Friday, June 26, 2009

Preacher: Gone to Texas

Preacher Volume One
(Gone to Texas)
Written by: Garth Ennis
Illustrated By: Steve Dillon
Hardcover: 200 pages
Publisher: Vertigo
Language: English
Marchl 1996, $14.99
Genre: Comic/Graphic Novel

At first glance, the Reverend Jesse Custer doesn't look like anyone special - just another small town minister slowly losing his flock and his faith. But he's about to come fact-to-face with proof that God does indeed exist - and that He's one mean son of a bitch.

In one explosive instant, Jessie's lilfe is changed forever - and he aims to find out why. Together with his trigger-happy ex-lover Tulip and a hard-drinking Irish vampire called Cassidy. Reverend Custer begins a journey that will lead him from the heart of Texas to the bitter soul of New York City and beyond in search of answers from the elusive deity. But those answers are going to be hard-won - especially considering what Heaven has sent to stop them.


+++++++++++++

For years a friend of mine has raved about Preacher and despite how much I enjoyed Garth Ennis’ run with Hellblazer I never managed to pick it up until now. Of course I had high expectations considering where people usually put the Preacher series. In fact a lot of people put it in with the ‘you have to read this’ lists. I certainly like the ideas behind it and anything that might have a snarky, irreverent look at religion is kind of a must read for me.

Preacher follows Jesse Custer, who isn’t exactly the kind of preacher you would expect to meet. Not only has he lost his faith, but he also has a gun toting ex girlfriend and has no problem speaking his mind, even if some may find it blasphemous. But Jesse also has a sense of right and wrong. When the divine creature Genesis (the offspring of an angel and a demon who may have the power to rival God himself, if anyone knew where He was) escapes Heaven and possesses Jesse it not only kills Jesse’s entire congregation but destroys his church.

If Jesse had begun to lose his faith before, he loses it even more when through Genesis’ eyes discovers that God has left Heaven and disappeared. He also discovers that he has been given the power of the Word of God which makes his commands irresistible. So along with Tulip, his ex-girlfriend who has her own past and quirks, and Cassidy a 100 year old Irish vampire he decides to go find God and make him answer for his abandonment.

Meanwhile, Heaven is panicking and they send the Saint of Killers, an immortal and ruthless killing machine whose sole order is to reclaim Genesis at any cost.

Things I loved: I like the controversy. I like the irreverent look at organized religion. Its warped. It’s twisted, but I like it. While this disdain for organized religion is nothing new in Garth Ennis’ work, I think it is important to take everything with a little bit of salt. You will probably be offended at some point whether through the mocking approach to Christianity, the violence which can be a bit over the top or the excessive use of profanity. Was I offended at some point? Yeah. But did I care? Nope.

* Steve Dillon’s artwork was great. It worked with the story and complimented it well.

* I like the characters. I want to know more about them and I want to see how Ennis is going to deal with Jesse being extremely powerful. More than that I want to see how these characters will change over time. How will Genesis change Jesse? Will it? What happens when they do find God? Will it matter? I love that Jesse wants to get back with Tulip that some may find his profanity or viewpoints less than Preacher like, but it is very obvious that he has a distinct sense of right and wrong. Take Cassidy for example. Jess is conflicted about the vampire and I am curious to see how that relationship unfolds.

* Sam Mendes is said to be directing a film version of the series which you have to admit could be interesting and yet somehow I think that things will be so toned down it might ruin it. But you have to enjoy the breakneck pace at which it all runs and personally I dig the gore but then again I am a horror movie junkie so this should be no real surprise.

Things I didn't love so much: Arseface. Yep, that was the one part where I not only rolled my eyes, but was asking myself really? Why?

* While it is not so much a thing I disliked, I found myself a little let down. There was so much hype surrounding the series I expected to be immediately smitten and I wasn’t. It wasn’t a bad first outing and it was enough that I want to pick up the next volume, but I wasn’t blown away. It was no V for Vendetta or Sandman and in truth I found Ennis’ Dangerous Habits with Hellblazer more fun. However, I am interested to see where the series goes and how it ends and will be picking up more.

