vylotte: (Jack reading)
[personal profile] vylotte
A shout out and thanks to Goodreads for another year of tracking my reading.

The best:
Ready Player One; Ernest Cline
Welcome to Bordertown; Ellen Kushner
The Postmortal; Drew Magary
The Last Werewolf; Glen Duncan
The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear; Patrick Rothfuss
The Unwritten; Mark Carey
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy; JRR Tolkien




NOVELS:
1. Super Sad True Love Story; Gary Shteyngart. 3/5
I usually avoid "romance" stories, but I felt the relationship was more a setting for the dystopian world, than the other way around. America has become a fascist state where the populace is so wrapped up in their digital lives and online interactions and moral bankruptcy that they let the country crumble around them. And yes, it is also the story of a romance, from start to finish, between two highly incompatible people who also manage to find solace and comfort in each other, for at least a while. The main character reminds me far too much of someone I know, which was odd in the reading, I kept superimposing my friend. The decline of the US was scary, a very well-thought-out and extrapolated possible future.

2. Let Me In; John Ajvide Lindqvist. 4/5
This is a spectacular novel, even moreso considering it's his first. The story of a boy and his best friend, the vampire next door. But it was more than that, it was gritty and brutal and beautiful. Gee, I wonder if it'll ever be made into a movie? ;)

3. Handling the Undead; John Ajvide Lindqvist. 3/5
Much as he revamped vamps with "Let the Right One In," he attempts to do the same with the undead. Actually, I found this strangely sweet and loving, the undead (or "reliving") in this book are a very limited phenomenon, helpless as newborns and most only wanting to go home. Well, at first. Still, a moving take on what it might mean if your loved dead came home


4. The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1) ; JRR Tolkien. 5/5
Wow. Previously, I thought I had read through and into Two Towers, but I realized I hadn't read past the Council of Elrond. Fantastic. Amazing. Wonderful. I wish I could have Lister erase my memory of reading it now so I could read it again for the first time. Happily moving on to the next installment.

5. The Two Towers(The Lord of the Rings, #2) ; JRR Tolkien. 5/5
It's utterly fascinating to see what Peter Jackson kept, removed and changed to make his movies. I can see now why long time fans were annoyed in parts, but having seen (and loved) the movies first, I can view them with more clinical detachment and appreciate his choices.

6. The Return Of The King (The Lord of the Rings, #3) ; JRR Tolkien. 5/5
Wow! The bit at the end with the Hobbits saving the Shire was a most excellent surprise. I still think Sam was the real hero of these books.

7. Brave New Worlds: Dystopian Stories; John Joseph Adams. 4/5
An anthology of dystopian short stories, a multitude of societies gone wrong. Where you can be killed if you have kids, if you don't have kids or if you are a kid. Where it's illegal to be normal, to be special, to make a scene, to be quiet. A mix of old and new stories, I'd read two before, "The Lottery," and "Minority Report," both worth the reread. I found myself ending the book with a new-found paranoia, perhaps I should have taken it a bit slower and spaced a few other books between.

8. How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe; Charles Yu. 3/5
Time travel hurts my head. I think it's all the different tenses, flowing without rule. However, I gave this one a shot. From what I can decipher, the ability to create universes exists. This one, in which our protagonist lives, was partially created and then abandoned, then bought by a corporation who finished it off with their physics, "science fictional" physics that allow things like time travel to work. He is a time machine technician who floats around in time and space fixing people's machines when they break. It's the story of how he gets caught in a time loop while trying to find his father, and ultimately finds himself. I skimmed all the technobabble and enjoyed the underlining story. But really? Time travel makes my head hurt.


9. Of Blood and Honey(The Fey and the Fallen, #1) ; Stina Leicht. 4/5
This book was recommended to me by a friend, and as I've been into faerie-tinged reality a lot lately, I picked it up right away. I loved this book! Set in the turbulent northern Ireland of the 70s, the backdrop is technically a war between the Fae and fallen angels, though that didn't appear too much. The main story is the tale of Liam, a half-fae boy coming to adulthood without knowledge of his heritage and the trials he goes through with the violence that seems to follow him.

I found the writing to be very evocative, and the author had a really good sense of when to keep things sparse and when to elaborate. The characters were strong and believable, and I will absolutely read anything else she writes. I gave it four stars instead of five only because I felt the middle was frustrating with Liam not quite realizing what was going on and the supporting characters dancing around the issue. But it was a small criticism in a very entertaining whole.

10. The Stolen Child; Keith Donohue. 3/5
Strangely hypnotizing, at times sweet, sad, melancholy and hopeful. A parallel story told in alternating chapters of Henry Day, stolen by hobgoblins and the changeling that takes his place and lives his life. A totally different take than I've ever read before.

As an aside, I found a list this morning from 2008 of books to look for in used bookstores. I checked to see how many I've managed to read, and this book was on there. Glad I finally got to it, this may be a reread some day. I have a feeling it's going to stick with me.

