Tuesday, February 21, 2017

2017 Reading Challenge #04 - 07


I realize I've neglected my blog and I'm trying to get caught up. I'm also working on a second blog with my friend, with whom I am reading this year's list, so I'm taking these four entries from that blog and pasting them here. Sadly the act of copying/pasting them from that blog to this makes formatting all wonky, which doesn't make sense as they're both blogger blogs, but whatever. Here they are, and I'm more or less caught up.

Crooked Kingdom
Leigh Bardugo


I think the highest praise I can give Bardugo is the solemn vow that I will champion Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom to every lover of books I come across. I've already begun. I know I'll come back to these books in the future, and I shall explore her other works in this same world (The Grisha Trilogy and an upcoming book of short stories) as well.

Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom introduced me to a world and a group of characters that quickly became new favorites. These two books have burned literary memories into my mind that I shall hold dear and recall fondly in the years to come.

Do yourself a favor: read these two books.


Austin Grossman

This book was a big change from Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom, but not an unwelcome one. The story is told in first-person from the perspectives of Doctor Impossible, villain extraordinaire, and Fatale, a newcomer to the hero scene. It's really interesting to get an inside look at being a supervillain, as well as a new member of an established and storied superhero team.

Of course, I was drawn to Doctor Impossible from the get-go. He is an interesting character, a supervillain who is trying (again) to take over the world. There is something uplifting in his never-say-die attitude, his constant plotting and scheming. Usually, a villain is the reason we have hope, not the cause. It's an important difference. I found myself thinking fondly of Dr. Horrible (if you don't know who that is we can't be friends anymore), and the comparison is a valid one.

I have had my eye on this book since 2009, and I'm so glad I finally got around to reading it. Soon I Will Be Invincible was worth the wait.


Virgina Hamilton

This wonderful collection of creation myths is a book I've had my eye on for a few years now. I rapidly devoured this book, as most of the creation myths are only a page or two, and there are beautiful full-page illustrations throughout. There were a handful of myths I was familiar with, and I think there were only two myths in the entire collection I did not enjoy. Toward the end of the collection, Hamilton presents myths I found very familiar--Greek myths and Judeo-Christian myths. I feel that most readers would be familiar with these tales, so it makes sense to save them for the end of the book, but as I read them I found myself longing for more "original" tales from Africa, from North America, from Russia. Perhaps a second volume of creation myths is necessary; it's one I'd gladly read!


by James Luceno

When I went and saw Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens in theaters, two characters I was excited for were Captain Phasma and General Hux. I left theaters hoping that Episode VIII would give us more of the "Imperial" side of the First Order. It's something I really felt was lacking in the original trilogy. The Empire isn't just Vader and Palpatine, and I feel like the Empire really gets overlooked.

So, Tarkin, a novel delving into the first Grand Moff in the Star Wars canon. Tarkin was an excellent villain in Episode IV, and I was excited to see him in Rogue One. When I learned about this novel I knew it was a must-read. The plot stays safely in its lane within the established canon, developing an anti-Empire scheme that is resolved by the book's conclusion. That's all fine and dandy, but where Tarkin shines is when it goes into Wilhuff's backstory. The reader learns why he is who he is. There is also some excellent backstory/character development for Vader and the Emperor, as well. I really enjoyed this book, if only for the character development of this unholy triumvirate.


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