Buy or Borrow: I am up in the air about this one. Will get back to you on the rest of the series.

Part of: The Preacher Series
Gone to Texas (Volume One)
Until the End of the World (Volume Two)
Proud Americans (Volume Three)
Ancient History (Volume Four)
Dixie Fried (Volume Five)
War in the Sun (Volume Six)
Salvation (Volume Seven)
All Hells A Coming (Volume Eight)
Alamo (Volume Nine)

Also Recommended: Hellblazer: Dangerous Habits by Garth Ennis.

3.25 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks

Have your own review? Let me know and I will post it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hunter's Moon

Hunter’s Moon
Written by: James L White
Illustrated by: Dalibor Talajic & Sebastian Cardoso
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Boom Studios
Language: English
April 2008, $14.99
Genre: Comic/Graphic Novel

Collecting all five issues from the comic book debut of James L. White - writer of the Academy Award-winning film, RAY. Stockbroker Lincoln "Linc" Greer, a divorced dad, is looking forward to a hot date at a remote cabin, but his date cancels and he gets stuck with his son instead. While hunting, his son is kidnapped and a voice at the other end of his cell phone tells Linc to do what he asks - if he ever wants to see his son alive again! Linc soon finds that he's the only African-American man in this small, mostly white, logging community. Isolated and alone, Linc has to face a contentious community and save his son! A blockbuster thriller with sensational art from Dalibor Talajic and Sebastian Cardoso.

+++++++++++++

While the local library doesn’t have a vast catalog of graphic novels, they do have a decent little niche of things I wouldn’t normally pick up off the B&N bookshelves (if said novels were even on the shelf and didn’t have to be ordered). I saw this and thought hey, interesting art and a story by the man who penned Ray, why not?

It begins as a father/son story where Linc is a successful businessman, but disconnected from his only son. He is a man who put his career above his family which may or may not explain why he is divorced. And his son, Wendell, could care less about spending time with dear old dad. What is supposed to be an impromptu hunting holiday turns into something more when Linc’s son is kidnapped and Lincoln is forced to rob a bank in order to get him back.

Things I loved: The story is decent and while bits and pieces seem cookie cutter stereotypes of small town ideology, I sadly know that such towns still exist. The dialogue is realistic and the artwork decent. Even the interactions between father and son work. There is a palpable tension between Linc and Wendell and yet this need to reconnect with family. It’s a nice drama with splashes of suspense and action with a clever twist of an ending.

Things I didn't love so much: As much as the story is engaging there was something that didn’t quite work. It was a bit too rushed for me, too neatly tied up…too clean if such a thing is possible. I think it would have been more interesting to have things turn out not quite so clean.

Buy or Borrow: Borrow.

Part of: Stand Alone

Also Recommended: If you like the crime caper sort of graphic novel/ father and son story you might enjoy Road to Perdition by Max Alan Collins.

Apparently the graphic novel is also being made into a film with Mekhi Phifer (ER) to star as Linc.

3 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks

Have your own review? Let me know and I will post it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fables: Volume 3

Fables Volume 3
(Storybook Love)
Written by: Bill Willingham
Illustrated by: Brian Talbot, Mark Buckingham, Lan Medina and Linda Medley
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Vertigo
Language: English
May 2004, $14.99
Genre: Genre: Comic/Graphic Novel

In the Fables' world, there isn't a lot of happily-ever-after to go around. As refugees from the lands of make-believe, the Fables have been driven from their storybook realms and forced to blend in with our gritty mundane reality.

But that doesn't mean they don't have any room for romance--or the pain, betrayal and jealous rage that go along with it. In fact, love may be blooming between two of the most hard-bitten, no-nonsense Fables around. But are they destined for happiness--or a quick and untimely death?