11. Yarn; Jon Armstrong. 4/5
An absolutely unique and fun read, Armstrong has created the new genre of "fashionpunk." In the high tech future, fashion and sex are everything. In Seattlehama, a massive metropolis perched on the top of Mt. Rainier where buildings are knit instead of built and fashion is a deadly serious business that colors every single aspect of life. He's got another stand-alone book in the same universe, I will be seeking it out.

12. The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1) ; Patrick Rothfuss. 4/5
After this book came to my attention, I couldn't stop stumbling over raves for it. "One of the best of the decade!" "Best new fantasy series debut!" So I got a copy and when my library stack finally dwindled, I started reading. And couldn't put it down. I even took it to Norwescon and pulled it out whenever I had some free time (and got many, many comments about how good of a book it is).

Honestly, it is one of the best fantasy books I've read in a long time. The writing is simple, lush and flowing. The story is engrossing. The sequel is already out. How much more could I ask for?!


13. The Wise Man's Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #2) ; Patrick Rothfuss. 4/5
I enjoyed the second novel in this series just as much as the first, I devoured it in three days, and if it weren't for work, kids and sleep, I bet it would have been one.

It's the second day in "Innkeeper Kothe's" bar, only he isn't a lowly innkeeper, he's the infamous Kvothe, man of a million legends. He's been discovered by the worlds best Chronicler, and has convinced Kvothe to tell his story from start to finish, to set the truth down amidst all the rumors, tall tales and legends that surround him.

Picking up where it left off, at the University, things do branch off as Kvothe takes a journey to far off lands, and faerie itself.

I would have given this five stars but I felt it lagged a bit at the end and a couple sections were belaboring their points. Still, a rollicking journey with no few subtle homages to Robert Jordan, always a plus!


14. A Discovery of Witches; Deborah Harkness. 3/5
Big thick book. There was a lot more "paranormal romance" in this than I prefer, but it was okay to dabble. The story was engrossing, the writing was a bit overdone at times (show, don't tell!) and the characters could have been a lot deeper than the superficial tropes they embodied. Still, it was as fun read and I'll pick up the sequel next year some time when it comes out, to find out what happens next. Though all the yearning, moping and sweeping melodrama might make me roll my eyes a time or two (hundred).


15. Full Dark, No Stars; Stephen King. 4/5
Full dark, indeed. I really think S.K. should rethink many of the stories that he writes as novel-length books, he's got a special gift for short stories and novellas, as in this collection. But dang, line up something light and cheery to read when this is done. Full dark.


16. Welcome to Bordertown; Ellen Kushner. 5/5
A new tome in my favorite shared universe, ever! Woo! Bordertown is the same but the rest of the world sure isn't. The thirteen days that passed in town were really thirteen years to the rest of the world. But now the border is open again, and the people that considered themselves on the cutting edge of everything are forced to deal with a world that has moved on without them. But if there's anything they can do, it's adapt. Love the new life that was breathed into the series.

17. Slaughterhouse-Five; Kurt Vonnegut. 4/5
My first Vonnegut novel, given as a birthday gift. I was struck by its simplicity in craft, hiding such a monumental message. There were some passages of true beauty, which stood out in bass relief against the simple presentation of the war horrors. All wrapped in a scifi skin.


18. Songs of Love and Death: All-Original Tales of Star-Crossed Love; George R. R. Martin. 3/5
A bunch of short stories of star-crossed and unusual love affairs. Happy surprise to find a Jacqueline Carey story from the Kushiel universe. Many familiar names writing in and out of their most famous characters. The only one I couldn't get into was Tanith Lee's, which is odd as I usually love her work. Edited by GRRM, nothing written though.

19. Sealing the Deal: The Love Mentor's Guide to Lasting Love; Diana Kirschner. 2/5
Eh, read it because people were raving about it on a website I read. Pretty basic, all common sense to me. Super fast read, I got through it over two lunch breaks at the library. There were one or two little things that I found helpful. I will recommend it to a couple people I know that don't have the aforementioned common sense.


20. Deadline(Newsflesh Trilogy #2) ; Mira Grant. 3/5
I was eagerly anticipating this sequel to "Feed," the story of a pack of journalists caught in a massive controversy years after a zombie uprising changed the course of humanity forever. Privacy is a thing of the past and multiple daily blood tests are not only expected, they're desired. People live online and venture outside with trepidation. Volume two in the series is more of the same, with the conspiracy expanding globally. It has a soft spot in my heart due to the plucky underdog journalists fighting the good fight. The science is complex and realistic while still presented simply enough for a layperson to understand, the world is suitably dystopian while still leaving room for hope. Did *not* like how the main character was constantly threatening to punch people in the face, and doing it enough for his friends to constantly walk on eggshells around him. Looking forward to #3.

