WWW Wednesday – December 5, 2018

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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

Reaper ManLast night I started reading Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett, though I’m only about 25 pages in so far. Auditors of reality have deemed the Death of the Discworld to have developed too much of a personality, which they view as an issue for an anthropomorphic personification meant to perform an important function in the physical world. As such Azrael, a being who seems to oversee Death, has given him his own timer that counts down to his end. Death shall die, and though the prospect is grim, it’s fascinating to see his initial jubilation. He has time now, and he means to spend it like anything else with life. I love how this ties into aspects of his character explored in his first book, Mort, and I’m excited to see where his story goes. Discworld is great all around, but I especially love the Death books.


Recently Finished

aftermathempiresendThe other night I finished reading Aftermath: Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig. Check out my full review here! I liked this book, there were some good twists and turns for the characters and some solid action. I especially liked that while the story does take us to different worlds characters were more cemented in one place. It gave a sense of gravity to their situation. It was the end of the line, for better or worse. Something about this book just left me a little underwhelmed though, despite my enjoyment. I don’t know if it’s the fact that one of the lead characters just never clicked with me or that the book has to reckon with so many different perspectives in one novel to tie events together. I still liked it, I just can’t help feeling ambivalent that it’s all over.

Battle of Jericho HillI also completed the final prequel graphic novel to The Dark Tower, which is Battle of Jericho Hill by Robin Furth et al. The art continued to be wonderful and it was as atmospheric as ever, but now that I’m done I’m not so sure I wanted these prequels, at least in the form they’ve taken. For one, they don’t really coalesce with the books. The way John Farson and Marten Broadclock are so doggedly trying to kill Roland and his companions I wonder why he’s left largely alone in the novels. On reflection I’m not so sure these were a good idea, since what they’ve mostly done by the end is spoil some of the mystique to Roland’s past and how he ended up alone, rather than creating something that flows perfectly into the story I already know.


Reading Next

BloodlineThe final novel I have planned to read for this year is Bloodline by Claudia Gray, which is a standalone Star Wars novel following Leia decades after Return of the Jedi at a time of a lot of political turmoil in the New Republic and a growing threat at the fringes of the galaxy. I’ve also heard that some of it deals with Leia coming to grips with Darth Vader being her father, which I’m excited to see some insight in to. To be honest, part of why I pushed myself to read the Aftermath trilogy was that I wanted to have them done as a primer just for this book. It is especially well-received among new Star Wars books and I’m hopeful my expectations have not set me up for disappointment.

Until next time, thank you for reading!

Book Review – Aftermath: Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig

aftermathempiresend

Aftermath: Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig is the final novel in the Star Wars: Aftermath trilogy, which take place after the events of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Norra Wexley and her crew of Imperial hunters have been tracking hunting down a lead on Grand Admiral Rae Sloane for months after her flight from the New Republic planet of Chandrila, where a devious attack by the Empire killed many officials and nearly ended the life of the Chancellor Mon Mothma. Their search leads them to Jakku, a world at the edges of known space, where they discover a massive Imperial fleet of Star Destroyers. Determined to track down Sloane, Norra launches herself to the surface in an escape pod, accidentally taking bounty hunter Jas Emari with her. Her son Temmin’s droid Mister Bones is sent in a pod after her to protect her, while Temmin and ex-Imperial Sinjir evade TIE fighters and return to Chandrila to report the Imperial presence to the New Republic.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – November 28, 2018

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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

aftermathempiresendI’m still in the thick of Aftermath: Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig, a little under the halfway point in the book. I’m really enjoying the way it’s ramping up on pretty much all character fronts so far. I’m surprised by how much I’m into some of the political stuff around the New Republic and Mon Mothma. Someone else already means to take her place as Chancellor in an election and despite the Empire still being a huge threat there is a lot of subterfuge and backstabbing at play. The occasional interlude chapters have been rather interesting too, especially one that offers a glimpse into the fate of one of the franchise’s most infamous characters: Jar Jar Binks. I’m going to have to push myself especially to finish this, since November is all but finished, but I should hopefully have it done by next week so I can stay on track for the rest of the year.


Recently Finished

Hellboy 1952Over the weekend I read Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1952, which is the first volume in a more recent Hellboy series showing his earlier years with the Bureau. This book tells the tale of his first ever field mission to a Brazilian village where a lot of people have been turning up dead under mysterious circumstances. This story unfurls into encounters with ape-like monstrosities and Hellboy’s first ever confrontation with Herman von Klempt, the twisted Nazi scientist. It is his successes during this mission that result in him being granted honorary human status by the United Nations, which was a nice touch. I do wish it had looked a little harder for the big red guy, however. Despite looking like an adult, he’s less than 10 years old at this time and could have been made to look a little less experienced at the whole fighting Nazis thing.


