It just gets better!

Saga Volume 3 by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Here there be spoilers.

The story of Saga is just getting better, more complicated and more intricate.  Which is pretty amazing. While in the first book all the other stories felt a little like subplots, now it’s hard to tell which story you want to read more. Hazel, still an infant as well as an omnipotent narrator is with her family as they struggle to adjust to life after Marko’s father’s death, and to life as a family in Heist, a reclusive author’s,care. Meanwhile the Will is pursuing them with Gwendolyn, Marko’s ex-fiancee and the slave girl, renamed Sophie but their plans are derailed by damage to their ship. Prince IV and the politics of his world continue, with a weird mix of mechanical-ism and  compassion. And Upsher and Doff are introduced – two journalists on the trail of Alana, Marko and Alana.

I can’t even really talk about all the super epic things that happen in this book because everyone should be reading it and I don’t want to spoil it. So I will write a list.

Three things I loved:

  1. Introduction of well rounded gay characters! Always adds to the reading experience to me.
  2. The illustrations are beautiful. Absolutely stunning. It’s impossible to imagine the story being the same, or even as good without the illustrations.
  3. The touching scene when Slave Girl is sitting with Lying Cat (a blue cat that can tell if someone is lying) and reciting facts about herself. When she says that’s she’s been made dirty by her time in sexual slavery the cat informs her that she is lying. It’s a beautiful scene and so important because of the stigma around sex that often leads to victims blaming themselves, even little girls. Perfect.

I love Saga. I’m looking forward to reading the next one, whenever that will be. If you aren’t, you should be!

Last movie I watched:

Lego Movie. So funny.

Last TV episode I watched:

Unbreakable Kimmy Schimdt. Even funnier.

Advertisements

Fairy tale + detective genre = Fairly Good

Fairest: Of Men and Mice by Marc Andreyko and Shawn McManus

Fables is a graphic novel series that I have not read. I believe Fairest is a spin off series from Fables, and with the exception of Men and Mice, I haven’t read it either. I was just looking for something quickly in the graphic novel section and I grabbed it. Because that’s what I do.

Fairest focuses on the fairy tale princesses in a world that’s a mix of fantasy, gritty detective and modern. Cinderella is on the hunt for Fairy Godmother, whose being targeted by a bunch of half man, half rats. As part of a network of former princesses, Cindy has support from some other ladies, a few former lovers and the creatures from across stories and nursery rhymes.

I think it’s probably a really good story, although without the proper context it was a little hard to follow. The interesting fairy tale tie ins everywhere reminded me of a darker, grimmer, sexier Once Upon a Time.

Unfortunately that’s one of the downsides to it. Like most comics, the women are drawn in an overly sexy way, and seem to be very driven by their sexuality. I don’t really know what I was expecting but it was pretty obvious that, although it’s a graphic novel about women, it’s really written for straight men .

That’s okay I guess. I’m just a little disappointed.

Last movie I watched:

No idea. It was a long time ago.

Last TV episode I watched:

Most of  a Futurama. Which was hilarious.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Space babies, awesome galaxies and everything good in the world

Saga: Volume Two by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples

I’m pretty sure this is one of the best graphic novels I’ve ever read, Batman included, for the intricacy of the plot, the development of characters and the incredibly beautiful and visually interesting images. I’m so torn between tearing through the books frantically, knowing that I’ll have to stop and wait for the publishers to catch up or dragging it out as long as I can, to delay catching up with the series.

It’s the story of Hazel, an incredible baby born from two alien races who have been at war with each other for generations. In this book, Alana, Marco and Marco’s family are fleeing with newborn Hazel. The story flashes back to the love story of Alana and Marco. It also follows the Will, a bounty hunter pursing them and Prince Robot IV, who is also ruthlessly hunting them. But even these characters, who theoretically are bad guys, are pretty good. Complex, and also driven basically by their love for a child, just not Hazel. The whole story is motivated by what adults will do for their children, even if they’re not biological.