21. Countdown; Mira Grant. 4/5
A prequel to the excellent "Feed," "Countdown" is a novella showing the origins of the virus and the circumstances leading to it's release to the general populace. As always, a rip-roaring read. And again I must say, this is the most well-thought-out approach to a zombie virus I've seen yet, in any medium. And kudos to the author for making it understandable to a virology noob like myself.

22. Godless; Pete Hautman. 4/5
A microcosm view of religion. A charismatic soul has an idea/divine inspiration/a blow to the head and gets an idea of god, and what follows when he "spreads the word."

We meet a fanatic, a dabbler, a follower; see a division of ideas and branching of sects and plenty of theological musings. I can see people struggling with the faith they were born into finding this novel a relief, that it's okay to question and even eventually decide their parent's religion is not their own.

The religion was clever and amusingly scifi. And hello, I now see water towers everywhere.


23. American Gods; Neil Gaiman. 5/5
Reread. I recommended this to a friend and then realized I'd forgotten most of the plot (though not the underlying themes). I called it a romantic view of the life cycle of deities (or something close). I love Shadow, I aspire to handle the bizarre, unusual and random with half the cool he does.


24. A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire #4) ; George R. R. Martin. 4/5
Reread. Getting ready for Dance with Dragons.

25. A Dance With Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5) ; George R. R. Martin. 4/5
What can I say, other than it's a glorious continuation of one of the best epic fantasies written. Four stars instead of five only because Martin had to dig himself out of the corner he painted Dany into, and I just couldn't find myself caring about her time ruling in Meereen.

26. Aftertime; Sophie Littlefield. 3/5
A woman searches for her child in a world devastated by a zombie apocalypse.


27. Midnight Movie; Tobe Hooper. 4/5
Done in a documentary style using interviews, blog articles, twitter feed and newspaper articles, this first novel by the director of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" is all that you would imagine. A movie created by the adolescent Tobe is unearthed but more than a novelty, viewing spawns a horrific disease that manifests as sexual obsessions, violence, madness and zombies. You might not think so, given the the subject matter, but it really was a fun little book.

28. Hounded (Iron Druid Chronicles, #1) ; Kevin Hearne. 4/5
I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book. Urban fantasy done the way I like it, full of wit, humor and adventure, with none of the dorky pining romance that makes most urban fantasies thinly-veiled bodice rippers. Atticus is a hipster Druid who happens to be thousands of years old and stuck in the middle of the quarrels of gods. Trying to live under the radar, he is underestimated by friend and foe alike. Lots of fun, I'll definitely pick up the next two in the series.


29. Hexed (Iron Druid Chronicles, #2) ; Kevin Hearne. 4/5
As fun a read as the first in the series, "Hexed" is the second book featuring Atticus, the centuries-old druid with the carefully-groomed appearance of a stoner college student. It's all camouflage, though, hiding power and knowledge far in excess of the mortal world. Dealing with the aftermath of the actions in "Hounded," Atticus must join with allies new and old to fight ancient enemies. Very clever and witty, with a view of religions very reminiscent of Gaiman's work.

30. Hammered (Iron Druid Chronicles, #3; Kevin Hearne. 4/5
The third novel in the Iron Druid series finds Atticus forced to coordinate a battle he doesn't particularly care to join, a fight to the death with Thor. Even after dire warnings from gods he trusts can't make him break his word, but will integrity be the death of him ... or even the world? Still charming and witty and funny, this entry brings up heavy questions of friendship, vendettas and honor.


31. Rosemary and Rue; Seanan Maguire. 4/5
When this arrived at the library for me, I couldn't remember why I placed a hold on it. From first glance, it appeared to be one of those paranormal romances that I can't stand. But as I read, I was very pleasantly surprised. It wasn't until I was almost finished with the book that I remembered Seanan McGuire is also Mira Grant, who wrote "Feed," the zombie book I liked so much. Anyway, she's got a vast imagination, a gift for striking a good balance with flawed-yet-heroic characters and attention to detail that make all her books I've read so far rise above the masses of similar fiction out there. Happily, I see there's quite a few more books in the October Daye series, and I shall read on.

32. The Magicians; Lev Grossman. 4/5
I'd seen this book pop up a few times in 2010 on the various "best of the decade" lists, but it wasn't until the sequel came out a bit ago that it really registered in my mind. Touted as a "Harry Potter for adults" and knowing there were two books to enjoy back-to-back, if I so desired, I put it on hold at the library.

"Harry Potter for Adults" is fairly accurate, the story of a brilliant, angst-ridden fellow accepted into a super secret school of magic. But it's more than that. It felt like two books, part taking place in our world and part in a fantasy world not unlike Narnia. But it's far grittier than either of the inspiration worlds, no matter how fantastic it gets, there is always a tether of realism in the characters, settings and reactions. There's sex, betrayal, violence and anger. But there is also love, wonder, joy and friendship. And magic, lots and lots of magic.

