M/M fiction isn't really my thing, but I'm a firm believer in the idea that if a love sto...moreYou can read more reviews at my blog, The Armchair Librarian.
M/M fiction isn't really my thing, but I'm a firm believer in the idea that if a love story is good enough, and well-written, the sexuality of the characters it's about doesn't matter. Built 4 It is like that.
The title makes it sound like it's going to be unbelievably trashy, but I was impressed by how sophisticated the storyline was. Most erotica doesn't have a plot, especially a short novella like this (only 84 pages). Or, if it does, it's wafer-thin: a mere pretense for sex.
Ben Speigel is a scientist at the Built4 facility. There, they create monsters called steins--a cross between a cyborg and a zombie--for medical research. The steins are treated badly, and Ben knows that they experience pain where they are sent since they are not considered human and have about as many rights as animals.
One day, Ben's lab gets the axe, and he knows he's going to have to kill all the steins. But Ben has a secret crush on the alpha male of the stein pack: an attraction that seems to be reciprocal. And it seems like the Alpha stein's last wish is to have a sexual encounter with Ben.
However, the ending isn't grim. I was afraid this was going to turn into a morbid rape fantasy. It didn't. Kee, the Alpha stein, was surprisingly sweet, and the mix of childlike innocence and brutish strength was endearing, rather than silly. He kind of reminded me of Disney's Tarzan.
(I guess that would make Ben Jane.)
Oh, and the subplot with the Zombie Underground was pretty cool, too. I'd definitely read more books from this series if I happened across them!
Well, well, well, what do we have here? Another graphic novel written by a dude whose first work I did not like, and whose second work redeemed him. I read Transfusion by Steve Niles earlier and was annoyed by the shoddy layout and lackluster writing. Then I get this, and find myself with a kick-ass supernatural gumshoe in the tradition of Harry Dresden.
Cal McDonald isn't as lovably innocent as Harry, though. He drinks like a fish, and is always smoking, much to the dismay of his ghoul butler, Mo. He's caught in a turf war brewing between the werewolves and the vampires, and pretty much the only thing they agree upon is that Cal McDonald needs to die.
Slowly and painfully.
He's no Henry Kissinger.
One of the things that really annoyed me wasn't the book's fault. The summary listed on netgalley and Goodreads has major spoilers. Well, not major-major spoilers, but it does say that Cal dies, only to come back as a ghoul. I thought he was already a ghoul, so I was a bit surprised when he punches his way out of his grave like he's Betelgeuse or something.
We also learn that his vampire ex-girlfriend was responsible for his death. We don't meet said girlfriend until later, and it is never explicitly said that she is his ex (at least, I don't think it is). I thought that was probably due to lazy writing, and that whole shattered ARC definitely knocked off a star from this rating.
There were also some weird crossovers. Like, The Goons. And Hellboy makes a one-page cameo appearance when they destroy a portal that leads into other universes. It's really weird, and nothing comes of it. Definitely a comic book "big-lipped alligator moment."
Alexander Gordon Smith is the man who wrote the sheer brilliance that is Escape from Furn...moreYou can read more reviews at my blog, The Armchair Librarian.
Alexander Gordon Smith is the man who wrote the sheer brilliance that is Escape from Furnace, a terrifying dystopian that takes place in an evil jail. The Fury is a no less terrifying concept: what if all your friends and family--in fact, everyone in the whole entire world--suddenly wanted you dead? Wanted you dead so badly, in fact, that they would injure themselves just to kill you?
Such is the grim reality for the teens in this book.
It starts out pretty well. I loved the build-up and the tension, and the fact that you know something bad is happening but can't quite say what. Also, the tornado man with the gaping mouth and dead eyes, oh my God, he is like a human Dementor. What the fuck.
The next three hundred pages were just as exciting as the kids flee their now-psychotic friends and neighbors, drawn by the voices telling them to go to an abandoned fairground.
I enjoyed seeing how the kids formed their own society, and how leadership was "assigned." It reminded me a lot of Lord of the Flies. However, around this time the next 50 pages really started to drag. I felt like a lot of the same stuff was happening over and over, and there wasn't enough new information being thrown into the mix.
When I was five hundred and fifty pages in, I began to get frustrated. Only 100 pages left in the book, give or take, and almost nothing to show for it! How about some freaking resolution, FFS?
My main issue, in case you couldn't tell, was that the book was just way too long. There are at least 10 different POVs in this book. A lot of information is repeated. This made me wonder if Fury is being marketed at a younger audience, but words like "bastard" and "twat" made me think otherwise. Which begs the question, Just who IS the intended audience of this massive paperweight? I think losing 200 or so pages might have been an advantage for this book.
The Fury isn't a terrible read, and people who don't mind a bit of repetition will undoubtedly enjoy the atmospheric horror. It's got a very definite Stephen King feel, specifically Cell and The Stand. However, after reading Furnace, I have to say that this book was a major disappointment.
Crossovers, for those of you not in the know, are when you take one fandom and, in a bizarre twist of AU, have them interact with another fandom. In this case, the Martians from Mars Attacks invade Pop-Eye (yes, that Pop-Eye), KISS (yes, that KISS), Ghost Busters, Transformers, and some kind of zombie franchise (I think it might be Resident Evil. There were robots).
I honestly don't know what to say here. But while reading this book, especially the chapter with KISS, I kept thinking about the Family Christmas Special from season 1, with those clips from "Kiss Saves Christmas." I thought, "Oh my God. No way something like this exists." And then I received this book.
