David and the Professor head to Babylon Restored (Manhattan) to fight Regalia, the water epic who has flooded Manhattan and rules it. The people of MaDavid and the Professor head to Babylon Restored (Manhattan) to fight Regalia, the water epic who has flooded Manhattan and rules it. The people of Manhattan have a carpe diem attitude to life, helped by the fact that the mysterious Epic Dawnslight causes giant, glowing fruit (and other food?) to grow inside buildings and warms the nearby water. David hopes to track down Megan in Babylon Restored and save her from her own evil side (although no Epic has ever been restored from the Dark Side).
As always, Sanderson produces a compulsively readable book. There's really not much more to say than that. ...more
When I read After the Golden Age I was desperate for a sequel. I loved the story of Celia, the powerless daughter of superheroes. And I especially lovWhen I read After the Golden Age I was desperate for a sequel. I loved the story of Celia, the powerless daughter of superheroes. And I especially loved her sweet, beautiful romance with superhero Doctor Arthur Mentis. I kept looking for other equally engrossing superhero books but never found any. Well, I finally got a sequel. Not the one I had wanted, but I loved it anyway.
I thought the sequel would pick up shortly after the first book ended. Nope. Instead, it’s about 17 years later and Celia and Arthur are happily married with two daughters. The book switches POVs between Celia, now head of West Corp., and Anna, her teenage daughter who is hiding the fact that she has a superpower. I love Celia and I loved hearing her story again, even if she was much older than I thought she would be. Anna I was more wary about. Yet another angsty teen? After the Golden Age didn't cover Celia’s angsty teen years, instead introducing her as a young adult, and I liked that. Thankfully, Vaughn knows how to handle Anna's storyline so that it never grates.
Anna’s story is pretty typical for a YA heroine. Her parents don’t understand her. She has an annoying younger sibling. She’s unpopular, with a group of similarly unpopular friends. Her male friend likes her. She develops a crush on a hot, mysterious dude. She has a falling out with her best friend. But there are slight twists to these typical plot points that keep it from being too ordinary.
First of all, Anna is the daughter of famous parents (a respected superhero and a powerful corporate executive) and the granddaughter of an even more famous couple (the most popular superheroes in the city), and must handle all the pressure that standing in the shadows of that much fame brings. Also, Anna’s male friend/romantic interest is her partner superhero and her best friend and her have a falling out because her best friend wants to be much more public with her powers than Anna feels comfortable. As the story moved closer to the climax I liked Anna’s story more and more. And I liked that her parents were far less clueless than they seemed. 99% of adults in young adult fiction have no idea and, often, little interest that their children are being sucked into some crazy world of sparkling vampires or what-have-you.
I still adored Celia’s story more and could’ve done with another book just from her POV. She’s a meddling do-gooder – she may not be the shadowy, nefarious Executive that Danton Majors accuses her of being, and she always has the best interests of Commerce City at heart, but Celia does secretly influence people and events. And good intuition and a clear heart have always been Celia's superpowers. Being the CEO of West Corp. and using her influence there to fight crime and help the city is every bit as valuable as the superheroes on the street. Vaughn has done a very nice job of evolving Celia from a determined young woman to a determined mother and business woman.
One of the joys of the Golden Age series is that they play so well with classic comic book tropes. Kidnapped hostage! Heroes coming together to save the day! Overly complicated death traps! Crazed supervillain! It was all kinds of fun. And oddly moving.
Dreams of the Golden Age does what good sequels do: provide a fresh story that feels like an organic evolution from the previous book. Here’s to more books in this series. ...more
Brilliant idea (7 mysteriously powerful children adopted by a harsh, rich old eccentric who uses them to save the world) buA confusing, muddled mess.
Brilliant idea (7 mysteriously powerful children adopted by a harsh, rich old eccentric who uses them to save the world) but it makes no sense. Nothing is explained and all the characters are given too short shrift to ever get developed. Why are there talking chimps running around? Where did the children get their nicknames (Spaceboy? Séance? Rumor?) What are their powers exactly? Why is Space part chimp now? We know that all the children loved/feared/hated their adoptive father and their relationships are fractured when they’re adults, but what were they to each other as children? When did they get a robot mom?
