New Books & Novel Discoveries (December 2020)

Well would you look at that, 2020 is nearly gone forever. Not that the year actually had anything to do with what’s gone on, but there’s a weird catharsis anyway, I suppose. How did the holidays pass by already? Madness. I hope you all enjoyed yourselves as safely as you could.

On to the last new books of the year!Read More »

WWW Wednesday – December 30, 2020

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Decided to take an impromptu week off last week, but now I’m back and ready to read more WWWs 🙂


Currently Reading

SpiderlightI’m just about 3/4 of the way through Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky, and oh boy am I enjoying this book. It takes its setting and lore so seriously, yet has such a hilariously tongue-in-cheek attitude towards it at the same time. I take the characters, the quest, and their personal tribulations very seriously, but it’s also made me laugh many times. One of the main characters is a giant spider named Nth, who is made to join the band of heroes and turned into a man-spider thing by their magician. His involvement in their quest compromises the group, while he himself is miserable, and it makes for some great group dynamics. I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop between him and the Chosen One of their band, as she is still far from accepting him as anything more than a thing of the Dark.


Recently Finished

During the holiday I did very little reading, so over the past few days I’ve done a blitz of reading graphic novels to catch up on my Goodreads challenge. Let’s have a look, shall we?

Shortly after my post on December 16, I read through Remina by Junji Ito, which you can read my full review for here. Though a longer book, it felt more like an expansion on a short story idea the author had, rather than something of the caliber of his other longer works. I was a little disappointed, but it still made for a decent cosmic horror story, with some fantastic imagery on two-page spreads.

I finally decided to crack open more Berserk by Kentaro Miura, reading through volumes 22, 23, 24, and 25. It’s great to be reminded again of why I love this dark fantasy series, simply by coming back to it, and it was great to see some of the veils of its world peeled back and explained more clearly than ever before, though it was a lot to take in. Manga volumes read so fast, so now I need a bunch more that I will quickly finish once I get to them.

Finally, last night I read Koshchei the Deathless by Mike Mignola, Ben Stenbeck et al, which takes place in the Hellboy comic book series. It was a fantastic little side story about the titular character’s life, told retrospectively by the old lich to Hellboy, the two of them sitting together in a bar in Hell. Unlike other books “From the Pages of Hellboy” that I’ve read, I really connected with this one emotionally.


Reading Next

The Force Awakens The Visual DictionaryIt’s safe to say that the reading plans I laid out aren’t going to come together, so no Master & Apprentice until the new year. If nothing else, I want to complete my Goodreads challenge. So, as one last graphic novel for the year I’m going to reading Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1956 by Mike Mignola et al, continuing the series set during Hellboy’s early years, after not having read any since the middle of 2019. Hopefully I can recall all the little plot threads. Additionally, I’ve decided I’m going to read The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary by Pablo Hidalgo. As of Christmas I have all of these books for the Sequel Trilogy, and decided I ought to read them instead of just sit on them. I expect it will be quick and fun, and a bit different as I don’t usually read through reference books.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

Comic Book Review – Remina by Junji Ito

Remina

Remina by Junji Ito is the latest horror manga by the author to be published in English by VIZ media. This cosmic horror story was originally publish in 2005 as Hellstar Remina. In the not-too-distant future, year 20XX, the existence of a wormhole is finally proven after the emergence of a strange planetary body is observed from within it. Its discoverer, Dr. Oguro, christens the body “Remina” after his teenage daughter. The media around the event notices his daughter’s beauty, and it isn’t long until her own star rises to fame. All seems well, until the object is observed to be picking up speed and heading straight for Earth. Fear and panic begin to grip the populace as the extraplanetary Remina gets closer and closer. With seemingly no hope to be found, hysterical mobs begin to blame the girl Remina herself for somehow inviting the infernal planet’s attention.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – December 16, 2020

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

SpiderlightLast night I started reading Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky, though I’ve only read up until the end of the first chapter, which is just over 30 pages. I’ve had a vague notion of what the book has in store for me for a while now, but this first chapter alone has given me a much clearer picture and I’ve got a feeling I’m in for a treat. A ragtag band of heroes is on a quest to defeat a Dark Lord, armed with the Light on their side, as foretold by prophecy. Wouldn’t it surprise you to hear, then, that the book opens from the perspective of a giant spider? His home in “Mirkwood”, along with countless others like him and their Mother, is beset upon by these heroes as they seek an item crucial to their quest. Right from the get-go the dynamics of Light and Dark are turned on their head, at least figuratively so far, and I love it.


