Book Review: Green Arrow, Vol. 4: The Kill Machine by Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino

greenarrowJeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino begin their ground-breaking saga in the fourth volume of Green Arrow A mysterious villian called Komodo knows Oliver’s secrets and uses them to rob Oliver of all his wealth and his company. Now on the run from this seemingly unstoppable force, Oliver finds himself in a mystery involving the island where he first became Green Arrow and his father! Everything will change for the Emerald Archer in this new beginning for the character.
Collects Green Arrow issues 17 to 24

Picked up in my local comic book store in a desire to expand out my Superhero reading range, and to recover some nerd credibility in that I havent seen the tv show.

This was recommended to me as a decent start to the series, and having read no others, I think it is.  It starts with Oliver having his world destroyed by a mysterious figure called Komodo, who ruins his father’s business and kills Oliver’s closest friends. Oliver then has to go on the run, with few supporters and little money, having to go back to the basics.

Along the way, and with the “help” of a blind character called Magus, he finds out some long held family secrets, and that perhaps he’s not as much on his own as he feared. He also has a new challenge – find out about the Three Dragons he keeps dreaming about.

The visuals are great (both Lemire and Sorrentino are new to me), with plenty of coloured and uncoloured pages. The dialogue is a little clunky, with some pages heavy with text, but it depends on whether you like that kind of thing or not.

On the whole,  a pretty good introduction to a new character.

 

 

 

Book Review: Dancers In Mourning by Margaret Allingham

dancersinmourningJimmy Sutane, London’s favourite song-and-dance man, headlines at the Argosy Theatre, where someone plays increasingly nasty pranks. Albert Campion offers to poke around, but finds explosive egos, including a brooding musician and melodramatic young actress. Campion needs some fancy footwork of his own to evade danger.

Listened to as an audiobook from Audible. Not entirely convinced by the narrator (David Thorpe), who did a good enough job, but there was just *something* I couldnt put my finger on, especially at the beginning. Perhaps it’s simply that I am now too used to James Saxon reading Ngaio Marsh books that I’m used to a certain timbre of voice doing a reading.

Anyway, onto the story. Campion gets involved with a theatre group, who believe themselves to be at the receiving end of more and more “pranks”, ranging from delivery of offensive flowers behind the scenes to stalking in the country house retreat. The success of the current show, and the pressure of bringing in a second show on time, budget etc is making things worse, and is making people crack under the strain.  Jimmy is out driving one evening, only for a recent addition to the show to fall off the bridge in front of him and under the wheels of his car. Initially everyone is convinced that it’s suicide, but as time goes by, people become convinced that it’s murder, and the first of several.

Campion has another problem: he has fallen in love with Sutane’s wife (and maybe she’s in love with him), and finds himself paralysed in what needs to happen next, especially when the body count starts mounting up.

Now I dont know whether it’s an issue with the story, or the delivery, or something else, but I have already forgotten much of what went on in this book now that I’ve come to write the review.  Was fairly engrossing at the time, but didnt remain with me long enough to write a decent review – may have to listen to it again

Book Review: Batman Earth One by Geoff Johns

batmanearthoneBatman: Earth One by Geoff Johns
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Batman is not a hero.
 
He is just a man.
 
Fallible, vulnerable, and angry.
 
In a Gotham City where friend and foe are indistinguishable, Bruce Wayne’s path toward becoming the Dark Knight is riddled with more obstacles than ever before. Focused on punishing his parents’ true killers, and the corrupt police that allowed them to go free, Bruce Wayne’s thirst for vengeance fuels his mad crusade and no one, not even Alfred, can stop him.

In the tradition of the #1 New York Times bestselling Superman: Earth One, writer Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank re-imagine a new mythology for the Dark Knight, where the familiar is no longer the expected in this long-awaited original graphic novel from DC Comics

A new story (2012) that goes back to the beginning of the Batman Story.

Alfred arrives at the Wayne Manor for the first time (having served with Wayne Snr in the Army) on the night Wayne Snr is killed outside the cinema with his wife. Alfred is Bruce’s legal guardian, and is horrified when he learns what the grown up Bruce is doing, fearing him unprepared.

Meanwhile Mayor Copplepot (The Penguin) is the source of much of the corruption in Gotham and Bruce believes he killed his parents. He goes after the police who covered it up. In the mean time, Detective James Gordon (yet to be the commissioner) is joined by a good looking Hollywood detective who ends up getting Gordon’s daughter kidnapped by a serial killer.

All these threads are pulled together in the old Arkham Home (where Bruce Wayne’s mother grew up) with a bloody, violent end, that leaves more than one person devastated.

Bloggiesta sign ups and to do list

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As usual I havent been prepared, so ALMOST missed the September Bloggiesta – until I got the invites for this weekend pop up.

Anyway signups start this week for this weekend’s 4 day event and you can register over at the site here

One of the things is to have a “To Do list” of things you want to achieve, and here’s my starting list, which I will expand when I think about things a little more:

  • I have posts scheduled into next year – now need to ensure I’ve tracked them correctly! (I have a spreadsheet for both this year and next)
  • Play around with my headers/menus to see if my book blog can morph to include posts from another blog
  • I’ve done some research for blog planning, but haven’t really paid much attention to it – now’s the time to do so!
  • Start thinking of my New Year’s Resolutions with regards to the blog
  • Review my Goodreads and Librarything accounts, see that they are up to date and link back to my blog
  • Take part in the twitter events and mini challenges that I can make use of! (being in a different time zone makes some things impossible for instance)
  • Make use of twitter better – I’ve set up lists previously, now I need to read them!
  • Start looking at blog prompts going into next year – I’ve triaged the big list, got rid of the duplicates etc, now to look at themes etc. (tied in with New Year Resolutions – should I host the occasional prompt party?)

