Out of those four comics, I was only impressed with Detective Comics and Swamp Thing. Justice League was only “meh” and didn’t feel like it was worth the trouble of continuing at that point, and Mister
Terrific was terrible when it had so much potential to be great. Even
though I did enjoy Detective Comics and Swamp Thing, I still put them on the back burner in favor of other comics that I wanted to catch up on. Admittedly, I was one of those people who wasn’t that excited to see Barbara assume the Batgirl mantle again. I love Barbara. I really do, but I always felt that she was a more formidable hero as Oracle than as Batgirl. That’s neither here nor there now, and there’s no point in rehashing old thoughts. Moving on…
her legs. For those of you not quite familiar with what happened or only have a vague idea of what happened to her, refer to The Killing Joke pre-DCnU. After some downtime rehabbing while living in her father’s home, Barbara decides that it’s time to spread her wings, move out of her father’s house, and take up the mantle of the bat again. What Barbara didn’t count on was her survivor’s guilt and PTSD (which is triggered when she’s faced with guns) making her return to crime fighting more difficult than she’d expected.
legs back. She struggles with conflicting feelings that make her feel blessed for this miracle, but questions why did she, out of all the people in the in the world, deserve such a miracle. After thwarting a murder attempt on a family, Barbara’s next foe challenges her miracle as well and brings out deeper psychological fears.
I really enjoyed the portrayal of Barbara’s struggle. She’s of two minds for most of this comic. She’s a superwoman and a frail all in the same breath. One minute she’s praising herself for her strength and smarts, and the next minute, she doubts herself and if she’s even doing the right thing. She wonders if she’s squandering her miracle by pushing herself too hard, but then she feels that this miracle wasn’t given to her for her to sit by idly. A brief confrontation with Nightwing shows the feelings she stills hold for him while punctuating that she doesn’t want the others to believe that she’s not capable–to the point that she lashes out at him in order to show that she isn’t helpless. She doesn’t want their help. She wants to prove herself, her strength and ability to overcome, to the bat family.
spoilers, but just some thoughts. When I realized that Barbara’s threat was eliminated in the fourth issues but there were still two issues left in this arc, I was thinking, “Okay?” It ended perfectly, and I was thinking that things were about to get odd since what could you possibly accomplish in two more issues? I was pleasantly surprised. You can say the next two issues in the arc were a mini-story, but still tied into the “reflection” theme showing Barbara what she
could’ve been if she hadn’t had family and support.
to people whether they deserved them or not and that there’s no one who can decide that someone is undeserving of such a miracle, even if it’s a personal miracle. The second part dealt more personally with the idea that not everyone may see his or her miracle as a miracle. It showed how fragile the line between miracle and damnation is in some people’s mind, and it showed a thing about compassion and understanding, as well.
me, and I’m back to questioning why it’s so easy for some people to find out who the bat family is over other more intelligent criminals. That’s a general annoyance of mine with Batman and the bat family, not something that’s limited to Gail herself. However, I still
enjoyed the story and appreciated it for showing Barbara’s return as a struggle that she’s working to overcome for physical and psychological reasons. I’ll definitely read more of the Batgirl
Giant troll scrotum aside, this was an incredibly heartwarming and heartbreaking read.
If you’ve made it this far in the series, nothing should shock you. If you haven’t read Saga yet, then you may have heard about the crazy and even the controversy surrounding issue #12. Let’s just say that when my husband picked up the copy of volume one that I had lying on my bed, he flipped through a few pages, said “Uh.. I found the robot sex…,” then he put it down and backed away slowly.
It’s difficult to describe Saga without commenting on the uninhibited (but purely contextual!) fantasy space sex and nudity, but underneath the shock value is a fantastic story. Honest! So put just your prude down for a few minutes and pick up this series.
The last volume set up the science fiction falls in love with fantasy and makes a baby story of two enemy soldiers who will do anything to protect their new little family from the various parties who want to see them thoroughly dead. A classic Romeo and Juliet tale, but with way more kinky and weird and a lot more heart.
