Review: Killing is My Business by Adam Christopher

9780765379207_c2921 Killing is My Business
By: Adam Christopher
Release Date: July 25, 2017
Publisher: Tor
Series: Ray Electromatic Mysteries
Received From: Publisher
(All reviews are our own, honest opinions.)
Rating:


It may not be immediately obvious from the SFF theme of this blog, but I love a good mystery story. The Ray Electromatic Mysteries by Adam Christopher scratches both itches. Killing is my Business is the second book in this series. It is set in a 1960s noir Los Angeles, features a robot assassin nee private detective, and is more fun than it has any right to be.

What can I say? Robots are cool, damn it, and there should be more stories with them. Or maybe it’s my twelve year old self talking. Either way, I love this concept. I love this series. And more people should be talking about it.

Review: Overlord, Vol. 4: The Lizardmen Heroes by Kugane Maruyama

31934027 Overlord, Vol. 4: The Lizardmen Heroes
By: Hajime Kanzaka
Release Date: (Original) July 31, 2013; (English) May 23, 2017
Publisher: Yen On
Series: Overlord #4
Rating:


Moving is hard. We’ve all done it and we’ve all hated it. It’s stressful, it takes up all of your free time, and all of your books get stuck in boxes. Including the brand new, released-two-days-before-moving-day copy of one of your favorite fantasy light novels. But the boxes are finally empty and Overlord, Vol 4 has been read! Overlord, Vol 4: The Lizardmen Heroes by Kugane Maruyama is a high fantasy adventure following characters who, in another story, would probably be bad guys.

Review: Heathen by Natasha Alterici

9781939424198_e455a Heathen
By: Natasha Alterici
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Publisher: Vault Comics
Series: Heathen #1-4
Received From: Publisher
(All reviews are our own, honest opinions.)
Rating:


When I first saw the cover and read the description I knew I had to read this graphic novel. Heathen by Natasha Alterici is a fantasy tale set in Eastern Europe involving the Nordic gods and a female Viking warrior banished from her homeland for kissing another woman.

Okay. I know this is the part where I go into the plot a little bit. But, first thing’s first. Please allow me to gush about the art.

Beren and Luthien by J.R.R. Tolkien (Review)

32708664 Beren and Luthien
By: J.R.R. Tolkien (Edited by Christopher Tolkien)
Release Date: June 1, 2017
Publisher: HarperCollins
Series: Middle Earth Universe
Rating:


Every time I see that a new Tolkien book is being published I get unbelievably excited. I can’t help it. Tolkien’s works were one of the first adult fantasy series I’d ever read, and has remained a life-long love. Beren and Luthien by J.R.R. Tolkien and edited by Christopher Tolkien is the last in a long line of posthumously published works focusing on Middle Earth. This one tells the story of Beren and Luthien, one of the tales found within the Silmarillion.

Review: Afar by Leila del Duca

30796084 Afar
By: Leila del Duca
Release Date: March 29, 2017
Publisher: Image Comics
Received From: Publisher
(All reviews are our own, honest opinions.)
Rating:


I’ve been on a quest this year to read more graphic novels. I was initially attracted to Afar by Leila del Duca by the cover art, then equally intrigued by the synopsis. When I had the opportunity to receive a copy from the publisher, I jumped on it.

And then it took me months to get through.

But first, a quick synopsis.

Afar is about two siblings Boetema and her younger brother Inotu. Their parents have recently left the city looking for work, leaving the two siblings at home with some cash to see them through until they can send more. But Boetema has bigger problems. Every night when she goes to sleep she finds herself trapped in someone else’s body. Inotu, who has a knack for getting into trouble, overhears more than he should and finds himself with enemies he really doesn’t want. The two siblings are forced to work together to solve their problems.

Anyway, on to the rest.

The art was, from what I could tell, quite nice. I can’t necessarily speak to it to a great degree, or at least don’t feel comfortable doing so, and for one important reason. I downloaded this to my kindle, a colorless version, for some unknown reason. Probably because I’m just that used to reading black and white manga. Therefore, I was missing elements of this art wise.

Oops.

I have conflicting feelings on this graphic novel. On the one hand, the concept is interesting, the characters are interesting, and I quite like the fantasy setting. On the other hand, I’m not sure the concept really paid off, the world wasn’t as fleshed out as it could have been, and the ending was abrupt and unsatisfactory.

The story is set in a nonwestern society. The world itself seems to be set somewhere between a fantasy far past and a science fictional futuristic world, but one where most of the tech was lost or forgotten for some reason. This hints at an interesting past, a world that has a lot of potential. However, this was never really explored in depth. There simply wasn’t any time to, but it is something I would love to see in future installments.

On that note, I’m not positive there are going to be any future installments. I haven’t heard anything about a volume two despite the story being set up rather well for another volume. This graphic novel ends with Inotu writing in his diary and saying that he’ll start again tomorrow in a new notebook since that one is full. I thought this was a very cute and clever way to end volume one and go on to volume two. The only problem is that it looks like there is no volume two, or else there won’t be for quite some time.

