Yeah. I know. Reviewing the first and the last trade in a 14 book series probably isn't the best way to do it. But with this particular series, I thinYeah. I know. Reviewing the first and the last trade in a 14 book series probably isn't the best way to do it. But with this particular series, I think it's justified in that the series was so consistently excellent all the way through.
Now I don't meant to say it was the *same* all the way through. I mean it was consistently good. Part of what made it so good is the fact that the story didn't become an endless masturbatory rehash of things it had already done. Each story was new. Characters change and grow and make mistakes, suffer consequences and sometimes die.
So yeah. Everything that I said about volume one of this series carries through to the end. And I'm going to happily hop over and start reading the new series Powers: Bureau as soon as they get it in for me at the local comic shop. ...more
This is my second or third time through this series. And if anything, I'm enjoying it more this time around.
This is one of the rare superhero comicsThis is my second or third time through this series. And if anything, I'm enjoying it more this time around.
This is one of the rare superhero comics that you don't have to know anything about superheros to enjoy. (The few others I can think of are The Authority and Astro city.)
Truth is, in many ways, this isn't a comic about superheroes. Or rather, I should say it's not *just* a comic about heroes. It's more a mystery and a police procedural than anything. As the main characters are cops that have to do their job in a world where there are people with Powers.
There's some satire of the superhero comics in here, but it's gentle and subtle. By which I mean if you know a lot about comics, you'll see it and smile. But if you don't, you won't spend any time scratching your head wondering what's going on. I can say this for a fact because reading the series this time, I got several jokes that I wasn't even aware of my first time around.
While this is a long ongoing series, it's more a series of connected stories than a great sprawling unending open-ended narrative. (Think of it like the Dresden Files, rather than the Batman cannon.) This is nice, as it gives you the best of both worlds: narrative closure *and* long term story arcs and character development that isn't available in shorter fiction.
Best of all, the comic is consistently written and drawn by the same writer and artist. That means the entire story is consistent in terms of its quality and tone throughout the 12 issues I've read. That's something you don't see very often, especially in Superhero comics.
Is it worth your time? Absolutely.
Dealbreakers: Avoid this is you utterly can't stand superheroes, cussing, or the thought of an issue where you see two monkeys having some fairly graphic sex.
Me? I'm okay with those things. So I enjoyed the hell out of this. Five stars....more
I felt surprisingly lukewarm about this book, given that it's written by one of my favorite authors of all time.
Part of this was the fact that it's sI felt surprisingly lukewarm about this book, given that it's written by one of my favorite authors of all time.
Part of this was the fact that it's some of his earlier work. (It's odd to think of an author's 9th book in a series as "early" work) In my opinion his later stuff was much, much stronger.
Also, I feel I should mention here that this isn't my first time reading Eric. Not my second time, either. It was, however, my first time reading this particular version, the illustrated version.
And honestly, I think that's the large part of my lukewarm reaction. Not only is this book much shorter than usual, because it's illustrated. But it's illustrated by Josh Kirby, Pratchett's first illustrator.
While Kirby's illustrations were on the cover of the first Pratchett book I ever picked up (Sourcerey, back around 1990) I don't feel much nostalgia for them. Instead, I've grown amazingly attached to Paul Kidby, the illustrator who worked with him on The Last Hero, and countless other projects.
Is this book worth your time? Yeah. But honestly, I wouldn't go out of your way to find the illustrated version. The simple text version is just as good, if not even better, as there's nothing to distract from the story. And I did find Kirby's illustrations (again, not to be confused with *Kidby's*) to be distracting.
That's just my opinion though. I don't claim to be unbiased....more
I found this more interesting than really enjoyable. The comics in this compilation are over 20 years old, and the old version of the storytelling reaI found this more interesting than really enjoyable. The comics in this compilation are over 20 years old, and the old version of the storytelling really isn't my style.
