WWW Wednesday – April 17, 2019

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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

SmashedOver the weekend I started reading Smashed by Junji Ito, the newest English translation collection of some of the author’s horror manga stories. I’ve only read three of the stories so far, and I’m finding myself notably struck by how ridiculous Ito’s writing can be sometimes. I’ve sung his praises many times before, and I stand by all that I’ve said before, but it’s becoming increasingly apparent to me how hit-or-miss his short stories can be. The opener, which involves dieting and vampire bats, was more perplexing than it was horrific or creepy, and I hope the tone that it has set for the collection is not maintained.


Recently Finished

Fragile ThingsI finally finished Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman last night. Even though it’s only been a little over a month, I’m disappointed with how long this actually took me. I could have finished it in a much shorter amount of time had I put my mind to it. Oh well. The book closed with the story “The Monarch of the Glen,” which takes place after American Gods, catching up with Shadow Moon two years after the conclusion of that novel. I really enjoyed reading about that character and world again, especially with the surprise appearance by two other characters from another story in this collection. I went back and read the introduction after I’d finished too, which as I expected was a lot more meaningful that reading it as an actual introduction to the collection.


Reading Next

On Earth as it is in HellAs I’ve been saying for a few weeks now I’m going to start reading Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett, since all the prose I’ve been reading has been finished up. I feel like I ought to pick something else up to read concurrently as well though. I’ve been a few books behind schedule for a while and would love to catch back up. With an apparently not-very-good Hellboy movie in theatres now, perhaps I will pick up On Earth as it is in Hell by Brian Hodge, the next of the Hellboy novels I need to read. We shall see.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – January 2, 2019

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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

I’m taking my end of year/new year break, so I haven’t started anything yet! Just want a brief reprieve before I dive back in.


Recently Finished

Hellboy 1953I missed last week’s post because of the holidays—lots of travel and visiting people—so I’ve got a few titles to bring up here. The first is Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1953 by Mike Mignola et al. It continues the adventures of Hellboy early in his career as a paranormal investigator, seeing him travel across England with his surrogate father Bruttenholm as well as with a team of other agents in the suburbs of America. I really liked how this book continued to balance his inexperience with his growing competence, as well as the nods to the fact that his very nature might be the reason significant confrontations are spurred in the first place.

BloodlineThe second I finished was Bloodline by Claudia Gray, which I have spoken highly of numerous times since: it received a 5 out of 5 in my review and was listed among my top five personal favourite reads of the year. I’ve enjoyed many of the new Star Wars books, but this one stands as the perfect example original story and tie-in to the greater franchise converging almost seamlessly. It offered a closer look into one of the franchise’s most iconic characters as well, having her face her demons concerning her parentage in a substantial way previously unseen. It also did a good job of providing some insight into politics and what we know is in store for the galaxy without bogging things down with too many details.

Berserk 17Lastly, I read Berserk Vol. 17 by Kentaro Miura as I planned to for my final read, though I didn’t actually get to it until I got back home (I wanted all these done before Christmas). I really enjoyed getting back into the series. There were a few things I had to re-familiarize myself with, but I was able to recall most everything quite well. This arc looks like it’s shaping up to be pretty interesting too, tying back into characters and events that took place during the extensive flashback arc that occurred many volumes ago. The only regrettable thing is manga volumes read very quickly and continuously; a volume is never really a complete story, just a big collection of chapters, so I’m going to need to pick up more of these regularly if I want to keep reading.


Reading Next

I, RobotI’ll likely start reading again this weekend, I’m already getting a little antsy to pick up a book again. On Boxing Day I went to a used bookstore in Toronto with my friends and picked up I, Robot by Isaac Asimov. For some reason I was convinced the book was hard to find. Turns out it really isn’t, which shouldn’t be a surprise. Don’t know what I was thinking. At any rate, the spark of my interest in it was started by a documentary series on science fiction and since I’ve got a copy now and I’m to kindle that interest while it’s still fresh.

Until next week, thank you for reading! I hope you all had a happy holidays.

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!

Book Review – The Bones of Giants by Christopher Golden

Hellboy Bones Of Giants

On the frozen shores of Sweden, lightning strikes from a clear sky. The skeleton of a huge man is revealed, its fingers clutched around the handle of an iron hammer. No one who comes to see this marvel from Norse mythology can lift it—no one but Hellboy, who lifts the hammer just in time for lightning to strike again, welding it to his hand and leading him towards a bizarre series of visions and encounters.

