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review 2017-07-20 15:38
One of my favorite tropes is included
Blood of Tyrants - Naomi Novik

And man, I just loved this novel.  I know that this isn't for everyone - amnesia trope, by the way - but I've loved it since I fell in love with the X-Men, and Wolverine in particular.  I also love how well Novik does hurt/comfort, two tropes that are well used in fanfiction.   It should be noted that Novik is very open about starting out writing fanfiction, realizing she didn't like those confines, and never wanting to write fanfiction, filing off that serial number, and replacing names before publishing.  Oh, no, she uses fanfiction to get somewhere original, to eventually create a wholly original world. 

 

But I'm not surprised to see so many tropes that I enjoy and are used in fanfic so often in her writing either. 

 

Laurence, shipwrecked in China, has to find his way back to Temeraire, without use of his memory.   Meanwhile, everyone around Temeraire is convinced that Laurence is drowned, and tries to let him get on with it - mostly by allowing him to believe that Laurence is alive and to keep looking for him until he wears himself out with that searching.   

 

I find it very telling when they're apart and what they're willing to do for each other: it's touching, and I couldn't help but hurt for Temeraire every time someone tried to tell him Laurence was dead. 

 

Love, love, love.   This one moved really quickly for me, and I tended to resent having to put it down.  Looking forward to the last novel.

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review 2017-07-13 01:43
Still one of the most beautiful comics being produced
Black Bolt (2017-) #3 - Saladin Ahmed,Christian Ward

And I'm not just talking about the lush art that is full of color and movement.   No, no, no.   The writing is just as lush, just as full.   It makes Black Bolt relatable, and although I thought this would make him less intriguing - there's something about him being impenetrable, so much higher than everyone else, so removed in so many ways that drew me to him as a character - it does the opposite.   It makes his tragedies - his awesome power that keeps him removed from everyone in so many ways, and his responsibilities that do the same - more tragic.   

 

It makes the decisions he has to make harder, and it makes me like him more.   

 

The plans are finally revealed, even as it's revealed why this group of prisoners need Black Bolt.   He also finally truly sees the consequences of his hard decisions, from the point of view of someone who's living those consequences.   It's poetic in a way that stripping him of his crown and his title and his wife, and family, wasn't, and gives him pause in a way those didn't.   Then?  He was still confident that what he'd done was right, and stood tall even if he wasn't exactly proud of his actions. 

 

Now, though?   This is showing him what willful blindness really brings, and it's horrifying on a level that makes even him squirm.   I thought that seeing Black Bolt second guess the terrible decisions he had to make - or that he felt he had to make - to try and save as many of his people as he could, to try and protect them the best he could would make me like him less.   In a less talented author's hands, this storyline would make me like him less.   Instead, Ahmed is doing everything I didn't ever want to see in a Black Bolt series, and his talent is forcing me to admit I was wrong.  I wanted it.  I just was afraid the writer Marvel picked wouldn't be up to the task. 

 

This author is, and he's not only got the skill, but he's reveling in this storyline.  He's gleefully dissecting Black Bolt, what makes - or made - him, and I'm loving every single second as Black Bolt becomes more aware of what the true cost of his responsibilities were, and are.   Even when these revelations are painfully obvious - Black Bolt says as much to the readers - there's so much more going on, writing wise, art wise, that it's impossible that I won't glean more on my second reading. 

 

I'll reread when I have the time, although given my soon-to-be hectic schedule, that may not be for a while.   Certainly not as soon as I'd hope for! 

 

 

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review 2017-07-13 00:47
So sad this is going away!
Transformers: Till All Are One #11 - Mairghread Scott,Sara Pitre-Durocher

This title has been cancelled.   And while this is one of my favorite authors, and she's said she hoped we'll follow no matter what other comics she writes - and if they have giant robots in them or not - I may or may not.   I'm partly in it for the giant robots.  Like a lot, actually. 

