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review 2017-03-21 21:54
I think the world might have tilted on it's axis a bit...
Seven Summer Nights - Harper Fox

Oh, Ms Fox how I adore your writing. You bring stories to life for me as few other authors are able to. 


This one started on a bit of a challenging note for me. It was ok and I was enjoying it...possibly because "Buddy Read" with my awesome besties Josy and Christelle and initially I think perhaps this story was appealing more to them than me on a certain level. But as always I was still being drawn in by the wonderful word poetry of Ms Fox and that alone was enough to keep me reading but needless to say the more I was drawn into this web of words the more I wanted to read until I found myself happily devouring this story. 


'Seven Summer Nights' is not a simple story about a post-war romance between two men...oh no, it's not even close to that because for one thing a romance between two men at that time in history didn't have a snowballs chance in 'you know where' of being simple.


While the story between Rufus and Archibald (Thorne for the remainder of this review) is very much the main and central part of the story. It is surrounded by a explosion of colorful and often 'eccentric' characters set mainly in a small English countryside village. The struggles that are faced by both Rufus and Thorne on an individual level and as two men trying to find a place for their fragile relationship in a world that would see them jailed or worse for their feelings, for sharing words spoken in the still of night as gentle as a summers breeze meant only to offer comfort and ease...

"No more gods, no more war. I'm not a vicar, and you...you're not a soldier.

 Never again. There's just us, dear fellow---here we are."


'Seven Summer Nights' shows us a world that many of us never knew first hand, some like myself may have a bit of second-hand knowledge because of parents and grandparents.


Much of this book was ironically a reminder for me of why I'm not a huge fan of historical novels not because they're bad or uninteresting...in fact quite the contrary. I love history but unfortunately with history comes the reminders of the wrongs and injustices that have been committed and so often these transgressions are hidden behind such noble causes as God, King and country forcing men who would live in a world of tolerance and peace to fight those would control it through fear, bigotry and sheer brute force. This is what happened to Rufus and when he could fight no more his mind chose to forget. Ironically Thorne who is a man of god also fought but his terrors were not so dark and his memories were very different than that of Rufus.

"Yes. Oh, Archie, it seems terrible to talk about it.

To destroy your peace of mind with such a story."


"You won't. And even if you did, isn't that part of my job from now on--

  to share your wars and your peace?"


Two men fighting for the basic rights and freedoms of the same people who would deny them theirs. Just as they would deny the women who did their part their rights (it wasn't until 1928 that British women achieved full suffrage 3 years after the end of WWII and while this is an incredibly interesting topic...google is your friend). This is the setting of 'Seven Summer Nights' but we're not done yet because as well as the climate of the times Ms Fox has given us glimpses of Britain's cultural background through it's archaeology and it's folklore. We see the intertwining of England's religion with it's pre-christian days. There are subtle references to Anglo-Saxon paganism, England's witch hunts during the 1640s and things don't end there we are also reminded of the nightmare that passed for modern medicine specifically psychiatry during the early 1900's. 


You're probably thinking this sounds like a lot of gloom and doom right about now but it wasn't because woven in between these things was the strength of the human spirit and it's struggle for love in the form of Rufus and Thorne, the desire to govern ourselves and make our own decisions in the form Thorne's sister Caroline and Alice Winborn. There were characters of strength and courage in Maria who quietly took charge and gave people what they needed, Drusilla whose struggle to find her way back to herself, her child and her faith nearly cost her sanity and of course there were those who should have been hero's and failed.


'Seven Summer Nights' is neither a simple nor an easy story to read or explain...was it fantasy? No, not for me, there were no magical creatures...was there magic? I suppose of a fashion there was, but it was the magic of a world long gone. A world of faith so strong that it could alter the very fabric of ones reality...so yes there was magic. Then again isn't there always a little magic involved when it only takes words to transport us through time and space to a place we've never known to share an adventure with people we'll never meet? You're a wizard Ms Fox, a wizard I tell you.


"Oh, Archie. You and I both know--everyone who went to war knows--

the one thing none of us can be sure of is time..."