At the end of volume one, Markos’ parents have appeared aboard the rocketship carrying the little family to the planet Quietus to meet the author of Alana’s favourite book. The bounty hunter known as The Will is intent on rescuing a six-year old girl from the slave trade. Prince Robot IV has figured out where the fugitives are headed and is determined to finish his job in order to get back to his pending fatherhood. And baby Hazel’s incorporeal babysitter, Izabel, has been zapped.
Volume two jumps right in with the absolute best disapproving-but-utterly-loving-mother versus headstrong son and understanding father versus headstrong new daughter-in-law interactions I’ve ever read. I can’t speak more directly on why I loved these interactions so much without spoiling the moments of pride, amusement, joy and tears that I felt as everything progressed.
Meanwhile, The Will, still mourning The Stalk, gets an unexpected partner, whom he convinces to help in his effort to save the slave girl. And Prince Robot IV continues his read through of Alana’s book – which I now desperately want to read myself. I love how important this book is to the story, initially as a clue to the fugitive’s whereabouts, but in volume two, we learn how it brought the lovers together.
Baby Hazel’s narrative interruptions are more common in this volume, serving as a constant reminder that she survives this ordeal. That means the story will eventually have a happy ending, right? I’d like to hope so, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to get a lot of heartbreak and loss on the way there. I am most definitely in this for the bittersweet long haul.
I’m not necessarily a fan of historical fiction, or of the Arthurian legend, but a friend recommended this to me and I ended up loving the book so much that I bought the entire series and have read it twice.
The Warlord Chronicles is the story of King Arthur, as told in the first person by his friend Derfel. It includes the regular cast of characters and the expected monumental moments, but Cornwell skillfully twists them in a realistic way. What we think we know as Arthurian “truths” are, according to this book, the result of history being twisted by memory or by bards paid to sing different songs…
In keeping with making it more historical fiction than fantasy, much of the magic is toned down, though the belief in magic and ritual remains.
I love that Arthur is not the main character in this story about Arthur. he plays a major part, obviously, but this is Derfel’s story and I love the humility of a main character who never really realizes how great a man he is and how great a friend he has been to a king.
Okay, I’m going to cheat a little for this question. The thing is, I don’t typically reread books. If I were to read a book again, it would be a book that I love, and generally books that I love, I remember very, very well, and that’s why rereading isn’t something I do a lot. Unfortunately, life’s just too short (or more accurately, my TBR list is just too long) for it, so you can see why it would be kind of a challenge to come up with a book I’ve read more than once, let alone more than three times!
But…there is a book that comes close. In the fourth grade, I had a fantastic teacher called Mr. Smiley. And I am so not kidding, that was his real name. Mr. Smiley was a fun guy who was also Australian, so he had this really cool accent which made class story time even more amazing with his ability to do these great voices. One of the books he read to us was The Hobbit. And that, dear readers, was my very first exposure to this fantasy classic and the name J.R.R. Tolkien. I loved it.
Fast forward a couple years, in Grade 6, at another school in another country, my fellow students and I were assigned The Hobbit to read for English class. I’ll admit, reading the book for a school assignment was definitely not as fun as listening to Mr. Smiley do his Gollum voice, but eh, what can you do? I remember having a great time returning to Middle Earth, nonetheless. It was just as good the second time around.
I have, of course, read The Hobbit again since my school years. But even if you count that along with the first couple of times (which I do, even if it was read to me the first time around) that’s still just three times. But I included this book in my answers to the 30-Day Reading Challenge anyway, because as you can see the adventures of our beloved Bilbo Baggins played a big role in my childhood reading experiences which ultimately lead to my love for the fantasy genre in my adult years.
