Friday, August 30, 2013

Books I've Read This Week

It's an all graphic novel catch up week. Back with sci-fi and fantasy books next week.

Mind The Gap Volume 2: Wish You Were Here story by Jim McCann and art by Rodin Esquejo is the continuation of the "murder mystery" from volume one. Unlike some other books or shows in this volume we start to get answers from all of the questions that were originally raised. But like any good story the answers just open up some new questions. This is just a great series and more people should be buying it.

Batwoman Vol. 2: To Drown the World is a book I was apprehensive about buying. I've really loved JH Williams III art but in this volume he's not contributing to the art duties. Instead we get Amy Reeder (who I love) for a short period of time before she left the book under the ominous creative differences label. Then Trevor McCarthy picks up the rest of the issues. The art is good but not as amazing as when JHW3 handles the layouts.

The story is a confusing mess. JHW3 and Haden Blackman you are not Alan Moore so while I applaud your attempt at telling a cohesive narrative from six different point of view characters while jumping back and forth the timeline I can't really say you did a good job as the whole thing is confusing as hell.

Apparently the next volume is set to guest star Wonder Woman and supposedly it is better but I'm not sure I'll shell out the bucks to pick it up in hard cover.

Saga Volume 2 story by Bryan K Vaughn and art by Fiona Staples. Okay, here's my elevator pitch, Romeo and Juliet in Space! Wait you need more details, okay then. In volume 2 of this space epic we get more background on how Marko and Alana fell in love and decided to run away from the conflict between their two species. We also get more Price Robot IV, more Izabel the ghost baby sitter, more The Will, more Slave Girl, and the repercussions of Marko's parents visit. Plus, Marko's ex Gwendolyn gets involved.

Oh and more of the break out star, Lying Cat...

Best. Cat. Ever.

This is really some great writing and phenomenal art make this book a standout. One of the best things about it is Staples really lets her imagination go wild when drawing the aliens. Think the Star Wars Mos Eisley cantina scene amped up to 11.

Sweet Tooth Vol. 6: Wild Game by Jeff Lemire who is everywhere in DC right now. You could make a case that he is there second most important writer next to Geoff Johns, but I digress. The final volume of Sweet Tooth has our band of humans and hybrids travelling north to Alaska in order to find out where Sweet Tooth originally came from, the initial cause of the disease and maybe even a cure?

Lemire is on fire here tugging out our heart strings and eliciting a strong emotional response as we see the ultimate fates of characters we've been following for years. I strongly recommend this whole series to anyone. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Books I've Read This Week

The Blade Itself, Before They are Hanged and Last Argument Of Kings are all part of the First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie. Previously I'd read a couple of stand along novels set in the same universe but I finally had a chance to jump into this trilogy and I was not disappointed.

This is a fantastic grim and gritty fantasy series. There are a lot of memorable characters in these books including a couple of my favourites the northern beserker Logan Ninefingers and Inquisitor Glotka. None of the characters that you encounter in these novels are purely altruistic or purely evil.

The first book starts off with the Magus Bayaz putting together a group of adventurers to go off on a quest including Logan Ninefingers, the vain fencer Jezal dan Luthar among others. While this sounds like a typical fantasy setup Abercrombie eschews the normal traps of epic fantasy.

The three books are a long read but well worth it especially if you like you fantasy novels to be more like George R R Martin instead of J R R Tolkien.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Books I've Read This Week

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane has been described as one of Neil Gaiman's most accessible books to readers new to the fantasy genre. In this story we follow a middle age man who returns home to attend a funeral and finds himself drawn to the farm at the end of the lane. Once there he unlocks memories he hasn't thought of for forty years. Memories where he and a childhood friend stumbled onto something otherworldly.

It's got a creepy faerie tale vibe, combined with the exploration of youthful memories. It is really worth the read even if it is only a short book weighing in under 200 pages.
One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of by Richard Brandt was a quick read as well. Even though the book was published in 2011 it tends to focus on the earliest years of Amazon. I can't honestly recommend this book as it doesn't tell me anything about Amazon I didn't already hear about from other sources.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Books I've Read This Week

Effective JavaScript: 68 Specific Ways to Harness the Power of JavaScript by David Herman is an excellent book on JavaScript. Chapter 7 on Concurrency is worth the price of the book alone. It is a great way to extend your mastery of JavaScript.
For the Win by Cory Doctorow is a pretty cool book where "gold farmers" across the world try to unionize in order to get fair wages. The gold farmers in India, China, etc. use the internet to get organized and are opposed by not only their local bosses but also the big companies that run the games and are responsible for the game economics. Honestly, the information about how these large economies are run is some of the most interesting stuff in the book.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Books I've Read this Week

Whoops, haven't done one of these in awhile but that doesn't mean I haven't been reading.

Ted Chiang doesn't often write but when he does it's usually a masterpiece. He's a 4 time Nebula award winner to go along with 4 Hugo's. I re-read his collection of short stories Stories of Your Life: and Others for a book club I'm in. Even upon the second reading I was just as drawn into these stories as I was the first time I read the collection. While I'm not a huge lover of short story collections this is one I'd recommend to anyone.
Among Others is a Hugo and Nebula award winner by Jo Walton. In it there is a semi-autobiographical journey of a young woman who has just defeated a dark fairy queen and is living with the consequences or maybe she's just nuts. You'd really have to read it to decide. It has a very "what happened after Sam and Frodo dropped the ring off in Mordor" vibe to it. Not a typical fantasy novel but a really enjoyable one all the same.