Reading Next

Battle of Jericho HillMy plans are still fairly carefully laid out for reading Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett next, but Battle of Jericho Hill by Robin Furth will likely be the next thing I finish, either before or after Empire’s End. It will feel really good to have caught up on another comic book series. It has felt too much like my progress with comics had slowed down since I finished the Star Wars backlog I was working on most of this year.

Until next week, thanks for reading!

WWW Wednesday – November 21, 2018

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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

aftermathempiresendI’ve finally started reading Aftermath: Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig, the final book in the Star Wars: Aftermath trilogy. I’m only a little over 50 pages into it, so it has only set the stage for where the story is going so far. Though in a vague sense I know where this book is going because of my impulses to research Star Wars, I’m pretty hooked already as one of the more responsible characters acted surprisingly rashly, putting her and a companion in tough stop in one of the forgotten little corners of the galaxy—the planet Jakku. Considering the characters find themselves on that planet so soon I’m really curious about what will develop there, since surely the inevitable battle (the remains of which can be seen in The Force Awakens) will not happen until late in the book.


Recently Finished

AliceIsntDeadOver the weekend I finished reading Alice Isn’t Dead by Joseph Fink. Please check out my review here! I liked the book, it’s certainly more refined in certain areas than the podcast it is adapting, but unfortunately it read a little too much like and abridged version of the story. I understand removing the episodic adventures that do not serve the plotline, but in trimming things down a lot of the slower, more intimate character moments got lost along the way too. It felt like things happened too quickly by the end, glossed over in the narration without much engagement with what the characters were doing. For those intrigued by the premise of oddities and horrors encountered on the highways of America I do recommend it though. It’s got its faults that keep me from really loving it, but it’s a solid story.

Fall of GileadI also read Fall of Gilead by Robin Furth et al, the fourth volume of the prequel comic books to the series The Dark Tower by Stephen King. Now this is what I’d been hoping for from these comics, giving me a closer look at events only hinted at or briefly mentioned in the books. Gilead indeed falls, but I enjoyed the valiant efforts of our characters and the tragic extent that the ill influence of John Farson had infected the city’s walls. One slightly unfortunate thing this book made me realize is these comic books came out before The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King. That book takes place between books four and five of the main series, but it came out after the series had ended. So, certain events in Fall of Gilead are contradicted by The Wind Through the Keyhole, which I must concede takes canonical importance over these comics.


Reading Next

Reaper ManHaving everything laid out and planned for the rest of the year, the next book I’m going to read shall be Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett. This year has been rather disappointing as far as keeping up with reading the Discworld series. I set a good pace when I started in 2016, which I built upon last year. When I’ve finished Reaper Man I will only have read two this year, which isn’t even half of the number of books I read last year. 2019 will have to be a resurgence.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – 2018/09/26

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by 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

The TroopI’m nearly a hundred pages into reading The Troop by Nick Cutter. I was pleasantly surprised with how it hit the ground running with the setup, having the characters already camped out on the small island near Prince Edward Island. It dawned on me slowly after I started reading that this might not be a zombie story at all, but rather a Wendigo story. The starving man who intrudes on their island is emaciated yet cognizant, desperately hungry and devouring everything he can get his hands on yet never able to satisfy the hunger. The novel has yet to confirm one way or another, but I’m eager to find out. The only hitch in the book for me so far is the idle banter between the boys of the troop hasn’t been well written at all.


Recently Finished

AftermathLifeDebtOver the weekend I finished reading Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig, which you can check out my review for here. This book wound up being a significant improvement upon its predecessor for me. The ensemble cast was really well balanced, iconic characters were given more involved roles, and the plot had a lot more forward momentum. Much more happened in this book without sacrificing character moments. A few of the characters did still leave something to be desired though, with personal plot-lines that I had trouble caring for in the grand scheme of things. Nevertheless, I’m excited to read the third and final installment soon.

The Long Road HomeI also read through The Long Road Home by Robin Furth and Peter David et al, the second book in the prequel graphic novels for The Dark Tower series. The plot of this book follows young Roland and his ka-tet’s return to Gilead after the death of Susan, Roland’s love. He spends much of his time in the thrall of Maerlyn’s Grapefruit while his companions must convey his unconscious body over treacherous terrain and protect him from their pursuers. In the seventh novel Roland mentioned seeing the death of Oy through the grapefruit, which we are treated to as well. I was rather heartbreaking to see visualized, and helped to tie the book to the greater quest that lies in store for Roland.


