In 1992 DC Comics killed off the superhero who brought comic books to their glory days. In a similar fashion, the death oThe Death of an American Icon
In 1992 DC Comics killed off the superhero who brought comic books to their glory days. In a similar fashion, the death of Superman brought thousands upon thousands of new readers to the genre since Superman had become an American cultural icon. While short lived, this collection of comics represents a turning point in the comic industry, where no superhero was safe any longer. Shortly thereafter, DC Comics pulled a similar "stunt" with their other flagship hero, Batman, with the Knightfall story arc. Regardless, what transpired in the pages of these comics would be talked about for years.
Introduce Doomsday, a mysterious and sinister alien killing machine, with one thing on his limited mind: destruction. After escaping from being buried beneath the Earth's surface for who knows how long, Doomsday stages a one man mayhem show across half the United States.
Doomsday first faces off against the Justice League of America, quickly leveling them to nothingness, rendering them obsolete with his power and strength. Their combined powers do little to stop Doomsday, who time and time again proves he cares nothing for anything, killing birds in the palm of his hand and strangling a deer for no reason. What happens next would be the fight of the century against this beast and America's cultural icon, Superman.
The Death of Superman story arc is long in the action scenes and short in the storyline. Absolutely no information is given about Doomsday at this point and the only focus of the remaining storylines is stopping him from destroying Metropolis (and everything else in his way). There are a few brief moments of reflection among minor characters about how Superman saved them or what Superman means to them. The virtue of the mysterious nature of Doomsday is appreciated, since it adds to his allure as a supervillain; similar to the recent movie, The Dark Knight, and the villain Joker. The reader is absolutely unaware of any motivation, making Doomsday that much more treacherous. Readers wouldn't find out about the history of Doomsday until the Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey story arc published in 1994.
While Superman is one of my personal least favorite heroes, this collection is a must read for the same reason it sold out overnight with a starting number of published issues that had never before been dreamed. With Superman being such a cultural icon, watching his fall is a must anyone. The action is unparalleled as it had to be since the stakes had never been higher. How do you create a monster worthy of killing a Superman? The satisfying answer is in the Death of Superman.
Intriguing and Exciting Beginning; Story Comes Off the Track at the Midway Point
Daemon has an irresistible premise: upon the death of computer mastermIntriguing and Exciting Beginning; Story Comes Off the Track at the Midway Point
Daemon has an irresistible premise: upon the death of computer mastermind, Matthew Sobol, a computer virus type is released that wreaks havoc on the technology based world. Spread out (unknowingly) over thousands of computers, Sobol's Daemon is constantly checking online news websites for key words and phrases which, when triggered, unleash a new plague of technological insanity including stealing stocks and major business' money, recruiting members to his cause, and releasing alternative media. With Sobol already dead, it becomes increasingly impossible to stop the mayhem as everything is already in motion and nobody is directly controlling the direction of the Daemon.
The first half of the book is a wonderful techno thriller. During this early stage of the book, Suarez gives sufficient pertinent information about the inner working of the Daemon searching news sites and the logical progression of what terror is unleashed. The reader has full knowledge of each step of the Daemon's "thought process" and, although some suspension of belief is necessary, everything makes sense. Unfortunately, once the Daemon becomes so big and powerful; and a chunk of time elapses without any information provided to the reader, the book becomes much more of suspension of all belief. Whereas the first part of the book the reader feels like he/she is in control and knows everything that is going on, the last half of the book there is so much going on behind the scenes with only minor (and insignificant) views of Sobol's "army" doing things they don't even know why they are doing them. Each person in Sobol's "army" has no clue what he or she is doing, only a brief piece of the puzzle (i.e. take this mechanized part to location X). While this story telling mechanism works to push the story, it loses emphasis with the reader as to the power of the Daemon brainchild Sobol. At the beginning of the book I thought Sobol was a pure mastermind supervillian genius. By the end of the book, I really did not care much for the dead architect as the story shifted dramatically from a techno thriller to a simple action adventure story of nearly impossible proportions.
The characters in Daemon are unique and suffer many trials and tribulations. The best characters were the ones who thought they were in control and making headway towards stopping Sobol's Daemon only later to find out they were only a pawn in the master plan. The emotional responses in these characters were written well, and the characters had my full empathy.
