This epic journey to fight evil is not for me.

Seven To Eternity #1 by Rick Remender (Author), Jerome Opeña (Illustrator), Matt Hollingsworth (Illustrator)

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Fantasy with a heavy hint of the Wild West and a family struggling and fighting the good fight. Maybe. They might also be traitors to a cause. I was missing backstory and world building, I couldn‘t really make much sense of the story. It was verbose, but explained little. Consequently it did not really engage me and lacked suspense.

Good artwork. Some of the visuals made me think of Star Wars. Or the more outlandish parts of the Marvel universe. Meobius? 

What I liked: Fantastic beasts, dragonlike creatures and flying squid. 

Other graphic novels I read by Rick Remender:

Black Science #1 — ★★☆☆☆ — My review

Low, Vol. 1: The Delirium of Hope — ★★☆☆☆ — My review

I think this author might not be my cup of tea. I will avoid him going forward.

Overblown finale

The White Trees #2
by Chip Zdarsky,  Kris Anka (Cover Art) 

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Our MC Krylos is not having a good day. Who needs enemies with friends like that? 

The plot of this second issue was underwhelming. It felt as if the finale of the first issue had been blown up to justify a sequel, instead of tightening it up and making a satisfying one-issue story.

I liked the ending, but this was nowhere near as strong as the first part of the story. Good fight scenes, nice final thoughts. Good lineart and colouring. 

Not quite sure what to make of that final panel.

Horrible past, scary present

The White Trees #1
by Chip Zdarsky,  Kris Anka (Artist) 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Our MC has retired from being a hero and warrior, but has to pick up his weapons again, to save his family. High fantasy, swords, a dragon, cat-like humanoids, mentions of an epic war.

Interesting artwork. Coloured pencils and watercolours? Unusual perspectives.

Rating: graphic nudity, graphic sexual content

I already downloaded issue #2, RTC.

Top Ten Tuesday, counting to 10…

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

http://www.thatartsyreadergirl.com/top-ten-tuesday/

 This week‘s topic / September 13: Books with numbers in the titles

Let‘s see if I manage from one to ten on my shelf of read books…

One Fell Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #3)
by Ilona Andrews

I first read this as an online serial on Ilona Andrews’ website, which took most of 2016. I had fun reading the weekly bits and agonizing over them with my reading buddies. However, reading a finished book in one go is a more cohesive affair. It runs smoother, you can read as long as you want, no waiting for the next gripping bit. Also more editing and small improvements on various details. Plus a maturer rating.

“Look, it can be fast, good, or cheap. You can have any two but never all three.”

― Ilona Andrews, One Fell Sweep

Two Ravens and One Crow (The Iron Druid Chronicles #4.3)
by Kevin Hearne

You read that right. I purposefully did not pick The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings, #2) by J.R.R. Tolkien… 😜 Instead I picked a short story from The Iron Druid Chronicles. A fun series, if you manage to ignore that a 2000-year-old druid is this dumb and juvenile.

Three Days to Dead (Dreg City, #1)
by Kelly Meding

Great fun! I almost read it in a day. Our heroine is a bounty hunter for all things that go bump in the night. There are shapeshifters, vampires, bridge trolls, the fey… Nothing really unusual or terribly new, but an entertaining read nonetheless, if you like Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs or Carrie Vaughn.

The Eye of the World: The Graphic Novel, Volume Four
by Chuck Dixon, Robert Jordan

Another attempt to make headway with this series. I got a very nice hardback edition. Starts with chapter 27 of the book, Shelter From the Storm, and ends with chapter 34 of the book, The Last Village.

Very close to the book. The artwork is nothing breath taking, but well done. Especially the cover gallery in the back has some very nice images.

This takes place roughly in the middle of The Eye of The World, which dragged for me. The pacing of the comic is not much different. I liked it, but it didn‘t tempt me to get another volume right away. If I saw some WoT comics in a second hand store at a reduced price, maybe…

Five Quarters of the Orange
by Joanne Harris

Framboise is running a creperie in a small village in rural France. She spent her childhood years during WWII in this village, but nobody knows that. She now lives under another name, to protect a dark secret in her past. One day her nephew and his wife appear at her doorstep, to ask for the use of her name and recipes. When she refuses – to protect her true identity – she quickly realises that they will stop at nothing to get those recipes. But she is not easily defeated. And while she struggles against her nephew, she tells us her story….. Very good book, recommended! Great storytelling.

