Space Battle Lunchtime Vol 1: Lights Camera Snacktion

30220713 Space Battle Lunchtime Vol 1: Lights Camera Snacktion
By: Natalie Riess
Release Date: 2016
Publisher: Oni Press
Series: Space Battle Lunchtime #1
Received From: Publisher
(All reviews are our own, honest opinions.)
Rating:


Here’s a little known fact. I watch a probably unhealthy amount of cooking shows. Not the ones where they actually show you how to make a dish. Nope. I know I can’t cook without the supervision of my mother, even nearing thirty. (Sorry Mom.) I watch all the cooking competition shows. Because, well, everyone has a not quite so guilty pleasure, right? Space Battle Lunchtime, Vol 1: Lights, Camera, Snacktion! by Natalie Riess is everything I never knew I needed in a graphic novel. It’s fun, it’s cute, it’s in outer space, and it’s a cooking showdown.

Yes, please.

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: 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 – The Tourist by Robert Dickinson

29467314 The Tourist
By: Robert Dickinson
Release Date: October 16, 2016
Publisher: Redhook
Rating:


I’d seen The Tourist by Robert Dickinson at the library several times before I picked it up. I was intrigued. The cover looked generic, the synopsis sounded like a typical thriller novel, and the spine was marked as science fiction. Something didn’t add up to me, and I was very reluctant to say that it was tagged wrongly by the library staff, a lovely group of people who have consistently remained there since I was about nine years old. I stumbled across this on Goodreads more recently and on my last trip to the library I finally picked it up.

(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: The Shootout Solution

25774444 (1) The Shootout Solution
By: Michael R. Underwood
Website: http://michaelrunderwood.com/
Release Date: November 17, 2015
Publisher: Tor.com
Series: Genrenauts (Episode 1)
Rating:


I hadn’t heard of this series at all before I stumbled upon this book at the library. The Shootout Solution, Episode 1 in the Genrenauts series, by Michael R. Underwood is a fantastic novella that combines science fiction and western genres and is just plain fun.

Throwback Thursday: Out of the Silent Planet

102549 Out of the Silent Planet
By: C.S. Lewis
Release Date: (original) 1938; (this edition) March 11, 2003
Publisher: Scribner
Series: Space Trilogy #1
Award: Hugo Award Nominee for Best Novel (Retro 1939) (2014)
Rating:


Nearly everyone has read C.S. Lewis’s iconic series The Chronicles of Narnia. Despite Lewis being a fairly prolific author in his time, I’ve never read anything else by him, living in the delusion that there really wasn’t much more that he’s written, or, perhaps, anything worth reading. Recently, I stumbled upon the first and third books in his science fiction series at a used book sale. Out of the Silent Planet is a short but dense book that is absolutely worth reading.

Review: Saga, Vol. 1

15704307 Saga, Vol 1
By: Brian K. Vaughn (writer); Fiona Staples (artist)
Release Date: October 23, 2012
Publisher: Image Comics
Series: Saga #1
Award: Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story (2013); Harvey Award for Best Continuing or Limited Series (2013); Harvey Award for Best New Series (2013); Harvey Award for Best Single Issue or Story (2013); Harvey Award for Best Writer (2013); Harvey Award for Best Artist (2013); Harvey Award for Best Colorist (2013); Harvey Award Nominee for Best Cover Artist (2013); Will Eisner Comic Industry Award for Best New Series (2013); Will Eisner Comic Industry Award for Best Continuing Series (2013); Will Eisner Comic Industry Award for Best Writer (2013)
Rating:


If you read blogs, follow booktube, or are a fan of graphic novels, chances are pretty good that you’ve heard of Saga, Vol 1 by Brian K. Vaughn. I first heard of the series quite a long time ago, probably near the first volume’s original release date way back in 2012. I debated and debated, and eventually bought something else. But the cover stuck with me even if the plot didn’t. Recently it seems that everyone’s been talking about Saga and, when I saw a copy for sale at Book Con, I finally picked it up.

Review: Letter 44, Vol. 1: Escape Velocity

20906789 Letter 44, Vol. 1
By: Charles Soule
Release Date: July 30, 2014
Publisher: Oni Press
Series: Letter 44 #1
Rating:


I often find myself reading manga. It’s a genre I love. Truth be told, I should read more graphic novels and comics than I currently do. I’ve had Letter 44, Vol. 1: Escape Velocity by Charles Soule on my radar for quite some time and, finally, I picked it up. This is a graphic novel promising political intrigue and alien encounters deep in the asteroid belt. With action both on and off planet this is graphic novel sure to please fans of both thriller-esque political intrigue and fans of standard sci-fi.

Upcoming Release! Lady Mechanika Vol 3: The Lost Boys of West Abbey

9780996603041_f4223 Lady Mechanika Vol. 3: The Lost Boys of West Abbey
By: M. M. Chen; Joe Benitez
Release Date: May 16, 2017
Publisher: Benitez Productions
Series: Lady Mechanika #3
Received From: Publisher
(All reviews are our own, honest opinions.)
Rating:


It wasn’t too long ago that I discovered the Lady Mechanika graphic novel series, and its one I’ve come to look forward to reading each time I find a new volume. When I had the opportunity to read an early copy of Lady Mechanika Vol. 3: The Lost Boys of West Abbey by M.M. Chen and Joe Benitez, I jumped on it.