Book Review: Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal

Glamour in Glass byMary Robinette Kowal

I think 2013 has seen me branching out into more sub-genres of fantasy than any other year, thanks to participating in events like the Worlds Without End’s Women of Genre Fiction Reading Challenge. Once, Mary Robinette Kowal fell into the category of “An author I’ve never read before, but would really like to” and so the book I chose for the challenge was 2012 Nebula Award nominated Glamour in Glass.

Someone once told me that when writing a review, it helps to think about what makes a book different and why readers should care. For this one, the thing that struck me right away was the setting. But while I may have read fantasy fiction aplenty that takes place in this time period, this is the first time I’ve actually ventured into something with strong elements of Regency romance, complete with the stylistic conventions that bring to mind the works of Jane Austen. This is also the first time I’ve ever heard the term “Fantasy of manners”. Hooray for discovering new things!

It wasn’t until after I picked up Glamour in Glass that I discovered it was actually the second book of a sequence called the Glamourist Histories. Normally, I dislike reading books in a series out of order, more out of a fear that I’d get lost than anything. That’s why I was happy to learn that you don’t have to read the first book Shades of Milk and Honey to follow the story and understand what’s going on. The magic system in this book, called Glamour weaving and described with textile-related metaphors, was sufficiently explained and the general idea of it is easy to pick up. I also quickly got that our main characters, Jane and Vincent, were newly married since the last book, and now they’re looking forward to settling down to a life of nuptial bliss and doing Glamour together.

However, at the start of this book is also the period following the abdication of Napoleon. While Jane and Vincent are on their honeymoon in Belgium, the deposed emperor escapes exile and makes his return to France, leaving the newlyweds with no easy way to return to England. 

Certainly, this book was somewhat of a departure from the kind of fantasy I usually read and the experience was very new and different for me. The language and characters’ mannerisms are definitely in keeping with the time period, which I have to admit was delightful and yet frustrating at the same time. Mostly, the frustrations come from the narrator Jane and the way she dwells on issues for a long time and perceives every little indignity as a personal slight to her, especially those pertaining to marriage and her husband.

I find this still bothers me even when taking into account the era in which these books take place, a time when men and women’s statuses vastly differ, so I’m not holding that against Jane. Instead, my dissatisfaction of her character stems from from her relationship with Vincent and how often their marriage feels “off”. First of all, a big chunk of the novel’s conflict is the result of a breakdown of communication between the two of them. I’ve seen this trope commonly used in romances, but I’m personally not a fan of it.

Also, despite being madly in love, the two of them don’t seem to know each other very well. Awkwardly, Jane is still constantly discovering new things about her husband that surprises her or makes her doubt him, and I also found myself questioning why she so often feels the need to seek permission or approval from him for every little decision. I have to assume their courtship mustn’t have lasted very long, but perhaps this is where I need to pick up Shades of Milk and Honey to find out. 

Speaking of the first book, I do intend to go back and read it. Despite my problems with the main character, I thought this book was well-written and contains interesting ideas. I can’t really talk about some of the issues in it without giving away too many spoilers, but suffice to say the emotional reactions of the characters are very well-described, deep, and most importantly, realistic and believable. I also love the idea of Glamour magic, which is just abstract enough to give one the sense that it’s so much more than can be put into words. I’m looking forward to learning more details about Glamour in the first book, as well as in future installments of this series.

3.5 of 5 stars

 

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Character Appreciation Post: Ororo “Storm” Munroe from Marvel Comics

“Storms, Wolverine, have a myriad of colorations. No less than people. So long as I remain true to myself… I see no reason to apologize for how I appear to others.” – Storm, Uncanny X-Men #246

Who Is Ororo Munroe?

She is Ororo “Storm” Munroe, a mutant in the Marvelverse with the ability to manipulate the weather. She is most notably known as being the empathetic co-leader/leader of the X-Men and (ex?) queen of Wakanda. And while Ororo does carry herself with much poise and class, her background is varied and some of it troubled, leading to her cultivating the indomitable strength and will that she possesses instead of crumbling under the pressure.Orphaned at a young age, she spent much of her early years fending for herself living as a child thief and then later she served as a “goddess” for a village. She learned  street skills that would later aid her even when she accepted Professor Xavier’s invitation to join his X-Men. Throughout her years, she has been many things for many people from a surrogate mother to a most hated opponent. And while she has stumbled from time to time, Ororo has never lost a sense of who she is as a woman and as a hero.A Song I Associate With Her

Tan Dun, For the World


Why I Love Her

And if you say, “Of course you like Storm. You’re a black woman,” I will find you and I will cut you. No bullshit.