 

And what's a real shame is that while this series has been excellent from the start, I feel like it keeps getting better.   Starscream and his machinations are becoming just truly outrageous, in a way that's completely in character: cruel, malicious, and for his own good - as well as Cybertron's.   Or at least he believes they're for the good of Cybertron.   He's scheming, he's manipulating, and it's kinda... hot.   

 

Sighs.   Starscream is one of my unhealthy crushes, aka the way I process that type of person in a way that doesn't feel unsafe to me.   I've come to accept that I have these, and that it's not because I want to romanticize such unhealthy relationships, but rather that it's part of my process.   Of processing. 

 

Just a beautiful book and an all around gorgeous series.   The art, the writing, everything.   Just absolutely lovely. 

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text 2017-07-02 16:06
Got another tweet from James Roberts!
Transformers: Lost Light #7 - James Roberts,Jack Lawrence

Third one, and he continues to be humble and amazing and appreciative of all readers.

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review 2017-07-02 14:54
Let's talk about Megatron
Transformers: Lost Light #7 - James Roberts,Jack Lawrence

Last month I mused upon typing up all my feelings about Megatron starting up a revolution in the Functionlist universe to James Roberts on twitter.   I, ah, never got around to it and I'm quite frankly glad I didn't.   I thought, I mused, I struggled, and somehow it became clearer after reading this issue.   After all, Megatron is gone, but far from forgotten.   There are talks about if people are still mad at him, and if he was trying to redeem himself and good, or if you couldn't really see that unless you didn't know him from before.   

 

My feelings have been evolving, the more I read and the more I think.  I apologize for not remember who said this, or what tweet of Roberts' it was in response to, so I'm just going to say that this wasn't my thought originally.   Someone out there in the twitterverse said that they didn't like Megatron being allowed to start over again in the FU because it was like a bad dad getting to start again.   And I get that, but the more I think about it, the more I like where Megatron ended up.   The split seems to be over whether or not it's truly redemption because it allows him to bypass the hurt he did in his universe.   

 

And I'm still torn because this is true.   However, Megatron started out as a peaceful orator,  if you believe him at all.   He wanted to create change, and couldn't from within, so he created an outside faction which was the Decepticons.   There is no way to turn back time to that same regime, and the FU allowed him to do so.   (If anything, the fact that he was tricked to gets to be blameless in his escaping eventual justice in his own universe is potentially more problematic to me, to be honest.)   I actually relish seeing him in the same position he was in before.   Will he learn from history, or will he be corrupted by power again eventually?   It's a compelling question and one that I dearly hope Roberts will bring up again.   I also read this a couple days ago and didn't have the energy to type this up either Friday night or yesterday.   It's given me time to read some reviews - some positive, some not so positive - since I finished.   

 

I've stepped back and looked at how I read, and enjoy this series.  I think a lot of the complaints comparing this to MTMtE disregard that this isn't the same series, and I'm glad that it's not.   (Valid points, by the way, on any dropped storylines, but I understand why the reboot had to shift attention due to Revolution.   But the quality drop?  I haven't seen that.   This is just as jam packed, with just as many questions about quality of life, what you believe in, who you trust, and on and on.   The questions are getting turned on their heads, or asked in different ways, and while I would have happily continued reading MTMtE, I'm also enjoying this shift in perspective.)

 

As for filler?   I can see that.   This is a short moment, a reprieve, between two larger storylines, most of which end up being absolute roller coasters of emotions for me.   And I enjoyed that quiet moment in between. 

 

I also apparently got more from the character interactions.   Sometimes I don't need everything to be larger questions; quiet, funny moments can do it for me.  I also have the benefit of reading about Anode and Lug's storyline, mostly via twitter, mostly via me following Roberts.   I guess I didn't think that much about them, but Anode and Lug aren't really my favorite characters, or couples.   But even with that being said, I've enjoyed Anode's growth, and the interactions between Anode and Lug in this issue.   It clears up a lot of air, and it's nice to see them happy for a while. 

