Month: August 2017

Book Review: The System

The System

The System (The Killables #3) by Gemma Malley – Paperback, 357 pages – Published April 10th 2014 by Hodder (first published December 5th 2013)

I finally got round to reading the conclusion to The Killables trilogy!

It’s been quite a long time since I read the first books, so I had forgotten some of the details. But as I read, I started to remember what had happened previously and was able to appreciate the current story.

After escaping the City, Evie, Raffy, Linus and Benjamin are now trapped in a world where everyone is being Watched. People actually made a living off of being Watched by strangers around t

The world, by having people see their daily lives and every thought. But Thomas, the leader of Infotec, isn’t satisfied; he still wants Linus to create the System he had originally thought of.

Frankie is one of the most Watched girls; her boyfriend, Milo, is high-up within Infotec and has really boosted her Watcher numbers. But an anonymous message encourages Frankie to write a blog post about the UK, and Milo suddenly turns pretty hostile. Suddenly Frankie is being thrown in the back of a van, her ID chip removed and given to some random doppelganger now claiming her identity. Frankie isn’t about to go down without a fight, though, and with the help of the anonymous messager, she escapes the Infotec enforcers.

There are a lot of switches between the POV this story is being told by, but after few chapters, the characters start to come together in one story.

A group of people are determined to tell the rest of the world about the UK – which was believed to have been destroyed by the Horrors. But Thomas is not going to let that happen easily – he’s more than happy to dispose of anyone threatening his company.

The future Malley has created is, in my opinion, quite plausible. Vlogs on YouTube are already super popular, and this isn’t that big a step up from that. And the System Thomas wants from Linus is probably not too far-fetched, either.

Frankie and Milo are probably the most important new characters in this book. Frankie was developed pretty well throughout the story, slowly discovering the truth and realising how she had been manipulated by Infotec. She’s not a big fan of Evie when they first meet, though, and I kind of thought Malley emphasised that more than was necessary. Milo also developed a bit, but with more of a sudden switch being flicked later in the book.

This was a good conclusion to the trilogy, and I enjoyed reading it. It maybe tries a bit too hard to be edgy, with swear words being thrown around and things like that. Still, I liked it. I felt a bit of Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies coming through at times, but not enough that it felt samey or anything. 4 stars for the final Killables book.

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Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Batman: The Killing Joke

Batman: The Killing Joke

Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland – Hardcover, Deluxe Edition, 64 pages – Published March 19th 2008 by DC Comics (first published 1988)

I went to London Super Comic Con on Friday and bought a few image books/graphic novels (I can’t wait to read them!) and decided to start taking advantage of my boyfriend’s extensive comic/graphic novel collection. As I’ve been intending to read The Killing Joke for ages now, I decided to start with that.

The edition I read included an introduction by Tim Sales, an afterword by Brian Bolland, and a final scene written and illustrated by Bolland.

This is one of the most famous and successful novels – and I can see why. The story is just fantastic – the Joker tries to prove that anyone can go insane after just one bad day, using Jim Gordon as his example. The colour palettes are so cleverly thought out, giving an eerie, creepy tone to most scenes, while the Joker’s (possible) origin story is mostly black and white with just small details in red.

Batman is obviously included, but is not a massive character in this story. The focus is on the Gordons and the Joker.

I really loved this. The origin story for the Joker that’s included can be taken as true or false – the Joker makes a comment about not actually remembering his past, and liking it to be “multiple choice”. This gives the reader the choice of believing it or not. And the Joker’s ways of putting Jim Gordon through hell are definitely in line with his character.

The Joker always fascinates me, and I would love to read all his stories. But whether you’re a “fan” of his or not, this book is definitely worth the read. 5 stars; an fantastic novel.

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WWW Wednesdays

 

It’s been a very long time since I posted one of these, which means this one will be pretty long… Sorry!

What am I currently reading?

I am reading The Three MusketeersThe SystemApple Tree YardInkheartAdamant and The Earthsea Quartet.

What have I finished recently?

Since it’s been so long since I last posted one of these, I’m going to only list the ten most recently finished books: RipplerThe HeirShade, the Changing Girl Volume #1New Super-Man Volume #1Justice League vs. Suicide SquadGlass SwordBatman Beyond Volume #1DC Essential Graphic Novels 2017Kahayatle and The Monstrous Child.

What am I reading next?

Harley’s Little Black BookSharp Objects and Tales from Earthsea.

