Not as entertaining as I was hoping it'd be, but worth a read since I got it from the library. Though after reading it I still don't understand what tNot as entertaining as I was hoping it'd be, but worth a read since I got it from the library. Though after reading it I still don't understand what the big thing was that killed everyone (as shown in the very beginning). So I'd say the storytelling jumped around too much to be very coherent or easy to follow. ...more
I think one of my favorite versions of Peter Parker is where he's a high school teacher and married to Mary Jane. I actually even like the red suit heI think one of my favorite versions of Peter Parker is where he's a high school teacher and married to Mary Jane. I actually even like the red suit he's wearing on the cover and in the first story in this book. So it was weird how it switched back to his classic costume with no explanation when it moved to the second story. And I didn't really like the whole bringing back his ex-girlfriends thing, but that's probably mostly because I don't like that he has so many ex-girlfriends. I don't know; I enjoyed this, but ultimately I guess it didn't feel like a complete enough story to be satisfying, although that's often what you get with this kind of graphic novel....more
Too many depressing, angsty stories. When did Nightcrawler (my fave superhero) get so depressing? Lame. Only the first story, with Wolverine, really sToo many depressing, angsty stories. When did Nightcrawler (my fave superhero) get so depressing? Lame. Only the first story, with Wolverine, really seemed like it worked as a standalone story. The others all relied too heavily on backstory which I wasn't familiar with because I don't follow every single thing Marvel produces and prefer to read more complete storylines. And the Wolverine story was kinda lame because since when does Wolvie get so thoroughly beat up and nearly killed by a pack of nameless thugs?
Also, the vast majority of the characters who appear on the front and back cover are nowhere to be found within the book. Which is pretty much false advertising....more
A lot of good information and references. Like any books in this area, information becomes outdated quickly, so even the second edition has a few partA lot of good information and references. Like any books in this area, information becomes outdated quickly, so even the second edition has a few parts that seem a bit outdated. One thing I found weird was how he insisted that anyone can do the coding to convert books to ebooks and he acted like paying for that service was kind of a waste, yet immediately went on to suggest paying for print book formatting because that's super difficult. I don't know about anyone else, but I find print formatting to be very easy (just time-consuming, but based on the prices I've seen for professional, still well worth doing myself), but don't have nearly enough confidence in my computer coding (which is essentially what ebook formatting is) to want to learn it and do it myself. He should have given some acknowledgement of how what you want to do yourself and what you want to pay a professional for will vary by the individual writer based on your own strengths and weaknesses, but he didn't. He made it sound too much like what works for him is what should work for everyone....more
When I bought this, from looking through it, I thought it was a crossover with the regular DS9, but it's not. It's a possible-future DS9 in the rebootWhen I bought this, from looking through it, I thought it was a crossover with the regular DS9, but it's not. It's a possible-future DS9 in the reboot-verse. Which is cool. Q is apparently our Q (although, being an extra-dimensional being, he really should be), and there are short scenes at the beginning and end with regular Picard. It was very cool. The only thing is it left me dying to see what happens next in the original verse with what happens with Q going forward....more
As other reviewers have pointed out, this is really just a Highlander fanfic with the names changed. Really, it’s unnecessary for me to point out theAs other reviewers have pointed out, this is really just a Highlander fanfic with the names changed. Really, it’s unnecessary for me to point out the many, many similarities in the world, characters, and backstory. Anyone familiar with Highlander: The Series will be able to spot them immediately and anyone unfamiliar with that series probably doesn’t care.
In addition to everything about Immortals, Watchers, and the individual characters being the same except for some name changes and occasional appearance differences, at times the story blatantly and directly references Highlander itself. There’s a bit where Methos/Lohren mentions something called a Lazarus Stone, which he then immediately admits doesn’t resurrect anyone, only keeps them alive, “But Methuselah Stone was taken, and I had to call it something.” The Methuselah Stone is an actual item from the Highlander show, which Methos went after at one point.
The author even has a blog post on her website where she refers to the original world of this story and filing off serial numbers. So, it’s not like she’s lying about it being totally fresh. Though the job she did of disguising it is basically slapping plastic mustaches on the characters.
So I knew going in that it’s fanfic (from seeing the reviews), and that’s actually part of what drew me to this book. I was a fan of Highlander, and Methos was my favorite character, so reading a book that was straight-up Highlander fanfic (with an Atlantis twist) sounded fun. My question was whether it was a true Highlander fanfic (meaning it uses established characters, world, and backstory and moves forward, telling a new story and throwing new twists and situations at us) or just a Highlander ripoff (meaning it retells all the same plot points as Highlander without going anywhere new and interesting with it).
