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review 2017-11-21 20:13
Seriously, you should be reading this series
Full Fathom Five - Max Gladstone

Gladstone's third installment in the Craft sequence takes us to an alternate Hawaii.  At first, it seems that we have two different stories.  But Gladtsone brings them together quite well.  More importantly, Gladstone writes wonderfully strong and varied female characters who don't talk about men to each other.

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review 2017-08-10 23:24
Full Fathom Five (The Keys Trilogy) by Anna Roberts
Full Fathom Five (The Keys Trilogy Book ... Full Fathom Five (The Keys Trilogy Book 3) - Anna Roberts

Blue, Gabe, Grayson, Joe, Charlie and Ruby have survived. They’re not happy, there’s the shadow of Eli’s corpse to clear up lying over Blue and Charlie and Ruby have a somewhat tumultous relationship. There’s the swamp wolves lurking over Joe and Grayson - and being a werewolf is never easy besides that

 

But Gloria’s last act seems to have taken Yael, the deep, dark, massive, dangerous spirit, finally out of their lives and out to sea

 

Until he is drawn home - and this time the depleted Keys pack is missing Gloria, their heart, their soul, their true Alpha, their wolf-witch. To face Yael there’s only Blue, brand new to this and reeling with both revelations from the past and Yael’s desperate yearning to be human



So… this book… this entire series puts me in one of those very very awkward ones to review.

 

I am impressed. I am deeply impressed by the writing. I am even more deeply impressed by the characterisation, their lives and how they react to the world around them. And I’m really impressed by the world.

 

The whole concept of werewolves and their struggle has permeated these books. These are beings from very poor backgrounds who rarely, if ever, get the chance to complete their education or get regular work (all those days off every month). Changing is painful, traumatising and hell on their bodies to the point where most of them are pretty damaged by the time they hit 30 and 40 is the far reaches of old age - 50 completely unattainable. The life of a werewolf is grim and painful and short.

 

And the Wolfwitches, even if not werewolves themselves, live among that. The same poverty, the same desperate, hurting people around them, and even if not directly affected, they’re the ones who clean up. They’re the ones who put the damaged, suffering wolves out of their misery when their bodies finally turn on them.

 

This permeates the whole story. Even when we see things like Grayson and Joe who are deeply in love and managing to carve a sense of happiness for themselves there’s still that underlying question: still the constant nag that Grayson is old for a werewolf, even his most loving moments undercut

 

It permeates the past of Yael as well - Yael and Gloria, their whole history laid out here needs to be seen in this context. Gloria, the poverty, the difficulty and in comes this spirit snaring her when she’s young and desperate and then being a constant shadow - adding deeper burdens but always coming with just enough power to be useful - until he’s just the burden, the predatory force

 

I like this in many ways because it humanises Gloria: she as the heart and soul of this series, the foundation, the one with Yael, the great evil spiritual force that everyone is afraid of - we see how it happened, how she first succumbed: and it’s such an easy, simple, human temptation. No woo-woo nothing like that - but simply a devil’s bargain offered to someone with few options

 

And I see a lot of great parallels for her in Ruby - a powerful, determined, intelligent woman who, nevertheless, is young a little foolish and seeking short cuts out of her grim situation. I think there’s a reason why these characters are presented next to each other. It also shows another reason why Gloria got rid of Blue - not just to save her from Yael possession but to save her from the temptation of Yael when she’s young. Because when you’re young and poor and angry in a very unfair life Yael looks very attractive. And how, even the best of us, at our worst moments, can wish for terrible terrible things.

 

 

 

Read More

 

 

 

Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2017/08/full-fathom-five-keys-trilogy-by-anna.html
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review 2017-06-13 23:37
Liked one story, not so much the other one
FCBD: Worlds of Aspen 2015 - J.T. Krul,Alex Konat,Claudio Avella,Erick Arciniega,Federico Blee

I do like the Soulfire story - part of Eternal Soulfire - and I especially like the new character they introduce, a magic user who is in danger just because of that fact.   I do not care much for Miya, the old character who is apparently going to be in charge of guiding the newbie, so while I enjoyed the story in general, it wasn't great for me. 