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Book Review: Rippler

Rippler

Rippler by Cidney Swanson – eBook, 285 pages – Published March 8th 2013 by Williams Press (first published May 26th 2011)

This book is available for free on Kindle devices and apps over on Amazon, which is where I downloaded it from.

The book begins with Sam “rippling” – become invisible in front of her friends. No one sees it happening (assuming she just fell in the river) except for Will. From here, the two of them form a close bond, and Will tells Sam about the research his sister has been doing into Rippler’s Syndrome.

Researchers studying the Rippler gene have mysteriously died, leaving Sam, Will and his sister Mickie to assume they were murdered. They need to be careful to avoid being found – especially since two of the trio have the gene themselves.

Sam also discovers the truth about her mother’s death when she was young, which has some unexpected links to the murder of the researchers. Mickie becomes more and more fearful for the safety of her little brother, and Sam finds herself afraid of losing Will when Mickie considers moving them away.

The Rippler gene is a fantastic idea, plausible and well thought through. The symptom of the gene – the turning invisible – haven’t been explained particularly well yet, but that may come later in the series.

I did find the writing a little amateurish at times; the phrase “she/he/it was explained” was repeated quite often in place of actually writing the explanation. I’m not sure if this was to avoid lengthy descriptions of things that had already taken place or just to avoid having to write it out in detail, but it was something I noticed often. Also, Swanson tries to avoid repeating names and uses what reminds me a school-child method; describing the person, calling them things like “my mother” or “his big sister” in place of simply writing their name.

There are some aspects of romance, but they have yet to be fully developed. There’s also friendship drama, where Sam’s friend, Gwyn, believes her to be in an abusive relationship. This assumption was possibly a bit too dramatic and far-fetched, but the idea of Sam being torn between Gwyn and Will was good.

I enjoyed reading this book, and am thinking about reading the next novel in the series. However, I definitely did notice where improvements could have been made. 3.5 stars.

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Book Review: The Heir

The Heir

The Heir (The Selection #4) by Kiera Cass – Paperback, 342 pages – Published May 6th 2015 by HarperCollins Children’s Books (first published May 5th 2015)

This is the fourth novel in The Selection series by Kiera Cass. Twenty years after the Selection which led to the marriage of America and Prince Maxon, this book follows their eldest daughter, Eadlyn. As the older twin, she is destined to inherit the throne instead of her brother. She’s been preparing herself for the role since birth, and had every intention of doing so alone. But when the removal of the caste system fails to satisfy the public, it’s clear that a distraction is required. Reluctantly, Eadlyn agrees to take part in a Selection herself – but she’s certain she will not end up with a husband.

Much like her mother, Eadlyn’s attempt to avoid affection towards the candidates is futile; she actually finds herself feeling friendship (or more) to several of the boys she meets. Still, she tries to remain distant – romance was always her brother Ahren’s thing.

The twins are as close as is possible, but Eadlyn finds herself fearing the loss of him. He’s been deeply in love with the French heir for a while, and Eadlyn’s attempt to separate them backfires drastically. And then, on top of everything, their mother falls ill suddenly. Finally, Eadlyn begins to realise the importance of this Selection.

The reluctance to actually engage in the Selection was very similar to America in the first book. Too similar, maybe. And the change of heart followed the same pattern, too. But maybe it won’t end in love this time. (I’ll have to read the next book and find out!)

Eadlyn’s quite a “typical” feminist sort of figure – believing she will be the best queen without any husband around. But Ahren makes a fantastic point, saying she’s able to fall in love and have a beautiful wedding and love fashion and flowers while still being the strong, brave queen she is inside. To me, that’s what feminism is truly about. It was nice to see this view – from a boy, nonetheless – challenging the original view of Eadlyn.

Also, Eadlyn is a very strong, blunt girl most of the time – her way of being strong is, often, being rather rude. And eventually, she actually sees that in herself and realises that maybe she doesn’t have to be that way to be powerful and successful. Her admiration (and jealousy) of Ahren’s girlfriend also confirms this; she’s a petite, gentle girl, but is taken seriously by everyone around her. She is not harsh like Eadlyn, yet she is not taken for granted by anyone. A girl can be beautiful and feminine, yet still be a powerful authoritative figure.

