Jess is clearing out her late mothers flat when she happens upon an old set of encyclopedias she can't bring herself to toss. Trying to find a home for these 70s era tomes, she happens upon a warehouse filled with mundane objects, each with a story behind them. And so begins a heartfelt, feel good story of independence, closure & finding purpose in ones life (and all the pitfalls that entails). I enjoyed this book. Very good one.
The Sins of Sinister crossover consists of three overlapping titles: 'Immoral X-Men', 'Storm & the Brotherhood', & 'NightCrawlers'; bookended by 'Sins of Sinister' & 'Sins of Sinister: Dominion'. These titles as a whole make up the tapestry of a dark future for both mutant- and humankind. After tampering with the DNA of key members of the Quiet Council, Mr. Sinister effectively controls the nation of Krakoa. The 3 titles of this event expand on different major players of this dark timeline:
Immoral X-Men focuses on the deeds and betrayals of the Quiet Council through the centuries. Old alliances dissolve and new players step onto the board all while mutantdom spreads through the galaxy and oppresses trillions.
Storm and the Brotherhood follows Ororo Munroe and her band of rebels after the destruction of Arakko (formerly Mars), and their acts of resistance against the Sinister council.
NightCrawlers sees a group of Nightcrawler chimeras(mutants with spliced DNA to accomodate more than one mutant ability) rebel against their former master (Sinister) only to fall into the clutches of Mother Righteous, a mutant sorcerer with ulterior motives and a tendency to start religious cults.
All of these story threads converge for an explosive finale in 'Sins of Sinister: Dominion'. 9/10. Very interesting, very dark, and (dare I say) very Sinister.
Spinning out from the events of Jonathan Hickman's "Inferno", this omnibus explores Wolverine's many lives & deaths (like in the title), through time traveling shenanigans!
In a last ditch effort to protect the mutant nation from a revenge driven Omega Red, Charles Xavier and Jean Grey project Logan's mind back through time (Days of Future Past style) to thwart the many attempts of Omega to assassinate Xavier and his ancestors. At the same time Moira MacTaggert is on the run from Mystique and Destiny and turns to desperate measures for survival.
This is both an intimate study of Logan's dark, troubled past & a wacky, gory time travel adventure that sets the stage for the next Krakoan Age: Destiny of X!
Allie and Nick died. The accident left no survivors, but the afterlife is still a ways off for these two lost children. Their souls are stranded in a limbo-esque realm between life and death where thought and meaning rule their reality. Nick and Allie must navigate their way through a strange, frightening land of spectres, dead kids and long destroyed monuments. Shusterman's story is often broken by philosophical asides that serve the larger narrative and pose great moral quandaries (as is Shusterman's style).
I love this book and its sequels. It's been a while since I read them but they had a lasting impact on the way I think and behave. I regard it as one of the best trilogies I have ever had the pleasure of reading.
Feed Them Silence is a trojan horse. It introduces itself as a near-future sci-fi novella, but is actually a tragic character study. We are invited inside the mind of a gray wolf, but the real pull of the story is the mind of our protagonist. It is a meditation on the search for true intimacy, wherever it can be found.
Our Wives Under the Sea is slow, intimate and dreadful. One part cosmic horror, one part intimate drama; this book delves deep into the psyche of the one left behind. The one left wondering whether their love is dead or not. It also explores the dread of uncertainty, of absence, of unknowing.
Vera Wong's World Famous Tea Shop has (much like the shops namesake) seen better days. As of now the shop only has one regular customer, and Vera's life has fallen into a monotonous routine of making tea, being ignored by her lawyer son, and mourning her late husband. She sees no end to this slow waltz, that is until she finds a dead man in her tea shop. What follows is an entertaining whodunnit story with twists, turns and a generous helping of old lady wisdom.
This book makes you forget your troubles for a time, wrapping you in the warm comfort of a wholesome murder mystery (there is such a thing!). You will likely read this in one sitting. 5 stars!