Some books you read stick with you, and I can already tell this is one of them. And kudos to all the literary and culture references throughout, you can tell it's written by someone who loves the source materials and transferred it to his own work.

33. Ready Player One; Ernest Cline. 5/5
What a fun, fantastic ride! In a dystopian future of overpopulation, poverty and climate craziness, the world works, plays and exists in a massive virtual simulation universe called OASIS. The creator and mastermind behind this, brilliant and obsessed with the 80s, dies with his fortune willed to the one person who can solve his ultimate easter egg, a quest hidden in stages throughout his universe. A pop culture tribute to the 80s, it's a glorious romp following a high school student who devotes his life to finding and solving the puzzle, while trying to survive the murderous corporation that wants the fortune and control of the world.

How can I not love something that name drops Everquest and G-Force and treats the classics of movie, tv, games and literature with the awe and respect they deserve!

34. Kill the Dead(Sandman Slim, #2) ; Richard Kadrey. 4/5
Stark is back, as ultra-violent as ever, this time with zombies! I love his darkly pragmatic and witty stream of consciousness. Kadrey has a gift for looking at the world with pessimism yet love for all the gritty corners and ugly truths, presenting it with just the right turn of phrase to leave me shaking my head in disbelief and laughing at the same time. Stark is the kind of person you pray you never anger and hope to have on your side because he will (literally) move heaven and hell for his friends. And in a cage match against the world? He would walk out the other side flicking world guts off his jeans, lighting a cigarette off the smoldering ashes

35. Uglies; Scott Westerfeld. 3/5
Society has developed a way to stop all fighting and war by turning all the inhabitants “pretty” once they hit the age of 16. Tally is quickly approaching the milestone and eagerly anticipating her change from an “ugly,” until an outside view changes her mind.

36. Pretties; Scott Westerfield. 1/5
A poor choice for adolescent reading material.

Aw man, I had high expectations for this, the sequel to "Uglies," about a society where everyone is surgically altered to fit within specific beauty (and behavioral) guidelines, and one girl who rebels.

I found this volume to be poorly crafted. The writing was rushed, the motivations for the characters were okay in parts and in others laughable. And get a thesauraus, there are words other than "spinning" to describe a multitude of sensations from confusion to drunk to shocked. But no, Tally was "spinning."

The author put so much time and effort into making the dystopian reality seem so logical and wonderful, and focusing far too much on things like the Uglies zits and malformed faces and how you have to pee in a stench trench out in the woods, I spent the entire book sympathizing with the Pretties and Specials and wondering why the lead character was progressing down a path she viewed with contempt.

But what really got me was the way that starving yourself to be thin was shown not only to be one way to stay "bubbly" (another is death-defying stunts) but also step-by-step ways that you, too, can do this. Don't eat, but if you must, eat just a tiny bit. Drink lots of coffee and EGADS, if you over indulge, quick take a pill that speeds you up and burns your calories. Seriously, in this day and age of obesity and eating disorders on all sides of the spectrum, and especially the demographic it's geared towards, I would have a long and serious discussion with my child if she ever wanted to read this.

37. Specials; Scott Westerfield. 2/5
Not as shamefully bad as the previous book in the series, better written but still sloppy on the motivations and flash decisions. Still spends way too much time building up Tally's thought processes as a special (or as a bubbly) as right and correct then suddenly expects everyone to see that it was "wrong," when so much time was spent convincing us it was right. Good action sequences. I think it would make a better film, to be honest, and that says a lot.

38. Those Across the River; Christopher Buehlman. 3/5
Spooky, quick read about a town in the middle of nowhere in the 20s and a nearby forest that is definitely hiding something bad. Lots of people haunted by the past; their own, the country's and society as a whole's.

39. Ashes; Ilsa J. Blick. 3/5
After an EMP cripples North America, either killing or zombifying nearly everyone of reproductive age, society must rebuild and the surviving young become one of the remaining commodities. This is a fresh view on the zombie and PA tropes, and I like how the book ended without a pat resolution. I'll definitely pick up the next when it's published.

40. Don’t Breathe a Word; Jennifer McMahon. 3/5
A creepy tale told in alternating chapters of past and present, about a missing girl who may or may not have been taken by the King of the Faerie. Woven in with love, paranoia, mental illness and the power of story the ending is unsettling enough to cause me to doubt even my own perceptions while reading it.

41. Just a Geek; Wil Wheaton. 4/5
Ahh Wil Wheaton, a hero to the geeks, the poster child for embracing your personal slice of fandom and running with it. I've heard him speak quite a few times, and even met him here and there as he makes the con circuits. As this book is from 2004, and deals a lot with his transition from actor to writer, from pariah to fan-favorite, I have heard his stories from beyond that pivotal point and know how far he's come since then. Still, quite an interesting look at how perspectives and priorities change from boy to man. Not having read his website, I found all these stories fresh and funny, and I have a new found respect for him after he so honestly shares his life, good and bad.


