In the cruel continent of Panem, the Capitol enslaves the twelve districts and to keep the slaves in line once a year they perform the hunger games, tIn the cruel continent of Panem, the Capitol enslaves the twelve districts and to keep the slaves in line once a year they perform the hunger games, taking two children for each district and forcing them into gladitorial combat in amazing venues until one survivor emerges. Katniss is almost old enough to no longer be a possible competitor, but when her sister is drawn in the lottery she volunteers to save her sister, knowing she's unlikely to come back and watch her sister grow up.
Let's pause a moment here and think about this one part that baffles me. The capitol keep the districts in line by forcing them to watch them kill their children. How has this NOT sparked an uprising over the last 74 years? No seriously? wouldn't that make you MORe likely to want to rise up and throw off the shackles? But setting that aside let's continue on with my review.
I can't help but wonder if I'd not seen the movie first and thus knew all of the twists and turns if this wouldn't been more of an emotional ride. Because Katniss is a character who tends to keep her emotions stifled and hidden it's hard to feel as much, particularly when you already saw it coming. I really feel like I would have enjoyed the ride much more if I hadn't known (spoiler alert? really, who doesn't know the ending yet?) both Katniss and Peeta would survive.
I love the hidden details the movie missed though, like the fact it's clearly America, and the tongue-less slave who Katniss saw back in the woods years back and *could* have saved(at the stupid risk of her own life though), the Muts (which I noticed suddenly appear in the second part of the last book's movies when previously they weren't mentioned), as well as the deeper insights into the characters.
The Capitol though, I can't help but feel like the capitol is a bit of a straw man. You've got only two modes for citizens of the Capitol - the vapid masses bleating joy over the games and eating up that shit like ice cream and vicious peacemakes/president Snow who wish to squash any hint of rebellion so ruthlessly disguise the shit as ice cream and cram it down the District's throats too. Where are the super intelligent people who make all this technology? Who does the menial labour in the capitol? Surely there's not enough of the Avox in supply to do it all. I get that there probably wasn't much time to really show this, maybe it will appear in later books, but it sort of made me feel like it was just a Roman Empire dressed up to be toppled.
Something I did enjoy (morbidly) was how wonderfully ruthless Collin's was - the end scene, with the final opponent being eaten alive for hours on end - brutal! However I was a little disappointed that Katniss wasn't a bit more involved in the killings herself, I would have preferred more, real life or death struggling.
Katniss' staunched emotions lead her to genuine confusion about her feelings of love - she honestly can't realise she's actually infatuated with either (or both) Gale and Peeta - and I love it, it's different to what I usually see in YA love triangles where it's usually blatantly obvious who the protagonist loves and the other person is just trying to muscle in and failing.
Now for the inevitable comparison to Battle Royale. I watched and loved Battle Royale movie, even went on and purchased the manga adaption which goes into each and every character much more deeply in the 15 volume series(I believe there's a novel too, but I must confess to not having read that yet). There's quite a lot of similarities (with several of the characters being interchangeable (the experienced combateers and the volunteers from district one, Nanahara & Noriko = Katniss & Peeta(though I do love the gender flipping ;p ), aside from the obvious repressive government forcing kids to fight on a televised event), but there's also quite a bit of difference between them too, what with very little mention of the government of deeper reasons why battle royale occurs in BR(in the movie anyway, the manga expands on it more), as compared to the much more blatantly stated HG. I've never been too bugged by similarities though (FFS look at the old 'farm by is a prophecised hero' trope in fantasy - how many of those have I read and still enjoyed?), as long as the story itself diverges from the other clearly, and isn't just a parallel retelling with nothing new.
I still think I might have enjoyed this book more, felt more velocity in it's story if I hadn't seen the movie first - but I guess that's what I get for watching the movie before the book ;p
I recommend this book to pretty much anyone who reads YA and (surprisingly enough) recommend it to people who enjoyed Battle Royale....more
Wake up, suffer peak hour traffic as you go to your day job, toil through a boring old, mundane day of work, then go home. But isn't something wrong?Wake up, suffer peak hour traffic as you go to your day job, toil through a boring old, mundane day of work, then go home. But isn't something wrong? Weren't you a superhero? And wasn't their some creepy ass monsters or other..?
I kept thinking I knew what was happening in this book, but it kept twisting and being a slightly different, a new take on an old trope. (view spoiler)[ and I went through the whole book knowing who the villain was, and just like how I *knew* what was going on, I didn't quite, there was still a bit of a twist on that (hide spoiler)].
However I was just more and more disappointed in Danielle/Cerberus. In the first book she was my favourite - my ideal; a smart tough woman kicking ass in a super suit. I was ready to divorce my husband and marry her instead (sorry T-J ;p ). In book two Clines suddenly gave her a fear, assumably for some depth to her character. I complained in my review of ex-patriots that while it was a legitimate fear, and fit with her, it came out of nowhere, since there was no mention of it I could recall in the first book. In this book she continued on with it, but was even worse. I was so disappointed because she basically just shivered and panic-attacked all over the place and it bugged the hell out of me because I loved her soooooo much. She better get over her fear and soon or I'm going to have to let go of my love for her.
