Sometimes I think this book might be YA. Sometimes not. The main characters are intruiguing, and I like that in this sequel we get the ensemble cast fSometimes I think this book might be YA. Sometimes not. The main characters are intruiguing, and I like that in this sequel we get the ensemble cast from the get-go. I love how full of simultaneous rage and tenderness these characters are. Plus, everybody is so ugly. Add to that the world has fallen apart (actually, it was blown up). Bonus: there are tidbits of the horror of human existence in here. It's kind of like death metal, really....more
Disclaimer: I am a Nick Harkaway fanboy. I find his fiction imaginative and his prose dripping with description and chewy linguistical. . . um. . . stDisclaimer: I am a Nick Harkaway fanboy. I find his fiction imaginative and his prose dripping with description and chewy linguistical. . . um. . . stuff. Tigerman seems a bit more adult than Gone-Away World and Angelmaker, but it is still full of the amazing Harkaway-ness that we wanted. There aren't any ninjas, sword fights, or train chases, but there is still action and beautifully ugly characters. In fact, some of the themes in Tigerman seem to hint at Mr. Harkaway coming to terms with his own grown-upness. (Goonies never say die!, by the way). There are still evil lairs and bullet dodging and judo chopping, but there is much more realism involved, and it is this junction of slam-bang and adult-y literary-ishness (another -ness! Crap!!) that I find most interesting in Harkaway's style and ideas. As delicious as ever. Read on, dear friends (and fans). ...more
This series appeals to my inner Cat Lady, but I so much love fantastic worlds to get lost in, and when I read books like these I like to drink hot teaThis series appeals to my inner Cat Lady, but I so much love fantastic worlds to get lost in, and when I read books like these I like to drink hot tea and am willing to have all of my cats on my 30-something male lap. That said, the tone is he bleak in this one, but then so is The Empire Strikes Back. Although the "teen" drama bit is a bit thick for me (I know, I know, pick another genre!), Laini Taylor's demon/angel world is breathtaking and her language and dialogue are easy to get lost in. Reading this series makes me wish I taught middle school, so I could recommend them to young readers. My fourth graders are a little young to get the schmaltzy romance-y stuff. ...more
This comes with all the sharp dialogue and inventiveness you've come to expect from Mr. Vaughan. A bit daytime-drama, but I think this is part tongue-This comes with all the sharp dialogue and inventiveness you've come to expect from Mr. Vaughan. A bit daytime-drama, but I think this is part tongue-in-cheek (it is called Saga, right?), and it does well with the robot tee-vee headed characters. Thematically, Vaughan takes on quite a bit, but this is also what we have come to expect (see Y: The Last Man). I imagine this will get even better as the universe develops and the arcs grow more intertwined. ...more
Once upon a time, my one of my 4th grade reading groups was reading The City of Ember, by Jeanne Du Prau, which we absolutely adored. Then summer vacaOnce upon a time, my one of my 4th grade reading groups was reading The City of Ember, by Jeanne Du Prau, which we absolutely adored. Then summer vacation hit, and I then began to read for pleasure again. Oh, did this book bring reading pleasure! Wonderfully captured characters and a complex and well-conceived world. One of those this-could-totally-be-us worlds, or perhaps a holy-crap-this-is-what-we'll-become-if-we-don't-stop-screwing-it-up worlds. Either way, the tension is delicious, and the characters very real. I love how this underdog book was born slowly and deliberately. Every word seems perfectly placed, the plot and pacing honed and crafted....more
My new favorite author has done it again. Saucy and humorous, yet twisted with suspense and gobs of action. If only one word could be used to describeMy new favorite author has done it again. Saucy and humorous, yet twisted with suspense and gobs of action. If only one word could be used to describe this book I might choose "explodey." Or "hilariaction." Maybe "thinky-BANG-comedy-spy." Perhaps I will just throw my head back and laugh maniacally when asked to describe it. Although this book IS so much, let's talk about what it is not. It isn't quite steampunk, but the horologist bit and the submarine/train parts will dazzle fans of the genre, and let's not even get into the clock-work bees. It isn't quite espionage, but the shadow government and cloak-and-dagger portions will tickle you conspiracy nuts. It isn't a heist story per se, but there is a whopping dose of lock-picking, larceny, and (don't you just love to say this one) skulduggery. It isn't action/adventure, but, ye gods, one's knuckles run white while characters leap onto fire escapes, crash trains into castles, and jujitsu the shit out of each other. Plus, there's Nick Harkaway's gifts for deliciously British dialogue and quirky characters. Did I mention the jujitsu? I won't mention the steamy, sexy parts, but the film version would have scenes sultry if not scandalous. Ahem.
