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review SPOILER ALERT! 2019-01-19 19:06
Final Thoughts: Song of Achilles
 The Song of Achilles: A Novel - Madeline Miller

This one is definitely going into my list of favorite reads for this year. It moved me deeply enough that I'm not sure how much I can even write about it. I might have to come back and add to this post in the days to come, because I know that the story and characters will haunt me for a while.

 

It took me several pages to realize who the first person POV was (in my defense, it's been at least a couple of decades since I last read the source material), and I found the choice intriguing. Why Patroclus? After all, he will die before Achilles, and it is his death that calls down the final act of the hero's life. But it made sense. Patroclus is the one closest to Achilles, the one who knows him almost better than he knows himself. At the same time, it lets the reader have some needed distance from Achilles; after all, he is half god, and there is always a part of him that is unknowable and must remain so.

 

Of course, this left me wondering how the ending would be handled. After all, what is the story of Achilles without his final rage at the death of Patroclus, and his own fate fulfilled? The solution came in the story's environment itself: the system of beliefs that populate the world with shades and spirits, until these are put to rest. Thus, through the eyes of a now helpless and immaterial Patroclus, we see the final days of Achilles, and the end of the war. And only once the story is complete does Patroclus gain his release, and is able to rejoin his beloved Achilles.

 

There's a lot more here, of course: the story of two boys growing up together; a mother's attempts to procure both safety and fame for her son; and above all the complicated insistence on a man's honor and memory. Achilles, and the men of his society, are definitely in the camp of "better to burn out than fade away." Given the choice between a long but uneventful life and a brief glorious one, he chooses the latter. It is Patroclus who helps us, the readers, understand this philosophy; we share his journey from denial to acceptance of Achilles' destiny.

 

This helps give depth to a hero who is often perceived as being arrogant and a shallow chaser of glory. We see him as a young man, decidedly against fighting and struggling to come to terms with the divine part of himself. Later on, a prisoner of prophesies, he still does his best to remain in control of the situation, helping drag the war along for a decade as he postpones his encounter with Hector, whose death will precede his according to fate. And finally, we see him accept that everything happened as foretold, and seek out his own end. By the end of his story, we might still be frustrated at some of his decisions, but we also acknowledge that he knows things we do not about the fickleness of fate and of the gods. And, in the end, we are perhaps comforted by the thought that he and Patroclus are reunited in the afterlife. How this last piece of the puzzle falls into place is the most moving part of all.

 

Edit: I had meant to include accompanying music; a piece or album that I find goes well with the book. For this one, the album that came to mind was An Ancient Muse, by Loreena McKennitt.

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review 2019-01-18 02:25
Love this, too
Savage Dragon: A New Beginning! - Erik Larsen

Yes, for those reading before it's fixed: I goofed on adding the cover, because I wasn't paying as much attention as I should have been.   Oops. 

 

Anyway, fast-forward though a hundred or so comics, and we're dealing with Malcolm Dragon, Dragon's grown up son who Dragon thought was dead at one point.   

 

It's just as amazing as the original Dragon storylines, and still as sexist.   It's this whole weird thing, where I can't tell if they're poking fun at it in general or just being really sexist. I honestly wish I cared more than I did.   This is the most glaring fault, and I hate it, but I love so much else about this massive soap-opera of a story. 

 

The art gets sloppier, but once again not enough to really detract.   This was the last thing offered via Comixology Unlimited, a subscription service.   Le sigh!  I may have to buy the rest.

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review 2019-01-18 02:18
Not into it
Twisted Savage Dragon Funnies - Michel Fiffe,Tom Scioli,Andrew Dimitt,Benjamin Marra,Kiel West,Vito Delsante,Jasen Lex,Ulises Farinas,Kris Mukai,Conor Hughes,Chris Sinderson,Jon Adams,Kat Roberts,Zack Soto,Hyeondo Park,Pedro Camargo,Jason Thibodeaux,Paul Maybury,Dieter Van Der Ougstraet

Other authors didn't balance everything I loved about the original series - the character development, the humor, the soap opera elements, etc as well.  I wasn't into a lot of these, actually, although there were only a couple pages long and sort of 'what if this had been different?' type stories. 

 

It's interesting seeing the characters living off-planet, or in 50s drag races, but I only really truly enjoyed a couple of these and that wasn't enough to save this anthology. 

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review 2019-01-18 01:38
No, it can't end there
Savage Dragon Archives Volume 3 - Erik Larsen

So this is where Comixology Unlimited cuts me off.   There's eight or nine of these and I want to splurge on them all to be honest. 

 

I also really want to wait and see if they go on sale, too. 

 

All I know is that this is some of the most addictive stuff I've read.  I have to know what happens to Malcolm and all the universes, too.   I really, really need it and I wasn't paying attention to pages, so I didn't expect it to end - and then it did...

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review 2019-01-18 01:24
Includes volume one
Savage Dragon Archives, Vol. 1 - Erik Larsen

So I wanted to read more Savage Dragon, this was available on Comixology Unlimited, and it included the first volume.   The thing is that it it's in black and white which bothered me for a couple pages, but I think this art actually works much better in black and white.   The details are much clearer and Larsen has a style I like, although I think he had a tendency to get sloppy, especially in the beginning.   His art is uneven throughout, though, although sometimes it gets super tight. 

 

That being said, the art never got sloppy enough to detract from this addicting storyline.  I just binged three volumes, and if you think I can untangle all the sexual escaped, deaths, rebirths, and other soap opera tropes taken to the extreme, you'd be wrong. 

 

It's absolutely addicting and I love it.   It's still flawed, it's still super sexist and I've given up on that getting better ever.   I still love this. 

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