Let’s get the science-y portion of the review out the way before I review this novelette, and I’m trying to simplify this as much as I can, so you getLet’s get the science-y portion of the review out the way before I review this novelette, and I’m trying to simplify this as much as I can, so you get a general idea. The basis of this story builds on the idea that Albert Einstein died before he could put forth and advocate his complete theory of relativity. Because of this, in the year 2193, he’s considered a minor thinker who had ideas that stimulated scientific thought, but didn’t challenge thought. Some people even consider Einstein a bit of a crackpot. (Nerd note: Einstein’s teacher, Hermann Minkowski, actually put forth the theory and Einstein built on it.)
You’re asking: “What’s the point, Tiara?” The point, my friends, is this. Without the theory of relativity, you don’t get space-time continuum. Without space-time continuum, you don’t get the theory that time slows for people as they approach the speed of light. That means, without the theory of relativity, a person wouldn’t be aware that time is progressing much, much slower for them in space than it is on earth because they’re traveling at such an immense speed. For a rough example without any mathematical basis and just to give a general working idea, 8 hours on earth would be only 1 hour for a person moving in space. This is also touched on in the story just not in as much detail as I gave you.
Einstein's theory of relatively hasn't been discovered in this story. When they realize something weird is happening during James space mission. They revisit Einstein’s old theories and figure out that the mission will only take James 5 years, but 41 years will have progressed on earth by that time. They refuse to about mission.
It’s funny to think a story like this one would be so utterly heartbreaking, but it is. James and Kate (the couple in this story) begin this story with Kate trying to reassure herself that 10 years would be no time. However, even in James’ first year away from earth, he managed to miss so much life as seen when Kate updates him on their friends and family. They believe they’d get to live all the life James missed once he returned, but then, science happens. I actually teared up a little bit reading this as James and Kate tried to exchange their last messages to one another on a communication system that had been giving them problems since the beginning of the mission and was rapidly breaking down.
There’s just so much going on emotionally in this little story that hits hard and fast. Kate’s desperate need to “see” James’ words while he reassures her that he’ll always love her no matter what, that he’ll still want to hold her and be with her despite the fact that he’ll only be in his mid-thirties and she’d be nearing her 70s when he returns. The grim explanations from his coworkers on what was happening and how he’d just become a sort of focus point for this “new theory.”
My main problems come from the science part of the story and having a little trouble suspending belief where it’s concerned. While Einstein’s early death certainly presents an interesting conundrum, I don’t know if I can truly believe that no one at all in the scientific community couldn’t have come up with the theory by 2193, especially working on the fact that that theory wasn’t Einstein’s in totality and apparently, there was enough data out there on it for someone to have expounded upon earlier.
Also, it’s a little unclear whether space travel, even short space travel, has happened before this point. I’m going to assume it hasn’t since they still haven’t figured out time-space continuum, and it seems like, if space had been traveled even briefly before this point in the story, they’d have some working idea that something was going on with the time stream before sending James into space.
Despite that, this is one of those stories that will stay on my mind for quite a while as I contemplate James and Kate’s future. Can you even begin to imagine coming home after spending 5 years in space to an earth that has aged 41 years in your absence? ...more
An actor’s death while performing the eponymous role in King Lear heralds the end of an age,More reviews @ The Bibliosanctum
An actor’s death while performing the eponymous role in King Lear heralds the end of an age, ushering in a new one with a roar. No one expected the Georgia Flu–romantic in name, but deadly in scope–to sweep the globe as quickly and as brutally as it did.
Twenty years later, society has collapsed completely and now, there are only pockets of communities, families, and survivors inhabiting the world. Amenities such as the internet are considered thrilling tales for children twenty and under who now live during a time when old cars are stripped and turned into horse-led caravans.
However, this isn’t just a story about life post-civilization. This story follows a cast of players all connected by the actor, Arthur Leander, people whose lives he touched in profound ways. Jeevan Chaudhary, a former paparazzo turned EMS, who encountered Arthur during many critical moments in his life as a paparazzi photographer and again as an EMS. Kirsten Raymonde, a child actress who witnessed Arthur’s death and develops a fascination for him in the post-flu world as she roams with a traveling symphony intent on keeping performing art in the world. Clark, his college friend who worked in organizational psychology “fixing” people by making them into the idea employee their companies want them to be but finds a different calling after the Georgia Flu. Finally, there is Miranda, his first wife, an artist who worked in shipping by day, but slowly, secretly penned her magnum opus for many years–a science fiction graphic novel called Station Eleven, which is gifted to Kirsten as a child by Arthur, a book Kirsten still has in her possession twenty years later.
This story travels back and forth in time, revealing the tenuous strings that tie them together, documenting the world for what it once was and what it has now become since 99% of the population has been decimated thanks to the flu. The world is a starker place than before the collapse. There are no countries or states, and the post-flu generation doesn’t even really have a working knowledge of such concepts. Kirsten comments that they’re just now entering “softer” years than when the illness first ravished the world. She remembers people being distrustful and territorial to the point of immediate violence when she first started traveling with the symphony but now, people are starting to slowly trust one another again, or at least give people the opportunity to explain themselves when showing up unannounced.
While one doesn’t tend to think of stories about a world ravaged by illness as lyrical, Mandel’s writing gave this world a strikingly tragic, dreamy feel that juxtaposes beauty and ugliness, sometimes having both characteristics present in the same sequence:
What was lost in the collaspe: almost everything, almost everyone, but there is still such beauty. Twilight in the altered world, a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a parking lot in the mysteriously named town of St. Deborah by the Water, Lake Michigan shining a half mile away. Kirsten as Titania, a crown of flowers on her close-cropped hair, the jagged scar on her cheekbone half-erased by candlelight. The audience is silent. Sayid, circling her in a tuxedo that Kirsten found in a dead man’s closet near the town of East Jordan: “Tarry, rash wanton. Am I not thy lord?”
Miranda’s graphic novel played an essential part in this aside from giving the novel its name. It served as a haunting allegory for feelings, situations, and dreams throughout the story, giving us such moments as these where her story underscores her pent up feelings about being the eccentric wife who never truly belonged in Hollywood (but has dual meaning when put up for comparison to the post-flu world):
The sentiment seems right, but somehow not for this image. A new image to go before this one, a close-up of a note left on Captain Lonagan’s body by an Undersea assassin: “We were not meant for this world. Let us go home.”
In the next image, Dr. Eleven holds the note in his hand as he stands on the outcropping of rock, the little dog by his boots. His thoughts:
The first sentence of the assassin’s note rang true: we were not meant for this world. I returned to my city, to my shattered life and damaged home, to my loneliness, and tried to forget the sweetness of life on Earth.
Too long, also melodramatic. She erases it, and writes in soft pencil: I stood looking over my damaged home and tried to forget the sweetness of life on Earth.
There was one issue that I felt could’ve been improved upon, mostly because it only kept popping up at convenient times when it felt Mandel needed things to move, but she couldn’t quite figure out how to get them to move. I felt the idea needed to either have been explored more or taken out altogether. It was one of those instances where it kept popping up at points, and I’d forgotten that was even part of the story because it only felt important in that moment. I won’t spoil it since it is important to the plot, but it was just one small complaint. And it’s an issue that other readers have pointed out as well.
Another thing that I don’t know if I think is brilliant or not is the Prophet. You know there is always at least one person who turns into the religious zealot in a post-apocalyptic setting. On one hand, I did like what she eventually did with that angle, even though at first I was thinking, “Please, not this.” On the other hand, I couldn’t fully appreciate it as much as I wanted because the entirety of it seemed to be all crammed in toward the end rather than being slowly revealed like most of the story. You have a good idea where it’s going to go with that angle, but it just seemed a bit more shoehorned in when compared to the rest of the story.
It would be easy to categorize this book as just a dystopian/post-apocalyptic novel, but it’s so much more than that. It’s one of those books that defies genre, and I’m sure it’s probably been the source of more than one great genre debate by now. Despite any ambiguity it lends, this novel is poetic, elegiac, and moving. Station Eleven has the quality of a book that could be considered a classic years from now, something that my kids will likely dig up when they decide to go on a classics binge (much like I’m doing right now with various genres). It’s a terrific blend of prose, character, and dialogue....more
Silk #1 is worth a mention. There are too few mainstream books with women of color placed squarely in the center. (CindCrossposted @ The Bibliosanctum
Silk #1 is worth a mention. There are too few mainstream books with women of color placed squarely in the center. (Cindy Moon is Asian-American.) Not only do I feel this book is important for that reason, but this is really a good female-led comic despite a few bumps I’ll talk about later. (Skip to the bottom for the TL;DR version.)
Before I talk about the book itself, here’s the gist of how Cindy Moon got her spider powers. I apologize that this is probably not going to sound like the greatest story when condensed down to these few lines, but it is what it is. The spider that bit Peter Parker also managed to bite another person, Cindy Moon, giving her the same powers. (More importantly, she can weave clothing from her fingertips. Aesthetics.) Instead of having the free range that Peter Parker had, a man named Ezekiel Sims kept her in isolation for 10 years until Peter found her. Yes, that’s a fairly small view of what happened, but to talk about this in any more detail will require an aside just for this purpose.
This book starts with Cindy fighting a fairly cartoonish villain, named Dragonclaw. She equates to a Pokémon. (Side note: I freaking love Pokémon!) While fighting him, her powers begin to short out whether this relates to her decade in isolation or not is unknown, but things start to go downhill from there. She’s helped by your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man who jokingly accuses her of not calling, but their interactions say there was something there and something might still be there.
