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
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
Yay, Amy Reeder is back! I love her work and this is no exception. I thought the story was good - a big improvement on volume two, but not quite as goYay, Amy Reeder is back! I love her work and this is no exception. I thought the story was good - a big improvement on volume two, but not quite as good as volume one. This volume focuses on the relationship between Nimue/Madame Xanadu, and her sister Morgana. We get a lot of backstory about the two sisters. It comes in the midst of the main story, dealing with a 1950s housewife struggling with her life and - quite suddenly - with the supernatural. She seeks help from Madame Xanadu and this leads to a confrontation between Nimue and Morgana. Oh, and throw in John Jones, who's investigating a little Satanic cult! Yeah, seriously.
I enjoyed the main storyline, but I didn't know what to make of the secondary story, dealing with the sisters' pasts. You come away from that plot feeling sort of sorry for Morgana. She's not as talented as her sisters when it comes to magic and she's part of a family who's power is diminishing and who's time has come and gone. Nimue is depicted as the perfect sister and Morgana as the bitch. And she is... she's violent and crazed and vicious. And she's grieving the death of her son. But we have to reconcile this with her new appearance in the 1950s, where she's bursting people, Violet Beauregarde-style, as she gets her feet rubbed. So yeah, that's a little strange.
I did like the way that Madame Xanadu is and isn't a part of the 1950s lifestyle. Talk about a decade where she just doesn't fit. And yet, Wagner makes it work. I would recommend this volume... though I would recommend solely on the artwork, even if the story sucked. Which it didn't....more
I really enjoyed the first collection of Matt Wagner's Madame Xanadu. This one didn't do it for me though. The story follows Madame Xanadu as she doesI really enjoyed the first collection of Matt Wagner's Madame Xanadu. This one didn't do it for me though. The story follows Madame Xanadu as she does some old-fashioned detective work in 1940, following a series of mysterious deaths and reliving memories of her life in Spain during the Spanish Inquisition.
I thought the plot dragged on, with occasional highlights, such as cameos from Dian Belmont and Wesley Dodds. The storyline following her time in Spain was fairly predictable - no big revelations when Nimue's nature causes problems with the Inquisition! The dialogue is also pretty bad - particularly the scene with the showgirl and Richard Miller.
Most of all, I didn't like the artwork. It felt very messy and busy, particularly compared to Amy Reeder Hadley's gorgeous work in the previous volume. Some of the characters' expressions were hilarious given the context of the scenes. For example, when Nimue's lover has been taken by the Inquisition and a neighbor confronts her with this news, her expression reads as... sleepy.
This mysterious killer releasing his demon dog to kill a man... cross-eyed? Detecting a bad smell?
And good old Tomas de Torquemada... Indiana Jones-style face melt? Look at those teeth, they're horrifying!
With a subpar story, dialogue, and artwork, I'd say this one is skipable. I'm hoping the next collection is better than this one. I like the Madame Xanadu character, but it felt like she didn't have to make much effort here to solve the mystery and defeat the villain... because who doesn't have mummified shards from the brain of a kraken lying around? Seriously. I feel that Wesley Dodd's and Dian Belmont's perspectives would've been much more intriguing than what we get here....more
A mix of historical fiction and fantasy, The Secret Journey of Jack London reimagines the writer's life, beginning with his adventures in the KlondikeA mix of historical fiction and fantasy, The Secret Journey of Jack London reimagines the writer's life, beginning with his adventures in the Klondike. Jack is 17 (a few years younger than the real Jack) and journeying with his aging brother-in-law in an attempt to strike it rich. While Jack is seeking gold in order to save his mother's home, his true purpose is to learn more about himself. The brother-in-law is quickly written out of the story and Jack instead teams up with two other young men. They navigate the Chilkoot Trail and White Horse Rapids and spend the winter snowed in an abandoned cabin. This would be the high point of their trip. When they do finally make it to Dawson, they are kidnapped and forced to pan for gold as slaves.
We've reached the halfway point of the book and you might be wondering where the fantasy comes in. So far, the story has stuck mostly to the facts, with minor tweaking here and there. But midway through, the story shifts, and Jack's camp is suddenly attacked by the Wendigo, a flesh-eating monster. He escapes with the aid of a wolf, Jack's mysterious guide that appears throughout the book, and a young woman named Lesya, daughter of a forest spirit. At this point, we've wandered into a bit of a supernatural romance, with Lesya teaching Jack about the "call of the wild" but also trying to keep him close to her.
Jack must escape the beautiful Lesya, avoid her insane father, and somehow defeat the Wendigo, before returning to civilization.