If this is a standalone graphic novel there are some issues that can’t be ignored. The plot about Boetema’s parents going off to find work is left hanging. The children have moved on out of necessity, their parents are far away trying to eek out a living and set up a better life for them. Nothing here is resolved. The plotline about the man who, at the start of the novel, threatens Inotu is left off equally unsatisfactory.

I felt much the same way about Boetema’s abilities. The concept is still interesting. When she sleeps, Beotema finds herself in someone else’s body, living their life. The first few times this occurred, I quite liked it. The sections were shorter, featuring all manner of interesting peoples, creatures, and places. However, I began to enjoy these sections less as the story went on. I wasn’t very invested in the ongoing plotline involving the one young woman whose consciousness Boetema continually inhabits. I’m not sure why, but every time one of those sections occurred I found myself wishing that we’d just go back to the plot. Maybe it was because the two parts felt so disconnected. No matter what happened, I just felt that the occurrences in her dreams had no real effect on the majority of the plot line.

What I did like was the way in which the two siblings were portrayed. Their relationship was both wonderful and believable. Despite loving one another, both keep their secrets. These secrets have clear effects on one another. Unlike some other stories I’m not going to mention, they both actually talk about these and clear the air between them. I really liked this. I liked how they relied on one another and clearly cared for each other.

Despite having an interesting concept and some elements I greatly enjoyed, I had to give Afar only three stars. Too many plot lines were left unfinished. Too many questions were never answered. This is quite a shame, because I still think that the potential is there. If a sequel or second volume comes along at some point my opinion and rating may change. But, as this seems to be only a single volume graphic novel, I simply can’t overlook or forgive these issues. If you like stories set in non-European societies or realistic examples of sibling relationships then you should pick up a copy of this graphic novel. If you don’t like plot lines that are left lose this may not be the book for you.

Review: your name. by Matoko Shinkai

9780316471862_e2880 your name.
By: Matoko Shinkai
Website: http://shinkaimakoto.jp/
Release Date: (Original Japanese) June 18 2016; (English Translation) May 23, 2017
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating:


I almost always read the book before I watch the movie. In this case it happened purely on accident. I wound up picking up a copy of your name. by Makoto Shinkai from Barnes and Noble during a buy two get one free sale.

(Upcoming Release!) Review: Urban Enemies edited by Joseph Nassise

32920270 Urban Enemies
By: (Editor) Joseph Nassise
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Publisher: Gallery Books
Received From: Publisher
(All reviews are our own, honest opinions.)
Rating:


Villains are intriguing characters. I’ve always liked a well fleshed out villain, one that’s a little more than evil cackling and petting cats. Urban Enemies, edited by Joseph Nassise and released August 1, 2017, is a book that definitely scratches that itch.

(New Release!) Review: Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn

9780544947306_5803a Bannerless
By: Carrie Vaughn
Release Date: July 11, 2017
Publisher: John Joseph Adams/Marnier Books
Series: Bannerless #1
Received From: Publisher
(All reviews are our own, honest opinions.)
Rating:


Earlier this week we saw the release of Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn. This is a murder mystery set within the framework of a post-apocalyptic world where every day it takes everything just to survive.

Review: Seven to Eternity, Vol. 1: The God of Whispers

32469657 Seven to Eternity, Vol. 1: The God of Whispers
By: Rick Remender (Writer); Jerome Opeña (Artist); Matt Hollingsworth (Colourist); Rus Wooton (Letterer)
Release Date: February 15, 2017
Publisher: Image Comics
Series: Seven to Eternity #1
Rating:


I picked up a couple of graphic novels while at Book Con earlier this month. While I’m a huge fan of manga, american graphic novels aren’t something I read or own a lot of.  One of these was Seven to Eternity, Vol 1: The God of Whispers. This, unlike Saga, was one I’d not heard of prior to picking it up. The art caught my eye as I was flipping through, the creator’s names were vaguely familiar, and it seemed like it was set in some sort of fantasy world. So I purchased the first volume, brought it home, and finally got around to picking it up.

New Release!: Revolutionary Girl Utena Vol. 1

30983494 Revolutionary Girl Utena Vol. 1
By: Chiho Saito
Release Date: March 23, 2017
Publisher: VIZ Media; Shojo Beat
Series: Revolutionary Girl Utena #1
Rating:


Sometimes there’s a book I just need. The gorgeous boxed set of Revolutionary Girl Utena was exactly that. I’ll be honest. I’m low-key obsessed with the anime of the same name. I watch it from start to finish a few times a year. Despite this, I never read the manga. Well, now’s my chance! This is the first volume in a two volume boxed set by Be-Papas, the creative collective behind Revolutionary Girl Utena, and Chiho Saito, the mangaka.

And who can resist a beautiful hardcover edition of a manga?