January 4, 2016

Recent Reads

157. The Screaming Staircase
Book blurb: For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.

I've read this author before, and am a huge fan of the Bartimaeus Trilogy, so decided to try some of his newer work. This one sounded promising and perfect for Halloween week, but I found it boring and after 60 pages decided to quit. This book is targeted for the middle grade/ high school reader, but unlike my beloved Bartimaeus, this one is missing that magical touch. Rating: 1 star(Did Not Finish).

158. Blacksad
Book blurb: Private investigator John Blacksad is up to his feline ears in mystery, digging into the backstories behind murders, child abductions, and nuclear secrets.

This graphic novel collects three stories, and if you are a fan of mystery/crime/noir stories, you'll really like this one too. The stories are multi-layered and complex, and I loved the art. It's not that these are anthropomorphic animals, it's that the authors use animal faces, bodies and expressions to wonderfully highlight the essence and individuality of humans. Also note, that in spite of all the animals, this is one for adults only. Rating: 4 stars.

159. Alex + Ada, Vol. 1
Book blurb: The last thing in the world Alex wanted was an X5, the latest in realistic androids. But after Ada is dropped into his life, he discovers she is more than just a robot. Collects issues #1-5.

I am conflicted about how I feel about this book. I liked the art, the futuristic setting, and the notion that humans are surrounded by robots of various skills and types. What annoyed me is that yet again, the most interesting ideas and concerns surrounding AI are wrapped up in a sex toy. Really guys? Is that really what people (read men) think about regarding bots - how they might have a sex slave who is not only programmed to obey every command, but is sexy with a barbie doll body?

This story has potential though, and I've got the next two books of the trilogy on my nightstand. Keeping fingers crossed. Rating: 3 stars.

160. Alex + Ada, Vol. 2
This volume collects issues #6-10.

As in the first volume, there are interesting themes that could be explored but are not. This almost reads like the sugary sweet romance novels I read as a teen, and I am not pleased with the way the story played out here. Bots that are cute and made of sugar and spice do not interest me, but based on the rave reviews this series gets, there are loads of people who love it. I've got the final volume in hand, but at this point do not have high hopes. Rating: 2 stars.

161. Chew, Vol. 2: International Flavor

This volume collects issues #6-10.

Okay, this volume settles it for me. I was hoping that the plot and characters would be better developed, but disappointingly they were not. There is not enough meat on the bones of what is a fabulous premise for me, so have bailed on the rest of this graphic novel series. I actually had the next four volumes in hand, and have returned them unread to my library. Don't you just hate when that happens? Rating: 2 stars.

162. Alex + Ada, Vol. 3 

Collects issues #11-15

This is the final book in this graphic novel trilogy, and unfortunately my low expectations were met. Old tropes are recycled with no new light or angle shed on them, and I simply did not care what happened. As for the end? Puhlease. Rating: 1 star.

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