Effective ways to show that your graphic novel is set in the late 80s:
Big hair No cell phones Newspaper delivery Christa McAuliffe as an angel in a dreamEffective ways to show that your graphic novel is set in the late 80s:
Big hair No cell phones Newspaper delivery Christa McAuliffe as an angel in a dream Ronald Reagan as a role model in a dream
Shockingly offensive and ineffective ways to show that your graphic novel is set in the late 80s:
Have a character use the slurs "faggot" and "AIDS patient"
Honestly, I know that the 80s were a terrible time for tolerance, especially because of the aforementioned Reagan, but there isn't a way to take me out of a story faster than to have your cool girl character call someone a fucking AIDS patient as an insult. It's possible to place the reader in a time period without being an asshole about it, right? And this is pretty terrible without even taking that into consideration. It's confusing, disjointed, and half of it is in an incomprehensible language yet the artwork isn't good enough to convey any of the emotion of what's happening. In say, Saga, BKV takes a lot of elements and throws them at the reader without explaining, but that works because the writing generates interest in all of the characters. You may not have the backstory of the war or the Freelancers or anything else, but the writing is good enough to make you care deeply enough to want to stick around & get what's happening, whereas here, homophobia aside, I don't care about anyone & I have zero interest in sticking around to find out the backstories of such flat, one-dimensional children or aliens or whatever. I know that BKV is capable of excellent writing even without a stellar artist to back him up, but this is NOT an example of that. ...more
Not even a few-page spread of terror at the end. When did the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse get so boring & repetitive? I mean, clearly aboutNot even a few-page spread of terror at the end. When did the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse get so boring & repetitive? I mean, clearly about ten volumes ago, but this one was a new low. ...more
Would I like these as much as I do if I didn't like James Holden so much? He's a surrogate for all of the feelings I have when I read these - I need mWould I like these as much as I do if I didn't like James Holden so much? He's a surrogate for all of the feelings I have when I read these - I need more coffee, Holden needs more coffee. I worry about Naomi, Holden worries about Naomi. I think that guy is reprehensible & I want Amos to shoot him, Holden thinks that guy is reprehensible & he wants Amos to shoot him, even though he'll do his best to stop that from happening. This inspired in me a bit of the same hopeless despair that I felt with the last book even though it wasn't nearly as tragic (view spoiler)[GODDAMMIT SAM (hide spoiler)], but I'm still going four stars for content, especially since I think this is the funniest book since the first one despite said despair. An extra star for the ear-to-ear grin I had during a certain rescue mission (and everything about Havelock and Naomi's relationship, really, and everything about Naomi forever and ever amen) and the epilogue with Avasarala (view spoiler)[I ADORE the fact that she sent Holden because she was expecting him to start a war since that's what he's done without meaning to in every book thus far and it tickles me to think that he feels like he's fixed everything & proven that humanity isn't quite so awful & her reaction boils down to 'Dammit Jim you've ruined the universe.' (hide spoiler)] The ending is pretty hokey, but who cares. ...more
It is juxtaposition that weighs heavy on my heart – how I like Nick Cooper a lot because he’s That Cop and I enjoImmediate spoiler for A Better World!
It is juxtaposition that weighs heavy on my heart – how I like Nick Cooper a lot because he’s That Cop and I enjoy rooting for That Cop, but how I also wish he was dead. Like a bummer of a record stuck in the same skip, I just can’t review this book without getting this out of the way – I wish the dude was still dead. I am still bitter about it.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with the guy. He’s got the requisite ex-wife and kids, he originally believed in the rightness of his mission, then had his his faith shaken, then started to see the world differently and now he doesn't know What Side He's On. When Millicent, the little girl who can read people too well for her age and is thus jaded & monstrous calls him “pure” – well, of course she does, because that’s who he is. He’s the one who does the bad things only because he has to. He doesn’t like to be a meanie and torture people and all that, but sometimes the world demands it, and when the killing’s done, he can go home and have a wry yet tender relationship with his ex and play with his kids.