True, as a woman of color, it is empowering to see other people of color—especially women—in comics with strong roles. And arguably, Storm is probably one of the strongest in that category. However, my love for her extends beyond the color of her skin and into who I perceive her to be as a character.
Now, I’m one of those Storm fans who sees her as a very intricate character rather than just the strong, regal, power all-mother that most people know her as. I’ve often even argued with other Storm fans who feel that some of my views of her don’t fit in with that “mold” of who she is because, as much as I love her for her perfections, I also love her for her flaws.
Yes, she is a powerful woman, and yes, I believe her moral compass is (almost) always true. However, she is still a person, and she’s always been her most interesting to me when she was facing situations that pushed her beyond her status as the goddess, that showed that she still made wrong decisions, that she did things that weren’t wise, that she felt things that maybe she shouldn’t.
One of the things that I often heard from other Storm fans in our arguments was that “she’d never do that.” They especially loved to use that line when anyone suggested that Storm might do something that was less-than-honorable, that might actually make her human.
But I’m a firm believer that you never know what a person would do if you put them in certain situations. Not saying that Storm would just completely lose herself, but Storm has always had a rebellious streak that sometimes made her enjoy and do things that she aren’t Storm-like.
And maybe I shouldn’t just chalk it up to rebellion. This could just be a different side of her that isn’t seen often.
Even though I complain about Storm: The Arena, I did like how they showed that she could revel in brutality if she wanted to, that she could find beauty in even the grotesque. Sure, maybe a lot of that was her frustrations and failures she’d gone through with her team at the time, but this isn’t her only instance.
Some might argue that was extreme (haha, no pun since it happened in X-Treme X-Men), but that wasn’t the first time she’s been out of sorts with her goddess persona—a persona that I sometimes feel is forced on her and leaves little room for her to be anything else.
She had her rebellious Mohawk phase (the scene of her snatching Kitty out of the window with a whirlwind after an argument is still the best thing ever to me). She’s entertained villainous men who’ve desired her (Dr. Doom and Khan just to name two), even when she knew nothing would come of it. She’s been a warrior, an avenging goddess, a thief, a queen, a monster, a sorceress, a temptress… The list could go on and on for me.
And all those things, all those incongruities, are why I love her character. Most people see a goddess. I see a complex character who is more than that.
Besides, tell me she ain’t fabulous!

An Interview with Ascension Author Jacqueline Koyanagi

The first thing that struck me about Ascension: A Tangled Axon Novel was the cover. It’s rare to see a person of colour – and a female at that – as the main protagonist in a science fiction/fantasy story. But in reading the book, I learned that there was far more to Alana Quick. And a lot more to her inspirational creator, Jacqueline Koyanagi.

Ascension was recently released in digital format and reviewed on Bibliosanctum but reading and enjoying the book wasn’t enough for me! Thankfully, Ms. Koyanagi very kindly agreed to satiate my curiosity about both book and author in this interview!

Jacqueline Koyanagi
Photo by Vasilion Photography
W: Tell us a little about how Alana came to life.
JK: All of my stories feature queer women of color, and I was delighted that my publisher had no qualms about featuring Alana on the cover. The whole Prime/Masque team is fantastic.

Beyond that, Alana’s chronic illness features heavily in her story. Between my own illness and those of several people I’ve been close to over the years, I’m intimately familiar with the toll invisible disabilities can take on a person’s life. In some cases, nothing goes untouched by its influence: eating, walking, working, even just showering.

The combination of chronic illness and poverty can mean pushing oneself to be productive through the pain. I wanted to feature a character whose chronic pain is deeply integrated into her day-to-day life, so much so that she has long since learned how to function in spite of it. When survival is at stake—obtaining food, medication, additional work—sometimes you have no choice but to push through the symptoms.

