Buffy the Vampire Slayer is better known as the television show that shot Joss Whedon to King of Geekdom. Before the show, however, there was the moBuffy the Vampire Slayer is better known as the television show that shot Joss Whedon to King of Geekdom. Before the show, however, there was the movie, which is actually really bad. This book is based on that movie. Well, technically it's based more on Whedon's rather excellent script, with elements of the movie added to it so that there is a clear connection. How does the book rate?
Well, it's a short read, and quite enjoyable. Using the script means that the wittier dialogue Whedon wrote is in place, making it feel a little less dated. The book shows Buffy's transformation from a Cordelia like character to the Slayer we know and love. Accompanying her is Pike, an odd mix of Xander, Oz, and Spike, who serves as Buffy's eventual partner in slaying and love interest. There is also Merrick, her Watcher, who is completely badass and while I have amazing amounts of love for Giles, I cannot help but wish we got a little of Merrick in show somehow. The connection between him and Buffy was very real, and it made the events that happen hit hard.
So is the book better than the movie? Actually, I'd say yeah. Don't get me wrong, while the movie is bad, it's also enjoyable. But the book stands stronger by having the elements of the original script that help to explain the whole Slayer and Watcher thing a lot clearer, and help to give more development to the characters. I'm not going to say this is a must read for fans of the show, but I would recommend giving it a glance over, if you're curious as to how our Slayer was prior to Sunnydale. ...more
Ouran High School Host Club, a manga in which I have watched the anime numerous times but not actually sat to read the source material of. I know, I kOuran High School Host Club, a manga in which I have watched the anime numerous times but not actually sat to read the source material of. I know, I know, there will be great shame upon my household for this. I know I set out to read at least 50 books this year, but I have a feeling the majority of these books will come in the form of manga as I am determined to read some more titles that I feel I'll enjoy. So, what can I say about this first volume of Ouran?
Bisco Hatori's art style is very beautiful, creating very elegant looking figures that can be turned into these comedic pieces without loosing any of that beauty - a real skill! While this does seem to be, at first glance, a reverse harem manga, our lead female Haruhi gives a personality that can reassure the reader that we will actually be in for an entertaining lead, with characters who are layered beyond the usual shojo cliches. Haruhi is a scholarship student at the Ouran Academy, a school that is primarily reserved for the extremely wealthy. She comes across the Host Club by sheer accident and it is another accident that leads to her working for them. Did I mention they initially think Haruhi is a boy?
While gender doesn't seem to be the main issue of this manga - it's set up to be a comedic romp - it is interesting to note that Haruhi's views on gender are often addressed, and from a GLBTQI+ standpoint, they come across as very accepting and open, a rarity in the shojo manga I have come across. (Which... isn't many, actually, so I'd like to know examples of others if they exist)
The hosts themselves are delightful romps, each filling their "role" within the club but already showing aspects of being people beyond the cliche. It'll be fun to follow this manga - 1 down, 17 more to go - and find out how they all develop.
Definitely one for people to pick up, and check out the anime too, it's really one of the best I've seen!...more
I initially found out about this book through a social media friend, who posted a picture of their copy and spoke of their own glee at the book. At aI initially found out about this book through a social media friend, who posted a picture of their copy and spoke of their own glee at the book. At a brief glance, I could see that the artist for the front cover was Dustin Nguyen and my interest was piqued. Nguyen is one of my favourite comic book artists, and generally speaking, anything he's been involved with has always been something I've enjoyed. Little wonder then, that I took myself off to Amazon to order a copy.
Secret Hero Society: Study Hall of Justice is a book aimed at much younger readers than me, but you know what? That does not stop it from being a highly enjoyable read all the same. Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, and Diana Prince teaming up at a school that is unusually lack on the misbehaviour of the majority of it's students. Actually, scratch that. All it's students, barring our tiny Trinity. It's down to the three heroes to find out what's going on and bring justice to an unjust place.
Derek Fridolfs has to be commended. He not only seems to understand each respective member of the Trinity, but he writes them well, especially at a younger age when their personalities as we known them would not be fully in place. As such, we do get some understand 'new' quirks: Bruce is a bit of a dork, Clark is ridiculously naive about the world, and Diana has a few... anger problems. Not going to lie, actually, Diana's temper is fantastic and I love that she's been allowed to have a temper, considering the paragon of virtue that the female role usually has to be in books for younger readers. As mentioned in other reviews, this isn't a traditional prose story. It's made up of comic panels, journal entries, texts and instant messages between the tiny Trinity, as well as various leaflets and flyers and other goodies that help add to the over-all feel of this being Bruce trying to cobble together a case file.
Honestly, there's not much else I can say without dipping too far into the spoiler territory. You will see your favourite villains, you will end up being charmed by the interactions of the tiny Trinity, and you will finish the book and immediately want another. I sincerely hope that Secret Hero Society is a new series of books from DC, because I know that I'll happily buy another if Fridolfs and Nguyen are at the helm again.