I enjoyed this book, especially that I’m usually not the biggest fan of Spiderverse, but I almost always love the Spider-Women of that verse. Cindy joins Jessica Drew and Anya Corazon (Araña) in my heart. Her story focuses a bit on her past and her present, giving readers a brief glimpse of who she was before she became Silk and who she is now, shifting between a brilliant, headstrong teenage girl on the edge of adulthood and a socially awkward adult woman who’s trying to find her place as a person and a superhero. Despite the funnier moments in the book, Cindy is a woman lost, a woman struggling with her past for various reasons, a woman who wishes things were “quiet,” and a woman who still doesn’t completely understand her own strength. I’ll pause to compliment Thompson for managing to catch the nuances of a teenager butting heads with her parents over love, sports, and school without seemingly being over-broody or over-cheesy. There is a fair bit of cheesiness in this book, though, but Cindy even mentions that she’s got to work on her quips.
Pop culture features prominently in this book. That can be a good or bad thing depending on your tastes. However, much like the pop culture Marvel has used in other newer titles, I find it chuckle-worthy and well-timed while being a tad more finely clever (if such a statement can be used with memes) in terms of wit with this book. We don’t get doge memes here, which many people don’t know, instead we get my personal favorite #AskingForAFriend, which is easily understood in the right context because we’ve all had those “asking for a friend” moments. Not that I’m downing the doge meme. Sure, some of it won’t stand the test of time when my kids read this 20 years later, but it adds a little fun to the book. Also, kudos to this book for that Sleepy Hollow/Supernatural mash-up shout out. Robbie Thompson writes for Supernatural, and Orlando Jones, one of the stars of Sleepy Hollow, is known to tweet avidly about Supernatural and mashing the two shows up.
Next up: I loved the art in this book. It’s fun. There’s an anime-ish quality about it while making me think of the Teen Titan cartoon (the 2003 show, not Teen Titans Go to be clear). Yes, I can accuse it of being a little “girly” at points, but it’s not done in a way that makes me feel like someone went heavy on the glitter because this is a girl (and all girls like pink and glitter, duh). It’s subtle, it’s pretty, and it fits the feel of the book. It manages to be both bright and dark, if that makes any sense, and it’s so busy. Okay, maybe “busy” isn’t what I meant. I mean, the panels feel like they move and flow with their actions. It feels active.
Now, to get the “bad” out of the way. One thing that sort of bothered me is that, while Peter definitely doesn’t overshadow Cindy in her book, I didn’t really like her following in Peter’ footsteps by working for JJ (okay, she’s technically not working for him, but you know), using her own secret identity for stories. I understand why they did it in context of the story, but it felt like they could’ve given her something more unique than that. It’s a small complaint really.
Next, I will concede that Silk might be a little confusing for newcomers because it does require some knowledge that you’ll likely have to Google for (or ask me!). It’s not nearly as new reader friendly as Squirrel Girl. It was a little disjointed for me, so I can only imagine how it might make someone new feel. However, I think this book is still worth the effort of reading after you have a grasp of her background. I just feel like they were just trying to cover a little too much ground this issue. I’m hoping subsequent issues will be less harried.
Overall, did Tiara love this book? I think one panel can sum it all up my feelings:
TL;DR: In the words of the esteemed Daniel Bryans:
Let's hope Spider-Gwen inspires me as much when I read it (later today). <33...more
Answer: Indeed I am, Mr. Brooks. 2.5 stars, might recommend for the funnies.
Long and unapologetic version:
I have a dirty secret
Answer: Indeed I am, Mr. Brooks. 2.5 stars, might recommend for the funnies.
Long and unapologetic version:
I have a dirty secret to confess. I am no fan of Tolkien’s writing. If you were to check out my Goodreads profile now, you’d see that I’ve one-starred almost everything he’s ever written. This may be a seeded dislike due to the fact that I had to read these books in high school (even though I wasn’t one of those kids who was normally traumatized by high school reading experiences), but even attempting to reread them again as an adult was a labored effort, a true test of my patience, an effort that I am willing to admit was a disgraceful defeat. However, I do love the movies very much if that’ll grant me any measure of immunity.
The Sword of Shannara gained popularity in the late 70s and early 80s and is often used in the same sentence as Tolkien, which may tempt some readers but is a little off-putting for me. This seems to be one of those divisive books with readers either decrying it for being a Lord of the Rings rip-off or lauding it as a brilliant epic fantasy adventure. There are few people who seem to walk the middle road with this book.
I’ve been making it my mission to read classic speculative fiction. After reading The Lathe of Heaven for my science fiction pick and The Haunting of Hill House for my horror pick, I started searching for a classic fantasy pick and settled on this after reading a brief blurb on it. It sounded interesting enough, and believe it or not, I’d never actually heard of the series before now.
From the beginning, yes, it’s pretty obvious that this is influenced by Tolkien. I’d started jokingly calling Allanon by Gandalf’s name and Flick by Sam’s name even before I knew about the Tolkien connection. However, I didn’t say these things to necessarily be condescending toward this book. That’s just the way things are. So many books regardless of the genre, especially a first novel for a writer, contain elements that are similar to others in that same genre.
When I started publicly saying things like that, then people came out the woodworks saying that it really was “just like Tolkien.” I didn’t even realize I knew so many people who read this series. Even opinions from friends ranged from “5-star read” to “turn back, dead inside.” So, reading this book has been quite the journey from the actual reading to the various interactions I’ve had with people thanks to this book.
On with the review. I should warn you. This review is a little derpy if you haven’t figured that out by the Adventure time gif following this, and I can’t promise it’s completely spoiler free.
The Sword of Shannara follows the adventures of Shea Ohmsford, a half elven man living in Shady Vale with his adopted father, Curzad Ohmsford, and his adopted brother, Flick Ohmsford. One night when Flick returns from peddling his merchandise in the nearby town of the Shire (because I am absolutely sure it was the Shire), he encounters Allanon, a tall, mysterious man who saves him from a shadowy creature in the woods. Flick takes Allanon to his village where Allanon insists on meeting Shea.
(Actual Allanon the Druid in actual practical questing gear. Hey, Allanon, heeeeey…)
Anyhow, Allanon tells Shae that he is a direct descendant of a line of royal elves. These elves are the only ones able unlock the power of the sword of Shannara. I imagine that to be a lot like He-Man powering up. The Druids have kept this relic, believed to be a myth by many, locked away in their keep. The sword was originally created to defeat Brona, whose name I kept seeing as Brony when I was reading portions during immersion reading, 500 years before the start of this book. Brona is a powerful Druid-turned-sorcerer. However, just as they had traitors within when Brona attacked 500 years ago, the Druids find themselves attacked again by traitors (who’d think that would happen again?), and Brona has returned to finish what he started, but I kind of forgot what it was he wanted during the course of the story. World domination? Probably. Isn’t that what they all want either to control or destroy the entire world. Much of their hope to defeat Brona, now called the Warlock Lord, rests on Shae’s shoulders and what slim shoulders they are we are reminded repeatedly throughout the story.
The quest starts with the brothers, Shae and Flick, leaving the Vale to escape the Warlock Lord’s minions, the Skull Bearers. Along the way, they pick up Menion Leah, a friend of Shae’s and the prince of Leah, Balinor Buckhannah, the prince of Callahorn, Hendel, a dwarven warrior, Durin and Dayel, elven brothers sent to accompany them on their journey from the elf kingdom, Orl Fane (very briefly and more a foil than anything), a gnome who has deserted his cause and invokes shades of Gollum, and the thief Panamon Creel and his rock troll companion, Keltset. Together they face countless obstacles including murderous gnomes, haunted tombs, a large water serpent that shoots lasers from its eyes (I may be slightly exaggerating because I’m sure it only shot fireballs from its mouth), and giant monsters made of flesh and steel before facing the Warlock Lord himself with THE SWORD OF SHANNARA!
I finished this through a combination of reading the book on Kindle and listening to it on audiobook, but the bulk of this was completed through the audiobook. The narration of this by Scott Brick wasn’t spectacular. He did a fine job with the story, but I wasn’t moved by his reading. I don’t fault him for that more than I fault the unspectacular nature of the book itself. The story was clunky for me. There was so much of it that was nonsensical with shaky plot direction. Not to mention the parts that were inconsistent with what was happening in the story. I can remember rereading certain passages numerous times and thinking, “This is literally impossible in the context of this story.”
I also concluded that Panamon Creel masquerades as Dragon Age: Inquisition‘s Dorian in his free time while twiddling his mustache and compared the bit about Balinor’s homeland and it’s impregnable walls to Attack on Titans: “On that day mankind received a grim reminder…”
(Just pretend that’s about Balinor with his walls and that’s the Warlock Lord peeking over about to smash them. C’mon, people, use your imagination.)
So, in other words, my bar is set pretty low in that regards, and I rolled with it. I went into this story expecting it to be schlocky fun, and that’s what it was. I was entertained, and there’s nothing more that I could ask for from this book. I don’t need savant-like brilliance from a story to be entertained.
The most annoying part of this book to me was Brooks’ incessant need to remind me how lithe, agile, slim, or lean such characters as Shae, Menion, Durin, and Dayel were. Sure, he’d mention how tall characters were often, especially Allanon who is freakishly tall, but not nearly as much as he liked pointing out how lean theses characters were. Okay, I get it. They’re fit. You could make a drinking game out of this, but it’s also likely you’d get alcohol poisoning if you did. Also, I don’t mind head jumping, but sometimes, he was jumping in multiple heads in the same paragraph, which can be a bit much. Finally, I am so disappointed that the final battle didn’t end with Tyrion in chainmail using the power of DOOM metal to defeat the Warlock King (who by this time had started being called the Skull King randomly after hitting the 60% mark in the book).
You know what? Forget that. As far as I’m concerned that is exactly how this battle ended. I have my headcanon. You can’t take it away from me.