 

Fathom Blue also uses new characters, and while Maylander is a huge part of getting this team together, he has very little page time.   I didn't like any of the new Blue characters here, so I'm going to give Fathom Blue a pass. 

 

I'll end up doing other Soulfire series first, and look into Eternal Soulfire more before making my decision on that story. 

 

 

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review 2017-06-11 19:07
FCBD
FCBD: Worlds of Aspen 2016 - Joshua Fialkov,J.T. Krul,Jordan Gunderson,Peter Steigerwald

From last year.  I'm catching up on the Aspen ones since I've gotten into the company recently and trying to clear out some old Comixology titles I own. 

 

This was fun: a quick peek at Fathom, Soulfire, and the first Aspen crossover event, called Revelations.   There were some designs, mostly sketches although one or two cover pieces.   There were also biographies of the main players, and I appreciated those. 

 

Then there were the inevitable ads.   I didn't mind these as much, because they were one page ads, a shot of the comic, and some descriptions.   It left more pages to preview the main event.   But this didn't feel like a great introduction to Revelations.  Or not the perfect one.   The way it ends, well, it felt a bit too abrupt.   It does make me excited about the comic which came in the Humble Bundle: I have Revelations Volume 1.   

 

So it was mostly successful.   The crossover looks tense and plausible, and I was wondering how they would accomplish that given how different the series are in this case. Onto the next comic, and then I'm trying to get more sun, but my poor arms are about to get toasted again.   I may stay inside until I go out: I've decided I want a burger for dinner, but I'm going to take it home so I can watch TV.   A burger, fries - inexpensive burger but you order fries on the side - and a milkshake for while I'm walking home, maybe.   

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review 2017-06-03 11:48
Love, love, love
Michael Turner Art Edition: The Aspen Extended Edition - Michael Turner,Michael Turner,Geoff Johns

Michael Turner's pencils are even more gorgeous and captivating to me than the colored works - and that's saying a lot, because the finished products are some of the most lush I've seen in comics.   I've been reading about Turner and reactions to his art, and a lot of people try to say his women are feminine - read hot - but also strong and powerful - true - but I really don't think that shows so much through the art as how they're written.   To Turner's credit, he created, and at least co-wrote, these stories, and I find Aspen a rich character full of inner strengths, conflicts, and a world that challenges her.   Each time she meets those challenges. 

 

I simply find his women idealized forms.   (The pencils emphasized how much his children look like small adults; at the end, I was unable to tell at first if Aspen was an adult or child since there are some flashback scenes and the only way to tell for me was her body.   Her face looks exactly the same.  It was slightly disturbing, to be honest, since he's obviously drawing hypersexualized adult women.)

 

Despite this, man, his pencils.  I was kinda prepared for the random 'X's peppered throughout this book.   I can't find confirmation online, so clearly I'm Googling it wrong, but I believe the Xs are pencilers shorthand for 'this should be black.'   A lot of times they pencil it in when the areas are smaller - pupils, light shading, etc - but if there's a silhouette or something that they intend to be inked/black, and it's large, there are Xs placed throughout those spots.   (One X for mid-spaces, but to avoid confusion, there can be multiple Xs for larger spaces that are meant to be black.)  I remember this from my Wizard reading days, I believe, and it was information that was in the back of my brain: the fact snuck out when I was surprised by the first X, and then I went, 'oh, right,' and just accepted it.   It could be distracting, in that I just wanted to enjoy the art without those interruptions to the visuals, but not enough so for me to even knock down half a star. 

 

Much of this felt new: it was an expanded issue one, and was still surprised by how much new storyline was in this book.   In fact, some of this was referenced in one of the volume notes - meaning that the information was only in this edition.   I really love having this whole story, and I appreciate the information about Aspen, and her father.   (I feel like that's most of the new storyline, but it feels important since we see so little of Aspen's biological father in the Fathom stories up to this point.)

 

I wasn't sure if this would be a retread or if I'd be bored by that, but it wasn't and I wasn't.  Instead, I found myself thrilled by this gem of a comic.  Highly recommended.

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