(Add Gail Simone and I'll buy more than one copy of each book.) ...more
Okay, here's the truth: I'd been avoiding DC Comics since the reboot mess known as the New 52. I had been excited for the Blue Beetle on-going becauseOkay, here's the truth: I'd been avoiding DC Comics since the reboot mess known as the New 52. I had been excited for the Blue Beetle on-going because I adore Jaime Reyes and co., but seeing the mess that happened there... Well, there wasn't much in it for me. This has clearly been a mistake as there have been good titles released and this Harley Quinn series is one of them.
If you know Harley's history, you'll know that quite often she can be written as just "the Joker's girlfriend," which is a shame because she has so much more to offer. The writers of this series are well aware of just how much the character can bring, and make full use of it. Harley is a morally grey character, doing good things via bad means but ultimately meaning the best for most. The trade opens with her discussing the idea of getting her own comic - with one page artist contributions that are glorious to admire - and quickly inheriting a building from one of her old paitents at Arkham. The building is in Coney Island, and happens to be the home of many "freak show" residents. Harley feels right at home, and the occupants seem quite at ease with their new landlord - one called Tony who becomes a recurring character in his own right.
Yes, this is the series that remembered that Harleen Quinzel is a trained psychiatrist, and makes use of it, Harley getting a job doing exactly that. This does lead to some of the more laugh out loud moments of the entire trade, and I will not spoil them because they deserve to be read and savoured individually. We also get many looks at the relationship between Harley and Poison Ivy, which is frankly utterly adorable. This relationship is one where they are both equal, and yet do not feel the need to bind themselves to each other. It's also a LOT healthier than Harley's other relationship, so yes, I do prefer it.
With beautiful art and top notch writing, I really do recommend this trade for all comic fans. Except the young, but that's more to do with some content possibly being a little too much - such as the violence. It's never done for the sake of it, and always makes sense in context, but some of it could be seen as over the line.
I give this first trade 5 out of 5 and eagerly await when I can get hold of the next one!...more
Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell, is a book that is meta in it's concept. It's based off of fan-fiction, about a fictional novel series, in another fictionCarry On, by Rainbow Rowell, is a book that is meta in it's concept. It's based off of fan-fiction, about a fictional novel series, in another fiction novel, and can be related to the Harry Potter series by a sort of painting by numbers technique, if you like. It's all about the meta, to put it simply. This does mean that you could build an excellent argument about the legitimacy of fan-fiction as a whole on it, but that's not what I'm here to talk about. No, what I want to discuss is the book itself. Carry On is, frankly, a fantastic read.
One of the main problems of the YA genre as a whole is that it is often the case that GLBTQI+ characters are not often seen as the main protagonists. Actually, fiction as a whole has an issue with diversity, but let's focus on this one right now. Simple to say, this book does not have that problem. As it is based off of Cath from Fangirl's fan-fiction, the book is primarily about the development of a romantic relationship between characters Simon Snow - the worst Chosen One to ever be Chosen - and Baz Grimm-Pitch - clearly a vampire. There is also - as any good magical 'series' should have - a mystery to be solved, and a big evil to fight. And the twist on that big evil is so damn clever that I could not stop squeeing about it. Seriously, I think I annoyed the person I was talking to.
The characters are so memorable in this novel, it genuinely did feel like I was coming back to a set of characters that I had known for years. This was actually my first Rainbow Rowell novel, and I have been assured that this is a common thing of her books. Penelope may be one of my favourite ladies of all time, and I loved that the relationship between her and Simon was shown to be platonic love at it's best and that there wasn't even a question of them ever hooking up. When accused of disliking Simon's relationship with girlfriend Agatha, Penelope answers with a basic "it was making you both miserable" which is true. Speaking of Agatha, she's an interesting character. Rowell has succeeded in creating a character whom I hate, but at the same time I completely understand why she is doing the things she is, and I support her decisions and just want her to be happy in life. That is a special talent.
Simon and Baz are the focus of the novel and their characters are the most fully developed as well as the most fun to read about. I'd say it's especially fun to read Simon's point of view, and then to straight to Baz's, simply because of how wrongly Simon reads things. He may be the Chosen One, but he is an oblivious idiot. Which, actually, makes him the type of hero character I enjoy. I have a type. I do not see this as an issue.
I would love to say more about this novel, but I feel like even spoiling the smallest thing about it could completely ruin the experience for someone else. Needless to say, this is one that I think people should pick up. Especially if they liked the Harry Potter series. Rowell drops us into a world fully created, and yet we never feel lost or as if we're missing information. We run alongside the characters as their problems escalate at a rapid speed, and never feel as though the pacing is off. It's a slow build leading to an explosive finale, and I'm glad I read it.
...I really would love to read some of Simon Snow's other adventures too. ...more