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text 2016-07-04 23:43
Reading progress update: I've read 192 out of 384 pages.
Batman: The Black Glove (New Edition) - Grant Morrison,J.H. Williams III,Andy Kubert

this is a lot of fun, but I used the bar code to determine my Booklikes listing for this, which of course determines the cover image you see when I do deal with this book and do my updates...and the fact is, this graphic novel is marketed as Batman And Son these days. yes, that's what the version I own says on the cover, even though the bar code leads to Batman: The Black Glove. what's really galling, though, is that the cover art is now redder than that orange-y look you see on my updates; kinda pisses me off because if things were up to date, and crimson-colored, the cover of this graphic novel would be a nice pairing with the very crimson cover of the novel I'm reading these days: Jihadi. My Currently Reading book duo would have this gorgeous, crimson trend, and that's ruined by some old orange cover (with wrong title) on the Batman thing. nyah.

 

I should boycott the Suicide Squad movie over this travesty. no, actually No, not a chance that's gonna happen. I mean, I like crimson-tinted cover duos when they happen, but no, there'll be no boycotting of any Suicide Squad movies, over this. I'm not that strong. I'll save the boycott response to this crime for a...for a Green Lantern movie. actually, I don't much care for GL, so that's not much of a brave statement, is it? okay, I'll show some integrity...if DC makes a...makes a Vigilante movie (no, no, sorry, no, I can't boycott a Vigilante movie)...correction, if DC, um, yah! if DC makes a...a Night Force movie--I love Night Force--if there's a Night Force movie, I will suffer and boycott it. (no, I won't) (yes I will) (for three months) (in your FACE, DC!!!) (please make a Night Force movie. please?)

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text 2016-07-04 17:06
Reading progress update: I've read 6 out of 384 pages.
Batman: The Black Glove (New Edition) - Grant Morrison,J.H. Williams III,Andy Kubert

going back to when it all began (not counting all those earlier times that it all began, got erased or ignored, and all began again...).

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review 2016-06-07 00:00
Glove of Satin, Glove of Bone
Glove of Satin, Glove of Bone - Rachel W... Glove of Satin, Glove of Bone - Rachel White Review written & published for Criticalwrit.com

I have to admit it, I really like witches. There’s something that I really enjoy about witchcraft and it’s how authors portray it beyond the horrifying wicked depictions fraught with political and moral implications that we usually see in mainstream medias. Witches are a complicated subject at the intersection of cultural and religious imperialism, aggressive and misogynistic gender politics, and antisemitism. While there aren’t many books that expand on this particular subject, I’m always curious to see how authors go beyond these traditional images. So needless to say, I was thrilled when Less Than Three Press approved my request for an advanced review copy in exchange for an honest review on Netgalley.

Muriel vas Veldina and Enne Datchery have a somewhat complicated relationship. They’ve lived together for eight years now, two witches well known for their skills at restoring old books and grimoires. They used to love each other deeply, and they both care for their shared live-in apprentice as they would their daughter, but something snapped some time ago, and it’s safe to say there’s nothing but hostility between them now. They’ve drifted apart, and distance turned into hatred, but neither of them has had the will to end it definitely yet. One day, an insufferable employee of the High Circle lands on their doorstep and tasks them with a job they would be unwise to refuse : to restore and repair an old grimoire that doesn’t have a name. And when said grimoire is stolen before they can even begin to work on it, they’re going to have to work together to take it back.

Glove of Satin, Glove of Bone by Rachel White takes romance from the opposite angle— Both characters already know each other, and their romance is a thing of the past. Now Muriel and Enne have only bickering and mean words for each other. Theirs is a sad relationship, where pride, lack of communication and prejudice have become so great that they formed a seemingly uncrossable rift between them. Their couple seemed doomed to break apart, and the link between the witches is all but ready to snap as we meet them. I felt really sad for those two. As we progress through the story, it’s obvious they still care for each other, and if only they were to admit it to each other and to themselves, they would realize that their flame isn’t dead just yet. But they lost their path somewhere along the way, and the events unfolding in the book will prove decisive for their shared (or separate) future.

While I initially needed some time to adapt to Muriel and Enne’s uncommon relationship (at least when it comes to romance), I quickly grew to love the pair. They’re both wonderful, caring persons, but they’re both imperfect and flawed, just like real people are. Enne is stern, studious and brutally honest, to the point of rudeness. She’s also not always in tune with the emotions of others, which can sometimes lead her to hurt those around her inadvertently. Muriel is more outgoing and naive but she’s judgmental, quick to react harshly, and her past as a wicked witch still weighs on her. And of course, neither of them is short on misplaced pride. Despite those flaws, both are caring persons and their love for their apprentice Kylia is obvious— it’s quite clear that she’s the link that makes the whole family stand.