The Bones of Giants by Christopher Golden is the second Hellboy novel, written with the creator of the character and comic book series Mike Mignola, who also provided illustrations. There was always something about this book that appealed to me more than its predecessor The Lost Army. I did enjoy that book, but it felt fairly garden variety as far as Hellboy stories go. This second novel sported Hellboy on the cover wielding what is in fact Mjollnir, the legendary weapon of the Norse god Thor, promising something a little different for the world’s greatest paranormal investigator, who typically deals with less divine forms of the otherworldly.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2018/08/29

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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 GiantsLast night I started reading Hellboy: The Bones of Giants by Christopher Golden and Mike Mignola, though I haven’t read further than the prologue so far. There’s something about the cover and the title that’s always given me a good feeling about this book (not the most reliable impulse) and this has been emboldened by the brief introduction in which Mignola states his belief that this book surpasses the previous novel, which he believes to have been great too. He’s probably just a little biased, but I’m looking forward to getting into it all the same. Gods have only occasionally been touched upon in Hellboy stories in the past so I’m especially curious to see how this incorporates the Norse pantheon.


Recently Finished

The Princess BrideOver the weekend I finished reading The Princess Bride by William Goldman. Check out my review here! I ended up liking this book quite a lot. The characters were excellent, it balanced some complex themes with fairy tale ideals rather well, and played with the medium in unexpected ways. It’s now no wonder to me that it’s considered such a classic. Inigo and Fezzik especially stole the show for me. They have a great dynamic together. I only wish there were more story. My edition included the first chapter of the “sequel” called Buttercup’s Baby, and it literally ends with a massive cliffhanger. Goldman sure is a cheeky fellow.

The Gunslinger BornI also started and finished reading The Gunslinger Born by Peter David et al, which is the first in the comic book adaptations of The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. While I think later volumes will cover details about Roland’s past that we have not seen before, this book specifically adapted his becoming a gunslinger from The Gunslinger and the story from Wizard & Glass when he fell in love with Susan Delgado. It was a pretty faithful adaptation, though I prefer the novel for how in-depth it goes. This felt a little bit like reading the cliff notes. I did however like getting a good visual look at the Crimson King and Walter, whose forms are often nebulously described in the books.


Reading Next

AftermathLifeDebtThe Bones of Giants should not take me too long, so once I finish that I’m going to get started on Aftermath: Life Debt so I can continue with that trilogy of Star Wars books. I’m hoping things pick up a lot more plot-wise with that book now that origins and introductions are out of the way for the characters. It also hints at including some of the core characters from the films more, which I hope is the case (it’s got the Millennium Falcon on the cover, dang it!!).

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!

WWW Wednesday – 2018/03/28

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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

SkeletonCrewI’m still reading Skeleton Crew by Stephen King, though I have not made much progress on it over the past week. I finished the story “Here There Be Tygers” which was rather short. It was interesting and a little different than what I’m used to from King. It was rather open-ended and nonsensical, but not in a way that was frustrating or baffling. It quite effectively tapped into fears and anxieties one might experience in childhood, through every day people and (possibly) imaginary presences. I started reading “The Monkey” but some personal distractions held be back from finishing it.

Recently Finished

HellboyTheLostArmyI finished The Lost Army by Christopher Golden just before the weekend, which was both disappointing and in other ways exactly what I needed. You can read my full review of the novel here. Having purchased so many Hellboy novels now, since some of them are a little difficult to find at reasonable prices, I’m happy I finally got through one. It was pulpy fun that captured the essence of the character well while also serving as a fun, noncommittal side-story. My only real gripe, which I explain more in my review, is how little character development actually takes place.

Reading Next

RebelJailI still intend to start The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien soon, as well as “Komodo” by Jeff VanderMeer once I set aside some to get through it in a sitting. Other than that, I’ve been thinking more about the mountain of comic book volumes I need to get through that I’ve been severely taking my time with. In particular are the Star Wars comics I’ve let pile up. So, I will likely be reading Rebel Jail next, continuing the adventures of the crew of the Millennium Falcon after the events of Vader Down, which I read at the beginning of last year.