Alana is a character who lives at the junction of practical skill and intuition. Most of Alana’s life is, by necessity, focused on tangible, physical matters, from managing her illness to the mechanical aspects of her work as a sky surgeon. I wanted to give her something more than that, some driving passion that helped her push through to the next day; her connection to the Tangled Axon is her tether when her body rebels.

W: I love the idea that Alana isn’t the typical soldier or captain in a typical sci fi story. She’s a sky surgeon who has never even left the ground. Where did you get the idea to make this her occupation?
JK: Actually, it started with the idea of the Tangled Axon and its engine room. I knew I wanted to tell a story in which this ship was the setting, and I wanted the protagonist to be someone who would have an intimate connection to the spirit of the ship.

W: Were there aspects of Alana’s adventures and interactions that reflected real moments in your life?
JK: Mostly her experiences with her chronic illness. While the symptoms of my own illness are different from Alana’s, they certainly impair my day-to-day functioning. I channeled some of that into Alana’s story, particularly her determination to keep going regardless of what her body was telling her. It’s a stubbornness both I and many other chronically ill people I’ve known share.

There’s a little of me in many of the characters I write, I’m sure. Tev’s demeanor is probably the closest to my own for better or worse, and Marre’s circumstances are a metaphorical reflection on the long-term effects of psychological trauma, which is deeply connected to my own history and that of several people I’ve known.

Of course, another obvious corollary to my life is the non-monogamous nature of the relationships on the Tangled Axon, since I’m polyamorous as well. That said, the relationships in the novel aren’t direct mirrors of any of my own relationships.

W: Why was it so important to you to tell this story? What message did you want to deliver to your readers and to the science fiction genre in general?
Ascension is, at its heart, a story about eudaimonia. I chose a narrow focus for that reason: Alana’s story, her perspective, her desires. We see what’s relevant to Alana, and nothing more. When Alana lived in her home city, she was overwhelmed and overshadowed by the noise and oppression of the larger world. The Tangled Axon comes into her life, and she sees an opportunity to find a place for herself for the first time.

The ship is the main setting because that is the way Alana conceptualizes her reality: the Axon and its crew become her world, and everything else is incidental.

Beyond the aforementioned roles of disability and diverse relationships, gender obviously loomed large in this book. The common trope is that, while the world is populated by more than one gender, stories are often overwhelmed by male characters. Male protagonists, male antagonists, male background characters, with—at most, if we’re lucky—two or three women thrown in, usually orbiting the men. Even when a protagonist is a woman, we often see her surrounded by men, heavily influenced by the actions and desires of the men around her.

I deliberately inverted the trope, and this was important to me: I wanted to tell a story in which women just happened to dominate the protagonist’s experiences regardless of what the broader population looked like.

Depicting characters with diverse qualities was less about any one message and more about doing it for its own sake.

W: Who are your favourite authors? What are your favourite books? How have they influenced you as a writer?
JK: I’m going to have to go with Catherynne Valente for her soulful approaches to myth, Caitlin Kiernan for the way she depicted mental illness in The Drowning Girl, and China Mieville for his gorgeous worldbuilding.

W: If you could ask any one of your favourite authors a question about their characters and worlds, what would you ask them?
JK: I’d probably want to listen to Valente talk about the birth of Palimpsest, which remains one of my favorite novels for its unusual characters and surreality. I also have a bit of a thing for Palimpsest’s Casimira, so I’d be interested in learning more about where she came from in the development process.

W: What do you love about genre fiction? What do you hate? What would you like to see in the future of the genre?

JK: This is probably a cliché, but I love that SF/F is limitless in its potential. I’d like to see more authors capitalize on this in terms of gender and sexuality, though I think we do have some great voices accomplishing this right now. It’s an exciting time for genre fiction.

W: Describe your writing process. What gets you into a writing frame of mind?
JK: I choose a scent for each project I’m working on and use that to trigger the necessary mindset when I sit down to work. I’ll usually review my work from the previous day to create a sense of continuity, then get lost in the protagonist’s world and forget to eat.

W: What are your future writing plans?
JK: I’m currently working on a new novel that has a much darker mood. It’s more solidly science fiction than Ascension, though mythic elements certainly made their way into the worldbuilding as well. Most of my stories sit somewhere between science fiction and fantasy because I have a hard time conceptualizing a world primarily dominated by ingenuity or magic—both are relevant to me, so both appear in most of my writing in one way or another.