I like to think of this as being Lord of the Rings for Dummies by Tolkien Lite if we have to go that route. It’s not nearly as heavy to digest as Tolkien’s books. Despite the hefty page count (726 according to my Kindle), there’s not all this meandering prose. It moves fairly quickly. I’m not going to say it doesn’t have its rambling moments, though, because I did start getting restless toward the end. However, to be fair to Tolkien, this isn’t nearly as inspired as his books either. On the other hand, to be fair to Brooks, I feel like his writing and fictional situations have probably improved since this initial offering. He’s not a terrible writer, so I’m curious to see how his writing has evolved over almost 40 years.
While I wasn’t bowled over by this (I can be so wishy-washy about fantasy, especially in this vein), this was a palatable enough experience for me and fit well within my expectations for it. I had fun with it. Besides, there are tentacles in it, and tentacles are relevant to my interests and gives this book an automatic 2 stars. Will I finish this trilogy? I think perhaps I will, and yes, all my reviews for this series will probably be derpy.
You tell a man he's a god enough times, and he'll start to be believe it. You strip away his humanity by worshipping him, and eventually he'll think iYou tell a man he's a god enough times, and he'll start to be believe it. You strip away his humanity by worshipping him, and eventually he'll think it's his right to lord over you. Continuously mention that his powers are the only reason the planet still turns, and one day that virtue that compels him to save you will turn into the vice that causes him to decimate whole cities without remorse.
However, despite that recipe for disaster, there's still one more key ingredient. The inner struggle that a person like this would face. Someone who struggles with difficult decisions everyday in regard to the safety of others. Out of millions of people, who do you save and who do you let die? How do you deal with humanity's capacity for ingratitude when you don't save them in the manner they wish to be saved? How do you deal with people who try to marginalize your feats by calling you a "pervert in underwear?"
The answer is simple in the case of Plutonian. You've ignored that he is human (or humanoid) and has human weaknesses and emotions. You've rejected his attempts to be normal, to give him something that anchors him to his human side. There's no longer any need for him to act like a mere human. You've made him a god, and now, he becomes a god. He has every right to judge anyone--hero, villain, and civilian--because he's your god, a monster of human creation.
I know I'm still in the early stages of this series, but the above is what I gathered from the first volume. These opinions may change as I continue to read this series, and I'll acknowledge that when the time comes. Once Plutonian turns, he doesn't discern between friend and foe--taking some lives, leaving others alive to suffer his carnage. Making a hero, a hero who questioned Plutonian before his heel turn about how it felt to be responsible for so many lives, choose ten people out of millions to save and then killing the rest before that same hero's eyes while telling him: "This is what it felt like."
While Plutonian is inarguably the greatest super-powered being on earth (I know Max Damage from Incorruptible is pretty strong himself and can, at the very least, withstand Plutonian's abuse, but I'm not sure yet if he could actually beat Plutonian at this point), this story for me isn't just about the greatest superhero on earth becoming the greatest supervillain. It's a story about a man who wasn't allowed to be human, so he became a god instead.
Waid has also taken some traditional superhero tropes and turned them on their ear such as what if a hero did confess his identity to someone one close to him, expecting their inexplicable acceptance of who he is and forgiveness for hiding his identity all this time to protect them. Yeah, this ain't Superman, honey. What if a hero didn't get all the acceptance and support he needed from the people around him? What does he do then? Waid is addressing things that I've questioned in comic stories.
And I really love this about the story.
However (you knew a HOWEVER was coming), I'm not as drawn into the story as I'd like to be even though I do like the foundation of it. And maybe this partly by my own design because instead of focusing on this series first I read the first volume of The Boys which I really, really enjoyed. When I love something and I start moving on to other similar media/genres, I expect them to keep my enjoyment buzz going. That isn't this comics fault, and as I said, it's not a bad comic. I probably should've waited a few more days when I wasn't thinking about The Boys anymore. I have a tendency to ponder things long after I've read them.
Another problem I'm having is with Volt who is an African-American superhero with electricity powers. Most of his panels include switching into AAVE (African-American Vernacular English) to prove how racist the white people are and how little they expect of him, which was true in a couple of panels. Other times, it just seems kind of random and unnecessary. He also enjoyed pointing out a black superhero with electricity powers is a cliche when nobody said anything about it, but what can he do about it? The only thing he really said that spoke to me, something that I’ve spoken about with other comic book fans of color, is the need to add BLACK to the beginning of some black or ambiguously brown heroes’ names. He’s Volt, guys. Just Volt. PREACH, Volt!
I’m hoping Waid does better than this with Volt because as it stands he feels silly, forced, and unnatural at times as if Volt is incapable of being a normal person while facing issues that concern his race. It seems he can only be one or the other, but not both at the same time. So far, instead of pointing out why such behavior is problematic, Volt would rather sarcastically respond to their micro-aggression by slipping into jive talk and leave them to their “accidental” racist tendencies. And while I think Waid is an exceptional writer when it comes to showing the moral standings of heroes, I’m not sure if I think he is capable of providing an adequate portrayal of how an African-American superhero deals with racism as a person and as a hero because this can be a tough issue for anyone to grasp.
This was an interesting beginning, though, and I'll move on to the next volume, but only time will tell whether Waid handles the complex issues he's setting up expertly or not....more
“Questions are good. Questions allow us to see the beauty of life. Never stop asking questions.”
I'm still debating about how I really feel about this.“Questions are good. Questions allow us to see the beauty of life. Never stop asking questions.”
I'm still debating about how I really feel about this. It didn't go in a direction I was expecting at all for most of the book and parts of it just seemed downright absurd, but it wasn't a bad read at all. Parts of it were very insightful....more
Princeless follows the quest of Princess Adrienne to free herself and her sisters from their fate of waiting for a prince to save them from their towePrinceless follows the quest of Princess Adrienne to free herself and her sisters from their fate of waiting for a prince to save them from their towers. From the beginning Adrienne has rebelled against the idea of princesses being passively saved by princes, asking her mother, "Who has the kind of grudge against this beautiful princess that they would lock her in a tower?"
Adrienne decides, after finding a sword after another failed rescue attempt by a prince (one who didn't even know the definition of fair, at that), that she is going to save herself. She doesn't need a prince to save her--no princess does. She decides that not only will she save herself, but her sisters as well.
This is a cute story, for sure, but it's so much more than that. Adrienne questions a world where women are expected to be second class citizen. They're not expected to rule or hold jobs that traditionally are for men (such as Bedelia secretly smithing in her father's place). They're expected to wait for their prince and depend on men to take care of them. A very touching moment came at the end when Adrienne's mother confides in the prince that she's treated her own daughter like currency rather than the child she loved. She's been groomed to behave this way.
But this story doesn't just point out the pressures that females are expected to adhere to. The male perspective is shown through the prince, Wilcome, who tried to save Adrienne. There's a brief look at how he went to Prince Charming school when he really just wanted be a kid. He was ripped away from that to become a Prince Charming and shown how prince's act--only to find out that being a prince was harder than it was made out to be, especially when he still felt like a kid. He says no one comes to save a prince when he's locked up.
Adrienne's brother Devin presents another view. His father pretty much says that Devin isn't fit to rule his kingdom because he's soft. He expects one of his daughters to marry a strong prince who will take over. He laughs away any talk of one of his daughters ruling because that isn't their place. Devin isn't good at sword fighting, preferring poetry to fighting. And he's never allowed to forget how much of an heir he's not by his father. And I appreciate this balance being added to the story.
Yes, this is a story about gender binary, but it's not preachy. It's a cute story whose moral simply is girls can be strong and boys don't always have to tough, that boys and girls aren't boxed in by their gender. This is exactly the kind of story I want to read to my daughter. I love comics, but it's often hard to find something age appropriate. And if it is age appropriate, it's very hard to find one where the lead is a character of color.
I posted a couple of the panels on Tumblr where I had a brief exchange with the author who expressed excitement that I was reading this with a friend and because I wanted to share it with my daughter. I mentioned that she was one-part princess and one-part tomboy, and I see my daughter in this story. I did a Google search on him after that and read an interview where he said he wrote this comic for the exact same reasons that I expressed in my post (he wrote it for his daughter when she gets older). I can't wait to read more of this story....more
3.5 stars. If you're one of those readers that likes a memoir to follow some chronological order, then this isn't for you. She doesn't start at a conv3.5 stars. If you're one of those readers that likes a memoir to follow some chronological order, then this isn't for you. She doesn't start at a conventional beginning that discusses her childhood and progresses to her disability. Instead, this reads more like a novel that jumps to various points in her life. What you find out about her life before she became shut-in is told as it becomes relevant to the scenes she discusses. Longer review later....more
This was a fun book. There were so many experiences and thoughts that she had that I could totally relate to. It always feel great when you can empathThis was a fun book. There were so many experiences and thoughts that she had that I could totally relate to. It always feel great when you can empathize with the narrator and wish you could say to them, "Me too, girl!" I'm glad I decided to listen to this rather than read it. I find I always appreciate comedic memoirs such as this one much better when narrated by the author....more
“Well, I would love to tell you that the world ends due to some beautiful cosmic event.”
The world is in chaos, overrun by female zombies who attack men thanks to a (third-rate) cosmetics company who thought it would be idea to start messing around with pheromones for a project. Judith and her little brother, Buddy, are wards of the state. A brief backstory reveals that they’d always fended for themselves. Their mother was a drug addict, and after she overdosed, Judith was bounced from home to home for a while before settling in one. Buddy, on the other hand, wasn’t so lucky. After being preyed on twice and defending himself, he ends up in juvenile hall where he won’t be paroled until he’s eighteen.
