December 7, 2015

Recent Reads

142. The Encyclopedia of Early Earth
Book blurb: Before our history began, another now forgotten civilization thrived. The people who roamed Early Earth were much like us: curious, emotional, funny, ambitious, and vulnerable.

If you are fan of myths and fairy tales, I'd highly recommend this lovely graphic novel. The stories are fun, and the art wonderfully folk artsy (is that a word? Is now).

This is the story of a storyteller, his creation, his travels and adventures, and his search for a missing part of his soul. And what is a quest without a love story thrown in? He travels to strange lands with strange customs, and like the traveling bards of old, enthralls all he meets with this stories. While all this is happening on Earth, we also get an inside look into the Birdman god and his dilemmas. 

I'm fascinated by creation stories, and while this collection certainly does not cover stories from all the cultures, it is a delightful read. Rating: 4 stars.

143. Sweet Tooth, Vol. 1: Out of the Deep Woods
I've loved Saga and Ms. Marvel so much that I've broken the promise I made to myself to only start a book when a series is completed. And as expected with those aforementioned graphic novels, I'm now all caught up and wondering if the author is sitting down and writing, or wasting time gallivanting about town. So, you know I made dang sure that this was a completed series before I started on this graphic novel.

This series has been labeled as a cross between Bambi and Cormac McCarthy's The Road. Well, I loved Bambi (though was traumatized), but did not love McCarthy's The Road, so was not sure how I'd feel about this story.

What's it about? A post-apocalptic world, where a pandemic that occured a decade ago resulted in a new breed of human/hybrid children. This is the story of one such child, Gus, who lives in isolation with his father. He has been warned not to ever, ever leave the woods. Well, we know how often kids listen to their parents about such warnings.

This graphic novel is wonderful. The author does a good job of world building, and the art is really good. I was swept along for the ride, and cannot wait to see what happens next. This is the first of six volumes, and I've already requested the rest of the series. I see some binge reading on my horizon.
  Rating: 4 stars.

144. Sweet Tooth, Vol. 2: In Captivity
This volume collects issues 6-11.

This installment gives us Jeppard's back story, fleshes out his character, and puts some of his actions in the previous volume into perspective. Meanwhile, Gus is not in a good place. I cannot say much more without spoilers, but if you have yet to read this graphic novel series, I'd highly recommend it. It makes for perfect Halloween reading. Rating: 4 stars.

145. Station Eleven
Oy veh! This was my book club selection for the month, and if not for that I would have bailed on it fairly early on.

This is yet another example of a "literary" author writing genre fiction, and this book fails on so many levels, I'm not even sure where to start. How can a book be labeled as Sci-fi when there is absolutely no Sci in it? The character development is so flimsy that you can almost see through them. This is a version of a post apocalyptic world I can only attribute to Canadian sensibilities. Oh, don't throw your rocks at me Canada. All I mean is that you are so nice a people that your version of dystopia is what the rest of us might call utopia.

So the basic premise is that a flu wipes out 99% of the world's population. Sounds good right? Well, seems like those left behind might still be alive but had lobotomies in the process! Come on - not a person left alive knew how to work any machines? If I read how gasoline goes bad one more time I was going to hit something. You do not need to be an engineer to figure things out, all you'd have to do is walk into your local library (remember, only people were affected), and, I don't know, oh maybe read a book. And do not get me started on people living in airports for 20 years. And that's another thing. If the time frame was say 500 years later, maybe things might not work, but 20 years later? Puhlease.

So, clearly based all the rave reviews and awards this book received, I am not the right audience for it. My book club was unanimous with a thumbs down rating. Is there nothing I liked? There is some beautiful writing, and that last chapter or two where Arthur's final day is played back is the best writing in the book, and would make a superb short story. Rating: 1 star.

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