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review 2017-10-24 04:56
Counting the Cost
Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Three Vol. 2 - Brian Buccellato,Bruno Redondo,Mike S. Miller

I felt like this was very short but eventful. Superman is no longer neutralized, and he's madder than ever. Constantine is up to his scheming at maximum levels. I liked that this one had lots of magic in it. Injustice messes with my head, because Superman is a terrible and formidable villain. Wonder Woman as well. Ugh, her crush on Superman has made her into a terrible dupe. I am and always will be Team Batman, just saying. The body count is always high in this series, and I hate that people fall in with an authoritarian because he know how to manipulate fear (sounds familiar with the current situation in the US right now). I will finish this because I want to know how this ends. But I will be holding my breath and gritting my teeth the whole time.

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review 2017-01-29 05:29
Dante's Inferno Redux
Constantine: The Hellblazer Vol. 1: Going Down (John Constantine, Hellblazer) - Riley Rossmo,Ming Doyle

A new Constantine series that feels like old Constantine. Nice. Yeah, it's got the tone and the feel of the older series. By that I mean the cringy, it's the "that's not right" feeling I get when I read old Constantine. They haven't cleaned up this version and made him PC for a "kinder" generation. I didn't like the artwork so much. It's a little squiggly for my tastes. Okay, yes I'll keep reading. It's Constantine.

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review 2016-01-14 03:55
What choice would you make?

Constantine, Vol. 4: The Apocalypse Road (The New 52)This was definitely pretty intense. At times it was hard to follow what was going on with the story. The artwork was good, but the layout was disorganized, which detracted from my rating considerably. Constantine is definitively anti-heroic in this volume. He makes an ugly, mean choice that makes him the de facto bad guy to parties concerned, even if he believes it's for the greater good. I asked myself a few times if I agreed with his decision and on one level, I can't see it working out better the other way. That doesn't make what he did any better. I didn't understand the magic at all, but maybe that's good. I am sure that I don't need to know how to do sorcery anyway. I am studying Revelation at my Bible Study and we just finished Revelation 9, in which the angels are sounding the trumpets, and Constantine makes a reference to that. Who knew I'd have this kind of crossover in this week?

This is still not my favorite New 52, but I keep picking it up. That must count for something?

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review 2015-10-11 03:34
You're Only as Old as You Feel
Howl's Moving Castle - Diana Wynne Jones

It's been a long while since I read this, but I remembered absolutely loving it. My memories were correct. In fact, I read every book by Diana Wynne Jones I could get my hands on growing up. I've finally gotten a chance to reread this, and I'm glad I choose the audiobook format. Jenny Sterlin was brilliant. She utilizes her voice distinctly for the varied characters. She even makes a distinction between Old Sophie and New Sophie very well. I recommend listening to the audio if you have a chance.

Howl is a real character. He's what you would rightly call an amiable rogue. Howl's imperfections are very much part of his charm. I liked how Sophie spent most of the book annoyed with Howl, but you could tell that she had fallen in love with him. She was awful jealous."I think she doth protest too much." Howl will admit that he's a coward, and he's extremely vain. He's not above manipulating people. But Sophie is a perfect match for him. She doesn't put up with his bull, but at the same time, she's good for him and both Michael, his apprentice.

I love Sophie. She's an awesome character. What pluck despite her timidity and low self-esteem. I liked how as she was under the old age spell, she came into her own and it's understandable. She was freed from the fears and restrictions that had ruled her life as the Oldest Daughter. The older you get, the less you have to lose, and the more you are willing to call it like it is, but also you realize that life is valuable and each moment could be your last. Sophie comes into her own and realizes that she has a unique ability to create magic of her own.

Calcifer is a character. He's a fire demon who has made a pact with Howl. He pretty much runs the castle, and he's incredibly grumpy about it. You could tell that Sophie and Calcifer grew quite fond of each other.

One of the things I love about fantasy most is the world-building and the way that the imagination has free reign. The descriptions of things that are completely imaginary and even from our normal lives, but with an interesting twist. Ms. Wynne Jones knew her fantasy and I could see how influential she was to Neil Gaiman as an author. That twisted convergence of fantasy and the lightest edge of the horrific. The Witch of the Waste is on the periphery of this novel, but she's a disturbing presence. Also, she's a cautionary tale to those who are corrupted by magic.

There's nothing to complex about this story. But simplicity can be gorgeous, and a well-told story outweighs author tricks that pad a novel unnecessarily. I consider this a fantasy classic.

**A note about the movie:

I do so much love the Anime version of this. It's gorgeous, and I can watch it again and again! There are some changes between it and the novel, but it's a great adjunct and exploration of the novel in a visual format. Definitely recommend it, but the source material is where you want to start. Read this book!

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text 2015-10-05 04:44
Reluctant Heroine

Courtney Crumrin in the Twilight Kingdom (Courtney Crumrin, #3)Courtney Crumrin in the Twilight Kingdom by Ted Naifeh

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a book essentially about being an outsider and being misunderstood by everyone. That's the story of Courtney Crumrin's life. Her parents don't understand her at all.  She's considered the weird kid at school. When she goes back to visit her parents, she reconnects with her former best friend, and they have grown apart. He's fallen in with a bad crowd, and though Courtney tries to save him, she can't save their friendship.

I could intensely identify with Courtney in the sense I was not a popular kid.  I was picked on a lot growing up.  One thing that I feel was a real blessing about it, was I learned to embrace the fact that you are your own person and you can make decisions for yourself and do your own thing.  Like Courtney, it made me feel lonely at time, but there were consolations.

When Courtney gets back to her Uncle Aloyisus' house, she has to deal with the popular kids of the warlock families. They take bullying to a new level when they cast a spell of one of them's younger brothers.  While Courtney would rather not get involved, she knows that she has to do something to help the kid, who was turned into a Night Thing. As since she has personal experience with the Twilight Kingdom, of course she has to lead the expedition to get him back.

This book is also about making good choices. Doing the right thing even when it's hard and the rewards seem nebulous. Courtney is not what I'd call a girl scout, and she did something really bad to get revenge (or in her mind, so see justice done), she hasn't completely lost her moral compass.   I liked that about this book. And of course, the Faerie elements. 

I like the way Courtney is drawn. She's sassy, with her little bat barrette and Gothesque outfits.  She's kind of like Daria in the way she expresses herself.

I'm really starting to like this series more.  It's not an upbeat read, mind you, but it's atmospheric, and you can't help but like Courtney.

This is all in black and white, but it shows how much you can really do with chiaroscuro (light and dark shading).  I'm sort of lazy when it comes to it, but it challenges me to work on this technique.

I would exercise caution if I was a parent of a prospective child reader. You might want to read this first.  Some subject matter and themes are not appropriate for younger readers. I would say this is 11 and older.

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