On the surface, Maschari's new novel for middle readers is a kid-friendly story of grief and love. But it's really much more than that. Wrapped up inOn the surface, Maschari's new novel for middle readers is a kid-friendly story of grief and love. But it's really much more than that. Wrapped up in an intriguing fantasy premise that's sure to engage young readers, Charlie figures out how to come to terms with his mother's death — even if he can travel to a parallel universe where she's still alive. Maschari tackles such a heavy topic with a fully-realized setting and realistic, and endearing, relationships between Charlie and his family members, all of which handle grief in different ways. Unlike sob-fests about the same topic aimed at teens, this novel is actually uplifting — propelling Charlie past his grief to a place where memories of love move him forward. Get this one for fans of Neil Gaiman's Coraline....more
This is the series that convinced me that graphic novels and manga was a worthy storytelling medium. Along with Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1: Unmanned, thiThis is the series that convinced me that graphic novels and manga was a worthy storytelling medium. Along with Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1: Unmanned, this is my favorite graphic novel series of all time. Back when it was published in the turn of the millennium (and picked up two Seiun Awards, Japan’s highest honor for science fiction), it also kindled a love for hard sci-fi that has since grown into an obsession. If you love novels and movies that go heavy on the realistic science, such as The Martian or Interstellar, I promise you'll love this series.
I was given an ARC by Dark Horse before this was published, but I've also read the original run some decades ago (and reread it many times since then). I'm very picky about my manga, since so much of the genre is bloated with formulaic plot devices. Unlike the popular stuff your little brother reads, Planetes is mature and nuanced, with deep characterization and subtle questions about the nature of humanity and our collective self-destructive drive to explore the unknown, at all costs.
Even though it first ran over 15 years ago, Planetes doesn't feel dated, and the art doesn't have that distinctive '90s manga style that so many people (including myself) love to hate. Yukimura takes full advantage of his medium, using the panels to alternatively illustrate the harsh and lifeless limitlessness of space and contrast it with the claustrophobic interiors of space shuttles.
Really, I can't wax enough praise for this series. I'm so pleased to finally see it finally reissued so that I can finally replace my extremely well-loved set I bought over ten years ago! ...more
David Mitchell's signature genre-bending multi-character literary style lends itself perfectly to this classic horror novel. Slade House is right up tDavid Mitchell's signature genre-bending multi-character literary style lends itself perfectly to this classic horror novel. Slade House is right up there with The Haunting of Hill House and House of Leaves when it comes to the "haunted house" subgenre of horror. Weaving together jumps in time, space, and reality itself, Mitchell is at his best in this short and chilling exploration of ghosts, Escher-like creepy architecture, and déjà vu references to his previous works. Written entirely in first person, he keeps the reader in the dark right up until the last ominous chapter. This one is perfect for the horror fans in your life, or people you know that enjoy literary fiction who don't have time for the plodding pace of doorstopper-length classics....more
Ernest Cline knows that you're an incredible dork, and this is his love letter to you. Just like Ready Player One, Armada is packed full of enough refErnest Cline knows that you're an incredible dork, and this is his love letter to you. Just like Ready Player One, Armada is packed full of enough references that well-adjusted normal people (you know, people without encyclopedic knowledge of video games and internet memes) are probably totally lost. Basically, there's no fourth wall in this novel. The author and his protagonist are both in on the joke. While Cline can't go two sentences without some sort of explicit reference, he also really likes to take every military sci-fi trope he can think of and throw it in your face.
In short, this book is a sci-fi nerd's wet dream. It reads exactly like the bad fanfiction that results if you had sat down and said "gee, how could I insert myself into some cool sci-fi plot and save the world?" Because, don't lie, I know you have thought about it. Cline knows too. And this is his answer.
In short, you'll really like this if you are in on the joke. You'll probably really hate it if you don't get the joke, or think the joke is too immature for you. But hey, I'm exactly immature enough to find the wish-fulfillment of Armada immensely satisfying. And unlike fanfiction, at least Ernest Cline can write.
Five stars for this guilty, guilty pleasure....more
Cameron's book reads like Game of Thrones with cavemen and dogs. Yeah, it sounds weird, but it works. Basically, a tribe of cavemen and cavewomen haveCameron's book reads like Game of Thrones with cavemen and dogs. Yeah, it sounds weird, but it works. Basically, a tribe of cavemen and cavewomen have this really terrible old woman running their tribe, and it creates all sorts of drama. There's also this other tribe that worships wolves and follows after them to find food, but they've fallen on hard times. Eventually one guy gets kicked out of the first tribe, tames a wolf to survive, and joins the second tribe and lives happily ever after, the end. Oh, and a ton of people die and have lots of sex.
I have a lot of nostalgia for all the filthy sexual historical novels I read as a kid (sorry Mom and Dad, you should have read what I was checking out from the library). So Cameron's novel really reminded me of that whole "wow, cavemen get a lot of action" vibe I remember from the The Clan of the Cave Bear series. Also, it has wolves, and I'm a dork and think that wolves are super neat....more