Horrostor is my first foray into scary books. Grady Hendrix paints a frighteningly relatable portrait of the retail industry (with all the mindless corporate jargon that comes along with it). The book starts out fairly tame (a sprinkle of character, some light humor & the perfect amount of exposition), but quickly devolves into a fight for survival in the labyrinthine caverns of Orsk, a sprawling department store akin to Ikea.
This book gave me chills not just from the jump scares, but from the startling similarities between Orsk and jobs I myself have worked at. This book explores the feeling of desperation and hopelessness when stuck at a job you hate. The feeling of futility and stagnation when you feel there's nothing left in your life but the monotonous tasks, the people you can't stand. That feeling of needing to escape, to be ANYWHERE ELSE but here. That feeling is all too familiar, and its front and center in this book.
That alone would warrant its horror classification, but there's also GHOSTS.
10/10 read. Would recommend.
"What Moves the Dead" is an eerie, off-kilter story that wastes no time with its main plot. Alex Easton arrives at the house of Usher after receiving a distress call from a childhood friend. What follows is an atmospheric, unsettling tale of fungi, dead-eyed hares & a House in rapid decline. Kingfisher expertly adapts and expands the classic short story. Poe would be proud. 5 stars.
Cixin Liu's 'the Three Body Problem' is a carefully crafted narrative with many seemingly disparate pieces that come together in a very satisfying fashion. Spanning from the Chinese cultural revolution all the way to the present day.
Ye Wenjie is a political pariah in the wake of the Chinese cultural revolution. Her only hope at living life on the outside of a prison cell is to work indefinitely at the Red Coast Base research facility. What she discovers there will change the trajectory of human history.
Wang Mao is a nanomaterials researcher who is thrust into the middle of a decades long conspiracy with world-shaking implications. Each new discovery and development of this journey challenges the limits of his sanity.
While the book gives very satisfying answers to most of its questions, there is still much more to be asked and answered. I look forward to continuing this story. 10/10!
The Neverending Story is a book that will go down as one of the most impactful stories I've been privy to. I read it as a teen in middle school and was instantly captivated. It did what most of the books I'd been reading at the time hadn't: blurred the line between reader and story. This story breaks the fourth wall in a way not seen before at the time of its publication, using Bastian (our protagonist) as a glaring stand in for us, the reader.
When Bastian begins reading "the Neverending Story" he finds that he himself is the titular hero of the story that must save Fantastica from destruction. Soon he is sucked into the book itself, able to enjoy all the wonders of this awe-inspiring world, but also vulnerable to all its myriad perils.
It's been a while since I've read this book, but it has had a lasting impact on me and the way I think about stories, characters and how we, the readers interact with them. This is a captivating story that will linger in your mind long after you've read the last page.
House of X and Powers of X (used interchangeably as the letter and the roman numeral, that's an important detail) is a 12 issue miniseries that is tasked with rebooting the modern X-Men line up. Charles Xavier claims the island of Krakoa as a sovereign nation and a safe haven for ALL mutants. No matter their past. The political and moral implications of this decision will bring new friends to the mutants plight, create new enemies and obstacles for the them to fend off, and branch off into countless potential futures.
Jonathan Hickman is the writer of this collected edition and his methodical plot and practical character writing shines in this book. Everything you've come to expect from Hickman is front and center. Charts, timelines, paragraphs of lore in between panels, and of course world breaking plot twists. R.B. Silva's art is on spectacular display as well. This book will take what you know of the X-Men mythos and flip it on its head. Even if this doesn't persuade you to read the countless spinoff titles in the subsequent Dawn of X lineup, it is a satisfying read all on its own.10/10!!
