Throwback Thursday – The Forgotten Beasts of Eld

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld
By: Patricia McKillip
Website: http://www.patriciamckillip.com/
Release Date: September 17, 2017
Publisher: Tachyon Publications
Award: World Fantasy Award for Best Novel (1975); Mythopoeic Fantasy Award Nominee (1975)
Received From: Publisher
(All reviews are our own, honest opinions.)
Rating:


Patricia McKillip’s novel The Forgotten Beasts of Eld was republished by Tachyon Publications. This World Fantasy Award winning novel is a true treasure, a book that is most definitely worth reading.

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld is a standalone fantasy novel by Patricia McKillip. Sybel is a wizard, the latest in a long line of powerful wizards. She lives atop Eld Mountain, constantly calling the powerful and mystical creatures of long lost stories to her doorstep. Sybel is completely disinterested in the world of men, but that world comes knocking on her door in the form of an infant – a cousin whose mother is dead and whose kingly father, if he is truly the father at all, is apt to kill him. Slowly, Sybel is introduced to the world below, to love, to revenge, and more power than even she thought possible.

Review – Lumberjanes Vol. 1

Lumberjanes Vol. 1
By: Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Faith Hicks, Brooke A. Allen
Release Date: April 7, 2015
Publisher: BOOM! Box
Series: Lumberjanes
Award: Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards for Best New Series & Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17)(2015); Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Graphic Novels & Comics (2015)
Rating:


I’d recently heard some very good things about Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Faith Hicks, and Brooke Allen. When I found copies available in my local library I immediately delved in. This is a fun fantasy/mystery series that follows a group of girls at a Lumberjane sleepaway camp. The forest they’re camping in holds secrets, though, and seems to be filled with magical creatures. The story follows these girls as they go on various adventures and try to solve the mysteries of the woods.

Review – The Ancient Magus’ Bride, Vol. 1 by Kore Yamazaki

The Ancient Magus' Bride, Vol. 1
By: Kore Yamazaki
Website: http://haiiroattachment.blog.fc2.com/
Release Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: Seven Seas
Series: The Ancient Magus' Bride
Rating:


I am very late to the party on this one. Usually I keep up with each season’s anime releases, but alas, I’ve fallen behind. But a new anime usually means amazon discounts on its corresponding manga, so I picked up the first volume of The Ancient Magus’ Bride by Kore Yamazaki.

Chise Hatori is the main character, a Japanese girl who was orphaned at a young age. She has long since gave up on everything, entering the realms of magical beings and was previously sold into slavery. When she is purchased at auction by an ancient, inhuman magus, Elias Ainsworth, Chise is given a new lease on life. Suddenly she finds herself freed and apprenticed to a mage. Now she has the ability to move forward – to learn about magic, her potential, and to heal.

Review – Zodiac War by NisiOisin

Zodiac War
By: NisiOisin
Release Date: October 10, 2017
Publisher: VIZ Media
Rating:


I can’t believe I’ve never read a book by NisiOisin before. Not only that, I’ve only just started watching Bakemonogatari. Finally I can say that I’ve read something by this author! I happened to come across an absolutely beautiful copy of Zodiac War by NisiOisin in my local bookstore not too long ago and immediately picked up a copy.

This book is about the Zodiac War, a battle that occurs every twelve years between fighters which represent each of the twelve zodiacs. What you see is pretty much what you get here. The story opens with the introduction of this year’s Zodiac War by the overseer of the event before following each of the combatants as they utilize everything they possibly can in order to secure victory.

Review – Winnebago Graveyard by Steve Niles and Alison Sampson

Winnebago Graveyard
By: Steve Niles; Alison Sampson
Release Date: November
Publisher: Image Comics
Received From: Publisher
(All reviews are our own, honest opinions.)
Rating:


Winnebago Graveyard is the story of a young family on a summer road trip. When they come across a fair, they stop for the day, intent on fun and absolutely no cell phones. As the day winds down and they’re set to go home, they find their Winnebago is missing, presumably stolen. When the fair’s employees are unwilling to help, they walk on to the next town. But the sheriff here is completely disinterested in their problems. The whole place feels off, wrong. Strangers aren’t welcome here, and soon a missing Winnebago will be the least of this family’s problems.

