There's so much win in this series so far, and this volume only reinforces that more. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm about to go into full out art-majoThere's so much win in this series so far, and this volume only reinforces that more. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm about to go into full out art-major geek mode.......
OMG THE TRUTH IS DRAWN SO WELL!!!! SERIOUSLY, LOOK AT THAT STIPPLING...THE WHOLE THING IS MADE OF PERFECTLY PLACED STIPPLING!!! For that matter, all of Arakawa's art is excellent, but I just couldn't hold that geek explosion in any more. ...more
Something strange usually happens whenever I read one of Sanderson’s book, especially since my method of consuming these books is to listen to them viSomething strange usually happens whenever I read one of Sanderson’s book, especially since my method of consuming these books is to listen to them via audiobooks which allows me to double task (something that is much needed considering the amount of time that I put into my major.) A pattern tends to emerge that looks something like this:
- 1-3 hours) I start the book, and am somewhat bored for the first few hours. - 4-6 hours) The pace starts to speed up, I start to get interested again. - 6 – 10 hours) Pace even gets faster, I become extremely connected to the characters. - 11-12 hours) Oh my god, idiot, what are you doing?!?!?! - 13-14 hours) Theories disproven…again. - 15-19 hours) Soooooo intense!!! - 19-22 hours) SDFLSDFJLDSKFJSDLFKJ:LSDFLSDFKJLSD:F!!!!!!!!!!!!! ( I start to go off sleep to continue to listen to the book) - 23 hours) Sanderson you BASTARD!!!!!!!! You did NOT just kill (insert character here)!!!! - 23.5 hours) I rock anxiously back and forth while listening to the book, babbling incoherently. - 24 hours) Dang, that was good!
Basically, while reading “Well of Ascension” I was filled with an excess of geeky delight. I started to walk to and from class with my earbuds in (which, when your class ends at 9 at night and you have to walk back to your dorm alone is not the smartest idea…) and would find chores and such to do when I’d finished my art projects as to continue listening.
“The Well of Ascension” is centered around the idea that everyone wants to know when they finish an epic tale: what happens after the evil lord’s regime is toppled? Sanderson depicts this rather realistically, with people struggling, the naïve new King Elend Venture ruling shakily, and the other former members of Kalsier’s crew trying to find their way in a world that is unlike that they’re used to.
Sanderson is also masterful with crafting the interactions between Vin and Elend, showing that their characters don’t just live happily ever after now that they finally came together. Just like in real life, Vin and Elend have to work on their relationship, with all the external elements weighing on them as well as the internal dilemmas that Vin struggles with.
Something that I loved in the first book that was somewhat lacking in “Ascension” was the feeling of the heist. I love heist stories, there is just something so amazingly clever and wonderful in those stories (major generalization there…) Where the first book was clearly a thieving crew committing a heist, the second book was more along the lines of a political thriller. (Slight tangent now, but I cannot watch Inception without comparing the characters there to the characters of Mistborn!) The ending of this story brought the characters that I’ve grown to love to such an amazing climax, however, that it managed to work.
The ending, oh the ending, all I can say is “wow.” Sanderson pulled out all the stops, manipulating his characters like an expert marionette, moving them about in such a way that it felt like the characters were alive, shouting out from the page with both their voices and actions. It wasn’t a happy ending by a long shot, but it was a good one, even if some of the things that Vin did at the end were certainly more along the stupid side of the spectrum. As Hermione so wisely told Harry near the end of “The Order of the Phoenix,” in this book Vin has a bit of a “Saving People Thing”…which of course is what in the end leads to a whole bunch of crap happening that really shouldn’t have.
Once again, I must give a shout out for the cover of this book. The illustration is absolutely gorgeous, with a muted but simultaneously striking color palette and a well-thought-out composition that draws the viewer into the cover. ...more
If Pixar's The Incredibles had been written so that it was more gritty and aimed at an older audience, it would probably have been something very closIf Pixar's The Incredibles had been written so that it was more gritty and aimed at an older audience, it would probably have been something very close to this book...except that instead of being a Super in hiding, Mr. Incredible is disgraced for failing to defeat a big bad, Mrs. Incredible ran off long before the time of the story, and Dash Dash is gay. Like The Incredibles, Hero takes place in a world where superpowers and superheroes are commonplace, where villains are a dime a dozen, and where family is truly the bond that holds the chaos of the world together.
