Released originally as stand-alone comics, IDW Publishing and Diamond Book Distributors have gathered together all five issues of Star Trek: StarfleetReleased originally as stand-alone comics, IDW Publishing and Diamond Book Distributors have gathered together all five issues of Star Trek: Starfleet Academy written by Mike Johnson and Ryan Parrott and illustrated by Derek Charm. The storyline, which occurs in the reboot universe of the most recent films, is set (no surprise here), at the Academy and mostly follows a new cast of young cadets, though the main figures of Kirk, Spock, Uhura, etc. are part of a frame. I don’t know if more will be forthcoming, but the potential is there, even if this first foray doesn’t fully meet it.
I really wanted to like Supervillains Anonymous, by Lexie Dunne. The first book in the series, Superheroes Anonymous, was pretty fun and I was lookingI really wanted to like Supervillains Anonymous, by Lexie Dunne. The first book in the series, Superheroes Anonymous, was pretty fun and I was looking forward to seeing what happened after its cliffhanger ending, when Hostage Girl (aka Gail Godwin) was falsely accused of the murder of her close friend and superhero mentor, Angelica. Unfortunately, this second installment wasn’t as satisfying as the first; in fact, I found it very confusing and ended up not finishing it.
It started off well, though. As usual, Dunne’s writing is light-hearted, with a wry, modern voice. Even when Gail, the narrator and main character, is in prison for the murder of her friend — a pretty disheartening situation, if you ask me — she manages to crack jokes and make ironic observations about everything from her cell mate to the prison food. And the prison — Detmer Maximum Security Prison for Supervillains — didn’t disappoint. I wanted to see lots of campy supervillains; I got to see lots of campy supervillains. While Gail is in Detmer, she begins to tentatively trust some of the villains around her and, in the process, learn some of the background for why she’s been framed. In addition, new mysteries regarding the origin of the prison and the relationships between superheroes and supervillains are being set up.
We first meet Lada Dragwyla at the tender age of two years old. She is brandishing a knife. At her father. No scene could more succinctly introduce thWe first meet Lada Dragwyla at the tender age of two years old. She is brandishing a knife. At her father. No scene could more succinctly introduce the character of our heroine: she is brutal, fierce, bordering on sociopathic. Kiersten White explained that And I Darken tells the story as if Vlad the Impaler had been born female, and what she has created is one of the most exciting and original characters in fiction that’s been seen in a very long time.
Lada’s story starts at the very beginning, in Wallachia, where she desperately tries to win the affection and respect of her father. But Lada is a girl, which means she is virtually invisible in the time of the Ottoman Empire. She has a younger brother, Radu, who could not be more different to his sister. Where Lada is ruthless and daring, Radu is gentle, sensitive, cautious. Just as Lada is yearning for the validation of her father, so too Radu tries desperately to win the respect of his sister. But Lada is only interested in the adventures she shares with her playmate Bogden; Radu is often forgotten.
Kurt Vonnegut’s A Man Without a Country collects essays about living in George W. Bush’s America. Published in 2005, these essays were written after AKurt Vonnegut’s A Man Without a Country collects essays about living in George W. Bush’s America. Published in 2005, these essays were written after America invaded Iraq in order to defeat terrorism, to find and neutralize weapons of mass destruction, and to spread freedom and democracy throughout the Middle East.
Briefly summarized, Vonnegut is critical of the state of America, which has been hijacked by psychopaths, and let’s not forget the state of the world, which has been destroyed by a century of fossil fuel emissions that produced nothing more than transportation. He’s not especially glad that so many nuclear weapons remain, either. He defends the arts, humanism, and, generally speaking, compassion and mercy. He regularly mentions Mark Twain, Albert Einstein, and the firebombing of Dresden. At one point, he defends Luddites. At another point he attacks anti-intellectualism.
In The Kraken Sea, E. Catherine Tobler tells the story of Jackson, an orphan with no last name, who has finally found a home with one of San FranciscoIn The Kraken Sea, E. Catherine Tobler tells the story of Jackson, an orphan with no last name, who has finally found a home with one of San Francisco’s elite — Cressida, also known as The Widow, who has an unnamed purpose for her new ward. Jackson has a secret of his own, though; when he becomes angry or uncontrolled, he breaks out in scales and tentacles, exhibiting enormous strength. The only person who knows his secret is his confidant and protector at the orphanage: Sister Jerome Grace, an enigmatic nun with her own hidden abilities. But shortly after his adoption by Cressida, Jackson is asked to take sides against Sister Jerome and Mae Bell, an alluring young woman from one of San Francisco’s rival families. The Bell family runs a circus on the north side of town and, despite Cressida’s warnings, Jackson finds himself drawn to their nightly spectacle.
The Sapphire Cutlass is exactly the kind of fun YA romp I was hoping for when I started the DIAMOND THIEF series. The characters seem comfortable in tThe Sapphire Cutlass is exactly the kind of fun YA romp I was hoping for when I started the DIAMOND THIEF series. The characters seem comfortable in their roles, the adventure is exotic, and the stakes are surprisingly high. Sharon Gosling seems to have hit her stride here, rewarding readers with equal measures of romance and action in a well-balanced novel.
Rémy Brunel, Thaddeus Rec, J, and orphaned moppet Dita have flown in their ruby-powered airship all the way from France to India. They seek many things: the location of J’s mentor Desai, information about a cult known as the Sapphire Cutlass, and the truth regarding Rémy’s “one true twin” brother, about whom she knows absolutely nothing. What they find is a power-mad sorcerer, a band of pirates, and a mountain’s worth of sapphires. Meanwhile, distant drums echo ominously through the thick, verdant jungle, and whispered legends might be more than smoke and fables.
Saint’s Blood is the third in Sebastien de Castell’s GREATCOATS series, and as with the previous two (Traitor’s Blade and Knight’s Shadow), it’s bothSaint’s Blood is the third in Sebastien de Castell’s GREATCOATS series, and as with the previous two (Traitor’s Blade and Knight’s Shadow), it’s both a lot of fun (really, a lot of fun) and deeply emotionally affecting. The series isn’t perfect, but it’s just so enjoyable and engaging that you just don’t mind the few flaws, and that continues with Saint’s Blood, which resolves its major story arc but also points at the very end to a fourth book. And I have no complaints about that at all, happy as I am to spend more time with Falcio, his two constant companions Kest and Brasti, and his wider cadre of idealists: Aline, Ethelia, and others.