Yes. They are very similar in terms of what they are trying to do. Which is, commercialize. Market. And advertise. Now, to be fair, some Crossovers work. I mean, look at Super Smash Brothers. Sonic and Mario? In the same game? Mind-blowing. Here, not so much.
My favorite one was probably the one with Pop-Eye, because that's the fandom I was most familiar with, out of all of these. The zombie one was also pretty funny. Unless you are a collector, or enjoy all of these fandoms equally, you might want to give this a miss.
The copy I received for review had messed-up formatting. Each page was duplicated and sev...moreYou can read more reviews at my blog, The Armchair Librarian.
The copy I received for review had messed-up formatting. Each page was duplicated and several passages of writing were missing.
From what I read, however, the story was only mildly interesting. I'm not a fan of zombie stories, as I've said hundreds of times, and this is--for better or for worse--a zombie story.
I really wish these publishers would be more careful about the books they submit as galleys. This is like the third or fourth book I've received that was so haphazardly constructed that I couldn't read it.
What is with this fascination of zombies? I seriously don't get it. Zombies = dead, rotting...moreYou can read more books at my blog, The Armchair Librarian!
What is with this fascination of zombies? I seriously don't get it. Zombies = dead, rotting corpses who want to eat your brainssss. Did I mention the rotting corpse part? Ghosts, okay, they don't have bodies anymore; they can't rot. Vampires, they have magic powers; they can't rot (usually). Zombies are the roadkill of the undead; they are definitely corpses. When you want to have sex with a corpse this = necrophilia. Ergo, Julie wanting to jump R's bones (in the--yechh--literal sense) = necrophilia.
Oh and in case that weren't disgusting enough, Warm Bodies is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, which, funnily enough, I also hated. In fact, this is pretty much a blend of Romeo and Juliet, Twilight, and World War Z. Since I didn't like any of those books, I suppose it's not surprising that I didn't like this one.
But it's hard when everyone around you is singing this book's praises. My brother and sister won't stop yammering about it, and kept a countdown of the days until the movie's release. My lit-snob mother fawns over the book, saying how "sweet" R is.
Yes. Sweet in the, "My, how rank you smell today, Mr. Zombie" sort of way.
The premise is interesting enough, I suppose. It's about a philosophical zombie (I know, the irony) who thinks that there might be more to life than Brains. He marries another 'R' zombie (Rosalie) in his zombie church, and has zombie children with her. Then one day he goes into a compound and eats the brains of Perry (Paris), which fills him with the memories of Perry's relationship with Julie (Juliet). He brings Julie back to the zombie compound to "keep her safe" (facepalm), 'M' (Mercutio) disapproves, the zombies want to eat Julie, Julie and 'R' go back to the human compound. 'R' pretty much forgets all about his commitment to Rosalie but it's OK because she did too! LOL. She's cheating on him and he doesn't care because he's a zombie and the end.
I couldn't buy the world-building. I couldn't stand the inconsistencies. I didn't understand how 'R' could be so verbal in his head and still sound like his speech was being provided in-stream via 90s rural dial-up. I didn't buy Julie getting over Perry's death so quickly. I didn't understand why 'R' suddenly developed a case of multiple-personality-disorder. I thought the idea of zombie school was ludicrous. I was annoyed by the lack of subtlety.
This book just isn't for me, and I'm not going to annoy myself further by proceeding. I call DNF. It's time to move on to brighter, more alive pastures.
Let me start by saying that I love what this book was trying to do. Fantasy westerns are p...moreYou can read more reviews at my blog The Armchair Librarian.
Let me start by saying that I love what this book was trying to do. Fantasy westerns are pretty cool, and have so much potential in their rural settings, harsh climates, and tough-customer locals for kick-ass plots. I mean, just look at Stephen King's Gunslinger series.
By contrast, The Damnation Affair comes off as very wooden and dull. The plot is bogged down by excessive wordiness in the descriptions and dialogue, and a striking lack of action sequences. I know flowery prose is expected for period novels like these, but that doesn't mean that they are being given permission to be boring.
One example of a period fantasy novel that was done exceptionally well is Soulless. The writing sparkles with wit, and Alexia is totally kick-ass. Cat, on the other hand, is rather passive and one-dimensional. Most of The Damnation Affair consists of people standing around and observing.
I'm happy that Saintcrow put so much effort into this short story, but I just couldn't get into it. That seems to be becoming a pattern with me, lately.
Sometimes I just don't understand the popularity of these so-called "cult classics." I tr...moreYou can read more reviews at my blog, The Armchair Librarian!
Sometimes I just don't understand the popularity of these so-called "cult classics." I tried reading Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and absolutely despised it. I tried reading Bret Easton Ellis's work, and was revolted. I tried reading World War Z, and was completely bored out of my skull. Given that, you may be wondering what possessed me to pick up Fiend.
I know the typical troll response to negative reviews is, "if you don't like something, don't read it." What they don't seem to realize is that you can't tell if you're not going to like something until you actually do read it. There have been books I absolutely thought I was going to love that ended up pissing me off. And there are books that I thought I might throw out the window only to realize that I loved them to pieces. It all depends on the subject, the writer, and the way the story is strung together. So really, choosing not to read something on the basis of its premise is a very close-minded approach to books.
Why didn't I like Fiend?
Several reasons, actually.
1. The main character is seriously tripping balls. He is so drugged out of his mind, that when he sees a little girl eating the brains of a dog he's pretty much just like, "Whoa, bad trip."
2. The writing is purposely squicky, with numerous metaphors and analogies involving bodily fluids. It's kind of like listening to a bunch of drunken frat boys talking about last weekend's party.
