myself, it seems that this book had a very polarizing affect on readers. I can understand why. Not everyone wants to sit down and explore the concept of religious power vs. political power in a country where the reins are changing. Not everyone wants to study how being viewed as a high priestess affect a young girl. Personally, I was riveted by it and genuinely uneasy as they worked their way through the labyrinth underground. I enjoyed the sly nod to Akkadian artwork and the way the story expanded upon a brief sentence in the book prior.
Jonas had fond memories of reading these while growing up, and upon hearing I hadn't read them, took it upon himself to get me the originally trilogyJonas had fond memories of reading these while growing up, and upon hearing I hadn't read them, took it upon himself to get me the originally trilogy for Christmas. He bought them at the Church bazaar, a charming set of old library books complete with the filing card in the back noting who checked them out when. I happily filled my name in, and the date, each time I started reading them. Whenever I lend them out I'll likely ask the person to do the same. I love old library books. :)
A Wizard of Earthsea is a worthy classic. It reads like what it is, a fantasy book written by an anthropologist who isn't afraid to show that specialty. This is a world that makes sense, and a magical system that's drawn logically from what to many cultures is sacred. There's an explanation and logic behind everything that's beautiful to see and the very monster being fought in the first book is the Jungian concept of the Shadow. It's a heavy book, but a beautiful one. Hell, Sparrowhawk did in one book what it took Harry Potter seven to do. That has to count for something, right?
This is the sort of book I'd happily recommend to any kid growing up, and one I wish had been set into my hands when I was younger. I might get a copy for my nephews for the holidays. :)...more
Mark is a hungry boy. A /very/ hungry boy. No matter what or how much he eats his stomach is still rumbling. His vorWhat a delightful children's book!
Mark is a hungry boy. A /very/ hungry boy. No matter what or how much he eats his stomach is still rumbling. His voracious appetite is making him eat his family out of house and home, but he's not to be deterred. What's a boy to do? Well, his dog certainly knows. When he dreams of venturing through a magical landscape with Rex he's lead to a tree that gives him the power to turn anything his tongue touches into food. Brilliant! Or is it?
This is a very fun Midas Touch story where a kid gets more than he bargains for. The illustrations add to the playful nature of the story that's written with a definite lean towards being read aloud. It's a quick read, and definitely had me chuckling. The core message is sweet, and some little subplots offer more lessons to be learned that I wasn't really expecting out of the story.
All in all I'd definitely recommend it to anyone with young children, and I can imagine poring over the illustrations when I was younger. :)...more
I'd be very curious to see how a person's reaction to the book and the ending itself changes as they grow older. This book was surpWell.
This got dark.
I'd be very curious to see how a person's reaction to the book and the ending itself changes as they grow older. This book was surprisingly creepy, surprisingly sad, and surprisingly troublesome when it comes to the ending. I've heard good things about the film, but I'm uncertain how they treat the final scenes in it?
I'd read this book to my children, should I have any. I'd watch them not sleep for months. But that's true of most Roald Dahl stories, innit?...more
Sasha leant me this book with a cursory order to read it when I had the time. It took me quite a while to get to it, but I did, and I'm quite glad ofSasha leant me this book with a cursory order to read it when I had the time. It took me quite a while to get to it, but I did, and I'm quite glad of that, too. I've not read a collection of short stories in a while, and when it comes to short stories, I can be rather particular. I grew up on a fair bit of Ray Bradbury and Shirley Jackson with some Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, and Stephen King mixed in.
This isn't to say that her writing is automatically of a similar tier to the others, as it isn't. Her endings can be a bit sloppy, or her dialogue a bit too fantastic to deal with. That having been said, she still packs a mean punch that is maybe just one step below Kelly Link. I thought a lot about Link reading this, actually. While nothing in this book reaches the level of the short story "Magic for Beginners" there are still a number of stories in here that I think will stick with me. "Fruit and Words" for instance, I found incredibly compelling. The story of the potato children was likewise fantastic, as was the story of the miniature man. While some ended too quickly, others dragged on a bit long. "The Case of the Salt and Pepper Shakers" could have used a bit better editing, but was still a solid piece.