W: Any advice for aspiring writers? 
JK: Keep at it.

W: Tell me a little about Helix Chainmaille. It’s beautiful and it seems to have snuck into the story in its own unique and personal way! How long have you been designing the jewelry?

Helix Chainmaille | Photo by Vasilion Photography
JK: I hadn’t originally intended for Ovie to weave his own chainmaille jewelry, but I liked the idea of giving him a creative hobby to balance out his more detached personality. I’ve been weaving chainmaille for a couple of years now. I’m on the autism spectrum, so having a repetitive hobby that I can get lost in for hours at a time is helpful in mitigating some of the somatic elements of ASD.

W: Anything else you’d like to add?

JK: Thank you for taking the time to review Ascension and talk to me. It’s been a pleasure!
And thank you! 

Book Review: The Golem and The Jinni by Helene Wecker

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

I absolutely adored this. Magical realism at its finest! And even though it wasn’t exactly what I had expected, I can’t really say that I minded. Otherwise, as a character so deftly put it in this book, I would be like “a man who complains that someone stole the eggs from his henhouse and replaced them with rubies.”

This fantasy novel is also a touching and meaningful immigrant tale at its heart, combining religion and mythology to tell a story of two supernatural creatures who find themselves in New York City in 1899. Chava is a magically-crafted clay golem, brought to life to serve a husband who dies at sea while on the voyage from Poland. When the ship reaches NYC, she is left directionless and without a master. Ahmad is a jinni, released accidentally after being trapped in a copper flask for hundreds of years. Though freed from the vessel, he finds himself still bound to the physical world by a band of iron around his wrist, placed there by the wizard who imprisoned him so long ago.

The story plays out like a fairy tale for adults, complete with elements like love and villains. It is filled with wonderful, fully-realized characters which hooked me from the start. The multiple narratives paint an enchanting picture of the bustling and culturally rich setting of turn-of-the-century New York, where immigrants from so many places around the world settled in the hopes of finding a better life. In this milieu, the golem and the jinni become two more faces in the crowd trying to seek a new beginning in America. Despite being creatures of lore, their struggles and aspirations make them feel entirely too human.

Both the golem and the jinni face questions and obstacles that deal with the notion of freedom versus subjugation; how the two characters approach these issues and choose to deal with them is what forms the basis for this story and makes it so interesting. In this novel, everyone you meet will guard their secrets and hold mysteries in their past. As you read on, the fun is in watching all these histories unfold and the connections start to form.

Just simply a beautiful book, and a great choice if you’re in the mood for some literary fantasy.

4.5 of 5 stars

Audiobook Review: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

This is the third Neil Gaiman book I’ve read and I’ve noticed a trend:

An average, unmemorable male protagonist with slightly/over-controlling girlfriend/recently turned fiancé crosses paths with an unusual human that turns out to be magical and leads the protagonist into a whole new world of magic that has always been there for those willing to see it. Apparently, this is such a common occurrence for Gaiman’s characters, that he’s even written instructions on what to do in such an occasion in A Wolf at the Door: And Other Retold Fairy Tales. Unfortunately, Richard, in this case, has never read those instructions, and, as with the other characters I’ve met in the other books, spends a frustratingly large amount of time in disbelief of the world unfolding around him. This reminded of Alif the Unseen, where the main character, an avid fantasy reader, stumbles into the same situation. The creature in question notes that North Americans in particular love science fiction and fantasy stories, but are the least likely to believe when presented with the reality of them.

In Neverwhere, Richard’s life is significantly altered when he stops to help a wounded girl. She is the Lady Door and she’s being hunted by some very dangerous men. She leads Richard to the London beneath where the people who slip through the cracks reside. Don’t be so quick to discount the street people wrapped in blankets, the story seems to say. All sorts of knowledge and magic could be wrapped up within their filthy coats and blankets.

Once Richard is forced from his dull life, the adventure becomes fairly typical and Richard works his way through various gauntlets to prove himself a hero in the end and change his perspective on life and on himself. Again, this is a similar theme in the other Gaiman books, however, each one does it in a unique way with very memorable supporting characters so, while the process might be similar, the journey is still fun and interesting each time.

