Supernatural Sherlock

Jackaby by William Ritter

I have to say, I’ve been on a quite a roll as far as excellent reading material is concerned.  I don’t mean to brag (well, I can’t because someone’s pressured me into reading the last couple books) but seriously, I’m on fire.

Jackaby is the story of a young woman named Abigail Rook who arrives in New England in 1892 after running away from her British parents, blowing all her tuition money on an archaeological dig that didn’t pan out and heading to America because she has nowhere else to go. When she arrives in Fiddleham, she has little more than the clothes on her back so she starts looking for work. And as luck and few unusual events would have there’s only one person in who’s hiring: Jackaby, a private detective who solves crimes of an unusual and magical nature. Finally Abigail has found the adventure she’s always dreamed of. But will she survive it?

I don’t mean to spoil it, but there’s a second one, so yeah, she’s probably gonna get through it.

This book, which is good reading for probably kids about 11 to maybe 15, although obviously there’s wiggle room depending on reading skills and comfort with gross, gory things, is a great read. Quick paced, driven and funny, the supporting non humans are interesting, sympathetic and rooted in some interesting mythology.

But of course, it’s the heroes who really make the story. Abigail is a great heroine, stubborn and interesting with enough personality to drive the story, not just be caught up in it and Jackaby is a Benedict Cumberbatch-esque character. Brilliant, driven, perceptive, smart and also completely unaware of the thoughts, feelings and motivations of others. His lack of awareness is funny and allows for Abigail to prove her worth, and possibly the worth of everyone who is unremarkable in many senses, but smart and kind and courageous as she navigates with world Jackaby is barely aware of: the human one.

Overall, all I can say is this book is wonderful. Dark, grim and a little bloody, but for a reader who can handle and or love that, a fun ride all the way through.

Last movie I watched.

Inside Out. I have too many feelings.

Last TV episode I watched:

Witches of East End. I’m so sad this got canceled. This is a really fun, guilty pleasure, kinda awesome show.

 

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All the amazingness that is Saga

Saga Vol 1 by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples

I don’t know where to start. Well I do, but it’s a high pitched kind of fangirl giggle sort of thing, and that’s really hard to spell.

Saga is a graphic novel/comic book if you’re ambitious enough to follow it in staple bound edition, that is the story of a family. Basically. It’s the journey of Hazel, an omnipotent narrator who is also a character in the story, but is a newborn baby at the time. She’s an amazing child because she’s the daughter of two different races who have always been at war with each other, and who no one believed could reproduce together. Her mother, Alana and her father Marko, fleeing their own governments and bounty hungers,  are willing to run anywhere in the galaxy to find a safe place for their baby.

This book is borderline perfection. The villains are villiany but they’ve all got motivations that you can at least understand, if not all out sympathize with them. The baby’s adult voice is funny and genuine. The love between Alana and Marko is sweet and strong and fierce. The universe is the kind of wonderful mix of the challenging, interesting races and places of science fiction, with the mix of wackiness that only comics can pull off.

Nope, everything about this book is amazing. If you have ever thought about starting graphic novels, this is the one. Start here. You will not regret it.

Seriously. Check it out.

Last movie I watched:

No idea. Don’t remember. It’s been a while.

Last TV show I watched:

A few minutes of Spongebob. But really, there was a baby there and I didn’t watch it that much.

 

The YA dystopian fiction that actually deserves all the hype it’s not getting

Legend by Marie Lu

Okay, some time ago I accidentally listed to Prodigy, the second book in this series, thinking it was the first one. It wasn’t. This one is the first one.

And it was as amazing as I imagined it would be. And I strong recommend everyone goes forth and reads it, in the correct order.

Legend is the story of two teenagers. One is Day, a Robin Hood like rebel, living on the streets and fighting against a government he doesn’t trust. The other is June, the only child in the Republic to ever score perfect on the mandatory government testing and is destined to be a commanding officer in the war against the Colonials. Their paths cross one night through June’s brother Matthias. And while they start out the story on opposite sides, their search for the truth and their quest to protect their loved ones will bring them together.