There’s nothing about this book I don’t love. It’s amazing. It’s got an incredible narrative drive, lots of humour and complex character development but is also at it’s core a story about love and family. Even if family doesn’t always get along or agree.

I don’t want to spoil too much, since I had to work really hard to avoid spoiling it for myself.

Seriously, I recommend this graphic novel to the highest degree.

Note: there’s a lot of sex in it.

Last movie I watched:

Secret Garden. So cute. Old, but cute.

Last TV show I watched:

Kimmy Schmidt. AMAZING.

My first experience with Kelley Armstrong

Omens by Kelley Armstrong

I met Kelley Armstrong once at the library I was working at. She came to do a book signing. She was really nice but I hadn’t read any of her books.

Now I have. And it was amazing.

Omens is a fantastic book about a wealthy young woman who has everything going for her. Olivia  is engaged to a man who will run for senator in a few years. She doesn’t have to work so she focuses her time on pursuing her interests in Victorian literature and volunteering. But despite it all, she doesn’t feel quite right. Then one day her whole world comes shattering down when she learns that she’s not who she thinks she is – she was adopted at age three and her birth parents are serial killers. Her mom doesn’t know how to deal with it. Her fiancee wants to postpone the wedding. The media is having a field day. Olivia bolts. Betrayed by the people she thinks she can count on she is determined to make it on her own. But it’s harder than it looks and she finds herself in a little town called Cainsville. The people are welcoming, the rent is affordable but something about the place is just a little creepy. There, with the help of a lawyer, Gabriel Walsh from Cainsville who also represented her birth mother, Olivia sets out to find out exactly who parents are and follows the leads to some unlikely places.

This book is really neat. It’s got just a slight hint of supernatural and science fiction in it and it’s pretty unlike any other series I’ve ever read because of it. Armstrong does a great job of mixing a creepy, superstitious tone in with an depressingly feasible science fiction plot and a mystery all in one. Olivia and Gabriel are realistic and cool characters. The supporting cast of Cainsville residents are charming. While most of the story is told in first person, there are some short chapters scattered through the story offer really interesting insights and hints about the story. While I normally don’t like inconsistency in narration, in this book it just teases a little and makes the story very compelling.

Because there are so many potential spoilers and I enjoyed it so much, I’m having a hard time talking about the story. I’m reading the second one now, so I suppose tune in later for a more comprehensive (and spoilers) discussion of this book.

Last movie I watched:

Still probably the Back Up Plan

Last TV episode I watched:

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I can even deal with how funny that show is. Fancy ceiling lamp. Hilarious.

 

 

 

Buffy in Comic Land

Angel & Faith: Daddy Issues by Christopher Gage, Rebekah Isaacs with Chris Samnee and Joss Whedon

Obviously, I love Buffy. And no offense anyone who doesn’t but your life is sad. And for anyone who hasn’t seen it, boy are you in for a treat! But I hadn’t dabbled in the comics frankly because I’d heard a few things that happen in them and I wasn’t too pleased with how my favourite characters sounded like they were turning out. I probably would have gone on through most of my life perfectly content with that, but I came across one, solitary graphic novel in an amazing second hand book store a few Free Comic Book days ago so I decided to give it a go.

Years later.

This book fits in a larger story arch out there somewhere that I haven’t read, so there are a few gaps in my knowledge of the story, but as it’s own book, there’s a lot about it that I really, really liked.

As the title would suggest, the book centers on Angel (the champion, the vampire with a soul, basically doomed to love a Slayer and know that he’s no good for her) and Faith (a Slayer who went very, very rogue for a while but came around to the light side in the end). In the show these two characters were amazing together, although they didn’t spend a lot of time together. Faith was possibly the only good thing about Angel season 4. And the comic does a great job carrying that forward.