Eventually, I hope to be able to read The Hobbit to my own child, when she is a bit older. When I do, I suppose then it will be a book I have read more than three times, but too bad we’re not counting future reads! In any case, I can’t think of a better title to introduce my daughter to the world of fantasy books, and who knows, maybe it’ll be the one that leads her down the road to become a fantasy fiction fan, like it did for her mom. The thought warms my heart.
Since my last update, I’ve already managed to finish a couple of books, so keep an eye out on this blog for their reviews over the next few weeks.
I’ve also started on two more since, which when I’m done reading should — at an average of one book per month — get me up to speed for this challenge.
Kind of weird how it worked out to me reading two books about dragons at the same time, but the way the creatures are portrayed are so different in each. Both books are quite good so far. I guess I’ve been lucky in making my choices for this challenge, because I haven’t yet come across a book or an author I couldn’t stand.
Speaking of which, I also wanted to mention that I made a last-minute change on my list of books and authors. I’d forgotten that I ordered a copy of Marie Robinette Kowal’s Glamour in Glass a couple weeks ago up until the hardcover practically showed up on my doorstep. It was one of the 2012 Nebula Awards nominees and I really wanted to check it out, so when I saw that Kowal and her book fit the challenge requirements, I switched them in. I’ve updated my original post to reflect the change.
Okay, let’s see if I can pull this review off without making it another gush-fest on my love for Claudia Black. As usual, her narration is fantastic, but for this second book of The Keepers Trilogy, I want to focus on the story because that’s what I think really shines.
After the events of The Museum of Thieves (my review here), Goldie Roth has been offered the chance to become a Keeper of the Museum of Dunt. But then her new friend Toadspit’s little sister Bonnie is stolen away, and so the two older children take off after the kidnappers. After a journey upon the seas, Toadspit ends up being captured too, and they all end up at the city of Spoke where the much-anticipated Festival of Lies is about to begin. Now Goldie has to save her friends while trying to survive in the middle of this bizarre place, made even stranger by the nature of the festival, where every day is “Opposite Day” and no one can be trusted.
This series is targeted at the middle-grade audience, so younger readers would probably appreciate it more, but I found this book to be quite enjoyable all the same. The story is a lot of fun — short, but very cute. I think children will like that characters have to speak and act in a way that is the opposite of what they mean during the Festival of Lies, but it isn’t done in such a juvenile manner that adults can’t find it all very entertaining as well.
There’s also an aspect of make-believe, role-play and “playing pretend” in this book that kids would probably enjoy, which also involves a very abstract magical idea that I’m still trying to wrap my head around (though I’m sure children would probably take for granted and wouldn’t question too much). There just seems to be a lot more going on in this sequel in terms of fantasy elements and ideas, some that are just more intriguing and appealing to all readers.
The focus is mostly on the adventures of Goldie and Toadspit this time around, with the other adult keepers back in the city of Jewel and given an obligatory side plot to keep them in the series. Quite honestly, I didn’t mind the story’s greater emphasis on the children because in my opinion they’re a lot more interesting to read about. The audiobook narration also does a good job of bringing them to life, along with the crazy city of Spoke.
Once again, if you can get your hands on the audio version of this book, I highly recommend doing so. This series would not have made even made it onto my radar screen if it weren’t for Claudia Black’s name being attached to the project, since it’s not a regular habit of mine to pick up children’s books (but maybe I should make it one, since my toddler is growing up so fast). Black’s voice work is always top-notch, and so far these books have been great. I’ve already put my name on the waiting list for the final installment of this trilogy from my library.
As always, I feel lucky and grateful to be writing for The BiblioSanctum along with my fellow blog contributors, because between them they are a boundless trove of book recommendations, new authors to discover, and interesting things to learn. Earlier this month, Wendy posted about the 2013 Women of Genre Fiction Reading Challenge hosted by the fan-fun community site Worlds Without End. So naturally, I’ve decided to join the fun.
So I realize the year’s already almost half over, but I figure at the rate I devour books, realistically this is something I can still manage to do. Not to mention I already have a couple books that are eligible for the challenge under my belt, so I wouldn’t be starting completely from behind.