Rainbow Six (Jack Ryan Universe, #10)
by Tom Clancy

Unusual, as it is one of the rare books where Jack Ryan is not the main character. John Clark is not as black and white and makes for an interesting character. There is the usual body count and a lot of gadgets, all in all a solid thriller.

Sherlock Holmes: The Seven-Per-Cent Solution
by David Tipton,  Scott Tipton,  Ron Joseph (Illustrations) 

I have the seen the movie several times, it is one of my favourite Sherlock Holmes movies. 

This is a very close retelling of the story. The dramtic chase and the big reveal of Holmes’ secret at the end are well done, as well as the artwork. An enjoyable read and a surprising take on the life of the great detective. Sherlock Holmes fans should not miss this.

Eight Feet in the Andes: Travels with a Mule from Ecuador to Cuzco
by Dervla Murphy

I really wanted to like this, but after spending ages getting past the first 50 pages I decided to give up. The great thing about travel literature is the things that happen on the way. But as far as I got, the main thing was going up the mountain, over the mountain, down the mountain…. And I did not think the descriptions of the most likely stunning scenery were very good either. Very disappointing.

Nine Last Days on Planet Earth
by Daryl Gregory

Free short story on Tor.com.

“When the seeds rained down from deep space, it may have been the first stage of an alien invasion—or something else entirely.“

https://www.tor.com/2018/09/19/nine-last-days-on-planet-earth-daryl-gregory/

I‘m Groot! Interesting. I liked it, fascinating take on evolution and alien invasion, great character development. I felt with LT and almost cried with him at the end. Not sure if I am a fan of that quasi open ending. 

Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That Will Improve and/or Ruin Everything
by Kelly Weinersmith,  Zach Weinersmith

My NetGalley version only consisted of the introduction and the first two chapters: How to get into space cheaply and asteroid mining. Once I realized that, I mostly skimmed and just perused a bit here and there.

Entertaining, amusing style, that borders on slightly silly. Amusing, very simple comic strips—I recommend reading the ebook version on something that allows colour. Easy to understand explanations of complex topics. Space elevators, reusable rockets, Elon Musk and the odd Star Trek joke make an appearance.

It‘s ok, if you are looking for something light to flick through, when you have a few minutes to spare. Coffee table reading, mostly decorative.

Award Winning Authors for the Reading Writers of Color Challenge

I don‘t usually freak out about the end of the month coming, but July got away from me. I read good stuff, it was much better than June, but I did not manage to catch up… For my #ReadBIPOC2021 challenge I barely glanced at my pick for July, which was all about a collection or anthology. The main prompt leaned towards poetry, but I went for a short story collection from my TBR pile. My plan was to read:

Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora (ebook).

I will get to it eventually and probably post updates after each story.

The challenge for August is this:

Celebrating Award Winning Authors for the Reading Writers of Color Challenge.

And for my books on my TBR shelf (owned books) that gives me these choices:

In a futuristic world ravaged by global warming, people have lost the ability to dream, and the dreamlessness has led to widespread madness. The only people still able to dream are North America’s Indigenous people, and it is their marrow that holds the cure for the rest of the world.

Literary Awards: Sunburst Award for Young Adult (2018)American Indian Youth Literature Award for Best Young Adult Book (Honor Book) (2018)Governor General’s Literary Awards / Prix littéraires du Gouverneur général for Traduction (de l’anglais vers le français) by Madeleine Stratford (2019) and for Young People’s Literature — Text (2017)CBC Canada Reads Nominee (2018)Kirkus Prize for Young Readers’ Literature (2017)

Ella and Kev are brother and sister, both gifted with extraordinary power. Their childhoods are defined and destroyed by structural racism and brutality. Their futures might alter the world. When Kev is incarcerated for the crime of being a young black man in America, Ella—through visits both mundane and supernatural—tries to show him the way to a revolution that could burn it all down.

Literary Award: Alex Award (2021) — there was a ton of nominations for other awards, which this did not win…

In this epic saga of magic and kungfu, four siblings battle rival clans for honor and power in an Asia-inspired fantasy metropolis.

Literary Awards: World Fantasy Award for Best Novel (2018)Prix Aurora Award for Best Novel (English) (2018)

Rosewater is a town on the edge. A community formed around the edges of a mysterious alien biodome, its residents comprise the hopeful, the hungry and the helpless – people eager for a glimpse inside the dome or a taste of its rumoured healing powers.