Also, I just have to say: most emo Batman ever. He starts this hefty collection hurt, and spends the entire thing being... well... not very Batman at all. Making bad choices. Being bitchy. Constantly hurt and sucking at his job....
Kinda took some of the fun out of it for me.
On the plus side, as someone who isn't a huge Batman fan (by which I mean I don't read the main comics, just a lot of the side stuff written by the A-list talent like Gaiman, Miller, Moore, Loeb, etc etc.) it was interesting to see the parade of villains in this collection. It's almost like a primer in Batman bad-guy lore.
But honestly, that's the only thing that even keeps this at the relatively low "meh" rating of three stars for me....more
Just to be clear: this is a review of the entire 4 book series, not just the first book.
As you might expect of the Luna Brothers, this is another stoJust to be clear: this is a review of the entire 4 book series, not just the first book.
As you might expect of the Luna Brothers, this is another story with a unique concept and excellent execution. I've yet to read anything of theirs that hasn't impressed me in some way.
That said, I found this story rather... dark for my taste. Not in terms of violence. (Graphic violence doesn't really bug me much these days. It's cheap and easy, and I'm desensitized.)
No. This series shows the dark side of human nature. How people behave in crisis. How they behave *badly* in crisis. That kinda got to me. It's not that it was unrealistic. Just the opposite. The reality of it was a little much for me.
Again, it's not a bad book. Making me uncomfortable is a grand achievement. I'm just saying that this was dark for my particular taste at this particular time. Showing all the grim potential of humanity without the leavening agent of hope or altruism... well... its just not my favorite thing any more.
Is it worth your time? Yes. Especially if you're a fan of grim stories like Joe Abercrombie's stuff. Or The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones.
Dealbreakers: If you you can't handle looking at boobs, or if you actively dislike any of the above stories because they're too grim/grity/bleak for you, then this story probably isn't for you. ...more
Speaking of the entire series here, not just the first book: I really enjoyed it. Interesting premise, excellent execution. It starts quickly, pulls ySpeaking of the entire series here, not just the first book: I really enjoyed it. Interesting premise, excellent execution. It starts quickly, pulls you in, and the ending rounds itself out quite nicely.
It seems like I should have more to say about it than that. But truthfully, 80% of the books I read don't reach the mark of "an interesting story, well-told." It's *hard* to get something to that point.
Fair warning: Graphic Violence. If that's a dealbreaker for you, take a pass on this one.
An interesting combination of a superhero comic and an episode of Sex in the City.
Not only do I like that this was something different, but the execuAn interesting combination of a superhero comic and an episode of Sex in the City.
Not only do I like that this was something different, but the execution was really rather good. The emphasis was on the story and the characters, not the action. That made me give a damn about the story even though I had no previous experience with the heroes in question at all.
Worth your time if you're into comics, or superheroes, or Sex in the City. But if you hate two of those three things, you'll probably want to steer clear. ...more
I've read pretty much everything John Scalzi has written at this point, so when I pick up one of his books, I don't expect anything in particular. I jI've read pretty much everything John Scalzi has written at this point, so when I pick up one of his books, I don't expect anything in particular. I just know he's going to take me somewhere, and I trust that he's going to make the ride a pleasant one.
Even so, I was a little surprised by this book. In some ways it's sci-fi but not rocketships-and-lasers sci-fi. In other ways it's a mystery, but not the Victorian-style Sherlock sort of thing. It's also kind of a police procedural. Maybe a bit of a... thriller? I dunno...
Honestly, I'd hesitate to classify this book as one particular thing, which means it's sufficiently complex to be a story in its own right, and not just some generic genre knock-off. A good thing.
In a change of pace for me, I didn't read the texty print version of this book. Instead I listened to the Audiobook narrated by Amber Benson. That added a lot to the experience for me, and made me realize just how far I have to go as a narrator myself.
And I don't mean that I listened to it, thinking "Yay! I love Amber Benson!" (Though I do.) She's a much better narrator than that, her own voice doesn't intrude into the story. The truth is, I constantly *forgot* she was the one narrating it. That's impressive skill at work.
