'Tommy Taylor: "It's--it's just a STORY, man. It's not worth DYING for!" 'Count Ambrosio: "Just a STORY? Tell that to the Greeks who fought at Troy, To...more'Tommy Taylor: "It's--it's just a STORY, man. It's not worth DYING for!" 'Count Ambrosio: "Just a STORY? Tell that to the Greeks who fought at Troy, Tommy." 'Tommy: "Wh- What?" 'Count Ambrosio: "Tell the women BURNED as witches. The ROSENBERGS. Sacco and Vanzetti. Tell the MARTYRS of all the religions and the millions who fell in all the WARS since time began. Stories are the ONLY thing worth dying for!"(less)
When I saw the title of this volume, "Welcome to Lovecraft," I had to give it a shot. The fact that it was written by Joe Hill was a bonus, as was the...moreWhen I saw the title of this volume, "Welcome to Lovecraft," I had to give it a shot. The fact that it was written by Joe Hill was a bonus, as was the awesome sounding concept of the house with mysterious doors (which sounded--and looked--a lot like the House of Mystery, one of my current favorites). I thought it would be creepy and interesting and fun. And good.
Well, it didn't disappoint. However, it was very dark. Way more dark than I expected (yes, even with the word "Lovecraft" in the title, Sam). It was violent, creepy, shocking, horrifying...and very good.
The story starts with the brutal murder of a high school guidance counselor, which we see in flashbacks throughout the first chapter and the entire volume. After his death, his family moves across the country to the town of Lovecraft, New England, to live in his childhood home Keyhouse, a mysterious mansion where the doors can open to much more than just the next room--if you have the key. Each of the three children deal with their father's death and their new life in a new town differently (Bode, the youngest, finds he enjoys becoming a ghost and chatting with his echo in the old well). Their mother also has some difficulties adjusting. Mixed in with that are flashbacks to their old life and what led up to the murder...and then their past catches up with them.
The opening chapter is incredibly violent, bloody, and intense, and although the violence is turned down a notch after that, it didn't end, even when I thought it was over. It was pretty unrelenting throughout. There just kept being more murder, or more views of the earlier murder, or other violent acts, and then more murder. And when it wasn't violent, it could be pretty creepy or otherwise dark. This isn't meant to urge anyone not to read this, it's simply a warning about how dark it is. I would have liked to have had a chance to prepare myself, so I'm trying to give you that chance.(less)
Rather than one long story arc, this short volume (with a long title) tells a number of short stories, each about a different character, which all tak...moreRather than one long story arc, this short volume (with a long title) tells a number of short stories, each about a different character, which all take place surrounding the same event: L.A. going to Hell. Warning: This means the stories take place chronologically before the events of Angel:After the Fall Volume 1 and do NOT continue that story. 2nd warning (or bonus, for some): Angel is not one of those characters. He's not in this book.
I'm really please that they decided to go ahead with this idea. I thought it was great to see how different characters reacted/behaved/melted down/etc and to see what happened to them. First, though, was the hilarious recap on the Groosablog, which I thought was another great idea, to help people figure out the chronological context of what they're about to read.
As for the stories, some were better than others (possibly because I'm more interested in some characters than others). They were illustrated by different artists in very different styles, which made for an interesting variety.
I loved Spike's story, both because of the story itself and the writing (it was funny and it definitely sounded like Spike), and also because the art for Spike was excellent. I also loved Lorne's story, for the inventiveness of it being in verse (of course Lorne would sing) and for the story, which was wonderful, hilarious, and satisfying. Some aspects of the art weren't to my taste, but it certainly got the job done and was interesting. Another favorite story of mine wasn't about a main character, but about an "End is Near" prophesier. It was both funny and also quite poignant, and the art was very different.
The rest of the stories I didn't love, but there was nothing wrong with them whatsoever, and other people might count them amongst their favorites. I'm just not particularly interested in Gwen or Connor or even Wesley. I'm not sure that I will buy this volume, since I'd rather try to get the individual comics with the stories that I love.