+++++++++++++

This trade collects issues 11 – 18 of the series that I am quickly beginning to heart big time. I love Fables because it has characters I grew up with as a child and puts them into our own. I have Sleeping Beauty, Prince Charming, Bluebeard, Goldilocks and Bigby Wolf, Snow White and more. How could I not be captivated? Though there is not a single story arc like the first two volumes, we instead get four different tales: two one shots, a continuation of sorts from Animal Farm and a two part caper.

In “Bag o’ Bones” Jack, of giant killing fame, ends up having an adventure that involves a beautiful woman, Death and possibly the Devil. It is no surprise that Jack is a bit of a trickster and the results of hijinks have some fairly humorous and graphic results. It is a short piece, but fun.

The two-part caper "Sharp Operation" & “Dirty Business” involves a reporter contacting Bigby Wolf to alert him that he knows the secrets of Fabletown. Or does he? Actually he thinks that the Fables are immortal vampires. Regardless the man must be stopped. Along with Sleeping Beauty, Boy blue, Jack, Bluebeard and Prince Charming, Bigby has a plan to stop him without killing him. Of course Bluebeard has his own ideas and if you’ve ever thought Bluebeard was a good guy you wont after this volume. This is a good story as well and not only furthers Bluebeard’s character arc, but I love how they used Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty).

The main story “Storybook Love” continues not only Bluebeard’s storyline but is essentially a follow up to Volume 2 “Animal Farm”. This is the longest story in this volume as Bigby and Snow are on the run from a militant and very insane Goldilocks who is keen on finishing the job she started back on the Farm. However, not all of the action is centered on Bigby and Snow in the woods, but back in Fabletown where Prince Charming squares off with Bluebeard and decides to take his future into his own hands. This was one of my favorites. Not only is fairly graphic, but it ties up some ends and creates some great new plot twists as well. I like Snow and Bigby a lot, though their relationship could get fairly interesting from this point on.

The last story is “Barleycorn Bride” where Bigby tells the story of how the Lilliputians found brides their own size because let’s face it there needs to be at least one more woman other than Thumbelina. It’s short and not my favorite, but others many find charm in it.

Things I loved: As I said I really enjoy the subject matter of this series and the imagination behind it all. The stories are funny, entertaining and at times like something out of a slasher flick which of course makes the horror geek all smiley. While not one complete story arc, we do get a lot of development on some prominent players such as Snow, Bigby, Prince Charming and Bluebeard. I like that just as Snow is starting to show some vulnerability, especially when it comes to Bigby, that the unexpected occurs.

* I loved seeing Bigby go all Big Bad Wolf. He’s a great character. In the fairytales Wolf is always the bad guy. And while Bluebeard may have charm and charisma, Bigby is the hero. He may not want to be said hero, but he is one nonetheless.

Things I didn't love so much: It is a bit disjointed, but whenever you do trades you are bound to get some one-shots mixed in with the series arcs. Of the two one shots, I did enjoy Jack’s tale rather than that of Barleycorns which was a bit too meh for me. While the one shots merely tell tales from the world that has been created and feature some lesser known characters sometimes they do end up feeling like filler and that was the Barleycorn tale for me.

* Usually I like the artwork and this volume was a bit hit or miss for me. While I enjoy seeing different artists come in, like Carey’s Lucifer series some of the changes in the way a character looks is sometimes hard to swallow (like Bigby). Or maybe I just like my wolf more gruff and less caveman like.

Buy or Borrow: Borrow if you are new to the Fables verse, but a must have for fans of the series.

