Book Review – Batman Heart of Hush by Paul Dini

Title: Batman Heart of Hush

Author: Paul Dini

Illustrator: Dustin Nguyen

Format: Paperback

Published: 2008

 

Hush is a character I had heard of before in the world of Batman but didn’t have a lot of experienced with. Truthfully, I didn’t know much aside from the fact that he was a mad man who did plastic surgery to make himself look exactly like Bruce Wayne. I know that he was an enemy and a nuisance to Batman on many occasions making it look like Bruce is doing something that he really wouldn’t do but at the same time he has been on some level been used to the advantage of the Bat Family, such as during the time when Batman was ‘dead’. In my Red Robin Comics it is Hush who is masquerading as Bruce which helps in some ways make things not overly obvious, but the problem in that particular comic is that he was attempting to fritter away the entirety of the Wayne and Wayne enterprises fortune. Of course this in some ways isn’t a big threat and really Hush didn’t seems like the big time villain that I am sure he is meant to be. Thus I concluded that I needed to read more of Hush and stumbled upon this particular comic.

 

In reading this comic, all I can is ay “woah”. Hush is so much more than I would have ever imagined him to be. He is dark, his is sick, he is twisted, and he is an awesome opponent to the Batman. What I love about this story is it also plays with things with Catwoman and Batman’s feelings for Catwoman and I love it and it is intense . This is certainly not a feel good comic but honestly I don’t exactly red Batman for the feel good concept. He is the Dark Knight for a reason after all! Anyway this was a good read and it has me wanting to read more stories that have Hush as a villain for Batman and thus sitting on my desk is Hush volume 1 and I am looking forward to reading it along with a lot of the other comics books I have piled up to read. In the end I would give this book a 4 out of 5 pages and if you are looking for a fairly stand alone dark comic to read, this is the comic for you.

Book Review – Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

Title: Battle of the Labyrinth

Author: Rick Riordan

Format: Hardback

Published: 2008

 

Today I bring you yet another Percy Jackson book, and to be honest I’m not quite sure what to say about it.  I know that my review of this book is hindered by the fact of how long it took me to read the book.  Of course the time it took me to read this book was not to the discredit to the book.  I just happened to burn myself out on reading.  As you know I post one of these reviews on a weekly basis but it is not easy to always find the time to read a book a week lets I only review comics and really though I do those often enough I like to present something of substance on occasion.  Thus while I remember the story my thoughts and feelings are rather neutral.

 

The story was a decent read as we follow Pert and Annabeth on Annabeth’s quest to find the Daedalus in the Labyrinth to stop Luke’s army from taking over the camp via the Labyrinth.  It is an interesting story in the sense of the adventure the characters go on as while on this mission Grover is on one of his own to find the dead god Pan for if he doesn’t he’s demoted and forbidden to continue to search. The character some across many creatures and foes and while it was packed with adventure and other side issues and quests my one complaint was my lack of knowledge of various mythological creatures.  While they were explained I felt at times that I should know what the creatures were but they were certainly obscure creatures in my mind which in some ways detracted from the story for me.

 

As you progress through the story you are also presented with the strong idea that someone dear to the readers is going to die per the prophecy of Annabeth’s quest.  Yet things are magically worked where none of the characters die and while it is nice not to mourn the loss of a beloved character I sometimes would prefer if the story delivered on a promise rather than go oh look the indicated death was more figurative than literal.  Which annoys me a little.

 

Over all, the book was decent the revelation of Daedalus was good a bit surprising though it was easily and clearly hinted at.  Then the book sets up for the final in the series and I am curious as to how it will turn out considering in a lot of ways everything has been leading up to this story.  As to when I will get to it, I don’t know.  In the end I think I would give this book a 3 out of 5 pages.

 

Book Review – Superior Saturday by Garth Nix

Title: Superior Saturday

Author: Garth Nix

Format: Hardback

Published: 2008

 

I have to say that as I have found myself working my way through the Keys to the Kingdom books once and for all I feel in some ways that I have been on a whirlwind of a journey especially since the latter books, after the dreadfully dull Drowned Wednesday. Superior Saturday I think was a whirlwind in and of itself and is one of the shorter books in the series.  This story picks up pretty much right after Lady Friday.

