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review 2017-08-25 13:51
40 DAYS AND 1001 NIGHTS by Tamalyn Dallal
40 Days And 1001 Nights, One Woman's Dance Through Life In The Islamic World - Tamalyn Dallal

Living 40 days in a different culture helps you understand the culture.  These are small vignettes of Tamalyn Dallal living in five countries that are with large Islamic populations.  Within each culture, Islam has been changed to take in the local customs that existed when Islam came into the area.  I thought she would live with one family for the whole 40 days but she lived in hotels, apartments, rented rooms, etc. instead of spending all her time with one family.  She met many different people.  I learned much about the cultures and countries, such as where some are and where they are near.  It is interesting and worth reading.  I just wish she had lived with one family 40 days and immersed herself in their daily lives.  

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review 2017-08-14 03:56
New Super-Man, Vol. 1: Made in China
New Super-Man Vol. 1: Made In China (Rebirth) (Super-Man - New Super-Man (Rebirth)) - Gene Luen Yang,Viktor Bogdanovic

This book had a weak start, but a stronger finish. It started off with Kong Kenan bullying a classmate. When that classmate was attacked by a supervillain, he threw a can at him and managed to save his classmate. This was caught on camera and Kenan pretended to be a hero to impress the cute reporter interviewing him. Based on this action alone, Kenan was chosen by a secret government organization to be turned into the New Super-Man and be part of the newly created Justice League of China along with the Chinese Wonder-Woman and Bat-Man. The two people chosen to be Wonder-Woman and Bat-Man were both vetted and trained before given powers, but not Kenan. For some reason it was deemed a good idea to give him the powers without any further research into him.

 

Kenan then had difficulties controlling his new powers, understandably, so was told to research the original Justice League members to learn more. When Wonder-Woman and Bat-Man were sent out to save someone, Kenan convinced the leader of the project to let him go to because he knew the passcode to get into the place the woman lived. I didn't understand why they didn't just make him tell them the passcode or even just have Wonder-Woman fly herself and Bat-Man over the gates since she can fly. Kenan's powers were unstable and he'd had no training at this point. And he did indeed proceed to mess things up in a huge way. The secret organization just made a lot of highly questionable decisions in the beginning of the book that had me wondering how they'd managed to get this far.

 

Luckily things improved once the story focused more on Kenan's relationship with his father and his maturing as a person as he began to realize the new responsibility he suddenly had with these powers. Wonder-Woman and Bat-Man were a good balance for him as more veteran heroes who have a better handle on their powers and the responsibility that comes with it, while still having room for character growth as they bonded with the New Super-Man. I liked their group dynamics.

 

I do feel like there were too many characters introduced in just one book though. In addition to the 3 superheroes of the Justice League of China, there were 2 opposing teams introduced, resulting in about 20 superheroes and supervillains introduced in just 6 issues. And that's not counting the non-supers also in the book. One of the teams didn't get fleshed out at all, so I'm guessing they'll get more focus later, but it was just hard to keep everyone straight with so many people getting introduced.

 

Despite a weak start due to a lot of questionable decision-making from the government agency giving the powers to the New Super-Man, the 3 members of the Justice League of China made an endearing team that were fun to watch work together. And with Kenan's relationship with his father, this book created a nice foundation for Kenan's journey to being a hero. I look forward to seeing where this series goes next.

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review 2017-08-02 17:06
King Rat - China MiƩville

This urban grunge fantasy is Mieville's debut novel and the first of his works I've read. This is a riff on the Pied Piper of Hamlin and is imaginative and fast-paced. The language is delightful as is the imagery. The plot, however, is entirely predictable and there is one clear flaw in the plot, having to do with the protagonist's ability to resist the Rat Catcher's tune when no one else can. Still, it's a fun and fast read, and shows Mieville's developing talent. I'll read more of his work. 

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