Ok, now that that's out of the way, this was a swell book until the end. It’s not often that books make me talk out loud to the room at large and this one had me say, “Oh, that’s bad,” not once but twice, so it’s got that going for it. I was thinking that it was practically a four-star book because I’m mad about a good vector of infection, but on the other hand, the end is a little too pat for me. (view spoiler)[In the midst of the fighting in the Holdfast, I would’ve liked maybe a little of the cavalry charge from, say, Natalie’s perspective? To go from her believing that it was basically all over and that she was going to have to fight to the death but then it’s a little while later & everything is A-OK because Nick saved the day with his broadcast was a bit much for me. Wouldn’t the time when everyone was transfixed by their d-pads watching Nick be the best time for the NSOL (ugh) to finish their so-far-triumphant charge? It’s too pat to say, well the military showed up just in time & bluffed & everyone who’d been thus far prepared to messily slaughter everyone in Tesla just stood down like NBD. (hide spoiler)]
This gave me a lot of the same feeling that Abbadon’s Gate did, which was the reason I wanted to take a bit of a break from that series. The impotent rage I feel over dudes with guns that put everyone else in danger (view spoiler)[the death of Sam, the use here of children as human shields after killing most of the adults who were taking care of them (hide spoiler)] & the justification of war & horror because someone else struck first & you need to get revenge – it’s probably monstrous of me, but I was totally unable to relate to Luke's actions or the actions of any of the other militia guys no matter whom they’d lost on December 1st even as I found the deaths of Luke's sons and "The thousands of times you told them you loved them provided no shelter" to be completely heartbreaking. I hate the concept of the New Sons of Liberty and militia bullshit with every fiber of my being, so I’m a total hypocrite and I was never going to be the person rooting for the “patriots.”
But the epilogue had me swooning because it’s PERFECT (view spoiler)[although I was thinking that John had told Hawk that it was Tabitha who was supposed to intercept Soren when he was freed so the reader knows that she’s been killed but Hawk doesn’t. Any thoughts on that? Was that Tabitha or not? (hide spoiler)] so the high end of three stars on this one. On the whole, a fine series that ended well if you look past the forced ease of the end of the entire catalyst that drove the series in the first place. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Lord of the Flies-ish, but instead of boys on an island, this is twee tiny creatures that have crawled out of the head of a dead child, which makes itLord of the Flies-ish, but instead of boys on an island, this is twee tiny creatures that have crawled out of the head of a dead child, which makes it much more unsettling. The artwork is lovely & chilling & there are some things that I've seen in this book that I can now unfortunately not unsee. I'm not sure if all of these horrible little people are supposed to be allegorical & I don't particularly care. This was gorgeously grotesque enough without knowing what it all means. I'm going to be thinking about it for a long time. And seriously, what happened to Jane? I'm pretty sure I'm glad I don't know. ...more
I'll always be grateful to Becker for grabbing me an ARC of this at BEA because that was such a damn swell thing to do, but that's really the only posI'll always be grateful to Becker for grabbing me an ARC of this at BEA because that was such a damn swell thing to do, but that's really the only positive feeling I have associated with this book. It's scathingly incomprehensible & the characters are all unbelievably terrible people. It's possible I'll want to gripe about this in more detail another day, but I finished it ten minutes ago & I'm feeling a little shell-shocked (view spoiler)[Kudos to the reviewer who spelled out that Land was Lotto's son because I was skimming, infuriated, by that point & missed that fine detail. (hide spoiler)]
Ok, the more I've thought about this, the more I think it deserves the dreaded one star. I mean, I gave The Widow two stars & I wasn't seething about it the day after I read it like I am about this book. Terrible characters/people is of course a lazy criticism, but taking Mathilde for example - so much probably incoherent anger behind the cut (view spoiler)[it’s not that she she’s done terrible things like possibly murder her little brother (although every time that comes up, the writing is so deliberately unfocused that who knows what happened) or sterilize herself while letting her husband believe for decades that they still might have children (eye roll), it’s that she’s just so poorly written. I’m meant to believe that she’s so brilliant & wonderful that she’s toiled for years behind the scenes of her husband’s success and he should owe it all to her, but she’s a woman so she wasn’t celebrated, but with all of the resources