42. Zone One; Colson Whitehead. 4/5
Following the story of one of the current survivors of the ongoing zombie apocalypse, and the burgeoning society that is desperately trying to gain a foothold in the maelstrom that is the remnants of humanity.

The theme that sticks most with me is that of PASD, Post Apocalyptic Stress Disorder. Everyone is damaged, everyone is barely grasping to sanity, constantly anticipating the next tragedy. Yet you politely ignores everyone else's mess, lest someone point out your own.

The author has a glorious grasp of the written word. I found myself rereading sentences just to grasp every nuance of the precise and surgical imagery. His style reminded me a bit of China Meiville's, with the same no-nonsense acceptance of the fantastic, and the whimsy of the mundane, in which no one has the luxury of accepting anymore.

43. The Last Werewolf; Glen Duncan. 5/5
I greatly enjoyed this book, the story of Jake, who finds out he is the last werewolf left on the earth, and he's got one month left to live before the society of werewolf hunters kill him. It's violent and smutty and erudite and very lushly written. I am absolutely going to read more by Glen Duncan.

44. The Postmortal; Drew Magary. 5/5
The story of the world immediately following the discovery of the cure for aging. A quite plausible look through one man's journey and the effects on society, an individual and the planet as people choose to become postmortal or stay "organic." Entertaining and frightening.

45. The Leftovers; Tom Perrotta. 3/5
The novel opens in the aftermath of what may or may not have been the rapture, millions of people (without correlation between age, race or religion) suddenly disappear at the same instant. This is the story of those left behind, a view of how the individual, society and the country at large deal with grief, confusion and moving on. The characters were compelling, but it did meander a bit.


GRAPHIC NOVELS:

46. Planetary, Vol. 4: Spacetime Archaeology; Warren Ellis. 5/5
The conclusion of the Planetary arc. Very satisfying way to send off the archaeologists of the odd. Hints and farther reaching mysteries still to unravel, I hope there is more to come, some day.

47. Archie: The Wedding Volume 1; Michael Uslan. 3/5
Archie takes a walk the wrong way down Memory Lane and finds himself in his own future, one path where he marries Veronica and one where he marries Betty. Happy and fluffy.

48. Preacher, Vol. 1: Gone to Texas; Garth Ennis. 4/5
I've been meaning to read these for a while. It's the first graphic series I remember hearing about, back when comics weren't even a blip on my radar. So, appropriately, I started with the origin book. A preacher, an entity created as the union of an angel and a demon, a vampire and a girlfriend. How could it not be excellent? Oh yeah, Garth Ennis. I will take the series slowly so as to not pop my brain, like I did with too many issues of "The Boys" in a row.

49. Crossed, Volume 1; Garth Ennis. 3/5
Remember the scene in "Serenity" with the doctor on Miranda and the reavers? Imagine if there were a group of survivors trying to survive on a planet where the reaver virus is transmitted nearly instantaneously via bodily fluids. That's "Crossed."

Well, now that I have FINALLY stopped getting Garth Ennis and Warren Ellis confused, I knew exactly what I was getting into with this book. Violence. The worst of people. And the best of people.

50. Sweet Tooth, Vol. 1: Out of the Deep Woods; Jeff Lemire. 4/5
A decade after a plague wiped out most of the world, the few children born are animal/human hybrids. Gus is a deer/boy who was raised alone in the woods with his father. After he dies, Gus is left alone. But not for long. I really liked the simplistic artwork in this, all the people look perpetually shell-shocked and scared.

51. Sweet Tooth, Vol. 2: In Captivity; Jeff Lemire. 3/5
Furthering the tale of Sweet Tooth. Once the bad guys realize he might just be the first of his kind, they try to find clues that his father might know the origins of the plague.

52. Batwoman: Elegy; Greg Rucka. 3/5
I think I did this novel a disservice by reading it without any other context or knowledge of the character. I would like to go back and fill in the previous history and then try this again.

53. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns; Frank Miller. 3/5
I found the art was moody and atmospheric, but ultimately made the action hard to decipher. The story was powerful, as Batman comes out of self-imposed retirement to clean up the city. A revolutionary story for its time and for long fans of Batman, I don't know that it holds up as well now for someone like me, coming into it late.

54. Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again; Frank Miller. 4/5
I like this a lot, the story was logical, deep and fun. The art was absolutely gorgeous at times and thoughtful, like portraying Diana in a style more tribal and primal than the polished Superman or the neon tv personalities.

55. Blankets; Craig Thompson. 3/5
A hefty book documenting a young man's life, first love and disillusionment with Christianity. I really enjoyed this, the art was deceptively complex and lush. I also liked how his journey from avid Christian to someone who still has faith and love of God but doesn't trust the construct of "Christianity" mirrors mine, so I identified there.