I was a bit annoyed in the ending that no one(view spoiler)[ went 'hey, how about someone finds Cesar/The driver and gets him to jump into the Cerberus suit rather than destroying it?' everyone was just 'sorry Danielle, but we gotta'. It tasted of plot device to me. I could have accepted them going 'where's Cesar?' and him being unconscious somewhere or other or something else, but the fact he wasn't even considered bugged me.
To further the Cesar point, it was never made clear, if Cesar was in the dream or a dreamed up part of the fiction. He didn't appear any where in dream or reality in the story after he was 'lost' in a derelict car. Was he killed? Was he a dream figment and is alive? He just didn't make any appearance so I didn't know. I liked his power and like laughing at his kid-like enthusiasm, so wanted to either grieve or celebrate - but got no resolution. (view spoiler)[
I feel this book could have benefited from being a little shorter perhaps. We spent too much time in the 'purgatory'. sure it would take most people a long time to figure things out, but it kinda dragged a bit for me. I just wanted George to (view spoiler)[listen to his damn car radio clearly, or notice Banzai (who I recognised instantly) (hide spoiler)]
Not that it has any real impact on the book itself, i was mildly disapointed int he title. Ex-purgatory doesn't mean anything, whereas the other titles all mean something, you can be an ex-hero or ex-patriot, and ex-communication was an awesome title because Barry was 'communication' and, well, if i have to explain excommunication to you *shakes head*, and the next book in the series has an awesome double meaning title too: Ex-isle. So this one that didn't really mean anything and didn't really feel clever bugged me. This hasn't affected my rating though ;p
All up though, not a bad book, and I'm actually bugged because the audiobook isn't out yet on audible.com.au so i have to preorder it and wait for Tuesday. Gah, a whole 12 hours wait ;p (hide spoiler)](hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Why settle for one resurrection when you could have two? Both are done in extremely different ways (view spoiler)[(one with science and one with magicWhy settle for one resurrection when you could have two? Both are done in extremely different ways (view spoiler)[(one with science and one with magic) (hide spoiler)] and both have varying outcomes
I'm glad I stuck around after the disappointment of book two. There were things I needed to know about various characters (featured only in/introduced in the second book) to enjoy the feels of this one) (view spoiler)[ in fact as soon as they mentioned that character was walking around with a sparkly sneaker I was all 'oh crap, that's what-her-face, the doctor's daughter' and got all bouncey and excited to see how this could be explained (hide spoiler)]. I also really enjoyed the chance to see more of one of the characters from the first book who I felt I didn't get to spend as much time with as I wanted to.
The then/now chapters still continue, but still tie in well so don't bug me (though anti-flashback people may disagree).
I really liked the fact that Rodney, villain and tough guy though he is, admitted to crying, even said flat out real men can cry if they want to when the situation calls for it. I love seeing this in fiction, letting men know yes, you're allowed to express emotions, screw what anyone else says.
Speaking of Rodney, or Legion as he prefers now, I liked the ingenuity he was showing as a villain, his scare tactics, his battle plans. He may not be the brightest, but he's trying hard, and hes still got a good sense of justice as demonstrated by his last actions in the book (which I won't spoil).
Because this book brought back (view spoiler)[Max, I got to see all the magic around him that I'd wanted to know more about. I loved the extra depth of the demon and how the 'religion' of it all ties in to the world. I loved how symbolism allowed Cairax's defeat, though am disheartened Max died rather than getting to live on and be a villain or some other form of ambiguous character you could never be sure about the 'goodness' of. (hide spoiler)]
I just love the endless cavalcade of pop culture in jokes and references. it feels like I'm reading conversations had with most of my friends.
This book renewed my faith in the series and makes me eager for the next installation.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Fourth of July means fireworks, so Zzzap provides, but it isn't only the 'Mount that sees his light show. A drone flies over LA shortly thereafter andFourth of July means fireworks, so Zzzap provides, but it isn't only the 'Mount that sees his light show. A drone flies over LA shortly thereafter and the team discover there's a manned military base near-by, and we all know what happens in zombie movies when the military makes an appearance.
After the first one I was all excited to dive head first into this second book. I didn't even read the description, just jumped in. It wasn't as stellar as the first. This one was just so predictable and so damn cliche. In regard to the military being bad cliche, the book acknowledged it was walking head first into a cliche, and tried to pretend it wasn't going to be that way, but it was so obvious it was. (view spoiler)[ and it was. They had better reasons than most other stories, but still (hide spoiler)].
And the opening fight between St George and Captain Freedom. *sigh* I saw it coming and I just kinda pushed through it in frustration, it's just so overdone, the two good guys fighting instead of talking all because of some lame misunderstanding. (view spoiler)[ though I did like the flashback right at the end where Freedom and the soldiers were in the helicopter there talking about what celebrities they'd want to fight the exs of and Freedom was all, I'd wanna take on the Mighty Dragon. That was kinda cool, and makes the pointless fight make a bit more sense. (hide spoiler)]
Something else that bugged me was all of a sudden Danielle has a phobia of exes that makes her want to stay in her suit forever. I can believe and empathise with such a fear, but the previous book did not set this up either by her already having the fear right from the start, or there being some inciting incident that sets up the appearance of this fear. It just BAMFed out of nowhere between the two books and it bugged me that no one else suddenly had a random phobia.
