Friday, November 17, 2017

Knife's Edge


Image result for knife's edge hope larson cover

Knife's Edge

By Hope Larson

Published by Margret Ferguson Books

This is a sequel to the book Compass South. You can find the first review here. This book is a direct continuation of the first, following our intrepid heroes Alex and Cleo, who after reuniting with their father are determined to find their mother's long lost treasure. Along the way, they must continue to outrun the pirates following them, and maybe find a way to reunite with their long lost mother they've never met.

The book is about the same as the first. I like how the characters are more fleshed out now, and the chemistry is very good. The art is still quite pretty, and the story beats are well crafted. I did think there were a few too many odd coincidences and small deus ex machina moments, but over all it balances out nicely.

TLDR: 7/10

Friday, November 3, 2017

The Can Opener's Daughter

The Can Opener's Daughter

By Rob Davis

Published By Self Made Hero

This is actually a sequel to another book that I haven't read (The Motherless Oven). Keep that in mind.

I've read it twice and still don't completely understand what happened. The book stars Vera Pike, the daughter of what seems to be a powerful god, the weather clock. Throughout the book, she is trying to live in this world where death only comes via suicide, while trying to break away from her mother and find out how this dual layered world truly works. This is the best explanation I could give of the plot. It's a tangled mess that leaves a lot out.

I quite liked this book, but I do have very bizarre taste. I thought the world was fascinating and unique, and has a lot of places where it can expand. The characters are decent, all making sense in this world. The plot can be pretty obtuse, without a strong sense of time between the scenes, so you you can get a bit lost. This book does leave itself a bit too open-ended, but is weird enough to make it work. If you do pick this one up, read it twice. Even then I still don't entirely understand.

TLDR: 7/10


Friday, October 27, 2017

Star Scouts

Image result for star scouts mike lawrence cover
Star Scouts

By Mike Lawrence

Published by First Second

Star Scouts a sci-fi adventure staring Avani, a tomboy who is filled to the brim with hate since she had to move to a new town and her new scout troop is pure cliche girl. But one day she is abducted by aliens and finds that there is an alien scout troop who are way more interesting. Here, she thrives, makes new friends, and learns interesting things. Unfortunately her new scout troop has rivals, and she must work to become the best star scout ever.

I did not like this book. My main problem is that the writing is too immature. It tries very little to be creative, and relies way too much on cliche and immature humor. While there is the occasional joke that I chuckled at, the vast majority of them fall flat. The art is nothing new, with a generic sci-fi aesthetic I've seen before. The character designs are a more mixed bag. Some are good, some are bad. The human designs are the worst offenders. The faces look more alien than the aliens. Another problem was layout and flow. Some of the panels were hard to read since they were poorly laid out, causing me to loose track of where I was. Over all it was pretty poor. The occasional witty joke and the little details in the backgrounds are what saves it from a very low score.

TLDR: 4/10

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Creeps

The Creeps

By Fran Krause

Published by 10 Speed Press

It's the spookiest month of the year, so what better then a book about fear. The Creeps is a series of short vignettes about fear, and includes the supernatural, the classic phobias, and more then a few urban legends. Breaking up the one page fears are a few longer stories about more specific events, that are more abstract in their creepiness.

I quite enjoyed this book. The Art was simple, but I love watercolor illustrations. I understand many of the fears presented in the book, and I do share a few of them. I do wish that there was more of the longer form vignettes principled throughout. I thought that they were the best part of the book, and wish there were more.

TLDR: 7/10

Friday, October 13, 2017

Mighty Jack and the Goblin King

Mighty Jack and the Goblin King

By Ben Hatke

Published by First Second

This is a sequel. The review for the first book can be found here. This book picks up right where the last one ended, with our two main characters having followed the beast that took Jack's sister through a magic portal. There, they find themselves in a world which was once used as a bridge between dimensions, but now is overrun by giants who intend to keep it sealed off from the rest of the universe. Under the castle lives a community of goblins, who used to rule the dimension before the giants ruined everything, and they want revenge. Our heroes must find away to defeat the giants before Jack's sister is sacrificed by the giants to insure their continued reign,

This book suffers from some of the strengths and problems the first book suffered from. The characters are all likable and have good chemistry. The art is good, with a good mix of medieval and more industrial. I like the goblins and their society, and would have loved for there to have been more there then their was. The problem is there isn't enough. I would have loved more of the goblins, a grander world to explore, a more interesting villain with an actual motivation besides raw power over something pretty insignificant. It does put it's pieces together well, but I would have liked more, and I'm excited to see where Hatke goes with these stories.

7/10

Friday, October 6, 2017

Wires and Nerve

Wires and Nerve

By Marissa Meyer

Published By Feiwel and Friends

I'm going to start this review with a disclaimer. I have not read the Lunar Chronicles series, and thus have had to start with this book. Now, on with the review. Wires and Nerve stars a menagerie of characters, but mainly stars Iko, an sentient android from the moon, tasked with hunting down the remnants of an army of mutant wolf-men; a leftover from the Earth-Moon wars. During her struggle, she finds these ex-soldiers have reorganized, and have been committing atrocities all over earth, in a bid for revenge. While this is happening, political struggles on the moon are boiling over, and may threaten Iko's friends. 

I was confused at first, since I was missing context from the previous books, and the book did try to filling some of the gaps, but did a bad job at it. At first I didn't really know any of the characters, and none of them made much of an impact, though some of them did eventually grow on me a bit. The art was okay. Nothing I haven't seen before, but it does the job well enough. The story was interesting, but it didn't really grab me very well. While I was reading it, I was thinking about how the story before the book would be more interesting to read. This book is okay, and that's really it.

T:DR: 6/10

Friday, September 29, 2017

Dept. H

Dept. H

By Matt and Sharlene Kindt

Published by Dark Horse Comics

Dept. H is a futuristic murder mystery set in a deep sea research base known as Department H. The main character Mia is sent in, after her father was killed in an "accident," due to the people on the surface suspecting a mole, and sending her to investigate. As a scientist and close friend to many of the people down there, she might figure out what happened. Deep beneath the waves, Mia must face disappearances, sabotage, attempted murder, and the constant pressure caused by the miles of water on top of her, while dealing with her own internal demons.

I had issues with the book. I thought that the writing was clunky and bizarre, without a good sense of flow. Way too many bad things happened too fast, leaving me without the time to catch my breath. The story also has a bad habit of telling rather then showing. Often, critical details that could have been shown in flashbacks or through the drawings are instead written out in thought bubbles that don't add very much to the story. The art is bizarre, combining a more sketchy style with watercolor, which sometimes works, but the character designs seem off. The faces often look blurry, without detailed eyes. The backgrounds and sea creatures are very pretty and good to look at, but over all it isn't the best. My main problem with this murder mystery is I couldn't figure out who the killer was. This is partly because the book leaves itself open ended, but again, that is no excuse for lazy writing. There are also a bunch of story threads that don't fit in the story, and merely break the flow.

TL;DR: 5/10