The process of selecting the authors and books was easy; wouldn’t you believe it, but when I went over my Goodreads account for my list of books I’ve read this year so far, as well as books on my to-read list, there are EXACTLY 12 female authors who 1) I haven’t read prior to 2013, and 2) are also on the author list provided by WWEnd! Is this a sign or what?! As for the one random author pick, well, their random author picker was still under construction, and I figure most of the books I choose to read are pretty random anyway.
If anything, I’m with Wendy on this being a great way for me to polish off some titles from my TBR pile, some that have been on there for a while but I still really want to read. Here’s my progress so far:
And my plans for the rest!
A shadowy curse hangs over the royal family of Chalion and it falls to a broken man to save them from the curse and the political viper pit that threatens to bring them down.
I fell in love with Cazaril not long after he was introduced. When he first appears, he is a broken man in both body and spirit. He has some how survived betrayal that led him into the hands of vicious slavers and is slowly making his way back to the royal family he serves. His restraint when he encounters arrogant soldiers is impressive. His humility when he presents himself to the Provinsara and requests the opportunity to return to the service of Chalion in some way is a little bit heartbreaking. Despite his wounds, inner and outer, the Provinsara knows him as a loyal, noble person and it becomes increasingly clear to the reader that he is a true hero, though not one that necessarily proves his valor with sword and shield. He is a soldier though and fully capable of fighting, in spite of his increasing health problems. What I respect is that he only resorts to the sword when necessary, relying more on his wits, which is exactly why the Pronvinsara appoints him as secretary-tutor to her beautiful, strong-willed niece, Iselle and, by default, Iselle’s equally beautiful and strong-willed handmaiden, Beatriz.
When the ladies first appear, they are impetuously disobeying the rules and they seem to be the typical bratty princess types, but, as with many things in the book, they move quickly past expectations and predictions. This happens with both characters and plotlines, where I would make immediate assumptions about a person or the what-happens-next, only to have them step in a completely different direction, without any time wasted to get to that direction. A lot of authors add extra details and sometimes completely unnecessary words, perhaps to build tension or perhaps just as filler, but I really appreciate the way Bujold gets to the point without the preamble. Everything is artfully detailed and characters are all wonderfully fleshed out, but there is no detritus to sift through. Just a pure story that was a very engrossing and enjoyable read.
I very much liked the portrayal of women in the book. This is a patriarchal society where women are used as pawns through marriage for political gain. Due to the curse and circumstances, two of the women we meet, Ista and Sara, are seemingly downtrodden and, in Ista’s case, considered mad. But there is far more to them that Bujold presents early on and recognizes clearly in the end. Heroes come in many forms and one who is able to endure should not be overlooked.
Iselle understands the role of women in this society, and she is also intuitive enough to determine how best to work within the rules to achieve her own happiness, and more importantly, what is best for Chalion. She is able to play the game of thrones, if you will, without compromising morals or herself.
Cazaril is definitely a favourite character, but I ended up appreciating almost all of the characters and appropriately disliking the not so nice ones. Everyone plays an important role in some way.
The other aspect I really enjoyed was the gods. Sometimes when a story includes gods, the gods are much like our reality: other than a few of their followers performing parlour tricks, there is no real evidence of the gods’ existence. That is how it seems at first, but again, Bujold quickly proves otherwise in the form of some interesting miracles and saints. Not that these gods are all thunder and lightning. They are very subtle, but their workings and how involved they are in certain lives comes as a surprise each time. I loved the way everything was intertwined seamlessly, start to finish.
“The gods’ most savage curses come to us as answers to our own prayers. Praying is a dangerous business.”
By the last twenty percent of the book when everything seemed to have fallen into place, my George R. R. Martin tainted mind was screaming for fear that something would go wrong and and everyone would die! I’m not opposed to unhappy endings, but this was definitely a nice change for me. If you do like happy endings that aren’t contrived, then this book is an excellent choice.