Was the book worth my time? Absolutely. Like all good speculative fiction it started with an interesting premise and followed that premise through to to reasonable but unexpected permutations. It's clever, thoughtful, funny, and had some good action to boot.
P.S. Scalzi did something interesting with the audio of this book, and had *two* versions recorded. One read by Amber Benson. One read by Wil Wheaton. Has anyone out there listened to the Wheaton version? Or both of them? How do they compare? ...more
This book caught my eye mostly because it's been winning just about every award ever this year.
So I picked it up when I was on tour. And as soon as IThis book caught my eye mostly because it's been winning just about every award ever this year.
So I picked it up when I was on tour. And as soon as I started it, I could see why it was getting such attention. It's exceptionally well-written. I was almost immediately pulled in.
I should mention here, it's Science Fiction. I don't review much sci-fi these days because I mostly read fantasy. For the most part, what's where my taste lies these days.
But that wasn't always the case. When I was younger, I read sci-fi almost exclusively. It's pretty much all I read for several years....
So in some ways, reading this book was like going home again. I could feel it stretching my brain in ways it hasn't been stretched in a while. Making me think in different directions than I'm used to.
It was good, gritty, realistic sci-fi. Far-future. Big differences in tech. But what really makes this book great are the big *cultural* differences in the world. I've read a fair chuck of sci-fi, but I've never run into anything like this before. I love it when I run into something fresh and new.
This book will make you work a little. It's not going to spoon feed you. It's going to drop you in the middle of the story and let you figure out what the hell is going on by yourself, no long explanations of how the culture developed because of blah blah blah.
Nope, this is a novel that leave you to make up your own mind about things. It leaves room for ambiguity. That's a rare thing in books these days.
And I love it. I've already ordered the sequel, so I can see where the next piece of story leads.
If you're willing to work a little, this book is absolutely worth your time. ...more
I've been a reader of XKCD for ages. Not just a reader, a fan. A big goey, geeky fan.
So much of a fan that when I heard about this book, I went so faI've been a reader of XKCD for ages. Not just a reader, a fan. A big goey, geeky fan.
So much of a fan that when I heard about this book, I went so far as to abuse my power as an author to get an Advance Reading Copy of the book, so that I could enjoy its deliciousness sooner. And... y'know... taunt people on the internet.
And it worked. I got an early copy. And I treasured it. I petted it. It was precious to me. Precious.
Then life got in the way. Conventions. Promotion for my own book launch. I had dad stuff to do. I had prep work for the yearly Worldbuilders fundraiser. Then I had my book tour....
Through all of this, I carried my precious ARC around, waiting for the time when I'd be able to spare the brainpower to read it. I even took it on tour with me. (Honestly, this book has more frequent flier miles than any three of you put together.)
It wasn't until I got back home that I started it. I wanted something to read before I went to bed, and I picked What If because I was worried if I picked up another book I'd be reading half the night and it would screw up my already dysfunctional sleep schedule.
Despite my best intentions, I read half the book that night. It cost me precious sleep I couldn't afford to lose. But I don't regret it. Not a bit.
It's clever, but if you know anything about Randall Munroe, that won't come as a surprise to you. And it's funny, and witty (which are two different things, by the way.) But again to readers of XKCD this won't come as any sort of surprise.
The surprise was how *easy* it was to read. There's some decent science in there, but it wasn't anywhere nearly as brain-taxing as I'd expected. Munroe does a brilliant job of explaining very complex concepts simply. That's a rare gift.
The other surprise is how much it pulled me in. I expected to read the book in dribs and drabs over a couple weeks. Instead, I tore through it. That's not usually the case for me with non-fiction books.
In brief, it's worth your time. Even if you haven't read his comic. Even if you haven't ever heard of Randall Munroe. Even if you're not into science. You should pick this up and read it. You'll be glad you did. ...more