Part of: The Fables Series
Legends in Exile (Volume 1)
Animal Farm (Volume 2)
Storybook Love (Volume 3)
March of the Wooden Soldiers (Volume 4)
The Mean Seasons (Volume 5)
Homelands (Volume 6)
Arabian Nights and Days (Volume 7)
Wolves (Volume 8)
Sons of Empire (Volume 9)
The Good Prince (Volume 10)
War and Pieces (Volume 11)
The Dark Ages (Volume 12)

Also Recommended: Jack of Fables also by Willingham or Grimm’s fairytales perhaps. *smile*

3 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks

Have your own review? Let me know and I will post it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Magic Strikes

Magic Strikes
(Kate Daniels Book 3)
Written by: Ilona Andrews
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Ace
Language: English
March 2009, $7.99
Genre: Urban Fantasy

When magic strikes and Atlanta goes to pieces, it’s a job for Kate Daniels…

Drafted to work for the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid, mercenary Kate Daniels has more paranormal problems these days than she knows what to do with. And in Atlanta, where magic comes and goes like the tide, that’s saying a lot.

But when Kate’s werewolf friend Derek is discovered nearly dead, she must confront her greatest challenge yet. As her investigation leads her to the Midnight Games – an invitation-only, no-hold-barred, ultimate preternatural fighting tournament- she and Curran, the Beast Lord, uncover a dark plot that may forever alter the face of Atlanta’s shapeshifting community…


+++++++++++++

This is the third book in the Kate Daniels series, a series where magic and technology come and go in this alterna Atlanta, Georgia. It’s a world where you should probably have a horse standing by when the tech is down and your car becomes a giant paperweight and where a sword comes in handy when guns cease to work. It’s a world where magic is real, vampires aren’t sexy and cuddly, and our heroine’s past may finally be catching up to her. In short, it rocks.

In this outing Kate, mercenary and snarky Knight of the Order of Merciful Aid, finds herself and her hometown still reeling from the backlash from the flare that hit during Magic Burns. Running from one magical emergency to the next keeps you busy, but it can also tire a girl out. Just when she thinks she can finally get a good night’s rest she stumbles onto a crime scene where her former partner Jim, shifter and head of security for the Pack, tells her to mind her own business. When she asks if Curran knows about it, he blows her off even further.

Odd behavior and an odd evening gets even stranger when she has to go and save her werewolf friend Derek from Saiman, whom he was attempting to steal a ticket to the Midnight games, before Saiman can be unpredictable as always and do something Kate will have to kill him for. This leads Kate to the Midnight Games, an illegal tournament where there are no rules and the preternatural community fights and kills for the thrills of the crowd. Maybe she would have left things alone until Derek goes missing and is later found with injuries so extensive that even his shifter abilities may not be able to save him. Now it is personal.

But attending the games and getting revenge poses a problem. Curran, the Beast Master/Pack Leader and Kate’s would be sweetie, forbids any contact with the Games and everyone fears his wrath. Let’s just say it is not a wrath I would like to see anytime soon.

Things I loved: I love Kate and not just because she is snarky. She is a strong woman, but has very relatable doubts and weaknesses. I’ve seen her grow as a character as well. She is opening herself to other people now as scary as that can be sometimes. She protects those she cares about, admits to fear and really doesn’t like being threatened. Yes there may be other kick butt snarktastic heroines out there in the Urban Fantasy verse, but most fall a bit short for me. Some end up being too immature while others seem to have no chinks in the armor and are a bit too unbelievable. It’s a fine line to walk but Andrews does it and does it well. Like Harry Dresden, John Taylor, etc Kate may have an increasing catalogue of wicked skills (especially after this last book, which by the way makes me very very excited to see where this all goes), but she is not invincible. She has weaknesses and they are very real ones.

* The rest of the cast. From loveable Derek (almost wept) to the deliciously grey and enigmatic Saiman (was overjoyed to learn more about him) to Raphael (loved when Kate showed up with him to Julie’s school or his attempts to win Andrea’s heart) and Andrea (I really do heart her)…they are all equally as engaging as Kate or even my delectable Curran. I even liked the new introductions like Dali who is a shapeshifting tiger who is not only legally blind and a vegetarian (yes she eats grass when she shifts. Long story), but extremely funny and I hope she appears again. I love that every character has a role. Every character has development and a delight to read. Even the baddies.