Literary Awards: Arthur C. Clarke Award (2019)Nommo Award for Best Novel (The Ilube Award) (2017)

Brandon Sanderson, past and future…

In 2016 I finally started my first Brandon Sanderson book, because people kept raving about him. It took me two years, switching to audio and hiking up the speed to make it through…

The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1)
by Brandon Sanderson

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Here is my review from 2018:

I finally finished, halleluhjah. Only took me two years. I really did not enjoy this book. A lot of my friends love Brandon Sanderson to pieces. I am bowing out. Done, not going to pick up this author anytime soon. Endless, mind numbing details and blah blah blah. Sorry.

Yes, lots of world building, great magic system, lots of good ideas and concepts. 

But eventually it all was just so boooooring. The book is long. Long book. It takes forever for something to happen. Long book is long. More plot would be better. A faster evolving plot would be better still.

I started the ebook in May 2016, read about 200 pages and then stopped to pick up something shorter and more exciting sounding. I never went back to it. People kept raving about Sanderson and my buddies continued the series, full of enthusiasm. So, in another attempt at this I got the audiobook, all scary 45h 34m of it… I listened at 2x speed, to end my suffering sooner. I really had to force myself to pick this up every now and then and plow through another hour of it.

Besides the ridiculous length, the institutionalized racism of the book really bugged me. Yes, it is obviously an integral part of the story, but I found it tiresome and the variance of human appearances unlikely. It somehow rubbed me the wrong way.

I was also not a fan of how women were portrayed.

Have I mentioned how boring I found the book for very long stretches of the way?

And many characters were TSTL. I don’t expect this amount of stupid in a fantasy novel. And they all did too much navel-gazing. I don‘t care for pages and pages of what, if, why, if it leads to no action.

What else? The book felt old-fashioned. Lack of humour, sarcasm or irony. Have I mentioned that the book is too long? And lacks action? Too much repetition and endless build-up? Boring?

I am sooo glad I am done with this. I am now going to delete Warbreaker from my kindle. Tried Brandon Sanderson, done, thank you.

1.5 very relieved-to-be-done-with-it stars


At around the same time I started the above, I got a Sanderson comic from Netgalley, that I read a lot faster. Here is my review from 2016:

White Sand, Volume 1 (White Sand, #1)
by Brandon Sanderson,  Rik Hoskin,  Julius Gopez (Illustrations) 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The artwork is disappointingly grainy and blurred, which does not make it very enjoyable to read. I had a look at a preview on Amazon, where it was better. So I am guessing it is not the fault of the comic as such, but rather of NetGalley offering a not very good ARC.

The story is intricate, there is a lot of world building, explaining and introducing of various characters and settings. So it’s pretty complex for a comic/graphic novel. If that is your kind of thing and you are a fantasy fan, this is a pretty great offering. If you are a Sanderson fan, you will probbaly end up missing the detail and depth of his writing.

Later chapters alternate between different POVs, which makes it pretty lively and a little confusing at times. I had a hard time to take the main character Kenton seriously though. I was not sold on the petulant teenager morphing into a responsible adult.

But the story definitely has a lot of potential. And if the artwork in the published comic has a better resolution, it should be very nice.


So, got another comic from Netgalley, currently reading:

Dark One
by Brandon Sanderson,  Jackson Lanzing,  Collin Kelly,  Nathan C. Gooden (Contributor),  Kurt Michael Russell (Contributor) 

PROLOGUE & THE UNSAFE BOY

So far not much of an idea what this is about. Fantasy prologue (city under siege) and now a present day setting (New York?) with a slightly dysfunctional teen who sees and talks to a ghost (his sister?) and has a lawyer mum, who is preparing to defend a serial killer.

Went back to the beginning and read the comic‘s jacket…

9-CEF4647-812-B-4-F90-AA71-C715-DFBD8677

Visions of a dark and fantastic world haunt Paul Tanasin, but when he discovers they are prophecies from Mirandus, a world in which he’s destined to become a fearsome destroyer, he’ll have to embrace the fear, rise up as the Dark One, and shatter everything.

from the back cover

More to come, as I make progress with this…

I received this free e-copy from the publisher/author via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review, thank you!