56. New Spring: The Graphic Novel; Robert Jordan. 5/5
Loved it! New Spring is the prequel to the Wheel of Time massive series, and here it got graphic novel treatment, with full input from the author, Robert Jordan, before he died. I loved finally seeing Tar Valon, the White Tower, Dragonmount and many other reference points from the novels. Lots of "tasteful" nudity (no nipples!) which was distracting but very true to the books.

Also fun to see major players from the end of the series appearing as novices and bit players. Kind of ominous to realize just how many ended up eeeeeevillll

57. Do Andriods Dream of Electric Sheep? Vol 3; Philip K. Dick. 4/5
Eagerly anticipating volume #4. I forgot how much the story and the movie differed, while still keeping the same overarching feel and themes.

58. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Vol 4; Philip K Dick. 4/5
Still enjoying the series, and the essays at the end about PKD are an added treat.

59. Revolver; Matt Kindt. 4/5
This is the story of a man who, at 11:11 each night, flips realities. In one, he's a working shlub barely making it in his job, his relationship, life in general. In the other he's witness to the end of civilization via a well planned attack on a viral, terroristic and nuclear level. Which one is real, or are both of them? And why is he the only one to travel both? Or is he?

60. Harlequin Valentine; Neil Gaiman. 3/5
Clever little modern revamp of the Harlequin mythos, eerily illustrated by John Bolton

61. The Green Woman; Peter Straub. 2/5
I found this one really confusing. Partially due to the flashback and forth format, and the three male protagonists that looked too similar. Beautiful illustrations, however. Violent and NSFW.

62. Kiss and Tell: A Romantic Résumé, Ages 0 to 22; Mari Naomi. 2/5
As a parent, I found the author's relationship with her parents and the sheer number of her casual sexual encounters before the age of 16 to be sad and scary. Plus, it seemed more like sensationalism than a memoir.

63. iZombie, Vol. 1: Dead to the World; Chris Roberson. 4/5
The story of Gwen, a normal girl who happens to be a zombie. Forced to eat one brain per month to avoid becoming a shambling monster, she absorbs the dead person's memories and experiences. Unfortunately, her last brain belonged to someone who was murdered, and she finds herself trying to solve the crime. Fun drawings, candy colored pop-art.

64. iZombie, Vol. 2: uVampire; Chris Roberson. 4/5
I am enjoying the hell out of this series, the technicolor adventures of a hip young zombie and her creature-of-the-night friends. A pop art style and a hip young protagonist make even serious topics such as the nature of a soul seem fun and new.

65. Days Missing, Volume 1; Phil Hester. 3/5
Able to fold time and relive a day as many times as needed, our mysterious protagonist is as old as the planet and desperate to keep us alive long enough for us to evolve into intellects equal to his. Constantly trying to save us from catastrophes far and near, tiny as an atom and massive as the human race itself, he stands separate and watchful. A series of stand-alone stories, there is a hint at the end of something even bigger and older. I'll definitely keep reading.

66. Transmetropolitan, Vol. 5: Lonely City; Warren Ellis. 5/5
I enjoyed this volume greatly, a meandering through Spider's column with striking images from the city, with all the politics, drugs and gonzo journalism you've come to expect.

67. Nocturnals Volume 2: Dark Forever; Dan Brereton. 3/5
Okay, if I wrote a comic would it be this one? Nah ... maybe ... .

68. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Last Gleaming (Season 8, Vol. 8) ; Joss Whedon. 3/5
The final book in Buffy's eighth season does a good job of wrapping up the various plot lines and setting up the dystopian world view of the future stand-alone novel "Fray." I do see why the Twilight motivations from the prior book occurred, but I still don't have to like it :) Also, the big spoilery death that I won't reveal seemed cheap and thrown in there just to have a death at the end of the season, and I don't approve of that either. But hey, Joss is boss.

The season had its highs and lows, over all it was worth reading but definitely my least favorite of all. And I don't think it was just the translation from tv to graphic novel, it was character motivations and story choices.

Still, looking forward to season 9, which is promised to be a backtrack to the glory days of Season 1 with just a girl, a stake, her friends and a lot of dusted vamps.

Almost gave it an extra star for the nekkid Spike!

69. Daytripper;Fabio Moon. 4/5
Poignant and powerful, this is the story of a life, told through vignettes of some of our most important days: the birth of a child, meeting loves, and facing death. More importantly, it's about living your life even though death surrounds us. I picked this up because of Gabriel Ba's work on The Umbrella Academy ... this makes him a force in his own right.

70. The Unwritten, Vol. 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity; Mike Carey. 5/5
I loved this book. In the forward, Bill Willingham speaks of LAF worlds, literature based, animal based or fairy tale fantasy. This book was firmly literature based fantasy and "summoning a power that lives in words, and in the beliefs they engender." (from the book)

The tale is just starting but there is magic, conspiracies and mysteries, all wrapped around the power of the written word. I will absolutely be collecting these to own.

