Monday, February 29, 2016

Review: Use of Weapons

Use of Weapons Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars, rounding up. It slogged in parts, and I ultimately didn't connect all the plot threads. But rounding up because there were moments of brilliance.

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Friday, February 26, 2016

Review: The Darkest Road

The Darkest Road The Darkest Road by Guy Gavriel Kay
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For most of this book, indeed for most of this series, I felt a big 2 star rating was at hand. A well thought out world and often beautiful writing caught my interest, but the meandering and frankly boring plot of it all took me out of the story and left me flat.

Then. And then...I got to about the 75% point of this third and final volume. It got...interesting. I mean, I found myself slowing down to absorb the words instead of skimming through rapidly towards the end. The end I wanted just to say I'd completed this work of a favorite author.

And these words were pretty good. But then...oh and then, about 85% into the book, Kay leveled his story at me and struck, right in the heart. Whoah, didn't see that coming...

I raced through the last few chapters, marveling at how all of the threads of this tapestry came around and wove together. Yes, this was the Kay I was looking for, the brilliance I had previously discovered in his other work and was missing to this point. Damn, he brought it all home.

A week ago I considered abandoning this book once and for all. You might say, I'm glad I stuck with it. I came around so much that I'm actually thinking a reread could very well be much more rewarding for that first 11/12 of the trilogy, knowing what I do about the final 12th.

But I'll wait a few years, I think...

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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Review: The Walking Dead, Vol. 21: All Out War Part 2

The Walking Dead, Vol. 21: All Out War Part 2 The Walking Dead, Vol. 21: All Out War Part 2 by Robert Kirkman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A little better than Part 1, it really had some wicked stuff going on. But in the end, it left me a little cold. The climax was pretty intense, but a let down in some ways for all that.....



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Review: The Walking Dead, Vol. 20: All Out War Part 1

The Walking Dead, Vol. 20: All Out War Part 1 The Walking Dead, Vol. 20: All Out War Part 1 by Robert Kirkman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Honestly, this was my least favorite book of the series so far. It had its moments, but it felt forced in places. In others I struggled with the artwork and narrative because the story seemed to jump abruptly. I even had to turn back and make sure I hadn't skipped a page a couple of times.

Still good, but not of the same quality as earlier entries. I'm hoping that since it's a "part 1", much of what's lacking will be made up for in the "part 2".

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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Review: Vicious Circle

Vicious Circle Vicious Circle by Mike Carey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars.

For real it took me a month to read this book?

Well, it's mostly my fault. I've been slapped with a pretty severe reading slump, and that had nothing to do with this.

That said, my rounded-down rating does reflect some on that situation. While this book didn't cause my reading slump, it didn't really help me pull out of it. The story was excellent, and on par with the first book in the series. I really enjoyed the plot and the characters, and everything tied together nicely.

For me it was the pacing that was an issue. It wasn't enough to be a deal-breaker, but it did get in the way of my enjoyment. It seems that whenever the action really started to heat up, Carey has this habit of describe describe describe that completely takes me out of the sequence. If you have a fast paced scene, your narrative should match it. Just sayin'.

All in all, I am enjoying this series. I will likely pick back up with Book 3 soon, but for the nonce I'm going to take a break and find something that will help me get back on my personal reading track.

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Friday, February 12, 2016

Review: New Suicide Squad, Vol. 2: Monsters

New Suicide Squad, Vol. 2: Monsters New Suicide Squad, Vol. 2: Monsters by Sean Ryan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a preview eARC of this title from the publisher through NetGalley.



This is the second sequence featuring the newly reformed Suicide Squad, and the team is finally starting to come together. Well, they're still pretty messed up and dysfunctional, but they're getting better. I mean, what can you expect from a squad of super-villains turned secret government operatives?

My favorite member of the team is definitely Harley Quinn.



This isn't the fun-loving, (mostly) good-natured vigilante with her own sense of justice featured in the Harley Quinn series (Volume 3 reviewed here). In her solo series I labeled her as batshit crazy, but this one...this one. Yeah. This girl is completely nucking futs.



She's still fun though. Just don't let her get bored. Ever.

We also get the other members of the Squad in this: Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, Black Manta, Reverse Flash, and Parasite.

"Who the hell is Parasite?"
"You haven't seen him around? He's kinda like if Grimace had sex with a nightmare."




So in this volume, our heroes err, team members set out to infiltrate a splinter branch of the League of Assassins. Whatever you do, don't ask for weekends off. This is a group that feels the original LoA has gone soft and lost its sense of mission. These dudes are seriously dedicated.

And our New Suicide Squad? Not so much.

But they're getting there...



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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Review: Batman/Superman, Vol. 4: Siege

Batman/Superman, Vol. 4: Siege Batman/Superman, Vol. 4: Siege by Greg Pak
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received a preview eARC of this title from the publisher through NetGalley.

This was...decent. Great artwork and some good story turns. It did seem to jump around a bit from one tangent to another without tying up the strands. Perhaps those will come together in another volume.

I really enjoyed some of the cameos from other characters, both heroes and villains. As I said, the art was great. It's a good teaser perhaps for the new Superman/Batman movie coming out soon.

I also felt this block of issues assumes quite a bit on the part of the reader. That is, Superman's extended group of character allies and their backgrounds. I get that there is a lot of history there, but it was difficult in places to put it all together for a new reader, or in my case a casual reader. That's not really a complaint, but to compare it to some of the Batman and Wonder Woman titles I've read, those were better at handling readers coming into the current volume without having read earlier ones.

Still, this is an intriguing team up and the writers handle it well. I like the way Superman and Batman mesh in this volume. They have different approaches to their crime fighting, and at this point in their shared history, they've found a balance.

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Review: Harley Quinn, Vol. 3: Kiss Kiss Bang Stab

Harley Quinn, Vol. 3: Kiss Kiss Bang Stab Harley Quinn, Vol. 3: Kiss Kiss Bang Stab by Amanda Conner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a preview eARC of this title from the publisher through NetGalley.

I have a new favorite girl.

Her name is Harley. She is as adorable and kindhearted as she is callous, badass, and well, honestly, batshit crazy.

Just look at this smile and tell me you don't feel all warm inside:



For real though, this set of one issue stories is pretty entertaining. Harley is unpredictable and a little bit unhinged, but she's also cute and in her own wacky way, innocent. She has a heart of gold. If she likes you. Or if she is touched by your situation. She loves animals of all kinds (and will seemingly try to adopt all of them). But if she doesn't like you, and that's usually because you were mean to her, an animal, or someone she cares for, then you're pretty much done.



Most importantly, this book was funny. I mean, I usually take my comic reading (somewhat) seriously, but this had me laugh out loud several times. Perhaps it shows that I'm a bit twisted myself that I enjoy this kind of humor as much as I do, but whatever.

I was already looking forward to the new Suicide Squad movie, but now I'm even more excited about it.





Oh, one warning to the unwary though before I can recommend it. Whatever you do, do NOT mention this guy around Harley:


Just don't.



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