* Speaking of Curran. I loved how things have subtly changed between him and Kate. I am not opposed to romance in my books just as long as it isn’t the chief focus and that the progression of a relationship is realistic. I could go on a rant on how urban fantasy has become to be paranormal romance where romance takes over the plot, but that can be for another time. I like Curran and Kate. They’re verbal banter is as entertaining as the rest of their relationship just as Adam and Mercy are from Patricia Briggs series. More important I like how their relationship has developed. It is not the focal point of the series, but it is there to keep me blissfully happy and I cannot wait to see the sparks continue to fly.

* I love the world that has been created and in this installment we were treated with even more world building. I love that the mythos is open for other cultural interpretations. There are so many possibilities and yet the world that Andrews has created is not confusing. It works.

Things I didn't love so much: There isn’t a whole lot that I can complain about here. The plot is engaging, secrets revealed, earlier plots continued and I laughed, almost cried and sat clamoring for an encore once it was all over. There is a reason why this series is in my top 10 favorite series. The fight scenes are believable, the action a joy to read and envision and the new questions posed making me hungry with anticipation. I cannot wait for the nest installment.

Buy or Borrow: Definitely buy. In fact, if you haven’t read the series, please do…now. While it is not essential to read the first two, it is always better to start at the beginning so you can enjoy the journey so far.

Part of: The Kate Daniels series.
Magic Bites (Book One)
Magic Burns (Book Two)

Also Recommended: The Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs

4 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks

Have your own review? Let me know and I will post it.

Crossing Midnight Volume 2

Crossing Midnight Volume 2
(Map of Midnight)
Written by: Mike Carey
Illustrated by: Jim Fern & Eric Nguyen
Paperback: 168 pages
Publisher: Vertigo
Language: English
February 2008, $14.99
Genre: Genre: Comic/Graphic Novel

Toshi and Kai Hara, twins separated by a few minutes at birth, are drawn separately to Tokyo - Toshi to learn her new duties as Lord Aratsu's servant, and Kai to search for his missing sister.

To Toshi, the city presents a sinister face: attuned to the invisible kingdoms, she sees ghosts and monsters wherever she goes. But when she insults the biggest monster of all - the Gleaner, one of the five faces of death - her fortunes take a definite turn for the worse.

Brother Kai has a different goal in mind, and with the help of Inspector Yamada it seems that he's finally close to picking up Toshi's trail. But his plans are derailed when he's forcibly adopted by Tokyo's teenaged date girls and stumbles across the activities of a supernatural serial killer. Kai and Toshi are walking the same ground, almost at the same time, but they've never been so far apart.


+++++++++++++

I like Mike Carey a lot. This should be of no surprise to anyone and I continue to enjoy this fantasy/horror comic that is set in Japan. Which is bittersweet since the comic was cancelled and there is one more trade to tie it all up. It is doubly a shame since it is in this volume that I feel like the comic started to hit its stride.

In “Map of Midnight” Toshi struggles as Lord Aratsu’s servant. Her memory is gone and she has only her duties to focus on. It is all she knows, cutting unpleasant memories from dreamers and collecting them. She should be wary of Aratsu’s enemies, but Toshi was always the willful and impudent twin and it is this willfulness that gets her into trouble with a power far greater than she expected.

Meanwhile, while trying to find Toshi, Kai finds a group of “telephone club” girls who are being preyed upon by a vengeful spirit. It is a bittersweet story. Not only does it give Carey a chance to state his own opinion of said clubs and the young women that are part of it (there is even a postscript in which he explains and denounces the clubs), but you feel bad for the spirit involved. While it may not have any part to the overall story arc, I liked it.

Things I loved: I really enjoyed Toshi’s training and the tool that she receives, Uso-Tsuki, which looks like a graceful and elegant little pair of scissors but she is a liar and indeed so much more. More than that Toshi clings to the few vague memories she has of her old life. When she grabs the dog and brings him back, you cannot help but feel for her, but Aratsu is more cunning than we ever thought and easily manipulative.