The Saga of Gorr the God Butcher marks the beginning of Jason Aaron's Thor run. It is one of the best comics I have ever read (keep in mind I haven't read an awful lot of comics). The story spans centuries and portrays many different versions of the Odinsson; from the golden age of Asgard to the present day all the way to the far future where King Thor rules a barren lifeless earth. Aaron also brings us one of the best comic villains with Gorr; a formidable, relentless being hellbent on the extermination of all gods. It sounds very cliche on paper but Jason really nails the execution of this trope and makes the most of it. The art of Esad Ribic and Butch Guice is stunning. the paintings and pastels beautifully portraying the Norse lands and Asgard. This is a great Thor story (arguably the best). 10/10 would recommend.
'Magyk' is the first book in a kids fantasy series (Septimus Heap) by Angie Sage. The story opens with a kingdom in turmoil. The queen has been assassinated, leaving her newborn daughter an orphan. On the other side of the city, the Heaps mourn the death of their seventh child, passed in childbirth. Making a snap decision, Marcia Overstrand, the ExtraOrdinary Wizard, brings Silas and Sarah Heap the princess and they raise her as their own. The series proper starts 11 years later.
I read this book for the first time in middle school. And while it is the beginning of a seven book series (each book is pretty good), this is the one I come back to the most. Angie Sage's way of writing internal monologue was unlike anything I'd read at the time, and her third-person narration reads like an omniscient observer that sometimes has thoughts and opinions of their own. These two things (among others) makes for an immensely entertaining and stimulating prose that never gets dull. Sage often switches perspectives to seemingly inconsequential characters at turning points in the story, and while at first glance the switch is disappointing, Sage manages to bring in the reader with that wholesome but mischievous narration. One of my favorite examples of this is a chapter set entirely in the perspective of Max, the Heaps family dog, it's absolutely delightful.
The plot is nothing to write home about. If you've read any kids fantasy book you could probably spot the developments from a few chapters away. The real MVP (aside from the delightful narration) is the character interactions. These characters love each other, mildly dislike each other, couldn't care less about each other, vehemently hate each other, and yet not one interaction feels unnatural. The dialogue is (within the confines of being a kids fantasy novel) realistic. The conflict is not forced or contrived, you very quickly come to love these characters and want everything to turn out ok for them.
Now to be crystal clear, a lot of this assessment has been written while wearing my childhood nostalgia glasses. I LOVE this book more than I would if I'd read it now. So I would not recommend it to an adult. But I WOULD recommend it as a gift for a young reader. It's a great time.
5 out of 5 stars.
The Seep is one of the most unique books I have ever read. Alien invasions are usually loud and bombastic. Rife with violence and desperation, explosions and big spaceships with vaporizing lasers. You know, the works. This isn't that kind of book. This isn't that kind of invasion. This invasion is quiet, slow and... benevolent? When The Seep arrived, life changed for the better almost instantaneously. I'll save most of these changes for the actual reading experience as they range from obvious to bizarre and work best with no prior knowledge.
Trina FastHorse Goldberg-Oneka is functionally immortal, as is most of humanity. She and her wife Deeba are content to throw dinner parties and live comfortably for an indefinite amount of time; until Deeba decides she wants to reincarnate, leaving Trina alone to face a frustratingly perfect world with no one to make fun of it with.
The Seep takes a seemingly utopian world and dissects it, asking interesting questions. What are we without our struggles? Our choices (good or bad)? When we have everything we need, where do we go from there?
A short, interesting & heartfelt read. 5 out of 5 stars.
Sanderson's mastery of worldbuilding and character development is on spectacular display in this sprawling epic. Enter the world of Roshar, a vast supercontinent that is home to an abundance of different races, cultures, religions and dialects that makes for a gripping narrative. This amazing first intallment in The Stormlight Archive marries classic fantastical imagery with expertly written characters all while managing paragraphs of exposition that keep you engaged and yearning for more.
"Empire of the Vampire" takes a post-apocalyptic approach to the classic vampire narrative, plunging humanity into an endless night, known to the world as Daysdeath, where the creatures of darkness reign supreme. The armies of man fight a brutal, futile battle against the undying vampire ranks that seek to annihilate them. In this desolate setting that marries Netflix's Castlevania and Justin Cronin's "The Passage", we find our protagonist: Gabriel de Leon.