Having superpowers has long been a metaphor for being an outcast in society, just look at any of the classic comic heroes. This is especially true for teenagers, as high school is a time where conforming is often the easiest route. Heck, Peter Parker (aka Spiderman) was a teenager in the original comics! In this story, Thom struggles not only because of his disgraced father or his developing superpowers, but also because his sexual orientation in an environment where it is looked down upon.
The characters in Hero are absolutely FANTASTIC. Finally, an author that creates main characters that have faults, dreams, and struggles. I can't even say how refreshing it is to have a YA book that feels this fleshed out! Although there are some elements that were quite predictable (at least for me, but then again, I'm a seasoned superhero buff) I thought that Hero is a must read for anyone that wants to enjoy a book about friendship, adventure, finding one's place in the world, or just a bunch of badass superheroes. ...more
This volume really went into depth on the War in Ishval, and is one of the few times so far that I wished that Brotherhood was even more accurate to tThis volume really went into depth on the War in Ishval, and is one of the few times so far that I wished that Brotherhood was even more accurate to the book...and that's saying a lot considering most of the episodes practically use the comic as storyboards and just animate the in-between movements!...more
J.K. Rowling certainly pulled out all the stops with this last book. As a concluding novel for my favorite series ever, I couldn't be more pleased witJ.K. Rowling certainly pulled out all the stops with this last book. As a concluding novel for my favorite series ever, I couldn't be more pleased with it. ...more
Wow. Again, wow. For anyone who thinks that superheroes are lame, or that Batman is dumb - read this book. For anyone who thinks that comics are for lWow. Again, wow. For anyone who thinks that superheroes are lame, or that Batman is dumb - read this book. For anyone who thinks that comics are for little kids - read this book. For anyone who has ever expressed an appreciation for amazing art - read. this. book.
Since I'm an art person, and probably will spend the next three hours going back over this book examining the minutia of the artwork, I'm going to start with that last point. A lot of comics have a very familiar stylistic feel to them, with the bold angular shadows and the usual five or six viewpoints that are repeated for the sole reason that they work well. Hush has a lot of those too, but it doesn’t just stop there. The art style is very organic, and changes over the course of the twelve issues, and these changes and imperfections in frames are part of what makes Hush so absolutely beautiful, even if the beauty being referred to happens to be a frame of someone covered in blood.
I personally am a big fan of pen and ink as a medium, and there are whole pages in Hush where the hatching and crosshatching are so masterfully rendered that they add whole layers of dimension without being completely overwhelming. It could have been far too easy for inker Scott Williams to make everything full of bold lines, but instead he conserves his hatching and linework so that where he does hatch, it makes a difference.
Of course I would be remiss in my review if I moved on from my raving about the art without mentioning the flashback scenes in this book. Unlike the rest of the art in Hush, the flashbacks were painted in loose, wet on wet inks. The impact is immediate – it drops the reader into a different time without completely jarring the flow of the story as well as adds an illusion of the muddiness that often accompanies memories from times long past. These illustrations are without hard lines at the edges and are absolutely, breathtakingly gorgeous. If there is a poster of Barbra Gordan as Batgirl as painted in the flashback scene, I want it.
For those who liked Selina Kyle’s character in The Dark Knight Rises, this book is certainly a good read. Hell, if you didn’t like her character in TDKR, this book will still appeal to you. Catwoman’s interactions with Batman are at their finest in this book, and the witty banter between the two of them only serves to cement how well the characters are written and developed throughout this book.
As Nightwing points out in this story, Batman changes throughout the course of the twelve issues that are encompassed within this book. He opens up for the briefest of times, which makes the uncertainty and paranoia at the end all the more powerful.
It’s hard to say too much about the plot without giving away any major plot points (and I’m no Spoiler), but I will say this: there are some major hitters that make appearances in this story. Many iconic Batman characters have at least a cameo, and some have quite a bit more then that.
