Graphic Novel Review of “Fell, Feral City” by Warren Ellis #bookblogger #bookbloggers #amreading #graphicnovel

“Ain’t no Jesus in Snowtown, Detective.”
― Warren Ellis

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Stats

4 out of 5 stars

Paperback, 128 pages

Published June 5th 2007 by Image Comics (first published September 2005)

Original Title Fell (issues 1-8)
ISBN 1582406936 (ISBN13: 9781582406930)
Edition Language English
Series Fell #1-8

Awards

2006 Nomination – Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series

2006 Nomination – Eisner Award for Best New Series

“Ain’t no Jesus in Snowtown, Detective.”
― Warren Ellis

About

From the publisher, “Detective Richard Fell is transferred over the bridge from the big city to Snowtown, a feral district whose police investigations department numbers three and a half people (one detective has no legs). Dumped in this collapsing urban trash zone, Richard Fell is starting all over again. In a place where nothing seems to make any sense, Fell clings to the one thing he knows to be true: everybody’s hiding something.”

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My Thoughts

“Cause a cop asking a guy for a discount on his crack, that’s screwed up.
Sign of the goddamn apocalypse is what that is.”
― Warren Ellis, Fell, Feral City

“Fell” was written in 2006 as an experiment by author Warren Ellis to make serial comics more affordable. Sadly the experiment was short-lived, and no episodes have been published since the original 9. That being said, Fell is a worthy ready. Each book is a single story that takes place in Snowtown centered around Detective Richard Fell. It is dark and gritty, and very bloody. There is no real story closure or central theme other than watching Detective Richard Fell. Imagine a pseudo-Sherlock Holmes mixed with Spider Jerusalem from “Transmetropolitan”. It’s absurd but effective read and worthy of consideration. Check it out. Fair warning though, right now there are a lot of hard and awful things going on in the world. If you do not want to briefly delve into some of the dregs of humanity in story form I might give this story a pass.

Novel Review – Night and Silence (October Daye #12) by Seanan McGuire

The world had changed. The world wasn’t changing back.

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Awards

None specifically for this novel, yet. However, Seanan Mcguire has won numerous Nebula, Hugo, and Pegasus awards for her novels.

About

From the publisher, “The twelfth installment of the Hugo-nominated, New York Times-bestselling Toby Daye urban fantasy series! Things are not okay. In the aftermath of Amandine’s latest betrayal, October “Toby” Daye’s fragile self-made family is on the verge of coming apart at the seams. Jazz can’t sleep, Sylvester doesn’t want to see her, and worst of all, Tybalt has withdrawn from her entirely, retreating into the Court of Cats as he tries to recover from his abduction. Toby is floundering, unable to help the people she loves most heal. She needs a distraction. She needs a quest.

What she doesn’t need is the abduction of her estranged human daughter, Gillian. What she doesn’t need is to be accused of kidnapping her own child by her ex-boyfriend and his new wife, who seems to be harboring secrets of her own. There’s no question of whether she’ll take the case. The only question is whether she’s emotionally prepared to survive it.

Signs of Faerie’s involvement are everywhere, and it’s going to take all Toby’s nerve and all her allies to get her through this web of old secrets, older hatreds, and new deceits. If she can’t find Gillian before time runs out, her own child will pay the price. One question remains:

Who in Faerie remembered Gillian existed? And what do they stand to gain? No matter how this ends, Toby’s life will never be the same. “

My Thoughts

“The world had changed. The world wasn’t changing back.” ~ Night and Silence

I know that because it is book 12, it seems like it would be hard to jump into the series. It isn’t. Mcguire does an excellent job of providing enough backstory to understand the basics of what is going on. You may not get all the subtle nuances, but you will enjoy the story.

This is my hands down favorite series next to Dresden Files. Much for the same reasons. Both worlds have fantastic characters, great plots, and a wonderfully interwoven universe of fantasy and reality. October Daye is a likable character but more than that, she is a developed character,  especially by book 12. Some writers, after twelve books, rehash the same story over and over. You know exactly how it is going to end every time and it is boring. This series is not like that at all. Twists and turns are Mcguires modus operandi. Book 12 was just as well written and entertaining as book 1, and it is a nod to how well Mcguire writes that she is able to achieve that. Also, unlike a lot of Urban Fantasy out there where romance becomes the main plot the October Daye world has romantic elements, but the stories are never about that. They are formed around a fleshed out problem that she tackles with intelligence and the help of family and friends.