This graphic novel was like coming into a TV show three seasons after it began and only watching one episode (imagine watching a random episode of, say, Lost in the third season and you get the picture). There’s not enough time to do anything but drift along and try to follow the plot as much as possible. This really needed a multi-volume arc to be any good. There is one sequel and I’ll see if that clarifies anything. But this volume does not live up to the potential of either its story or the graphic novel form. ...more
I am not a comic book aficionado. I know my Batman from the movies and a bit from the cartoon version that I’d sometimes catch when my little brotherI am not a comic book aficionado. I know my Batman from the movies and a bit from the cartoon version that I’d sometimes catch when my little brother watched it. Still, I think Batman is a badass and I’m becoming an ever increasing fan of graphic novels so I wanted to read a bit more of his comics. I heard about the Gotham Central series from NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour (the best podcast on this and any other planet, btw), where one of the contributors is a comic book geek and raved about this series. I thought that this would be a good pick for someone like me - doesn’t require much background knowledge and is a fairly unique look at life in a comic book city. I loved it.
First of all, I must ask: why the hell would anyone ever live in Gotham City? Like, ever? I understand that people have lived and continue to live in cities considered dangerous or where you are more likely than average to be blown up or shot – Belfast during the Troubles, Tel Aviv during the Intafada, Baghdad today. But Gotham City is its own kettle of fish. It’s not only regular crime you’re dealing with. Nope, you also have to cope with freeze rays and incredibly elaborate plots to destroy the entire city on a regular basis. I would flee that city like it was on fire (which it probably often is).
But, according to the comics, people DO stay in Gotham. Including the brave men and women of Gotham Central P.D. The series follows the Gotham Central police department and their various cases – the mundane, the seemingly mundane and the wholly crap supervillainry is afoot. It opens with the whole Gotham-is-full-of-crazy-shit I was talking about. Two detectives on a routine investigation of a kidnapping tip stumble into…Mr. Freeze. Things do not go well. I mean, c’mon here, people of Gotham. Policemen are supposed to encounter bad guys with guns or knives or maybe a baseball bat. NOT A SUPERVILLAIN WITH A FREEZE RAY.
This series is really fun. I mean, dark, yeah (it IS Gotham). But fun. It’s a noirish detective series, so you get some of the mystery and crime element (which I gobble up). And you get to see what life is like for ordinary people in an extraordinary city. You aren’t following around Batman/Bruce Wayne, who knows what’s going on. You’re following people who are weary and jaded but who are trying to piece together clues without being able to get a glimpse of the big picture.
Plus, they know that if they fail they get humiliated by having the Bat materialize and do their jobs for them. Can I just say that I squealed with glee every time the Goddamn Batman showed up? It was always the bestest. The writers very smartly made these cameo appearances rare and often unexpected. And it was even better to be able to view the Goddamn Batman from the eyes of the ordinaries. And guess what? He is kind of a dick. He shows up out of nowhere, does his thing, and then disappears with as few words as possible. He is brusque, to say the least. It would be frustrating and mystifying and I can see why he has a contentious relationship with the police department.
I’m sorry this series got a stunted run, but I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of the volumes. A++ and I think perfect for die-hard fans and newbies alike. ...more
I feel like this would have had more of an impact back before The Dark Knight. It's hard to be surprised by a dark, dark take on the superhero tale whI feel like this would have had more of an impact back before The Dark Knight. It's hard to be surprised by a dark, dark take on the superhero tale when you've already sat through it at the cinema.
This is still a very, very solid comic book and good even for someone like me, whose knowledge of Batman comes primarily from (1) the movies (2) her younger brother (3) general pop culture knowledge (4) a couple episodes of some of the cartoons. I think this is the first Batman comic book I've actually ever read. And I liked it. I look forward to more....more
Throw in a laconic cop, a spunky little girl (who the cop doesn't want to take care of, but you know that will bLOVE IT. Noir + superheroes = awesome.