Reading Next

The Haunting of Hill HouseI still intend to continue reading the prequels to The Dark Tower, and in terms of prose I think I can safely say I intend to read one of the Shirley Jackson ebooks I purchased within the last year. More than likely it will be The Haunting of Hill House, which I’ve heard a lot about as a classic film (1963) and novel, but haven’t spent time with firsthand. I’m excited to read a classic ghost story as well as have my first experience with Jackson’s work, considered a master of horror and mystery.

Until next time, thank you for reading!

Book Review – Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig

AftermathLifeDebt

Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig is the second novel in the Star Wars: Aftermath trilogy, continuing the story of Norra Wexley and her team; her son Temmin, his battle droid bodyguard Mister Bones, the Zabrak bounty hunter Jas Emari, the ex-Imperial Sinjir Rath Velus, and the special forces soldier Jom Barell, who work together to hunt down Imperial war criminals. The New Republic continues its fight for a firm foothold in the galaxy, while the Empire under Grand Admiral Rae Sloane and her mysterious advisor Gallius Rax conspire to regain the control lost after the deaths of the Emperor and Darth Vader. Meanwhile, in a risky move to free the Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk from enslavement, Chewbacca has been captured and Han Solo has gone missing. A distressed Leia enlists the help of Norra’s team to find out what happened to her husband.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2018/09/19

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by 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

AftermathLifeDebtI’m still reading Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig, though I’m about two thirds of the way through now. In some ways I’m finding I like this book a lot more than the first one. The amount of development and motion in the story has really made me realize even more in retrospect just how much the first book was spinning its wheels where plot was concerned. There are other hiccups in Wendig’s writing style that recur in this book as well, making them stand out worse. Nevertheless, I am enjoying it, and I’m especially happy to see core Star Wars characters like Han and Leia play significant roles in the story, rather than being more background figures.


Recently Finished

Ed the Happy ClownOver the weekend I finished reading Ed the Happy Clown by Chester Brown. While a big talking point about the book for me going in was just how weird things looked without any context, I must say that by the end I was thoroughly over it. Exhaustion was bound to set in, as I expected, especially reading it all at once (rather than serially, as it was originally published). That’s not to say that I think it is bad, however, just that that particular shtick stopped affecting me by the end. The story had grown out in a more coherent direction too, ending things on a surprisingly downer note for certain characters. I should have a review posted soon.


Reading Next

The TroopLike I said last week, with October a mere couple of weeks away I’ve been thinking a lot about the horror books I may want to start reading for the season. One that I’ve decided upon, and likely my next book, is The Troop by Nick Cutter. I’ve made to sure to limit my knowledge of the story to the back cover, so all that I can glean from that is it’s about a troop of scouts on a camping trip in the Canadian wilderness who encounter some sort of zombie-like threat. Nick Cutter is actually a pseudonym for a Canadian author I really like who typically writes fiction, so I’m especially intrigued to see what he comes up with as Cutter.

Until next week, thank you for reading! What did you read this week?

WWW Wednesday – 2018/09/12

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by 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

AftermathLifeDebtI started reading Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig, though I’ve only really just started. My impressions about these books have shifted a little bit since finishing the first one, due to some personal reflection and encountering how other people feel about these books. I stand by my review of the first one, but it is a little telling that my favourite parts of that book were the interludes. It seems this book will be just as focused on the characters introduced in this series. I’m not sure how I feel about that. At any rate, it has started out all right so far, though I’m noticing some negative points someone made about Wendig’s writing style I hadn’t noticed myself before. I shall maintain optimism, at an rate.

Ed the Happy ClownI’ve also been reading Ed the Happy Clown by Chester Brown, which came a little out of left field. A friend of my showed me their copy and offered to let me borrow it, which I accepted. Shortly after last week’s post I started reading it and it’s really bizarre. Apparently, Brown’s idea was to take the story in random directions with each strip, though there are twisted threads the story is following along at the point I’ve reached. It’s not completely non-sequitur throughout. I’ve read two books of his before this, though they were a biography and a memoir respectively, so this is quite a dramatic shift in content.


