I'd been hearing good things about this book for ages, so I finally decided to pick it up.
I enjoyed it, and appreciated the fact that it wasn't just aI'd been hearing good things about this book for ages, so I finally decided to pick it up.
I enjoyed it, and appreciated the fact that it wasn't just another same-old superhero origin story. But if I'm going to be completely honest here. (And I always try to be completely honest) I'll also say that it didn't really thrill me, either.
Part of the issue might be that I don't know *anything* about the original hero that the story is based on. That can make it a lot harder to get into a story.
But it's also fair to assume that this story didn't speak to me as strongly because the main character is a teenage Muslim, and a child of immigrants. I don't *think* that's the case. I dig a lot of books with female protagonists. But I'll happily admit that it's a possibility.
I'd happily read more of the series. But I'm not going to run out and order them. And even if this isn't my favorite comic ever, I'm really glad it exists. I have a bunch of comics I love. I'm a straight white guy. There's a ton of media tailor made to please me.
The fact that this comic speaks to a lot of other people's interests and experiences instead of mine? That doesn't hurt me at all. In fact, it delights me. I love it. Huzzah for that. Let's do it ten times. Let's do it forever. ...more
First, full disclosure. I'm not really impartial when it comes to Mary's work. Not only am I a bit of a fan of hers, but she's also one of my favoriteFirst, full disclosure. I'm not really impartial when it comes to Mary's work. Not only am I a bit of a fan of hers, but she's also one of my favorite people.
That said, while I admire so much of what Mary does, she doesn't write in the genres that I read regularly. She does brilliant short story work (Won a Hugo and everything) and tends to write historical fantasy set outside the time periods I tend to cleave to. (Specifically, if it happened after 1750 I don't tend to give much of a shit.)
But despite the fact that what she writes isn't really in my sweet-spot, I really enjoy her books and admire her craft. And this book is no exception.
The concept for the book is simple. Imagine if the spiritualism movement were grounded in reality. Imagine there really were ghosts and mediums.
There. Got it?
Now imagine it's the early 1900's and World War I is happening. And you have people who can talk to ghosts.
It's my favorite sort of thing. A cool concept used for the setting of a story that centers around real people and their conflicts. In many ways it's more of a mystery than a war story....
So... yeah. I really liked it. If you're into well-written historical fantasy, this should be up your alley. And even if you're like me and it's not your cup of tea, the strength of the writing means you're still likely to enjoy it.... ...more
This book falls in to the difficult category of, "Well-executed but I have no idea how to give it a star rating or if I ever want to read it again orThis book falls in to the difficult category of, "Well-executed but I have no idea how to give it a star rating or if I ever want to read it again or recommend it to anyone."
That said, it *was* very well executed. And I suppose that's the heart of the matter.
So... yeah. Five stars if you want a sweet, well-rounded story that distantly circles the fact that the main character....
*Spoilers, by the way*
...is a five year old boy who doesn't realize that his mother isn't on a business trip. That's she's dead. First the reader, then the character comes to realize that.
So... yeah. If that's what you're looking for in a graphic novel. Then this one's for you. But honestly, I don't know what the target audience is for this. I'd never give it to my kids.
Maybe it's for the same group of people that like to read those Chicken Soup for the Soul books and cry all day?
So... yeah. Lot of good stuff here. But the core concept isn't really one that I'm looking for more of in my life. I cry too much these days anyway. I don't need any help...
P.S. It also outs Santa Claus. So even if you want your kids to read a book about parent-death, you might want to re-consider there, if you want to keep that particular piece of myth alive.
When I read this today, I experienced a strange sort of excitement combined with dread.
I thought to myself, "Yay! Another Warren Ellis book!" Then, alWhen I read this today, I experienced a strange sort of excitement combined with dread.
I thought to myself, "Yay! Another Warren Ellis book!" Then, almost immediately, I thought. "I shouldn't even pick it up though. I'm tired of getting volume 1 of a story from him, then never seeing anything else...."
And yes, I'm aware of the irony. But to be fair, I only have one unfinished series. Ellis has teased my heart with Fell, Desolation Jones, Doctor Sleepless, Injection, Captain Swing, Ignition City....
But of course I picked it up anyway. Because I love everything this man writes. And I'd rather have my heart broken by him, than get 20 volumes of half-baked schlock from someone else...
And I read it, and it's good. Though it broke my heart a little because it introduced about 20 new characters and settings, which means if the series isn't continued it's just going to bug my OCD even more....