Throw in a laconic cop, a spunky little girl (who the cop doesn't want to take care of, but you know that will be the most adorable relationship ever), a flamboyant spotlight-stealing ass of an ex-partner and an upbeat, tough, too-curious new partner and you’ve got the recipe for extra awesomesauce.
I think there’s a little too much fanservice (especially in the sketches in the back, where it was just about trying to suss out the style and thus all the gratuitous fanservice was just out of the idle perversity of under (over?) sexed male artists. Grow up, boys).
But I really, really like it and I can't wait to read the next volumes.
P.S. I originally put this on my TBR list because I’d heard there was TV show script of it floating around. It hasn't made it to the screen yet - the pilot seems to be stuck in production hell.
EDIT: This volume is still really good, but the series sadly goes downhill and gets really weird really fast. So go into it with caution....more
I love this book so much it hurts. That hasn't happened to me in a while, and it is not exactly a pleasant feeling. It's the same feeling I get when II love this book so much it hurts. That hasn't happened to me in a while, and it is not exactly a pleasant feeling. It's the same feeling I get when I think about how long I have to wait until the next Doctor Who episode. It's separation anxiety and I don't like it.
I'm not really a comic book fan. That's my little brother. He is an encyclopedia of comic book knowledge and he loves talking about it, and is amusing when he does, so I've learned important information, like Superman was a Superjerk in the early days and Aquaman is lame and the current Spiderman storyline is ridiculous. Other than that, I've seen nearly all the recent movie versions (Tony Stark, how I love you!) and I watched three seasons of Smallville (Superman for teenagers). Oh, and I like listening to geeky podcasts, which are usually hosted by people who love comic books and thus love to talk about them.
So what I'm saying with all that is that I understand a lot of the tropes going on in this book, but probably at about the same basic knowledge of a young(ish) person with some popular culture knowledge and a tendency toward geekiness. But that's about all you need to appreciate it. If you understood the superhero conventions in The Incredibles, you should be able to get them here.
And I did so love the whole playing-with-superhero-tropes thing. Faceless mooks who do the supervillain’s bidding with nary a word of complaint. The crazy-off-his-rocker-just-wants-to-see-the-world-burn supervillain. The cool, collected, destroy-the-world-to-save-it supervillain. The superhero team. The superhero headquarters. The richest-dude-in-town-with-the-mega-corporation-is-actually-a-superhero (I bet the surname West is a tribute to the batman actor, Adam West). The-constant-kidnapping-of-loved-ones (and Celia’s attitude to it; God, I bet all superhero loved ones get such kidnap fatigue). The let-me-reveal-my-evil-plan. The public-adores-the-superheros-oh-wait-public-opinion-turned-against-them. The secret identities. The reveal of the secret identities. Loved it all. Because they were all put together in a fun, coherent, and surprisingly realistic way (in a world where there are superheros).
I loved that this was (as far as I know) a unique spin on superheroes. It’s always about the superhero themselves or at least their love interest. But growing up the child of a superhero? A normal child of the two most famous superheroes? No wonder the girl had issues! I loved that Celia was a rebellious child. It fits. And I like that the book wasn’t about that Celia, because she’s a nice character study in flashback, when present-day Celia can realize how stupid and pathetic her little teenage rebellion was. All the power of that plotline without all the whining and angst (and you KNOW teenage Celia's POV would be super whiny and angsty. Her super power would be super angst).
I also liked that the book touched on the theme of one of my favorite quotes from House: “what if your whole life was about the worst thing you’d ever done?” For a while that is what Celia’s life becomes about. When the whole world knows that she went Darkside and became the Destructor's minion (albeit a sad little powerless one), that’s all they think about. It doesn’t matter what she’s done with her life since then: she sided with the villain in a petty act of teenage rebellion and self-destruction. Her best friend and boyfriend turn their backs on her and no one but Mentis (awesome, awesome Mentis) stands with her. And I will say that it was horrible to join the city's resident terrorist, but I think Celia always secretly knew that her parents would stop the Big Bad. It's the same every time she's kidnapped. She's never truly scared because she truly believes in her heart of hearts that the good guys will win every time. I think if the bad guys ever did succeed, even once, her entire concept of the world would be shaken.