* I also enjoyed the change of art. While I am not a big hater on Jim Fern like some other readers, I will admit that things take on a softer edge especially when dealing with the world of the Kami and the art balances with the story a bit better.

Things I didn't love so much: There is not one thing that I can pointedly point out. As I said while Kai’s story doesn’t wholly balance with the rest of the volume, I cannot help but like it. Though admittedly others may not enjoy it.

Buy or Borrow: Borrow if you are new to Crossing Midnight, but if you’ve read the first volume it is this volume that really gets the story going.

Part of: Crossing Midnight Series
Cut Here (Volume 1)
Map of Midnight (Volume 2)
The Sword in the Soul (Volume 3)

Also Recommended: Lucifer by Mike Carey, Sandman: The Dream Hunters by Neil Gaiman, Little Sister by Kara Dalkey.

3.5 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks

Have your own review? Let me know and I will post it.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Dancing on the Head of a Pin

Going to try something a bit different with the reviews. Please let me know if you like or dislike.

Dancing on the Head of a Pin
(Remy Chandler Series Volume 2)
Written by: Thomas E. Sniegoski
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Roc Trade
Language: English
April 2009, $14.99
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Once he was known as the angel Remiel, but generations ago Boston PI Remy Chandler chose to renounce Heaven and live on Earth, where he found a secure place among us ordinary humans. But now, having lost the love of his life, Remy finds himself turning more and more away from his human friends and his everyday existence. He's begun to seek out dangerous jobs - those that involve the supernatural, those that bring him into contact with his past.

Like his latest case: the theft of a cache of ancient weaponry stolen from a collector who deals in antiquities of a dark and dubious nature. The weapons, Remy knows, were forged aeons ago and imbued with unimaginable power. If they fall into the wrong hands, they could be uses to destroy not only Heaven but also Earth.

And to prevent that, Remy Chandler must decide whether he is willing to lose the last of his own humanity.


+++++++++++++

In this second Remy Chandler novel Remy, aka Remiel of the Seraphim, is still reeling over the loss of his human wife. He struggles every day to hold onto his humanity despite the grief that consumes him. Even Marlowe, his dog, does his own job of keeping Remy connected to the human world. So what it as angel to do? Well work of course.

The book begins with Remy and his friend Francis investigating the selling of angelic organs by a group of the Fallen. When they find the angel being held and hear his last words, Remy feels the need to tell his fellow angels, the Nomads, what happened to their brother. The Nomads are a sect of angels who remained impartial when it came to the war in Heaven with the Morningstar. After the war ended they came to earth to contemplate what they should have done and whose side they should have chosen.

This plot takes a bit of a backseat as Remy is soon hired by an older gentleman who has spent his life collecting antique weapons. But these are no ordinary weapons. They are the Pitiless and their strength and power has no equal. Of course that is only scratching the surface of why they were created and who they were created for. Even worse, why has someone stolen them and what are they going to do with them.

Things I loved: This is a great little ride. Not only do I love that Remy stays to his character in his grief for his wife, but his grief is palpable. It’s the little things he misses and how easy it would be to just resume his divine nature and erase that agony. But he made the decision to be human long ago and he isn’t willing to forget all that he has learned and felt during his time on Earth.

I also like Sniegoski’s picture of Heaven and Hell. Hell isn’t what you think. It is not for human souls, but for those who have betrayed God and followed Lucifer. Essentially it is a prison for the Fallen. More than that, he admits that there are other things out there than Heaven and Hell. In the Menagerie series Sniegoski and Golden also address this. Although two of the main characters are God’s creations (Eve…yep that Eve, and Clay, a golem who is created from God’s hands), throughout the series the Menagerie is dealing with something far greater. There are other Gods, other beings that do not recognize or care for the Gods of Earth. And they are coming. Shades of Lovecraft, but good. I see that in the Remy books and it is clear after the events in this book and the previous one that Sniegoski has big things planned and I cannot wait to see them played out.