Expect a lot of action in this survival story, as well as beautiful descriptions of the wilderness surrounding Jack and his friends. The writing is good and I enjoyed Jack's sense of searching and the way the author played with the idea of people becoming feral in the wilderness.
Fans of books like The Monstrumologist may enjoy this. I'm not sure, however, that fans of London's works would pick it up. While there's a connection to his stories, I wonder if they would be put off by the monsters and spirits. The historical fiction and the fantasy elements don't mix well, making this feel like you're reading two different stories.
With more planned for this series, I would say that this isn't a must-have. However, if you have teens clamoring for more books that feature survival, adventure, or even looking for an Alaska-fix, this would be a good buy. Grades 7 and up....more
Let me preface my review by saying that I first read this series when I was in high school and I loved it. My best friend recommended it and we refereLet me preface my review by saying that I first read this series when I was in high school and I loved it. My best friend recommended it and we referenced it all the time... though with some knowledge that this was somewhat cheesy writing. There were lots of jokes about guys with beautiful, steely blue eyes. But I remember thinking that the books were somewhat scary, contained a great mix of fantasy and reality, and Julian had that bad-boy/demon thing going for him, like Jareth in Labyrinth, but without the weird age difference!
So when the series was finally reprinted, I was really excited to read them again and see how my adult-self compared with my teen-self. I'm sorry to say that I don't think this series aged that well. It's not just the early 90s references... I felt like there were a lot of problems here. Like the characters feeling like stereotypes for the first half of the series. Or the language that they used sounding like it wouldn't come out of a teen's mouth now or 16 years ago. And Jenny... what did she see in Tom? She feels so flat throughout the books, which I suppose is somewhat the point. She does develop somewhat and becomes more independent, less reliant on her friends' strengths and Tom being her protector. I suppose I just got annoyed with her incredible "goodness" - I mean, who's really that good?
I should balance this review out by saying that I still did enjoy rereading this series... it just felt more like a guilty read! I think that for those Twilight-readers this is an excellent collection to move on to; even though it's populated with the troubled, beautiful, immortal bad boy, it revolves less around being obsessed by this boy and more about friendship and inner-strength. Jenny's not the strongest of heroines, but she still becomes "her own master." As a librarian, I'll be recommending this book to those still looking for something after Twilight, but also to those looking for a good haunted house story, something to do with nightmares, or something that doesn't include vampires! ...more
After almost 17 years, L.J. Smith has returned to the Vampire Diaries series. This continuation picks up where the last book left off, with Elena, a hAfter almost 17 years, L.J. Smith has returned to the Vampire Diaries series. This continuation picks up where the last book left off, with Elena, a high school girl, and Stefan, her vampire love-interest, reunited after her death and return from the spirit world. Elena has transformed into an angelic creature with powers of Light, which also make her the target for the supernatural residents of Fell's Church. Damon, Stefan's vampiric brother, is still drawn to Elena, but so are a pair of kitsune twins.
This book is a clunky continuation of a popular series and, because there are vampires and it has a new TV show, it will most likely be a highly-requested title. The language is dated and the characters are beyond unrealistic. While the original storyline ended in 1992, this book takes place in the present, which means the author works in many unnecessary references to technology like mobile phones and laptop computers. Elena's transformation is awkward; she has become an "innocent being," but the other characters must struggle with her flying around, Tinkerbell-like, without clothes and often kissing people to recognize them. This book misses the appeal of the earlier series. There are so many better vampire/supernatural books out there - do your collection a favor and skip it....more
The League is back, newly formed (sort of... if you've read the last three books, particularly The Black Dossier, you know about this version of the LThe League is back, newly formed (sort of... if you've read the last three books, particularly The Black Dossier, you know about this version of the League already) and it's ready to defend London. Expect to need to sit down with a wiki after you read this (at least I did) to get all the characters and references. If you're a LoEG fan already, that shouldn't be new! Nemo's daughter, Janni, really makes the story, with her departure from Lincoln Island and transformation working in the Cuttlefish Hotel. I had not expected to dislike Orlando so much, particularly after his/her feature in The Black Dossier made me so much more curious about this character.