This is a zombie story. I hate zombies. I hate zombie stories. Correction, I usually hate zombie stories. There have been exceptions to this, as with anything else. I tend to like zombie stories that seem to be more about the people of the story rather than the zombies themselves. The Walking Dead for instance, I enjoy that because of the characters and the stories they have to tell. I’m more interested in how people are shaped by a zombie apocalypse than the actual zombies. I also enjoy stories that provide some interesting take on zombies such as a virus being the actual cause or have some technological basis rather than death or give some interesting perspective from the zombies’ POV.
This book doesn’t go too much into Judith’s role in this story. It only serves to give us a glimpse of what’s going on in the world and where Judith comes from. These are important things we to know since we need to know how the virus started and we need to know what factors will motivate her to do something about the situation she’s in now. Despite there being an interesting premise of cosmetics being at fault, I’m a little on the fence. I’m curious, but it’s not the type of curiosity that would compel me to pick up another book....more
In the future world of 1992 (give him a break; this book was written in 1969), Joe Chip is working for an anti-telepath organization. What are anti-teIn the future world of 1992 (give him a break; this book was written in 1969), Joe Chip is working for an anti-telepath organization. What are anti-telepaths? Simple. They’re people who can neutralize a telepath’s abilities. Many people employ these anti-telepaths to help protect their businesses. Glen Runciter and half-lifer (a half-lifer is someone who is deceased, but kept in a cryo state that allows their consciousness to continue to be accessible for communication for a certain period of time depending on how strong they are) wife, Ella, run the organization.
When a businessman by the name of Stanton Mick hires Glen’s team, including a woman who has the unique ability to change the past, to secure a base he’s built on the moon, they find themselves caught in a trap where Glen appears to be the only who’s died. The team rushes him to a half-life facility. However, reality starts to shift and warp for the team, leading them to the question of who’s really alive and who’s really dead. Maybe none of them are. Maybe all of them are, and how does this mysterious chemical Ubik factor into all this?
I really wasn’t feeling this book at first, and that’s abnormal for me because I love PKD. It was interesting reading about the half-lifers and the anti-telepaths, but I was just a little bored by the story at first. However, once it got to the heart of things I couldn’t stop listening. The narrator was okay, but I really, really hated the voice he did for Glen. It grated on my nerves for some reason. The ending of this book is probably why I rated it so high, though. I want to say it “disturbed” me, but that doesn’t feel like the right word for how I feel about it. Unsettling feels like the better word, even if it’s not that much different from “disturbed.”...more
Occult scholar Dr. John Montague rents Hill House for the summer after hearing of the strange occurrences that happened there. No family has been ableOccult scholar Dr. John Montague rents Hill House for the summer after hearing of the strange occurrences that happened there. No family has been able to stay in house for more than a few days at a time. Even though they give a wide range of excuses, Dr. Montague believes they do this simply because it’s unfeasible to a rational person to say that some unknown fear drove them out. The only thing the families agree on is that no one should set foot in Hill House. Hill House is an eighty-year-old mansion built by a man named Hugh Crain, and there has never been a moment’s peace for anyone since it was built. Violent deaths, family squabbles, and suicide taint its brief history.
Dr. Montague invites guests to stay at Hill House with him to help him track any phenomena. These guests are all chosen for their connection to strange events. Only two end up taking him up on his offer. Eleanor Vance, a fragile, socially awkward woman who had an experience with a poltergeist as a young girl, and Theodora (no last name), a free-spirited woman who has exhibited psychic tendencies. The last person to join them is Luke Sanderson, a charming rake who represents the family who owns the property. Despite their different lifestyles and personalities, the four form quick friendships with one another.
The group begins to experience strange occurrences in Hill House with Eleanor being the most receptive to what is happening around them as she increasingly loses grip with reality. There’s some evidence to suggest that the event she witnessed during her childhood might actually have been some supernatural doing of her own that she is unaware of, a doing that may have followed her to Hill House.
I can only vaguely remember watching The Haunting with Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Owen Wilson, and Lili Taylor, and I’ve never watched the original one from the 60s. So, I didn’t have much movie lore to taint the book for me other than having images of Taylor as Eleanor Vance, Wilson as Luke Sanderson, and Zeta-Jones as Theodora. Liam Neeson did not fit the image of Dr. Montague, but I think I remember them calling him by another last name in the movie, anyway.
I’ve been a horror book and movie fan for a very long time. For quite a number of years (read: most of my preteen, teenage, and young adult years) horror was about the only thing I would read with the occasional read from other genres. The first horror novel that I can remember leaving an impression with me as a preteen was Stephen King’s It. Sure, I had read other horror books, mostly in the YA vein, during that time. However, even as a preteen, I was a bit numbed to the scary aspects of horror books, and I remember It being the moment when a whole new world of horror opened up for me. However, two subgenres of horror were never really my cuppa--zombie horror and ghost stories.
Even though ghost stories aren’t high on my list that doesn’t stop me from reading them. I just found that most ghost stories never really got any better than your average 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey books. Enjoyable, fun reads, but kind of campy. Sure, there have been exceptions as always, but most of them read like the kind of urban legends you’d whisper to your friend. “Hey, did you hear the story about the cheerleader who died on the football field and now her ghost will chase you if you stand on the 50-yard line at midnight?” Yeah, that. I’ve always been more into the macabre, anyway. So, I went into The Haunting of Hill House expecting it to be kitschy.
This is a ghost story, but it manages to be more than just a story that’s told around the camp fires. Jackson brought a psychological angle that makes the reader question if these things are really happening to this bunch or if it is some unexplainable shared delusion. Maybe Eleanor made the whole thing up entirely. We learn early in the novel that she has a very ripe imagination that threatens to overflow. This imagination may be the consequence of taking care of her ailing mother for years before her death and never having much contact with others. Jackson spends a fair amount of time delving into Eleanor’s thoughts with poetic prose that can sometimes make you forget that you’re reading a horror novel.
At the same time, that same poetic writing can suddenly be twisted by Jackson to capture the eerie, dreadful feel of Hill House. It creates tension and scares that seem to be hidden just out of the corner of your eye. I wouldn’t say this book is necessarily scary, but it creates a fair mount of tension for the characters that they never really shake as the house seeds itself deep in their psyche. Jackson never takes the mystery out of the story, leaving so much of the happenings at Hill House up to the reader, which makes the mind run wild. Add to that the caretakers, Mr. and Mrs. Dudley, who both are depressing, dour people that help feed the groups’ edginess.
I should take some time out here to praise the narrator, Bernadette Dunne. Her raspy reading voice helped to accentuate the creepiness of the story, but she did an excellent job creating voices and personality for the characters through her voice as well. I don’t think this would have been quite as enjoyable without her narration of the story. I loved hearing her Mrs. Dudley, who was probably the most terrifying and the funniest person in the book for me partly because of these lines delivered so well by Ms. Dunne:
“I leave before dark comes […] We live over in the town, six miles away. So there won’t be anyone around if you need help. We couldn’t even hear you, in the night. No one could. No one lives any nearer than the town. No one else will come any nearer than that. In the night,” Mrs. Dudley said, and smiled outright. “In the dark,” she said, and closed the door behind her.
This is part of a much longer mantra that Mrs. Dudley recites repeatedly throughout the novel to the characters. She rarely says much else aside from these same words, and Dunne’s delivery really cuts down to the bone with those words. (Side note: If our small theater ever puts on a production of The Haunting of Hill House, I would so try out for Mrs. Dudley’s part.)
The Haunting of Hill House is a tense story that seems to ask if the house is truly haunted or could these things have happened because the group believed in them. Would they have been faced with this same terror if they hadn’t had certain expectations about what to expect or is the house truly some primordial evil waiting and watching for victims? It’s almost as if the story is asking the reader, “What do you think… in the night… in the dark?”
Aaron Stampler is found in a confessional booth holding a knife, proclaiming his innocence, after someone killed the revered Bishop of the city. MartiAaron Stampler is found in a confessional booth holding a knife, proclaiming his innocence, after someone killed the revered Bishop of the city. Martin Vail, a quick-witted lawyer who isn't afraid to leap before he looks, is basically coerced into defending the young man who appears guilty in every sense of the word. Every politician in the city seems to have a vendetta against Vail and looks foward to seeing him lose the case.
Liked the movie. Loved the book. As with most book-to-movie adaptations, the book was better. Unlike his movie persona, Vail isn't cool, well-dressed sauveness that Richard Gere presented. The Vail in the book is a man who isn't overly concerned about his personal appearance, and he isn't afraid to grab at straws, and he makes lawyers tremble just at the mention of his name.
The book also provided more insight on Aaron. You get a taste of his childhood and find out more about what molded him. In the book, Aaron is a genius, despite the accent and his angelic appearance. His childhood wasn't the best thing, and he's even described as being able to detach himself from tragedies. Is that enough to make him a killer? Is he mentally stable?
I'm sure by now, most people have heard about the twist, but that doesn't take the impact away from reading it for yourself. I read the "twist" over and over again, even though I've seen the movie and knew what to expect. A first-rate legal thriller. I can't wait to read the sequel....more
**spoiler alert** 2nd book in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. I was trudging my way through Twilight (still only half done with that book a**spoiler alert** 2nd book in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. I was trudging my way through Twilight (still only half done with that book after two weeks--a shame) when I decided to shift my focus to this instead. I breezed through this book. The story picks up right where the last one left off and is just as personable and easy to read. Along with a fiance, Precious has picked up an adopted son and daughter. Some may think she went along with that too readily, but it seemed in character for her to me. Firstly, she'd lost her own child and is unable to have anymore, and it's obvious that she wants children. Secondly, from the way she talks about how traditional and familial that the people of Africa are (or used to be as she thinks this younger generation is going down), would it have been in character for her to cause a stink because of the children? I love how much pride the characters have in their country and how life is just a different experience for them.