All in all I think the book could have been edited better, but even without the additional editing it was good enough that I devoured it, loved it, and heartily recommend it. I'd read more of her books quite eagerly, and am quite curious to see where she ends up....more
This story was more pleasing to me than the book it technically precedes was. That having been said, Sasha hits the nail on the head when she says thiThis story was more pleasing to me than the book it technically precedes was. That having been said, Sasha hits the nail on the head when she says this story isn't for children. The themes are continuing to get darker and more adult, which altogether is much more pleasurable than the feigned kid-friendliness that permeated in small degrees the first book.
This story was good. A quick read. A rather sad read after you know what's going to happen.
Tales from Oz is essentially attempting to do what Wicked did better - update the Oz stories to a more adult, and thus realistic, view of what the lanTales from Oz is essentially attempting to do what Wicked did better - update the Oz stories to a more adult, and thus realistic, view of what the land would be like. Whereas Wicked handled this with a certain political adroitness and maturity, Tales from Oz does so by adding breasts and violence into the mix and little else.
Also. For some reason Toto is a wolf that may or may not be a werewolf and is seemingly in love with Dorothy.
The cowardly lion is in a vaguely Native American/African society and might be gay.
I won this book through the GoodReads First-Read program.
I... really didn't like this book, unfortunately.
It was very clear that the book was writtenI won this book through the GoodReads First-Read program.
I... really didn't like this book, unfortunately.
It was very clear that the book was written with great passion. It was also obvious that the author had put a great deal of work into fleshing out the universe that the characters inhabited. She worked out various hierarchies and built upon a good deal of old mythology to do so. She knew her history (nice shout out to medieval German beliefs!) but that wasn't quite enough to save the book in my eyes.
I can't understand the weakness of female characters. Yes, she was strong in that she was willing to sacrifice herself to save the man she loved. But... she also was killing a lot of other people to save that man when he was her mortal enemy... and when she was a trained soldier and had put all that behind her... and she kept forgiving him for unforgivable acts. I've a problem with this.
Furthermore, why exactly wasn't there more urgency felt in the book itself? You have an army being raised to destroy all of creation more or less. You also have a "seer" going unaccounted for and both poorly hunted and poorly protected.
I just... wasn't feeling this very much. The kicker was the switching of first person perspectives and a failure to differentiate the voices very clearly.
The premise itself holds promise, and the worldbuilding holds promise too. It just needs better execution....more
This collection of short stories is a fascinating one.
I would venture to say that most of those reading this book are doing so for the Lovecraftian mThis collection of short stories is a fascinating one.
I would venture to say that most of those reading this book are doing so for the Lovecraftian mythos - if that is the case for you, these are the stories you need to read: THE REPAIRER OF REPUTATIONS THE MASK IN THE COURT OF THE DRAGON THE YELLOW SIGN THE DEMOISELLE D'YS
The remaining stories are primarily war stories and love stories and not deeply connected to the mythos. Those are the primary reason the book lacks a full star rating for my review, as they're a bit boring when it's the Lovecraftian bit that one is after....more
I tip my hat to Beatrix Potter for managing to perfectly capture the benign and industrious nature of the hedgehog and turnBeautiful, beautiful story.
I tip my hat to Beatrix Potter for managing to perfectly capture the benign and industrious nature of the hedgehog and turn the humble insectivore into a cultural landmark for us all to love and cherish....more
That's the gist of what was going on in Roald Dahl's mind here. The illustrations, lovingly done by Quentin Blake, add a greaterHunting is bad, okay?
That's the gist of what was going on in Roald Dahl's mind here. The illustrations, lovingly done by Quentin Blake, add a greater dash of humor to the typically dark Dahl tale. It's short, sweet, and rather to the point. Another fun example of "how would you like it if someone did that to you?" The answer? Well. Not much.
The high rating is less for the title story than it is for the awesome expanded facts in the book. After the story the new publication continued with a brief biography of Dahl, some fun quotes, bits of trivia, and other general madness related to the man. That bumped the rating up to a four from a more general three for a fun quick read.
What an awesome guy. Thus, I continue my "read everything by Roald Dahl" challenge of the year......more
I was able to get this book for an advance review for Netgalley.
I've always had a bit of a fascination with the Louisiana Bayou and the vanishing waysI was able to get this book for an advance review for Netgalley.
I've always had a bit of a fascination with the Louisiana Bayou and the vanishing ways of life attached to it. The hoodoo tradition is one that is misinterpreted about as often as it is referred to in popular culture - fortunately, Will O'the Wisp did a rather good job of showcasing both the traditions themselves and how people tend to view them nowadays.