Our reluctant hero is caught between the life he thinks he wants and the life he thinks he does not. He is so confused in his wonderfully British neurosis of mis-utility that his name is Spork. Joe Spork. Between a fork and a spoon, he is also between the straight world and the criminal underworld. He is also a pawn in a game of world domination, drawn in by the now-nonagenarian-once-hottie-superspy to thwart a crazy god-complex dude bent on said domination. He'll need: a magnificent lawyer, a specific set of skills, a kingdom of underworlders, and a tommy gun. But he already has those, even if he does not yet realize. Along the way he gets one of the most powerful women in all of literature as a girlfriend (but she won't be "darning the socks of her family," so don't worry). In fact, I believe Mr. Harkaway worships his wife as much as I do mine. As a result, his male characters are often twerpy or reluctant (see main character) and the women are strong, brilliant, or both. To further my point, once one of the strong women turns to support one of the male characters, these male characters suddenly realize that the twerpiness is just a neurotic choice and really they are equipped with sword, horse, and shining plate armor. I digress.
Back to the book review: I'll call this genre of writing literary action. Or maybe plot boiler. Bollocks (hee hee)! I just call it page-turningly pleasureful. Fans of the genres and descriptions above, however, may trip and stumble in the luscious verbiage employed by Harkaway. I love to wade out into his paragraphs, awash in the description and word-play, but for those that like the action direct and straight forward, this might not be as spectacular. From a linguistic perspective, I find it fun to go back and read sentences, sometimes aloud, or even whole paragraphs or sections. In fact, Harkaway is great to re-read on the whole. (Buy it in hardback! Support the cause!!)
At any rate, I look forward to the next bang-up. Oh, and I have a mega-crush on Polly Cradle.
(P.S. In an effort to mimic the talents and wordiness of my favorite modern author I have used as many words as I can think to put in this review.)...more
This is the best series in comics today. Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez will wind you up with suspense and dazzle you with storytelling (both linquistThis is the best series in comics today. Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez will wind you up with suspense and dazzle you with storytelling (both linquistically and visually). All this and it seems like they do this in their sleep. The story is so compelling that you read it as fast as you can. Then you slap your forehead saying "wait a minute!" Then you go back and savor each panel and splash savoring each scratch of pencil and drop of ink. Curious about comics? Don't start here. There's nowhere to go. ...more
The pacing sends sparks in your face, and your fingers burn to keep the pages turning. You'll stay up all night for this one. Now, if only you weren'tThe pacing sends sparks in your face, and your fingers burn to keep the pages turning. You'll stay up all night for this one. Now, if only you weren't thirty-something, but the tween to whom this is marketed. Sure, there are comments here on how our society yawns at blood spattering gore and angst-ridden violence. Rome never fell. We still live it. However, are tweens sophisticated enough to pick up on such comments? As a teacher in the intermediate grades, I know you should never condescend to an eleven year-old, but I would caution young readers to really think about this book. But, as an educator, isn't that the whole point anyway. . . ? I'll probably lose sleep reading the next two installments as well. This one was a scorcher....more
Solid three stars here. The book has a gentleman's efficiency that cost some of the characters a bit more development. A decent mystery, and the ideaSolid three stars here. The book has a gentleman's efficiency that cost some of the characters a bit more development. A decent mystery, and the idea of a monster chase as McGuffin is a near twist. I must admit, I was disappointed at first, due to the Dean Koontz blurb on the cover, but I found myself returning for the characters, especially the Detective's son who seems to be on the autistic spectrum. I think the pair would make a great reverse-Holmes detective team. Kudos to the strong but not anachronistic women characters. The killer turns out to be a bit of a gimme, but the suspense and psychedelia of the cross-cut ending is satisfying. ...more
Not my favorite installment, but there's serious drama here. Artist Charlie Adlard's treatment of Rick is to dramatic effect, and he proves his skillNot my favorite installment, but there's serious drama here. Artist Charlie Adlard's treatment of Rick is to dramatic effect, and he proves his skill as an observant illustrator of the reaction shot. This series is less and less about zombies, and writer Robert Kirkman continues to test Rick for all he's worth....more
Ever catch yourself rolling your eyes and correcting people's Ghostbuster's quotes? Goonies? John Hughes films? Let me ask you this: How many health pEver catch yourself rolling your eyes and correcting people's Ghostbuster's quotes? Goonies? John Hughes films? Let me ask you this: How many health potions do you currently have in your inventory, right now, at this very moment? Think War Games is both poetry and pure cinema? As the title would indicate. . . this is your book. "Ray, if someone asks if you are a god. . . you say yes!"
(Warrior needs food badly. Wizard is about to die)
I would say that, to enjoy this book, one doesn't need an encyclopedic knowledge of films or video games, a twenty-sided die, or a high school diploma dated between 1982-1999, but it helps. In fact, what makes this book endearing and delightful to one might make it dense and impenetrable to another. Although I was absolutely absorbed, I did find much of the writing style a bit expository, telling me instead of showing me. In a future world, painted with colorful '80s American pop culture, filled with dystopian decay, and propped up by an unfathomable virtual reality computer game, there are some missed opportunity for some very vivid imagery. However, the book is full of detail and will keep you rooting for the dorky shut-in who will save us from the mega-corporation that plans on taking over, well, everything. So crack open a Tab and pop some corn chips. "Goonies never say die."...more