Fortunately, it’s the former. I went into this thinking of it as Highlander fanfic, and as such, it was really pretty good. I’ll use Highlander terms to talk about it, since that’s obviously what the terms originally were anyway, except in cases where the author brought in actually new concepts/characters. And since the Joe character is a woman in this story, I’ll call her Jo.
This story takes place a few months after an altercation with rogue Watchers who wanted to find a magic rock to make themselves immortal, wherein Methos was ‘killed’. Jo, having witnessed this, now knows that this guy she’s been working with for a decade is one of the very people they’re studying. Worse, her other friend/subject, Duncan, knew about this all along. It’s a few months later now, and Jo’s still a bit sore about the whole thing, though she’s getting over it because they’re both so darn charming. Now, in the actual Highlander story, IIRC (it’s been a while since I watched the show), the news of Adam Pierson being Methos was spread around the Watchers pretty quickly after this event. In this story, however, the news hasn’t spread and Jo is still the only one within the Watchers who knows. In the first few chapters, she and Methos concoct a plan for him to be ‘killed’ in some dramatic way that all the other Watchers will see, then he’ll pretend to be shocked at this ‘first death’, thus keeping the secret that he’s the legendary Methos. I thought that was a nice way to play it, and a more interesting direction than the show actually took. (Unfortunately, the Atlantis storyline comes into play before their plan can really get off the ground, so that potential storyline is pretty much dropped. Since this is supposedly the first in a series, I’m hoping it gets picked up again later.)
The additional backstory is that way, way back in the day, Methos had an Atlantean fiancée who ‘went down with the ship’ and so he doesn’t know she’s still alive. Bringing in an OC with that kind of connection to Methos, as well as bringing in the additional Atlantis angle, added much of the original content of the story. This is the kind of stuff that I like to see in a fanfic (and what made it proper fanfic as opposed to merely a ripoff). Another thing I liked to see was the expansion/explanation (or in some cases, welcome changes) to the underlying lore of Highlander, which was enough to help make it more cohesive without changing it so much that it was no longer recognizably Highlander.
The mythology of Highlander is not exactly air-tight and logical. There is a lot of room for improvement, and this author makes a lot of small changes to tighten and expand that mythology in ways that I thought were quite good.
This series is called Heartstrike, and that’s a reference to one of the new bits of mythology, which is that before one Immortal kills another Immortal by taking their head, he must stab him through the heart with what they call a Heartstrike blade. (Apparently this isn’t a specific type of weapon, just any knife used for this purpose.) Only then is the power contained within that Immortal transferred to the other Immortal upon decapitation. Without the Heartstrike, the power simply releases into the world, and it’s theorized (apparently by some within the Watchers) that this released power is where new Immortals come from.
In a twist I found particularly amusing, Methos ends up accidentally inspiring the creation of the Watchers. I also liked how the author gave her own answer to the question, “So what if they do fight on holy ground?”
I did, however, think the book would have been better if she’d cut out the Four Horsemen part of the story when she converted it into an ‘original’ story. It was unnecessary, didn’t mesh well with what we saw of him in Atlantis, and was one of the way-too-obvious Highlander parts. She didn’t even change Cassandra’s name, for crying out loud. It just really didn’t add anything or help and it should have been excised.
The majority of the book takes place in the past, with Methos and Ghan (his OC Atlantean fiancée) in Atlantis. That part was interesting, but after the scenes at the beginning in the present time, I kinda kept wishing they’d get back to the present storyline. I’m not really sure if there was a way she could have written it that I would have liked better, though. It’s always tricky when you’ve got significant backstory as well as present story. The backstory parts did have quite a few OCs (that’s original characters, characters who aren’t Highlander characters), and I liked all of them (except the antagonist, but I rarely like antagonists). One thing that I was impressed with was the emotional impact of the destruction of Atlantis. Even though you know it’s coming from the very beginning, it’s still climactic and wrenching when it happens (largely because of the deaths of some of those OCs). So that was well done.
Some of the best scenes, I thought, were the ones showing the friendship between Methos, Duncan, and Jo. Having Joe reimagined as a black woman (still a middle-aged vet) provided an opportunity for some flirty joking, and Duncan’s teasing of Methos plays much better when unencumbered by Adrian Paul’s poor acting. I thought this trio worked very well to provide humor as well as to humanize the story.