3. I'm not one of those people who immediately think, "Oh! Zombies! Cool!" Sticking a zombie in a book does nothing for me. If you want to wow me with a zombie book, you have to have good characterization, a good storyline, and something to set your book apart from the thousands of other zombie stories out there.
4. None of the dialogue has quotation marks. Maybe the author is trying to emulate Cormac McCarthy's "The Road." However, the Road is on a completely different level from this book: it has gorgeous writing, fabulous characters, and really good world-building. Considering that this is a debut novel from the author, one would think that he ought to work on making his novel less trendy and trippy and more accessible.
Because that's another problem with cult classics, they only have a small, specific audience. Which is great if you're already an established author with a large following, but if you're just starting out, it's probably best to include as many people in your target demographic as possible. Zombies are already on the wane, and just don't cut it anymore.
5. It's boring. Things happen too slowly or too quickly, or in such a disorganized way that you don't really get a grip on what's going on. I guess that's because these guys are all high, but still. It's about as fun reading from the POV of someone who's high as it is being the only sober person as a party.
Hoax Hunters is truly bizarre. It's like a cross between Men in Black, Mythbusters, X-Men,...moreYou can read more reviews at my blog The Armchair Librarian!
Hoax Hunters is truly bizarre. It's like a cross between Men in Black, Mythbusters, X-Men, and pretty much every cliche horror movie trope and cliche in the book. Yeah, it's a real scream.
(Did you see what I did there?)
My ratings generally correlate fairly positively to the averages on GR, but in this case, I actually liked Hoax more than most people seemed to. I guess it was a little too complicated for some. Not me, though! I like convoluted storylines, and if you do, too, you'll probably really enjoy Hoax Hunters, too.
The premise is that there are this group of people with super-sekrit super powers who produce this show called "Hoax Hunters." On the surface, it's one of those debunking sites to show how crazy them crazies are that think their unshaved neighbor is bigfoot. But actually, it's a conspiratorial cover-up group dedicated to keeping us from finding out the truth that's out there. Ooh scary. Hence the comparison to MIB.
Some of these creatures are harmless or misunderstood. Some have a tentative truce with the Hoax Hunters. And some of them are, well, evil.
This was a fun read. Light, a little silly, but with substance. Definitely a must for horror and sci-fi aficionados.
I was first acquainted with Ms. Sedia's unique style through her Russian steampunk/altern...moreYou can read more reviews at my blog, The Armchair Librarian!
I was first acquainted with Ms. Sedia's unique style through her Russian steampunk/alternate history novel, Heart of Iron. While I wasn't crazy about her characterization and pacing, I was awed by her beautiful prose, and thought to myself, "Here is an author worth keeping an eye on. With a little tweaking, she can do great things."
So you can imagine my pleasant surprise when I saw her recent anthology of short stories, Moscow but Dreaming on netgalley.
Was I on that like white on rice? You betcha.
Moscow but Dreaming is a collection of fantasy, surrealism, and magic-realism. Not all of the stories take place in Russia, but many of them do. A couple take place in the United States, I believe one took place in Africa, and one of my favorites was based on Japanese myth.
Anthologies are difficult to rate, because the quality of the stories therein can be very uneven. It's a chance for authors to experiment with different styles, tenses, narratives, and techniques, and that certainly shouldn't be discouraged. I must say that the stories Moscow but Dreaming opened with were a poor choice, as they were all the weakest of the bunch. I nearly put this book down as DNF because I was so unimpressed.
But I skimmed over the first three short stories, and then quickly found myself immersed in her beautiful writing, exquisitely wrought narratives, and fantastic plots. Oh, if only she had opened up with those later stories instead. I hate to think of how many people might give up because of the tepid opening.
I loved her integration of Russian folklore in these stories. I loved how she wasn't afraid to give a story an unhappy ending if it suited. Many were bittersweet, some were happy, some confusing, but all of them were interesting. In here, you can find everything from man-beasts, to zombie cities, to talking toys, to Faustian bargains. Each story was its own distinct entity, separate from the rest, but sharing a common theme.
With the exception of the opening stories, I really enjoyed Moscow but Dreaming.
Highly recommended to fans of China Mieville and Neil Gaiman.
I was not a zombie fan, even when liking zombies was popular. I don't know why, I guess w...moreYou can read more reviews at my blog, The Armchair Librarian!
I was not a zombie fan, even when liking zombies was popular. I don't know why, I guess when it comes to the living dead I've always preferred vampires. After all, there's nothing sexy or appealing about a bunch of walking corpses going around and saying, "Brainssss... brainssss..."
Seeley has a really unique take on the whole zombie thing, though. For starters, they aren't called zombies. They're called "revivers." They also don't eat brains. The only difference between them and the living is that they can't be killed. The fact that they retain their personae makes the moral boundaries all the more blurred--particularly since some of the most horrible monsters in this book are completely 100% living, breathing humans.
Our main character is a cop named Dana Cypress: divorced single mother with a younger delinquent sister, a hard-ass father who's also her boss, and a pretty shitty dating life.
I loved Dana. Like, seriously. She is one of the best female characters I've come across in a graphic-novel. A) she had a realistic figure--heavy, even a little dumpy; B) she was bad-ass, and wasn't afraid to tell people not to treat her like she was a bimbo just because she has boobs, C) her relationship to her ex-husband is fairly congenial, D) she is a wonderful role model for both her sister and her son.
Her sister, Em, is the family favorite despite being a problem-child. Dana got knocked up in high school and their father has never really forgiven her for it, even after all these years. However, Em has problems, too. For starters, she's dead. That's right. She's a reviver--and somebody murdered her to boot, though she doesn't know who. But as Revival progresses, and we get a better sense of Em's character, we learn that several people may have had a stake in her death.