Another thing I liked was the expansion of Francis. He is a great character as is Remy’s cop friend. Even the Fallen get character development and some of them end up being far more complex than you would have expected. For example Sniegoski has shown us the rebellious, disaffected angels. But now we also see a war torn, post traumatic stress angel who don’t know what to do when the smoke clears. Expanding the universe, explaining certain things that you may have questioned before was great.

Things I didn't love so much: There really isn’t a lot to complain about. Although sometimes Remy’s angel vs human inner monologues can get a bit repetitive, I get them. And once we discover what Francis does in his apartment, understanding why events seem to center around Boston makes sense. Its kind of like Sunnydale and the Hellmouth.

Buy or Borrow: Definitely buy.

Part of: The Remy Chandler Series.
A Kiss Before the Apocalypse (Book One)
Noah’s Orphans (Mean Streets Anthology novella)
Where Angels Fear to Tread (Book Three – Due April 2010)

Also Recommended: The Menagerie Series by Sniegoski and Christopher Golden beginning with The Nimble Man.

3.75 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks

Mad Hatter over at Mad Hatter's Bookshelf and Review has his own take of Remy's latest outing as well.

Have your own review? Let me know and I will post it.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ex Machina Volume 5

Ex Machina Volume 5
(Smoke Smoke)
Written By: Brian K Vaughan
Hardcover: 120 pages
Publisher: Wildstorm
Language: English
March 2007, $12.99
Genre: Comic/Graphic Novel

The acclaimed series that Entertainment Weekly calls "...compelling entertainment..." heats up as Mayor Hundred faces impossible decisions regarding New York City's controversial drug laws, when a string of brazen home invasions and a shocking suicide threaten to derail the debate. Plus, take a revealing trip into the past with Bradbury, super-hero sidekick turned chief of security to one of the most powerful politicians live.

The bestselling and Eisner Award-winning team of writer Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Pride Of Baghdad) and Tony Harris (Starman) continues their epic political thriller in this fifth collection.


+++++++++++++

I like Ex Machina, that much should be obvious of late with the amount of volumes I am going through. *grin* When I read Volume Four I knew that there were going to be repercussions from the events that took place. I was glad I wasn’t wrong though at the same time this wasn’t an extremely strong volume. It had its moments of course. The home invasion storyline ends disappointingly and does nothing to further the series.

However, I really enjoyed the storyline that involved Hundred’s early days as the Machine. He had nabbed this kid for selling pot only to discover that is stabbed and killed in prison while attempting to break up a fight. His grief stricken mother sets herself ablaze on the steps of City Hall, but what is Hundred supposed to do? What is interesting is the stress causes Hundred to black out, gives him a nosebleed and causes a transformer to explode. Now that could be interesting. I also like how candid Hundred was, admitting that he himself had dabbled in pot smoking. He characterizes it as being honest, something politicians rarely are and of course the media loves it.

While not strictly political, I do heart the politics that are thrown into things. I like the duality of Hundred, how his past and present do make things a bit interesting at times. As much as Hundred wants to be the hero without being the superhero, he has tough decisions to make every day. And Vaughan manages to do it in a fairly realistic way. It’s a great series and while this isn’t the best of the volumes, it is a series I honestly think you should give a try.

2.75 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks

Have your own review? Let me know and I will post it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Mean Streets Anthology

Mean Streets: Anthology
Written By: Jim Butcher, Simon R Green, Kat Richardson, & Thomas E Sniegoski
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Roc Trade
Language: English
January 2009, $14.99
Genre: Fiction/Anthology, Urban Fantasy

They walk the streets no one else can walk, take the jobs no one else will take, and if you've got a problem-and the cash-they can solve it. Of course, if your case involves rabid werewolves, cursed objects, the living dead, malevolent beings from another dimension, or other 'unusual' circumstances, it may cost you a bit extra . . .

Finally, the best paranormal private investigators have been brought together in a single volume boasting all-new novellas by the greatest authors in the genre. And cases don't come any harder than these . . .