This book is explicitly about family and motherhood. Toby is a mother, but she stepped away from her daughter Gillian and allowed her to remain human as it was what her daughter wished. Toby herself is dealing with the after-effects of what her mother Amandine did to her and Tybalt in the previous book. There is Miranda, Gillian’s stepmom, who is much more complicated than we have seen her in the past. There is The Luidaeg who is a mother of a long-dead race of Fae. All the mothers’ stories intertwine. Gillian is missing, and these women must come together and put aside their differences to save her. Even then, sometimes despite your best efforts things do not work out like we hope they would. It is a painful experience for Toby who just wants her life to go back to being calm.

Many of the plot threads that Mcguire has been weaving since book 1, Rosemary and Rue, are coming to fruition. It is exciting as a long time fan to see forethought that Mcguire has put into this series play out excellently. We learn about The Luidaeg’s back history, more about Tybalt, and most importantly about Miranda. (I am keeping a bit vague as to not spoil anything)

I am bummed I am going to have to wait another year for book 13. This was a seriously excellent addition to the series. Read it from book 1, or 12. Whatever, it is an awesome series and well worth the time and effort.

Graphic Novel Review – All Quiet in Vikaspuri by Sarnath Banerjee

“Twitter doesn’t bring revolution, hunger does.”


“Isn’t it heartbreaking when people at the margins still believe in the legal system?”

All Quiet in Vikaspuri by Sarnath Banerjee

Stats

  • 4 out of 5 Stars
  • Paperback 152 pages
  • Published 2015 by Harper Collins
  • Original Title All Quiet in  Vikaspuri
  • ISBN9351775747 (ISBN13: 9789351775744)
  • Edition Language English

About

From the publisher, “Scintillating graphic fiction from the master of the genre A Homeric tale of a man’s journey to the centre of the earth in search of the mythical river Saraswati, this graphic novel is set against the fictitious yet ever-so-real Water Wars of Delhi. It is a dystopian landscape where neighborhoods fight brutal battles against each other and even victory must end in defeat.”

My Thoughts

“Twitter doesn’t bring revolution, hunger does.”

All Quiet in Vikaspuri by Sarnath Banerjee

Banerjee uses a climate-centric approach to tell a story blending dystopic ecological narrative with a graphic novel format. The story follows Girish, a plumber who has been displaced by the privatization of Bharat Copper Limited (a thinly-veiled stand-in for Hindustan Copper Limited).  Girish seeks work all throughout his hometown, though there is none to be found.  He soon meets a mysterious businessman.   This businessman tells Girish that he “…funds expeditions into the Earth’s core in the hope that one day we will discover the mother of all rivers, the mythical Saraswati.” Girish is aided by a water diviner as he sets out on an epic quest to find the digging spot for the river, earning the nickname “Psychic Plumber” from the media.   Though feeling more than a little doubtful, Girish starts digging.

During his time underground Girish encounters many subterranean dwellers. All of which have in common the crime of wasting water in one way or another. These dwellers play a pivotal role in the developing plot and denouement. While Girish is underground, a water war breaks out on the surface. It is led by a disaffected businessman Rastogi who is destroying the city, the people, and the land to increase real-estate prices. 

There are two levels of this novel. The first surface level is of a “cli-fi” story about the devastation brought on by water wastage in Delhi within the backdrop of Modern India. It is an epic tale of a man tasked with the impossible and the people he meets along the way. However, I think the more profound story that Banerjee tells so well is one of slow destruction and degredation of the environment for financial gain. Whether it is of one’s city, home, climate or culture, it is all for a financial increase to stockholder prices.  Banerjee reflects on that often throughout the story through small details or asides. 

Graphically, this story isn’t spectacular. Each of the pages is drawn simply and with a limited palette.  This is absolutely fine within the context of the story. It explains everything it needs to explain. 