Recently Finished

MaskeradeOver the weekend I finished reading Maskerade by Terry Pratchett and you can read my full review for it here. I ended up liking this book a lot more than I even realized when I finished it. While reviewing it I had a little trouble settling on my rating, because I was surprised to realize that I couldn’t think of anything I had a problem with. In my estimation, nearly everything fit together so neatly that I could appreciate it even more in retrospect. I especially loved how much a of smaller scale problem Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg were up against. It wasn’t about the fate of the world or that of kingdoms and kingship, just a murder mystery in an opera house. It felt like the characters had more room to breathe, and allowed for some hilarious sequences along the way too.

The Rise of Kylo RenI also read Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren by Charles Soule et al. I haven’t read many of the comic books related to the sequel trilogy yet, but this one was very good. It gives a closer look at the criminally underused Knights of Ren, what they were about, who their former leader was, and encounters they had with the likes of Luke Skywalker. The book also shed some appreciable light on some of Ben’s relationships at Luke’s Jedi Temple and clarified some of the events on that fateful night when everything changed for the worse. My only real problem with it was it was too short. I’d love an entire series about Ben’s turn towards the dark side and becoming Kylo Ren, expounding on his activities with the Knights and when he eventually joined up with the First Order.


Reading Next

ReminaWith only a little over two weeks left in December, I’ve got a pretty good idea of what I’ll be reading next. I’m not sure I’ll meet my revised goal, but I do know I’ll be reading Star Wars: Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray next, which is about Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi before the events of The Phantom Menace. Gray’s Star Wars books have been excellent so far, so I’m especially looking forward to this one. Before then, though, I am going to read Remina by Junji Ito. I picked up my copy last week, it just came out, and I’m eager to check it out. It’s a longer, single story that looks like it will be dealing with cosmic horror. What more could I possibly want?

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

Book Review – Maskerade by Terry Pratchett

Maskerade

Maskerade by Terry Pratchett is the 18th novel in the author’s comic fantasy Discworld series and the fifth in the “Witches” subseries. Agnes Nitt, a young woman from Lancre in the Ramtop Mountains, has made her way to the bustling city of Ankh-Morpork in order to seek her fortune. Though possessed of an untrained talent for witchcraft, she has an especially gifted singing voice and is determined to see how far it can take her, auditioning at the city’s Opera House. It’s a chaotic world of melodrama and vanity, where the show must go on, even with a Ghost lurking about and murders piling up. Only the meddling of the Lancre witches, Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, can challenge this nonsensical world and unmask the Ghost before everything comes crashing down.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – December 9, 2020

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

MaskeradeI’ve made some good progress with Maskerade by Terry Pratchett, the 18th Discworld novel, though as is often the case this is short of my desire to have it finished as soon as possible. I was much too fatigued over the weekend to get that far along. My schedule is not normal. There’s an unexpected element of murder mystery to this novel that I’m more than here for, though. A “ghost” of the opera keeps murdering those involved in production and his motives seem unclear. It certainly seems to me that this ghost is probably just a murderer, yet I suspect there is also an actual ghost among the cast of characters and most of them don’t realize it. I’m really intrigued to see where this all goes.


Recently Finished

Nothing this week. I have been awful and neglected my comic books once again. There will have to be reckoning before the month is done.