New York Times Bestselling Author JIM BUTCHER delivers a story in which Harry Dresden-Chicago's only professional wizard-tries to protect a friend from danger and ends up becoming a target himself.

John Taylor, the best PI in the secret heart of London known as the Nightside, has a rep to uphold-he can find anything. But locating the lost memory of a desperate woman may prove to be his toughest case ever in a in a thrilling noir tale from New York Times Bestselling Author SIMON R. GREEN

National bestselling Author KAT RICHARDSON's Greywalker finds herself in too deep when a 'simple job' in Mexico goes awry on the Day of the Dead, and Harper Blaine is enmeshed in a tangle of dark family secrets and revenge from beyond the grave.

He was known as Noah, an ancient being who lived among us for centuries. Now he is dead, and Boston-based fallen angel-turned-detective Remy Chandler has been hired to find out who-or what-murdered him in a whodunit by National Bestselling Author THOMAS E. SNIEGOSKI


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While anthologies can be hit or miss a lot of the time, I had a feeling I would enjoy this one because it not only features a Harry Dresden novella, but a John Taylor one as well. Add in a recent fave of Remy Chandler and I am set. Sadly I wasn’t wholly impressed with the first Harper Blaine novel I read, but willing to give Kat Richardson another shot. I thoroughly enjoyed these four lovelies.

The Warrior by Jim Butcher
This Harry Dresden story takes place right after Small Favor. Harry’s best friend and former Knight of the Cross, Michael is still recovering from that last tale’s events. Now that he no longer has the ‘protection’ of Amoracchius Harry thinks that Michael and his family may be in danger. So of course our dashing hero has to do something. Its old school snarky inner monologue Harry with enough quips to make a girl like me extremely happy. While not the best entry point for new Harry fans, it is a great story that any fan should read.

The Difference a Day Makes by Simon R Green
Set in the Nightside, a woman from the mundane side of the world comes to the Nightside not only in search of her missing memories, but in search of her missing husband. Along with Deadboy’s help, John does what he does best…finding things, but the client may not like what is found. The Nightside series is another series I really enjoy. I love the world of the John Taylor and Green continues to come up with creatures, characters and new Nightside hotspots to make my imagination soar. However this wasn’t my favorite. It works well as a novella, short and tidy in the end. Then again, none of the Nightside books are epic in length. For me, there was just something missing. It felt too rushed, too many throw away lines, and yet I love the expansion on the Nightside. And I heart Deadboy to pieces. Decent story though.

The Third Death of the Little Clay Dog by Kat Richardson
In this Harper Blaine tale, Harper heads to Mexico after she is requested specifically in a late woman’s will. A woman Harper has never met. Contracted to place a little dog statue on a grave during Dia de los Muertos Harper’s adventure continues to take on a weird little turn, especially when the little dog statue holds a cute little ghost dog. Mix in a pouting emo kid who has his own kind of magic, a couple of twists and turns and you have an enjoyable read. In fact I liked it enough that I may have to give the Harper Blaine series another go. It was funny, entertaining and I want a little ghost dog of my own.

Noah’s Orphans by Thomas E Sniegoski.
Remy Chandler is forced, once again, to confront those from his past; from a time when he was Remiel the angel and not just Remy the PI. Still mourning a tremendous loss Sariel, leader of the fallen Grigori, asks Remy to investigate the murder of Noah (you know the guy that built the really big ship). But not everything is as it seems, it never really is when Heaven and Hell are involved, and the twists and turns are aplenty. I like Sniegoski. Not only has he done the Menagerie series with Christopher Golden, but I enjoyed the first Remy Chandler novel. It factors in religion without being religious and I love the twists on the biblical mythos. In fact this would have made a great second book, though I did just start reading that one as well. It’s a great little story and I heart Marlowe a lot. Somehow I have decided that is how Sage would talk…if she could.

A great little urban fantasy anthology and one I really recommend.

3.75 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks

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