As usual, Brian Lynch's notes at the end are interesting and funny.(less)
In volume 4, the House of Mystery has been transported to to the ruins of the city of dimensional travelers, both the residents and the bar's patrons-...moreIn volume 4, the House of Mystery has been transported to to the ruins of the city of dimensional travelers, both the residents and the bar's patrons--and Fig's father--are worried that they may be trapped there, and the bad guys are on their way. We learn a lot more about the race of people that can travel between worlds, we finally learn the backstory and the name of the final inhabitant of the House, and we see some action as enemies converge upon our heroes. At the end of the volume in the first special annual issue, with a Halloween theme, containing a bunch of stories surrounding a mysterious and creepy mask, guest starring characters from other comics.
Sadly, this volume did not seem as great as the first three. Here, the overarching story--while still interesting--was sped up, almost as if we're now racing toward a finish that we thought we had plenty of time to get to. Characters are being killed off left and right, mysteries and questions are being answered, and things seem to be being set into place for the story to end--or, at least, to change rather dramatically.
Other than the rapid pacing, I have no real complaints about this volume: the art in the main storyline was great and the story was good, the side stories were interesting, and I really liked the Halloween special issue. But none of it blew me away, the way the first three volumes had. It was definitely worth reading. It was good, it just wasn't great.(less)
What a disappointment this was, especially compared with Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus Vol. 1. In this volume, the stories were weak and mostly com...moreWhat a disappointment this was, especially compared with Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus Vol. 1. In this volume, the stories were weak and mostly completely uninteresting, the humor was almost nonexistent, and the characters were sometimes written out of character. Plus, some of the art was odd, some was kinda ugly, and some was just terrible. I wasn't confused by the jumping around--or skipping ahead--in the timeline, since it was explained in the introduction by Scott Allie, but I can't say it helped matters.
The first story, "Angels We Have Seen On High", although very different, seems, in comparison to others in this volume, to be one of the best stories. It's a very short (and kinda cute?) story about Dawn and Buffy from when they still in LA. The art is very different from the other stories, more like a cartoon than a comic book, but it's interesting to see some variety once in a while.
The next story is "A Stake to the Heart", which for me was the biggest disappointment of the whole collection, mostly because it actually seemed to be trying to be something interesting and deep, but it failed so miserably. In this story, Buffy has to fight the Summers family's inner demons that have been accidentally manifested. The reason for and means of the accident are stupid, and the efforts to undo it are both stupid and pointless. Although the threat seems big at first, these demons' powers and the consequences of them winning are confusing, and the culmination of each fight is honestly boring. On the other hand, the art in this story is the best in this entire volume.
After that we get another short story, "MacGuffins", which may have been amusing, but could have starred any original character--there was nothing really of Buffy's personality or life. It added nothing to the Buffyverse, it wasn't meaningful, it wasn't anything special at all. To top it off, Buffy is drawn with a Barbie doll-like body.
The next story, "Queen of Hearts", managed to be pretty uninteresting despite starring Spike, as he and Dru run into some trouble--or go looking for it--on a casino boat. I was one of the fans of the show mentioned in Scott Allie's introduction who didn't like (he said "hated") the art--I felt everything looked ugly except for ladies and their clothing--but at least it was interesting.
"Ring of Fire" is the next story, and the best in this volume, for what that's worth. It takes place during the second season of the show, and in it Buffy and the gang (plus or minus a few) face off against Spike, Dru, and Angelus. It's the most interesting and most like the show. Again, all males and most of the backgrounds look ugly, but the ladies look lovely.
Another Spike story, "Paint the Town Red", is next. This one is much more interesting than the first one about him and Dru, and focuses more on him, as he decides to become lord of a small town in Turkey. The art is the same as the last two.
Finally, there's "The Dust Waltz", the worst story of the collection (which is different from being the most disappointing). This takes place sometime during the run of the show, but I'm not sure when, because at some points it seems like Xander and Cordelia are going out, and at others they despise each other--and I couldn't even tell if it was pre-going out together despising, or post-going out together despising. Even worse, I couldn't tell if it was Cordelia or Willow without going back and checking what each girl was wearing. Buffy looks different from them only because she's blonde, and the special guest character has differently shaped hair (the other females in the story are supernatural, and distinct in their extreme sexiness or ugliness). Nobody looks the way they should, or acts the way they should, the story is pretty stupid, and the continuity in both story and art is a mess.(less)
I am absolutely LOVING this series, and this volume is no exception.