Sunday Salon: Organising books

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Do you like to keep your books organized?

I used to keep my books organised in size order – it kept my shelves tidy and allowed me to stack more books into what was a relatively small space. However I recently went through my bookshelf and moved things around a bit. It allowed me to do several things:

  • find that I had duplicates of books, which allowed me to put one of each into the bookcrossing system
  • found books that I knew I wasnt going to read, so again, into the bookcrossing system
  • group books into a particular theme, e.g by a particular author (where I had more than one book by the same person), or from a particular area e.g. India or the Far East.

allowed me to get a better grasp of what books I have (I found 80 odd books my tracking software didnt know I had!)

Despite removing a number of books from the shelves, the way they are now stacked takes up more room than they did before!  So how I had them stacked before must have been more efficient. Ah well at least I can see my books differently now!

I know people who organise by colour, alphabetically, dewey decimal etc. Whilst the colour one to me looks the most aesthetically pleasing, quite honestly…..I havent the time or energy!

So how do you organise your books? Size, color, alphabetically?

Book Review: Thorn in Red by Magaly Guerrero

thornSixteen-year-old Mattalina Thorn grows up believing that she is one third of a typical 21st century family. Her mother leaves the military to start a life coaching and security agency with Mattalina’s aunt, after the latter decides that she no longer wants to be a counselor for the wealthy. All is perfect for Mattalina. Until right before her seventeenth birthday, when someone takes a knife to her aunt’s face; no one is telling Mattalina why.

Bran Van Dyke knows he is different from most eighteen-year-olds. While other boys his age graduate from high school, play sports and perhaps flirt, Bran is training to become the protector of the family to whom the Van Dykes owe their freedom. He likes his role in life, and when he gets reacquainted with the youngest—and most excitable—of the Thorns, Bran goes from liking his role to absolutely loving it.

But in war, love and Stories things are rarely what they seem. In Thorn in Red, typical becomes uncanny very quickly: reality is crafted by imagination; tradition uses fresh and deadly methods to preserve the old ways; Matt and Bran enter a realm where life and progress depend on death, on the reshaping of ancient lore, and on the heart of a couple of teenagers

Author Website

This is a novella, where explanations are short, but this is one of those times where that is not a problem (it actually adds to the telling, rather than detracting). In the run up to her seventeenth birthday, lots of weird things start happening, leading to seeing her aunt with her face slashed. Her mother hurries her to the Van Dykes for protection, and Matt objects until she finds out what Bran has been up to since they last met (primarily turning into a really rather sexy 18 year old).

Mattalina and Bran then have to go on the run, trying to evade the people after them, and Mattalina soon learns what it’s like to be a Story Teller, and memory is rarely reliable. Things her mother told her as stories when she was a child are in fact real, and it seems her family tried to protect her in the “Little Red Riding Hood” stories but to no avail (the colour red is important here).

Situations change, timelines move, and you never know who your friends really are. Since no time is needed or wasted setting up new worlds, then it is easy to shift between ages and scenarios and whilst this is a *tad* confusing, it’s not to the detriment of the book – it’ll be good to read other additions to this world.

If you want a short read of a book full of potential, this is it!

Book Review: The Antiquarian by Gustavo Faveron Patriau

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The Antiquarian is Gustavo Faverón Patriau’s masterfully conceived, engrossing story of murder, madness, and passion that is set against the landscape of an unnamed South American country ravaged by political violence and corruption.

Three years have passed since Gustavo, a renowned psycholinguist, last spoke to his closest friend Daniel, who has been interned in a psychiatric hospital for murdering his fiancée. When Daniel unexpectedly calls to confess the truth of what really happened, Gustavo’s long-buried loyalty resurfaces and draws him into the center of a quixotic, unconventional investigation. As Daniel reveals his account through fragments of fables, novels, and historical allusions, Gustavo begins to retrace the past: from their early college days exploring dust-filled libraries and exotic brothels; to Daniel’s intimate attachment to his sickly younger sister and his dealings as an antiquarian book collector at the Biblio Path. As the clues grow more macabre and more intricate with every turn, an increasingly skeptical Gustavo is forced to deduce a complex series of events from allegories that are more real than police reports, and metaphors more revealing than evidence.

Received in ebook format from www.netgalley.com and read on an ipad using kindle software.

I started so well, and after getting into the rhythm of the way the book was written (including near stream of consciousness discourses, paragraphs that last over a page, timelines and narrators chopping and changing), I got about half way through and then simply didnt have the energy  to go any further.

So: I think my failure to complete this book is entirely laid at my door. For once I can appreciate the translation (I usually hate books translated into English), I can appreciate that there is a certain lyrical beauty of the story, it just required so much time, effort and concentration at a time that I couldn’t afford it – Perhaps choosing to read this in the run up to Christmas was not the right time to choose!