 

Arthur sets foot on Earth seeing his last actions are completed to suddenly be told that his home and family are going to be blown up by the military and he has less than 10 minutes to get himself and his family into hopeful safety. As a desperate act Arthur uses his key to freeze time before jumping back into the house considering time runs differently there, not to mention issues from the house were quite present and he might be able to use the magic there to save his home.

 

Going back to the house via the fifth key Arthur finds himself in a whole lot of trouble as he is faced with an oncoming wave of nothing set to destroy him. He then used his key to save his life and stop the nothing but it caused him to physically change and become less human and more a denizen which is a result of using magic and having that infused into his body.   As a result Arthur throughout the book suffers from a conflict of character as he finds himself suddenly becoming self entitled to remind himself that he is human and shouldn’t be acting in such a way.

 

Arthur then sets out to find the sixth part of the will and the sixth key and it is one thing after another as he travels throughout the house to get there. It is an interesting story and a rather easy read and as I was reading I remembered something that I had thought of when I had first started to read the books, which is that each trustee that Arthur goes up against is a representation of one of the seven deadly sins. Monday is Sloth, Tuesday is either Greed or Pride, Wednesday is Gluttony, Thursday is Wrath, Friday is either Greed or Lust, Saturday is Envy, leaving Sunday to be either Geed lust or pride which I’m sure we’ll see soon enough and will help me better put a finger on what Tuesday and Friday are as well.

 

There are a few other things that happen in the book such as a side story with leaf and what is happening at Arthur’s home in the secondary realms but there are only a few chapters and not overly worth mentioning save for what happens at the end of the book. I of course won’t spoil the story but I can say that both Arthur in the house and Leaf on earth are left in a type of cliff hanger – something I have not seen any of the other books truly do, which to me adds to the whirlwind effect the book has had for me. Over all I think I would give the book another 3 out of 5 pages, as it was good and it held my attention, but there was nothing to rave about. I am curious as to what the seventh and last book will hold for me.

Book Review – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Book Review – Batman The Killing Joke by Alan Moore

Title: Batman The Killing Joke (Delux Edition)

Author:  Alan Moore

Illustrator: Brian Bolland

Format: Hardback

Published: 2008

Written: 1988

 

The Killing Joke is probably one of the most talked about and acclaimed Batman comics out there. It is highly appraised and turns a lot of people on their heads with what happened in this comic.  I on the other hand am not one of the masses.  It isn’t too often that I am part of the masses (at least I like to think so).  Anyway the Killing Joke is a possible origin story for the Joker.  It tells how the Joker became who he is, while he is acting in the present to try and prove a point, that all it takes is one bad day for a man to go mad.

As the story unfolds we learn that the Joker was a failed comedian trying to do just one job with the mafia to make a tidy wad of money to care for his wife and unborn child.  While this story unfolds we have the Joker having escaped the asylum to buy an amusement part in preparation for his latest and most dastardly plan which is to break Commissioner Gordon and cause him to go mad.

In the process Barbra Gordon who has also been acting as Batgirl unknown to the Commissioner was shot by the joker which is a turning point in her story as this is what leads her to become the Oracle as she becomes paralyzed from  the waist down.  At this point I do wish to apologize for any potential spoilers I may have leaked but really if you had read any later Batman or know a button about the Oracle who appears in a fair number of comics several which I have already reviewed.  You would know that this is what happened to her.  I feel that it is fairly common knowledge.

As the story presses on I find I am a little underwhelmed by the story in some respects, it was good and I kept turning the page with anticipation thinking something more would come but in a lot of ways it never did.  It was a good story don’t get my wrong and it was dark and twisted in some respects but not at the level I was expecting.  My best guess is that I was expecting so much due to the raves I’ve heard about it and so it fell short of my expectations.  In addition I feel that maybe it might have also fallen flat as I have seen and read worse things than what happened in this book, even among Batman related materials.  Don’t get me wrong what the Joker did was terrible and has the potential to break a man but I found it lacking in some way and almost anti-climatic.

Now with all that said, you must take into consideration when this book was published originally which was 1988 and then this would have been incredibly new and an absolute surprise to the readers and probably darker than most of the material that they were used to reading at least when it came to Batman and I can give them that and I cannot argue that this was a good read it just simply fell short of my expectations.   So in the end I am going to have to give the book a 3 out of 5 not because it was that poor and plain but because of my disappointment so to speak.  It is a good read and it was worth my time to read because now I know exactly what happened instead of going “I think this is what happened – from my understanding”.