Doesn't that sound awesome?
That's because it is.
I am just so happy to find a graphic-novel with such a fresh take on both zombies and feminism. Seriously, you guys. I clicked the scroll bar for several seconds before realizing that it was over and there was no more story, and there may or may not have been a few tears....
I'm wary about starting new series. I admit it. I'm a commitmentphobe. I'm afraid of getting my heart broken.
You see, The Summoning had such an amazing opening, I was afraid that the sequel wouldn't be able to top it in terms of characterization and plot.
I giddily admit to being wrong.
Chloe and her friends are on the run from the evil folks in charge of Lyle House. They discover that their captors are a bunch of supernaturals-cum-scientists called the Edison group.
And they're the experiments.
Those chase scenes...
All that action...
The zombie bats...
I tried to read this book in chunks. And I did. Sort of. In chunks of 100 pages at a time.
Ha. Good luck with that.
All of the characters are fleshed out more in this novel, including the baddies. Aunt Lauren really pissed me off in book one, but I suffered some major feels in book two at her expense.
And oh my gaw, Chloe and Derek--
Not only is Derek not TEH HOTNESS, he's actually slightly below average in looks (well, despite a killer werewolf bod), he sweats (OH MY GOD! STINKY SWEAT INSTEAD OF GLISTENING JEWELS OF GODLINESS? THE HORROR), and he's...well, brilliant.
In other words, he's as far from being a Gary Stu as Chloe is from being a Mary Sue.
I actually like Chloe even more than I did before. I'm loving watching her personality develop. She wants to be a movie director when she grows up, and she's always saying "in movies X happens, but in real life, actually Y." Armstrong doesn't do this so often that it gets annoying, but it's cute.
Also, I really, really, really need to know the secret behind the Edison group. And that demon.
Ms. Armstrong, book 3 better wrap up everything nice and neat-like. And I want Chloe x Derek and Tori x Simon pairings. If you do this, I will love you like a love song.
Here is a treat for you. You scream for Ice Cream. I scream for The Reckoning.
I kind of want to buy a pumice stone and do nothing but exfoliate for the next couple hours...moreYou can read my reviews at my blog, The Armchair Librarian!
I kind of want to buy a pumice stone and do nothing but exfoliate for the next couple hours.
Infected is just that disgusting.
Maybe it's because my subconscious is dwelling on the fact that tomorrow's supposed to be the end of the world and all, but lately I've found myself reading a lot of apocalyptic novels.
World War Z - Zombies kill all the humans.
The Strain - Vampires kill all the humans.
Robopocalypse - Robots kill all the humans.
And now, Infected. Aliens kill all the humans.
Infected is "shock horror" or "gross-out" horror in the sense that a lot of the horror elements come from gratuitous blood and gore. At times it borders on torture porn. I literally had to put this book down for several days because there were parts that made me want to throw up. His style is similar to Stephen King, except Sigler lacks that superior understanding of human motivation and human nature that's made Mr. King the superstar that he is.
The plot has been done a thousand times. Aliens come to earth seeking nom-noms. They find humans. Supper time! The biological research Sigler did for this novel really set it apart. What really frustrated me was the fact that he abused this angle, using it for elaborately violent scenes rather than for furthering the plot. I was hoping for something a bit more forensic, along the lines of Kathy Reichs. Instead I got . . . I don't even know. Saw meets Alien as done by Wes Craven?
If you, like me, have a low threshold for shock horror, set this book aside. If you're feeling morbidly curious or want to know what you're getting into, click the spoiler tag.
BUT DON'T SAY I DIDN'T WARN YOU!
(view spoiler)[ The aliens invade the body, causing triangular-shaped legions that later hatch and devour the host. But before that happens, it causes them to go psycho, killing people in violent and creative ways--in addition to harming themselves.
One of the main characters is one of the infected, and there are all these awful scenes. Like, he gouges into his thigh with a razor to pull out one of the tentacles and peel the skin off his, um, jewels like a tangerine. He burns them off on a stove. He cuts into them with a knife and fork.
At the end, he cuts off his penis with chicken scissors. And I was like, "I am so done." (hide spoiler)]
One thing for certain--the vegetarian community probably benefited a lot from this book's publication.
Stop right there! Yeah, you. I'm talking to you. You can't go into a horror movie without BACKGROUND MUSIC- I mean, hello? Mood-kill, much? Luckily fo...moreStop right there! Yeah, you. I'm talking to you. You can't go into a horror movie without BACKGROUND MUSIC- I mean, hello? Mood-kill, much? Luckily for you, I came prepared- in fact, I have just the song for this occasion.
You can thank me later (if you're still alive, that is).
KILL IT! KILL IT (UN)DEAD!
I feel like the only person in the world who didn't like this book. I'm not quite sure why this book has so many five-stars- because it's good, or because the hype dictates that the book must be given five stars at the cost of becoming zombie bait a social pariah? Who knows. But I didn't like it. Which makes me sad, because it's very well-written and obviously well-researched. And oh my God, yesterday I was totally fangirling over this book. I legit squeed out loud when I saw this on the used bookstore shelf, in perfect condition, just waiting for me.
Alas, our love was not to be.
World War Z is basically District 9 (meets Interview with the Vampire) in book form except replace aliens with zombies, replace quarantine with massive plague, and don't have a main character (narrator excluded, obviously). The result is an interesting look into the socio-political, economical, and psychological ramifications of a zombie outbreak on earth.