In the main mystery storyline, a lot of questions get answered--but it's ok, becau...moreI am absolutely LOVING this series, and this volume is no exception.
In the main mystery storyline, a lot of questions get answered--but it's ok, because new themes and directions, with questions of their own, are introduced. "Fig's Adventure in Stuffytown" (is that what it was called?) opened up and hinted at interesting possibilities. And once again, the smaller stories were interesting and varied.(less)
This is an amazing book. I have no reservations about saying that I love it.
I was skimming the graphic novels shelf in the bookstore and this book, mi...moreThis is an amazing book. I have no reservations about saying that I love it.
I was skimming the graphic novels shelf in the bookstore and this book, mis-shelved and separated from its fellow House of Mystery volumes caught my eye because of its excellent title. Honestly, the title is worth a star all on its own. Thinking it was a standalone book, I read a bit before I realized it must be part of a series, and I wasn't lost or confused at all. I was really enjoying every aspect of it, the overarching adventure/mystery, the shorter stories within, the writing, the various styles of art...as I said, I was enjoying pretty much everything.
After reading the first volume, House of Mystery Room and Boredom, I went back to this one and I appreciated what I'd already read even more and loved the rest. The story "The War" was especially good, and I made a note that I really loved page 30. The result of the exploration of the basement was wonderfully creepy and surprising, and the little revelations either made me more anxious to get the full story or sometimes created more mystery to solve.(less)
This book had a potentially interesting premise, and elements that would appeal to some people (namely teenagers) and might even be enjoyed by them. U...moreThis book had a potentially interesting premise, and elements that would appeal to some people (namely teenagers) and might even be enjoyed by them. Unfortunately, I'm not one of them, and I didn't enjoy it, found it to be not particularly good, and thought its potential was wasted.
I haven't read any of the myriad of teen vampire romance books that have flooded bookstores of late. The idea of vampires being not-evil and falling in love with humans seems uninteresting, silly, and kind of distasteful to me (except for Spike and Buffy, of course). I usually prefer vampires, if there must be some, to be scary and evil. Then there's the teen romance aspect, which is even less interesting, and more silly and distasteful, to me than sparkly vegetarian vampires. But this book promised a different take on the genre, and I thought I'd give it a chance.
There were some ideas that were new and actually interesting, such as the main character's thoughts about the changes in language and in conversation as well as in culture that she'll have to adapt to after 100 years, and some ideas about vampire senses and bodies, and the differences between them and those of humans. These ideas had potential for interesting exploration, but ended up being disappointing as they either weren't taken further (she doesn't have any problem conversing with anyone) or just led to contradictions. Other potentially interesting ideas withered similarly.
The two biggest problems with the writing were: 1. The contradictions that abounded throughout, and 2. That it was full of telling, and had very little showing. Don't get me wrong, there was a LOT of description. Too much, in fact--often the characters' appearance, surroundings, clothing, possessions, and even hairstyles are described down to the smallest detail. It rapidly became extremely annoying. I appreciate that the author can see her story and her characters so clearly, but sometimes it's not vital for the readers to see exactly the same thing as the author. Imagining for oneself is part of the pleasure of reading, and part of what makes reading different from watching TV.
But there was very little showing. We're not shown why the protagonist, Lenah, feels the way she does about most of the characters that she likes (although her reasons for hating some characters are shown very well). Several times a character says something to Lenah, and we're told that it was funny and that Lenah laughed very hard for a long time, but we're shown nothing funny.
Then there are all the contradictions throughout the book. Sometimes vampires have souls, sometimes they don't. They don't have nerve endings, and yet they have sex (why?). Lenah has to tell one character about her past, for his safety, but she can't tell another character--for his safety (huh?). She's been asleep for the last hundred years and doesn't know about cars (although I'm pretty sure there were cars in 1910) but she knows what formica and burgers are. Her vampire soul mate at one point says he loves her for her viciousness, but at another is horrified by it. There are numerous other contradictions, but some of the larger ones give away too much of the story. Also, there are many, many contradictions in the characters' behavior, but this could in part be because they're teenagers. Maybe.