On the plus side there were some cool new powers, the Driver had quite the interesting talent, and (view spoiler)[ the particular method of mind control *someone else* had was very interesting. Also the evolution of Rodney was not only one of the few surprises I got in the story (I predicted who the real bad guy was and his powers from very early on sadly), but it also makes him a very promising antagonist for this and upcoming books. (hide spoiler)]
I'm going to read the next book, mostly out of love for the first and hope that this was maybe just a case of saggy middle syndrome. I'll let you know if the effort is worth it. ADDED NOTE: It is worth it. The next book felt like more of a return to form. less utterly predictable and cliche. This book does need to be read though to understand some of the feels in the next book.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
The zompocalypse has struck the world. In LA, survivors bundle together, seeking safety within the Paramount movie studio's lot. Sounds kinda standardThe zompocalypse has struck the world. In LA, survivors bundle together, seeking safety within the Paramount movie studio's lot. Sounds kinda standard zompocalypse fare? That's because I forgot to mention that amongst these survivors are superheroes, doing their best to help everyone keep on living. But having supers on your team doesn't guarantee anything, not with another force in addition to the zombies rising up to confront everyone at 'The Mount'.
Wow, so it took me a while to get over the fact I didn't come up with this first (who am I kidding, I've already started the second book and I'm still not over it), but the book is great.
Some people don't like flashbacks. This is not the book for them. Throughout the story there are chapter long flashbacks, revealing fragments of each heroes past, some of when they became heroes pre-virus, some while the virus is just starting to show up. I thought they were all not only interesting, but most were surprisingly pivotal to the storyline, linking together in ways you only see clearly when you get to the final chapters.
For the most part the female characters kick ass. I LOVE Cerberus (Danielle), Stealth is cool, the glimpse we got of Banzai was awesome. They're all shown to be efficient, proficient, intelligent, and none of them play the damsel in distress role. No bullS**** kidnappings where these gals have to be rescued! I was a little disappointed that there was the stereotypical hysterical girl who needs to be knocked unconscious for the team to do what they need to, and the rampant bitch who gets in the heroes way, but both of these were very minor characters, and the hysterical girl did do some redeeming of herself (she just disagreed with a plan and was panicked by the concept of being left alone surrounded by zombies).
That reminds me, I like the clever alternate name for zombies: Ex. But this book doesn't act like it exists in a world where no zombie movie ever was made. People acknowledge the exs are zombies, they comment on zombie tropes (some of which hold true(destroy the head is the only efficient option) and some of which are abolished (no moaning, instead teeth snapping)), but specify many people were hesitant to say zombie at first, and to avoid hysteria, many cling to the alternate name.
The actual mechanics of the virus are quite interesting and (to my knowledge) surprisingly unique.
As for he superhero aspects, while there's nothing super amazing stand out new, the characters all have very cool and pretty original powers, interesting origin stories, and fun banter. Just what you want from a super team. Also, I'm glad that many of the supers aren't impervious to zombie bites, and (view spoiler)[ even better that they can turn too - and keep their powers upon turning, thus making them a super-zombie. (hide spoiler)]
If you like zombie combat, you'll feel right at home. If you like super hero novels, you'll find familiar territory here. The action scenes are frequent and of good quality.
Also, any book with Doctor Who references get's bonus points in my opinion.
I recommend this to fans of both the superhero and zombie genres, though with a small caveat: be warned there children zombies, and they are dealt with. It made me, as a parent, quite uncomfortable and squeamish, but was not a deal breaker - but I feel I should warn the superhero fans (I assume the zombie fans have long ago been hardened to this).["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This book is a perfect example of the only problem i have with reading via audiobook: when you have an issue with writing style, you're sometimes leftThis book is a perfect example of the only problem i have with reading via audiobook: when you have an issue with writing style, you're sometimes left wondering, was the writer's style what I didn't like, or was the problem the narrator's performance?
There were a lot of concepts in this book that I found intriguing and a few I even loved, but something about the way it was told made it difficult for me to really enjoy the story and get swept up in the narrative.
It could be the lack of names. Some characters never got one, quite a few had one, but were virtually never called by them. One spends the first chapter or two (maybe longer, I lost track) only knowing the protagonist as 'The Gunslinger'. Stylistically cool, but as far as connecting to the character, not so awesome. Add to that the fact I went just as many chapters not knowing why the heck the Gunslinger was chasing 'The Man In Black', and you might be able to see why I just didn't find much enthusiasm for the character.
There were a lot of flashbacks(normally not a great thing), but since the content of those flashbacks was quite intriguing and answered quite a few questions I had, this didn't bother me as much as it might have.
And those questions! Now I know you've got to have the reader wondering why on certain things to keep them reading, but there was just too much unknown, and definitely too much still left unanswered by the end. Sure, it's a series, i can't have every answer, I'm not greedy - but there was just too much.
I liked the world itself, both the concrete world the Gunslinger was traveling and his childhood home, and additionally loved the promise of how it was connected to so many other worlds. I hope the later books delve into that.
I didn't really love or hate this book. I'll probably still try book two in the not-too-distant future.