I didn't enjoy this one as much as I did the first for a couple of reasons. I thought the angle with the maid fizzled before it even got started. There's a bit too much of Mma Ramotswe KNOWING things without any explanation why she might know these things aside from intuition, which can be very strong but not plausible in every hunch. Parts of the book were rambly, and I think this was to give the book a more personable tone. However, it really just makes you want to skip right over it and get to the point at times.
Another great book in the series will continue with it....more
I started this series as a sympathy buddy read with my good friend and long time Pratchett fan, Nick. I wasn't sure what to make of this book and RincI started this series as a sympathy buddy read with my good friend and long time Pratchett fan, Nick. I wasn't sure what to make of this book and Rincewind at first. I knew I liked Twoflower and his creepy luggage. The story seemed a little random for a while, but as it neared its conclusion the progression of things started to make more sense. Rincewind's fear of the edge had to mean he'd eventually go over the edge. Interesting enough read that I'll read more adventures in this setting. ...more
This was my face during this whole thing starting from the very first lines:
I know many people enjoyed this, but I'm not sure this story is for me.This was my face during this whole thing starting from the very first lines:
I know many people enjoyed this, but I'm not sure this story is for me. It managed to do every single thing I hate about some YA novels, but the premise was interesting, which is about its only saving grace right now with me. I'm putting the rest of these books (novellas really) on the bottom of my TBR pile where I will wait for the day I feel compelled to continue this story. Hopefully later parts will make me forgive this part because it has potential, but this was not it for me. ...more
1.5 stars. Don't ever let anyone tell you that a classic book can't be trash because they're wrong, and this books proves it. It was like reading a 171.5 stars. Don't ever let anyone tell you that a classic book can't be trash because they're wrong, and this books proves it. It was like reading a 1700s version of a Jerry Springer episode. Sure, it may have been the first gothic horror that paved the way for others, but it also has the distinction of being gothic horror garbage as well. I only rated this so high because it managed to be amusing trash at least....more
Rather redundant. I thought the last book (book 4) should've been the last book. This is just more of a philosophical look at war with many things jusRather redundant. I thought the last book (book 4) should've been the last book. This is just more of a philosophical look at war with many things just being rehashed. Longer review later....more
A tiding of magpies. One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy, five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret never to be tol
A tiding of magpies. One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy, five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret never to be told. I’ve got a few of those.
3.5 stars. Not really spoilerish (but YMMV), but certainly long.
The girl on the train is alcoholic divorcee Rachel Watson. She commutes on the train everyday, except the weekends, to the city. She shares an apartment with an old acquaintance who worries after her due to her drinking problem. During her train trips, Rachel passes a former neighborhood of hers where her old home is visible from tracks. However, memories of her home cause her great pain, so she focuses on a residence a few houses down from her old home where a young couple resides. She spends a great deal of time making up a life for "Jess and Jason," as she calls them, a life that betrays what she once had. They're the perfect couple in her mind until one day she spies Jess kissing another man and later that day "Jess" ends up missing.
This book is written from the point-of-view of three women, Rachael Watson, Anna Watson, Rachel's ex-husband's new wife, and Megan Hipwell, the married young woman that Rachel calls "Jess" who turns up missing. Each woman has their issues that lend the story that unreliable narrator feel that so many books are going for these days. Readers try to sort through what's real and what's imagined as told by an alcoholic who has blackouts, an unapologetic cheater-turned-obsessive mom who has a self-serving canted view of things to suit her, and a woman with so much emotional baggage it boggles the mind how she's stayed sane for so long.
Making Rachel something of the hero of this story was different. She's certainly not an ideal hero, and her heroism is tempered by her own self-serving needs. However, much of the story rests on her, and she's not some mild-to-moderately attractive woman who's just a little down on her luck. No, she's a debilitating alcoholic who often spirals into the abyss and does things she can't remember. Her appearance, her mental health, her personal and professional relationships, her whole life has been affected by her alcoholism. She's flaky and has a penchant for lying without understanding why she does it. (Well, she does know why she does it, but she refuses to face the issue.) Megan's disappearance, however, adds meaning to her life in a strange way.
Megan's side of things serve to show us what type of person she really is, what type of person her husband really is, outside of Rachel's and Anna's (but especially Rachel's) limited view of her. While some of Rachel's fanciful musing on Megan and her husband actually do describe them, you find that Megan is far more troubled than Rachel can begin to understand. Megan's side of things also gives readers doubts and much to consider about the things leading up to her disappearance. It makes you question Rachel's version of the story quite a bit, even the parts the readers think are true.
Anna is one of my complaints. I never felt her parts were that significant. This was disappointing considering she was supposed to cast a different light on Rachel and her behavior while serving to point out some other strange details in the story. It felt so shallow, she felt so shallow, for most of the book, though, and then, when her POV became significant toward the end of the book, I starting feeling like these things should've been weaved into the story more instead of adding all the weight near the end.
The ending, while certainly not surprising, felt a bit rushed. Everything started happening all at one time instead of things carefully unfolding until the reader thinks "Aha!", and a few major coincidences occurred so rapidly in tandem to bring about its dramatic conclusion. There were some weakness as to the motivations and character revelations that left me dissatisfied.
The narration of this book was beautifully done by Clare Corbett (Rachel), Louise Brealey (Megan), and India Fisher (Anna). They prove through their strong narration that this book was made to be read. It feels more like a radio drama production rather meant for that purpose. I'm usually doing something else while I'm listening to audiobooks, but there were so many moments where I just stopped doing whatever it was I was doing completely to just listen to the story. That rarely happens to me.
This book has been compared to Gone Girl for its voice. I'm one of the last people on earth who hasn't read or watched Gone Girl, so I can't make any comparisons to it. However, I can say that this certainly has "Made for Movie" all over it, and it'd likely be a movie that made viewers hold their breaths in anticipation if done right. This is a riveting story that's hard to put down. The only reason I didn't finish it in one sitting is because I started reading it late one evening and had to rest for work the next morning.
Hawkins' writing style is lyrical, haunting even, without making the story drag. I appreciated that she used these three troubled women to tell the story rather than trying to give it to us from some rational mind who would've long stopped this madness long before things got interesting. There were so many moments when I wanted to yell at these characters to get it together. There were moments when I felt like I was sinking under their emotional turmoil. That's important. That means I'm invested in the story. Despite any complaints that I had with the story, it was a fine showing. ...more
Friendship to the max is what this book promises and is also one of the mottos for Miss Quinzella Thiskwin PenniRead more reviews @ The Bibliosanctum.
Friendship to the max is what this book promises and is also one of the mottos for Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types. Five friends go into the woods after camp curfew after encountering an old lady outside of their bunk that turns into a bearwoman. Of course, they had to investigate, which ends in an epic fox fight where they’re warned by the three-eyed foxes to “Beware the holy kitten,” but not before one of the girls totally punches one of the foxes into stardust or something.
For their effort, they’re scolded by their bunk leader, Jen, who takes them to their camp leader, Rosie, where they recount their adventure in true teenage girl fashion. They’re not punished for breaking eight camp policies, which is a relief because who wants their parents called.
I don’t even know what’s going with this one, but it seems fun. There’s already a strong message of friendship and adventure in the book. I’m going to keep reading it for that reason alone. I think there is a first volume out, so I plan to read it soon because I think this could end up being the type of book that my daughter would enjoy, too. Also, there’s a soundtrack at the end of the book, so that’s important.
“I remember holding Sarah for the first time, marveling at this ability we have to create life where before there was none.”
In a world that craves th“I remember holding Sarah for the first time, marveling at this ability we have to create life where before there was none.”
In a world that craves the brutality that come with robot bouts (basically brutal cage fights between robots), Sam, Peter, and Greenie investigate why their prize fighter, Max, refuses to obey their orders. Their future depends on him being combat ready since these bouts seem to determine what contracts they land with various companies who want the best tech their money can buy. However, Max refuses to comply with their orders. Is it a glitch or is it pointing to something more?
This story seems to be a hail to stories like Asimov’s I, Robot, and much of the story is a matter of philosophical debate where Max is concerned. However brief, you still get some sense of who the characters are, particularly Samantha, and because the story is told from Sam’s point-of-view, you see how her experiences, especially her motherly feelings, which I related to so much, shaped her feelings for Max and what she feels must happen now.
Much of the story puts a more human slant on robots, describing the thirst for violence the spectators have and the viciousness of these fight in terms that makes you feel sorry for the combatants, even though they’re only machines. A scene with Max brings to mind a fighter whose instincts have kicked into survival mode, making him hard to bring back to reality once the threat is over:
As I looked over Max, his wounds and welds provide a play-by-play of his last brutal fight–one of the most violent I’ve ever seen […] Max had to drag himself across the arena with the one arm he had left before pummeling his incapacitated opponent into metal shavings. When the victory gun sounded, we had to do a remote kill to shut him down. The way he was twitching, someone would’ve gotten hurt trying to get close enough to shout over the screeches of grinding and twisting metal. The slick of oil from that bout took two hours to mop up before the next one could start.
This was an overall excellent story, and my first real taste of Hugh Howey. I have other books of his on my reading pile, but I took a chance with this one because it would be a quick read. ...more
3.5 stars mainly because I caught the feels about Harley.
Coming hot on the heels of my last journey into a DC comic is the first volume of Suicide Squad. The squad is comprised of Deadshot, a merc for hire, Harley Quinn, King Shark, a shark man hybrid, Black Spider, a vigilante who fights bad guys but still ends up in prison, El Diablo, a Latino gang member (I guess he’s supposed to be a gang member, anyway) seeking redemption who controls fire through an unusual method, and Voltaic, a kid who controls electricity. Deadshot serves as their unspoken leader.