Book Review – Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Title: Outliers
Author: Malcolm Gladwell
Format: Paperback
Written: 2008
Published: 2009

Outliers is a nonfiction book that examines the people we consider to be outside the range of normal, and the qualities that separated them out. These outliers range from sporting stars and prodigies through to groups, businesses and entire cultures. This examination is done against a background of success and failure, and Gladwell uses surprising case studies to illustrate what he dubs the story of success.

The first section of the book examines individual and small group outliers, and details the journeys that took these people to their enviable positions of heightened ability and results. Key concepts are introduced at a gradual pace, allowing the reader to keep up and easily absorb the information. Some of the early examples are presented as mysteries that the reader has a chance to solve before Gladwell provides an obscure yet obvious solution.

With a strong thesis for success in the individual, the second and final part of the book examines broader cultural outliers and phenomena that can arise due to cultural differences. Moving from the micro to the macro shows the same mechanisms at work, and Gladwell introduces case studies that have used this awareness with impressive results.

The primary goal of the book is to demonstrate that success is not restricted to talented people receiving lucky breaks. While being in the right place at the right time has undoubtedly assisted many famous success stories, the point that Gladwell carefully develops and reiterates is that talent and luck are the result of factors that can be controlled. Being in the right place at the right time is important, but learning how to identify the timing and place is critical. Unless you have a way to capitalise on your opportunities, they will not be realised.

On the down side, this book approximately 300 pages long, so it will give you a really bad headache if you read it in a single sitting. I would strongly advise against reading it before doing a task that requires you to concentrate. It will be very unhelpful if you try to read this book as a way to relax your mind before going to sleep.

Criticisms aside, this book is brilliantly researched, engagingly written, and will challenge you to see the world in a new way. For these reasons, I am giving it 5 out of 5 pages.

Book Review – Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Title: Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Format: Paperback
Written: 2008
Published: 2009

Almost anyone who is anyone has at least heard of the book Hunger Games, or rather the movie at least.  As I have never seen the movie I won’t touch anything to do with it, not to mention this is a book review site rather than a movie review site.  It was a combination of it coming out in movie form and the hype, both good and bad, that caused me to want to read the book.  I knew very little of the plot but the trailer looked good and I had a few friends who liked it, not to mention I wanted to finally understand the references I saw on the internet, so I went out and bought the book seeing as it was cheap at Wal-Mart, and I found that it was difficult to put down.

Hunger Games is a gripping story that pulls you in and gives you a vivid picture of the world (Panem) in which our heroin Katniss lives.  From the start you are given a lot of detail of Panem and Katniss’ life as she and her friend Gale face the Reaping, in which two children from the 12 districts of Panem are chosen to compete in what is known as the Hunger Games – a gruesome battle to survive against the environment and one another, something Katniss is not exactly a stranger to.  She has fought for survival against the environment her whole life, working hard to keep herself and her sister Prim alive.  This is why when her sister is chosen as tribute to participate in the Huger Games Katniss volunteers instead.  It is a rather touching moment and you happen to feel for and understand Katniss as she struggles with everything that is put before her.  She comes across as a very self-sacrificing individual.  One of the many problems with being in the Hunger Games is the boy tribute is a boy named Peeta who was the one person who has ever really been truly kind to her.  She tries to push those feelings of gratitude behind, and look at him as the enemy as she will more than likely need to kill him in the Hunger Games.

As Katniss prepares for the games, she is faced with the particular problem of Peeta claiming that he is in love with her.  This adds a whole other level of issues for Kantiss as she likes Peeta but not in that way, as love is something she has never really considered, not even with Gale her close friend.  Soon after the Games begin, a lot of interesting twists follow in the form of alliances to the rules of the game changing, to many other things, that serve well to keep a reader interested and following the story till the end.

Overall, I would say that the book was a good read and I rather enjoyed it.  Near the end I found it was impossible to put down as Suzanne Collins crafted a gripping story that will in some ways shock and surprise you.  Over all I would give the book a three page rating, it is a book I’d recommend to someone who is looking for something to read but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it is a must read, as so many before me have said.

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