I'm not sure who to recommend this book too, since I personally had so many problems, but since I think a lot might have been personal tastes I assume those who typically like Westerns might find the writing style more palatable, so fans of Western looking for a fantasy twist in their tales should be quite happy with this....more
In a future so bleak people hide from reality in the Oasis, an immersive video game so massive the whole world can (and does) log on, hope comes for tIn a future so bleak people hide from reality in the Oasis, an immersive video game so massive the whole world can (and does) log on, hope comes for the destitute masses when the Oasis' creator dies and his will announces both his fortune and ownership of the Oasis will go to whoever can find his hidden Easter Egg. Wade Watts (known in game as Parzival) is a poor orphan living in the 'Stacks', forced to hide his school-issued Oasis rig to prevent his aunt from selling it on him. He - like millions of others - begins the hunt for the egg.
I think anyone who grew up in the 80s and/or plays games will enjoy this book. It's chock full of references, and I got the vast majority of them. The downside to getting all the references was I had to listen to explanations of things like what PvP means and what the movie Bladerunner was about. While this became pointless exposition to me it would be very handy for the less nerdy readers who may not already know these things, making this a book anyone could read and still understand plenty of (though may get less excitement from since the references don't make you smile or laugh or go 'hah! I see what you did there').
Parzival/Wade is a nerd. A giant nerd. When he hears a song he'll instantly rattle off title, artist, album, and release date, maybe even a piece of trivia about it. He's played just about every old school arcade game ever, but he's also a reader, being well-read in fantasy and science fiction genres. He's also socially inept with girls, yet seems to have a stunning wit when verbally jousting with bullies and friends. His character was mostly likeable, the sole exception being (view spoiler)[ when Atr3mis dumped him and he moped about like Bella dumped by Edward for a chapter or two before getting his ass in gear and back on track. She said they'd talk again once the egg was found, and yet instead of deciding 'well I better find the egg asap so we can get back together' he takes a few chapters of sooking before coming to this realisation. (hide spoiler)]However he's not too much the typical angsting teenager. He lost both parents, his mother was a drug addict, but he doesn't use that as an excuse to misbehave or whine.
Art3mis makes a great female lead. She's as nerdy as Wade, but not as dorky. I have a slight issue that she's the idealised 'gamer girl' stereotype, pretty but geeky so the nerd-boys get to have someone who thinks like them but still looks gorgeous, but her real face behind the avatar, her own insecurities, and personal drive (view spoiler)[(choosing the hunt over love) (hide spoiler)] make her a better character than just that.
Aech seemed like just a fun friend to me until he was met IRL and his character suddenly got some serious depth. Aech's real face was a delight for me (view spoiler)[ I loved that amongst all the reality vs virtual and general fun the author took the time to point out how gender and skin colour can affect interactions with others. I loved that Wade accepted Aech with little fuss too. (hide spoiler)]
Shoto and Daito were my favourites though. I am a Japanophile so I couldn't help it, and the fact the brothers named themselves after a samurai's short and long sword (another bit of information the novel gave that would help a lot of readers but was just exposition to me) was adorable. (view spoiler)[ The revelation that they were not biologically brothers only made me love them more. I loved how Shoto pushed himself beyond his comfort zone as a hikikomori and left not just the house but his country. (hide spoiler)]> I wish there'd been more about them in the book.
The Oasis sounds like Second Life on steroids. I love the multitude of worlds that can be visited though, Ultraman quests, the Whedonverse, school planets, ect, there's something for everyone. Some of the names for things were great too, like Surreal estate. I also find it hilarious that the Oasis absorbed WoW into itself.
Technological questions like lag and how crazy those servers must be are answered fairly early on and satisfied me, because I was ready to roll my eyes at how impossible a game that big could be and not suffer from crashes.
I listened to the audiobook version, which was read by Wil Wheaton, making the brief moment where the author says former celebrities are politicians in the Oasis then says Wil Wheaton's being doing a pretty good job, even more hilarious. The downside to the audiobook was that every time the scoreboard shows up you have to listen to the recitation of all the names and scores before getting on with the story. In the book I could have glanced, gotten the information I needed, and moved on with the story, but I had to endure through the whole run down instead. This became more and more frustrating as the story went on and the frequency of the scoreboard appearing increased.
The book occasionally suffers from some pacing issues, the frequency of infodumps, both to explain certain references for the uninitiated and to detail certain aspects of the competition, doesn't help, but I still overall found it to be a highly enjoyable read.
I recommend this book for anyone who games, likes fantasy, science fiction, and/or 80s pop culture. I think even beginners in these fandoms will have a good time reading this novel.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Juan Rico joins the military service more due to his friend(and the girl he wishes was his girlfriend)'s influence than any conscious choice, howeverJuan Rico joins the military service more due to his friend(and the girl he wishes was his girlfriend)'s influence than any conscious choice, however as he trains to be a mobile infantryman he begins to understand a lot more about the world around him.
If you are looking for an action-packed gunfest fighting giant bugs like the movie version, go elsewhere. Less than a quarter of the book is combat. The majority focuses on Juan in his training, coming to grips with who he is, the world he lives in, and the lifestyle and philosophies that populate his world.