So what was the problem? Basically, that every chapter went something like this: 1. Interview some random person in some random country. 2. Person talks about how much their life sucked before zombies. 3. Person talks about how much harder their life sucks after zombies. 4. Person talks about how useless their government is in dealing with zombies. 5. Person ends story in tears/wanting to die/angry/maudlin/psychotic. 6. Return to step 1. Repeat steps 1-6 until the end of the book. 7. You're fucked, bro.
I was just really bored; I felt like I was reading the same thing over and over again. Yes, it was a really cool literary experiment and obviously it's become super popular, but I never was a zombie fan, so that might be part of the problem. If you are a zombie fan and enjoy reading about zombies and believe that the zombie apocalypse might actually happen (no, really, there are people who do- I know some, and they are, quite sadly, serious) then you will like this book. A lot.
If you are on the fence about the zombie hype, maybe check this book out from the library or get it used instead. Hey, it's not like the author's going to suffer because of that. I mean, his book's become a movie and he's already sold, like, what? Several million copies of his books?
Reader's dramatization of the author, upon receiving this month's royalties:
You, on the other hand, are most likely an average-Joe-kinda-schmuck-like-me struggling to save his or her money. How to start? Not buying this book. It was a pretty major disappointment. :/
HOW TO SURVIVE A POST-APOCALYPTIC ZOMBIE-PLAGUED WORLD (a reader's guide)
1. the only thing that kills more than zombies is overconfidence. never undere...moreHOW TO SURVIVE A POST-APOCALYPTIC ZOMBIE-PLAGUED WORLD (a reader's guide)
1. the only thing that kills more than zombies is overconfidence. never underestimate your surroundings. and under no circumstances pronounce something as "safe" or "beneficial." it will be the last thing you ever endorse--apart from your death certificate.
2. don't hold any faith that the government will save you. they're usually the ones responsible for these kinds of messes in the first place, and even if they're not, they're still always the first to go.
3. if you are (a) black, (b) have really big boobs, (c) are ultra-religious or ultra-radical in politics, (d) too good, (e) too evil, (f) too old, (g) too young, or (h) too annoying, you're already dead. it's just a matter of time, now...
4. don't try to experiment with the zombies in the hopes that you will find a cure. the only cure you will find is a temporary one to alleviate zombie hunger as it feasts on one of your companions fitting into one of the aforementioned categories (see #3). nor should you attempt to adopt one as a pet. pet zombies give new meanings to the phrase "bite the hand that feeds."
5. zombies aren't the only ones whose brains are affected by zombie outbreaks. for some reason, it turns perfectly otherwise healthy individuals into complete psychos who will f*ck you over for the fun of it.
6. if for some reason, you are the person from #1 and you haven't been killed off yet, don't be too happy yet. all of your hare-brained schemes and ideas will result in the deaths of at least one companion per scheme (usually more). will you learn? no. that's why you've got to keep adopting more victims friends to replace the ones you've lost.
7. you will always come across other survivors, or they will come across you--even if you're in the middle of nowhere. you will inevitably end up adopting them into your group or them adopting you into theirs, but the following rules will apply: (a) one of them is going to have a psychotic meltdown and freak out, either resulting in harm, loss of supplies, or death. (b) at least one (but no more than half) will die from participating in the schemes of a person from rule #1 (c) one of them is going to be a psycho or a coward or a traitor and turn on you, resulting in harm, loss of supplies, or death. (d) at least one will develop a "thing" with another person in your group, resulting in sexual tension, and drama.
8. in fact, you won't even miss tv at all, really, with the soap opera going on around you. the zombie apocalypse also makes people inexplicably horny and, unlike other horror films, sleeping around seems to keep you alive--it's the prudes that die.
9. don't try to improve your living conditions, especially not under the guidance of a person from #1. while things may at first seem better, in the long run it will make your situation 10x more difficult.
10. do have a job within the community. the odds of your dying diminish rapidly proportionately to how much you contribute. so if you sit on your butt all day in your shelter, figuring you're safe--nope. the zombies will sneak up on you while your comrades are safe in the fields, farming, shooting, and keeping house. (is this a subliminal message from the gop targeted at all us 'pinko welfare leeches'?)
11. if one of your friends starts trying to nibble on your head, or doing what appears to be a very bad "thriller" impersonation despite there being no music, don't say they've just got the flu or are suffering from malnutrition. they're a zombie. kill them, and give those poor doomed people from #3 one less thing to worry about. yeah?
i definitely did not like this book as much as the others.
1. there wasn't really any character development. true, andrea proves once again that she is...morei definitely did not like this book as much as the others.
1. there wasn't really any character development. true, andrea proves once again that she is a loyal badass who's a better person to have fighting on your side than lara croft, but i already knew that from her development in previous chapters. the other characters...eh.
2. unlike previous chapters, where the violence served some kind of plot point, this seemed gratuitous. like kirkman knew he was running out of steam and wanting to buy a little extra time to come up with his next big gimmick.
3. which brings me to my next complaint; every effort the other characters make to improve their already-sh*tty lives results in even more hell. i'd like to see them catch a break, you know? getting the prison quarters was a lucky break but it didn't come free--the group suffered a lot of casualties in order to secure it.
4. i really hate the governor guy. why hasn't he died yet? OH MY GOD. i hate him. he is the ladle that stirs up this big pot of sh*t. i don't understand why he gets to live when so many characters that i actually LIKED died. oh wait, yeah, i do. it's called "conflict."