Daemon, for the most part, is a tightly written techno thriller. I may be a bit too critical because I recognize how difficult it can be to accurately and completely write about the exponentially expanding influence of the Daemon; I only wish the entire book was a solid as the beginning. If you are looking for a solid techno thriller from beginning to end you might look elsewhere; however, if you like techno thrillers and action adventure you have come to the right place.
You might also check out Peacemaker, by Dan Ronco, for a similar techno thriller on the doomsday scenario with technology leading to societal downfall.
Getting Better, but Still an Unsatisfying Return on Investment
Having been utterly amazed by the world building and utterly disappointed in the story tGetting Better, but Still an Unsatisfying Return on Investment
Having been utterly amazed by the world building and utterly disappointed in the story telling of Gardens of the Moon, I started Deadhouse Gates. Had it not been for the epic world building and the positive opinions of people whose reading tastes and preferences generally aligns with my own I would have stopped right there with the Malazan Book of the Fallen. All over the internet almost everyone agrees that Gardens of the Moon is the weakest of the series, and that after you read Deadhouse Gates or (in some opinions) the third book, Memories of Ice, you will be hooked. Generally speaking, upwards of three thousand pages is a hefty undertaking, especially considering the return on investment is not so apparent. I have to say that Deadhouse Gates was a considerably better told story than its predecessor; but I'm not sure at this point if the time and energy spent was equivalent to the output received from Deadhouse Gates.
The first (and most obvious) thing to note is that this book starts a whole new storyline on an entirely different continent than the events that occur in Gardens of the Moon. This tactic works well because it establishes how epic and vast the worldly struggle is. The problem, of course, is with Erikson's writing style it is a huge personal struggle to get engaged with the new characters and the background of the area. If you enjoyed the confusion from Gardens of the Moon of being dropped in the middle of a sweeping landscape of political turmoil and magical/metaphysical trouble then you have that to look forward to again; although Erikson has definitely improved in area of character introductions. Some might be frustrated that it took 650+ pages to finally understand who the characters were in Gardens of the Moon and now they aren't in the second volume. If the third volume really plants me into this series (as it supposedly will) then having the multiple plotlines spanning multiple books will be a solid victory in establishing this series as an epic wartime dark fantasy series.
I thought the plotting of Deadhouse Gates was better than Gardens of the Moon and the storyline/character motivations were much more real and believable. In fact, I believe that Coltaine, the commander of the 7th army, is the most fascinating character of the series thus far. I was engaged with his hard nosed, duty stricken nature, cursed by both his objective of saving 30,000 refugees and his location in the heart of a savage desert. In addition to the plotting, the writing is so heavy and almost cumbersome to read at points. It takes a lot of focus and energy to read Erikson's writing.
I think the most significant struggle with Erikson's series is not that the book is not descriptive; it is ripe with description; the struggle is that it is descriptive in the wrong areas. There is still too many random occurrences and/or knowledge of the world, magic, culture, and army hierarchy that feels like it should be basic knowledge to the reader; but it isn't. I find that overall the sheer lack of information (that supposedly all comes to light in later volumes) is simply more frustrating than the benefit I received from the epic world building and the few extremely fascinating characters. A reader should not have to read seven massive tomes and over 5,000 pages to fully appreciate the first 650 pages of the series; and if a reader doesn't mind doing that or being confused, lost, or overwhelmed more power to him or her; but, I still cannot in good faith recommend this series to anyone outside the die hard fantasy junkies.
The cover art is wonderful and the maps, Dramatis Personae, and glossary are welcome additions to the overall purchase.
Am I planning on reading the third installment, Memories of Ice? Yes, although at this point I feel it would have to be an unbelievably spectacular experience in order to make the return on this reading investment worthwhile.
I still cannot imagine for the life of me why DC Comics published these two Batman stories together in oAn Unbalanced Collection of Two Batman Stories
I still cannot imagine for the life of me why DC Comics published these two Batman stories together in one volume, let alone why the volume was name The Man Who Laughs (other than the title story sharing the same name). I can only wager a guess that when it was published The Dark Knight (the movie) was looming on the horizon and DC Comics wanted to get as much Joker/Batman as they could on the shelves. The two stories contained in this graphic novel include Batman: The Man Who Laughs and Batman: Made of Wood.
Batman: The Man Who Laughs introduces (again) the Joker, Batman's number one villain and a fan favorite from the beginning. While the story is familiar to most (especially those outside the comic world who have seen the original Batman movie), it is portrayed in an excellent, very straightforward fashion. There is not a lot of depth to the story; but the visuals and characterizations are what make this story strong.