This was an audiobook listen, and I was pleased to discover that it was narrated by Gaiman himself. Since beginning my foray into the wonderful world of audiobooks, I’ve wondered how much the narrators deal with the authors (not much or at all, it seems). Do they get the pronunciations right? Have they captured the author’s intent with the various characters and situations? For the most part, the answer seems to be yes to the latter, at least, but with Gaiman reading his own works, the answer is absolute

3 of 5 stars

Mogsy’s Book Haul

Added a few more books to both my physical and digital library since my last book haul update! First, the mailbox pile:

Ex-Communication was a book I received from LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers, which I was very excited about! I very much enjoyed the two books that came before and just love this fun and action-filled series about superheroes and zombies. 

Generation V was a review request, and my thanks to the author M.L. Brennan who kindly sent me a copy of her very awesome and original urban fantasy novel. Both Ex-Communication and Generation V were great! I think I devoured both these books within days after they arrived, so be sure to keep an eye out for the reviews in the coming weeks.

Atria Books also just had one of their Galley Alleys which was how I got sent a copy of Dragon’s Child, the first book of M.K. Hume’s The King Arthur trilogy. Originally published in 2009, the Atria paperback and ebook edition will be available later this year in the fall. It looks interesting, so I’ll probably get to it closer to the release.

Finally, I won an Amazon gift certificate last month for a review I wrote on Worlds Without End, so naturally, it went towards buying — what else — more books. That’s how I got Anthony Ryan’s Blood Song. I probably could have waited until later when I’ve whittled my summer reading list down some more to pick this up, but it just looked really good. I suppose I wanted it on hand in case the urge to pick it up and read it becomes overwhelming.

On to the digital pile:

I told myself I would try damn hard to hold myself back from requesting any more eARCs from NetGalley until I catch up a bit on my reading list, and so far I’ve been doing really well. Of course, it’s also a new month now, so we’ll see how that goes. On the other hand, I did get a few new ebook additions, and the two above are a couple of the highlights.

I was practically beside myself with happiness when I received Hollow World by Michael J. Sullivan. It’s not due for wider release until next year, but people who backed the Kickstarter campaign were able to get it first. Much respect to Mr. Sullivan, as the book was sent to readers in July like he originally promised, with only an hour to spare. I have to say it was a great way to end day, though, seeing that in my inbox.

And lastly, The Red Knight was a book that caught my eye when it was a Kindle SFF daily deal, and it seemed like a few of my friends on Goodreads had rated and reviewed it quite highly. For $1.99, I couldn’t pass it up, and from the description it looks like something I’d love to read.

Books in the cloud

I discovered a new toy today and have been making clouds of all the things! Here is the cloud of words commonly used here at Bibliosanctum. Looks like we’re doin’ it right! We hope you like read more, too. 😉

Book Review: The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman

The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Yeah, my summer reading is in a funny cycle right now, and my current bender has been focused on The Walking Dead.

Anyhow, I pretty much have to cut this whole review for major spoilers, and it’s a little hard to talk about the story without talking about the biggest spoiler of them all in this book. So, I’ll just use this little quote from the book as a spoiler warning and for spoiler space:

As they drive off, each and every one of them–even Penny–glances back through the rear window at the little square sign receding into the distance behind them:

ALL DEAD
DO NOT ENTER

Read More

August Book Club Read: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

From this list of recommended summer reads, members of the LeVar’s Rainbow Book Club selected Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane for August.

A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Book Review: The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman

The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Yeah, my summer reading is in a funny cycle right now, and my current bender has been focused on The Walking Dead.

Anyhow, I pretty much have to cut this whole review for major spoilers, and it’s a little hard to talk about the story without talking about the biggest spoiler of them all in this book. So, I’ll just use this little quote from the book as a spoiler warning and for spoiler space:

As they drive off, each and every one of them–even Penny–glances back through the rear window at the little square sign receding into the distance behind them: 

ALL DEAD 
DO NOT ENTER 


Rise of the Governor is the first book in a trilogy that sets the foundation for Philip Blake’s reign as “governor” of Woodbury. The story begins with two brothers, Philip and Brian Blake, and Philip’s daughter, Penny. The brothers, Penny, and two of Philip’s friends, Bobby Marsh and Nick Parsons are hiding out from walkers in the affluent neighborhood Whiltshire Estates. The decision to hide in the neighborhood seemed the best idea at the time, but the gated community had been ravished hard and fast by the outbreak. They try to stick it out and fortify their position at Philip’s demand, but after a zombie kills one of Philip’s friends, they finally decide that it’s time to cut their losses and move on to Atlanta where they receive the Rick Grimes zombie horde welcome, which eventually leads to their departure and taking up residence in Woodbury.

