There are a lot of writers I love, but only a few that I go TOTALLY FREAKIN' WILD FOR. Brian K. Vaughan is one of those writers. And I cheered -- quit...moreThere are a lot of writers I love, but only a few that I go TOTALLY FREAKIN' WILD FOR. Brian K. Vaughan is one of those writers. And I cheered -- quite literally and loudly -- when I found out that he was returning to comics. When I found out the plot of this new series -- star-crossed lovers from warring nations running for their lives ... IN SPACE -- I cheered some more. This is a story that I had no idea that I desperately wanted to be told.
"Saga" is so wonderfully bizarre, eye-poppingly dirty, and fantastically intense. I love that our two lovebirds, Alana and Marko, feel like real people with a rich history as a couple and as individuals. Vaughan's dialogue, as ever, is unique which serves his story and draws the reader in. The politics, the war, the royal robots, the bounty hunters, the people and races we meet (LYING CAT! GHOSTS! MAGICIANS! UNICORN-LADY!), and the, um, let's say, DIVERSITY of the planets are all rich amazing threads that would turn into a knot in another writer's hands. Vaughan has created an epic world that sprawls galaxies and takes you along for the ride on magical tree spaceships.
I decided to listen to this audiobook a few years after not being very impressed with the first book in the Modern Faerie series while I waited for th...moreI decided to listen to this audiobook a few years after not being very impressed with the first book in the Modern Faerie series while I waited for the second book Holly Black's Curse Workers series to be released. Well, Curse Workers is the series I prefer. The Modern Faerie series isn't for me. It's a little too gritty for me. Though I appreciate this book was a fantastic way of telling a story I didn't really like, if that makes any sense.
I enjoyed the way Black uses the framework of the "Beauty & the Beast" tell to shape her story here without making it a straight-up retelling. I liked Val's independence, but I'd hesitate to call her a strong protagonist. I liked some of the magical elements, but like I said, this book wasn't for me.
There's also a scene in the book that had me sobbing hysterically and feeling just disgustingly awful for a long time after. If I had known about it beforehand, I would never have picked up this book. So, here's my warning in hopes it may help someone (without being too spoilery) -- if you are sensitive to any kind of animal abuse, do not read this book.(less)
Holy cute. Maybe this book didn't deserve a whole five stars, but it was just so adorable that I can look past the very minor flaws it had. So many of...moreHoly cute. Maybe this book didn't deserve a whole five stars, but it was just so adorable that I can look past the very minor flaws it had. So many of the sentences were so wonderfully written, just so darn adorable, that I reread them several times. I got five stars of enjoyment, that's for sure.
This book was just so wonderfully weird that I really just don't know how to describe it. It was a joy to behold, and I honestly don't know how I can go any further with this review without just gushing all over the place.
The story has a premise we know very well: a child stumbles into a magical realm and has a marvelous adventure complete with magic and bizarre creatures. Yes, we already have an Oz and a Wonderland and a Narnia and a Neverland. But Valente's Fairyland is kind of pretty amazing, even if I can't put my finger on exactly why. Maybe it's the mixture of everything, like the characters of twelve-year old September and her choice to leave the real world and embark on this journey, the cheeky Green Wind that delivers her there, the Wyvern that is half-library . . . Maybe it's the weird encounters that September has, the encounters that show her truth of reality that she can only discover in bizarro world. I don't know, I don't want to over-analyze it. It's just marvelous the way it is.(less)
I figured out from trial and error that attempting to describe the plot of this book ends up making me feel like I should be in a straitjacket. It cer...moreI figured out from trial and error that attempting to describe the plot of this book ends up making me feel like I should be in a straitjacket. It certainly is a bit bizarre from an outside perspective: Virgin female descendants of Alexander the Great are called upon to defend the world from flesh-eating unicorns once thought to be extinct.
But I promise it is not as ridiculous as this short plot summation. It isn't ridiculous at all. In fact, there is an epigraph noting that all of the unicorns depicted are real and are based on histories and religious texts of Europe and Asia. I found that Nancy Hathaway's Unicorn to be an invaluable reference tool while reading this book. There were illustrations of the different types of unicorns, such as the zhi and the kirin, as well as Alexander's karkadann Bucephalus, and reprints of artwork mentioned in "Rampant."
While it was hard to look my unicorn pillow pet in its fuzzy face while reading this book, the story still made this magical/glittery-unicorn lover into a believer. There were moments when I felt the plot was dragging its cloven hooves, but in the end I appreciated all of the slower expositional moments because it made the characters that much more believable.
My first foray into the this world of killer unicorns was Diana Peterfreund's contribution to Zombies vs. Unicorns, "The Proper Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn," which was by far the standout of the collection. It broke my heart in all sorts of ways. When I first heard about Peterfreund's series, I was iffy about giving myself over into a world where unicorns might as well be werewolves. But there is a lot of social and moral commentary by the characters on whether children hunting these beasts was right or humane, especially because they had to retain virginity to remain warriors. I appreciated that the characters were as skeptical as I was, and I adored the opinionated Phil who kept pushing for alternatives.
But, like Astrid, narrator and reluctant heroine, I found myself adapting to the situation. Unicorns are real. And they gonna eat you.(less)
When I saw that Amber Benson was writing novels, I knew I had to check them out. I loved her foray into writing comics, after all. I was lucky enough...moreWhen I saw that Amber Benson was writing novels, I knew I had to check them out. I loved her foray into writing comics, after all. I was lucky enough to pick up this book at a bookstore that was going out of business and it only cost me 90 cents.
I'm glad I didn't pay more.
This is chick-lit disguised as fantasy, which I am totally all right with. What I'm not all right with is the gamut of plot holes. And the over-writing. There were a lot of passages that went something like this:
I could use a hotdog, I thought to myself.
"I could use a hot dog," I said out loud.
[Note: not an actual passage from the book.]
I kept wanting to hurl the book away because it happened so often.
The premise is this: Calliope wanted a normal life and out of the family business, so she put a forgetting charm on herself so she wouldn't ever have to deal with her past again. But when her dad is kidnapped, it's up to Callie to go through some video-game-esque challenges to get him back. Oh, and her dad is the Grim Reaper.
The plot had spark. Or it could've been really engaging, at least. I don't know why it just seemed to fall apart. I've read a lot of complaints about Callie's character, saying she's whiny and shallow. Well, wouldn't you be whiny if put into some of the situations she's been in? And I think her shallowness is needed for the story - there wouldn't be one without it. I was fine with Callie as a character, I just cringed at some of the writing, and rolled my eyes at the rest of the story.
I only read this because Amber Benson wrote it. The reviews would've scared me away otherwise (and with good reason) and never would've touched it otherwise. I also picked up the sequel Cat's Claw and I feel like I made a commitment to read them both when I had her sign them for me a few months ago at Midtown Comics. I still believe in Amber, because she has many talents, I just hope her writing gets better.(less)