Each member of the team is serving prison time. They’re offered the chance at shortening their sentences by becoming Amanda Waller’s pawns and completing suicidal missions in ways that heroes wouldn’t even consider. Even though this is an opportunity for these criminals to have time shaved off their sentences, they’re still treated as criminals and contingencies are put into place for the criminal who would entertain going off script. If you’re a Marvel fan, think of this as being sort of the equivalent of the old Freedom Force, but with a much sinister and cooler name. Readers follow the team through a series of missions from securing important cargo that would help the general population to hunting down their own team members who have gone rogue.
This was a mostly fun book full of fun and mayhem. It was like reading the comic book version of The Expendables with villains complete with dramatic team shots, stealth missions being bumbled with over enthusiastic members wanting to get right to the good parts, some sexy tension between characters, explosions, and corny one-liners. After a while the various strategic panels that managed to make eyes hover to Harley’s crotch in cut-off jean shorts and the general campiness of El Diablo started to grate on my nerves a little.
Speaking of Harley’s shorts, as far as sexiness in comics goes, I’m not against it if it doesn’t feel gross. Comics can use sexuality much like weapon of its own in some respects and just to be, well, sexy. The context of it influences whether I see its merit or not. Harley is sexy, and part of her arsenal of attacks includes her sexuality and femininity to control her situation. This isn’t her only means of attack as Harley is an accomplished brawler who gives as good as she takes, but she’s not beyond being the ditz, the seemingly harmless “girl,” the bouncy bruiser, the focused fatale, or the sex kitten. Her usage of femininity reminds me of a line from my favorite Emilie Autumn song "Fight Like A Girl": I’m giving you a head start. You’re going to need it ’cause I fight like a girl.
Much like Joker, Harley molds herself to what she feels the situation calls for. You have to remember that she was a psychiatrist, and she has an understanding of how to be whatever she needs to be for her environment. However, there seemed to be a need to focus eye attention to Harley’s cutoffs that you don’t get when she’s wearing her normal costume, which also includes shorts. There’s a panel here of Harley buttoning up her shorts. A panel there of a slip of pink panties being shown behind unbuttoned shorts. A butt jutting out there to remind you she has on cutoffs while everyone stares. A scene of viewing someone from right between her legs looking like a terrified bystander who is about to be attacked by a maneater. She has a vagina, and vagina’s are magical. I understand as the owner of one myself. I guess they were going for that weaponized sexy there, but it was a little annoying for me. More on Harley later.
Let’s talk about El Diablo. Don’t get me wrong about El Diablo. For the most part I liked him, and while I realize they’re trying to be deep with his character where he might otherwise have been shrugged off as just a thug and want to remind readers he is a man of color who has a culture all his own that tempers him, it’s a little hit and miss there. Sometimes, he’s brilliant as a character, but sometimes, he’s hokey, very hokey.
Something feels slightly off at times in his characterization as if they’re trying too hard with him and the background he comes from on top of trying way too hard with this redemption angle. I can’t say that I don’t like the concept of him or how his powers work, though. I just hope they level him out more in later comics and make it feel less like they’re saying, “Hey, guys, we have this diverse group of people.”
For the record, Black Spider is a black man and while I wished he’d gotten more face time, I feel like they did an admirable job with him without making me feel like they had no idea what to do with his character. Marvel and DC both seem to flounder a bit in the creativity department to me when dealing with male characters of color.
What I enjoyed most about this book was Harley Queen (despite the crotch shots) and Amanda Waller. They are the reason I ended up rating this as high as I did.
Amanda Waller is my hero, and she always has been. Say what you want about The Wall but she gets shit done, and she doesn’t kowtow to many people if any. My first experience with Amanda was when she was still a stout woman pre-DCnU when she put Batman in his place and dropped the mic on him. From that moment forward, that sealed a love and respect for her character, even when I didn’t always agree with her. When talking about kickass women in comics, Amanda is deserving of a place as a woman who isn’t a conventional hero or villain. She’s surrounded by super types while having no powers of her own, and she’ll still look them in the eye without cowering. She uses her wits to her advantage where she may lack in powers.
This book marks the first time I’ve encountered her since they gave her a new svelte body in DCnU. She reminds me of Angela Bassett who played a milder, kinder version of The Wall in the Green Lantern movie with Ryan Reynolds. I can’t be the only one who watched that movie. New body, same Amanda. I’m still pleased with her, as of this book. She’s the type of woman who has a backup plan in place even if that means her own life might be forfeit. If she’s caught unprepared, she manipulates a situation to the best of her abilities, but she still has her “throw everything but the kitchen sink” card.
She’s not ruffled by much. Her unofficial theme song (because I said so) is “I Don’t Get Tired” by Kevin Gates because I can so see her saying, “Get it. Get fly. I got six jobs. I don’t get tired.” Sure, she has outbursts of anger, but even when losing control of a situation, it’s always going to be The Wall who wins in the end. Think of her as Olivia Pope (from Scandal) with more guns and an attitude that says she’s not beyond doing whatever is necessary without wavering much in her resolve. I could see her using two of my favorite Olivia Pope power phrases: “Shut it down!” and “It’s handled!”
Despite this, there is a moment that shows Amanda’s capacity for affection. There are things and people she cares about, even if she doesn’t show it often, as witnessed in this scene:
Nerve gas is considered a weapon of mass destruction and is a terrible way to die, and even for those who manage to survive, the neurological damage is substantial. This scenes proves her willingness to do whatever she has to to control the situation, even signing her own death warrant.
Back to Harley. A few months back, there was discussion going on among comic book fans on Tumblr about how writers were starting to evolve Harley as a character beyond the “comically” abused companion of Joker. Instead she was beginning to show layers of her personality that betrayed how she has suffered because of the nature of the relationship, the depth of her emotional attachment to her abuser, and how she struggles with conflicting feelings to be more than Mistah J’s girl while wanting to be only that as well.
It’s long past due for this for Harley, and I think it’s an important step to take for her character and the relationship. So many readers and people who know casually of the relationship from pop culture think it nothing more than a comical relationship where Joker is only a little mean to Harley. It’s treated like slapstick comedy and romantic. You hear people saying things such as, “I want a relationship like Harley and Joker. I want a Joker to my Harley. I want a Harley to my Joker.” When you strip away the “haha” nature of the relationship, there’s nothing charming, comical, or endearing about it at all. It is an emotionally and physically abusive relationship that’s rarely explored for what it is.
This book reinforces that as it begins to paint the relationship and Harley’s muddled feelings into the most troubling picture. That is initially what prompted me to read volume one of her own series, which fell a bit flat with me. This book, however, gives a heartbreaking glimpse into Harley’s emotional state culminating into a chilling scene where she uses Deadshot, whom she expresses mild interest in, to vent her frustration, love, and fears about the failed relationship.
That’s not to say that Harley isn’t good, ol’ Harley in much of this, but they start to shape her as more than just the comedic punching bag. I’m curious to see more of these pivotal scenes for Harley.
I’d been meaning to read this much sooner than now, but you know how it is when you have so many books and comics to read. You have to pick your reading battles. This was an enjoyable read for the most part, and I look forward to continuing their misadventures....more
Wreckage revolves around two survivors of a plane crash, Lillian and Dave, who'd spent two years trapped onTL;DR Version:
2.5 stars. Ugh.
Wreckage revolves around two survivors of a plane crash, Lillian and Dave, who'd spent two years trapped on a deserted island together. Both are married, and Lillian has two boys. Lillian's mother-in-law, Margaret, wins a trip for two to Fiji thanks to a contest ran by a yogurt company. After a week of VIP treatment, the company sends out a private jet to take the two women to the company's private island. The airplane is manned by a pilot and a stewardess, Kent and Theresa respectively. The company also sends Dave, a representative of the company.
When the plane loses an engine and gets caught in a storm (I know, I know), it goes down. Theresa and Margaret are the only ones fortunate enough to bail out of this story early, leaving Lillian, Dave, and Kent to fend for themselves. However, this story doesn't follow them from that point. This book begins some time after they've been rescued. Lillian has agreed to do one exclusive interview so that she can tell her "necessary lies" and be done with the whole thing, only she requires Dave to get in on this fiasco for whatever reason (and I never figure out why he had to factor in). The book shifts between the interviews and scenes on the island.
This book started out promising, even as I joked, "Is this going to be like that Guy Ritchie and Madonna movie?" Looking at some of the other reviews for this book that thought terrible things like cannibalism would come into play while reading this, I wished I'd been more creative with my question. I will admit that I initially picked it up because I was hoping that I was going to get something like The Woman Who Wasn't There (a documentary about a woman who faked being a 911 survivor for many years). The more I got into the story, the more dissatisfied I became with it.
My main problem with this book is the whole idea it's based on. Why did Lillian and David feel the need to make up such a complex story? You were stranded on an island. You didn't think you were coming home. No one thought you were alive. While hurtful, no one can blame you for whatever happened there in such a stressful situation. I get there are things that happened on that island that would hurt their partners. Just tell the truth so people can heal and move on.
I'm not so much annoyed that they chose to lie, but what they chose to lie about and the types of lies they chose to tell. Some of these lies, like Kent's death (and Kent only served to be the mustache twirling villain who knew exactly how to survive on a deserted island making him feel necessary to the two), weren't even worth the effort to lie about. If you feel you have to lie, why would you unnecessarily complicate your story with excess lies? Not only that, one of the lies you told was perhaps the easiest to debunk because of the wonders of modern medicine, and it was debunked because of the wonders of modern medicine.
The dialogue was so trite. It just didn't feel like things that people would say to each other. I could see this dialogue being in one of those old 80s young adult books I used to read, just real shallow, banal quality for the most part. I found myself unintentionally frowning up at most of it. Some of these other points of contention, I'm not even going to comment on because I'll never stop talking about it, such as Paul. Insert ominous music here.