5. despite the fact that one of my least favorite characters finally dies, i felt like the execution of s/he was pretty callous considering that they'd stuck it out this long. i almost missed it--in fact, if i hadn't already been forewarned about who it was, i wouldn't have noticed. that's how quickly it's glossed over.
so yeah, i'm kind of annoyed by this ending. it seems like a pretty cheap way to end the volume as a whole. i mean, why would you want to depress all your readers? at least leave them with a little hope so they'll actually want to find out what happens next...
i'm beginning to feel like i'm being jerked around. i'm still enjoying the book but i'm definitely sensing a formula here: someone gets a r...moreoh cheezit.
i'm beginning to feel like i'm being jerked around. i'm still enjoying the book but i'm definitely sensing a formula here: someone gets a risky but potentially beneficial idea that will 'better' the community --> the expedition appears to go well and the gang gets overconfident --> ZOMBIES!! --> somebody dies/gets severely wounded --> everybody complains about how depressing this world is.
how hard is it for these guys to understand that zombies = bad? dangerous? DO NOT TOUCH?
(i totally fangirl'd when i saw this at my favorite site to rip memes from. zombies + psychology? it's a nerdy psych major's dream!! whoever the original creator is, you are my hero! ♥)
carl and sophia's little budding romance continues to make me squee. he was so sweet to her, omg. when he kissed her on the cheek i nearly died. let's see. i really like alice--their new doctor. she's a total sweetheart and she's bad-ass. andrea is also amazing. i love how strong of a character she is. maggie and glenn are probably my favorite couple in the book.
characters i don't like are michonne (i don't trust her. she has some sort of hidden issue she's not sharing with the group that could potentially be dangerous; plus, she has a hidden sadistic streak) and surprisingly, rick. ever since lori dragged him into her little pity party, he's become nigh intolerable. i'm waiting for both of them to prove me wrong though, beccause i find them interesting. i absolutely loathe lori, however. all she does is whine. and complain.
and she's so dumb. how dumb is she? well, she was taking a stroll out in zombie-land and one of the roamers went by going, "brainssss... brainssss..." and walked right past her. zing!
seriously, though. she needs to die. i think i hate her.
that cliffhanger at the end also really made me mad. (view spoiler)[that evil son of a b*tch dictator from the other city should have died. i don't understand how he lived when the other guy in rick's group died just from having his leg cut off. i don't think mr. dictator should have been tortured but i did want him to die for being so effing evil. bringing him back was cheap. (hide spoiler)]
i'm interested what will happen in volume 8. another cliffhanger? i suspect so. it's the last volume included in compendium one, and i'm sure the author wants to add an extra incentive for people to buy the next compendium by slapping a big fat mt. everest of a cliffhanger at the end.
overall, i'd have to say that this definitely merits another five-star rating, although i hope that this formula is going to break soon--at this point, i feel like kirkman is beating a zombie horse. maybe you could mix it up a little. you know, give your characters a real reason to complain.
would you survive the zombiepocalypse? through a series of research experiments and statistical regression analysis the society for the preservation a...morewould you survive the zombiepocalypse? through a series of research experiments and statistical regression analysis the society for the preservation and protection of humanus nonzombius has produced this handy-dandy flowchart that will help you determine whether or not you have a snowball's chance in hell for survival:
this sorrowful life definitely lives up to its title, as this volume was even more violent than the last - and that's saying a lot. i was genuinely discomfited by the level of gore; if the tv series is even half as violent as the comic strip, i probably won't be watching it, horror movie phobe that i am.
i was, however, happy with how maggie and glenn's relationship evolved. and carl and sophia continue to provide me with squeeworthy relief from the onslaught of horrors. some new characters are introduced in this sorrowful life. as with other volumes introducing new characters, some of them are nefarious and have twisted motives. others are awesome and you just know they're going to hook up with one of the other characters and provide you with more sources of squee.
kirkman also continues to show how the morals and mores of the old ways are slowly starting to degrade. he brings up a good but subtle point: that we only really have the luxury of creating sophisticated forms of morality when we're relatively safe and feeling non-threatened. fear makes people into dumb animals. and dumb animals bite the hand that feeds (especially if they're zombies).
honestly, when i embarked on this journey, i was expecting mindless entertainment (pun intended heh heh heh), not the emotional rollercoaster of a soap opera-cum-zombies. i'm beginning to suspect that there may be more to these zombies than meets the eye. i mean, the fact that there's two different kinds - lurkers and roamers - has been brought up several times.
what if... the zombies are evolving? after all, it's already been pointed out that they can be trained. let's do a test. hey! zombies! play dead!
overall, this was just as good as all the others. but i think i'm going to take a little break and read a couple chapters of the assassins of tamurin instead. you know, to get away from all the killing. five stars that really made me wish i'd eaten my meal before reading this...
and on that note, the government has taken special precautions to make sure everyone receives their due rations during this time of siege. just look for these signs: (less)
disregard everything i said about the series getting less violent. kirkman frakking tricked me. i'm still reeling. i honestly don't know what just hap...more
disregard everything i said about the series getting less violent. kirkman frakking tricked me. i'm still reeling. i honestly don't know what just happened. i feel violated.
reading this before going to bed was a mega-bad idea.** if i have horrible nightmares about the zombiepocalypse, i'll know who to blame: robert kirman! it's all his fault.