So really, go out and read this book, because even if you’re newer to the world of superheroes or Batman in general, it’s very compelling, and does a good job divesting information that is crucial to the canon without making it seem like it’s just a rehashing of old news.
Several years ago, my art teacher announced an assignment for the few underclassmen that remained in my drawing class after the seniors graduated: weSeveral years ago, my art teacher announced an assignment for the few underclassmen that remained in my drawing class after the seniors graduated: we were to do sidewalk paintings. She then turned on the overhead projector and showed us absolutely amazing artistic feats in this medium where the viewer looked like they were going to fall right into the drawings, where the perspective was so masterfully done that it looked like things were rising up from the street despite the fact that they were done in chalk pastels. Long story short, we didn’t succeed because after two class periods of sitting in the hot sun came the biggest rainstorm in five months and washed away all that work. After reading “Sidewalk Canvas,” only now do I realize just how little any of us knew about the art of sidewalk painting. [image error]
“Sidewalk Canvas” starts out as many other art books do, with brief history of the craft and a gallery of related examples. Julie Kirk has done her research and really relates the origins of sidewalk paintings in a way that is both informative and entertaining. However, where this books really gets good is when she moves from simple show and tell to explaining how the depth of perspective is achieved. In some, it’s a matter of single or multiple point perspective, or perhaps a cast shadow in the right spot. Others, like the anamorphic perspective that is utilized by well known street painters with such enormous effects, are much more complicated. Kirk not only explains the basic theory behind creating anamorphic drawings, but then goes on to take the readers step-by-step on gridding out their own anamorphic sidewalk paintings. [image error]
This book concludes with a basic chapter on color theory and drawing as well as a not-so-basic tips and techniques section that anyone that wishes to become a sidewalk artist would benefit from reading prior to starting any project. As a sidewalk painter herself, Kirk is able to give solid advice that even those that have had some experience in the field might find handy. With the unique voice, stunning visuals, and absolutely priceless advice, I would say that this book is a must-read for any artist.
This galley was obtained from Netgalley.com for review purposes. ...more
My friends recommended that I read this, and I didn't want to for the longest time because I was so busy with school, aWow. Let me say it again. Wow.
My friends recommended that I read this, and I didn't want to for the longest time because I was so busy with school, and then when I finally did start to read it, it took so long to get through a single volume because I got so hung up on the art. Arakawa's drawing style isn't just plain old manga, it's a piece of genius! Every chapter - yes, all 108 of them - showcased beautiful pen and ink technique, and I would just analyze the art for minutes before moving onto the next page.
Between the absolutely genius characters, the brilliant plot, and the art, I was transfixed.
Of all the book series that I have read, and fandoms that I have ever encountered, this is among my favorites. I've been into multiple fandoms, most prominently the Harry Potter fandom, so when I say that it is one of my favorites, that's some of the highest praise for a written work that I can give! Every character is so well written, with distinguished character arcs and even how they are drawn matures over the course of the 26 volumes. There's so much that I could say about each and every person that Arakawa's story brings to life, but more then any other characters there was one particular group that I loved reading every word of: the military characters. Specifically, Mustang, Hawkeye, Hughes, Mustang's main group of subordinates, and General Olivier Armstrong. The relationships that are portrayed between characters seem true to life, and I found myself becoming so attached to them that everything bad that happened was accompanied by a pang of emotion in my own chest. I mean, in four volumes - less then twelve chapters - she creates a character so wonderful and lovable that when he was killed it was seriously shocking.
This series is wonderful for those that like to ship characters. Oh, there are SO many couples that are canon, fanon, and everywhere in-between. Although the main (at least since it involves the main character) romantic arc over the course of this series was between Edward and Winry, I found myself being a helpless shipper for Riza Hawkeye and Roy Mustang. Yes, I am a Royai shipper, and proud of it! (Anila I blame you for this...)
And the plot, oh the plot, it is so magnificent in so many ways! The foreshadowing, the twists, the intricacies that wind throughout the entire story...well, basically I can geek out all day about how wonderful this series is. To anyone that is even considering reading this (or watching the anime Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood), I say this: Do It. You won't regret it...at all. ...more