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review 2017-03-14 17:00
Empire of Ivory - Naomi Novik

Novik is particularly good at putting her characters in godawful situations, extracting them, and putting them back in godawful situations.   And the beauty is that she doesn't sacrifice her characters for this.   (She does kill off characters, but doesn't have them act out of character.   So I feel this distinction needed to be made.)


That being said, I didn't think things could get worse than all the dragons getting sick.   Not only sick, fatally ill.  When Temeraire mistakenly flies into a quarantine zone, he proves that he has immunity - and everyone is desperate to figure out why.   Most of this book takes place with Temeraire, Laurence, their crew and assorted other dragons trying to figure out why Temeraire isn't getting sick - and how to immunize the rest of the dragons.   


The last part of this book reveals a shocking battle tactic, and one that Temeraire is morally opposed to.   It also is inevitable, given who Laurence and Temeraire are - and puts them in worse spot than they were before. 


I found this absolutely thrilling, but also had a hard time getting through this book because a lot of it - the parts dealing with the sickness - were too depressing.


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review 2017-03-12 18:07
Perfect ending!
IvX (2016-) #6 (of 6) (IvX (2016-2017)) - Charles Soule,Jeff Lemire,Leinil Yu

This was about a perfect crossover/event.  I didn't read everything related to this, like the X-Men titles, but I did read Uncanny Inhumans since I was, and still am, subscribed to that.   (Although it's being cancelled for Royals and Black Bolt!)


It had all the epic battles and drama that I'd expect from a comic crossover, and some of the revelations were not only astounding, but revealed just how damaged Emma Frost really is.  And it's far more damaged than you'd think.   She basically made an enemy of everyone she's ever me with this, and I understand: she kept doing appalling things, but now I find out that they're even more horrifying than I could have guessed. 


It's also nice to see that people can realize that they've been played, that the people they've been fighting aren't their real enemies, and make some kind of peace with those facts.   Overall, just stepped up the game and delivered an ending that this event deserves, while starting to set up at least Royals.   (The new series like Secret Warriors, Black Bolt, The Astonishing X-Men, X-Men: Gold, and X-Men: Blue haven't been touched, or at least I don't think they have.)


This leaves me more excited for the future of these two franchises, but especially all the Inhuman series.   I may or may not subscribe to Secret Warriors - although I am signed up for Black Bolt and Royals right now.   That being said, Secret Warriors has both Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel and Lunella Lafayette as Moon Girl - and where Moon Girl goes, Devil Dinosaur is sure to follow.    The call of Secret Warriors is a strong one!

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review 2017-03-01 23:34
Still loving this
Doctor Strange (2015-) #17 - Jason Aaron,Frazer Irving,Kevin Nowlan

Wong has been taken by Mr. Misery, and Doctor Strange goes on a desperate search for his closest friend.   Because as much as it would seem that Wong is a servant, the truth is that he knows all the secrets of The Sanctum Santorum, he would do anything for Strange - and it isn't a one-sided relationship.   Not completely.   As much as Wong is a servant, he has also evolved into a confidante, and a dear, dear friend.  


Strange is lost without Wong - and it's not that he can't get his shit together.   Oh, no, he can function fine without Wong.   He's still lost.   He has a protege of sorts in Zelma, although at this point, she's a new Wong if anything.   (Actually, I'm worried for Wong now that I've thought of it that way!)   But the history, the many times Strange and Wong have put their lives on the line for each other?   That can't be replaced so quickly. 


I hope Wong's okay, for his sake, and for Strange's sake.  I've come to enjoy Wong in this title quite a bit, so I hope he makes it through this storyline!



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review 2017-03-01 23:24
Continues to be fucked up
The Punisher (2016-) #9 - Becky Cloonan,Steve Dillon,Declan Shalvey

This is one of the most violent, and quite frankly bizarre, Punisher series I've ever read.   It's also one of the best: it's about a vigilante, and some of the worst of the worst, the people others can't or won't bring to justice.   So he does with the most violence possible, so long as no innocents get in the way. 


It's perfect, and I want more already. 

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