There's a lot of military philosophy in here, and unlike the other Heinlein book I've read (Have Spacesuit Will Travel), where the preachiness was better disguised, in this one there's so much and it's much less disguised. In several instances there are scenes where it is pretty much Juan and a teacher of 'History and Moral Philosophy' and a big, talking heads-style discussion covering what are quite likely the authors views on democracy and leadership, the merits of corporal punishment, and social responsibility. Despite the less well-hidden agendas, the story is interesting, and some points actually make a certain amount of sense, even the ones I disagree with I can see where Heinlein was coming from.
I did thoroughly enjoy the action parts, and thought there was much to be impressed by, like how the MI's suits worked and I can't help but be fascinated by the not-looked-into-enough (IMO) man & dog teams where the two were phsycically linked and the loss of the human meant the genetically modified dog needed to be put down, but if the reverse happened - well the now lonely human counterpart only wished they had been put down. I want to read a book about them.
Comparing again with Have Spacesuit Will Travel, Starship Troopers still seems to fit even in this time(2015), unlike Have Spacesuit which was brilliantly and hilariously dated. This maybe because everything seemed focused on the military developments so the reader didn't get to see much day to day life and have a chance to laugh about old fashioned soda shoppes, tape recorders being current technology still, and asbestos lining for spacesuits.
While I enjoyed the read, I found there to not really be any real plot. It was more like I was reading Jan's memoirs written probably via dictation since all his limbs would have been assumably blown off so he could be discharged.
Another thing I found odd, and disagreed with was (view spoiler)[ how when Juan finally caught up with Carmen (the girl he had lusted for) he learned from her his friend Carl had died. And he barely reacted. She also didn't let it slow her down. The reasoning was that they were both hardened to death by their lifestyles, but I can't imagine losing your best friend who you spent the first eighteen years of your life inseparable from is on par with losing a fellow MI. Not saying a comrade in arms is anything to be sniffed at - but the death of a friend of Carl's magnitude wouldn't likely be taken so easily. And as far as Carmen goes, she was much less likely to have been so close to death - or at least that's how the book portrayed the female pilots of the navy. It seemed like they didn't get a lot of chance to connect with the fighting men, just a few words before you dropped them into orbit. She would have seen death for sure, but I doubt she would have been as hardened to it as Juan.
However I loved that Carmen had her hair shaved and a/ was still gorgeous, b/ had done it to avoid hair getting in the way when there was no gravity. Such a clever and small thing. So cool. (hide spoiler)]
An interesting read I'd recommend to any science fiction reader and anyone who find military philosophy intriguing.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Kip wants to go to the moon. A determined young man he won't let anything get in his way, so he enters a competition with a trip to the moon as a prizKip wants to go to the moon. A determined young man he won't let anything get in his way, so he enters a competition with a trip to the moon as a prize 5,000-odd times. But he only gets the runner up prize, a spacesuit. While testing it out he hears a distress call and a spaceship from the moon lands with a young girl and an alien inside, followed by more aliens from whom they were escaping. Kip is going to the moon now, but it won't be the trip he was expecting.
Kip is a highly driven and intelligent young man, his father is interesting, the Mother Thing and Peewee are both great and intriguing characters and the Wormfaces make fabulously creepy villains.
Sometimes the scentific descriptions got a little too much and were skim-read as a result, but this was rare. Overall it was an action packed adventure and I can't wait until my son is a little older so I can read it to him :)...more
In the spirit of full disclosure, this anthology contains my own short story 'Short Circuit' (shortlisted in the 2013 Aurealis Awards), so my review wIn the spirit of full disclosure, this anthology contains my own short story 'Short Circuit' (shortlisted in the 2013 Aurealis Awards), so my review will pertain to all the other stories - not my own. I have not let my inclusion effect what I feel about the other stories.
Oomph: A Little Super Goes A Long Way is an anthology featuring a plethora of superheroes whose powers are not the typical powers that little kids wish for. From a woman who has a different power each Thursday (and has to figure out what it is), to a young man who always hears the exact line he needs to at that moment - if he's listening to his MP3 player on random - to a young lady with the ability to control blankets, there is no lack of powered heroes who refuse to let their (externally deemed) meager talents stop them from saving the day.
Apart from the good feeling you get reading stories where people push past barriers there is no lack of strong female characters and the anthology also positively promotes QUILTBAG characters too.
Usually when I read an anthology there's one story that I feel meh about. That story may not necessarily be bad, just it didn't quite click with me. I couldn't find that story in this anthology. In fifteen stories you'd feel sure there would be one, but I couldn't find it.
I recommend this book for any fan of superheroes and for anyone who wants to feel like they can tackle anything - because that's the feeling this gives you....more
Really it would have been impossible for me not to like this book. Seriously, combining Japanese culture with steampunk - it would have to have been aReally it would have been impossible for me not to like this book. Seriously, combining Japanese culture with steampunk - it would have to have been appalling writing for me not to have dug it.
It certainly wasn't appalling writing. At times the description did get a little too verbose for my liking and sometimes it seemed to be dropped into certain spots just to try and drag out tension (which ticks me off personally), but for the most part it was vivid and wonderful.
I still love physically strong female characters, even if certain factions on the internet seem to dislike them (well at least as long as her physical strength isn't her only defining characteristic) so enjoyed Yukiko, even if she did border on almost-a-little-too-perfect-to-be-true on the odd occasion.
