This kitty is missing a decent narrative

Black Panther by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Vol. 2: Avengers of the New World
by Ta-Nehisi Coates,  Wilfredo Torres (Illustrator),  Jacen Burrows (Illustrator),  Adam Gorham (Illustrator),  Chris Sprouse (Illustrator),  Brian Stelfreeze (Cover Art),  Leonard Kirk (Artist) 

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

Woooshhh… that‘s the sound of the story going over my head. I didn‘t read Vol. 1, so that might be on me. The artwork is okay-ish, the story is mostly not there. DNF at 68 pages and 23%. I really can‘t see myself muddling through another 230 pages of this.

ECHO is back!

Some news by Rebecca Roanhorse. She is back at Marvel — I blogged about her participation in Indigenous Voices a few days ago…

Recommended reading: Trail of LIghtning, her first UF novel. Granted, I gave that one only three stars and did not read the sequel, but it was not bad. Her new book, Black Sun, was nominated for a ton of awards. I probably need to add it to my TBR pile…

I’m back at MARVEL and writing a new Phoenix-powered Echo series, art by Luca Maresca. First issue out in October! For more info: Echo Embraces The …

ECHO is back!

Indigenous tales

Marvel Voices: Indigenous Voices # 1
by Jeffrey Veregge

Three stories based on Marvel. In each very short story a well-known Marvel character shows up. In summary not a great offering. The last one stood out. It was difficult to get a good grip on this, as the stories were very short.

“Hugo, Nebula, and Locus-award winning Black/Ohkay Owingeh writer Rebecca Roanhorse and Tongva artist Weshoyot Alvitre tell an Echo tale like none you’ve heard before.“

Anatomically off and I’m not a fan of the colouring. The artwork is not a winner. The story was ok, but didn‘t do much for me either. ★★☆☆☆

“Geoscientist and Lipan Apache writer Darcie Little Badger joins acclaimed Whitefish Lake First Nation artist Kyle Charles for a Dani Moonstar story that’s out of this world!“

The artwork is better. I also preferred the story of a mutant teenager in trouble a lot more. This is X-Men, coming to the rescue… I liked Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger, so it was nice to see that she delivers in a different medium. ★★★½☆

“And Bram Stoker-winning horror writer Stephen Graham Jones of the Blackfeet Nation teams up with Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation artist David Cutler to revisit one of the darkest spots of X-Men history!“

I didn‘t particularly like The Only Good Indians, so I had low expectations, when I read the author’s name. However, I immediately liked the artwork.

I liked this one. Good story, albeit with a reference that I‘m not getting. I recognize the Marvel character, but I am missing the backstory. Still, this one was good all around and the best of this collection. ★★★★☆

This read is part of my attempt to clear my TBR pile of owned books and my #ReadBIPOC2021 challenge (entry for June).

Farming for parts

Farmhand, Vol. 1
by Rob Guillory,  Taylor Wells (Illustrator) 

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Zeke Jenkins had a falling out with his dad a few years ago. Now he‘s taking the family back to the farm and his old hometown to make up and find a new/old place to live.

Which is a bit odd, because his father is growing body parts on that farm…

Can you hear the zombies shuffling along in the background? This has to turn into something really weird, right? Well, not just yet… The body parts are grown for a good purpose: to heal people and replace those lost body parts…

Issue/Chapter #1 was mostly introductions and a little set-up and Issue #2 started with a little backstory on Zeke‘s youth. Things started to become interesting and moved in unexpected directions. No zombies in sight…. but other strange things made an appearance. Mutations, anyone? And not just plants… However, towards the end of Issue #5 this was seriously lacking in narrative tension and my mind kept wandering off. Nice ominous ending though, that might tempt me into picking up the next book.

I liked the artwork.

This read is part of my attempt to clear my TBR pile of owned books and my #ReadBIPOC2021 challenge (entry for June).

If at first you don‘t succeed, try again…

The Murders of Molly Southbourne (Molly Southbourne, #1)
by Tade Thompson

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Weird. Disturbing. Creepy. Off-putting. Slightly disgusting in parts. It‘s like a train wreck—pretty horrible, but I couldn‘t look away. This novella made me feel uncomfortable. I am still trying to put my fingers on the reason why. The blood? The constant murders? The horribleness of the mollys? Strangely enough, I am tempted to read the sequel. 

