Comic Book Review – Bloodborne: A Song of Crows by Aleš Kot, Piotr Kowalski, & Brad Simpson

A Song of Crows

A Song of Crows by Aleš Kot (writer), Piotr Kowalski (artist), and Brad Simpson (colourist) is the third graphic novel adapting the world of the video game Bloodborne, a horror action-RPG developed by FromSoftware. This is the first book in the series to feature a character from the video game as the main character. Eileen the Crow is a Hunter in Yharnam with a unique duty: hunting down other Hunters who have succumbed to the blood they imbibe and lost their minds. During the course of her duties she comes across a butchered Hunter whose remains are arranged to reflect a ritual she finds disturbingly reflective of a practice from her home in foreign parts. In search of the perpetrator, she embarks upon a mind-bending journey that has her confront the ghosts that haunt her past.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – September 4, 2019

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

Small GodsI’m a fair amount further into Small Gods by Terry Pratchett and much of the story has clicked into place for me since last week. I’m increasingly seeing how Pratchett and Neil Gaiman are cut from the same cloth, this book also dealing with gods and their dependence on human belief to sustain themselves. I really like how he’s tackling religion in this book, specifically rampant dogmatism. It’s lampooning a very clear parallel to a belief system in our world, without being irreverent to the idea of faith itself. So far it works more to show the ways institutions can become abusive and corrupt. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this plays out. The story feels like a departure from tried and true formulas he’s used before.


Recently Finished

A Song of CrowsOver the weekend I read the third volume in the Bloodborne comic book series: A Song of Crows by Aleš Kot, Piotr Kowalski, and Brad Simpson. It’s the first to feature one of the characters from the game as a protagonist; Eileen the Crow. The team for this series did not disappoint, despite what one might expect from a comic book tie-in telling the backstory for a side character. The narrative was honestly—and I don’t say this lightly—a bit more 𝔀𝓮𝓲𝓻𝓭 than its predecessors. Not incomprehensible, but Kot and company once again captured the dreamlike/nightmarish nature of Yharnam perfectly. It was so unexpectedly bizarre and vague I feel I need to read it again before I review it. I’m totally here for the weird, mind, so I’m happy to give it a second look.


Reading Next

Black DossierI still have every intention of reading Coraline by Neil Gaiman soon, but on the comic book front I’ve recently gotten the next couple of volumes of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen that I needed. So, I’d like to start The Black Dossier by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill soon. Technically it’s volume 2.5 and knowing what I do about where things go I’m curious as to how it will bridge volumes two and three. If it fills in a lot of the detail from that almanac I struggled through at the end of volume two I’m honestly not sure how I’ll feel about that.

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

WWW Wednesday – June 5, 2019

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! Feel free to leave a link to your own down below as well.

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

The Hidden Life of TreesI’m now far along into reading The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben. I’m still enjoying the book, though my enthusiasm with it has diminished somewhat. Something about the way the chapters are structured feels a little too random to me. Some contain information that calls back to previous chapters, but I feel as if I could crack the book open to any old chapter and read it. While that’s a good thing for reference, I have found it to negatively impact my experience reading it cover to cover, however slightly. It is still inspiring a greater reverence for trees, but I’d be lying if I said my layman brain wasn’t failing to register different tree names and species sometimes too, which has made reading a bit more of a chore.

Eating the DinosaurI’ve also started reading Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman, a book that came completely out of left field for me. I bought the book for a dollar at little fundraiser at work, intrigued by some of its contents. I’ve read couple of the essays so far and they’ve been really insightful. A lot of the focus has been on popular culture and culture in a broader sense. The first essay discussed interviewing and why people ever feel compelled to answer interview questions, eventually leading to a bang-on interpretation of the way society was heading with then budding social media (this book came out in 2009). I’m excited to see more of what this book has to offer.


Recently Finished

The Healing ThirstOver the weekend I read The Healing Thirst by Aleš Kot et al. I posted a review yesterday, if you want to check out my full thoughts. I loved the way this book took a very different approach to its story than the first volume, shining a light on some more ordinary citizens of Yharnam. It allowed some expansion on the lore and background of the city, but strongly maintained the sense of obscurity and dread. The characters are uncovering some of the mystery they’re pursuing, but so much of the motivations certain parties’ actions remain hidden from view. I find it creates an appreciably puzzling effect on me when I read it, quite effectively making me uneasy. I have found out a third volume is on the way and can’t wait to get my hands on it.