But coming on here to review it, I was pleasantly surprised to see that there is a second volume out.
So yeah. This one is doubly worth your time. And there's more to come...
I picked this up because so many of my friends that I trust have gushed about it. (That's how I end up picking up most of my books these days.)
And I wI picked this up because so many of my friends that I trust have gushed about it. (That's how I end up picking up most of my books these days.)
And I wanted to love it. But... I didn't.
Don't get me wrong. I liked it fine. But that's the very definition of damning something with faint praise...
This happens every once in a while. A book everyone else loves leaves me kinda feeling.... meh.
This happens to everyone I think, and it's not an issue of quality. I think it's an issue of personal taste. I think this is one of the books that I appreciate more than I enjoy. I see what it's doing, and the craft of the book is excellent, but it just isn't the right flavor for me. I felt the same about Tank Girl when I read it. I really wanted to like it, but... meh.
So yeah. I liked it. Didn't love it. But I will pass along the huge gushy enthusiasm of many others. If you enjoy non-superhero comics, it's probably worth a try... ...more
I'd like to think that I know a little bit about kid's books at this point. I've read about a thousand of them, I figure. And many of them, I've readI'd like to think that I know a little bit about kid's books at this point. I've read about a thousand of them, I figure. And many of them, I've read many times.
This is a great one for little kids. It's fun. Simple. And shows a little mouse getting dressed. It's not hugely complex, but then again, it doesn't need to be. There's a lot to be said for simplicity.
Truth is, I think this book might be a little too *young* for my youngest boy, who is not quite three years old.
But don't get me wrong here. That's actually really impressive. That means it's a great book for 1 and 2 year olds. Talking about feet and socks. Words they know. Actions they can understand. That's really great for younger kids.
I'm going to read it to my littest boy tonight. Wish me luck....more
I have a real fondness for books told from interesting points of view, especially those in established worlds I've come to know.
This book is from theI have a real fondness for books told from interesting points of view, especially those in established worlds I've come to know.
This book is from the point of view of the main character's dog. (Which isn't as odd as it might sound, if you haven't read the books.)
It's an interesting angle to see these events through, and adds something to the story. But what was *really* interesting to me was the audio narration. The whole book was done in the dog's (literal) voice. Even the "he said" and "she said" parts. Except for when other people were talking, then the narration was in their character's voices.
It makes perfect sense, but I wasn't expecting it. And after listening to most of the other books on audio, it spun my head around a bit.
Fair warning: Not a full length novel in the main storyline. A spinoff story that's much shorter....more
I've been hearing about this book for years from various folks who said they really enjoyed it. So when it popped up in my audiobooks, read by the samI've been hearing about this book for years from various folks who said they really enjoyed it. So when it popped up in my audiobooks, read by the same narrator who performed the Iron Druid chronicles, I figured I'd give it a try.
It's fun. Which might seem like I'm damming it with faint praise. But personally, I don't often read books that take a fairly silly premise and just charge ahead being kinda silly with it.
It's nice, lighthearted, funny, and easy to listen to. Plus the author has a nice turn of phrase that actually made me chuckle out loud a couple of times.
Perfect if you're looking for some fun popcorn reading.
Fair warning: You might want to avoid this if you have a problem with plot holes. Or if you have a tendency to say, "But they could have solved all of these problems if they just XXX!"** And then get irretrievably irritated.
** By XXX here, what I mean if you'd fill in some solution to a problem. Like calling the police Or using the Timeturner to, do something useful, like stop Voldemort or save someone's life. I don't mean XXX like you think all problems should be solved with, like, porno....more
Everything I liked about the first book is continued here, with two added elements besides.
1. Of all the elements in these books, the characterizatioEverything I liked about the first book is continued here, with two added elements besides.
1. Of all the elements in these books, the characterization is probably the weakest. It's just not the focus of the story. However, in this second book, we get to know the characters *much* better, and it added a lot for me.
2. Even better, we get to see more of the world of the mice. We meet the hares and see the relationship with the mice. We see a city that used to be occupied by the ferrets, (we haven't seen them yet, but there has been talk of a war with them.)
Combined with the detailed art, these hints at the larger world hint at a huge, deep, and uniquely detailed world. I'm really growing fond of it.... ...more
My girlfriend picked this up for my son, who has recently turned 7.