I think that if I had more of an understanding of Indian culture and heritage I would be able to appreciate and understand some of the references and language used in the book. However, even from a complete outsider standpoint I really enjoyed it. It is well done and should be read. Plus it has sparked a thorough interest in the burgeoning graphic novel scene in India for me. I look forward to reading more from this author. 

Graphic Novel Review – “Habibi” by Craig Thompson

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“The Sufi saint Rabi’a Al-Adawiyya was seen carrying a firebrand and a jug of water – the firebrand to burn Paradise, the jug of water to drown Hell…

So that both veils disappear, and God’s followers worship, not out of hope for reward, nor fear of punishment, but out of love.”
― Craig Thompson, Habibi

Stats

5 out of 5 stars
Hardcover, 672 pages
Published September 20th 2011 by Pantheon (first published September 2011)
Original Title Habibi
ISBN 0375424148 (ISBN13: 9780375424144)
Edition Language English

Awards

  • Harvey Awards Nominee for Best Graphic Album-Original
  • Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards for Best Writer/Artist (for Craig Thompson) (2012)
  • IGN Award for Best Original Graphic Novel (2011)
  • CBH – Best Comics of All Time #94

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About

“From the From the internationally acclaimed author of Blankets (“A triumph for the genre.”—Library Journal), a highly anticipated new graphic novel.

Sprawling across an epic landscape of deserts, harems, and modern industrial clutter, Habibi tells the tale of Dodola and Zam, refugee child slaves bound to each other by chance, by circumstance, and by the love that grows between them. We follow them as their lives unfold together and apart; as they struggle to make a place for themselves in a world (not unlike our own) fueled by fear, lust, and greed; and as they discover the extraordinary depth—and frailty—of their connection.

At once contemporary and timeless, Habibi gives us a love story of astounding resonance: a parable about our relationship to the natural world, the cultural divide between the first and third worlds, the common heritage of Christianity and Islam, and, most potently, the magic of storytelling.”

My Thoughts

 

“You’re more than a story.”
― Craig Thompson, Habibi

When trying to make an argument about why graphic novels are richer, deeper, and more complex than the spandex-clad superhero saving the day; this is the book I hand you. A tome that is nearly 700 pages long and it is filled to the brim with an intricately woven tapestry of middle eastern lore, myth, and culture. It isn’t perfect, but it is incredible.

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First, let us talk about the good and when I say it is good, it is really good. This book, if it is anything else is an ode to calligraphy. Calligraphy or caligraphic images permeate the story and the pages. The shape of calligraphic characters is just as important as the number itself.  The flow and richness of characters and words change form with the direction of the plot. For example, The word for bird changes the shape of the characters and flows into the shape of an actual bird. Caligraphy fills the scenes, gives shape to the plot, gives meaning to the characters struggles, and fleshes out their personality.  The abstractions are weighty and deep but at the center of the swirling calligraphy is a love story. One that spans decades.

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It revolves around Dodola and Zam. Two individuals who at the beginning of the story are eking out an existence on a ship buried in the sand stranded in the desert. To feed them, Dodola prostitutes herself out to traveling caravans to bring food to their home. Zam is said to have the power to find water so his family job is to bring water home to them. Both jobs are equally necessary and symbolic in keeping them alive. Like two halves of a coin, this duality is present in much of the book. Armstrong deftly jumps from character to character creating this universe that they live by switching back and forth chapter by chapter. As the story progresses Dodola and Zam are parted after Zam witnesses Dodola getting raped. Zam, contextually, does not understand what he has seen so he renders himself psychologically. This culminates in a choice that he can never come back from.

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After their parting, each individual desperately yearns to be with the other so that they are complete. By themselves, they represent only half a person or half a soul. Again the theme of duality is present.

It is hard to believe that Craig Thompson does not know calligraphy, nor has he extensively traveled the middle east. His book is a love note to the beauty of calligraphy as much as it is anything else.

Let’s talk about the not so good. This book is long. Exhaustingly over-long. Even worse, it is so intricately detailed that putting it down will culminate in a lost plot for the reader. I feel like he suffers from what I call Jordanism. Aptly named for Robert Jordan who can never get to the damn point. For me, it was too many side stories and rehashing of similar events. But It could have been edited down and it still would have punched me in the gut. But exhaustive detail is an Armstrong characteristic. It was present in “Blankets” and it is present here. It isn’t bad, just know what you are in for.