Reading Next

SpiderlightWith my pace being as slow as it is, I’m afraid I won’t meet the revised goals I’ve set for myself (completely my list except for Moby-Dick). I’m going to try and dedicate more time to reading and away from other hobbies, but I don’t know how successful I’ll really be with that. At any rate, I really want to read Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky next, if I read nothing else. I’ve been meaning to read it for a while now—it’s actually on the first page of my to-read shelf on Goodreads—and I’ll be darned if I don’t finally do so this year. Other than this, I still meant to read The Rise of Kylo Ren by Charles Soule et al soon. It’s only a matter of making time.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

Book Review – Thrawn: Alliances by Timothy Zahn

Thrawn Alliances (2)

Thrawn: Alliances by Timothy Zahn is the second book in the author’s Thrawn trilogy, set in the new canon of Star Wars after the Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm. Emperor Palpatine has sensed a disturbance in the Force on the remote planet of Batuu, at the edge of the galaxy’s Outer Rim Territories. This disturbance, though only hinting at threats unknown, is deemed important enough that the Emperor sends two of his most powerful agents to investigate: the Sith Lord Darth Vader and brilliant strategist Grand Admiral Thrawn.

There is more to the mission than it at first seems, however, as long ago, during the Clone War, the two first met on Batuu under similar circumstances : Thrawn on an undisclosed mission for the Chiss Ascendency and then-Jedi knight Anakin Skywalker in search of his missing wife Padmé, who was investigating a Separatist plot. The two formed an unlikely alliance to achieve their goals all those years ago, but with loyalties being tested by new enemies, can their renewed partnership endure?Read More »

WWW Wednesday – December 2, 2020

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

MaskeradeAs of last night I’ve gotten just over 100 pages into Maskerade by Terry Pratchett, the 18th Discworld novel. Surprisingly, I’ve found this novel a little slower-going than a lot of the previous books in the series. Despite how far I am into the book, I don’t feel I have a full grasp of what the story will be about just yet. Nevertheless, I am really enjoying the introduction of Agnes Nitt, a character with a good head on her shoulders that would make for a great witch if not for her desire to be a singer. The only thing I’m a little iffy about with her is how much the book likes to make fun of her weight. It doesn’t feel incongruous with how Discworld stories are told, but it has happened with a frequency that has started to feel a little mean-spirited. I do enjoy how she is actually characterized, though, so perhaps it’s just me.


Recently Finished

Thrawn AlliancesOver the weekend I finished reading Thrawn: Alliances by Timothy Zahn. I’m not over-the-moon about the book, but I really enjoyed it as a solid reading experience. The problem of the Then/Now story line still persisted, with the “Then” story being less interesting, which I can attribute to the fact that it was connected to the Clone Wars itself. So, while it did have some surprises in store by the end, ultimately I knew that the events of this story would be of no consequence to the greater war. “Now”, on the other hand, is a side story taking place in the Imperial era but unconnected to the war with the rebels, with my only foreknowledge being that Vader and Thrawn must survive, keeping the stakes of everything else appreciably higher. I should have a review up for this novel soon.

Immortal Hulk Hulk is HulkI also read through The Immortal Hulk: Hulk is Hulk by Al Ewing et al, which reminded me of just how much I love this series. I wish I’d been able to read it a little sooner, in fact, as it was a direct continuation of the action from the  end of the previous volume, which introduced a new villain. In this, Hulk’s very identity becomes compromised as an alien monster who, on the behalf of the Roxxon corporation, alters everyone’s memories of what the Hulk even is. It wrapped up a little too neatly at the end for me, but nonetheless had some great exploration of the Hulk’s various personalities within his mindscape, as well as some genuinely harrowing moments that left me shocked to remember this is a mainline series about the character.


Reading Next

The Rise of Kylo RenI’ve got a good handful of books to choose from next, so I shouldn’t be paralyzed by choice when the time comes. That being said, I haven’t quite made up my mind yet, but I’ve still got a good bit of Maskerade left to read anyway. I will likely reading Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren by Charles Soule as my next comic book read, though, which should be fun.

I wish I’d gotten this up earlier today, but I was much too tired after my night shift. I ought to adjust when I write these.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.