19. Trees, Vol. 1: In Shadow
" Ten years since we learned that there is intelligent life in the universe, but that they did not recognize us as intelligent or alive."
I was interested by the premise of this graphic novel series, and that is what drew me in. Ten years ago aliens landed, but these are not aliens like we expect, but tall, solid towers, that look like trees (hence the title), and they do nothing other than excrete waste from time to time. But something seems to be happening ....
While we wait for something interesting to happen with the aliens, we spent time getting to know a few characters in three locations around the globe: China, Italy and the Arctic. The Chinese angle and the exploration of sexuality and gender was the most interesting of the three to me, but there are sections that are rather preachy for my tastes. In Italy, a woman meets a strange man, and then decides to change her life circumstances, while in Svalbard, there are these strange flowers growing around the trees, and scientists are at a loss to figure out what it all means.
While the idea is interesting, I didn't much like the execution of this one. I didn't get sucked into any of the story lines, and I didn't love the art either. Even though I have the second volume in hand, I'm not interested enough to continue with this series. Not for me. Rating: 2 stars.
20. And Then There Were None
I listened to the audiobook, which is well narrated by Dan Stevens.
This was my book club selection for the month, and Agatha Christie does not disappoint. This was first published in 1939, and is as thrilling and wonderful (dare I say even better?) than any of the books in the genre being published today.
This standalone murder mystery with the locked room trope happens on an island. Ten strangers are invited for island vacation, and discovering how the story unfolds is part of what makes this fun, so I'll say no more. Read it. Then watch the 2015 mini-series of the same name. Chillingly delightful. Rating: 4 stars.
21. Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation
I have only read one book by the author to date, and really disliked it. That book, in case you are wondering, is Dawn. It's not that I don't like sci-fi/fantasy, it's that when I read a book I expect to either learn something, or be entertained, so don't get me started on my issues with tentacles in Dawn. That experience did not encourage me to read any more of her books, and it's a shame as so many people think she's one of the sci-fi greats.
When I saw this graphic novel adaptation of one of her more recommended books I decided to dip my toes back into the water. Imagine my delight when I found myself swept away in this tale. The story centers around Dana, a young black woman who suddenly time travels between her home in 1970s California and the pre-Civil War South.
I'm usually annoyed by time travel tales where a woman goes back in time, and happily decides to stay. This book wonderfully and painfully explores the perils of going back those so called halcyon days of old. Some of the themes explored include race, gender, slavery, and ancestry, and I love that the author does not shy away really looking at the multiple facets of these complicated constructs. I also really liked the art style and color used in this one.
I plan to pick up the novel, and will keep my fingers crossed that it works as well in prose form. Rating: 4 stars.