Reading Next

Having suddenly chosen to start reading Eating the Dinosaur, I’m afraid I am once again undecided on what to read next. Typical. The year is almost half over though, and I have much to finish on my scrappy list, so it must be something from there. I’ve been reading a lot of nonfiction lately, so it should definitely be something more exciting in terms of narrative. I gaze at the list now, but cannot decide. Once I know you’ll be the first to hear about it.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

Comic Book Review – The Healing Thirst by Aleš Kot, Piotr Kowalski, & Brad Simpson

The Healing Thirst

The Healing Thirst by Aleš Kot (writer), Piotr Kowalski (artist), and Brad Simpson (colourist) is the second graphic novel adapting the world of the video game Bloodborne, a horror action-RPG developed by FromSoftware. This volume tells a story that stands alone from its predecessor, about a healer and scientist named Alfredius and a priest of the Healing Church named Clement who form an unlikely friendship while Yharnam slowly succumbs to plague all around them. The beastly scourge—an illness that turns humans into beasts akin to werewolves—is becoming more and more prominent. Meanwhile, another mysterious sickness known as Ashen Blood is laying waste to the population as well. The two pool their resources together to uncover the source of these ailments in hopes of discovering a cure.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – May 29, 2019

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! Feel free to leave a link to your own down below as well.

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

The Hidden Life of TreesAt the moment I’m only reading The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben, which I’m almost a third of the way through. The chapters of this book offer fantastic snippets of insight into how trees really interact with each other and the world around them. Part of me was concerned about how accessible it might all be, but so far each chapter is a nice digestible length that concisely explores or expounds upon something new about their biology and behaviour. Learning how the trees of ancient forests are connected to each other by what is known as a “wood wide web” or how trees actually work toward nurturing their saplings to help them live longer lives has been simply marvelous so far.


Recently Finished

Hope DiesSince last week I finished volume eight of Marvel’s Star Wars series Mutiny at Mon Cala by Kieron Gillen et al and over the weekend I started and completed Hope Dies by Kieron Gillen et al, the ninth volume. Following their successes in volume eight, Hope Dies has them suffer at the hands of Darth Vader’s swift and brutal campaign to destroy the Rebel Alliance once and for all. We know that he does not succeed, of course, but I really enjoyed seeing the heights the Alliance was able to achieve and how much of that got torn away from them by Imperial efforts. One thing I especially like about Gillen’s run in this series is how he’ll include characters from other Star Wars media. In this case I’m referring to Hera Syndulla and Zeb from the Rebels animated TV series who only appeared on the periphery yet their inclusion was appreciated.


Reading Next

The Healing ThirstI’m back to mulling over what novel I want to read next, since I don’t expect to be in the middle of The Hidden Life of Trees for an especially long time. I just haven’t made up my mind, as usual. Something else I have to read next is the second Bloodborne graphic novel: The Healing Thirst by Aleš Kot, Piotr Kowalski, and Brad Simpson. I loved The Death of Sleep and while I’ve actually sat on my copy of this book for a little bit since it came out I’m nonetheless really excited to get to reading through it.

Feel free to leave a link to your post below.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – October 31, 2018

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words.

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

House of LeavesI’m still in the thick of House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. The last chapter I was finally able to finish was entitled “The Labyrinth” and quite astoundingly that’s precisely what the chapter was. The formatting of that chapter was literally a labyrinth in book form. Footnotes led to other footnotes, winding around and through the pages of the chapter, taking me backwards and forwards, sometimes telling me something insightful, sometimes telling me nothing and leading nowhere. It was fascinating, but also a little frustrating. When a footnote passage was clearly going nowhere I would make sure to read it through anyway just to make sure I didn’t miss something. I suppose that’s on me, but it made the whole ordeal take a long longer to get to the other side of. I’m most interested in “The Navidson Record”—the exploration of the impossible house—but it keeps getting buried in footnotes and tangential passages.