This book might be riding the wave the Hunger Games started, but in my option is one of the better ones. Unlike some of the others, it’s distances itself by having society divided up through strange, arbitrary rules, going instead  by class (arguably not that different from real life now), doesn’t include the test that determines your life in the book (you know about it because it’s mentioned, but it’s not actually written about) and it doesn’t feature a civil war. Just a regular war. I guess it’s good to mix things up? DO NOT START A CIVIL WAR just to keep things interesting. Also the whole story is narrated from alternating perspectives and not in a cheap Allegiant kind of way, used at the last minute to make the plot possible. It’s also relatively low on extreme violence. June’s soldier training is mostly already established, Day makes an effort not to kill anyone, not even his enemies, so compared to other recent titles in the genre, this ones pretty clean.

The book is quick paced, driven and although it’s a little predictable, Day and June both are both sympathetic and interesting characters and now that I’m all caught up, I’m very excited to read the third one!

Last movie I watched:

Jupiter Ascending. Such an interest idea. So what went so wrong?

Last TV show I watched:

Smallville! Ahh, early Smallville. If Lana says “honesty” or “trust” one more time this episode I’m going to lay down on the floor and cry.

 

Geronimo Stilton doesn’t nail it

Geronimo Stilton: Singing Sensation

This was not Geronimo Stilton at his strongest and no one could be more disappointed then I am. Generally I love Geronimo. Way too much for someone who’s a few years shy of 30 anyway.

This particular one has the trademark fun fonts and Geronimo Stilton’s fumbling, hilarious mishaps but the story was lacking in anything fun or interesting. What you’d imagine to be the story – Geronimo unwillingly entered into a singing contest – is over by the 40th page or so and the rest is Geronimo tracking down some cats who are participating in musical piracy and thwarting them.

I mean, I’m a librarian, I have a healthy respect for copyright law and the pros and cons of the current copyright situation and of course, at the end of the day people should get paid for their arts and talents. But this book was simplistic (literally stolen CDs being burned and sold) and honestly, dull. I’m not sure that anyone, least of all the target audience, is really excited about music pirates. Not musical pirates, because obviously that would be wonderful.

Anyway I’m not going to write off the whole series because of this one but I’m probably not going recommend this one particularly to any kids I run into. Just not that good.

Last movie I watched:

STAR WARS FORCE AWAKENS!!!!!!!! But I can’t talk about it

Last TV episode I watched:

Smallville. Man, I love this show but I had forgotten how lame the first season is

Secret Librarian Fantasy: Rule the World!

Alcatraz and the Shattered Lenses by Brandon Sanderson

The forth in the Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians series, Shattered Lenses sees Alcatraz, the hero of the story so far, frustrated by the war with the Librarians, and unable to help the Kingdom of Mokia as it is attacked by the Librarians. Until he comes up with a genius plan that will either get him killed or save Mokia – run away from the Knights of Crystallia, who have sworn to protect him and will (hopefully) follow him to Mokia, and turn the tide of the war.

It sounds like an awful plan. It pretty much is an awful plan.

These books are smart and they’re funny, and if kids don’t pick them up on their own, they are still great read-a-loud books for parents who want to get a laugh out of their reading experience. I thought they were hilarious. Somewhere there’s footage of me sitting alone on my couch giggling as I read it. They’ve rich in intertextuality, referring to other famous classics as well as drawing attention to tropes, and are full of funny moments where the author connects to the reader. Normally I would never recommending skipping to the last page, EVER but Sanderson makes it worth your while.

And yet, somehow they aren’t popular. At all. Apparently they were dropped by the original publisher, which is why they’re so hard to find, before the series was even finished and Brandon Sanderson had to buy back the rights to his story to find another publisher who would finish the complete series. Now, my sources for this information aren’t the most reliable but it tracks with my own experience. I tried to buy the first one for a fellow evil librarian, only to find that no book stores have it, or are likely to get it. My copy of the first one came from a thrift store.

So mostly, it is just important that as many people as possible read this book. Because I need the fifth one to come out. And after you read it, you’ll need that too. And the more people who need it, the more likely it is that we’ll actually get it.

So go forth, read Alcatraz and love it.

Last movie I watched:

STAR WARS FORCE AWAKENS. AHHHHHH.

That’s all I have to say about that

Last TV episode I watched:

How to Get Away With Murder. Oh it’s good. So good. Very, very good.