Much of this book is told from the point-of-view of the brothers, and they couldn’t be more different if they tried. Brian is the oldest, but he’s frail and a bit sickly. Before the outbreak, he’d been living with their parents mourning another failed business venture and the loss of his Jamaican wife (seriously). He admires his brother’s toughness and dominance even though Philip is younger, but I didn’t really feel like Brian wanted to be an alpha male more than he wanted to be seen as someone who contributed something to their survival.

On the other hand, Philip is blessed with all the “good genes.” He’s tall and intimidating. He’s a manly man tempered with a little softness thanks to his daughter. He looks out for his brother, but think Brian is pretty useless. The only thing Philip really trusts Brian to do is look after his daughter, who is beginning to pull further and further into herself, during attacks. After the death of his wife, Philip’s main concern became Penny and doing whatever he needed to do in order to make sure she had everything she needed. He takes charge of their group, often making decision without much input from them (or still outright ignoring their suggestions). He has the presence of a leader, and if there’s one thing we’ve learned from the various leader types shown in the comic, on the show, and in this book, people are going to lean on the leader with an almost blind loyalty because of the high stress situation.

One of the enduring themes I’ve noticed with Kirkman and his leader-types is that many accept or put themselves in these positions, and eventually, the stress seems to work them over double time, as it should. It’s not an easy task to try to ensure the surivival of a group of people or make most of the decisions that could potentially get them killed. You have zombies to worry about, but you also have the pressure of everyone looking to you for answers, support, etc. It’s emotionally and physically exhausting, and the leaders suffer so much more for it. Some of them still try to rise above that. They try to adapt this new harder stance they have to take while still maintaining some sort of decency and fairness. However, some take the other road and decide that you have to be a monster to survive the monsters. Philip falls in this latter group.

We watch Philip tread further and further down away from his own humanity while reasoning he’s doing these things for his daughter’s safety. After his daughter’s death and return as a walker, he becomes downright vicious and insane. None of the these things are surprising. This is the Governor after all, and we know that he employs some brutal methods. At times, though, some of his behavior makes you wonder how he comes back from that insanity at all to be able to put up the facade of the Governor.

Answer: He doesn’t.

Philip Blake is not the Governor. Philip eventually forces the hand of his friend, Nick, who fatally shoots him. In turn, Brian murders Nick and holds his dying brother in his arms. Assuming the identity of his brother, Brian takes over the town of Woodbury from its current governor and begins preparations to take the town back from the walkers.

While I liked the little twist at the end, it’s also one of my chief complaints. Brian’s decision to take on his brother’s name at the end of the story didn’t really seem like the thing he’d do. The two brothers didn’t seem particularly close, even as they survived through that horror together. Brian sought Phillip’s approval, obviously, but beyond that I don’t really feel like Brian wanted whatever alpha male presence his brother possessed.

Maybe this is Brian’s way of dealing with the loss of his family. Maybe this broke him in some ways, even though he sees his actions following the death of his brother as sensible and strong, and there were a few instances in the book where he’d thought about wanting to do the “manly” things Phillip and his friends had done. He also mentioned early in the novel that his brother was changing for the worst and this change reverberated through him. Also, the book makes it a point that Brian is out of place in the world and doesn’t really know his calling. Apparently, the outbreak showed him his place in the world. So, I’m trying to look at it in that vein.

I had some other minor annoyances with the book. There were parts that I wished were fleshed out more, and there were some things that I felt were just unnecessary. While this is a decent foundational read even for those who aren’t familiar with the show or comics, readers jumping in from this point may find the world building lacking in some ways. Overall, however, I enjoyed this more than the comics. Also, I really appreciated this look at how the Governor came into power.

Final Verdict:
3.5 of 5 stars