Two-thirds of the way into this book, it just fell apart completely as the romance plot completely took over. Two attractive, married people (though they don't think of themselves as attractive, but the writing proves that this just isn't so) on a beach alone together after the villain's demise... what else is there to do? Apparently, have the book lose its shit altogether from that moment to the ending.
The ending wrapped everything up so neatly. They all lived happily ever after. The truth came out to the ones that mattered despite all the lies, and everyone is okay and they're all one big happy family. Literally. I don't have anything against HEA endings, but this just didn't fit the context of the story. However, considering how the book just fell apart and the general shaky premise, maybe it did fit the book.
After I finished reading it, I was so disappointed. It wasn't a badly written book, which is why I can't rate it lower than 2 stars. The story is actually intriguing in parts, and the concept of the story itself isn't bad just not executed well. I also think that she mostly got it right with media feeling entitled to every piece of a story, as if their opinions are the ones that really matter. (I still found the woman doing the interview to be a bit of a caricature of the ambitious reporter herself.) I think I'm more perplexed at how such a promising start could go so absolutely wrong....more
Long Version: Narrator: Dick Hill | Length: 29 hrs and 30 mins | Audiobook Publisher: Tantor Audio | Whispersync Ready (as of this posting): Yes
Leodan Akaran is the king of Acacia, which includes all the "known world." The Akarans have ruled over Acacia for many generations with the throne being passed down from father to son. A bitter race called the Mein secretly oppose the Akaran rule and have since their occupation, feeling the Akarans have been disingenuous and underhanded in their rule, including how they dealt with their ancestors. The Mein's version of history recounts how their ancestors were driven to the frozen north for being an earnest people and opposing the practices used to keep up this illusion of perfect.
Things aren't as perfect as they seem on the surface. Leodan is idealistic, but buckled under the pressure of preserving the empire's peace through unsavory means. Leodan hopes that his children will grow up and foster the change that he couldn't. However, he doesn't give his children the knowledge they need to fight for these changes st first, and when we meet the children they're a seemingly clueless bunch whose father still spins tales when they try to question him about their true history. The Akaran children are the heart of this book as a whole, doted on by a troubled father whose only joy comes from loving them and mentally preserving the memory of his deceased wife.
Aliver is the oldest child and heir to the throne. Mena, Aliver's younger sister, describes him as being afflicted with a disease called "boredom" that he hasn't recovered from. He's hot-tempered, given to action rather than inaction. He has a good heart and a naïve view of how the world should work. Corinn is the second oldest. She's cultured, well-spoken, and versed in court behavior. She's a princess' princess. She considers herself the pretty one between her and her younger sister. After Corinn comes Mena, she is astute and curious, often described by others as having a wisdom and intuition beyond her years. Last is Dariel. Like his sister Mena he is curious with a taste for adventure and action. He has a way of getting into things under the noses of the adults.
With the twist of an assassin's blade, the four Akaran children are thrown to the wind, a request made by their dying father to his most trusted adviser as the Akaran rule begins to crumble. He feels that allowing them to live their life unfettered will shape them into the people they're meant to be, and with it, he hopes that the Acacian empire will become the bastion he wasn't able to achieve in his reign.
This book started a little slow for me. It had those Game of Thrones vibes all around it as we meet the Akaran children. Despite that, I found Durham's writing to be lyrical and thoughtful, so I toughed it out a little while longer, hoping it'd become more than a clone. Midway through the first part, Durham pushed off the ledge and began to distinguish this story as his own. It became a story about power, betrayal, redemption, love, and change coupled with a intriguing mythos that I mostly enjoyed.
One thing I truly appreciated is that Durham tried to present a struggle where the grievances between these two races was not just a simple matter of who's right and who's wrong, who's good and who's evil, summed up succinctly by this quote:
Very little of what he learned of people’s actions began or ended with either the noble ideals or the fiendish wickedness he had been taught lay behind all great struggles. There was something comforting in this.
The readers do feel empathy for the Akaran children. Their father has been murdered and their fate has been placed in chance's hands. However, the Mein aren't presented as a despicable race of people. A people who would win a war through some questionable means, yes, but their actions hardly set a precedent in the book, as previous wars have been won through questionable methods and will likely continue to be won in that manner. Nothing about their actions say they're worst than the Acacians. The methods seem brutal because we witness them in "real time" affecting characters in a current situation as opposed to only "hearing" about the actions of the former rulers and how they've affected the Mein in retrospect. It is, after all, war.
Durham doesn't reduce the Mein people to just villain status. Their fears, wants, and needs are the same as any other people's. Even in their war, the goal isn't to annihilate these other people completely. This is seen as unrealistic and foolish. You fight the enemy and assimilate the people. They just want to claim what they feel they lost through treachery and end a dynasty. There isn't needless slaughter of innocent to assert their rule (though there are casualties, of course) and much of life is the same for the people except the name and race of their rulers.
It makes readers question why they oppose the Mein rule so, but I think one character summed up the sentiment when they said they think people forgot the realities of the Akaran rule, that the nostalgia of having an Akaran on the throne tempered their opinions as neither rule is that much worse/better than the other. However, because the Mein aren't some big bad, it does make the upcoming battle feel somewhat anticlimatic, even if the Akaran children are teeming with ideas about how the kingdom should be ruled, which brings me to my next point.
My main problem with this novel is that Durham obviously loves the Akaran children. There is nothing wrong with a writer loving their characters. They need to care about them in order to give the readers developed characters. However, the Akaran children don't face many real dilemmas or most of the dilemmas they do face don't give them actual crisis points with the exception of a few key moments. Even these varied situations they find themselves growing up in aren't necessarily challenging them.
Situations that should be particularly prickly for them, they're able to handle better than most people would with some of these outcomes feeling a little bit like Durham was afraid to really test the characters. This is especially true of a character I really loved in the book. For this reason, the novel didn't have as much of an impact for me because, even when a scene got tense, you knew everyone was going to make it out unscathed while brandishing power beyond imagine. The story wasn't tested because it's characters were never truly tested.
As far as the narration goes, Dick Hill is an exceptional narrator for this story. However, I did find him to be a very slow reader, slower than normal. I could easily bump up the narration to two times the speed and he'd sound like he was reading at a more normal pace. He's one of those rare narrators that I'm comfortable with listening to on three times the speed, which I still didn't do very often. He has such a rich quality to his voice that I didn't want to speed him up too much and lose that full-bodied, strong voice he brought to the story. Two times speed was a reasonable compromise between speed and narration quality for me. While I do think he has a rich, deep reading voice, that didn't diminish the impact of the female characters since, for me, quality of timbre is a better way of portraying male/female characters over decreasing/increasing pitch arbitrarily.
Something I noticed with this audiobook is that it added content to the story. Sometimes, I'd read along with the narrator using the Kindle book, and there would be whole passages added to the story that are not in the book. I'm used to a missing or added word here and there when listening to an audiobook, but this is the first time I'd encounter a great deal of content being added to narration. It's not necessarily a bad thing as it wasn't just filler. The things added really helped to flesh out the story and characters, but it also made me feel a little apprehensive about reading the book without the narration because I felt that I may miss some great passages because the audiobook differed slightly from the book.
There's a part of me that wants to rush into the next book. At the same time, I want to savor the end of this one. I really loved the changes one of the Akaran children went through, as their change defied making them a victim or giving no recourse to be more active in destiny. Now, I'm curious about this particular Akaran's role and how it may or may not align with the other siblings' goals in future books. Despite any grievances I have with this book, there's something truly magical about this in a contemplative type way....more
First, I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest rCrossposted to The BiblioSanctum
First, I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Roen Tan is an out-of-shape IT tech just trying to make it through the daily grind when he becomes the host of an advanced alien named Tao. When he finally becomes aware of Tao, Roen thinks he’s about to live the glamorous life of a super spy as Tao gives him knowledge beyond his measure and starts whipping him into shape with diet and exercise. Roen quickly learns that James Bond’s glamorous life is a complete fraud and that spy work is tedious, time-consuming, and nothing like a superhero movie. However, Roen does find himself with Tao’s help and begins to push past his safe boundaries.
The first thing you should know about me is I always root for the underdogs. I am a huge fan of unconventional heroes doing unconventional things, especially unconventional things they seem ill suited for. Roen fits all of those qualifications. Reading this story was like watching an awkward friend grow into a graceful swan. It was funny, endearing, and just a tad bit cute—all things considered. At the beginning of this story, Roen isn’t living more than he’s just existing. He wants a better life, but he’s not motivated to take the steps needed to achieve that until he becomes Tao’s new host.
Tao’s people have lived on earth long before humans were even conceived, and they’ve been working just as long to find a way off this rock. This has been a very slow process for them since their survival on Earth means they have to rely on host bodies to protect them and carry out the tasks necessary to their goals. As with any group trying to achieve a common goal, though, there’s dissension about how that goal should be achieved. For this reason, after many years of working together, Tao’s people split into two factions—the peaceful Prophus and the warlike Genjix.
Second thing you should know about it is that I love history, so I appreciated how Chu incorporated that into his story by having the Prophus and Genjix part of every pivotal moment of history and explaining a little bit about how their involvement shaped those moments. Tao, who is part of Prophus, admits that both sides have done some terrible things throughout history, but sometimes, you have to choose the lesser of two evils for the greater good. This is one of the things that Roen begins to struggle with as he becomes a better Prophus agent.
Roen made me laugh out loud and roll my eyes often at the same time. The character felt like the type of friend I’d call up and say, "Calm down, man. Breathe. Now, you go and be awesome, Roen." He reminded me so much of someone I know who I could picture in Roen’s place doing the exact same things. Over the course of the story, he didn’t become some supreme super spy, but he grew as a person and as an agent. He came to terms with his new mission in life. Yeah, he did some amazing things during this, but through it all, Roen managed to continue to feel like an everyday person.