Review – Humanity’s Hope by Pembroke Sinclair

Humanity's Hope
By: Pembroke Sinclair
Website: http://pembrokesinclair.blogspot.com/
Release Date: July 21, 2017
Publisher: Stitched Smile Publication
Received From: Publisher
(All reviews are our own, honest opinions.)
Rating:


I’m not sure if things one genuinely enjoys should be called guilty pleasures, but zombie novels would definitely that category for me. I’m always up for a good zombie story. Well, I was offered the chance to read Humanity’s Hope by Pembroke Sinclair, which is, you guessed it, a zombie novel. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Caleb is a teenager just trying to survive in post zombie infested world. It’s safe in the city, or safer than most other places. He has a job, a place to live, and with the help of his psychiatrist is trying to slowly move forward. But there are rumors of experiments done in secret to find a cure for zombie virus, and when a neighbor is killed in an unheard of zombie attack in the city Caleb begins to wonder if there’s any truth to this. Soon he finds himself on the run, apparently immune to the virus. He’s fought zombies before. But humans are stronger and infinitely more clever.

Manga Monday – The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service Omnibus Vol. 1

The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service Omnibus Volume 1
By: Eiji Otsuka; Housui Yamazaki
Release Date: September 8, 2015
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Series: The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service
Rating:


One of my favorite manga genres is quickly becoming the horror genre. I had my eye on The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service Omnibus Volume 1 by Eiji Otsuka and Housui Yamazaki for some time now. This omnibus edition collects volumes 1 to 4 of the manga together in one place, is a monstrous 640 pages long, and is perfect for binge reading. Which is exactly what I did.

This manga features five students and ex students studying to become monks. However, the job market isn’t what it should be and none of them exactly fit in well with the regular 9 to 5. But that’s just with the living. The dead have lingering desires, wishes they want fulfilled, and even in death they’re willing to pay. This follows Kuro Karatsu and four others as they fulfill the last wishes of the deceased clients.

Tome Topple Round 5 Wrap Up!

Let’s talk about how I’m absolutely terrible at reading challenges.

Two weeks ago was the Tome Topple Readathon began. The goal? Read books that were 500 plus pages long. I’ve done this challenge before and had tons of fun with it, but I wasn’t able to get through all of the books on my to read pile. This time I remedied this, or so I thought. I thought I was being conservative with only having three books on my to be read list as opposed to the normal six or seven. Surely, I’d get to all of them, even if I was hosting Thanksgiving for the first time in the middle of the readathon.

Ha!

Turns out I only got to one of these. I finished The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service by Eiji Otasuka and Housui Yamazaki. This was a great manga omnibus, and I’m very happy that I read it. Sadly, this is the only book I got to. There was simply too much prep work for Thanksgiving with the cooking and cleaning. And afterwards.

Hoo boy…

Well, long story short I fell down three stairs, sprained one ankle (it’s fine now) and really messed up the other one. Not sure if it’s a bad sprain or a hairline fracture yet, but I will later today. Anyway, I didn’t get through too much after The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service. Even though I only finished one book I managed to complete two of the readathon’s challenges. I finished both challenge 2 (read a graphic novel) and challenge 3 (read a book in a series). And you know what? I think this manga should count for challenge 5 (read an adult book) too. This isn’t exactly shonen or shojo. It’s definitely meant for a more mature audience.

Maybe next time Tome Topple comes around I won’t be hosting a holiday or forget how to traverse stairs. One can only hope.

A review of The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Serice by Eiji Otasuka and Housui Yamazaki will be posted on Monday, December 4th, so stay tuned to see what I thought!

Throwback Thursday – The Sandman: The Dream Hunters by Neil Gaiman and Yoshitaka Amano

The Sandman: The Dream Hunters
By: Neil Gaiman (writer); Yoshitaka Amano (artist)
Release Date: November 1, 1999; (This Edition) 2000
Publisher: Titan Books Ltd.
Series: The Sandman
Award: Bram Stoker Award for Best Illustrated Narrative (2000); Hugo Award Nominee for Best Related Work (2000); Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards for Best Comics-Related Book (2000)
Rating:


Have you ever heard of The Sandman: The Dream Hunter by Neil Gaiman and Yoshitaka Amano? Yeah, I hadn’t either. I discovered this book tucked away in the graphic novel section of my local library between two volumes of The Sandman graphic novel. The story set within the Sandman universe. This is a novella, though, not a graphic novel. Even better, it’s filled to the brim with one and two page art spreads by none other than Yoshitaka Amano, famed artist for many a Final Fantasy game.