**speaking of bad ideas: if you hate spoilers, it might be a bad idea to proceed beyond this point as some minor/mild spoilers do follow. consider yourself warned.
does that mean that the best defense is bad? no. god no. hell-mother-bucking-no. but you shouldn't give it to your ten-year-old kid to read, either. imjustsayin.
i've been wondering for the last few volumes whether or not the gang would end up encountering another group of survivors. they do... and their society is quite a bit different. for one thing, it's run by a total sociopath-cum-psychopath who's one mean motherbucker. (curse you brony fandom!)
and he likes strangers... in his zombie daughter's supper dish.
the way he rules is truly horrendous. i mean, he has pet zombies. there's a gladiatorial arena. new folks check in, but they don't check out. and he seems to be borderline necrophiliac. but the scariest part of all is, as evil as he is to rick and his gang, he seems to care about his own brood. "seems to." i'm still trying to decide whether he's faking it or not.
i suspect he is, and that it's all just an act. which just makes it worse, because vile acts are twice as creepy if the person doing them tries to slap a happy face on it.
see what i mean?
despite this influx in horrible horrible violence, i'm still really loving kirkman's world-building. also carl and sophia continue to make me squee. also andrea and dale - even if dale is an old fart, i think they're cute together. ditto glenn and maggie. lori is on probation. i'm starting to get annoyed at how she treats rick; in fact, lori is pretty much the scumbag steve of the walking dead series (if you have any doubts, just look at the memes. the memes never lie).
carl, on lori:
another note: i'm shocked by how many carl-haters there are. for the tv series, anyway, there's a whole bunch of people propagating #killoffcarl memes. why? for a child character, he's not annoying at all. in fact, i actually think he's super brave (and you already know how i feel about his little puppy love relationship with his 'girlfriend' who he only recently permitted to hold his hand in public ♥) and a total sweetie. i don't want him to die.
i'm both excited and scared to read the next volume because i suspect there's going to be some kind of a stand-off. and when stand-offs happen, people die. and since i'm usually a fan of the underdogs (rick is the exception to this rule - hottie!), my favorite characters usually end up dying.
another good contribution to a really good series. i hear the next compendium is supposed to come out this fall. my siblings and i are ecstatic (please tell me vol. 8 doesn't end on a cliffhanger. what? it does? fufufufufufufu!!!!).
p.s. last time, i gave a shout-out to all you college kids. well, this is for my older followers who are burdened with a different kind of zombification-inducing hell: work.
don't work too hard, guys! remember, your main job is to stay alive! :)
five flesh-eating, free-range zombifie stars!(less)
i'm not a zombie but i might as well be considering how mind-numbingly addictive this candy-coated crackfest is. i've lost so much sleep over this ser...morei'm not a zombie but i might as well be considering how mind-numbingly addictive this candy-coated crackfest is. i've lost so much sleep over this series, and you know what? i ain't even mad.
in the heart's desire, the shit really hits the fan as the group begins to realize how low they have to go in order to survive. survival's an ugly thing, and contrary to what many pop zombie fiction writers would have you believe, it's not all fun and games. sometimes you have to kill. sometimes you have to hurt people to help them. and sometimes, you have to make unpleasant choices. there's not always good or bad. sometimes there's just crappy and less-crappy.
that's utilitarianism, bitches!
and there were definitely scenes that definitely had me going
and because this is a graphic novel and the style is so life-like, it definitely elicits a more emotional reaction than just a novel-novel. whereas the last volume had a lot of gore and violence, this volume induces intense psychological discomfort, raising a lot of interesting moral and social issues that were touched upon (but not really explored in great depth) from before. i'm really glad he decided to return to these issues, though; his post-apocalyptic philosophies are brimming with wisdom that befits that of the great philosoraptor.
not-so-coincidentally, this volume is also where we get the origin of the book's title. so if you were wondering, "why is this comic called the walking dead?" and were thinking what i was thinking, the little twist at the end of the book might just blow you away. here are just a few samples of wisdom, as represented by random memes i've stolen from the internet.
i know what you're thinking. "say it isn't so!" right? sorry but we have even more statistics conducted by the zombie institute of social-demographic studiiiiiiies.
they make a compelling case.
overall, i'd have to say that this was another great addition to what is already a great series. for some reason i didn't like this one as much as the previous three, but i suspect that's because a lot of really unpleasant things happened in this book. but this in no way means that the heart's desire doesn't deserve a place on my elusive crème-de-la-crème shelf (in fact, for more fantastically awesome should-be-six-star reads, please - check it out!).
this just in! the society for the preservation and protection of humanus nonzombius has just published a new study that could save your life!
never for...morethis just in! the society for the preservation and protection of humanus nonzombius has just published a new study that could save your life!
vol. 2 ended with rick grimes and his group coming across a seemingly abandoned prison. they've run out of food and are starting to get tired, fast. since the walking dead have no use for food of the non-cerebral variety, they gotta figure there's some pickings to be had inside. plus, the fortified walls will protect against a possible zombie invasion.
particularly since infection might not be the only way that one turns into a zombie... because the dead-head count is skyrocketing.
don't listen! it's a trap!
with the exception of a few zombies walking around, though, the jail seems like the perfect place to live. but the group is surprised when they make their way into the prison cafeteria and find four inmates sitting down to a meatloaf dinner.
it seems like a utopia. it's not.
this book is a lot more gruesome than the previous two, as kirkman explores even more moral issues, such as how a society should be run, what rules should govern them, and how justice should be meted out. he also deals with the concepts of murder, suicide, prejudice, revenge, and crime and punishment. really, for a graphic-novel, this is surprisingly deep.
i still like how kirkman is developing his characters. the fights between rick and lori are a little annoying, but because of the groundwork he's laid of their history this makes sense. plus, they're imperfect human beings and stressed out, and their arguments tend to be moral-based instead of, "u were checking that other guy out!!!! u hate meeehhhh!!!"
none of that here, don't worry. and rick is a bit really overconfident, anyway.
