A very detailed history of air warfare during WWI, with a focus on Germany and Manfred von Richthofen - the Red Baron. What I knew about the Red BaronA very detailed history of air warfare during WWI, with a focus on Germany and Manfred von Richthofen - the Red Baron. What I knew about the Red Baron prior to reading this book was a result of reading Peanuts for years, which is to say I didn't know much. Wayne Vasant does an admirable job of providing a great deal of information about Richthofen and his Flying Circus. The picture that I've always held of WWI is of trench warfare, gas masks, and barbed wire. Fighting in the air, though, was a different type of war altogether. Vasant likens it to knights with codes of chivalry, involving grace, skill, and luck. Many pilots were killed through accidents and faulty machinery. I finished this book with a better sense of history and a greater understanding of the role planes played in this type of warfare.
So why three stars? This felt like reading a textbook. While I have a better general knowledge of the war, I didn't feel like I got to know Richthofen. The art didn't play into the narrative very often - if you were to take the text away, I wouldn't have had a good sense of story from what was happening. The art itself is fine, and there's great attention to the planes. But the characters look largely interchangeable. The dogfights all looked the same to me. There were so many people to keep track of, and so much covered, it really felt like I was going to have to make an index card of notes to remember everyone - and prepare for the big midterm exam! I just couldn't get into this story. ...more
This book was scary enough that I needed to put it down and walk away. And then pick it back up again. Gah! I felt like I was back reading Scary StoriThis book was scary enough that I needed to put it down and walk away. And then pick it back up again. Gah! I felt like I was back reading Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark again... this book was going to keep me up at night, worrying about monsters under people's skin and wolves lurking outside and voices singing in the walls.
Carroll's storytelling is excellent - sparse, but terrifying, lyrical in a way that covers you in goosebumps. The art makes strong use of colors and lines. Pages are frequently done in heavy amounts of black, with washes of layered color. Reds and blues are bold and unsettling. Sometimes the drawing style reminded me of Edward Gorey, though softer and more fluid.
Definitely worth reading, particularly if you're into scary stories....more
**spoiler alert** I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of Clariel. I've been waiting... and waiting... and waiting(!) for this book, as much as an**spoiler alert** I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of Clariel. I've been waiting... and waiting... and waiting(!) for this book, as much as any other fan of the Abhorsen series. It was worth the wait. This prequel, set several hundred years before the birth of Sabriel, explores the history of another member of the Abhorsen line, Clariel. For those of us that have read the Abhorsen series, we know her better as Chlorr of the Mask. And while this wasn't the story I was expecting, it was still incredibly enjoyable and fits well into the world of the Old Kingdom.
Clariel is not the most likable of characters, but I sympathized with her and was surprised at how much I cared about her as the story progressed. In a way, she reminded me of Katsa in Graceling, by Kristin Cashore. Clariel isn't like Sabriel or Lirael... she's not comfortable with Charter magic and really doesn't care to learn about it Nor is she a noble figure. She has an exceptional temper and a strong will that will play a part in her undoing. She's been recently uprooted from her home in Estwael and wants nothing more than to leave the city of Belisaere and return to the Great Forest, where she feels most at ease. As her story unfolds, she becomes more desperate to leave Belisaere, making choices that lead her further down a path that will end... well, it'll end with Chlorr.
I enjoyed seeing the Old Kingdom during a more orderly time, though we're also seeing what complacency does to the Kingdom. You get a good does of politics, free magic creatures, and leaders who are content to let their responsibilities slip. We see Belisaere in detail and explore the Abhorsen's house. Mogget plays a pivotal role in Clariel's story, and I enjoyed seeing one of my favorite characters at his worst.
We see Clariel really struggle with her desires and her anger throughout the book. It's so rare, I think, to find a book that has a strong female character who isn't sacrificing herself for others and has this incredible flaw. And by the end, the problem isn't solved or controlled. If you've read the other books in the series, you know that things will, in fact, get much, much worse. And I liked (and hated) seeing an Abhorsen who was wretched at his work. Things are so turned on their head in this book compared to the figures we see in the rest of the series; while this was a bit disorienting at first, I enjoyed the change and grew to appreciate that not every person is cut out to be an Abhorsen, a Charter Mage, or a hero. I think that Nix did an excellent job, particularly with Mogget and Aziminil, at making you realize that these are not sympathetic characters. Or that the act of revenge lives up to the idea.
I was a bit surprised by the ending. That direct connection to Chlorr is not there, but rather hinted at. We know what is to come, but this story really shows you where Clariel starts down that path, not how she gets there. And while I had a problem with that as I finished the book, the more I thought about it, the less I minded it. ...more
**spoiler alert** Normally I'm not a big fan of Jeff Lemire's art, but I loved this book. I've reread it, done the decoding thing, and I'll probably g**spoiler alert** Normally I'm not a big fan of Jeff Lemire's art, but I loved this book. I've reread it, done the decoding thing, and I'll probably go back and read it through a little more. The storytelling is just my favorite kind of science fiction, weaving together multiple characters and storylines. The second part of the story, with the shared/split pages, could've gone on longer in my opinion, drawing out both William and Nika's alternate lives in greater detail. There was one element of this story, though, that didn't really work for me; I didn't feel that it was a romance. I can see it on the page, but it never felt like William and Nika were in love. Instead, I started to think of them as one and the same. Maybe it was the shared resemblance or the way they switched into the other's existence. But it never seemed so much romantic, as it did a sense of companionship. Both characters were so alone until they met each other.