I liked that Celia was normal but tough and never annoying. She’s still full of daddy-issues and never-good-enough issues and shadow-of-her-parents issues and haunted-by-her-past issues. But they don’t overwhelm her. And she grows and learns to accept her life the way it is and stops fighting it and stops resenting and stops thinking that everything is an attack.
I’m even more happy that Mentis turned out to be the true love interest (and not the decoy love interest, the good guy cop/mayor's son, Mark. I mean, he was fine, but he was no Mentis). Mentis, by the way, is part of the city's superhero gang, his power being mental control (but of course, with a name like his!). He is also youngish, British, and always cool, calm and collected. I didn’t see the romance coming at first, but it absolutely fits. He is the only one who has always accepted and appreciated Celia for exactly who she is. I think he thought of her as a kid when they first met, although he was sympathetic with her family issues and he understood her (the only one who did). I think it’s when she came back from college, more centered and mature, that he began to fall in love with her. He saw her at her absolute lowest and worst and still loved her. It’s so incredibly sweet. And she accepts him for exactly who he is and doesn’t resent that he can read her mind (I’m a little unclear if it’s continuous and/or she can put up barriers if she wants). Aww man, I just love them separately and together. I like when the love interest is a nice guy who is not boring. It just feels so rare. And he’s not weak in the least; he’s a superhero, after all.
I think the reason I have such separation anxiety for this book is because it was so absolutely vibrant for me. I'm a really visual person and for books I really connect with, I can visualize the scenes in my mind like a movie. It's as if I'm actually watching scenes from the book, down to what the characters are wearing and what the room looks like (I also "cast" books by visualizing actors/actresses "playing" the characters; the more perfectly I can cast a book, the more real it is for me). Some books I visualize better than others; sometimes only one scene really sticks out and the rest is fuzzy, sometimes it's most of the book. This book was so real to me I actually have random urges to check imdb to read about it. Then I have to remind myself this wasn't really a movie. I can just remember it as if I'd watched it. Having a book come to life this much for me is rare and powerful.
I am definitely buying this when it comes out in paperback. I want to re-read it already.
This book had me at “high schooler with super powers.” Ever since I discovered and fell in love with After the Golden Age, I’ve been itching to read mThis book had me at “high schooler with super powers.” Ever since I discovered and fell in love with After the Golden Age, I’ve been itching to read more superhero fiction. I’m actually amazed that there is not more YA out there involving high school kids with super powers. An overabundance of werewolves and vampires (sparkly or otherwise) and even angels, but no love for young X-men types. Maybe after dystopian YA starts petering out, this will be the next big subgenre? Please?
Overall, this book was pretty cute and fun, with a little tragic backstory thrown in for angst (how Jamie got her powers and what happened to her boyfriend when she did). There was a fairly nice romance between outcast Jamie and popular Ryan. I think my favorite part of the whole book was the opening, when Jamie overhears Ryan and his jerky friend making a bet whether Ryan can get Jamie to kiss him (which he can, because Ryan is so disarmingly genuine). I also really liked the part where Ryan gets Jamie to actually train her powers (why oh why wasn’t she doing that herself?).
That all said, there were a few things that would have made the book a lot better. Ryan was great and a properly swoon worthy nice-guy romantic lead. But the boy needs to stop pouting so much. No high school male pouts—at least no high school male you want to date. Pouting is attractive on no one (with the possible exception of cherubic three year olds).
I liked Jamie for the most part—especially during that opening—but the girl needs to thaw faster. I know it was a really good kiss, but no guy is going to work as hard as Ryan did to befriend Jamie when he receives nothing but coldness and bitchiness. I understand Jamie’s hurting and trying to keep everyone at arm’s length, but she should show a few more cracks in her shield, or at least be more hot/cold, so that it’s evident why Ryan keeps pursuing her. Also, Oram needs to just cut all the exchanges of “I really hate you, you know.” (Jamie)/”I know you can’t mean that, not when I’m so darn charming.”(Ryan). It’s cute once. It gets old fast. Also, I can’t believe Jamie has such awesome powers but is still so mopey about it (not only can she control electricity, she can move super fast, like The Flash. Dude, how can you not take great joy in that?!?!?). I wish that Jamie could enjoy the upside a little more instead of using her powers to just run off and angst. This is not to say I don’t like Jamie (I do) or that she’s not a good heroine (she is), I guess I just wish she would turn down the angst and turn up the enthusiasm just a little.