The artwork for this book was highly reminiscent of the style used in Locke and Key, which is one that I'm especially fond of. There's a fluidity to the landscapes, the swamps, the fire, that is both beautiful and eerie. The bugs and the bones as well are beautifully rendered, and I would say that the book is worth looking at for the artwork alone.
While I'd like to rate the book more than three stars, I'm not entirely certain I could. While the book lends itself to reading for the hoodoo traditions and the artwork, and the story was a traditional tale of vengeance from beyond the grave and uneasy isolation, I felt that overall it was missing something. There was constantly more to the story that I wanted to uncover, but couldn't. I would say that this is the fault of the medium itself and the age of the audience it's intended for, but I've read a great deal of graphic novels and know the medium to be virtually unlimited in the scope it could cover storywise and the YA genre itself is fast accepting more and more titles that delve into what previously may be considered questionable content.
My disappointment with the depth of the story being told could easily be remedied by telling more stories of Aurora's time with Silver in Ossuary Isle, and is offset slightly by the attention paid to the spells of Nonnie, the begrudging respect paid to the hoodoo traditions by Silver, and the beauty of the artwork in the piece itself. It's certainly a title that I know friends of mine would enjoy, and by no means was it a bad read at all. I enjoyed it, and I'm certain a great many others will as well.
Couldn't be happier that traditional Louisiana hoodoo culture is getting treated to some good storytelling for a new generation!...more
The illustrations bumped it to a two star book for me, but the writing is unfortunately just one star territory. Each entry cThis is such a fun idea!
The illustrations bumped it to a two star book for me, but the writing is unfortunately just one star territory. Each entry consists of just a number and a brief sentence such as "Karaoke". Nothing more, nothing less. You're just reading a list of silly ideas with no real elaboration to make it more entertaining. Worse, several ideas are repeated multiple times which makes the list just redundant and ridiculous...
Well, it was just a four star book to me. Ratings are subjective, and occasionally I change mine as my feelings change. Or asWhat??? Four stars?? Why?
Well, it was just a four star book to me. Ratings are subjective, and occasionally I change mine as my feelings change. Or as I feel like it. Or when I'm fairly certain I won't get slaughtered for disliking something as popular as Never Let Me Go. Oops.
Anyway, James and the Giant Peach was a movie I rather enjoyed. I retained the basic plot, and was amused enough giving it a read through. The illustrations were fun, the LadyBug lovely, the Silk Worm a deus ex machina if there ever was one, and the Spider charming. The Centipede was an unrepentant pest, but what can you do? I still hope I never see one again in my life. In real life, I mean. In books they're all right, for the most part.
What took this book down from a five to a four was more or less the fact that James didn't really gain much from his journeys. Oh, sure, he realized he was an intelligent human being. (view spoiler)[He gained friends once they got to America. (hide spoiler)] It just didn't feel like quite enough. The ending of Matilda, for instance, felt like enough to me. But this book felt a wee bit unfinished. Not as literally so as Staurt Little was, but still just a bit not fully there.
No bother, though. It's still a rollicking adventure and a delightful film.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
You know, I really enjoy Roald Dahl. In fact, I'm slowly going through just about everything he's written. Unfortunately, when you decide to read everYou know, I really enjoy Roald Dahl. In fact, I'm slowly going through just about everything he's written. Unfortunately, when you decide to read everything someone has written you come up against a few unfortunate reads. For me, this was one of them. During the World Wars a great number of books were written for children about aspects of military life. This was how The Gremlins was born.
Gremlins are tiny creatures that go through planes (and most mechanical objects) and totally mess them up. You probably have a few messing with your WiFi on occasion. Why do they do this? Their forests were destroyed during the Industrial Revolution and they want revenge. Why else? Maybe for fun, or maybe not. In this story Roald Dahl decides to create a little school for them so they can repair planes rather than destroy them. Which... I guess makes sense? Now the pilots won't have anyone to blame but themselves when things go wrong though. Didn't think that one through, did you?
This book just... bored me. The illustrations weren't enough to keep me engaged, I was constantly confused by who didn't believe in them and who did. I don't understand why they decided to work with creatures that nearly murdered them for fun. It was just a bit of a mess for me. Oh well. I think Disney even got a film out of this nonsense.
No nostalgia here, and no Snoopy to keep me engaged. Alas....more