Batman: Made of Wood was originally a three part story in Detective Comics, revolving around an unsolved mystery. Not only does the Joker not appear in this arc, but the Green Lantern makes an appearance. The story itself is a typical murder mystery with a retired Jim Gordon playing a major role as well. The depiction of Jim Gordon is perfect, in my opinion. In a collection titled The Man Who Laughs, one would expect the Joker to be a central figure in both stories; however, no mention of the Joker is made in Made of Wood.
Both stories are well told and wonderfully illustrated, making the stories real and full of life; but the seemingly polar opposites of the stories make this an awkward collection. With so many great Joker stories out there, and trying to capitalize on the Batman/Joker mania with the upcoming (at the time of publication) The Dark Knight film, could there not have been a better collection? Especially considering that Batman: Made of Wood was longer than Batman: The Man Who Laughs.
Fans of Batman will be sure to enjoy this one; but fans of the Joker will surely be disappointed.
The Joker?! Released from Arkham?! Talk about Instanity!
The premise of Joker is nearly unbelievable; however, given that premise, the story is believaThe Joker?! Released from Arkham?! Talk about Instanity!
The premise of Joker is nearly unbelievable; however, given that premise, the story is believable beyond a shadow of doubt. Joker, in Joker, is in prime form, after being released from Arkham Asylum (for reasons never told, much like the vague and contradicting answers given in The Dark Knight about Joker's scars) and is starting from scratch, with nothing; no money, no help, and he considers "his city" in the toilet due to the negligence and greedy of his former associates. Anyone who thought they had the last laugh when Joker went away is in for the surprise of his life.
Joker's story is top notch; the reader is escorted through a journey with Joker as he tries to reinsert himself into the bowels of Gotham City through the vantage point of a henchman named Jonny Frost, Joker's newest loyal member, and the only guy who picks Joker up from Arkham. Joker starts calling in his old boys to deliver a message: the Joker that they all feared (and readers love) is back. The cast of characters include The Penguin, Killer Croc (in a more human rendition), Two-Face, Harley Quinn, the Riddler, and Batman.
The portrayal of Joker in this graphic novel is the side of Joker that I have always loved more than the others. As you can see, the imagery is strikingly similar to the Heath Ledger portrayal in The Dark Knight, with the ratty faded purple suit and makeup/scars. This is not the bright purple outfit, smiling, wise cracking jester (although Joker does have some great funny moments, although they are most likely only funny to Joker and the reader, as it should be). This Joker is out for blood and no joke will satisfy. The story is gruesome in parts but completely within the realm of plausibility, considering the subject matter.
For the most part, the illustrations are absolutely stunning, and do an excellent job of making Joker, his associates, and Gotham come to life. This is a back alley story with only a couple of scenes in "higher society," and Lee Bermejo makes the setting a place you don't want to be, night or day. The only (minor) problem I have with the art is that the style switches from panel to panel during some of the story. At times, it is 100% illustration (and well done) and then the next panel will appear almost like a real picture or computer generated image (smudged for grits sake). While I appreciate both styles, I am a person that prefers consistency from panel to panel, from beginning to end.
The only other drawback of Joker is the fact that it is so short. Joker definitely should have been serialized since there is enough material here for several books of the same size. Many times, Joker does something where the plot would have benefited from a little more background (or visualization during the moment, since many times Joker just does stuff with no explanation). Although an excellent story, it almost left me unsatisfied since I felt it could have been a lot deeper, less rushed, and more impactful than it was; however, given the length, it does pack quite a punch.
The Epic Conclusion to a fully Realized Fantasy World
Let me just say this before I begin: if you even consider yourself halfway interested in fantasyThe Epic Conclusion to a fully Realized Fantasy World
Let me just say this before I begin: if you even consider yourself halfway interested in fantasy and you have not read the Mistborn trilogy, you are doing yourself a disservice everyday that passes without experiencing this epic masterpiece. At the conclusion of The Well of Ascension Vin had been tricked into releasing Ruin, one of the Gods responsible for the creation of the world, and the one given the promise of destroying it. Vin, Elend, and the rest of their gang have their work cut out for them not only fighting an unknown force, the increased ash falls, and larger mists blocking the sun; but also uniting the Dominances and uncovering the secrets left behind by the Lord Ruler.