Recently Finished

The Death Of SleepOver the weekend I read through Bloodborne: The Death of Sleep by Aleš Kot and Piotr Kowalski. You can check out my review here. It was all killer and no filler, telling the more personal story of a nameless Hunter’s journey to try and escape the nightmare that plagues the city of Yharnam. I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t simply a comic book adaptation pumped full of mindless action and boss monsters from the game. That wouldn’t have been a bad thing necessarily, but I’m just so happy with how faithfully the tone and intent of the game was captured here. Some light is shed on lore, but nothing too expounding. You can suss out details from what you’re reading, but nothing is hand-fed to you. This is simply one of the best media tie-ins I’ve read in a while.


Reading Next

AliceIsntDeadWith the spooky season wrapping up it’s time to start thinking about what I’m going to be reading for the rest of the year. I’ve also come to realize I can likely count on my hand (excluding comics) the number of books I’ll finish by the end of December. That means I’ve definitely got to finish the two Star Wars novels I meant to this year, but I also want to read Alice Isn’t Dead by Joseph Fink. I actually feel bad for not reading it during October; it suits the season and it showed up at my house well before the release date (yesterday). I think I can get through it quickly though, so it’ll be up next.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

Happy Halloween!

Comic Book Review – The Death of Sleep by Aleš Kot & Piotr Kowalski

The Death Of Sleep

The Death of Sleep is a new graphic novel by Aleš Kot (writer) and Piotr Kowalski (artist), based on the acclaimed videogame Bloodborne developed by FromSoftware. It is set in the Gothic city of Yharnam, which suffers from an endemic plague that turns its citizens into horrific beasts. A nameless Hunter (powerful people tasked with slaying these beasts) seeks something called “Paleblood” in order to transcend the Hunt and escape the nightmare that plagues Yharnam. The Hunter encounters a strange child whose blood runs pale, and believing them to be the key to their transcendence embarks upon a journey to escape the city once and for all.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – October 24, 2018

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words.

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

House of LeavesI’m currently in the midst of House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. Last week I thought to myself “I can read this before the month is over.” I honestly don’t know what I was thinking. It’s the size a textbook and nearly 700-pages long, though goodness knows how long it’ll actually take me considering the formatting, which includes both walls of text and like 19 words to a page, depending. I am enjoying the book so far, though reading it feels more like a project than a leisurely experience. I find myself compelled by each new footnote that leads me down a different narrative passageway before I must double back. It’s a lot to take in, but uncovering the mystery is fun and I like the core premise a lot too.


Recently Finished

Frankenstein Junji ItoOver the weekend I read Frankenstein by Junji Ito (check out my review here). The featured story was an excellent adaptation. While it is abridged by the medium, I was surprised with how closely he wrote the story to the original novel by Mary Shelley. It’s one of my favourite books, so it was more than welcome. If you’re familiar with the novel it is almost precisely that story, with a few unique twists and artistic flares to help it stand out on its own. The latter half of the book was a collection of stories about a 14-year-old boy named Oshikiri who lives alone in a massive house and frequently has supernatural experiences. I liked the connective narrative about other selves invading from parallel worlds, but as a collection it was a bit too disjointed for me at times.


Reading Next

BloodborneWhile I think it’s unlikely I can finish off October with a House of Leaves review, I am excited to read Bloodborne: The Death of Sleep by Aleš Kot and Piotr Kowalski. It is a new graphic novel based on the video game of the same name. I played through it over the course of the summer and loved the Gothic imagery and cosmic horrors. Seems a perfect Halloween read to me. Hopefully it will confirm some of my wild speculations about the lore of the game too, as well as shed some light on any unknowns.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

Grant Us Eyes: The Storytelling Veil of Bloodborne

This post contains some spoilers.

Video games are a frequent hobby of mine but something I talk about very infrequently on this blog, especially over the last couple of years. Nevertheless, every once in a while I play a game that really grabs me with its story. Not simply in how well it tells this story, but the ways the story is integrated with the video game medium itself.

In Bloodborne, developed by From Software, you play as a foreigner who has come to Yharnam, a labyrinthine city of Gothic/Victorian architecture, seeking the miraculous blood healing of their Healing Church to cure an unspecified malady. Your character also seeks something known as “paleblood,” though what this is isn’t explained. Upon signing a contract and receiving a transfusion of strange blood your character becomes a Hunter—people made exceptional by “blood ministration.” When you awaken after the transfusion you are alone at dusk on the night of a hunt, when Hunters and citizens alike take to the streets to hunt the Beasts that plague Yharnam. You have no choice. A Hunter must hunt.

Read More »