Flat characters, nonsensical world building, and no plot. I don't know why a writer would center a book around a man discovering and falling in lust wFlat characters, nonsensical world building, and no plot. I don't know why a writer would center a book around a man discovering and falling in lust with a mythical creature, but not actually have any fantasy or wonder in the story at all. Plus, the characters and much of the writing felt mean spirited....more
After one of her few friends dies, Marla is desperate to bring him back--desperate enough that she threatens a guardian of all reality into letting heAfter one of her few friends dies, Marla is desperate to bring him back--desperate enough that she threatens a guardian of all reality into letting her kidnap another version of him from an alternate reality. But of course this rips a hole that goes both ways, and the supremely evil Marla Mason from the alternate world comes to this one, just as our Marla crosses over into the other. They each wreak havoc in each other's realities for a while, and it's pretty fun to watch until the Mason (view spoiler)[flat out starts murdering the sorcerers of Felport, who I've come to really like over the course of these books (hide spoiler)]. It's so awful that I actually agreed with (view spoiler)[the council's unanimous vote to strip Marla of her title as Chief Sorcerer and exile her from Felport. (hide spoiler)]
All this was intense enough that I'm going to take a little break from Marla's world, before checking out the next book to see what happens next....more
Marla Mason is Chief Sorcerer of Felport. She's got such a badass reputation that her older brother Jason, estranged since something bad went down betMarla Mason is Chief Sorcerer of Felport. She's got such a badass reputation that her older brother Jason, estranged since something bad went down between them as teenagers, hears about her and comes calling. Jason doesn't know that magic is real; he just assumes she's running a successful con herself, much like he does. He asks to use her name to help him fool an annoying wealthy would-be-sorcerer, and Marla is confident in her own abilities, happy enough to see him, and annoyed enough with the rich guy that she agrees. But alas, rumors of Jason's con filter into the magical community, and a nigh-unstoppable mushroom god storms to Felport looking for the imaginary spores he pretends to be selling.
So much of this book is threats building on each other, where Marla and Rondeau can't or won't see them, but we the reader see how the situation is compounding from bad to lethal. It made for a tense read. I was relieved when (view spoiler)[Jason's true nature is finally totally clear to everyone, and frankly disappointed after Marla let him get away. I want blood! (hide spoiler)] The mushroom magic was both cool and deeply icky, which is probably exactly how it should be....more
The town of Las Anclas won a battle, but they're still in danger of being conquered by the king of Gold Point, Voske. Voske is smart and ruthless, andThe town of Las Anclas won a battle, but they're still in danger of being conquered by the king of Gold Point, Voske. Voske is smart and ruthless, and he kidnaps the one person who turned the tide of battle the last time: teenaged orphan prospector Ross Juarez. He's sure that through bribery, threats, or torture, he can convince Ross to use his Change power for Gold Point instead of Las Anclas. In response to Ross's dire situation, his friends kidnap Voske's eldest daughter in hopes of a prisoner exchange. But of course Voske has no interest in negotiation, and so Ross is stuck in Gold Point, and Kerry stuck in Las Anclas.
I am in love with the concepts of this novel. I love the post-apocaplyptic desert setting, I love the thoughtfulness that clearly went into the logistics of food, defense, waste management, etc for the towns, I love the character concepts, I love the variety of characters' backgrounds and motives. If I were much younger, I would adore these books. But perhaps because I am well past the target audience, I was mostly endlessly annoyed by how stupid many of the Las Anclas characters were, and how unlikely I thought the happy ending was. (view spoiler)[I was annoyed when a band of teenagers who had just lived through a battle for their lives then immediately befriended the crown princess of the army that just battered at their gates and killed their friends and family. They literally see her once as she's being brought to the jail, and immediately feel SO BADLY that she's being kept prisoner that they plan a secret party just for her. Their naivete is made all the worse because we see Kerry's perspective, and all the while she's smiling and trying to get their sympathy, her inner monologue is all about the evil things she'll do to them once she's back in power. But hey, I'll buy jejune teenagers. But then the town elders, all of whom have dealt with Voske and know just what kind of tactics he uses and would train his daughter to use, agree to let Kerry wander the town, with no guard or protection other than another teenager girl who they know has absolutely no fighting skills whatsoever. So Kerry gets to see all over the town, hear all sorts of chatter about their defenses, capabilities, and personalities, and the only thing stopping her is an absent minded teenager. COME ON WHO WOULD DO THAT. Even that I could deal with but then at the end Kerry has a change of heart that I just didn't buy. She turns against her father, all her privilege, her city, and her entire way of life for no real reason I could see. It seemed like she'd been a prisoner of Las Anclas for at most a week, although a reference to Ross being captive for 3 months makes me think it was supposed to be longer. But in that bare amount of time she apparently was so overcome with the freedom and generosity she found in Las Anclas that she decided committing treason (which she was pretty sure would get her killed) was worthwhile. And even THAT I would have bought if there'd been more to her pov chapters, but as it was it felt very unearned. Even more unearned was the whole happy ending, wherein Voske loses his gunpowder, Changed spy, and basically most of his ability to attack Las Anclas. (hide spoiler)]
I like the characters and setting a lot. But I think this series is not to my taste, for no problem of its own....more
Death takes over Felport and banishes Marla Mason, the chief sorcerer. She can't get back into her city, she can't even communicate with anyone stillDeath takes over Felport and banishes Marla Mason, the chief sorcerer. She can't get back into her city, she can't even communicate with anyone still in there, and even if she could, Death has powers beyond mortal comprehension. So she storms the Underworld. God I love her....more
Now that (view spoiler)[everyone knows Constantine is dead and that Call has chaos magic (hide spoiler)], Call hopes everything will be better than beNow that (view spoiler)[everyone knows Constantine is dead and that Call has chaos magic (hide spoiler)], Call hopes everything will be better than before. His dad is less adamantly opposed to magic, his best friends know his darkest secret, and the magical world is no longer at war. But of course things can't be that easy. Almost as soon as the book begins, Call is attacked and another student is murdered. Oh good, thought I. The hunt is on!