Hero of Ages brings the trilogy full circle, enlightening readers to things throughout the previous two volumes. The world of the Final Empire is epic in scope and fully realized in this volume. In each installment has unveiled a little bit more of the Final Empire, gradually increasing knowledge of Sanderson's world.
The characters all have their personal conflicts and ethical dilemmas they each have to deal with. They are believable and engaging. Some of the lesser characters in the original Kelsier gang take on more prominent roles, leading the charge on undermining local city governments and completing difficult tasks for Vin and/or Elend. Additionally, the Kandra, the Koloss, and the Inquisitors play a larger role as well, and the history of their species is rich and lush; providing a lot of background information about the land of the Final Empire and the Lord Ruler himself.
My main concern (and it is minor) with The Hero of Ages is with the character Sazed, the Terrisman scholar. He had previously been one of my favorite minor characters, but in this book he was so preachy about how he couldn't prove any of the hundreds of religions he knew were true; this is understandable since he was having a personal conflict after the loss of his recently found love at the end of The Well of Ascension. However, the nature of his internal dialogue is well executed, and although annoying at first, it does become more meaningful and thoughtful as the book continues.
Per usual, the allomancer battles are exciting and interesting. That magic system devised by Sanderson rivals anything in recent memory in terms of creativity and believability. He executes his Allomantic Pushes and Pulls with grace and ease.
Sanderson's world is enthralling and impossible to resist. I wouldn't recommend reading anything else until you've finished this trilogy. If you are a fantasy fan, you have been kidding yourself for far too long by not reading this.
I can see the appeal of this book and I can see how some people would like it; however, I hardly enjoyed it at all. TheDefinitely Not A "Slammer" Dunk
I can see the appeal of this book and I can see how some people would like it; however, I hardly enjoyed it at all. The premise is solid, but underdeveloped. The terrorizing from the inmates to the guard could have been so much greater and the story would have been more of a "throat grabber" had there been more favors, more threats, and... well... more terrorizing. The main character, Glass, is only put in two situations before his life spirals out of control (and the story spirals out of control, I might add). There are parts of the story that are grotesque, but I felt it was more for shock value and could not really buy into those actions.
On top of all that, there seems to be random flashbacks that did not seem to fit in the story for any reason, providing seemingly insignificant details about the characters. Maybe they were significant; but if so, it was poorly executed. The ending was also so unsatisfying and disappointing.
My other concerns with Slammer is that there is no writing in the book above a sixth grade reading level. The writing was pretty juvenile and the dialogue was equally juvenile. It is hard to take a dark and gritty story seriously if there are no words over two syllables.
Overall, I say if the premise of the story strikes your fancy, go for it. Given that it is such an easy and quick read it won't take too much time, and you might enjoy it. In my opinion, there are far better books in this category that are executed better and ten times as engaging, with stronger characters; like Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk and each of the books in the Caught Stealing trilogy by Charlie Huston.
There are Certainly Better Graphic Novels Out There
Ball Peen Hammer, by Adam Rapp, is an average graphic novel on a good day. The story follows two foThere are Certainly Better Graphic Novels Out There
Ball Peen Hammer, by Adam Rapp, is an average graphic novel on a good day. The story follows two former (and separated) lovers in a destructive and despair ridden world as they try and survive. Other than introducing a small handful of unique and somewhat colorful characters, that is pretty much the story. The overall plot is lacking in both development and execution, leaving the reader with deep disappointment and an unsatisfied feeling. I must admit, there were a couple of scenes that piqued my interest, only to be led astray by zero development of those enlightening moments. These lost moments would have further developed not only the locale and the disgusting setting of plague infested streets, but also the societal and humanistic nature of the people in their current predicament (not to mention how little is told about the background and how the world ended up the way it did, outside of a couple lazily placed ambiguous references). One could only hope that this is only the introduction to a larger story arc that will conclude after several volumes, but no such thing is even alluded to in the book.
In some graphic novels the plot can be lacking as long as the visual story is excellent. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the visual story was not enough to make up for the underdeveloped plot. I do recognize that there are a lot of people out there that will find the visual representations unique and well done; but, the graphics are not my style. The illustrations are quite gritty and dark (which was the intention being that the story is in a post-apocalyptic world); but unfortunately they also seem unrefined and convey an almost pre-publication storyboard finesse; like the final draft before the actual illustrating occurs. Again, I recognize that this is a matter of taste and cannot fault the author and story for not falling into my graphic representation preference.