Gabriel,16 years old is an initiate filled with blind faith and an itching to prove himself in the Ordo Argent, an organization of celibate warriors dedicated to the killing of vampires and other unholy creatures. There he works himself to the bone in pursuit of fame and glory, subject to the bullying of his peers and the abuse of his betters. With the help of his friends he uncovers a diabolical plan to obliterate humanity in one fell swoop, but with the majority of the Ordo Argent against him, it falls to he and the worthy few to save humanity from being snuffed out with naught but a whimper.
Gabriel, 32 years old, is a faithless, world weary addict traveling ever north in pursuit of righteous vengeance. The days grow colder as Wintersdeep draws near. In his travels he comes across a familiar face from his past who supposedly possesses the secret to bringing back the sun and ending Daysdeath at last. His personal priorities clash with his swiftly decaying morals as he is urged to put aside his personal vendetta for the good of mankind.
It is a dire, cynical world of death and decay and our protagonist reflects that world to a 'T'. "Empire of the Vampire" is quite funny despite its dire setting. Gabriel's biting sarcasm and cynicism serves as a welcome reprieve from the sea of despair and loss that saturates the story. This has been argued as Jay Kristoff's best work to date, and I am eagerly awaiting the next installment. Veris!
N.K. Jemisin introduces a world so far removed from our own yet juxtaposes it with many of the same issues dealt with today; prejudice, exploitation & hypocrisy. "The Fifth Season" transports you to a distant, unrecognizable Earth ravaged by an ever shifting lithosphere and a humanity rough and callused by the constant upheaval of the earths crust. Jemisin grapples with the value of a life, the nature of love & how far one can go in pursuit of righteous vengeance.
I will sing Neal Shusterman's praises all the livelong day. He writes people so well, they're thoughts and emotions are portrayed so realistically and relatably. He uses this to anchor even the most outlandish scenarios in realism. Scythe is a prime example of that. We are dropped into a Quasi-Utopia where death, hunger, war, crime and other staples of the human condition have been eradicated in one way or another by a benevolent AI known as the Thunderhead (like the cloud, get it?). The only potential problem remaining: Overpopulation. Humans are functionally immortal now and no one wants to give that up willingly. That's where the scythes come in. These agents of death wear the garbs of an archetype long forgotten in the age of immortality and the irony goes unappreciated. Against the backdrop of this society do we find our protagonists, Citra and Rowan. I've already said too much already so I'll leave you with this: If you're looking for high octane action, this might not be your jam. If you're looking for a story rife with philosophical questions and moral quandaries, this'll be right up your alley.
Axiom's End is a natural evolution of the x-files conspiracy genre. Instead of following a federal agent as they uncover the dark secrets kept from the public by those in power, we are introduced to a relatable, civilian protagonist who is as clueless as we are. The year is 2007 and a media leak has revealed that the US government may have made first contact with extra-terrestrial life. Shortly after, our protagonist is swept up in a whirlwind of conspiracy, discovery and moral quandaries too complex to solve easily. Lindsay Ellis' sarcastic relatability shines in her debut novel. I look forward to further installments in this series. 5/5 stars.
Brandon Sanderson crafts a world plagued by ash showers and devoid of color or radiance. grey clouds dominate the skies and a massive red sun provides the bare minimum in a sad excuse for daylight. It has been like this for a thousand years, ever since the immortal Lord Ruler took and maintained control with an iron fist. In the seat of his power and the capital of his empire, the city of Luthadel, two individuals find each other in the most unlikely of circumstances.
The street urchin turned member of a theiving crew; Vin is caught using an ability outlawed by the Final Empire and is being hunted by an Inquisitor.
A master thief that makes an artwork of his trade turned revolutionary leader; Kelsier works to topple the established order of Luthadel, hoping the rest of the Final Empire will follow in its stead.
Ocean's 11 unfolds in a vast fantasy world with an imaginative magic system filled with lovable characters and witty banter. Will definitely be reading the second installment.