Although it was pretty similar to the first book, I still did enjoy it. And Eadlyn’s attraction to so many suitors means that this could go any way, so I do look forward to finding out who she will end up with – if anyone. This series has always been really enjoyable and easy to read. 4 stars for The Heir.

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Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Shade, the Changing Girl Volume #1: Earth Girl Made Easy

Shade, the Changing Girl Volume #1: Earth Girl Made Easy

Shade, the Changing Girl Volume #1: Earth Girl Made Easy by Cecil Castellucci – eBook, 151 pages – Published July 18th 2017 by DC Entertainment (first published July 4th 2017)

I haven’t read Shade, the Changing Man and didn’t know anything at all about this comic when I read it. I had no clue what to expect, but it was definitely rather interesting.

The first thing I noticed was definitely the colour. The art was amazing, so quirky and expressive. Immediately, I was hooked on this book. The art alone drew me in, and I loved looking at every page.

The plot was also pretty wild. Loma Shade, a strange alien creature, steals the “madness vest” and takes control of the comatose body of Megan Boyer – leaving her ex-boyfriend behind as she ventures to Earth. Everyone believes her to still be Megan, and Shade struggles to fit in and right Megan’s wrongs. But it was only meant to be a bit of fun – not a permanent situation.

Shade eventually confides in a new-found friend about her true identity, but everyone else still thinks she’s just Megan. But Shade is nothing like Megan, and no one has missed the sudden change. But the change is welcome, for the most part – it turns out that Megan wasn’t the nicest girl around.

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Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

There were also some mini stories included at the end, which were really interesting, about some new characters.

It is a very, very strange comic, and I loved the art. But I didn’t really connect with Shade that much, or feel any emotion for or from her. I’ll probably read more at some point, and perhaps then I’ll begin to enjoy it even more. For now, I’m giving it 3.5 stars. I loved the art, and the plot was good, too. I just hope to feel more emotion from Shade.

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Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: New Super-Man Volume #1: Made in China

New Super-Man

New Super-Man (DC Universe Rebirth) Volume #1: Made in China by Gene Luen Yang – eBook, 146 pages – Published June 27th 2017 by DC Entertainment

I finished this novel on the car journey to Wales last week. This comic was on my to-read list, but I didn’t really know much about it. As it was available via NetGalley I decided I might as well request and read it now.

China has begun to see more and more Western-style criminals, one of which Kong Kenan decides to stand up to. Kenan, a teenage bully, soon finds himself in the spotlight – and the focus of Laney Lan. And then suddenly he’s Super-Man. He even gets to work with Wonder-Woman and Bat-Man, making up the Justice League of China, to defend the streets from the masked villains prowling them.

But when he finds out the identity and origin of a certain group of these villains, Kenan finds himself straddling the line between good and bad. Which side will he choose?

Kenan is a bully, and so he has the crappy, douchey attitude of one. But I found him too much of an idiot, too rude and stubborn and just annoying. My boyfriend said it kind of makes him more relatable, more human, but I just did not like him. The story is never quite as interesting when you dislike the protagonist.

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Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

The story wasn’t too similar to the original hero’s, which was good, but I’m not all that keen on the whole “Super-Man” title or whatever. The hyphen is more annoying than anything, and I just feel like they could’ve taken the opportunity to be more creative. And there were a fair few similarities to Superman, too, such as him learning to control his powers. Yet, this was still made different – his way of harnessing the powers was very different to Superman’s. I kind of thought the powers would be more similar, as they are meant to be the same, technically, but oh well.

I’m not mad on this comic, but maybe it will improve later on. As for this volume, I’m going to say 3.5 stars. It’s okay, but I’m not all that interested in it.

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Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Justice League vs. Suicide Squad

Justice League vs. Suicide Squad

Justice League vs. Suicide Squad (DC Universe Rebirth) – eBook, 296 pages – Published June 27th 2017 by DC Entertainment (first published June 13th 2017)

I went camping in sunny old Wales last week, which gave me a lot of time for reading. Sadly, I had no internet or phone signal, and so am having to write all the reviews now. First of all is the collection of comics in Justice League vs. Suicide Squad.

While the Squad are busy dealing with Apex and the stolen Quake Pulsar, Batman and the Justice League are hunting them down. They’ve decided it’s too dangerous to have a team of criminals wandering around, and are insistent on taking them down. Amanda Waller isn’t about to let that happen, though!

The League end up imprisoned in Belle Reve, while the original Suicide Squad (Task Force XI) are broken out of prison by Maxwell Lord. With their help, the Heart of Darkness is found, and Eclipso takes hold of the world – including the Justice League.