There are some parts that could have used some fact-checking. In the beginning, Methos asks Jo for some unhealthy breakfast food, and she points him to eggs and bacon. While bacon isn’t exactly healthy, when eaten sparingly it can be a contributing part of a healthy diet, and eggs are hands-down one of the healthiest foods you can eat. And later, Methos feels uncomfortable in an all-pink hotel room and his 5,000-year-old Atlantean ex-girlfriend teases him because it’s girly—despite the fact that pink only became thought of as a ‘girly’ color in the 20th century, so I really doubt it would be engrained enough in either of them to think anything of it at all.
I got a free review copy of the audiobook from Audible. The narrator does a good job. There were times when I wasn’t sure which character was talking, but for the most part I’d say: didn’t love him, didn’t hate him, the narration was perfectly serviceable. Though of course I do wish they’d gotten Peter Wingfield to narrate because as long as you’re publishing Methos fanfic, you might as well try to get the actor who played Methos to narrate it.
Okay, so . . . like I said, pretty good Highlander fanfic. I enjoyed it as such. However, I do still have some mixed feelings about it being published as an original novel. The fanficcer side of me thinks the author should have had more respect for the original fandom and for fanfic as an art form and simply put it up on the internet in its original form, to be enjoyed for free as fanfic should be. The novelist side of me thinks it’s pretty exciting how authors can get away with such blatant copyright infringement with the barest, most surface of changes and become free to make money off of (and possibly reach a wider audience with) a story about other people’s worlds and characters, at least as long as there’s enough new, original content to make the story its own thing (though new, original content is a requirement for any fanfic to be considered good even as fanfic). And as a reader and semi-Highlander-fan who wishes Highlander was public domain because the people who own it haven’t really ever done it justice, I kinda wish the author (and everyone else) was free to simply publish it as the Highlander fanfic it obviously is, without the need for the fake mustaches....more
The very first scene was entertaining, particularly the shopkeeper. Then the sympathetic MC steals and feels totally justified in doing so and I lostThe very first scene was entertaining, particularly the shopkeeper. Then the sympathetic MC steals and feels totally justified in doing so and I lost sympathy for him. I'm only maybe a couple hours into the audiobook. The author has just killed another MC's horse for no apparent reason. Everything's pretty boring. The book is too pleased with its own fantasticalness. The author keeps telling me about other characters' stories which will be told at other times (this is a lie; near as I can tell, he never wrote any of those other stories). Reading some of these other reviews, things only go downhill after the mid-way point. If I'm this apathetic about the part of the book most people like, I think I'll cut my losses here....more
Interesting basic premise, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired.
Worldbuilding not adequately explained or explorCrossposted from Reanne Reads.
Interesting basic premise, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired.
Worldbuilding not adequately explained or explored. - If pushing someone down a flight of stairs counts as murder and the person comes back, why doesn't pushing them down accidentally? (I ask this based on the fact that someone is hit by a bus driven by a person and that apparently doesn't count as murder because the victim has to be 'dispatched'.) What nuance is there that determines the difference between murder and manslaughter? What about crimes of passion? What about only semi-accidental causes of death? No one in this world apparently cares enough to find out the answers to these questions, despite it literally being a life-and-death issue. - I don't buy that there is such a big grey/black market for dispatchers when what they do is something literally anyone could do. If dispatchers were the only ones allowed to kill someone without being arrested and tried for murder, regardless of whether the victim comes back to life, I could have bought that a lot more easily. But the author apparently didn't think to include a reason like that. It seems that only permanent-murder in this world is even worth law enforcement's time. (There's a throwaway explanation that bad guys hire dispatchers as a status symbol, but I call BS. It wouldn't be worth the money or having an additional witness/loose end for *that* many bad guys. Or even just regular stupid people, like in the dueling situation.) - If a dispatcher, in their official, 100% legal job, kills someone in order to make their chance of death go from 100% to 1 in 1,000, why is there anyone in this society who is against that or thinks badly of them for it? Why does the MC have to defend his job to everyone he meets when he's saving lives? - Why is a dispatcher needed at a duel? Why does a guy who gets a sword through the gut or eye socket need a dispatcher to run up and kill him immediately? He's been stabbed by another person. I'm pretty sure he's already been murdered. A dispatcher in these cases is totally redundant.
An author who clearly knows little about theology tries to explore the theological ramifications of a ridiculous premise but only enough to make theists look like crazy people.
I don't hang out with a lot of female cops, but I've never heard a woman use the phrase, "We're standing around holding our dicks." Once again Scalzi doesn't appear to know that women aren't just men with boobs.
Really a lot of unnecessary profanity. Cursing is like spice. It should be used sparingly for best effect.
Quinto's narration was mostly pretty good, though I had difficulty distinguishing some of the character voices during conversation. He's a decent actor, but his audiobook narration could use some more practice....more