Thursday, September 20, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: Proxima Five, Missouri Vaun


I requested this book on NetGalley because I really like sci-fi and, honestly, it reminded me a bit of the premise for The 100 (which I think has wasted a lot of its potential). This was my first Vaun book, and I'd probably read more in the future.

The premise is that Leah crash-lands on a planet called Proxima B after decades in cryogenic suspension. Her ship was one of ten, and it's the planet they were aiming for. Unfortunately, none of the rest of her crew survived and Proxima B isn't quite as uninhabited as she'd expected. Keegan, a military commander, finds Leah out in the desert and rescues her by taking her back to Hadyn City, where they get caught up in political struggles as well as their growing feelings for one another.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: Gnarled Hollow, Charlotte Greene

 ★★ 1/2

English professor Dr. Emily Murray recently lost her position due to university cutbacks. Depressed, she accepts a timely job offer to live in New England for the summer at a house called Gnarled Hollow, which was the home of the reclusive writer Margot Lewis, one of Emily's subjects of research. She shares the house with Jim, another English professor; Mark, an architect; June, an art historian; and Chris, a landscape historian (or something like that). But they soon realize not all is as it seems.

Unfortunately, I thought I would like this a lot more than I actually did. I'd seen good buzz and was excited for a creepy ghost story. I think my underwhelmed reaction comes down to not really connecting with the writing style and not getting a good sense of the characters. I found the writing to be relatively simple and unexciting.

Friday, September 7, 2018

FANTASY FRIDAY: Monstress by Marjorie Liu, art by Sana Takeda

In honor of volume three coming out next week (eep! I'm excited!), today's Fantasy Friday is about Monstress, a comic-book series written by Marjorie Liu and illustrated by Sana Takeda. Here's the official synopsis:
Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900's Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steam punk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both and make them the target of both human and otherworldly powers. 
Sounds awesome, right? Because it is! Maika is one of those protagonists I can't help but love--a little bit damaged, a lot of secrets and mysteries in her past, and a hell of an attitude. She accidentally picks up two sidekicks--Kippa, a fox arcanic girl, and Master Ren, a smart-ass cat nekomancer with two tails. I tend to love misfit characters who find unexpected companionship anyway, but their dynamics as a group are delightful. Not to mention there are a ton of female characters, good and bad and everywhere in between. In fantasy, that's especially refreshing, and it's a big reason I always love revisiting this world.

Beyond the story, one of the major draws of this series is Takeda's art. It's insanely detailed and gorgeous. I can't say that enough. I lack the proper vocabulary to talk about visual art in more depth, but I think my Goodreads review of volume two sums it up well: "I want to drown in the art. Or paper my bedroom with it."

However, the series is apparently an acquired taste. Everyone I try to recommend it to comes back to me with the complaint that it's confusing. And it is. I've read the first volume multiple times, and I still have to stop and ask myself, "Wait. Who are these people? What is that again?" You've got humans and arcanics (half-human and half-ancient, a powerful race blessed by the lunar goddess) and all the different factions and viewpoints they represent. Sometimes it's difficult to keep everything straight, especially since Liu drops you into a new world without much of a guidebook.

This has been my favorite comic series for a while now, and I'm very excited to read the third volume. I have the issues and have read the first two or three in the volume, but I prefer reading it in one big chunk. If you're looking to jump into it, volume one is only $6.15 on kindle right now. It's a steal!

What other fantasy comics would you recommend?