-Eva-'s 2+0+1+4 Challenge - Bonus
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I've decided against having categories for my bonus and just do free-reading the rest of the year. I'm currently listening to Peter Robinson's Innocent Graves and will start Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind next or perhaps Northlanders, Vol. 1: Sven The Returned.
Northlanders, Vol. 1: Sven The Returned by Brian Wood and Davide Gianfelice
Exiled Viking Sven returns to Orkney from Miklagarðr/Constantinople to claim his heritage from his usurper uncle. This is marketed with the tagline "Vikings finally done right," but unfortunately the Viking part is irrelevant to the plot - it feels like the story is set in a Viking village because it's a culture that makes for great imagery rather than having relevance for the characters or the story development. So, if we pretend it's not supposed to be about Vikings, but only about an exiled prince returning to claim what his uncle has stolen from him, this is an interesting story with an unexpected ending. The art is very bleak and fits the desolate Orkney landscape and the story perfectly. The problem I had with the story was that I wasn't able to connect to the main character at all - I really didn't care about what happened to Sven, which makes the main story line a bit of a wash-out. There is a female character that was very interesting, but she isn't fully explored, so I couldn't really root for her either (and the other female character has the standard gravity-defying boobage, which makes her a rather dull comic book stereotype). I understand that the other books in the series deal with completely different characters, though, so I may give another installment a try at some point.
Number of books: 4
Bonus Thread Progress:
1. Northlanders, Vol. 1: Sven The Returned by Brian Wood and Davide Gianfelice Finished November 28th
Best read of the month: Locke and Key: Vol. 1 Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez - because the story is extremely inventive and the art very pretty.
Least good read of the month: Pixu by Fábio Moon, Gabriel Bá, Becky Cloonan, and Vasilis Lolos - because the art was interesting, but the story is a mess.
I do hope they have the last one too!! You have great grand finale to look forward to!
Very much butt in chair! I've been taking care of a friend's offspring today so haven't gotten to it - instead I've seen How to Train Your Dragon 2 about five times - but I've just kicked the urchins out, so I have a couple of hours to read now (I should be cleaning and doing dishes, but that's not going to happen!). It's thick, but I don't see it "lasting" more than a few days.
I think "epic" because the story is the telling of the adventures and deeds of our hero, so "epic" in its original meaning. :) And, yes, fantasy at 700+ isn't out of the ordinary.
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
A humble innkeeper turns out to be the famous Kvothe, magician, thief, and musician, and when he tells his story to a scribe, a tale of happiness, suffering, love, and hardship is revealed. I very much enjoyed spending time with Kvothe and with the world in which he lives. The whole wizard-school genre is very difficult to do nowadays and I thought Rothfuss did a nice job with making his different from the other "famous" ones. Kvothe's origins and what happens to his family is what really caught my attention and got me invested in the story. Unfortunately, this is only book one in a planned trilogy, so we won't get too far into Kvothe's investigations into the Chandrian and although the world-building is quite good, the writing tends toward the prolix when it comes to describing Kvothe's accomplishments and I have a feeling the author may be just a little bit to fond of his own character because he's not letting him do much wrong, other than by mistake and that doesn't really count. Still, it was a very enjoyable trip into a new world and I will most certainly be following Kvothe's tale to its end.
Innocent Graves by Peter Robinson
A young girl is found murdered in a graveyard and Chief Inspector Alan Banks must sort out the suspects who all have dark secrets that they'd rather not have come to light. This installment of the series gets a little more graphic than normal, but it doesn't hurt it to raise the stakes once in a while and nice to see a different side of Banks. Unfortunately the ending leaves quite a bit to be desired since we find out the who but not the how, even a little bit. Still, it's a very nice series with engaging characters that I plan to continue.
Hellblazer Vol. 1: Original Sins by Jamie Delano
John Constantine is one of my favorite characters in literature, mainly because he manages to be such a genuine bastard at the same time has having a staunch set of morals. Not that being a nasty character is a great thing, but because it makes him more real than had he been a nice guy. Also, most of his battles are "fought" with cunning and smarts rather than with magic spells, which is a huge amount of fun to read, especially since Constantine is a master of the sarcastic remark.
This new edition of Original Sins includes Hellblazer stories #1-#9 as well as a Constantine tie-in story from Swamp Thing issues 76-77.
The Hellblazer issues included are "Hunger" where the hunger demon Mnemoth has been set free, "A Feast of Friends" where Pap Midnight teams up with Constantine to trap Mnemoth, "Going for It" where Constantine must face demon Blathoxi (and is tortured by having to watch Thatcher speak), "Waiting for the Man" where a serial killer has gotten hold of Constantine's niece, "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" where Constantine wanders into a veteran's Vietnam flashbacks, "Extreme Prejudice" where the Damnation Army creates a monster and Constantine battles is with the great and mighty weapon that is ... football, "Ghost in the Machine" where Ritchie Simpson enters cyberspace to spy on the Resurrection Crusaders, "Intensive Care" where the demon Nergal heals Constantine as payment for ruining the Resurrection Crusaders' plans for Zed/Mary, and "Shot to Hell" where his subconscious self hands out some tough love and Swamp Thing manifests from tobacco.