I love dark and gritty graphic novels as much as anyone, and within that context, Ball Peen Hammer is staggeringly disappointing. If you are looking for dark and gritty graphic novels you should turn to Alan Moore's V for Vendetta, Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, The Long Halloween, and Sin City collection.
The most fundamental problem with Ball Peen Hammer is the fact that there is nothing that really grabs the reader and engages him or her with the story. As a reader, I had no vested interest in anything that occurred, and I was unsympathetic toward the plight of the main characters because the author did nothing to engage me with the characters. Overall, even though it only took me around thirty minutes to read this from cover to cover (it clocks in at 134 pages) I would not recommend Ball Peen Hammer to anyone unless you really like the illustrations in this review; and only then if you like the illustrations enough to override any lack of story and plot/character development.
Not the Perfect Story; but Certainly the Perfect Edition
Note: This review of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn references the second edition of "A CaNot the Perfect Story; but Certainly the Perfect Edition
Note: This review of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn references the second edition of "A Case Study in Critical Controversy" published by Bedford/St. Martin in 2004 (ISBN-10: 0-312-40029-2, ISBN-13: 978-0-312-40029-3).
I've always said if a book has been banned and I haven't read it, I must be doing something wrong. Luckily enough, I had read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn before, and for the life of me I couldn't remember what the big deal was (outside of the obvious) (I was in Junior High at the time, some 12 years ago). I was taking an English class for fun at the university I work for and this was the first text on the reading list. The theme of the class is "racism in American culture and American literature." The reason I mention this is not because of the content of the story The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn but rather the "bonus features," such as they are, that are included.
The "Case Studies in Critical Controversy" edition of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn includes the following (in addition to the original 1885 text):
* A wonderful introduction about the importance of studying controversies; * A portfolio of the original illustrations included with the 1885 edition; * Twenty essays "representing major critical and cultural controversies surrounding the work" (from the back cover) over three subject matters: the controversy over the ending; the controversy over racism; and, the controversy over gender and sexuality. These essays include: o Lionel Trilling, "A Certain Formal Aptness"; o T.S. Eliot, "The Boy and the River: Without Beginning or End"; o Toni Morrison, "Jim's Africanist Presence in Huckleberry Finn" (New to this edition); o Jane Smiley, "Say It Ain't So, Huck: Second Thoughts on Mark Twain's "Masterpiece""; o Seymour Chwast, "Selling Huck Finn Down the River: A Response to Jane Smiley"; o Leslie Fiedler, "Come back to the Raft Ag'in, Huck Honey!"; o Christopher Looby, "'Innocent Homosexuality': The Fiedler Thesis in Retrospect"; and, o Several other essays, many of which have been reproduced in other editions of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
With this edition clocking in at 550 pages, nearly 60% of the text is additional material regarding controversy in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. As my instructor said on the first day, "Everyone has their own opinions; but, leave them at the door. All I want to hear are facts." This edition has plenty of well research and comprehensive information for all sides of each controversy. Many of the essays are linked, being responses to each other. I believe oftentimes we, as a culture, forget that sometimes the discussion about the controversy is more important than the actual controversy. Reading this text is an important educational lesson, and if parents, teachers, and school children read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in the context of this edition it certainly would not be banned and I think we would all be more proud of our children for the level of discourse and behavior when engaging in controversial debate.
Granted, this is the only edition of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn I have read (since I was 15 years old); but, I can't ever imagine myself recommending any other edition for any other reason.
Although I do not consider it a thriller, Top Producer was an enjoyable experience. The opening chapters set the stage as GrovA Good Financial Mystery
Although I do not consider it a thriller, Top Producer was an enjoyable experience. The opening chapters set the stage as Grove O'Rourke and 500 other people watch as Charlie Keleman is gruesomely killed by sharks in an aquarium. Obviously Charlie was not as well loved as everyone seemed to believe.
Vonnegut displays his knowledge of Wall Street with skill, and against all odds, paints an exciting and interesting picture of high finance and a world where money is king. Traversing Charlie's accounts becomes a tiresome and mind boggling task for O'Rourke as he helps Charlie's wife reclaim the money that has been invested. Along the way, O'Rourke has to deal with the police and friends/associates whose business it is to not share secrets. However, the secrets do come out, and the mystery of Charlie's death becomes as tangled as a politicians income tax returns.