Except not so much. Call, Aaron, and Tamara are strangely passive this time around, and the few times they investigate the repeated assassination attempts, it's only when it's the stupidest and most dangerous thing to do. They distrust all the teachers and students they've known for years, yet somehow trust several new characters who are clearly up to no good, and don't even seem to notice the neon signs pointing to one person in particular. Even after they get pretty definitive proof that a character has connections to the Enemy of Death, they still (view spoiler)[go alone and with no witnesses to meet with her in her own rooms, split up, and do necromatic magic under her direction. Every single one of these is the worst possible choice to make! They had no reason not to turn her in to their teachers! (hide spoiler)] I was disappointed in their stupidity, and further disappointed that there was so little magic school in this series named after their magic school. For the third book in a row, we see very little of the magical classes or magic itself, and the magic we do see didn't impress me with its imagination or how it was written. AND the book ends with a major character death that didn't work for me at all.
A glimpse into the life of Rose and Windy, who meet every summer at their nearby beach cabins. They're simultaneously fascinated and disgusted by sex,A glimpse into the life of Rose and Windy, who meet every summer at their nearby beach cabins. They're simultaneously fascinated and disgusted by sex, violence, Rose's parents' fights...they're just on the cusp of figuring stuff out for themselves, but not quite there yet.
The art is good--I could always tell characters apart, and tell their moods from how they were drawn. The characters are a little thinly drawn, and there is no plot at all. It's one of those slice-of-life things that undoubtedly feels realistic to some, but seemed boring, pointless, and not relatable to me. ...more
Lieutenant Selim leads a quiet life of honesty and good taste. Then he interrogates a strange English woman who broke into his Sultan's palace, and hiLieutenant Selim leads a quiet life of honesty and good taste. Then he interrogates a strange English woman who broke into his Sultan's palace, and his life changes forever. I love the adventures Selim and Delilah Dirk have together, and I love their differing skill sets....more
Delilah Dirk is a hot headed adventurer who roams Europe during the Napoleonic Wars doing good deeds. By her side is Erdemmoglu Selim, a cautious TurkDelilah Dirk is a hot headed adventurer who roams Europe during the Napoleonic Wars doing good deeds. By her side is Erdemmoglu Selim, a cautious Turk who makes excellent tea and is all too often taken for granted. They are wonderful characters, their adventures are thrilling, their dialog amusing, and the art is fantastic. ...more
Comic version of the first half of the Doctor Strange movie, followed by a few pages of pictures of props from the movie. I was disappointed by both:Comic version of the first half of the Doctor Strange movie, followed by a few pages of pictures of props from the movie. I was disappointed by both: the art in the first is workmanlike, with none of the surreal imagination of early comics or even the movie itself, and the photos of the props and characters add nothing to my knowledge of the Doctor Strange universe. If you've seen the movie, you'll get absolutely nothing new out of this comic....more
Last year, Call got into the terrifying magic school his father warned him about, even after trying to fail the entrance exam. He made two best friendLast year, Call got into the terrifying magic school his father warned him about, even after trying to fail the entrance exam. He made two best friends. He learned magic. And he found out that (view spoiler)[when he was a baby, the enemy of the entire magical world killed his body's soul and replaced it with his own. Unbeknownst to him, Call's been the reincarnated Enemy this entire time. (hide spoiler)] So Call is desperately hoping that his second year at the Magisterium will go more smoothly, but of course it doesn't. An artifact that can destroy his best friend (the only magician with the power to destroy the Enemy, who's basically the Chosen One of the magical world) goes missing, and Call suspects that his own father is the thief.