(MILD UNSPECIFIC SPOILERS AHEAD) One thing I especially loved was that the second a plan looked like it was about to work BAM! no such luck. So frequently and so well done. I constantly kept thinking 'yeah, I know where this is going now' and constantly got thrown back in my seat and laughed at by Kristoff. (/SPOILER)
The depth of the world was impressive. There are many different political factions all at work, all playing in their own way for power, environmental concerns, traditional Japanese gods and mythology woven into the world and lots of references to Japanese clothing and weaponry. The terminology could be a small struggle point for someone not familiar with Japan, but after the first few chapters you'd be fine. My only issue is it was summer and no one was wearing yukata - summer is for yukatas! (but that's me being a crazy Japanophile and there were many other details that made me supremely happy so all is forgiven)
i recommend this book for fellow Japanophiles, fans of steampunk, fantasy fans and those who love a good bit of action/drama. Maybe I should just say everyone......more
Steven deSelby is a Pomp, he helps those that have died move on to the afterlife(like reapers, anthropomorphic personifications of death, or JapaneseSteven deSelby is a Pomp, he helps those that have died move on to the afterlife(like reapers, anthropomorphic personifications of death, or Japanese shinigami, except these are distinctly human and their only magic power is the ability to pass souls on to the afterlife). It's a good job, despite the odd annoying co-worker - that is until a dead girl warns him he's about to be shot at, turning his life upside down by keeping him alive when all the other pomps in Brisbane are falling like flies. Who is behind this, will Steven survive and how hard is a relationship going to be between a pomp and a dead girl?
I was sort of inclined to love this book automatically because it's set in Brisbane. I really enjoy thinking 'hey I've actually been there' because unless it's in Brisbane or select places in Japan, I probably never have been there, so that's a real thrill. Of course I enjoyed the book for a lot of other reasons, but this was worth the mention.
There's plenty of action, as you'd expect from a book about death and its dealings, but it doesn't let the action do all the work, the humour is rife, and I would have slapped up so many more quotes than just the couple I did, but I wasn't always near a computer, and sometimes even when I was I just wanted to keep enjoying the story.
And lets not forget the good old fashioned doomed romance. I'm all in for them ;p The whole thing was well handled and interesting and had me genuinely rooting for them to find a way to be together.
Lots of humour and action, and well worth reading....more
Eli trawls the junkyard for ‘treasure’ to sell just so he can have instant noodles for dinner, but he dreams of a better life Topside. The only way foEli trawls the junkyard for ‘treasure’ to sell just so he can have instant noodles for dinner, but he dreams of a better life Topside. The only way for someone from the Rim to get there is by having a meka – a bio engineered life form – that one can compete in spectacular battles with. A law is about to be passed forbidding anyone from the Rim gaining possession of a meka. Eli will do anything to achieve his dream, and takes drastic measures that put his life in danger to obtain a meka.
Lifesphere Inc: Acquisition is the first in a series set in a dystopian future where citizenship is comfort – or perhaps that’s how it seems to those who live in the junkyards on the Rim. The world is well fleshed out, with multiple levels to society, most of which aren’t what they initially seem.
The bio-engineered life forms, the meka, are a cool idea enabling plenty of exciting fights without forcing teenagers to beating each other up. At first it seemed a little Pokemon-eque, but the connection a handler has to their meka is a deep psychic bond which, if your meka dies, leaves you a hollowed out shell of a person. I’m also impressed that battles aren’t the only thing one can do with mekas.
There’s a wit and charm to the characters (Eli and Squall in particular) which makes you care for them, when betrayals occur you can almost feel the knife in your own back. Kalago certainly doesn’t go easy on Eli either.
This is a great YA novel with a lot of appeal which I recommend to fans of Japanese animation, readers who enjoy dystopian futures and those looking for a good YA adventure. I’m looking forward to the next installment. ...more
The Dieselpunk ePulp Showcase is a great taste of Dieselpunk stories sure to slake the thirsts of fans of the genre and tempt the appetite of those whThe Dieselpunk ePulp Showcase is a great taste of Dieselpunk stories sure to slake the thirsts of fans of the genre and tempt the appetite of those who wonder ‘what is dieselpunk?’.
If you’re a member of the latter group, and unsure what to expect, think Bond-like action, femme fatales of the finest caliber all set in a by-gone era of manners and fashion – but with small twists on our own world’s history.
Each of the four stories occurs in a broader world of the writer’s, but the stories are self-contained, you do not have to go out and buy something else of theirs to find out the ending – however you may find yourself eager for more and unable to resist.
Being short stories it’s hard to do my usual analysing of characters, plot, pacing ect, because each story had its own of those elements. The style each writer brought to their story was great and all the stories are fun (even if some do not have happy endings). Expect some exciting and surprising twists in most of the tales. Also, for the appealing price of free it should be damn near impossible to pass by this book.