The characters in Top Producer are top notch. They are completely believable and well depicted as everyone has an agenda and keeping their jobs and making money is the might be more important than solving the mystery of who killed Charlie Keleman. Although Top Producer is filled with financial jargon and countless explanations of the business, Vonnegut writes it in such a way that it flows nicely with the story and provides the reader with exactly what is needed to know without going over the top. Not only is Top Producer a good mystery; but also a nice education lesson in accounting, investment, and Ponzi schemes.
Catching Fire continues right where The Hunger Games ends, with the victory of Katniss and Peeta in the defiance of the powerfEveryday is a Revolution
Catching Fire continues right where The Hunger Games ends, with the victory of Katniss and Peeta in the defiance of the powerful Capital. It seems their win has started some of the Districts to think that there may be a better way to live other than the complete control that The Capital has for them. Without giving away too much, there is plenty of the good stuff that readers enjoyed from The Hunger Games and more character development of the characters that made The Hunger Games so memorable.
Returning home from The Hunger Games is only the beginning, and as victors, Katniss and Peeta travel to all twelve districts and get a feeling that there is the beginning of a revolution. However, their lives will never be the same as The Capital pulls another fast one, putting them in another situation that they just may not be ready to deal with yet.
As mentioned, everything that was enjoyable about the first volume is back: compelling characters, sticky situations, a vicious enemy, and of course, blood thirsty killing. The beginning of the book starts a little slow, but ramps up in the intensity at about the halfway point and I wish there would have been more detail in the final setting. Although Catching Fire is not near as good as The Hunger Games, it is a worthy sequel and should be read by fans of the first book.
This is my second Iris Johansen book; the first being Deadlock (which I gave two stars). I thought I would give Blood Game a chance sinceA Train Wreck
This is my second Iris Johansen book; the first being Deadlock (which I gave two stars). I thought I would give Blood Game a chance since Johansen is apparently a bestseller and has flocks of fans. Needless to say, this will be my last Johansen book.
My first gripe (and this is more of my lack of previous Eve Duncan reading) is that there was nothing to suggest that there is paranormal psychic hoopla from the book synopsis. Paranormal stuff is not bad per say (I love urban fantasy and others); but Johansen does not have a knack for it. The characters are so one dimensional it is ridiculous. We have the cop boyfriend who is headstrong and does not believe in the psychic "mumbo jumbo" and is worried about how others will perceive him if they found out he is hallucinating. One of the most classic parts at the beginning of the book is when Joe is talking to the psychic, and she has him "convinced" that he is now a medium-like individual, and he says he still thinks it is a load of bologna but she can come along anyway to help him read the signs, just in case.
The plot is so juvenile and the storytelling is weak; but, I guess I should not expect deep and engaging stories when the author pumps out three and four books a year.
I just adopted a puppy, so my reading time has been significantly less (read: none). However, Bloodroot really gotCouldn't Put it Down - a book review
I just adopted a puppy, so my reading time has been significantly less (read: none). However, Bloodroot really got me back in the fold and I could not stop reading it. For those of you who know how time consuming a puppy is this should mean a lot.
Bloodroot examines the idea of brotherhood and what people would go through in order to save those closest to us. Bloodroot follows Kevin who has recently come back in contact with his recovering heroin addicted brother, Danny. All seems well until Kevin gets involved in some of Danny's "business ventures" which begin to unravel the past to the harrowing end. How far will Kevin go to help his brother and his family? Does he have it in him to do what is necessary, no matter how right or how wrong it seems to him?
Bill Loehfelm has crafted a magnificent tale of family and brotherhood, with darkness around every corner. The plot may seem to some to move slowly at times, but in these moments are the most significant in terms of character development and personal insight. Following Kevin and Danny is a journey into the heart of family values, brotherhood, and sacrifice with stops in the darkest corners of their souls. The way Loehfelm unravels these characters is nothing short of perfect, weaving a tale that is impossible to resist.
If you liked Starvation Lake by Bryan Gruley then you will most certainly enjoy Bloodroot.