I like a story that gives me an ending to mentally chew over, and this one certainly does that. I mean, spoilers aheads, but the two of them have gone into a black hole, and their sense of time and being is at a standstill. They're on the verge of death, but also always there.
I'll definitely be recommending Trillium to other readers, and it's a great science fiction work that should be easily accessible to people who don't normally read sci-fi....more
I really loved the Scott Pilgrim series and I wanted to see what BLoM did next, particularly as a standalone piece. Katie's story is all about doing tI really loved the Scott Pilgrim series and I wanted to see what BLoM did next, particularly as a standalone piece. Katie's story is all about doing things over and trying to right what we consider to be wrong... except Katie's not perfect. In fact, she's pretty shallow, selfish, and mean. She's retreated into her own little world at the start of the book, with a focus just on getting away from her old life. I really enjoyed her as a character - she's flawed and she wants the world to change around her. Until, of course, it does start changing around her, and not for the best.
O'Malley's writing style continues to be amazing... if you like that sort of thing. There are many instances where the wall between narrator and characters is broken. The little asides are funny,and the dialogue is excellent.
The art was one of the few things in this story that tripped me up, and it was really just Max's character that bugged me... he looked too different from everyone else. Katie also stood out, in that she seemed a little less realistic, but I can give that a pass because she's the main character. The layout to me was cleaner and less cluttered than Scott Pilgrim was, and I liked the way the pages were paced. The hardcover is beautiful - great colors, clean pages, and a great use of the architecture in the restaurants. ...more
I've previously read A Game for Swallows, which I liked very much. It breaks down the events of a single evening, as the author waits for her parentsI've previously read A Game for Swallows, which I liked very much. It breaks down the events of a single evening, as the author waits for her parents to return to their apartment. I Remember Beirut, on the other hand, compiles her memories of growing up in Beirut. It takes small moments and plays them out, sometimes over one page and sometimes more. The illustrations are unique, beautiful, and detailed (though bound to draw some comparisons with Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis). I like that you can find joy in these moments, underlying the overall atrocities and difficulties. My bone to pick is that this feels like a companion piece to A Game of Swallows and I'm not sure I would enjoy it so much if I hadn't read that book initially. It was wonderful to see her neighbors again, particularly those who'd played such a prominent part in the earlier book. Does a book always have to stand on it's own to be a quality read? Eh, probably not. I'd still recommend I Remember Beirut....more
When I started this series, I was sure it wasn't going To be something I enjoyed, I don't read much in the way of horror comics and wasn't really allWhen I started this series, I was sure it wasn't going To be something I enjoyed, I don't read much in the way of horror comics and wasn't really all that excited about the premise. I was wrong... Shame on past me. This series is amazing... Story, art, and dialogue are wonderful. I don't want this to be the end... More Lord Baltimore!...more
I thought this anthology was a bit hit and miss. While I thought the topics covered are important, I didn't feel drawn in by many of the stories. SomeI thought this anthology was a bit hit and miss. While I thought the topics covered are important, I didn't feel drawn in by many of the stories. Some of them are far too short to really book a reader (no pun intended) to further research the subject. Others read more like a textbook - The Legend of T. Gigas, Atolls of the Maldives, and Poseidon's Steed, for example. I enjoyed stories that showed more personality and took a different tack beyond illustrating facts. Tortuga, the Island that Swims is a great example of being both informative, telling a complete story, and even portraying some humor. I loved the way the barnacles, shrimp, and other residents on the turtle chimed in throughout. The Rime of the Modern Mariner stood out as being both a personal story, informative about the albatross (without sounding stuffy and dry), and having unique artwork - great colors and use of shadow. My favorite story was Butanding, which incorporated folk tale with fact. The art was so lush and conveyed the beauty and mystery of the whale shark. I had a hard time getting through this book - it wasn't one that called out to be read. It was easy enough to pick up and put down, and if I found a story boring, it took me awhile to want to pick it up again. I think that this book has a lot of value and is very informative, but I don't know that it has a lot of appeal to those who don't already have an interest in environmental issues....more
I picked this up for the YALSA Hub Challenge. I had meant to read it ages ago - it looked interesting. The thing is, I hate reading about the Titanic.I picked this up for the YALSA Hub Challenge. I had meant to read it ages ago - it looked interesting. The thing is, I hate reading about the Titanic. I hate watching movies about the Titanic. They make me depressed. I don't know why this subject feels so tedious to me - because it is very interesting. Maybe it was going through high school with girls who tallied up the numerous times they'd gone to see Titanic. I don't know. But even though I told myself that this time, it would be different, I felt that same sort of dread when I started listening. And in the back of my head, as each character and voice was introduced, all I could think was "What're the odds that this person survived?"
This is a good book. It's well-written, the characters are fleshed out, and I enjoyed Wolf's biographies at the end. I hadn't realized that all of these characters (well, leaving out the Ice and the Rat) were real and I loved the tone Wolf used when describing the controversy among Titaniacs over issues like what was the last song played and who was more cowardly. I am also, at the very least by career choice, a big fan of research. And this was researched to the gills. So the detail was amazing. Really, my only hang-up with this was the topic! And despite that, I still enjoyed it. Enjoy is not the right word. I admired the writing, I was compelled by the characters, I got emotional. There's a scene that I think the print version probably doesn't do the writing justice. When the Titanic has sank and the life boats are surrounded by those drowning, freezing, and dying. An earlier poem about promenading the decks is recited over the voices of those in the water. This is gut-wrenching. People are calling out for help, whispering in the boats, crying. And it goes on and on and on. It was hard to even listen to it. Many of the survivors later talk about being haunted by these voices, and you'll understand what they mean.