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review 2017-09-09 02:12
Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear - My Thoughts
Karen Memory - Elizabeth Bear

I really enjoyed this book!  I'm a fan of Elizabeth Bear's, even thought sometimes I think her writing is too smart for me to actually get.  *LOL*  I had been looking forward to reading Karen Memory since it was published and finally, it went on sale and I could afford the ebook.  All I knew about it was that Elizabeth wrote it, it was steampunk, the heroine was lesbian, and all the buzz was really good. 

But when I started it.... OMG, my stomach sank because there were two things that are generally a 'no way José' type of thing for me.  The character speaking in dialect, hell, the whole narrative in dialect when it comes to that because it's a 1st person POV and the heroine being young, like YA/NA young.  This did not bode well. 

But you know what?  I soon forgot that the heroine was of tender years, so to speak.  Yeah, she was young, but she wasn't that annoying young that so many of the YA/NA characters I have read are.  And the dialect?  Well, I can see how it might be problematic for some - the should haves and could haves and would haves were all should of, could of and would of, which would normally drive me absolutely apeshit, but oddly enough, it didn't bother me.  Shocking, I know.  (Had she thrown in a verse in place of versus, I may have felt differently.  *LOL*)  But the character of Karen had come alive very quickly and this is how she talked and it was okay.  :)

What we have here, is the tale of Karen Memery (that's the actual spelling of her name), and what happens when a badly injured girl comes begging sanctuary at the door to the bordello where Karen works, setting in motion adventures and mysteries.  The action is exciting and seldom lets up.  The characters are all terrific - the girls and staff of the bordello, the lawmen, the villains.  Even the animals!  *LOL* 

Karen Memory is one of those books where I wish I could write decent reviews to do it justice.  Suffice it to say that it's a rollicking adventure with a diverse and fascinating cast and a real sense of humour and fun

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review 2017-09-01 20:30
Lady Mechanika Volume 2: Tablet of Destinies
Lady Mechanika Volume 2: The Tablet of Destinies - Mike Garcia,Ben M. Chen

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

A slightly different take than in the first arc (which I read last month): this time, the story follows Mechanika from London to mysterious ruins on the African continent, following the trail of an old researcher who’s being forced to decrypt strange tablets under the threat of seeing his granddaughter killed. It’s not exactly the same kind of theme, and although some aspects were a bit cliché (of course the bad guys had to be German), I still appreciate it because... hey, let’s be honest, I do like myself a good old Victorian/early 20th century adventure with archaeologist-like people, secret societies, and, yes, in small quantities, even German bad guys. ;)

On the other hand, this volume didn’t bring anything to the bigger story hinted at in the first instalments (Mechanika’s origins, the history she shares with Commander Winter, the Engineer...), and I admit I would’ve liked to get a few more hints. It also keeps playing on the evil bad guy/female enforcer tropes, which, well, why not, but I hope this kind of dynamics will change later.

The drawing style remains detailed, with vivid colours that get more muted as they adapt to the various atmospheres of day and night. There’s still a lot of eye-candy, however this time I felt it took slightly less precedence depending on the scenes and panels (seriously, huge boobs and perceived sexy poses aren’t necessarily as exciting as they sound when it comes to depicting heroo-types characters... or, well, any character at all). And perhaps there were a few less walls of text, too? I read it in public transportation so I didn’t pay as much attention to that aspect I had noted in the first volume, to be honest.

Conclusion: The storyline remained entertaining, though definitely on the cliché side, and I can only hope this won’t last; nevertheless, large boobs over corsets notwithstanding, I liked the artwork.

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review 2017-08-19 21:36
Lady Mechanika - Vol. 1
Lady Mechanika, Volume 1: The Mystery of the Mechanical Corpse - Joe Benitez

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

Set in an alternate Victorian (circa 1879) England, this comics deals with Lady Mechanika, a private investigator/adventuress whose limbs are actually mechanical, and who’d like nothing more than to find out who made her like that and where she comes from; all the while being pitted against the sinister Blackpool Armaments Co. and both its shady employer and soldiers. In this arc, Mechanika investigates the death of a mysterious young woman with mechanical arms similar to her own, only to realise that a lot more players are involved, including Commander Winter and a circus full of characters each with their own secrets.

The drawing style itself is, in general, well-balanced and elegant, and the colours match the mood of the various panels and situations. It’s probably a little overkill on the steampunk aesthetics (in that at some point, there’s going to be a lot of leather and corsets and goggles on top hats etc.), so depending on one’s mood about that, it may not be a selling point. On the other hand, there’s a lot of attention to details, which makes it a joy to look for those in panels, and even if they’re of the, well, aesthetic persuasion in spite of usefulness, there’s plenty to keep your eyes busy. (I usually tends to like steampunk aesthetics, so count me in the second category, even though I tend to criticise lightly. ^^)

Not bonus points on the boobs, though, and some of the extreme ‘female body poses’ that I see in a lot of comics. Eye candy and all that, I get it. It’s just... it detracts from the overall badassness of the characters. (And large boobs are seriously not convenient, especially since they easily hurt during stunts. Whatever.)