I loved Tao’s seriousness tinged with just a hint of humor, and I thought the story of his race and their struggle was interesting. Their role in history and the vast knowledge they possessed was a nice touch. Even though they seem to have all the elements there to be a super race, they’re still hindered by their divisiveness, vulnerability and lack of resources on a planet that they’re basically manipulating down this technological evolutionary path to aid their agenda. I wish I could’ve learned a little more about Tao’s people, but that’s such a small complaint for an otherwise fun book.
This was a wonderfully engaging story. The tone used felt very familiar, giving the story a very easygoing feel that kept me reading. It doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously, which was a welcomed break from all the grimdark I’d been reading lately....more
I read this book completely on whim. It was one of the free Kindle eBooks being offered on Amazon's site recently. Normally, I probably wouldn't haveI read this book completely on whim. It was one of the free Kindle eBooks being offered on Amazon's site recently. Normally, I probably wouldn't have read/bought a book like this unless it came highly recommended from people that have similar reading tastes as I do. However, since it was free, there was no real risk involved, so I figured that I might as well read it.
I'm not very familiar with Marti MacGibbon. I've only read blurbs about her here and there. Usually when I'm not familiar with the person whose autobiography/memoirs I plan to read, I put them off for a slow reading day. However, the promise of this book dealing with addiction, human trafficking, and eventual redemption are part of the reasons that I went ahead and started this rather than shelving it for another time. I'm a sucker for redemption stories.
Marti's humorous telling of her story is filled with dark, wry humor that often comes off a bit self-deprecating, which is a little different. Often, former addicts tend to come off a little preachy. While that's not necessarily a bad thing, it can be a bit off-putting when you just want to read a real, raw story, which is what Marti presents in her book. Her struggle with her addiction and wanting to be a good mother to her daughter presented an interesting angle to her story as well.
She says addiction and denial made her believe that she was in control of her life for so long, even when all the signs said she wasn't. Quite simply put, I'm amazed at everything she went through and how she found the strength to carry on even after a near-debilitating addiction and being sold into sex slavery by an acquaintance. She is very fortunate because so many women in her same condition are not here to tell their stories today.
I'm surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. My heart really ached for her as I read this. It was almost like reading a confession from a friend rather than an account of her life. The writing was personable and engaging, even if parts of it were a little repetitive. Much of this book focused on her downward fall rather than her eventual redemption. I wouldn't recommend this if you're a person who is easily triggered, though, since she is very candid about her drug abuse and various dangerous situations she's found herself in. ...more
Again, rating each book separately as I listen to/read through The Once and Future King, which I'll review in its entirety when I'm done (I think). ThAgain, rating each book separately as I listen to/read through The Once and Future King, which I'll review in its entirety when I'm done (I think). This book was darker (and shorter) than The Sword in the Stone. The humor was less airy and friendly. It seemed more like an in-between story that an author would write to bridge upcoming events. However, I think I liked this slightly more than The Sword in the Stone just because it dipped a bit more into the darker aspects that are to come....more
I'm reluctant to rate this right at this moment. I feel I need to read it again and savor it for a while. I read this because I'd read it may have beeI'm reluctant to rate this right at this moment. I feel I need to read it again and savor it for a while. I read this because I'd read it may have been the inspiration for things like Battle Royale, Hunger Games, etc....more
A young woman stands on the side of a building. She's finally fed up with the noise in her head. Nothing helps. She feels the only way she'll have anyA young woman stands on the side of a building. She's finally fed up with the noise in her head. Nothing helps. She feels the only way she'll have any relief is if she "sleeps" forever. Before jumping, a man tells her that maybe the only real salvation she'll have is if she accepts the truth of her situation.
Somehow, she survives. She learns that there's not just noise going on in her head. The mystery man ( I call Cas since he looks like Casanova Quinn from Casanova) informs her that she is a telepath, and he takes her to a home for other "gifted" people like herself. He gives her a new name (Syd) and tells her that she's never to think of her old life now.
At this point, it started feeling a little X-Men-ish for me, and I was starting to feel a little let down. All these people with awesome powers living together and assuming aliases. I was interested, but not moved. I was thinking, "Yeah, I'm going to wait for a volumed edition of this, at best." Then, the other shoe dropped when Syd was explained the rules of her new life, a life she didn't ask for. That was the "Well, damn!" moment that actually made me sit up in my bed.
From that point, even the title took on a different perspective. I looked at the title from the angle that the characters of this book aren't normal people. However, after reading it, I realize the title speaks more along the lines of normal people not being special like them. I'm interested. They got me. I'm buying issue #2 as I type....more
First, I should say if you want a sweet, innocent Peter Pan story, this story isn't for you. This is nowhere near as dark as Brom's The Child Thief, bFirst, I should say if you want a sweet, innocent Peter Pan story, this story isn't for you. This is nowhere near as dark as Brom's The Child Thief, but while Brom's book focuses on presenting Neverland as a very gray place where all sides do their evil in the name of some "greater good," this is a story about first loves, betrayal, yearning, and heartache mixed in with a bit of action. I think this book and The Child Thief are the only two Peter Pan retellings that have elicited such a strong emotional response from me. I wouldn't even try to write this review before I could stop tearing up about this story.
This story toes the thin line between magic and magic realism. While there are magical things in the stories like mermaids and fairies, many other "magical elements" have more practical reasoning behind them. One example being the belief that the lost boys fly being attributed to an elaborate rope system they've made in the treetops.
Neverland turns out to be an island nestled away in the Atlantic, protected by a treacherous sea that sinks many of the ships that dare to tread too close to Neverland, reminding me a little of the Tristanian Islanders. However, a few stragglers make it to shore from time to time. Most of them die of exposure or by some terror that lives in the forest. Other Englishmen that make it to shore are often cut down by Captain Hook and his ragtag group of pirates who hate their fellow countrymen. But even though most of the inhabitants there have a peaceful existence together on that island (however, peace between the pirates and natives is tenuous at best), they all fear the lost boys who most people never see. They only whisper about their evil deeds, but Tiger Lily learns better.
It is true that people on Neverland didn't age, but it seems that it seems mostly something that happens to the native people and beings on Neverland. It was never fully explained why it happened, but the people on the island aged until a monumental event happened in their life and caused their bodies to stop aging beyond that point and they never moved beyond that physically and perhaps even a bit mentally if we're to judge by Tiger Lily's actions even some 80 years after the events that changed her. And sometimes that meant children out-aged their parents and grandparents. It seemed like the island granted this "gift" to the natives, but not to the outsiders such as Captain Hook. The natives fear catching the "aging disease" from them. However, this could be indicative that nothing of extreme importance has happened to them or if it has, it happened in their lives before Neverland.
I'll be honest, while I did like the idea of a life changing event causing people to stop aging in response, as if this exact moment was the moment they were to remember forever, I don't know if I think it was well executed in the story. It came off a little dubious at best to me. Fortunately, it wasn't something that was talked about much in the story after the initial explanation. There was also bits of the storytelling that seemed a little out of place, and there were a few other places where something should've been explored a little more or explained a little better. But that didn't detract from the story for me.
The story is told through Tink's eyes. Fairies have evolved to be mute, but they learn to observe and listen to the feelings of others, giving them the uncanny ability to be able to look inside others and see all their innermost workings. Unlike her incarntations in other works, Tink is seldom acknowledged by humans, but still she clings to Tiger Lily, hitching rides in her hair or on her clothes as she watches a bittersweet love story unfold between Peter and Tiger Lily, a story that is set into motion when Tiger Lily begins to care for a shipwrecked Englishman who made it to their shores, an event that not only changes her, but her whole village. Tink falls in love with Peter herself, but knowing he can never be hers, she roots for Tiger Lily's love to flourish with Peter because she cares about them both.
Their love does and it doesn't flourish like most first loves. Lack of understanding what the other needs, the newness of a new love, works for and against Tiger Lily and Peter. Tiger Lily, who is an outsider in her own tribe rather than a princess (but still someone of status since the shaman is her adoptive father), has a hard time showing strong emotion even if she feels it intensely. She feels that she has to be as good as Peter, as fast as Peter, as strong as Peter, or he'll outrun her grasp and leave her because she's not his equal. Peter is a swell of emotions and inconsistencies who needs reassurance, who needs to know that she can love all of him, assurances Tiger Lily is unable to give due to not understanding the new feelings she's having, assurances that are given easily by Wendy when she arrives on the island.
As the story wears on it seems as if some of the magic begins to fade. More and more, wondrous creatures and things begin to retreat to safety. The mermaids swim deep within the ocean where they can't be found. Tink's own people move deep in the swamps where men fear to tread. Even people's perception of Tink, and even her perception of herself starts to relegate her to nothing more than a mere bug. All these things are responses to a changing world that magic no longer plays a part in. The world has been conquered, all except Neverland.
Tink warns in the beginning that the tale would not end happily ever after, so I expected something completely heartbreaking. However, I think the story ended in a way that was best for both Peter and Tiger Lily. What happened between Peter and Tiger Lily is painful yes, but what their lives become after that shows they both needed something different as much as they needed each other. Peter's decision also seemed to be a mix of sacrifice as well. He loved the lost boys. He worried about them, even though Tiger Lily was the only person to ever know that. He made a point earlier in the story that he wasn't a good role model, but that he tried to shield them by being carefree. So, I do believe part of his decision was for them to have something better as well. Despite it all, it doesn't mean that Tiger Lily and Peter stopped loving each other. They see each other in everything and will love each other forever, but every love is different. Every love fulfills a person in different ways. Love makes you do things you'd never expect. ...more