 

The two highlights for me are the Magnus storyline and the Tailgate storyline.   Magnus was less depressing.   The Magnus armor fails and he proclaims he's only Minimus Ambus, and that Magnus is dead.   As diagnostics fail to reveal the problem, he finds himself not only unable to control the armor, but also locked into the armor.    At least until Rodimus tries to convince him that Megatron deserved another chance.   Angered at the notion, he stands up, and finds himself in complete control once more.   I liked the fact that cognitive dissonance - liking how much discipline Megatron brought to a captainship, liking that he fully read his reports and wrote back 'with thanks' to show his appreciation and hating his genocidal past and all the other assorted crimes, anarchy, and unruliness that brought along with it - creates a dissonance in the armor.    Also, Magnus just does it for me: he's one of my favorite characters in this, and one of the ones I'm most consistently obsessed with.   (Whirl is probably my second favorite by those standards.   But Drift, Rung, Tailgate, Cyclonus?   There's a long list of characters I love.)  Most storylines about Magnus?   I find compelling because they revolve around him.   (I really, really get disappointed anytime he's out of the armor.   Just way less sexy and I still have yet to be convinced that a mustache on a robot is anything but ridiculous.)

 

Tailgate decides to stay behind while others go off for help.   They're still stranded on Necroworld, and have found the corpse of a Decepticon who turns into a ship.   Morbid as it is, they're going to force him into ship mode, and fly him off with the twenty or so passengers he can hold to get help.   Cyclonus is going, but Tailgate is staying, presumably now that he knows he's hurting Cyclonus.   Powering up and flailing and attacking Cyclonus in his sleep is just too much to bear for Tailgate.  

 

While some hope comes along, so does Angry, coming back for Revenge.   It's a heartbreaking ending, but also leaves me intrigued about the brief interaction between Whirl and Cyclonus.   Especially given that Whirl was apparently the one who told Tailgate about his night time episodes.    Whirl and Cyclonus have had a past that includes threatening to kill each other, and really intense, physical and deadly serious fights.   So why create that divide?   I've seen presumptions that this is leading to a Whirl/Cyclonus pairing, but I'm not convinced.   And half of me wants to be.   Whirl/Cyclonus could just end up being a favorite thing ever of mine.   But I'm not sure Whirl is that capable: he tends to shoot off the hip.   (Although he did manage to route Fortress Maximus to save Rung.   He also considered Rung a friend.  I feel like Whirl might like Tailgate more than Cyclonus, and he told Tailgate to spare him from killing Cyclonus.    Then again, why stop Cyclonus from hurting himself in this issue, then?   Could it be that he does care for Cyclonus, or is Whirl still sparing Tailgate from the guilt of that?    And why is Whirl just as compelling when he's thinking things through as when he's diving into action?   I do kind of miss impulsive Whirl, though...)

 

Regardless, Whirl and Cylonus have a long history and I tend to sit up and pay more attention whenever they're in a scene together.   (Who am I kidding? I pay attention during all of MTMtE and Lost Light; if I even so much as blink, I miss something.)   I feel like this storyline will continue paying off for me, so I'm really happy with this series. 

 

I clearly didn't feel let down.  I do enjoy reading negative reviews of things I like and positive reviews of things I don't.   They give me a chance to sit, see things differently, and think about what I like and don't.  In this case, I respectfully disagree with the negative reviews.   I understand where they're coming from, but I'm enjoying this series immensely.  

 

I look forward to issue eight.  

 

ETA: no, I forgot the moments leading up to the Cyclonus/Whirl scene.   There just aren't enough of them for me to really consider them friends, or as Whirl caring that much about Cyclonus.   So I really don't know what to make of that.   I can see them in a relationship, but not as friends, which is probably really unhealthy and something I should get checked out now...

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