Recently Finished

Hellboy Bones Of GiantsOver the weekend I finished reading The Bones of Giants by Christopher Golden, which you can check out my review for here. Unfortunately I didn’t not quite live up to my admittedly arbitrary expectations. I really liked the lore the novel introduced into the world of Hellboy, but a lot of the story ended up meandering, the characters dwelling on concern for one another repetitively without the plot escalating these issues much. I still liked it for what it was, since the novels are really only side stories to the series proper, but I’m starting to wonder if Golden is the negative x-factor for me.

Yon & MuI also finished reading Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu. I absolutely loved this book. The art was great, the stories in each chapter were well told, and most importantly it showed that Ito’s got surprisingly good chops as a comedy writer. It was just the right length too; not overdoing it yet short enough to leave me wanting more without being disappointed. I should have a review posted of it soon.

 


Reading Next

I’m really not sure what to read next. I’m starting to suspect Life Debt will take me longer than I think it will. It’s not a dense read, but it’s still 500 pages long. With October only a few weeks away I’ve started to think more about horror books to read, though I’ve no idea what I’ll start with just yet. I do think I should start one before September is over though so I can spread some reviews throughout the month.

Until next time, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – 2018/09/05

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by 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

Hellboy Bones Of GiantsNot unexpectedly, I’m still in the middle of reading Hellboy: The Bones of Giants by Christopher Golden, nearing the halfway mark. It was a rather busy long weekend for me and I didn’t find much time to read between being busy and/or exhausted. Nevertheless, I’m enjoying this book quite a bit more than the previous Hellboy novel. It feels much more like there’s a mystery at play; I still don’t even know why Mjollnir has fused itself with Hellboy’s hand nor the extent of the forces at play against him. He’s living up to his job as a paranormal investigator a lot more here, as he should, rather than just a big guy there to clobber things.


Recently Finished

Regrettably nothing this week. I’ve been wanting to at least have a comic done for this section every week, but like I said it’s just been a tad too busy.


Reading Next

Yon & MuI still have my plans of continuing The Dark Tower comic book prequels and starting Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig soon, but I’ve got some new books in the pipeline too. I went to Fan Expo over the weekend and among the comics I picked up was Cat Diary: Yon & Mu by Junji Ito. In this book, the master of Japanese horror manga and creator of Uzumaki chronicles his real-life struggles with becoming a cat owner. His creepy art partnered with feline antics should make for an exceptionally unique read.

Until next time, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – 2018/08/15

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by 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

The Princess BrideI started reading The Princess Bride by William Goldman over the past couple of days, though I haven’t gotten very far yet. I was honestly thrown for a loop when starting out. I knew very little going in, so finding the inside title page saying ‘The “Good Parts” Version Abridged by William Goldman,’ I started to panic that I didn’t have the complete story (fans are probably giggling at me right now). Apparently, for reasons I haven’t fully educated myself on, Goldman fictionalizes himself around the creation of this book, giving the story a history that precedes him. The introductions further this frame, including details about the movie but maintaining the fictional history of the book he has “abridged”. It’s amusing, but was such a bizarre thing to be suddenly confronted with.


Recently Finished

AftermathOver the weekend I finished Aftermath by Chuck Wendig, book one of the Star Wars: Aftermath trilogy. Please check out my review here! The characters grew on me a lot by the end, but the story was so divided among their numerous perspectives, as well as those of more minor characters, that the plot ended up being rather thin and uninteresting. With power shifting politically in such a big way, especially in the fissures of the Empire, I’m disappointed the plot was so unremarkable. The “Interlude” chapters stood out especially well though, giving me the glimpses I craved into how familiar places in the galaxy were reacting to the events of Return of the Jedi.

Deadpool Kills the Marvel UniverseI also read Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe by Cullen Bunn et al. It was pretty much exactly what I expected it to be, which is both good and bad. Good because it was a fun, morbid story where I didn’t have to worry about continuity or consequences; just some good old-fashioned carnage. It also kicked through the fourth wall as a part of its storytelling, rather than Deadpool’s usual leaning upon it. It was bad because I would have preferred it if his confrontations with particular characters were a little more drawn out and their deaths earned. He wipes out many of them far too easily and I sadly saw that coming.


Reading Next

Hellboy Bones Of GiantsI don’t rightly know what I’ll get to next. I want to get to Aftermath: Life Debt so I can avoid being stuck in the middle of a series for too long, but I may read Hellboy: The Bones of Giants by Christopher Golden as a shorter read before I do. I’ve bought a lot of Hellboy books over the last year, so I really ought to be reading them. Other than that I’ve got plenty of comic books to choose from too. Since they’re such a relatively shorter commitment I’m leaving my choice in that arena up to whim.

Until next time, thank you for reading!