White is good at the 'show, don’t tell' rule and she doesn’t say much on the universe before us, to the point that I was originally a bit miffed at Muriel and Enne’s insistence that thirty years old is “ancient” and “near-death already”, before I realized that it’s probably because people don’t live quite as long as we do nowadays. The time period is never really explained, and White doesn’t spend much time describing our surroundings, but she does leave clues here and there that allow us to infer on how this fantasy world works. And needless to say, I want more. I don’t know if White wants to expand the universe she’s created here, but I do hope she will write more— I would especially enjoy a prequel where our protagonists meet and fall in love and where Muriel reflects on her vulnerabilities and on wickedness.

Still, the book is short— too short, and while I enjoyed its total 53, 000 words length, I felt the story could have been stronger with more work on the plot and on the setting. Indeed, the weak point of the book definitely seems to be its plot, particularly towards the end where important confrontations are brought by simplistic twists. The behavior of our main villain is careless and puzzling towards the end, and to be honest she doesn’t seem to have much motivation beyond having power in order to have power. Sure, it’s often the underlying goal of many villains, but I’d have wanted something more, if at least to make her more believable.

Thus Glove of Satin, Glove of Bone by Rachel White is a good read, but it feels like a tentative step in a new direction, something I suspect it is since this is, to my knowledge, her first published full-length F/F work of fiction. Beyond a sweet romance between two relatable protagonists, it looks like a sketch of an interesting world that has yet to be fleshed out, and it really left me still hungry for more. As it stands, it is a good book, but I still feel it misses the opportunity to be a great book. Still, I’ll keep an eye on Rachel White’s next forays into F/F fiction, and hopefully, for a sequel.
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review 2015-09-20 00:56
#CBR7 Book 93: Red Glove by Holly Black
Red Glove - Holly Black

This is the second book in a trilogy, and as such not the best place to start. This review will contain some spoilers for book one, because it's impossible to write about this book without talking about things that were revealed in the first one. So if you are new to these Holly Black books, go find White Cat - that's where to begin the trilogy.

 

Cassel Sharpe lives in a world where a select percentage of the population have certain gifts. People who, if they touch your skin with theirs, can alter your luck or prospects, manipulate or delete your memories, alter or change your emotions, break your bones or heal your illnesses. Some can even kill. In the United States, there is heavy legislation against what is known as such curse working. Everyone has to wear gloves, because you never know who might be a curse worker, manipulating you in some way. Because curse working is mainly seen as a bad thing (despite the fact that the majority of workers mainly use their powers to bring good luck or can heal the sick and injured), those who discover they are gifted with such powers keep it very secret, or go on to join organised crime, because all the major crime bosses are curse workers.

 

On the flip side of having a cool superpower, there is the blowback. Every time a worker uses his or her abilities, they get a reaction. Physical workers who use their powers to hurt or heal get sick themselves, emotion workers get very emotionally unstable, death workers actually lose body parts and memory workers lose their own memories. 

 

Cassel believed he was the only one in his family of grifters and curse workers not gifted. His mother can completely change people's emotions, his older brother Phillip could break people's bones, his middle brother Barron can completely rewrite or delete people's memories and his grandfather is a death worker. Cassel himself is one of the rarest of workers, he can transform items or people, alter their appearances or even change them into animals or inanimate objects. His mother and brothers wanted to keep him unaware of his gifts until he got older, so his brother Barron started changing his memories, making him think he was just a regular human. Over the course of the first book, Cassel discovers that his brothers kept rewriting his memories, using his transformation abilities for their own ends.

 

After Phillip and Barrons tried to move up in the world by trying to assassinate Zacharov, the local curse worker crime boss, Cassel made a deal that saved their lives, but led to the death of Zacharov's nephew Anton. Because of all the blowback from his memory cursing, Barron's memory is a bit like Swiss cheese, and he has to surround himself with photographs, notebooks, post-it notes and note cards to remind himself of who he is and what his memories are. Cassel has used his forgery skills to make Barron believe they don't hate each other, and go for pizza every fortnight. Their mother is out of jail, and to "thank" Cassel, manipulated Lila, Zacharov's only daughter, into being madly in love with him. Now the girl Cassel has always loved and feels horrible about betraying (I don't want to reveal how, as it's very spoilery) is attending his school, watching him like a love-sick puppy and he can't touch her, as she's effectively given a really long-lasting roofie.