Books like this inevitably invite comparison to the Harry Potter series, and this series measures up well in some areas and less well in others. This book is kinda lightweight in comparison--very little time is spent at the Magisterium or their magic lessons, and so even though it's a unique magic school (underground! all the food is lichen that smells and tastes like normal food! detention is sorting grains of sand! prophetic elemental creatures instead of house elves!), I don't really have a strong feel for the school or teachers. By the end of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, I already knew a lot about Hogwarts and desperately wanted to go there despite its dangers. The Magisterium, not so much. And I'm not a fan of the magic system, which seems pretty standard (organized by elements) and with narrower uses than I prefer magic to be. But on the other hand, these books are compulsively readable. I started this book a few minutes before I intended to go to sleep, and I finished the entire thing in one sitting rather than get a good night's rest; I couldn't put it down! Once Call and his friends get going, all I wanted to do was find out what happened next. On to the next in the series!...more
Maika Halfwolf has just enough magic to be a danger to herself and her enemies. Desperate to discover what led to her mother's death and Constatine'sMaika Halfwolf has just enough magic to be a danger to herself and her enemies. Desperate to discover what led to her mother's death and Constatine's destruction, Maika allows herself to be sold into slavery in the heart of enemy territory. She fights her way free, but now even her former allies are in hot pursuit of what she may have discovered.
Beautiful art, with loads of color, shading, and movement to it. Loads of complex female characters, varieties of gender, sexuality, and color go unremarked, and there's a great cat species (I'm a sucker for morally ambiguous cat warriors). I liked what I understood of the worldbuilding and the setting (steampunky fantasy in the midst of a generation-long war), but felt confused for the entirety of the comic. Too little is explained, and there are too many titles, factions, and secrets all thrown at the reader at once. I need to be eased in just a little bit. ...more
Paradox Girl has the ability to casually pop through time and space. Sometimes she uses this power to save her city from rampaging monsters, but mostlParadox Girl has the ability to casually pop through time and space. Sometimes she uses this power to save her city from rampaging monsters, but mostly she uses it to get toaster waffles and watch tv with herself. Light-hearted story, cute art. Not much personality or any tension in the very first issue....more
I liked Lunella Lafayette from the very first page, where she's hiding under the covers inventing and then is almost late to school. I love how unapolI liked Lunella Lafayette from the very first page, where she's hiding under the covers inventing and then is almost late to school. I love how unapologetically intelligent and confident she is. Her complicated relationship with her parents, troubled interactions with her peers and teachers, and unexpected alliance with Devil Dinosaur all felt realistic and earned. And I loved that even though she's a super genius, her inventions are still clearly made by a kid, like her weaponized bop-it.
The art is exuberant, with personality, color, and action bursting off every page. I super loved this....more
A scientist invents a formula that accidentally turns him into a half-cat, half-bird superhero. His boss repeatedly tries to steal the formula in hopeA scientist invents a formula that accidentally turns him into a half-cat, half-bird superhero. His boss repeatedly tries to steal the formula in hopes of turning his army of rats into half-humans that can take over the world.
This was really, really bad. Incredibly clunky dialog, characters as flat as cardboard, very simplistic plot and action, the ONLY female character exists purely to spout exposition and get saved from danger. Instead of nuanced characters or humor, everything is a cheap cat-related pun. Here's a scene from a night club that caters to half-cats, with characters named things like Babushkat, Cat O' Nine Tales, Octopuss, and Count Catula.
Why did every one of them dress in some sort of themed costume that matches their crappy pun-name? Why did that one mummy cat character bring her kids to a night club? Why is the love interest wearing a fur bikini?
The whole comic is incredibly disappointing. There's no imagination, no invention, nothing thoughtful. It's frankly insulting that it got published in this form....more
After he lost his foot in a shoot-out with a 'mancer, Paul Tsabo devoted himself to the safety, stability, and rigidity of paperwork. But when a 'mancAfter he lost his foot in a shoot-out with a 'mancer, Paul Tsabo devoted himself to the safety, stability, and rigidity of paperwork. But when a 'mancer starts to destroy civilization, starting with New York City, Paul unleashes his true power: bureaucracy. Because the irony is, Paul has spent his career fighting illegal 'mancers...but he's a 'mancer himself. A bureaumancer. And although it sounds incredibly silly, it actually works exceedingly well. The magic systems (for every 'mancer has their own rules by which their magic, and thus the universe, works) are each fascinating, and the imagination behind them, and the fantastic way the magical battles are written, overwhelmed my misgivings about this book. Because I do have misgivings: I don't love the way Paul thinks about his ex-wife, or the recurrent fat-shaming, and sometimes I don't like Paul all that much either. But guys, seriously, a battle that's won by Paul signing paperwork for food inspectors? That is worth reading....more