The characters as a lot were likeable enough: from Mechanika herself, with her doubts but also her resourcefulness and her desire to do what’s right, to Lewis the inventor whose bottle problems hint at dark events in his past. And the little Alexandra, with her gimmick ‘you’re an impostor’atttitude, which made her quibs with Mechanika quite funny—apparently some authors in the comics write stories about M, and the kid thinks these are the truth. There seems to be a current of underlying relationships that beg to be developed in later issues, creating a sense of an over-plot that will be gradually revealed (which I sure hope will happen in later issues because if it doesn’t, I’ll be disappointed). So far I’m not too happy with the two enemy women apparently becoming enemies because of a man (as it’s a pretty boring reason), but it may still turn out to be something slightly different, so we’ll see. I could do with a little less wordiness, though—it doesn’t fare too well in some panels, making pages difficult to focus on—yet I’m also torn about that because some of that dialogue was of the banter kind, and I think this fits well with Victorian/steampunk themes in general.

Conclusion: 3.5 stars, going on 4.Quite an enjoyable comics in spite of the (typical?) eye-candy. I still liked the artwork and additional covers no matter what, as well as the story and its slight cliffhanger/ominous tones at the end.

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review 2017-08-13 15:22
Audio Book Review: Steampunk Is Dead
Steampunk is Dead (The Feedback Loop) (V... Steampunk is Dead (The Feedback Loop) (Volume 2) - Harmon Cooper

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.


I enjoy listening to Jeff. He really makes the story feel like a full cast of people. Jeff does extras as he's narrating to go with what the characters are doing. One example is a slightly different sound to the air when talking to someone on a phone. All these small extras and the voices creates a world and people for us. Jeff is not only talented in voice, but portraying emotions felt in these characters. Good grief does he make it lively and fun to listen too!

From the first paragraph we see that Quantum is struggling with living in the real world. He was in the digital world fighting for so long, that those habits have stuck. Living style and slang from the noir fantasy he was in are still what's fresh in his mind, so we still get the sassy one liners. Quantum seems to find a balance in his trigger happiness and jobs, though this doesn't happen right away. It's, actually, kind of brutal for all around him until he does. lol. But, eventually it seems like there is a balance, when he finally goes to one place where he feels at home.

Quantum still has his sense of humor with living people, though they don't seem to react as creative with him as the characters in the feedback loop do. He toys with people all the time. lol.

I was excited to get into this book. I enjoy steampunk! With Quantum's humor and view of things around him, I thought it'd be interesting to see him in a steam punk world. Seriously! The weapons that could be crafted here...imagination run wild with ideas for weapons... Is it terrible that I got excited when we got to a big weapons cache? lol.

Just like in video games, there is always trouble when you least expect it and from people you may not expect too. This, along with Quantum always attacking everyone, is what keeps the story moving with action.

I thoroughly enjoy the way these storylines are written in the gaming world. I know we are in a video type game, but Quantum and Frances interact as though they were associating with other people. The worlds are different but a pleasure to visit. It's like a treat when we get to dive into The Loop.

The title of the book. I'm shocked! It'll all make sense when you read/listen to the book. It's totally cool and the best title!

This story is a fun listen for me. It's full of action and off hand comments and sayings from Quantum. Quantum makes it fun with his trigger happy feel to kill anyone that tells him no or questions him and his snarky remarks.

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review 2017-07-27 21:59
The Girl in The Steel Corset
The Girl in the Steel Corset - Kady Cross

Not a lot to say besides I really liked this book. I thought it mixed together the elements of steampunk and the Victorian Age very well. I loved the characters, and I loved how Cross added in Gothic elements as well by using inspiration from some stories we all know and love (Frankenstein--well I hated that; Jekyll and Hyde--ditto) and threw some twists in.

 

"The Girl in the Steel Corset" included a nice little backstory to the character of Finley Jayne. From there it goes into the longer story that has Finley meeting other characters I assume we are to follow for the rest of this series. 


Finley's backstory gave us enough of a glimpse to know there is something about her. You don't know what. But at times she feels like she is two people trapped in one body. The short story that began before it included the longer story was so good. I loved it and wish we had followed up with characters introduced in that. When we catch up with Finley again, she ends up fighting off a young lord of the manor who thinks he can take her and do what he wills. When she flees after injuring him, she runs into Griffin King and his friends who are doing what they can to defend the country (England) against outside enemies.

 

Besides Finley and Griffin, we also have Emily, Sam, Jasper, and a young man called Jack Dandy. We quickly find out that Griffin and his friends (Emily, Sam, and Jasper) are out to capture a man/woman called The Machinist who is behind several crimes that took place involving automatons. However, suspicions turns towards Finley for maybe being involved with the Machinist when things start happening that shows that the criminal is out to get them. 

 

Even though this is a Young Adult book (and yeah I had no idea when I borrowed it from the library) this book reads much older. I didn't even realize the characters are teenagers until I saw someone's age mentioned. That's not a knock against Cross either, it was delightful to read young adults who actually for the most part had sense and thank goodness two love triangles reared their heads, but one was absolutely resolved and I think the other one is too for what it's worth. 

 

The only complaint I will say that I really did have is that this book was a bit too long. I know that Cross had to set up the other characters and do world building though so it's to be expected in the first book in a series. I just honestly didn't need the story to be swinging back to much to Sam. He got tiresome after a while. I do wish we had spent more time with Griffin's aunt on her adventures though.


The setting of a Victorian age with steampunk (think automatons walking around, things people cannot see that are little machines that can repair, people having eyes replaced, etc.) really hit the sweet spot for me.


The ending leaves things in the air for some people. I am definitely going to continue this series to see where it goes. 

 

 

Kindle edition: 473 pages

$10.00

Total: $ Balance: $189

 

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