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review 2018-11-15 03:58
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire (audiobook)
Every Heart a Doorway - Seanan McGuire,Cynthia Hopkins

Series: Wayward Children #1

 

I probably should have know better than to try another book by Seanan McGuire, but this was available at my library so I figured I'd give it a shot.

 

This wasn't the book for me. It started out with an interesting concept (kids travel to weird worlds and then back to the boring old real world), but the whole thing just fell flat for me. Part of it may have been the delivery of the audiobook, which may represent Nancy's style well but did not make for riveting listening. Overall I just found the concerns to be just too YA for me (high school aged kids acting like high school aged kids) and the dénouement to be a little too telegraphed. Oh and all the talk about high logic vs nonsense directions was tedious.

 

Lots of people loved it; it just wasn't for me. Maybe I should have abandoned it.

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review 2018-11-15 03:29
The Golem and the Jinni (Audiobook)
The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel - Helene Wecker,George Guidall

They say there are no new stories and only seven basic plots, and that is certainly true. Trying to find new ways to retell stories and spin those plots has been the tasks of authors and storytellers since the moment right after the very first story was ever told, and every once in a rare while an author comes along who can bring something truly fresh to the scene. This is such a book. 

 

It's been a long time since I've been this impressed by a book. Maybe it helps that I'm not especially familiar with golems or jinnis, though the mythology used here is on point with what I do know of them. The magic comes in putting these mystical creatures in turn-of-the century Big Apple and putting them both in positions that require them to examine and test their very natures. The supporting cast is equally as fascinating, from Ice Cream Selah, Maryam Faddoul, Arbeely, Rabbi Meyer and Michael Levy, to name a few. They're all trying to figure out life, figure out their place in it - even when they think they know what that place should be - and watching as the author weaves their various storylines together like the Fates at their loom. 

 

This was enrapturing, made even more so because I couldn't figure out where the story was going or how it would all be resolved. For every thread I managed to tie together, there were several others that I couldn't see how they connected. And I really didn't want to. I was happy to just sit back and allow the story to unfold in its own time, and it didn't disappoint.

 

The narrator, George Guidall, does a wonderful job capturing the many characters and bringing their cultures and neighborhoods to life. 

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review 2018-11-15 01:23
Wanted to like this more
X-Men: Black - Magneto (2018) #1 (X-Men: Black (2018)) - Chris Claremont,Dalibor Talajic,J. Scott Campbell

There were a couple good moments, so I bumped it up one star, but this is also a Chris Claremont tale - and I expected more.   I got it through the Marvel Insider program: you get points for doing things, then can get things like digital comics.   I was hoping that Claremont writing Magneto, my favorite X-Men villain, would be a win for me.   It.... was not. 

 

There was so much virtue signaling.   Which, I mean, yeah, it's Magneto's whole schtick, but this was just written so badly - so much message overtaking the story - that I couldn't believe Claremont had written it.   His usual subtlety was thrown right out the window, and I cringed many, many times. 

 

Add to that the fact that I wasn't crazy about the art?   Yup, just a hard pass on more of this.   Looked it up, and looks like the 'Black' line is just bunch of one-shots, but after this I want no part in the rest of the line. 

 

Also, the backstory was about one of my least favorite X-Men villains, Apocalypse, so I don't even care what happens with that.   Oh, well, onto better reads!

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review 2018-11-15 01:08
I wanted this to be five stars
Batman: White Knight - Sean Murphy

The execution, the details, were interesting.   I do think that Sean Murphy bent a little things: if Jack Napier were a truly good man, as he's presented here, and had to account for everything that the Joker did, then I think he'd be slightly more shellshocked.   Now, I could buy the argument that he was so overwhelmed that he ended up placing all his hopes of forgiveness in Harley Quinn - but that's not how this is presented.   It's presented as he feels bad, whoops, let's save Gotham now.   (Although a lot of his redemption is all about Harleen, so that was kinda weird, too.)   He was a little... off with Harleen, too?   Maybe it was calling her Harley, which seemed weird since they were trying so hard to disassociate themselves from their former lives.  But there was something else, where it was all too cut and dry: her accepting him, his complete devotion to her, and I found it too far off form The Joker to really be buyable.   

 

Then again, some of this could be explained by the final reveal, although I don't want to go into details: this is well worth reading, and it's worth reading not knowing what's coming in my opinion, so I won't spoil that. 

 

There's so much elegance in this story that it didn't seem more than a star off, and I think the story focuses enough on other things that I couldn't really say this flaw overtook everything.   I also think when the love story between The Joker and Harleen doesn't take over?   This story is a lot stronger. 

 

And I'm not spoiling things when I say The Joker goes sane or Batman is in Arkham.   The tagline on the back is The Joker goes sane, and the first page or so has Batman in Arkham.   It's all about the small reveals leading up to the big one  at the end.   It's a slow burn that's dealt with perfectly for the most part.   

 

Lovely story.  I'm definitely going to look into reading more by this writer/artist. 

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review 2018-11-14 18:28
Good ending, although it doesn't hold up for me completely
Death Of The Inhumans (2018) #5 (of 5) - Donny Cates,Kaare Andrews,Ariel Olivetti

Marvel either needed to get more brutal, or less.   (And to be honest, given the rest of this series?   More brutal would have been the most appropriate!)   That being said, this felt... off.   The mixture of brutal and hopeful at the ending was gut wrenching - but didn't seem to fit the premise of this series, nor the promise held in the title.   I know I like a good brutal story about characters I love, although I'm not sure why, so I felt a little let down - and relieved at the same time.   

 

So I'm not sure: I just wanted a little more oomph from this ending.   It feels like the mini-series wasn't sure where to go while doing something in particular - allowing certain characters to make it if you want to get particular - and then this.  I know comics are more well planned out.   Marvel cancelled Chelsea Cain's Vision series because it conflicted with plans for Viv in the Champions.   That is: Marvel wouldn't let Donny Coates do whatever he wanted.  I'm not sure if his vision for this conflicted with what Marvel wanted, or if this was a carefully crafted ending that just didn't work for me, but it didn't.   Overall, though, it's a five star series: even with the choppy ending, there was enough here for me to highly suggest this, from the lovely art to the plot twists that won't stop, plus the philosophical thoughts that were dropped in here.   (Yeah, it wants you to think about mortality and what you'd do in the most extreme situations.)   And the ending wasn't a complete mood killer, or even bad: I was just expecting more given the pace. 

 

And I think that might be what be wrong.   This barrels along at high speed - and the stop is sudden and disorienting and that's making me cranky-pants and nitpick about the ending.  

 

I think I'll be more okay with it when I reread this - and this is good enough to reread. 

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