Its not that this book was bad, its just that I didn't like it. It was well written, and walked that line very neatly between "is the main character aIts not that this book was bad, its just that I didn't like it. It was well written, and walked that line very neatly between "is the main character a crazy person with mental problems, or are these terrible things actually happening to her?" and I confess, those always freak me out. So this book gets two stars not because its a bad book, but because I didn't enjoy it. I should have stopped reading it once it got to a certain point and I knew it wasn't for me, but, I confess, I wanted to know what would happen. Its how you always get trapped. ...more
This book was a riot. I actually listened to it on audio book, which I think really made the characters for me. Nominally it is a (young adult?) humorThis book was a riot. I actually listened to it on audio book, which I think really made the characters for me. Nominally it is a (young adult?) humor fantasy novel following the adventures of Marco Gullwing. He is a messenger boy, who in the course of a mission accidentally boards the wrong boat and ends up in places doing things he never expected. Its a classic coming of age tale as Marco really starts out as a bit of an ass, but starts coming into his own through various trials and tribulations.
I would call humor the main genre this book fits into. There's also magic, and dragon people, hence the fantasy. And I assume it is mostly aimed at a young adult audience, as most books with an adolescent main character are, but I waver on that, as the sense of humor is definitely adult. The word-play is fantastic, the satire is delicious, and farce of it all is definitely fun for adults too.
All in all, this book really reminds me of the style of James Branch Cabell, an author in the 1920s who is best known for Jurgen, one of a series of comedy-parody-fantasy-romance novels. Except that Jurgen is chock full of awkward sexism and racism which we try to excuse by saying it is "a product of its time," but still certainly makes it harder to appreciate in today's world.
I would equally call The Gullwing Odyssey a product of its time in that it tackles many of the same problems we face today, sexism, racism and fanatic religion, but is able to do it all with a laugh and a spin because of the overwhelmingly silly and farcical setting. The Gullwing Odyssey has a pretty fantastic female character in Dria, the young dragon princess who is forthright, intelligent, well spoken, and occasionally awkward, young, and normal. Not to mention the pirate queen Maria Giraldinha de Inez, Captain of Far-Reach, Owner-Operator of the Three Skull Privateer Group, Limited Liability Professional Corporation. The two species of humans and dragons definitely have some communication issues and species assumptions to work out. And the character of Barclay, the fanatical Knight, bearer of the word, bigoted and overbearingly righteous, speaks for himself.
As you can imagine, all the characters in the Gullwing Odyssey are parodies of themselves. And yet, the exaggerated characteristics don't make them any less enjoyable to read about, or imagine in your head. Quite the reverse really. As I said, I listened to this book in audio form, and the narration was just perfect. He does all the voices. And if there's one thing that makes an exaggerated character even better, its an exaggerated silly accent voice. Oh yes. You can even hear a sample on the audible page, check this out.
See what I mean? The characters come alive in your head, you can practically see the over-the-top costumes they're wearing as they stride across the back of your eyelids in a vivid colorful world full of snarky dragon princesses, furious pirate queens, and slacker messenger boys. ...more
If I had one complaint about this graphic novel, it'd be that there wasn't enough of it. Its a very fast read, and you fall in love with the characterIf I had one complaint about this graphic novel, it'd be that there wasn't enough of it. Its a very fast read, and you fall in love with the characters and simply want MORE MORE MORE. I followed along with the story when it was a webcomic, and almost loved it more when it forced me to read things in small gulps and made the pleasure and the excitement last. But, when reading it all at once you can actually catch more of the subtlety in backstory and in characters. Plus, she's redrawn all the early panels so that the artstyle is consistent with the skill level she's gained over the years since it began. All in all, its fantastic. I love the sense of humor, the character development, the easy to love "villains" and the easy to hate "heroes." I will continue to read anything and everything Noelle Stevenson puts out. I'm glad she's found financial success as an artist and a writer, and I hope she keeps doing this for a very long time....more
A little obvious, a little cliche, a little violent... And yet, I liked it more than I thought I would. A fast read. A character you can root for, eveA little obvious, a little cliche, a little violent... And yet, I liked it more than I thought I would. A fast read. A character you can root for, even if you don't particularly like him. A few twists on the classic angel/devil/magic world. I'd probably read more of them, if I didn't have too many other things to read....more
I think I liked this more the first time I read it. I don't know, maybe I just wasn't in the mood for Anthony. He is so clever sometimes, in his wordI think I liked this more the first time I read it. I don't know, maybe I just wasn't in the mood for Anthony. He is so clever sometimes, in his word play, and his world building. But his characters have always felt a little flat to me, the male characters are so classically male, and the female ones so classically female. I'm not sure if it counts as "sexist" because I wouldn't say he portrays one gender as better, just that I have always found his characters to be very bound by gender stereotypes....more