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Also, there have been write-ups about this being orientalism. I am not going to pretend that I can talk about that effectively. I do not have the experience to be able to relate or review it in that light. However, if you are interested there are scads of articles written about that and regarding Armstrong’s other works. Check it out.

By the end of this book, I guarantee it will be like nothing that you have read before. Whether classifying it as a love story, religious text, or historical doctrine; the story will resonate.  Just know what you are in for. You will be rung out by the end of it.

 

 

Check out Link It Up Thursday here.

Netflix Book Tag #blogmas Day 12

I came across this tag on Book Loving Nut and I thought what a cute idea. I want to do that! So here I am sharing the love with all you wonderful people! 

Recently Watched: The book you most recently read-

I have oddly read a few poetry books lately. This one was pretty great. It is poetry to your heartbeat in a forest running through the land, if that makes an sense.

Top Picks: A book recommended to you based on another book you’ve read-

Recently Added: The book you most recently bought-

I am pretty excited to read this. It looks rather awesome!

Popular on Netflix: One book that you have and one book that you haven’t read that everyone has been talking about-

No hate mail. I haven’t read this yet, but I will. 

Comedies: A funny book-

Still makes me laugh thinking about it. Fuck Sticks! 

Dramas: A character that is a total drama king or queen

The main characters are at a very dramatic age. 

Cartoons: a book with cartoons on the cover-

The cartoons are a lie. This book is not for kids. 

Watch again: a book or series you want to read again-

Always good for a reread of this series. 

Documentaries: a non-fiction book that you would recommend to everyone-

Really interesting reads on urban plants and the graphics are beautiful. 

Action & Adventure: an action packed book-

You absolutely cannot beat Dresden Files. 

New releases: A new release or soon-to-be-released book that you’re excited about-

I have applied to read this through Netgalley and I am sooo hopeful. It looks incredible. 

Here is the fun part. Picking lovely people to continue. No pressure if you don’t want to 🙂

Noura  @  The perks of being Noura

Lucy @ A Novel Purpose

Meagan @ Quibbles and Scribbles

Dave @ https://espressococo.com/

These are just some lovely blogs that I follow and you should too. Wonderful writing!  Anyone can do this tag though, so write it all up. Have a lovely day! 

Review of “The Thing Beneath the Bed (The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss” #bookblogger #bookblog #kidsbooks @PatrickRothfuss

If you are looking for this title, it can be found on worldbuilders.com

About

“This is not a book for children.

It looks like a children’s book. It has pictures. It has a saccharine-sweet title. The main characters are a little girl and her teddy bear. But all of that is just protective coloration. The truth is, this is a book for adults with a dark sense of humor and an appreciation of old-school faerie tales.

There are three separate endings to the book. Depending on where you stop, you are left with an entirely different story. One ending is sweet, another is horrible. The last one is the true ending, the one with teeth in it.

The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle is a dark twist on the classic children’s picture-book. I think of it as Calvin and Hobbes meets Coraline, with some Edward Gorey mixed in.

Simply said: This is not a book for children.”

My Thoughts

First and foremost, an honest disclaimer, This is not a kid’s book. It is delightfully wicked fun, but in no way shape or form should you read this to your unsuspecting child. Unless of course, you are a bit of an asshole. In that case, read on. I had the fortune of hearing a live reading of this by Mr. Rothfuss himself a few years ago.

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Image courtesy of goodreads.com

You would think by the sweet saccharine pictures that there was nothing menacing underneath it all, but oh god you will see. I don’t want to give it all away because of spoilers. But this sweet saccharine girl is not what she seems.

The fun part of this book is once you finish it, go back and reread. See what you missed. It is hilarious what we readers gloss over. Try to get your hands on a copy of this, it is out of print I’m afraid. The library has a few copies. Do it. I would give it six stars if I could.

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Rothfuss, Patrick. The Thing Beneath the Bed. Subterranean Press, 2010.