The Swamp Thing issues included are "L'adoration De La Terre" where Swamp Thing takes over Constantine's body and Abby goes to visit Matt (he of later raven fame in Sandman) and "Infernal Triangles" where Abby leaves the swamp to sort out her emotions, but soon returns, ironically thanks to Constantine, to reunite with Swamp Thing.
>27 -Eva-: I've also not read any of the comics either (so many out there it's difficult to know which ones to grab) so it's good to see such a positive review. As I've been following the TV show, do you think they managed to capture the essence of the comics or is it just a watered down tie-in?
Yes, this is where you want to start. Constantine was "born" in Swamp Thing, but Hellblazer is where his main story begins.
I was very wary of the TV show, but they managed to do a really decent job (thank goodness they cast a Brit as Constantine!) considering the slightly bizarre source material, which wouldn't work as is. They made Constantine nicer (to make sure the viewers would like him, I'm sure) and Zed is a very different character, but it works. The comics are more surreal, much darker, and definitely gorier.
Despite its 700+ pages, it was a fairly quick read, so I wouldn't be opposed to a reread some time in the future, but I'll need to read book two first and, hopefully by then, Rothfuss will have made huge progress on book three! :)
The American superheroes make me dizzy too - it's only recently that I've started getting a grasp of who belongs where. I grew up with French and Belgian comics and was only vaguely aware of the existence of Batman, Spiderman, and that group.( I know I'll never catch up, so I have no problem going for the movies as well!) Thanks to accidentally stumbling into Mega City Comics (which is still around, if anyone has a chance to visit) in London sometime in the early 1990s, I found my way to writers like Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Jamie Delano, and Garth Ennis and with a group like that, I can't say I've missed the superheroes. :)
My love of GNs started when a friend of mine recommended I read AND watch Persepolis. And then I went from there.
Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper
The three Drew children discover an ancient map in the attic of their holiday home, which when the mysterious writing is revealed seems to point to the hiding place of a grail. For some reason I was under the impression this was a fantasy tale and, although it has a tiny bit of magic in it, it's really mainly a mystery for the younger reader. It was a decent read, but a little too Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys for me to love it. I have been told the following installments are "proper" fantasy, so I'll continue the series for sure.
Oh, so Constantine is from Hellblazer. He showed up in the Sandman books and I got the impression I should know him. I think Hellblazer seems a little too dark for my mood right now, but I'll keep them in mind for later.
I have never been into super heroes, but, I saw , and really enjoyed, the Guardians of the Galaxy movie this summer. I was considering checking out the other Marvel super hero stuff. Probably starting with the movies.
"the rest of the series builds on the events in this book"
That's great to know - I've started the next in the series and it's already much more of what I had expected from the first book, so I'm very happy.
Constantine got his start in Swamp Thing, but Hellblazer is his own story - he props up here and there after this. And, yes, Hellblazer is quite dark, so you'll need to be in that mood.
Readingwise, I'm doing quite poorly at the moment, unfortunately. I have visitors from Sweden, so there's a lot of touristing going on. The goal is to have one more finished before the new year, but we'll have to see how that goes. :)
I have a copy of Elidor and I think I read it when I was younger, but it's on the reread shelf since I can't remember much. :)
Happy New Year and a belated congratulations on finishing your challenge! Thank you for the lively discussions and encouragement. I've enjoyed reading your reviews -- such a fun mix of mysteries, graphic novels, and classics. I hope your 2015 reading year is as good as it can be!
The Book of Chameleons by José Eduardo Agualusa
This is the story of Félix Ventura who sells memories and backgrounds to people who need a solid lineage to become fully realized in life, narrated by the gecko who makes its home in the shady cracks in the walls of Félix's house. Set in Luanda, Angola, right at the end of the civil war, the story is an interesting mix of politics and Borgesque fantasy, along with seriously original characters. It is a fairly thin book, consisting of a series of short vignettes, but its sum total is an engaging discourse on the nature of truth and lies and how a modified identity and memory could change the course of one's life. The narrator, Eulálio the gecko, is a sardonic observer of Félix's life, but his dreams are wistful views into his alternate, pre-gecko existence, which makes for one of the most interesting narrators I've read in a long while. Don't come looking for a chameleon to play a huge part - it's metaphorical - and the original title, O Vendedor de Passados, means "The Seller of Pasts" rather than having to do with anything lacertilian. Also, if you know your Jorge Luis Borges, you'll notice that the gecko and he has quite a lot in common...