71. The Unwritten, Vol. 2: Inside Man; Mike Carey. 4/5
Vol 2 finds Tom trying to escape prison while forces around him fight for his life and death. The concept that a story, warped and twisted in another medium, becomes a tortured soul is most excellent. Also, rife with Dark Tower references and imagery.

72. The Unwritten, Vol. 3: Dead Man's Knock; Mike Carey. 5/5
A Meta-literary masterpiece! Clever and intelligent and a delightful treat for literature geeks and genre fan.

73. Stephen King's N; Marc Guggenheim. 3/5
From the short story collection "Just After Sunset," this is the graphic adaptation of the story "N." Creepy, liked the art.

74. Transmetropolitan, Vol. 7: Spider's Thrash; Warren Ellis. 4/5
Spider goes indie, uncovers some hints as to who assassinated Vita and begins to show some cracks in his impenetrable facade.

75 - 78. Irredeemable, Vol 1, 2, 3 and 4; Mark Waid. 4/5
The world's most powerful superhero transforms himself into the world's most powerful villain. Looking into the slights, real and imagined, that led to this; as well as the efforts of his former teammates to stop him. Very clever, hella violent, I greatly enjoyed this.

79 - 80. American Vampire, Vols 1 and 2; Scott Snyder. 3/5

81. Fahrenheit 451: The Authorized Adaptation; Ray Bradbury. 4/5
I read this while sitting in a very crowded park, waiting for an outdoor showing of "Labyrinth." When I was done, a group ahead of me asked if they could look at it. Two of them were quite scornful, "Don't you think it's ironic that this of all books is turned into a comic?" I said I didn't, that it was a very faithful adaptation with very powerful imagery. They laughed, but I could see the third person in the group very carefully watching, with interest in his eyes. Perhaps I made a convert that evening.

82. Locke and Key, Vol. 4: Keys to the Kingdom; Joe Hill. 4/5
More keys appear, a villain is transformed. Guest artist Bill Watterson injects some whimsy with drawings inspired by Calvin and Hobbes.

83. Mister Wonderful: A Love Story; Daniel Clowes. 1/5
Oh man, if my internal monologue were this bleak and dismal, I'd eat a bullet. Actually, I'd grow a pair. Navel gazing at its absolute most pitiful and boring. Do not want.

84. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz; Eric Shanower. 4/5
The graphic adaptation of the novel, gorgeously illustrated. It was obvious that a lot of care went into this, with genuine love of the source material.

85. FreakAngels, Vol 1; Warren Ellis. 3/5
I read this online for a while, good stuff. Now that it's actually out in trades, I get to claim it as "read." I should get back to it. It's Warren Ellis, which means good plot, good characters, well worth the time to read.

86. The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born; Robin Furth. 3/5
Roland's youth as told in the first Dark Tower book, as well as the events from "Wizards and Glass," in graphic form.

87. The Dark Tower: The Long Road Home; Robin Furth. 3/5
The story of Roland and his ka-tet on the road home, after the events as told in the novel "Wizards and Glass.”

88. The Dark Tower: Treachery; Robin Furth. 4/5
Secret plots swirl around the gunslingers as Roland tries to save his father and himself from the evil influence of the pink sphere. All the intrigue leading up to the Fall of Gilead, the next in the series. Shows us how his obsession with the Dark Tower began and how his mother died.

89. The Dark Tower: Fall of Gilead; Robin Furth. 5/5
Anyone who has read The Dark Tower books knows that Gilead fell. Though presented as a fact, there were never any specifics. Not anymore, presented in graphic detail we see all the horrible betrayals and poor decisions that lead up to the end of the Gunslinger civilization. Brutal, wrenching and tragic, highly recommended for any fan of the series.

90. The Dark Tower: Battle of Jericho Hill; Robin Furth. 4/5
Beginning immediately after the fall of Gilead, Roland and his ka-tet make one last desperate stand against Farson and the Crimson King, leading to the Gunslinger we know today.

91. The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger: The Little Sisters of Eluria; Robin Furth. 3/5
The illustration of SK's short story of the same name, Roland finds himself under the spell of some seriously messed up nuns. The world is moving on and we're starting to see the full horror of that.

92. Midlife; Joe Ollman. 4/5
I'm surprised how much I enjoyed this story of an aging hipster starting life over again with a new wife and baby, and the children's show star he is obsessesing over. Just the right amount of snark to keep it self-effacing but not mean.

93 - 94. Promethea, Vols 1 and 2; Frank Miller. 3/5
The story of Promethea, as primal goddess that inhabits various bodies over time. The thing that sticks with me the most is the art. So creatively presented, every panel is evocative and plotted for maximum impact. I'll continue on just for the beautiful panels.