Another problem is the uneven pacing. First what seems like weeks turns out to have only been a couple of days, and then an entire month passes by almost undescribed (this is especially odd given that it's the month when Lenah really begins and builds her romantic relationship with her human love interest), and then the days once again seem like weeks.
Despite the writing flaws and my complete lack of interest in either the teen or the vampire romances, I was almost interested in the story about Lenah's transition from vampire to human. Then, late in the book, the story takes a turn that made the whole story I'd been close to being interested in seem pointless (and it came with a host of fresh contradictions). Eventually I was only reading this so I could be done with it and move on to something good.
As I was reading this book, I kept thinking that it seemed like the author's way of expressing her own goth and romance fantasies by creating this Mary Sue character who's so goth that she was actually a vampire. This may not be even close to true, but that's what it feels like. As such, this book might be enjoyed teenagers, particularly teenagers who like the supernatural. They might not care about the quality of the writing or the story and simply enjoy the teenage romance and the goth sensibilities. Unfortunately, this is not one of those young adult books that can really be enjoyed by adults, because of the quality of writing and because of the teen romance subject matter.
I had a hard time rating this book. When I started reading it, I thought it deserved three stars. As it got worse and I stopped liking it at all, I thought it deserved two, but two stars supposedly means "it was ok"...which I didn't think it really was. One star means "I didn't like it" and this is most accurate, but I do think it might deserve some points for its bits of originality.
I received this book from a contest through goodreads' First Reads program.(less)
I loved this book. Pretty much every aspect of it appealed to me.
I like the setup: one main continuing storyline with continuing characters, which is...moreI loved this book. Pretty much every aspect of it appealed to me.
I like the setup: one main continuing storyline with continuing characters, which is periodically interrupted by other shorter stories told by the characters, which are illustrated by different artists. I like the main story: a group of interesting and very different people are trapped in a somewhat sentient house at a crossroads between many worlds--although other people from those various worlds are free to come and go (and share their stories)--and they're trying to figure out why they're trapped and how to get out. I like the writing, the dialogue, and the humor. I like the art for the main story. I like the fact that the art is different for the side stories. I really love a lot of the side stories. As I said, I like pretty much everything.
What I loved in particular in this volume was: the look of the creepy couple chasing Fig, the interesting way in which some of the stories were told where the art tells a kind of different story from the narration, what we could see of the House, and of course Jordan's story at the end, which had me laughing out loud in the bookstore ("&*@%ing VAMPIRE cats!"). But really, as I said, I loved the whole thing, and I know I'll read this again and again and force my friends to also read it.(less)
I enjoyed this volume, as I enjoyed all the others, but not quite as much. It was still worth reading, of course, and there were some parts I loved. T...moreI enjoyed this volume, as I enjoyed all the others, but not quite as much. It was still worth reading, of course, and there were some parts I loved. There were two very short stories at the end, one featuring Stephen Colbert and one featuring some old friends/foes, that weren't even necessarily good, but they were really fun. And there were some great parts of the main storyline as well, but I just didn't like it as much as I'd hoped.
This is not because of how upset I got every time someone said the word (or name?) "spike" in the presence of Twilight, although that really did upset me, whether it's a real clue or a fake clue. (And it had better be a fake clue. OR ELSE.)
It just didn't seem as good as the other volumes have been, particularly the last three, which were amazing and hilarious, but even the first two were better than this one. I think I just didn't like the idea of the story--I think they've tried this before, and found it didn't work. And even if it was new, what would be the point of reading about them if they went through with it? Plus the writing wasn't as funny as usual.
On the other hand, it was nice to see the whole gang back together again--and I'm not even talking about the guest character that they're hanging out with. Giles belongs with Buffy, even if she doesn't need him (as much) any more. He's HER Watcher.
I saw a play of this story in London back in 2004 with Gabriela, and to this day I sometimes see (and hear) the rocking chair in the back of my mind a...moreI saw a play of this story in London back in 2004 with Gabriela, and to this day I sometimes see (and hear) the rocking chair in the back of my mind and shiver. I didn't know until now that it was based on a book. I'm not sure that I'm brave enough to read it, but I hope I will be some day.(less)