I recommend this book for anyone with any level of interest in Dieselpunk(including a curiosity as to what it is), the 1920s-1940s and lovers of great twisty action. Expect thugs, hoods, flappers and good old fashioned gumshoes....more
This review is for this volume as an individual, not the series over all. You can read my reviews of the first, second and third volumes to gain an ovThis review is for this volume as an individual, not the series over all. You can read my reviews of the first, second and third volumes to gain an over all feel. This review will contain only mild spoilers for the events within volume four, but the spoilers for the earlier volumes may be large. You have been warned.
Maximum Ride is the story of six teens/kids (ages ranging from 6 through to 14) with a scientifically created mutation - they have wings and can fly. On the run from the half human half wolf 'erasers' who are trying to catch them and return them to the labs they were created in the kids are under constant duress and fear. Staying at Anne's house and attending school (real school, not the lab called 'The School') everyone seems happy except Max. By chance on television Max sees a woman, the spitting image of Iggy, crying over her childs abduction 14 years prior. Max convinces Fang to join her n trying to track down Iggy's family, but how will they cope if they loose a member of the team?
Even though Max goes on a date with a normie early on in the volume the over-all feel of the romantic sub-plot is still very much between her and Fang. There is plenty to keep the six characters busy, with codes to crack, mysterious files discovered at school and parents to track down. There are plenty of twists and surprises in this volumes and we finally get an answer (I think) of how Max is supposed to save the world (though personally I think it might be a bit of a misdirect, but that could just be the way I would write it).
At the end of the issue I own there is a bonus manga of Witch and Wizard, another James Patterson story transformed into manga, this time with Svetlana Chmakova, whose art I absolutely adore. Seems well worth a look.
I recommend this series to manga fans looking for manga with American based stories and readers who enjoy urban fantasy/alternate reality worlds that are very similar to our own. Fans of the novels will not be disappointed since in my opinion the comic is superior to the book. ...more
This review is for this volume as an individual, not the series over all. You can read my reviews of the first and second volumes to gain an over allThis review is for this volume as an individual, not the series over all. You can read my reviews of the first and second volumes to gain an over all feel. This review will contain only mild spoilers for the events within volume three, but the spoilers for the earlier volumes may be large. You have been warned.
Maximum Ride is the story of six teens/kids (ages ranging from 6 through to 14) with a scientifically created mutation - they have wings and can fly. On the run from the half human half wolf 'erasers' who are trying to catch them and return them to the labs they were created in the kids are under constant duress and fear. As this volume starts the flock is in flight headed for Washington DC only to be waylaid by flying erasers. One of their number is severely injured in the battle and they have no choice but to take that person to the hospital and risk discovery.
We finally get a deeper look at Iggy in this volume (my favourite character) and learn some of the motivations of one of the villains. The romantic sub-plot re surfaces and you can't help but feel something is going seriously wrong with one of these kids (I won't say who).
Max is forced to face that while she sees herself as a warrior and a mother to the group she may not be capable of all of that (as well as saving the world) at the tender age of fourteen.
Still waiting for some real answers, which is a little frustrating since nothing so far has really been answered, but they keep hinting like the answers are just around the corner.
As before, I recommend this series to manga fans looking for manga with American based stories and readers who enjoy urban fantasy/alternate reality worlds that are very similar to our own. Fans of the novels will not be disappointed since in my opinion the comic is superior to the book. ...more
For my initial thoughts on the series read my review of volume one. This review will contain only mild spoilers for this volume but definitely containFor my initial thoughts on the series read my review of volume one. This review will contain only mild spoilers for this volume but definitely contains spoilers for the previous volume. You have been warned.
Maximum Ride is the story of six teens/kids (ages ranging from 6 through to 14) with a scientifically created mutation - they have wings and can fly. On the run from the 'erasers' (half human half beast/dog, trackers and enforcers for the School (the labs that created them)) the group hits New York in the hope of finding the answers to some secrets and escaping into the crowds.
Suffering from unusual migraines, Max starts hearing a voice in her head. She is afforded no time to deal with the issue as it seems the erasers appear where ever she and her flock try to rest.
This volume has plenty of action and reveals the possibility of a romantic sub-plot. I loved the advancement of powers that some of the characters are receiving as well as the different ways their minds cope with these facts. I enjoyed the make-overs the characters got. I also appreciate that they take a short break to reflect on the fact they are kids and need rest, need a chance to recuperate and process what is happening in their lives. My plot hole issue from before remains, though near the end there is a hint that this may be intentional and an answer as to why will be forthcoming.
Nudge gets a chance to prove she's got what it takes in the early pages (spoiler warning) when she takes advantage of Ari's hissy fit and facilitates the freeing of her caged companions rather than just fleeing while she has the chance. Max herself prays to be stronger, faster and smarter so she can better protect her flock.
Fast paced, plenty of humour, a bit of revenge on a rude waiter and some good fun make-overs ensure this is another enjoyable volume.
As before, I recommend this series to manga fans looking for manga with American based stories and readers who enjoy urban fantasy/alternate reality worlds that are very similar to our own. Fans of the novels will not be disappointed since in my opinion the comic is superior to the book....more
Max is a 14 year old girl sharing her home in the remote mountains with five other kids. They share more than just the house, they share a dark past tMax is a 14 year old girl sharing her home in the remote mountains with five other kids. They share more than just the house, they share a dark past they were rescued from and some unusual genetic code - Max and her friends all have wings. Danger from their past returns to haunt them and one of their number is kidnapped and the rest band together to rescue her from the one place in this world they would never want to return to.