yeahhhhhh. something bad happens to him in this book and i was sad, but not particularly surprised because he's had so many close calls already i was kind of expecting something like this.
also, the little budding romance between carl and sophia is so squee. seriously, every time the two of them get together, i want to pinch their adorable little cheeks and sing, "chris and sophia sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g." they're so cute!
so. much. squeeeeee.
my one complaint is that this book ends on a major cliffhanger. but since i've got vol. 4 right here ready to be added to my currently-reading shelf, this bothers me not one iota (nya nya nya).
if being left on tenterhooks bothers you, however, you might want to consider buying the compendium. for sanity's sake.
so... you still think you can survive the zombie apocalypse, eh? well, if by some miraculous stroke of luck you somehow managed to get past the first...moreso... you still think you can survive the zombie apocalypse, eh? well, if by some miraculous stroke of luck you somehow managed to get past the first elimination round, take a look at these official* statistics conducted by the zombie institute of social-demographic studiiiiiiies.
*actual results may be a little "brainless"
my reaction to the cracktastic, zombie-ridden volume two of the walking dead series is summed up rather eloquently by these two words: me gusta.
all the glowing accolades and adulation i lavished upon volume one still hold true for volume two. i really like how kirkman is developing the relationships between both existing and new characters.
whereas the first book established the gross-out precedent, kirkman retains the reader's interest by plunging into the moral depths of a post-zombie-apocalyptic-ravaged world. for example, what is the etiquette for meeting other warm-bloods? do zombies have a right to live? are they even living creatures? or are they brain-washed door-to-door salesmen?
and what happens if you get pregnant or injured and there's no doctor?
now, bobby. what did we tell you about watching those zombie propaganda films?
i also really liked the time kirkman put in showing how difficult life is in a situation like this. the characters' concerns about food, guns, and shelter was highly valid. their different means of achieving these goals weren't repetitive at all, and contributed a lot to both plot and character development. these are desperate times, people! and kirkman is the master of showing (not telling).
just keep this handy-dandy guide in mind, and you should be just fine!
if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
and on that note, the scene with the barn? totally reminded me of this (less)
i really, really, really liked this book - a lot. i'm not usually into graphic-novels, either. i can appreciate ni...more
guess what? it has.
are you prepared?
i really, really, really liked this book - a lot. i'm not usually into graphic-novels, either. i can appreciate nice artwork, but not when it means that the writing takes a back seat because the author expects a free ride off their artistic abilities. no, sir.
but that wasn't even close to being an issue with this book. nuh-uh.
days gone bye has an excellent cast of characters, with personalities as diverse and complex as those of stephen king. no matter who you are, or what your agenda is, you're likely to find at least one person in this novel to sympathize with/root for. and when they die, it hurts.
it also helps that the main character, officer rick grimes, is super-likable (and super-cute in a scruffy man of the woods kind of way). definitely my favorite - although i liked everyone (except for the zombies, obviously). yeah, even the jerks.
...okay, maybe not him.
while fairly typical of the genre. you know, zombie apocalypse, nobody knows why, government sucks at protecting people because they're too busy covering their own @$$es.
the characters really make up for it, though. i enjoyed how kirkman set up the commune life the humans set up, and how they made do with what they had. he doesn't try to be kitschy or gimmicky, and the realism is compelling.
maybe a little too compelling... like this could really happen.
...cut that out!!
kirkman has a pseudo-realistic style with soft edges that's really easy on the eyes. i love how he used light and shadow to make scenes dramatic in a totally understated way. it was a nice change from the hard edges and chiaroscuro techniques of alan moore.
five flesh-eating stars! definitely a must-buy for graphic novel- and zombie-aficionados.
and because i know so many of you are having finals right now...
This is like a not-stupid version of The Dukes of Hazzard - except one is a werewolf and one is a vampire. Meet Duke (the werewolf) and Earl (the vamp...moreThis is like a not-stupid version of The Dukes of Hazzard - except one is a werewolf and one is a vampire. Meet Duke (the werewolf) and Earl (the vampire). They're driving in the middle of nowhere, lost, when they come across a place called "Gil's All Night Diner." The two of them make a quick pit-stop and end up befriending the proprietor by proxy, Loretta, after defending her place from zombies.
Duke and Earl end up staying longer than they thought because something very wrong is happening at Gil's. Zombie and ghoul attacks; evil tentacles; a sense of doom that hangs over the greasy spoon like a curtain; and a teenager named Tammy who is eviler than most normal high school girls (and this says a lot). And an evil spell in pig-Latin just might result in Armageddon. Pretty soon, Duke and Earl get involved in a mad scamper to save the world (or die trying).
I really liked this book a lot! While it's nice to read those more typical urban fantasy novels with too-sexy-to-believe heroes and heroines, I like reading about real people with real problems. Duke and Earl aren't good-looking man hunks. They're Average Joes who just happen to be immortal. Plus, it's absolutely hi-larious. There are mature themes and some foul language but nothing too explicit. Really, it's no wilder than Carl Hiaasen or Christopher Moore.
If you're a fan of campy vintage horror movies, Christopher Moore/Carl Hiaasen/Christopher Buckley, characters served with a generous helping of corn pone, outlandish situations, and completely wacky yet believable scenarios, I'm pretty sure you're going to love this book.
P.S. Just thought I'd point out: This is not a young adult book! Many of the negative reviews are saying that this is too explicit to be YA. Well...because it's not YA. The author wrote some YA before and I guess that branded him as a YA author for good. Although I think a lot of teenagers would like it because of the zombies and the swearing and the (hints of) sex. Except for language, it's not even that explicit...