The plot was predictable enough to rate 3 stars, however the good characterizations deserve four stars. The true brilliance of this book lies in its bThe plot was predictable enough to rate 3 stars, however the good characterizations deserve four stars. The true brilliance of this book lies in its beautifully inspiring visualizations. You can see the circus, and it is fantastic! Its slightly weird, and definitely out of this world, and painfully hauntingly beautiful. I'd give 4.5 stars if I could, but it just doesn't quite rate 5. I'm probably just slightly too old and jaded for that. If I'd read it 10 years ago, and it could have imprinted itself onto my teenage mind, it would definitely have been a long term favorite. But still better to have read it now than never. ...more
I have mixed feelings about this book. It was good, don't get me wrong, but it was definitely one of those books that just by changing one or two thinI have mixed feelings about this book. It was good, don't get me wrong, but it was definitely one of those books that just by changing one or two things it could have been FANTASTIC. The fresh look at zombies and vampires and fantasy creatures in a modern urban setting was nice. This is no True Blood, or Twilight, or even Charles DeLint, it is definitely its own thing, and I loved that unique view. I loved the concept, a human woman writing a travel guide for unnatural creatures visiting New York, awesome. It had a good sense of humor, definitely some silly moments, some witty lines. I understand that its supposed to be a fluff book, and I wasn't looking for anything too serious.
But... I got so sick of plot twists that entirely revolved around the romantic history and sex life of the main character. Really? I mean REALLY?! She's supposed to be a strong intelligent driven woman, so why is it always about the MEN in her life??? (view spoiler)[ Why is it always about the fact that she slept with her last boss who was actually married? Why is her coworker a super sexy incubus who somehow talks her into going to a bdsm sex club and nearly having sex with her in front of a crowd. (Which, of course, she doesn't protest at the time, but gets pissed about later). And of course, her next door neighbor just HAPPENS to be a super sexy knight in shining armor, employed by Public Works, the secret police force of the unnatural world. And OF COURSE the big evil of the climax of the book just HAPPENS to be her ex-boyfriend's wife, who is a voodoo queen coming to take over New York, and also has a personal vendetta agains the main character. I mean, really?! That just pissed me off no end. The villain of the book is the wife of the man the main character slept with. Think about what that says for a moment. And, by the way, the married guy in question isn't portrayed as evil, or a true shithead, just a kind of weak, icky womanizer. When the main character runs into him again, not only does she NOT kick him in the balls, or at least punch him in the nose, she saves his life. Twice. I'm not saying he deserved to die, and good for her taking the moral high ground. But she also doesn't even TELL HIM HE'S A SHIT HEAD FOR LYING TO HER AND CHEATING ON HIS WIFE. Neither woman knew about the other, the guy is the one who's really a freakin' jerk AND YET its the two women who end up battling each other with constructs in central park. I'm not saying every woman who's ever been cheated on by her husband is automatically a good person, but COME ON. That just left a nasty taste in my mouth. Especially since every other plot device was also SOMEHOW related to the main character's sex life and the fact she slept with her last boss who happened to be married. Ick. (hide spoiler)]
But enough about that. One of the other things I really liked about this book is that the author is local (to me :-D). She lives in Durham, and regularly mentions Raleigh, NC. Not in a super flattering light, but its still mentioned. And that makes me smile, because I love where I live, and I love that interesting people who are succeeding at their dreams are living here too.
While this book definitely had things I didn't like about it, it had enough things I did like about it that I will continue to read works by this author. I want to support local authors, but also because I think the flaws that so bothered me are somewhat from her being such a new author. This is apparently her first largely published book, I'm excited to see where she goes. Hopefully she'll find her strengths in her humor, and her fun new look at urban fantasy, and NOT in her sense of "romance" or dependence on male characters as plot points.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Honestly, this had a very unsatisfying ending. No real surprises, no big climax at the end, no revelations. The character progression of Bitterblue waHonestly, this had a very unsatisfying ending. No real surprises, no big climax at the end, no revelations. The character progression of Bitterblue was definitely interesting, and I know that was the main point of this novel was her growth into adulthood, and not the defeat of some obvious villain. I respect what Cashore was trying to do there, my absolute favorite YA novel Ella Enchanted does something very similar. But I just somehow didn't believe it enough in this example. And I kept waiting for something to happen, but it never really did.......more
Good enough. A bit childish, cliche and predictable, but it IS young-adult fantasy. If I'd been the right age when this came out, I probably would havGood enough. A bit childish, cliche and predictable, but it IS young-adult fantasy. If I'd been the right age when this came out, I probably would have loved it. As it is, its good, but not amazing to me....more