Book Review – The Lost Army by Christopher Golden

Summary

525 B.C. The Persian King Cambyses sent fifty thousand soldiers across the conquered Egyptian desert to take an oasis city not far from where the Libyan border stands today. According to Greek history, a hurricane-force sandstorm struck near the end of their six-hundred-mile trek. The army—all fifty thousand men—vanished without a trace.

1986 A.D. A British archaeological team, sent to the edge of the Great Sand Sea to exhume evidence of the incident, has gone missing. The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense is sending the world’s greatest paranormal investigator, Hellboy, to find the missing team and discover what became of The Lost Army.

HellboyTheLostArmy

The Lost Army by Christopher Golden is the first Hellboy novel, based on the comic book series of the same name. The book includes illustrations by series creator Mike Mignola. While I’ve enjoyed prose Hellboy stories from a couple of anthologies by now, this was my first venture into a full novel about the character. Since this was published in 1997 there have been nine other Hellboy novels and four anthologies. Interestingly, only a handful of this material is considered to be in continuity with the comic book series proper, which understandably takes precedent. This novel, along with other books and stories by Golden, are considered within canon.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2018/03/21

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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

SkeletonCrewSince last week I’ve started two new books. The first of these was finally Skeleton Crew by Stephen King. The first story was “The Mist,” which is nearly 200 pages long, so I focused a lot of my reading time on getting through that story. Though the ending didn’t pack the punch of the 2007 film, I liked the story a lot. It’s a simple yet effective premise, witnessing the social mores dissolve when people are faced with a crisis. The monsters themselves were wonderfully horrific as well. With this story out of the way the book will take a more supplemental position among my readings now, since no other tale is as long.

HellboyTheLostArmyI also started Hellboy: The Lost Army by Christopher Golden. I wanted to get it read through over the weekend, but focus on “The Mist” hindered that. I’m about a quarter of the way through. I’m enjoying it well enough so far. The writing style reminds evokes the comic book a lot for me. I was a little put off by how much time was spent explaining who all the characters are and what the world is like, but I understand why it’s necessary. It’s weird coming into a novel that is supplementing a comic book, yet must also stand on its own. This novel is balancing that well so far though.

I’m still in the middle of The Lord of the Rings, just taking a short break from it. You can read my review of The Fellowship of the Ring here.

Recently Finished

Nothing this week, unfortunately. March has been a really bad month for me…

Reading Next

KomodoI’m definitely going to start “Komodo” by Jeff VanderMeer soon, it’s just a matter of setting aside the time to read it. Otherwise, I suppose my next read after The Lost Army will be The Two Towers, continuing my goal of reading through The Lord of the Rings. I’m sure I’ll get through some more comic book volumes along the way, but I have so many of those to choose from right now, with none particularly grabbing me, that whim is really going to be the decider on what I read next in that department.

WWW Wednesday – 2018/03/14

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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

TheLordoftheRingsTechnically, I am still reading The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. However, last night I finished reading The Fellowship of the Ring and goodness I would like a break. I’m not shelving LOTR entirely, but it is being set aside while I pick up something lighter. The book really picked up for me toward the end of this first volume. The group’s journey through the mines of Moria was a particular high point for me. It struck a good balance between travel, lore, and action. I intend to review The Fellowship of the Ring soon, after I’ve mulled over it a little. This tome will only count as one book on Goodreads for me, but I’ve resolved to do a review in three parts.

Recently Finished

FragmentsOfHorrorOver the weekend I started and finished the horror manga Fragments of Horror by Junji Ito. You can read my full review here. Unfortunately,  I found the book to be disappointing in a lot of ways. Some of the stories were messily executed, and I often found even the better stories to have some glaring flaws. The author himself talks about being rusty after an eight-year hiatus, so hopefully this was only a matter of him getting back into the swing of things. Regardless, I’m pretty confident that’s the lowest point his work will reach for me, so I look forward to diving into his other stuff.

Reading Next

KomodoMy mind has been all over the place with deciding what to read next. I want to start digging into Skeleton Crew by Stephen King, but I think I’m going to try to read all of Hellboy: The Lost Army by Christopher Golden this weekend. It’s only a couple of hundred pages long, and I’d really like to actually start reading these Hellboy novels since I’ve bought so many of them. I also want to read the short story Komodo by Jeff VanderMeer, which I bought a Kindle edition of while looking up the author’s work. It’s only about 30 pages long so I should be able to breeze through that as well.