The artwork, as always, is awesome. I felt like the story was somewhat lacking, though I felt the same way about The Black Dossier. The last book was a quick chase, with frequent and lengthy interruptions of the League's history. Moore seems to resist the urge in this volume, with a rather short entry at the end called "Minions of the Moon," which explores the League's future. I'm really curious to see more of this iteration of the League, but it sounds like I'll be disappointed, based on Moore's plans for the next two volumes. I suppose, in a way, I've always been more interested in the other members of the League and less so in Allan and Mina....more
Phillipa takes off in the middle of her dad's wedding to pastel-loving Krystal, in order to head off to her summer job - being a nanny who "loves blacPhillipa takes off in the middle of her dad's wedding to pastel-loving Krystal, in order to head off to her summer job - being a nanny who "loves black" to ten-year-old twin girls at a luxurious but creepy spa in Maine. The spa has all the latest amenities, including a hot gardener named Geoff, a bossy, a ghost-obsessed business-women named Lady Buena Verde, an absent-minded father, and a prissy assistant, Laurie, who may or may not be dating Geoff. However, the twins and their new nanny are not to be seen or heard by guests, despite orders for Phillipa to make the twins have "fun" so that they can get over their mother's death. Phillipa is still grieving her own mother's death, but she's ready to take on the challenge.
So... sound kind of crappy? That's because it is! This is a relatively harmless fluff-book, but the writing is weak, the characters don't develop, the ending is abrupt, and a major plot-point - Phillipa getting over her mother's death - just gets dropped. She starts out still mourning her mother (and it's been several years since she died in a car wreck that it's hinted was caused by Phillipa's cat... WTH?) and hating the idea of having fun. But she throws herself into forcing the twins to have fun, like going to the arcade, swimming, or hanging out in the butterfly garden. A few ghosts appear in the story with absolutely no consequence, even after one of them tries to kill Phillipa. There are hints that Lady Buena Verde could help her contact these spirits, but absolutely nothing comes of it.
The romance complication between Geoff and Laurie is explained away in one sentence and he'll probably be visiting Phillipa after the summer, who I guess will be going back to her unhappy life with her dad and new stepmother. These are the classic YA adults who hardly care that their teenage daughter will be spending the summer in a strange mansion as a nanny, or that she takes off in the middle of their wedding, after throwing away her bridesmaid dress.
You'd think that maybe the positive of this book is that it's a light, quick read... and it is. But the language is so dated, I have a hard time imagining teens would want to read it. There are references to Dragnet in this... Dragnet! Which last aired in 1959. Very relevant to today's teens. There are just so many good books out there, there's not much a reason to waste your time on this. ...more
This is one of my favorite fantasy series ever. The Old Kingdom setting is amazing, Sabriel is a wonderful, strong heroine, and Touchstone and MoggetThis is one of my favorite fantasy series ever. The Old Kingdom setting is amazing, Sabriel is a wonderful, strong heroine, and Touchstone and Mogget are some of my favorite side characters. Add in Tim Curry's narration on the audiobook and I'm in heaven! That sounds so lame... but it's true! I can't recommend this series strongly enough....more
I read this backwards, as in I read You Suck first and then went back and read Bloodsucking Fiends. Or rather listened to both... because Susan BennetI read this backwards, as in I read You Suck first and then went back and read Bloodsucking Fiends. Or rather listened to both... because Susan Bennett is the best narrator EVER! Apparently, though, I'm not the only person to make this mistake. It was still great to learn these characters' backgrounds and how they got to where they are in You Suck. While this one may not be as funny as the sequel, it's still hilarious and I still love it.
This is a nice break from angsty vampire books. I'm really not a fan of vampires, and I appreciated the moments where Tommy was reviewing classic vampire lit and testing Jodi to see what powers she did and didn't have. I loved Scott and Zelda... it almost makes me want my own turtles! I really don't have much to say about this book that hasn't been said in other reviews... it's funny, it's got fantasy, and it's very San Francisco (albeit several years ago). I'm glad I finally read it!...more
This book was just wonderful. I'm having such a difficult time finding things to say about it besides the fact that it was amazing. It's sweet withoutThis book was just wonderful. I'm having such a difficult time finding things to say about it besides the fact that it was amazing. It's sweet without ever being saccharine. There's hilarious moments (I loved the ghouls), sad and scary moments, and the ending is just right, leaving you hoping for another book *please please*. I have to agree with Leila, this book feels very similar to Sandman, but without some of the horror content. Adult themes lurk around the edges of the story - after all, this is about growing up - and there are plenty of frightening characters in and out of the graveyard (mostly out). The characters are all so full of life (forgive the pun) - all around, this book was amazing.
I have to say that the audio version of this is just brilliant. I listened to Neil Gaiman read Coraline, and he did a great job there - but this blows that reading out of the water. The characters, the accents, everything is so developed, you forget you're listening to just one person reading. Just listen to the chapter with the ghouls and Miss Lupescu and Bod's adventures through the ghoul gate... you'll be hooked! I know I'm going to have to check out the paper copy of the book, to peak at Dave McKean's illustrations, but I'm going to be recommending the audio version to everyone. ...more