First up, the art is gorgeous. I love the variety of the characters and their expressions and clothes. Similarly I love their portrayal in the non-drawn sense too. Early on you get a good feel for the team's dynamic and can't help but start picking out favourites.
The story is fast paced and full of mystery and horror and humour. It would be hard not to enjoy this series. On the vein of plot however there are a few incongruities I can't help but question. I won't talk about them since they ruin the end of this volume, but I'm sure I'm not the only person wondering why things happened a certain way at the start but went the other way at the end(ha ha, vague enough for you?). Perhaps as the series develops an explanation might appear, but I won't hold my breath.
While the main character, Max, definitely fits my strong female character view, the other female cast members have potential to grow and with a role model like Max I look forward to that development.
I would recommend this series to manga fans wanting to read manga with American based stories and readers who enjoy urban fantasy/alternate reality world that are close to our own. Fans of the novels will not be disappointed since in my opinion the comic is superior to the book....more
This will not be a proper review because I did not finish reading the book. This is one person's opinion and admittedly not someone the book is targetThis will not be a proper review because I did not finish reading the book. This is one person's opinion and admittedly not someone the book is targeted at, so feel free to take this with a grain of salt. If you enjoy a lot of books in this genre and the reviews with 3 or more stars make this book appeal to you, definitely don't hesitate to read it based on my issues. I am a different person and don't want to take away from you what might be an enjoyable read because we have differing opinions. I will be analysing here what did not work for me about this book so you can understand why I did not finish reading it.
I bought this book because a year or two ago I discovered the Yen Press manga adaption and have been thoroughly enjoying them. I love Max and nearly the entire cast, their adventures are enthralling, character interactions hilarious and heart warming and the artwork is gorgeous too. I figured since I almost always love the book more than the movie/tv series/comic adaption then I definitely had to try the first Maximum Ride book out.
This book carries none of the appeal the manga does.
The book starts by saying: ‘hey you, read this or die’. I’m not kidding. He used a few more words than that, but he did also blatantly state that as well. This instantly put a cut lemon in my mouth. I tried scraping the taste off my tongue and read on only to discover the characters I love in the manga don’t seem as vibrant on the written page. I can't pin-point precisely what it is, but I didn't care for these people like I did in the manga - which is bizarre since this is what they originated from. This could be partially to because I have read the story in a different medium, so I continued reading.
I will read a book I’m not exactly loving to see if maybe there’s an ending that will salvage it, perhaps also because I hope if I am ever published anyone not loving my work might extend the same courtesy to me, but my point is I will read most books I don’t like through. I have only put down and abandoned three books in my thirty years of life(though some less tasteful tomes I have certainly taken my sweet time to finish). Why I put this book down is not because in the hundred-odd pages the characters didn’t catch me and the story didn’t sparkle, but rather because it is frustrating to read. This frustration stems from the fact here on page 118(where I stopped) is the start of chapter 35. Most of the chapters aren’t even two whole pages long. Mr Patterson, are aware you can just make a scene break and stay in the same chapter?
This practice isn’t too weird to read when he’s changing point of view (which he does infuriatingly often in what I assume is an attempt to create a heightened sense of danger for the POV just left. It doesn’t work, just agitates me further) but he also does it just to create a dangling tension moment then moves straight back to the same POV. Not only does this not achieve the goal (for me), it irritates me. I know this is a technique many writers use to keep people reading and for many authors it works fine, why? Because they don’t over use it. Their chapters will run for ten or so pages (maybe more) and those chapters have some serious meat to chew in them before cliff-hangering the reader with the chapter end. The frequency is diluted by actual content that makes you CARE about the cliff hanger. Patterson has not used this tool correctly I feel. The formatting of this book made me so mad I’ve stopped reading it.
I will continue to read the manga series being released by Yen Press because none of these issues transfer over between the mediums, however you will not be seeing me attempt to read these books anymore. I admit I am even cautious to consider reading his adult novels unless someone can assure me he does not use chapters as page breaks every 2-3 pages....more
Follow the slayer myth started in Buffy into the future. Meet Melaka Fray, a thief living in the slums of the future. One day after a 'grab' she returFollow the slayer myth started in Buffy into the future. Meet Melaka Fray, a thief living in the slums of the future. One day after a 'grab' she returns home and meets her watcher. The man tells her she is the Chosen and promptly lights himself on fire. Fortunately there's a demon waiting in the wings who offers to guide and teach her, but aside from his own motivations what sort of slayer has never heard of vampires?
As one expects with Whedon's works, characters you love will die(this is not a spoiler, no cast of Joss Whedon's ever makes it out entirely unscathed) and there are too many twists to predict all of them. The setting is deep and believable. I loved how he added his own slang into the speech.
By far his best talent is characters. You cant help but love characters like Melaka and Loo and be intrigued by Urkonn and Icarus. He manages to give so much clarity that you can easily identify with them or at least understand their motivations.
Whedon creates an impressive twist on the slayer myth which is quite compelling. Expect gasps, laughter and tears.
I recommend this book to any Joss Whedon fan, anyone who enjoys graphic novels and well, pretty much everyone....more