You can also find copies of this and it’s sequel on worldbuilders.com

eARC Book Review – Kingdom of Needle and Bone by Mira Grant

“Ring around the rosies
pocket full of posies
ashes ashes.
we all fall down”

Stats

  • 4 out of 5 Stars 
  • Hardcover, Limited, 128 pages
  • Expected publication: December 31st, 2018 by Subterranean Press
  • Original Title  – Kingdom of Needle and Bone
  • ISBN159606871X (ISBN13: 9781596068711)
  • Edition Language
  • English URL https://subterraneanpress.com/kingdom-of-needle-and bone

About

From the publisher, “We live in an age of wonders.

Modern medicine has conquered or contained many of the diseases that used to carry children away before their time, reducing mortality and improving health. Vaccination and treatment are widely available, not held in reserve for the chosen few. There are still monsters left to fight, but the old ones, the simple ones, trouble us no more.

Or so we thought. For with the reduction in danger comes the erosion of memory, as pandemics fade from memory into story into fairy tale. Those old diseases can’t have been so bad, people say, or we wouldn’t be here to talk about them. They don’t matter. They’re never coming back.

How wrong we could be.

It begins with a fever. By the time the spots appear, it’s too late: Morris’s disease is loose on the world, and the bodies of the dead begin to pile high in the streets. When its terrible side consequences for the survivors become clear, something must be done, or the dying will never stop. For Dr. Isabella Gauley, whose niece was the first confirmed victim, the route forward is neither clear nor strictly ethical, but it may be the only way to save a world already in crisis. It may be the only way to atone for her part in everything that’s happened.

She will never be forgiven, not by herself, and not by anyone else. But she can, perhaps, do the right thing.

We live in an age of monsters.”

My Thoughts

Ring around the rosy
Pocket full of posies
Ashes, ashes
We all fall down

Children’s rhyme

Humans can be many things. Saviors and Sinners. Hunters and the hunted. Monsters or the divine. We are given ample opportunity to show our true colors during our lifetimes. Often humanities true colors are somewhere in the grey area as no one is any one thing and as such, we are a collection of moments. Most writers often overlook the many faces of human nature, but great writers give a plurality to their characters. It may not be easy to understand who is good and evil without thinking about it, but isn’t that real life? Mira Grant aka Seanan Mcguire is one of those great writers that celebrate the pluralism of morality in her characters, and this novella is an excellent example of this. 

Dr. Izzy Gauley, the protagonist,  is as morally gray as any character could be. She is distraught, caught in the guilt of her previous choices, and she must continually make ethically ambiguous decisions to further what she believes is the truly right thing. Those choices may or may not bring the entire proverbial glass house on top of herself. Much of the plot hinges on whether her choices in this story are wicked and self-serving or genuinely in the best interest of all are up to the reader. She is a good character. But, this is not surprising as Mira Grant has a tendency to write real people. 


“…Salvation at the tip of a needle”

The Kingdom of Needle and Bone by Mira Grant

Plot-wise, Grant has written a novella that is absolutely terrifying to a parent. What happens when herd immunity fails? The whole premise is based on a parent’s worst nightmare, losing their children. Even worse is that it is through the parents own actions that global calamity happens. Although the delivery of the message regarding immunizations and the importance thereof is a bit ham-fisted at times, her point comes across. Vaccinations are essential and the backbone of a healthy society. What I really liked about the plot is that it developed from, “How important immunizations are,” to a discussion on bodily autonomy. Do we sacrifice bodily freedom for the sake of a healthy society? A very real and prescient argument that could play out in the courts in the next upcoming years.

“Are we doing the right thing” she asked. 

The Kingdom of Needle and Bone by Mira Grant

I hope to see this turn into a full-fledged series. There is enough meat on the bones of this novella to expand the characters and plot into a great story very much in the vein of the “Newsflesh” series.  

I am so glad the Mira Grant is such a prolific author. I enjoy her work often and repeatedly. She is one of the few authors that seem to be just as good on a reread as it was initially. I can’t tell you how many times I have read Newsflesh and October Daye. If you have an opportunity to check out this novella, I dearly hope you do. 

Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for providing me with a copy of this in exchange for my honest review.