she had to draw on over the years to make Lotto successful, what was her reason for not using those for herself? If she could conveniently have an uncle to blackmail to get a play produced, if she could force the disgusting Ariel into giving her a job when she most needs one, why did she do none of this for herself? Also, how the hell does someone flip a car going 110 m.p.h and not be injured afterwards? Why does the private detective have to be the most pathetic lesbian character even written, the type who breaks into her client's house because she has the hots for her, kisses her & then has sex with her even though Mathilde’s clearly not into women? Why does Mathilde inspire such devotion in Ariel? Did he really have to fall in love with her, to the point where he has a broken heart years after their sexual relationship ended? And then the whole book is based on a highly promiscuous guy who marries a woman after a two week courtship and they stay faithful & married for the next 20+ years, which I think is implausible. If they’d had any sort of courtship at all, wouldn’t some of Mathilde’s past have come up? Would it have mattered? Is the length of their relationship just supposed to be predicated on Lotto thinking that she’s hot or was a virgin, especially based on his attitude towards sleeping with anybody & everybody before they met - and cue my VERY wry amusement that Cholllie/his mother/almost everyone is just so perturbed by Mathilde’s relationship with Ariel, which, while totally gross, is not looked down on because Ariel is a predator but because Mathilde is a whore, while everyone is just so ruefully amused or jealous of Lotto’s habit of fucking anyone with a vagina.
I'm interested in my own reaction, because although I didn't like Lotto I know why, since I have a personal bias against the lazy, charismatic dude who floats through life of the strength of his charm and has ridiculously simplistic views regarding women & creativity both in real life & on the page. But he doesn't inspire anything near the level of fist shaking I feel towards Mathilde, who could have been a character if she hadn’t had every possible bad thing happen to her, whose life apparently had to be so over the top in every aspect. Could Chollie have just one-upped her? As annoying as he was & as annoying as I found his motivation, it was at least a crack in the armor of the mighty Mathilde, misunderstood genius, who had to one-up him not just once but twice, first in ruining his marriage & then in being the better person & somehow . . . not giving the FBI her evidence of whatever of his misdeeds she had evidence of? Even though I don’t think you can initiate an investigation with the FBI & then just decide you’re not going to give them what you've said you have.
And while this seems like a dig right at Groff, the writing is just so bad. I’ve had this at my house since last summer & I finally read it only because Jeneice read it too & was bugging me about when I was going to finish it, so she came in this morning & we yelled at each other about how much we disliked it - she could not tell me what bones Lotto broke when he got pushed coming off the plane. Can anyone? She could not tell me what the hell was going on when he died - to come out of the part with the wine of the dress which is written for no good reason like a scene in a play, even though nothing else in the book besides the actual plays are written thus - into this incomprehensible Florida interlude. We both thought he’d drowned, but no. I'm not against flowery language, but at some point you have to just tell me as the reader what the hell is happening. (hide spoiler)]
None of this ranting has made me feel better so I'm just going to leave it & pretend that I'd never read this. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
**spoiler alert** This book was great until I was required to believe that Nat would leave her newborn with Esrom to go after Paul. Sorry guys, but th**spoiler alert** This book was great until I was required to believe that Nat would leave her newborn with Esrom to go after Paul. Sorry guys, but there is no one on this earth that I would've gone charging into the nuclear fray for unless it was my child, and thus if I already had him by my side, anyone else: husband, mother, Dave Gahan, would not be enough to compel me to leave him. ...more
The higher side of three stars. This reminds me of a cross between a Hap & Leonard novel & anything Sughrue by James Crumley, which I did actuThe higher side of three stars. This reminds me of a cross between a Hap & Leonard novel & anything Sughrue by James Crumley, which I did actually think of myself before seeing a blurb on the back of the book saying basically that same thing. I'm heartened to see that this is the first in a series (thank you Prospector for locating book #2 for me) because I can't get enough of the banter between Jimmy & Bobby. "'The boys say they've found a tunnel. Think it leads to the smokestack things. They're going to check it out and we should go in here ourselves.' 'They texted all that?' I leaned in, trying to read the message. 'No. It just says found tunnel. And tunnel is spelled wrong. I inferenced the rest. Found is spelled wrong too.'" And a cover blurb by Tana French, of all people, so to paraphrase something Dan wrote years ago, if it's good enough for Tana French, it's good enough for you....more