95. A God Somewhere; John Arcudi. 4/5
Very powerful, violent and disturbing. Visits a lot of the same themes as "Irredeemable" without pulling any punches, the gore is turned up to 11. A normal guy wakes up with what seems to be unlimited super powers. What at first is viewed as a godsend quickly becomes a nightmare. And who can stop him?

96. Paying For It; Chester Brown. 3/5
Clinical and sad, while still giving a deep look at a john's view of prostitution. Quite interesting, and did I mention sad?

97. Supergod; Warren Ellis. 4/5
What if, instead of cultivating nuclear weapons, the major world nations put their time and money into developing "gods," humanesque superheroes? Let's just say their idea of saving the world is not what ours is. From Warren Ellis, so you know it can't be roses and kittens!

98. Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love; Chris Robertson. 5/5
Excellent side story about Fabletown's #1 super spy, Cinderella. Bonus points for the uber hot Alladin.

99. Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall; Bill Willingham. 5/5
Snow travels to the Arabian lands to attempt to ally with the Fables there. Instead she is taken prisoner and will be wedded and killed unless she can distract with her stories. We get some really powerful background stories on some of the favorite character: Snow, Bigby, Flycatcher and more. Gorgeously illustrated, as well, a different style for each story. I will be adding this to my personal collection.

100. Fables, Vol. 14: Witches; Bill Williingham. 3/5
This felt very transitional, though I loved the Magic Mirror building Bumpkin up as a formidable foe because "He reads, he reads EVERYTHING." (possibly paraphrased, I'm bad with quotes from memory).

101. Fables, Vol. 15: Rose Red; Bill Willingham. 4/5
Ahhh now this is more like it. Incorporating the 100th issue of the monthlies, there is something for everyone in this collection. Rose, deep in her mourning period, is visited by the appearance of her mother, who takes her back through her youth with Snow White, their parting, and the origins of their conflict. This is followed by Baba Yaga (in her new incarnation as Bellflower) announcing that she will fight Mr. Dark on her own, in a single-combat duel. Much magic and warfare follow, and the results are both the best and the worst we could hope for.

102. Jack of Fables, Vol. 1: The (Nearly) Great Escape; Bill Willingham. 4/5
I can't believe I didn't realize there was a whole Fables spin-off starring Jack. Fun! And this one was signed "To Michelle, Ma Belle," by the writer, Matthew Sturges. Made of awesome.

Jack has been kicked out of Fabletown and captured by a new third sect. Will he escape? Or is it only a matter of how? This is the famous Jack, after all.

103. Jack of Fables, Vol. 2: Jack of Hearts; Bill Willingham. 3/5
The further adventures of Jack, who finds himself in Las Vegas. But is Lady Luck his friend? Not so much.

104. Jack of Fables, Vol. 3: The Bad Prince; Bill Willingham. 3/5
Further adventures of Jack. A few stories from his past, the fleshing out of a new major character (literally).

105. Jack of Fables, Vol. 4: Americana; Bill Willingham. 3/5
Jack and his most recent band of followers travel to "Americana," in search of treasure (what else!). This one seemed to wander thematically more than the others, a bit too much space filler. Babe the Blue Ox and his rich internal monologue never fails to crack me up.

106. Jack of Fables, Vol. 5: Turning Pages; Bill Willingham. 3/5
This collection starts with an interesting side trip back to the Wild West, where Jack and Bigby spend a lot of time chasing and being chased. And not in that order. The second half deals with The Bookburner and most of the main characters making their way to The Golden Boughs. Ends on a cliffhanger.

107. Jack of Fables, Vol. 6: The Big Book of War; Bill Willingham. 3/5
War with the Bookburner has arrived, how will Jack charm his way out of this one?

108. Jack of Fables, Vol. 7: The New Adventures of Jack and Jack; Bill Willingham. 3/5
Parallel stories of Jack Horner, who is undergoing a horrific transformation, and Jack Frost, who is coming into his own as a hero-for-hire.

109. Jack of Fables, Vol. 8: The Fulminate Blade; Bill Willingham. 3/5

110. The Stand: Soul Survivors; Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. 4/5
I am really enjoying this graphic adaptation of the series. I think they got Nadine's back story wrong though, I should check. Read it while sitting at the library during my lunch break.

111. The Stand: Hardcases; Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. 4/5
Larry and crew reach Boulder, Trashcan Man makes his way to Las Vegas. The formation of the council, Mother Abigail goes on walkabout.

Buffy Season 8 Volume 8

Date: 2012-02-28 07:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wyldebill.livejournal.com
It's possible one of the early graphic novels of Season 9 will leave you feeling that big spoilery death wasn't cheap after all.

Repeat: Possible.

Also, the new season promises us a renewal of the intense character focus of classic Buffy. But back to Season 1? Well... let's just say life could never be that simple again.

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