Angel and Faith and independently pursuing a monster that drives people insane. Their paths cross and they learn who the mastermind is: Drusilla, a vampire that Angel turned before he had a soul, but not before he drove her insane. She is using a demon to take away people’s pain, but in doing so, takes away who they are.  As the pair try to take down Dru, they  both struggle with their only feelings about fathers. Angel, by turning Drusilla is a kind of father to her and doesn’t know how to take responsibility for that. Faith’s dead beat dad has reappeared and says he wants them to be a family again, but Faith is is having trouble trusting him. Rightly so, as it turns out.

This story is really interesting because it asks a good question – could you give up the things that hurt you most? If you would, how would it change you and would you want it to?

As it turns out, in the context of the whole story, Angel is on a quest to resurrect Giles (MY FAVOURITE CHARACTER, HOW CAN HE BE DEAD?) And Faith joins him on it, leading to an entertaining encounter with his mysterious Aunties. Sadly, that story doesn’t get resolved in this book, but the characters were interesting, funny, sinister and offered a lot of insight into the amazing character that is Giles.

I’m still a little skeptical about some of the things that I’ve heard about Buffy comics but after this read, I’d be totally willing to give them a try.

Last movie I watched:

Might have been the Backup Plan. I can’t remember.

Last TV episode I watched:

A Smallville probably. It’s not a genius show maybe, but it sure is a nice show.

YA vampire Romance that’s still better than Twilight

House of Night: Chosen by Kirsten Cast and P. C. Cast

Alright so I really, really meant to start this series from the beginning but I didn’t. Someone I trusted told me it was the first book. It wasn’t and I realized it and was going to stop. But then I had an inconvenient lunch break and I had nothing else to do so I had to read it.

I regret it because it was great and now the first two books are kind of ruined for me so I don’t get to enjoy their greatness. But I also don’t regret it because it was great.

The story picks up, I assume where the last book left off.  Zoey’s best friend Stevie Rae has died and come back as a… well no one’s quite sure. Everything’s going well with Eric, her fledgling boyfriend other than one thing – she’s imprinted on her former human boyfriend Heath. And suddenly Loren, one of the teachers, is talking about how much he wants her. On top of all that, Zoey knows Neferet, a teacher and high priestess, has something to do with Stevie Rae’s death and she can’t tell anyone – not her boyfriends, not her best friends, not even her family. But there’s one person she might be able to – her worst enemy Aphrodite.

As far as teen paranormal fiction goes, there’s a lot of good stuff in this book. On the teen front there’s a lot of fun and genuine teen experiences, or at least wish fulfillment. Having 3 hot potential boyfriends, one of whom is much older and talks about how you’re the only person who’s ever made him feel that way may not be completely realistic but boyfriend drama, group dynamics, keeping secrets and family tension are all things teens will relate to really well. Unlike a lot of love triangles, or in this case love squares I guess?, it’s really hard to guess which one Zoey really loves and the Casts do a great job of showing what she loves about each of them. Her circle of friends, all of whom are pretty fun and well developed for secondary characters have a great dynamic and realistic response to Zoey keeping secrets from them. Zoey also struggles with her family – her mother and stepfather are slowly severing ties with her, but it’s messy. You know, like a real family.

The paranormal aspect is pretty neat too. The world building is comprehensive and beautiful and I love the focus on Nyx, the goddess of vampires. The rituals, the elements and the process of becoming a vampire are all beautiful, original twists that make a lot more sense then “they sparkle”.

This book also did a good job of seamlessly incorporating characters who could use some representation. Zoey is Aboriginal and details included in her identity without making her into a stereotype. Her friends Damien and Jack are gay but their relationship is more important, which is unusual – they aren’t Jack from Will and Grace, they’re a couple who have separate and overlapping identities. I’m pretty pleased with that.

I’m going to read the whole series, you know, one day when I have time to do nothing but read and happily recommend it in the meantime.

Last TV show I watched:

Unbreakable Kimmy Smitt. LOVE IT.

Last movie I watched:

The Backup Plan. Babies are cute.