Hailed as "The Next Gone Girl/Girl on Train/Big Psychological Thriller Thing," this book is even less deserving of that title than most of the The NexHailed as "The Next Gone Girl/Girl on Train/Big Psychological Thriller Thing," this book is even less deserving of that title than most of the The Next GGs usually are (I wonder what the Gone Girl before Gone Girl was. I feel like that was one of the first times I was far enough ahead of the zeitgeist so that when people finally made it to the end of the 700+ person hold list & asked me breathlessly if I'd read it yet I could reply dryly, "Yeah, seven months ago," like a real asshole). First of all - (view spoiler)[toddler rape (hide spoiler)] i.e, the main crime at the center of this book is REALLY not something I want to read about & it takes a better author that Barton to make me want to stomach through such things. There were too many voices for the reader to hear from - Jeannie was the best character because she captured perfectly the doormat-ish teenager who is swept away by the abusive jerk who has something to hide and in turn sweeps her away from her family/support network, such as Jeannie's was, and does reprehensible things in the spare room while she flounders in naivete. But reporter/detective/mum/whoever else got to talk weren't real enough characters to get me interested in their sides of things. The detective work was uncompelling. Another unfair point against this book - the DI who was in charge of the Bella Elliott case was named Sparkes, which I only ever saw as Sparkles, which made me laugh - I should not be laughing at your detective! - and then be sad for the character of the same name in the Lauren Beukes book who gets a miniature door embedded in his face (poor Sparkles). I like it a lot that (view spoiler)[Jeannie pushed Glen in front of the bus because she saw him looking at a child, (hide spoiler)] but that twist was so obvious I'm not sure it qualifies as a twist, and the second twist (view spoiler)[where she drew Sparkes & Co to where Glen had hidden Bella's body because 'oh yeah hey! This happened & it turns out that I knew about' (hide spoiler)]seemed like a cheat because it came a few pages from the end & completely changed Jeannie's motivation in an unrealistic way. ...more
Kelly was right! This is delightful & wonderful & all of the good adjectives, well worth staying up late to finish, which is my current criterKelly was right! This is delightful & wonderful & all of the good adjectives, well worth staying up late to finish, which is my current criteria for excellence. ...more
So this is a book about a blind French teenager who flees Paris for Saint-Malo during the capitulation, and a young German orphan who escapes the poorSo this is a book about a blind French teenager who flees Paris for Saint-Malo during the capitulation, and a young German orphan who escapes the poor mining town he lives in by joining the National Political Institute of Education in Schulpforta, a boarding school that taught German boys how to be ruthless during the Third Reich. In knowing the premise, it's easy to know before reading everything that happens here - tears will be jerked, fists will be shaken at the Nazis. The writing is pretty, there are miniature models of Paris & Saint-Malo that figure prominently. A cursed diamond is a strangely artificial thread that is forced through the narrative to tie the characters together. It may sound like I am down on this book, but I did enjoy parts of it; particularly once the resistance livened up in Saint-Malo (I was listening to P.J. Harvey's "Let England Shake" while I read, an album which is not about this war but is a powerful indictment of war in general, so that added a little extra spice). I enjoyed all the writing about post-WWI Germany and how the rise of Hitler was communicated to ordinary Germans in a patriotic way while the noose of Nazi atrocity slowly tightened around Europe's neck. There are currently 338 people on hold for this at my library at the moment and I suppose I'm kind of unimpressed by this, unfairly I know, solely because of that fact. It's certainly not Doerr's fault that everyone loves & talks about the book he wrote, I've just read a lot of the Next Big Thing books that everyone loves & been left wanting by them....more
This book is just nononononono running through my head. That Hart and Corman, that anyone at all, can function after the death of a child much less maThis book is just nononononono running through my head. That Hart and Corman, that anyone at all, can function after the death of a child much less make art about it, is astounding. I originally read an exceprt of this in a Best Comics of 2014 compilation & I knew I would read that whole book when it came out & I knew it would make me cry & I was right. ...more