If you read the blurb, you already know that every time Molly bleeds, a „molly“ is created. And the mollys are always off somehow, eventually intent on killing her. So she kills them first. Around that concept the story of her life to a certain point is told. How she grew up and learned about the mollys, how her parents taught her to deal with them, her road to understanding about herself and the mollys and why some of them seem to be different than others…

I didn‘t like Molly. She was too dispassionate for my taste. But I guess with her history that was to be expected. It‘s tragic and whatever passion and positive emotions she experienced lead to revelations that would be spoilers. I really liked her parents, though. Especially her mother.

The writing is very good. I was totally immersed in the story, the characters and Molly‘s world. I am looking forward now to another offering lingering on my TBR shelf: Rosewater(same author, different world, not related to Molly, won the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the Nommo Award and was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award).

This read is part of my attempt to clear my TBR pile of owned books and my #ReadBIPOC2021 challenge (entry for June).

Perilous public transport

The Haunting of Tram Car 015
by P. Djèlí Clark

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The third novelette set in Clark‘s alternate Cairo of 1912, full of Djinn, ghuls and mechanized angels. I was looking forward to meeting Fatma from A Dead Djinn in Cairo again. Instead we are introduced to Agent Hamed of the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, his new sidekick, rookie Onsi and a haunted tram car…

My favourite scene was the moment when they arrive at the top of Ramses Station and get a view of airships, various dirigibles and those tram lines criss-crossing the sky above Cairo. Great visual. The scenery in general is a great mix of the old Cairo and Clark‘s imagined steampunk city anyway.

The investigative story is a good one, too. Although it slacks off somewhat in the middle. Still good, but the beginning and build-up were stronger storytelling than the climax of it all.

Good characterizations, also for the supporting characters. There is some gender ambiguity there as well and a sentient automata, so plenty of material to expand upon in the upcoming book. I wonder if we will meet some of them again in A Master of Djinn?

Clockwork Cairo

The Angel of Khan el-Khalili (Dead Djinn, #0.6)
by P. Djèlí Clark

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Taking place in Khan el-Khalili, the big bazaar in the heart of Cairo. Our main character is looking for an angel and a miracle… Forgiveness and retribution are the theme in this one. 

The story is narrated in second-person, which I find really hard to like as a reader. 

Straight forward story, not much in terms of plot, more of a small character study. It was ok.

If you want to find the Angel of Khan el-Khalili, you have to make your way to the market at night. 

https://www.tor.com/2021/04/28/the-angel-of-khan-el-khalili-p-djeli-clark/

Magical Egypt

A Dead Djinn in Cairo (Dead Djinn, #0.5)
by P. Djèlí Clark

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Egypt, Cairo, Djinn, ghuls, sorcerers, magic, airships, gas light, aerial trams… steampunk plus electricity. An investigator looks into the suspicious death of a djinn and follows traces through a magical Cairo.

“Fatma was born into the world al-Jahiz left behind: a world transformed by magic and the supernatural. […] Egypt now sat as one of the great powers, and Cairo was its beating heart.“

https://www.tor.com/2016/05/18/a-dead-djinn-in-cairo/

The setting of this story made me home-sick for Cairo! Or whatever you call it for a city I lived in for six years… 

This was fun! Plot driven, not much character development — not an easy task anyway for such a short novelette — although I did like Fatma. Good action scenes and sleuthing, interesting setting. Potential for a lot more. Onwards to the next two stories/novelettes, in preparation for reading Clark’s first full-length novel next month.

Romcom with baked goods

Accidentally Engaged: deliciously romantic and feel-good – the perfect romcom for 2021
by Farah Hero

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The book blurb roughly sums up the first half of the book. Enjoyable, humorous, not too silly and not too much drama. Well, ok, there is some slightly unnecessary drama in the middle and a lot of drama towards the end, but that is par for the course in contemporary romance. The characters remain likable, including the family and friends and nobody is TSTL. I wanted to smack Reena‘s mum once or twice, but it all turned out well. 

Reena‘s actions at one point confused me, as they seemed to come out of the blue and didn‘t make much sense to me. Grown-ups in contemporary romance don‘t always behave as such and failure to communicate is often a given.

There is baking and sourdough starter and delicious Indian/East African food…

“I know you think I’m weird, but you’re the one who brought a sourdough starter for a weekend in the country.”

It made me feel slightly bad for keeping my sourdough starter in the fridge so much and for declining a friend’s offer to look after it during a short holiday. I am pretty sure I will try Reena‘s parathas at some point. I would buy the cookbook, too. 

I read some reviews by Muslim readers and can see why they are not happy about the book. If you are looking for a book that represents Islam and Muslim life, this is not it.

If you are looking for light romance and great food though, you are bang on with this. I almost cried twice towards the end and I am somewhere between 4 and 5 stars. I want samosas now…