I always love reading Suicide Squad comics, especially where Harley is prominent – she’s probably my favourite character. And it was really interesting to see how Batman and the League eventually work alongside the Squad. The dialogue between them, the little bits of banter that went on throughout the volume, was great. And the comedic tone of the Suicide Squad comics was present throughout, which I really loved.

pro_reader

Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

And then, just to top it all off, we meet Waller’s kids at the end. I found the ending pretty intriguing, really. It was definitely interesting to see into Waller’s life a bit more, outside of her work.

A really enjoyable novel. Funny and exciting, a strong 4 or even 4.5 stars I think.

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Book Review: Glass Sword

Glass Sword (Red Queen #2)

Glass Sword (Red Queen #2) by Victoria Aveyard – Paperback, 464 pages – Published February 11th 2016 by Orion (first published February 9th 2016)

When I read the first novel in this series, Red Queen, I was absolutely hooked on Aveyard’s writing. So I found the second book, Glass Sword, eager to follow Mare’s story as she fought alongside the Scarlet Guard and bring the newbloods to safety. Although the book is good, it was not as amazing as I had first hoped. Still, I’m really looking forward to reading the next one.

After the battle in the Bowl of Bones, Cal and Mare are on the run. Everyone knows their faces, their stories – the stories Maven and Elara are telling, anyway. Cal, the fallen prince, the murderer of the king and his own father. And Mare, the Lightning Girl, to one who corrupted the prince. And of course, the Scarlet Guard are being hunted.

Farley, Kilorn, Cal, Mare, and Shade steal a jet from the Scarlet Guard’s hidden island, and set out to collect as many people from Julian’s list before Maven finds them. Sadly, they are not always the first ones there. Eventually, they have a small army ready, just in time for meeting Jon – a newblood with vision that stretches farther than any Silver eye’s. He hints at their fate, the action they should take. In three days, they will free both Reds and Silvers from Corros prison.

As always, this war brings death. One death is particularly important, but I won’t ruin it. And one death honestly broke my heart. (I was kinda hoping they would come back throughout the whole of the rest of the book, even though I knew they were dead.) I was so not expecting that death.

The not-relationship between Mare and Cal is continued, and sort of developed. They clearly still care for each other, but try not to let their affections get in their way.

Honestly, I didn’t like Mare that much in this book. She came across as kind of stuck up, often pointing out how she was so “valuable” and “special”. She also became colder and more comfortable with murder, but that would happen to most people in a violent environment like hers. Still, I felt like she lost some of her original charm and personality, and became too harsh and, well, bitchy.

Also, Mare misses Maven (or the person she thought he was, anyway) which is natural. She tries to remind herself that he was never truly like that, and that he was always a monster. But I actually found myself still rooting for him, hoping for him to come out innocent. I just don’t seem to hate him as much as intended.

Despite Mare’s character flaws, the story was still great. The ending has definitely left me wanting more. What will happen now that the truth is out? Now that the imprisoned Silvers are free to tell their stories? I can’t wait to find out. 4 stars.

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Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Batman Beyond Volume #1: Escaping the Grave

Batman Beyond (DC Universe Rebirth) Volume #1: Escaping the Grave

Batman Beyond (DC Universe Rebirth) Volume #1: Escaping the Grave by Dan Jurgens – eBook, 146 pages – Published June 11th 2017 by DC Entertainment

Another story from DC’s Rebirth universe, set several decades from now in Neo-Gotham – or Jokerz Town as it’s been dubbed. There’s a new Batman on the streets and a whole gang of Jokerz. Terry, having been trained by the late Bruce Wayne, is wearing the cape and cowl now. The new clown-crazed criminals need to be dealt with – especially when they kidnap Terry’s old girlfriend, Dana.

Terminal, an old school friend of Dana and now the leader of the Jokerz, has a mad plan in action. It involves the original Joker, who everyone believed to be dead.

There are several big surprises in this novel. It’s a really interesting volume, definitely enticing you to read on. The readers aren’t the only one being surprised, though – every character is dealt their fair share of shock in this story!

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Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

I like what I’ve seen of Terry so far, and his relationship with his little brother. I look forward to learning more about them. And I’m super interested to see what happens after the final plot twist was revealed. This seems like a really interesting comic, and I’m giving this issue 4 stars.

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