 

To add to Cassel's difficulties, he is approached by Federal agents who tell him his brother Phillip has been murdered. The security footage show a hooded woman entering his building, wearing long red gloves. They believe Phillip's death may be the last in a string of disappearances connected to the Zacharov crime family, and want Cassel's help in solving the crimes. Looking at the pictures of the missing men, Cassel is worried he knows exactly what happened to them. Cassel is pretty much stuck between a rock and a hard place. He doesn't really want to actively work for Zacharov, but can't exactly turn around and work for the government either, as that would be seen as a betrayal of everything he comes from, and could lead to the death of Barron, his mother and likely Cassel himself. 

 

Luckily, over the course of the first book, Cassel discovered he has friends he can really confide in and trust. His roommate Sam, who is a special effects wizard and Sam's girlfriend Daneca, who is very passionate about protecting worker rights, helped him prevent his brothers' misguided assassination attempt of Zacharov. They are now his most important allies. Cassel's grandfather is also firmly on his side, with no illusions about his various family members, but as he's been part of the Zacharov crime family and lost four fingers because of death curses he's performed in the line of duty, so Cassel doesn't feel he can tell him the full truth. He needs to use all the tricks he's learned as a grifter to hold both sides off until he figures out how he can work out what is best for himself.

 

I first read White Cat, the first book in the series about five years ago, and it didn't really make much of an impact on me. Then one of my friends read the whole series and rated them so highly, saying he actually wanted to see a paranormal TV series based on them, and I figured I really should give them another try. When re-reading the first book, I liked it better this time and many of the problems I had with Cassel as a protagonist come from the fact that he's such a introverted loner. Once he starts opening up and making friends, he becomes a lot more relatable and I cared more about what happened to him. Which is good, because there is a more engaging plot in the first book than in this one. I was still interested in seeing where the story was going and how Cassel was going to play both sides against each other. My friend is right, this would make a very cool TV show.

Source: kingmagu.blogspot.com/2015/09/cbr7-book-93-red-glove-by-holly-black.html
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review 2015-08-10 19:00
Red Glove by Holly Black
Red Glove - Holly Black

This is an oldie that never made the GR transition. I think I read it in 2012.

 

I’ll state right off that I have a fondness for the way Holly Black writes and may be biased towards her books. I adored Tithe for many of the reasons people despise it. Black’s characters are not whiny ass pansies, they have dark edges and do questionable things, they’re never perfect and I find her books intoxicating because of it.

Red Glove is the sequel to White Cat which you must read first if you’re going to read the series. It picks up pretty much where White Cat left off and begins with more woe, worry and grief for our protagonist Cassel as he returns to boarding school. Because of his abilities (which I’m not revealing because you need to read White Cat!) Cassel is once again drawn into a number of shady situations (to put it mildly) but this time he’s aware of everything he’s doing and he is torn up because of it. Cassel has an innate sense of decency despite the fact that he’s grown up with mobsters and a mother who makes her living bilking sugar daddies out of their fortunes. But as Cassel says, “Temptation is tempting.” Because of his uniqueness he is being seduced by mobsters and the FBI and gets involved in a murder investigation all while dealing with his tumultuous love affair with his sweetheart Lila.

I admire Cassel and his struggle with right and wrong and his ability to keep his sense of humor. Seriously, play out this little scenario, where his mom is demanding that he be an accomplice to her crime and tell me how well adjusted you would be if this was your idea of normal:

Mom says: “... grab the plastic bag over by my suitcase.”

The bag contains pantyhose. I put them on her desk.

“They’re for you.”

“You want me to look homeless, desperate but also kind of fabulous?”

“Over your head,” she says



Oh, poor, sweet Cassel!

Honestly, why don’t they adapt these for film?

Red Glove has no schmaltz, no sickening gooiness, no self-involved, superficial brats like so much other YA and no weak females. Some may argue that Cassel’s mom is weak, unstable or crazy (and all of that may be a little true) but I see her as an opportunist, like the rest of her family members, using her powers to the fullest advantage for herself.

I grew to love Cassel’s character even more in this book and though his relationship with Lila remains complicated none of it ever feels contrived and the things that happen fit in with the magical plot and the power plays. I can’t wait for the next installment and hope more people check out this over looked series.

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