Sanderson is a Master of his Craft in this Second Volume
With The Final Empire (Mistborn book one) being one of the best fantasy novels I have read inSanderson is a Master of his Craft in this Second Volume
With The Final Empire (Mistborn book one) being one of the best fantasy novels I have read in the past five years, my hopes were high for the continued success of this fantasy world. Needless to say, I was not disappointed, and if Sanderson continues to pump out books at this pace (almost one a year) and this quality (magnificent) he could be hailed in the upper echelons of greats fantasy writers of the decade.
In The Well of Ascension, Brandon Sanderson not only builds upon the unique world and intriguing characters introduced in The Final Empire, but he also shows off his marvelous writing skills by expanding his storytelling repertoire into areas that were not explored previously. While The Final Empire was heavy world building, character introduction, coming of age story with enough magic and wizard battles to satisfy any fantasy junkie for the coming year, The Well of Ascension starts to explore another facet of fantasy fiction: political intrigue. The book starts one year after the conclusion of The Final Empire: Elende Venture is now the king in his experimental idealistic governmental setup imagined around beers with his friends in the previous installment. Since large portions of the book are focused on the political manuevering, The Well of Ascension starts significantly slower the any other Brandon Sanderson book I have read; however, once settled into the different style of book the pacing ramps up quickly and effectively making the overall reading experience beyond satisfying.
Alongside the political nature of The Well of Ascension, there is still the coming of age story of the heroine from The Final Empire, Vin. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Mistborn trilogy (so far) is the stereotypical fantasy coming of age story told in such a way that is original and engaging, making it nearly impossible to compare to the timeless tale of a boy gaining powers and saving the world. Vin has not only gained significant powers and is still struggling to find her powerful place in the world, but she is also struggling with problems that are far above her maturity level including falling in love, a sense of honor and duty, and the price each of these play on her own mortality.
Finally, what would a good fantasy story be without magic and fighting? As luck would have it, as true to form, there is no need to worry with The Well of Ascension. There is plenty of Pushing and Pulling and allomancer battles to feast upon. As Vin grows more powerful so does the epic-ness of the battles. The fight scenes are beautiful realized and exceptionally original; I could read the epic 700 page tomes of the Mistborn trilogy for the fight scenes alone. I started reading fantasy for the escapism from the real world and found magical worlds where my imagination could run wild. What I really look for in a fantasy book is something that leaves me with visual images that stick with me and that I can fully realize with very little effort. The tales and descriptions in the Mistborn books provide some of the most fully realized, enjoyable, engaging, and believable memories in modern fantasy.
All in all, The Well of Ascension, while starting a little slowly, is a tour de force of fantasy imagery, worldbuilding, and storytelling. If Sanderson is not already at the top his game with his first few books in his career (Elantris and Mistborn) I can't even begin to imagine what is in store for fantasy in the next decade; of course, with Sanderson at the helm, I won't have to do much imagining on my own and will be able to sit back and enjoy the ride.
I'm still mad at myself that I let these books sit on my shelf for years waiting to be read.
Elegant Writing With Exceptional Characters - a book review
Every once in a while there is a story that is written in such a unique manner it is hard tElegant Writing With Exceptional Characters - a book review
Every once in a while there is a story that is written in such a unique manner it is hard to explain and impossible to deny. BAD THINGS HAPPEN is such a story. The writing style is not unusual, but has an aura of "classical-ness" to it that makes the story an almost instant classic. Whatever it is that I am trying to describe reminds me of the writing style of JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL. That being said, BAD THINGS HAPPEN is not without faults.
BAD THINGS HAPPEN is unique in the sense that the plot revolves around a group of writers and editors. This premise sets up some great dialogue and postulations by the characters as they scramble to figure out who killed the founder of the murder mystery magazine, Gray Streets. Every single time the phrase, "if this was a story in Gray Streets, such and such would happen" followed by, "But this isn't a story in Gray Streets..." The dialogue is almost unreal in this sense, and nearly makes it impossible to believe, but with each unbelievable moment the story becomes that much more unforgettable.
The problems with BAD THINGS HAPPENS is that as more is uncovered about the murders, the less interested I became in who the actual killer (or killers) was. The story became extremely convoluted with the motives of characters that were insignificant previously and they had motives that were not that interesting to me. Of course, me not being a writer might have something to do with the inability to relate.
Overall, BAD THINGS HAPPENS was a worthwhile read. While not without faults, the dialogue and characters are what drive this story. If you like Charlie Huston's writing, then you will enjoy this book and vice versa.