I finished the first volume of Jeff Nicholson's Colonia, but I don't think I'll be going back for the second. In his Introduction, Nicholson comparesI finished the first volume of Jeff Nicholson's Colonia, but I don't think I'll be going back for the second. In his Introduction, Nicholson compares what he's trying to do with Bone and I can see the similarities. As a concept, it works wonderfully: an innocent boy and a couple of companions enter a world filled with strange people and creatures, but instead of Bone's medieval-fantasy setting, Colonia's locale in based on the early days of New World colonization and piracy. That's a milieu I enjoy more than the Middle Ages, so it should have worked.
Unfortunately, though his story is interesting, Nicholson isn't as proficient as Jeff Smith at creating humor in his art. The dialog is funny enough, but the visual timing's all off and Nicholson lacks Smith's gift for expressive faces and slapstick. That also makes the characters rather flat, so while I really wanted Colonia to work, I kept thinking that I should be reading Bone instead, pirates or no pirates....more
Tardi fixes 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by taking out the tedious travelog, making the Nemo character much more aggressive and dangerous, adding in aTardi fixes 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by taking out the tedious travelog, making the Nemo character much more aggressive and dangerous, adding in an equally aggressive and dangerous foil for him, and just plain amping up the coolness on the vehicles and gadgets by a factor of about nine-hundred.
The only downside is that it's not a complete story. Or if it is, the ending is hilarious, but abrupt....more
One of the best pirate stories ever. The modern-day framing sequence isn't necessary, but the vast majority of the book is just great, swashbuckling aOne of the best pirate stories ever. The modern-day framing sequence isn't necessary, but the vast majority of the book is just great, swashbuckling adventure....more
I won't spoil the end (this is the final volume in the series), but readers should know going into Children of the Sea that there are no clear, simpleI won't spoil the end (this is the final volume in the series), but readers should know going into Children of the Sea that there are no clear, simple answers to the mysteries it presents. I'm not always fond of ambiguous endings, especially in a five volume set of books as big and demanding as Children of the Sea, but this one works for a couple of reasons.
First of all, Children of the Sea is worth reading if only as a delivery system for Igarashi's beautiful art. He not only has a perfect grasp of the anatomy of sea creatures, he's also able to show underwater light patterns and communicate the vast depths of the ocean using nothing but black ink on white paper. He does this for page after page, pulling readers into his world with the sheer force of the imagery.
And that's the second reason the story's ambiguity works. Whatever the scientific or mystical explanations for why things happen in the series, what's important is the connection between the main characters and the sea. The reason for the connection isn't as important as the connection itself, and Igarashi proves it by forming the same connection between reader and story. I don't have to completely understand it to feel it....more
This was my first Crichton book and I'm taking into consideration that it was published posthumously after it was found on his computer by an assistanThis was my first Crichton book and I'm taking into consideration that it was published posthumously after it was found on his computer by an assistant. Apparently he'd been working on it for decades. It's an exciting, fast moving book with cool characters, but it has some problems that I wish I knew if Crichton would have fixed in a finished draft.
Though it's a the story of a single raid on a supposedly impregnable Spanish fort (and the treasure ship it guards), there's an episodic quality to the story that I didn't enjoy. It feels like Crichton had a list of pirate/sea adventure tropes that he wanted to include and he was ticking them off one by one: hurricanes, sword fights, tavern scenes, ship battles, ladies in need of rescuing, island exploration, feats of sneakery and cunning, etc. Don't get me wrong; I love all those things and Crichton writes them very well, but there comes a point when some of it feels like padding. Very thrilling padding, but padding nonetheless. And there's one fantastical element I won't spoil, but is definitely a step too far, especially in a book that's otherwise grounded in reality and research....more
Fantastic. Does two things I don't typically like, but does them so well I didn't mind in the least.
First, it's a prequel. The problem with prequels iFantastic. Does two things I don't typically like, but does them so well I didn't mind in the least.
First, it's a prequel. The problem with prequels is that most of the time you can see the author methodically checking the boxes and connecting the dots that need to be checked and connected to get to whatever story the prequel leads into. But Drake has so fleshed out his characters - not just Joe Flint and John Silver, but also Billy Bones, Israel Hands, Selena, and others - that they and their relationships are what I cared about. Discovering islands and burying treasure were awesome when they came up, but they were just fun additions to the story; not the point of it.
Secondly, the plot meanders and there's not a clear resolution by the end. Flint and Silver is the first in a trilogy, so readers who are adamant about getting a complete story in a single volume may be disappointed. I'm usually disappointed in that, too. But again, it's the characters who are most important in this novel and I was emotionally satisfied with the way Drake leaves them at the end, even if there are still major plot points to be resolved.
Flint and Steel is well-researched both for historical accuracy and consistency with Treasure Island , but Drake is a great writer who knows to let that be background to his world and not just dump it all over the reader. I highly recommend Flint and Steel to fans of Treasure Island or just great pirate stories in general....more