Review – God Country by Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw

God Country
By: Donny Cates; Geoff Shaw
Release Date: August 2, 2017
Publisher: Image Comics
Received From: Publisher
(All reviews are our own, honest opinions.)
Rating:


I am always game for a story about a giant Final Fantasy styled ridiculously oversized sword. Look, I just like them. They look cool. And they look cool in artistic formats like video games and graphic novels. When I found out God Country by Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw was about an older gentleman who finds an enormous sword, I knew I needed to read it.

The story follows Emmett Quinlan, an older man who suffers from Alzheimer’s. His children and the local law enforcement are having an increasingly difficult time handling Emmett’s violent outbursts. When a storm sweeps through his Texas town, leveling his home. But when Emmett emerges from the storm, he is a different man, a man that his son thought was lost to disease. A magic sword has granted him a sound mind and great powers. But the sword belongs to someone else, and they will stop at nothing to get it back.

This was a bit of a roller coaster of a graphic novel for me, and not necessarily due to the plot. The book was one of highs and lows for me. The opening pages of God Country hit hard. The opening scene shows the sherriff of a small town in Texas returning an Alzheimer’s ridden father to his home and son turned caretaker after sneaking out of the house without anyone’s knowledge. The sheriff tries to tell the son that it’s time, that the Alzheimer’s is too advanced, and that they should really consider a nursing home. This scene hit hard, having been in similar situations and discussions with family members. The heartbreak, the questions with no good answers, all of that felt very real. Everyone’s experiences are different, of course, so not everyone who has cared for an Alzheimer’s patient will be able to relate to this scene the same way, but it did add a lot of realism to the story.

However, this hard hitting emotion didn’t quite carry through to the rest of the graphic novel for me. Overall, this is a very action packed story. There’s plenty of fighting scenes. More emotional scenes are also prevalent. But none of them had the same sort of impact that the opening scene managed to convey. Scenes that, for all purposes, were supposed to be gut wrenching never quite left me feeling that way.

There were some interesting questions posed in this graphic novel. Emmett had a real second chance, a chance to say the things he never said or never had a chance to. Yet, nothing changes. He is the same person he always was for better or worse. The relationship with his son doesn’t change very drastically despite the young man trying rather desperately to get Emmett to say something, anything. This brings up some really fascinating questions. Many other stories with similar themes play off of the concepts of things left unfinished or what could be changed if there was a second chance. In a lot of ways, God Country subverts that, with Emmett being very much the same person he was before Alzheimer’s took hold. This is something I haven’t seen a lot, and it was rather interesting to see play out.

I have some mixed feelings about the art, too. The fight scenes were a strong point, with all of the flashiness one would expect when a character fights with a greatly oversized sword. While we don’t see a terrible amount of the Kingdom of Always, this was also rather fascinating, and I dwelled on these images, along with the battle scenes, the most. The characters, however, were entirely unappealing from a visual perspective. I really didn’t like how any of the characters were drawn. Faces looked sort of mushy and lumpy. Noses were pointy and eyes tended to be squinty. Color palates used fit the settings well. Bluish tones were used in Always while Texas had more yellows, browns, and reds, highlighting the grassy landscape.[/parapgraph]

This isn’t a story with a happy ending. Even so, the ending was very satisfying and fitting for the story being told. I won’t say too much more on this due to spoilers, but the story wrapped up extremely satisfactorily.

Despite a good ending, the story was, overall, forgettable. I only read God Country three days prior to sitting down and writing the review, but already details are fuzzing over. I think it’s worth a read. The premise is quite original. I like seeing heroes and main characters that are so out of the norm. Going into this I expected to rate it extremely highly. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite live up to initial expectations. Still, if this sounds even a little interesting to you, I do encourage you to read it.