Also, the second act felt really tacked on. I thought the book was over and was wondering why I still had about fifty pages left. The book was about Jamie letting go of her angst and letting others in and not isolating herself unnecessarily. And she did. And she even learned a few lessons about not judging others or thinking you know who they are because they have a label like “popular” on them. She also came to terms with her powers and stopped seeing them as such a curse. And she did all those things in the first act. And then suddenly there was an evil villain doing his evil laugh and Jamie having to save the day with her powers. Okay, I know it’s a superhero book, so Oram probably felt that she had to throw in a supervillain. But it felt incredibly unnecessary and random (and I had even deduced who the villain would have to be, because I’ve seen more than one superhero movie, but I really didn’t think she’d go there in this book). It would have been a lot better and more organic if Jamie’s story was covered in a pair of books, the first one about Jamie opening up and embracing her powers and the second one her realizing the whole “with great powers come great responsibility” thing and having to defeat a villain with her powers (threatening exposure, etc.). Heck, make it a trilogy and in the third one can be about finding others like herself. Maybe forming a league of some kind. ...more
Loved it! Neil Gaiman + history + comic characters = AWESOME.
All my comic knowledge comes from (1) the movies (2) my little brother. So I know I misseLoved it! Neil Gaiman + history + comic characters = AWESOME.
All my comic knowledge comes from (1) the movies (2) my little brother. So I know I missed in jokes and stuff. But it was still awesome. I recognized enough of the characters: Magneto, Spider Man, the Fantastic Four. I frickin' loved reading about these superheroes and supervillains rubbing elbows with historical people such as Queen Elizabeth and Virginia Dare (the first English child born in America).
A great, quick read, even for those who aren't comic fanatics....more
**spoiler alert** This book pissed me off. Maybe partly to blame were my expectations. This was THE book. Bestseller! Prize winner! Critical darling!**spoiler alert** This book pissed me off. Maybe partly to blame were my expectations. This was THE book. Bestseller! Prize winner! Critical darling! But most important of all, people whose literary taste I deeply respect love it to pieces and kept telling me that it was the book. Turns out it was the book that was the most frustrating to read all summer, but that's it
Mostly, it was boring. Chabon liked describing way, way, way too much. So many useless details and RANDOM background details on minor characters and oh my God I just didn’t freakin’ CARE. There were pages where the entire page was THE SAME PARAGRAPH!!! Paragraphs shouldn’t take up pages! They just shouldn’t!
The only really interesting part was when Josef was so angry over what was happening to his family and felt so helpless to help them that he dealt with his anger and powerlessness by getting into fights with random Germans (I mean, it was a petty and stupid thing to do but it was very human and very emotional). And it was kind of cool that this stupid behavior came back to bite him in the ass when one of his random victims kept trying to kill him (but was a useless enough villain that he kept failing). But after that highlight it quickly went downhill. Plus, I didn’t like any of the characters. I liked Josef when he was a teen and escaping from the Nazis and doing everything in his limited power to save his family and feeling useless and helpless. But then his brother died and he flipped the frick out and ABANDONED ALL THE FAMILY HE HAD LEFT!!!!! And then I hated him and didn’t care if he came back. And Sammy was always kind of annoying but then his storyline just got weird and dull and he turned into a cliché ("I’m a ‘50s father/husband and realize that I never got what I expected in my youth and I’m all depressed and bored!"). And Rosa! I never liked her. And I kept feeling like I should like her once she developed a kind of personality but I never warmed up to her. Plus, she hooked up with Josef back when I still liked him and I never felt she was good enough for him (of course, when I started hating him too, so I turned out to be wrong. They were perfect for each other).
So, boring writing + unlikeable characters + high expectations that fell far short = hated this book. ...more