Bubble is a graphic novel that you will swallow up in under a day (as i did) because of how funny, cool, beautifully drawn, and FUNNY it is. Did I mention it's hilarious? Well it is. So its set in a dome world owned and sustained by a company aptly named "The Company" (yeah this isnt a subtle metaphor). Outside the dome is The Brush, a cruel wilderness filled with mutant horrors that can and will kill you if given the opportunity. For Morgan, life is in the Dome, but it began in the Brush. She hunted and survived for the majority of her childhood and appreciates the slow safe monotony of her adult life. But sometimes she'll go hunt the occasional mutant tiger (ya know, for the rush). Along for the ride is Morgan's roomate Annie and the wholesomely awkward Mitch. Together they uncover a conspiracy that could endanger the citizens of Bubble and beyond.
Bubble hilariously critiques gig economy, hipster lifestyle, and closed off communities in this colorful, quick witted, ADULT comic that promises belly laughs for every panel. 5 stars.
Cassandra Clare's 'Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy' is a collection of short stories set in various time frames of the shadowhunter world. The setting of all these stories is the aforementioned Academy. In these tales we are introduced to new characters soon to feature in their own shadowhunter novels as well as familiar favorites like Clary Morgentsern, Jace Herondale, Jem Carstairs, Magnus Bane, Tessa Gray and the protagonist of this particular anthology: Simon Lewis. In the aftermath of 'City of Heavenly Fire', (spoilers, i guess) Simon is attending the Academy in hopes of drinking from the cup of Raziel and becoming a fully fledged Shadowhunter. On his year long stint in the school he encounters friends, monsters, dead rats (lots of them) and stories. SO MANY STORIES. But there are no complaints from this reader. This book mostly serves as a back door pilot to Cassandra Clare's 'The Last Hours' and 'The Dark Artifices' series as most of the characters of those series' are introduced in this tome. But it also serves as a check in for our familiar favorites with short stories centering around characters like Magnus Bane or Will Herondale. Simon's journey to becoming a child of Raziel is merely the framework in which these stories are told. That does not however detract from the emotional impact of Simon's arc. These stories were previously released separately online over the course of a year, and i must say reading them all in one go (more or less) is a much more fullfilling experience than months apart from each other. If you like the Shadowhunter novels thus far and have not read this collection yet. I highly reccomend it. It enriches stories that have already been told, providing background and context for characters and events that may have been previously passed over by the narrative, all while telling a beautiful story about finding ones self in the face of external expectations. Its a beautiful piece of the Shadowhunter collection.
Sarah J. Maas writes a murder mystery/romance set in a world rife with magic and fantastical creatures yet not too dissimilar from our own Earth. We are transported to Crescent City, a sprawling metropolis where the immortal fae hoard their wealth like dragons, werewolf cops patrol the streets and angels walk among us as gods.
Bryce Quinlan is a half-human/half fae content to party the night away in the various clubs Crescent City has to offer, but her world is abruptly snatched from under her after the violent murder of her best friend. Two years later, her friends murderer resurfaces and Bryce is called to help investigate and possibly bring them to justice. As she works (and becomes dangerously close) with Hunt Athalar, a disgraced Fallen Angel, she slowly uncovers a dark conspiracy among the warring political elite of the city.
Crescent City is a dense tome that's both dark crime thriller & steamy romance. It is overflowing with character, worldbuilding and all the clever banter often found in Maas' fantasy worlds, but with a modern twist. If you are a fan of Sherrilyn Kenyon's "Dark Hunters" series, this just might be your next fantasy favorite.
Delilah Green Doesn't Care was my first foray into the romance genre and I quite enjoyed it. The romance itself was predictably adorable and adequately angsty, and the supporting characters were all equally enjoyable and effective in their narrative purposes. This is Ashley Herring Blake's debut novel and if this book is any indication, their career will be a delight to follow. 5 out of 5 stars.