Something of an ambitious Lovecraft story for adaptation to the graphic novel medium, but Culbard delivers the goods in a vivid, lively and striking m...moreSomething of an ambitious Lovecraft story for adaptation to the graphic novel medium, but Culbard delivers the goods in a vivid, lively and striking manner that tightens the structure while maintaining all the cosmic angst. Highly recommended. (less)
It has been a very long time since I've read any 'epic' fantasy, but gave this a shot since the author is a guest at When Words Collide this coming Au...moreIt has been a very long time since I've read any 'epic' fantasy, but gave this a shot since the author is a guest at When Words Collide this coming August in Calgary and I wanted a taste of his work. Plus I'd also heard nothing but praise for Sanderson from all quarters, so wanted to know what all the fuss was about. ;-)
Mistborn, the first in a trilogy, while not exactly riveting from the off, was compelling enough to keep me interested and turning pages. The writing is relatively clean and straightforward, if somewhat lacking in elegance, and carries the narrative along at a reasonable pace, which is a bonus when plowing through 500+ pages. The magic system - Allomancy - is intriguingly clever and gives the users (those who are born with the latent ability to tap into it) a selection of powers based around the consumption of various metals. By 'burning' certain metals within the body the user (Mistborns - those who can utilize all the metals and Mistings - those who can utilize a single metal) are able to push and pull against external metals, increase strength, constitution, sharpen senses, and influence mood and feeling in those around them. It's an elaborate and clearly defined system that has a sort of logical alchemical feel to it with a great deal of appeal. Unfortunately the world building as a whole isn't quite as clear as the magic system. While the political, religious and social structures are handled well, Sanderson fails to deliver a sense of time and place. Descriptions of clothing, buildings, the landscape are all rather weak. I had a hard time determining a historical period analogue. There are times when it reads like a sort of antebellum setup with plantations, slavery, etc...and at others it's more like a late medieval feudal feel. That to me was the largest weakness in the writing/world-building.
In terms of plot and characterization it's all fairly simple. We've got a group of largely low-class, vaguely criminal types, gathering together in an attempt to overthrow a god-like tyrant. In the early stages it reads like a caper/heist affair, but soon develops into a more noble plan. And when I say 'types', I do mean types, as there isn't a fully fleshed out character in the lot. Our POV is a scruffy young female thief with Mistborn powers who finds herself caught up in schemes largely over her head. She is mentored by another noble sort of thief, a warrior, a scam artist, etc...and learns from each of them until she awakens to the realization that there's more to life than simply getting by as a thief. That being said, it all still sort of works. Readers know these types, we like these types, we understand these types because we've read/seen them a 100 times before and Sanderson gives them just enough character to grow on you. The plot, as I mentioned, is about rebellion, freedom from tyranny, and the like, but I couldn't shake the sense that it was all just sort of an inversion of God Emperor of Dune.
While my comments sound harsh, even to myself, I did come away from the book thinking I might actually want to see where it goes from here, which is to say overall I liked it, and that's from a guy who really doesn't care much for 'epic' fantasy, so give it a shot. I'd give it a solid 3.5 out of 5. It's an early book from the author, so I expect more from the follow-ups in the trilogy. (less)
Holmes, still believed dead by the masses after Reichenbach, is enlisted by vampires to track down one of their own who has gone rogue. In short, it's...moreHolmes, still believed dead by the masses after Reichenbach, is enlisted by vampires to track down one of their own who has gone rogue. In short, it's largely the plot of Blade 2 with Sherlock Holmes in the lead role. As dismissive and derivative as that might sound, it's actually an excellent and thoroughly enjoyable read. Some awkward sentences here and there, likely a result of translation, but characterization is solid. The art is stunningly detailed, realistically rendered and beautiful throughout the book. I would rate this as one of the very best Sherlock Holmes comic books of recent years, sitting alongside the wonderful Victorian Undead: Sherlock Holmes Vs Zombies, but of course, if you don't care for stories that mix Holmes with the supernatural, your opinion will differ. Happily I love this sort of thing, especially when as well done as it was in this book. (less)
Characterization of Holmes, Watson and Mycroft was rather wobbly, but it was a fun, fast moving, comicbook-like, steampunk sort of romp. An enjoyable...moreCharacterization of Holmes, Watson and Mycroft was rather wobbly, but it was a fun, fast moving, comicbook-like, steampunk sort of romp. An enjoyable breezy read.(less)