He's a big reader, and he loves comics. Though he hasn't been tested, is probably rMy girlfriend picked this up for my son, who has recently turned 7.
He's a big reader, and he loves comics. Though he hasn't been tested, is probably reading years ahead of whatever the standard metric is.
Unfortunately, Sarah made one of the classic mistakes here, and judged a book by its cover. In fact, she made the mistake twice.
1. She assumed that because it was a comic, it was probably for kids.
2. She assumed that a book with animal characters is for kids.
This is a mistake that someone who has better comic literacy never would have made. If for not other reason than because they'd read Maus at some point in their lives.
So on one hand, It wasn't a good choice, because it was too much for my little boy. (He read it just fine, but it was too violent for him, and I think the plot of treachery and betrayal was really beyond what he could understand.)
But that doesn't mean it isn't a good book. It is. The art is great, and the comic paneling is excellent in a way that I couldn't have understood 5 years ago, before I'd read several thousand comics.
So while it didn't strike home with my boy. It struck home with me. The story is strong, and the storytelling and art are truly beyond the pale.
What's more, the story was legitimately heroic in ways that I've rarely experienced. The lion's share of the credit for this should go to the art and storytelling, but the fact that the story centers around mice is important, too. The smaller you are, the more bravery means. And you can't get much smaller than a mouse....
So... yeah. I wouldn't recommend it for kids under 10 or so. But if you're older than that it's well-worth your time.
Especially recommended for those of us who always loved Reepicheep, but wanted a whole book about him being a stone-cold badass....more
When I'm starting a big multi-volume story, one of the big concerns isn't just if the individual books are good. And it's not just whether or not theWhen I'm starting a big multi-volume story, one of the big concerns isn't just if the individual books are good. And it's not just whether or not the books work well as a series. (Because a series is different than a multi-volume story.)
No. The big issue with a multi-volume story is how the *whole* thing wraps up. And as anyone who ever watched the Matrix movies knows, the final part of a trilogy can, in effect, go back in time and ruin the previous otherwise enjoyable story.
I'm happy to say that this multi-volume work rounds out very nicely. (Honestly, I probably wouldn't have talked about it here at all if it ended as a train wreck.) Meaning that you can read the series confident that you aren't going to get screwed by some "it was all just a dream" bullshit, or something to that effect showing up in the last book.
Not only is the series well-written. But it has a lot more complexity than I'd originally expected. Both in the characters, the plot, and in its morality. And personally, I'm a big fan of complexity.
The other thing that really stands out is the fact that the books are unpredictable without being irritating or disappointing. I'm pretty good at anticipating where a story is going to go, and these books constantly zigged when I expected them to zag. But (and this is a really important note) while the ziggs the book took were surprising, they were always sensible and fit smoothly into the overall narrative and world.
So yeah. Good books. Good trilogy. Unpredictable. Clever. Well-written. Very much worth your time....more
I probably picked this book up for different reasons that most people.
I'm not particularly a fan of Mara Wilson. Or, to be more accurate, I should sayI probably picked this book up for different reasons that most people.
I'm not particularly a fan of Mara Wilson. Or, to be more accurate, I should say I don't think I'm a typical fan of hers. I never saw Matilda, or a lot of the other movies she acted in back in the day.
But I met her at Nerdcon. And I liked her. Then I followed her on Twitter, and she was funny and smart. So when her book came out, I thought, why not give it a try....?
And it's good. It's an interesting window into the life of a child star. And into the mind of the person living through it. It's honest and truthful without being painfully confessional, either. (That's something I'm kinda sensitive to, I cringe easy.)
I didn't have a lot of emotional investment in Mara Wilson walking into this (as opposed to a lot of people who watched Matilda or Mrs Doubtfire when they were kids.) And her life isn't really very similar to mine. So it seems like this book shouldn't be for me. That I shouldn't have an entry point into it. Or that I shouldn't enjoy it.
But the truth is, we like seeing into other people's lives. It's one of the great joys of novels. Of stories in general. It's one of the truths that my Kingkiller books are built around.
It's interesting reading the intimate details of another person's life. Especially if that person has lived an interesting life, and if they're willing to speak show you behind the scenes into how they were really thinking at the time.
And Mara Wilson does that marvelously well. I really loved the book. And that says a lot, as I don't think I was in any way the target audience for it.
Also, it's worth noting that I listened to this as an audio book, read by the author. I think that adds a lot to the experience.