Book Review – Captain America: Road to Reborn

Title: Captain America: Road to Reborn

Author: Ed Brubaker

Artist: Various

Format: Paperback

Published: 2009

 

In an attempt to expand my horizons of comics I decided to pick up a Captain America that had the potential to look interesting from the library featuring Captain America or rather Bucky Barns as Captain America on some level.  This comic takes place after the death of Captain America.  It goes through the life and times of Captain America as a lot of people considered their past with him and what he had done.  We get to see this from the perspective of Bucky, and a from a few of his friends and romantic interests.  It was a neat story showing the value and importance of a beloved hero and what sort of impact that he had on other people.

 

Some of the stories were rather interesting such as the last one with the vampires which is a story featuring Bucky and retold by Bucky.  To be honest some of my favorite stories were the Bucky stories.  If the story of the Captain was not being recanted it was those who had survived him and his death dealing with the grief and shock of his death.

 

In the end the tile of the story I think is very apt and fitting as there is a point  where Captain’s survivors make mention of how there might be a way to save him.  The details are not spelled out at all and if one is not careful it can be read as a throw away line and be easily missed in the story.

 

Truth be told this story wasn’t that trilling or spectacular and there was noting that fully stood out for me save for the story that featured the vampires and I feel that is chiefly because vampires and werewolves fascinate me in literature.  So I think over all I would give the story a 3 out of 5 page review saying that it was a good read and it was easy to follow even if you don’t know too much they kind of let you know what has happened before this story for characters to be the way they are.

Book Reivew – A Practical Guide to Vampires by Treval Vorgard

Title: A Practical Guide to Vampires

Author:  Treval Vorgard (this is a pen name)

Illustrator: (22 different Illustrators) directed by Kate Irwin

Format: Hardback

Published: 2009

 

Never thought you would see a regular book review from me?  Thought you were doomed to read reviews of comic books and Manga?  Well dear readers I grant you a small reprieve with an actual book!  It is a small thin book but it was a pleasure to read all the same.  Though this is being presented to you mid November this book was actually picked up by me and read in the middle of October so the season was calling for such a book as this.  Not to mention my brain has been itching to write an idea I have with werewolves and vampires but that is another store for another time – literally.

 

Anyway this book was sitting on the main display at the library and it with another book drew my attention in and I decided to grab this book.  I have done my fair share of research on vampires and werewolves and the various legends and I’ve decided it was high time I look a little deeper.  Now I will tell you right off that this book did not take me much deeper.  Though it is classified as a non fiction book it is more fiction than not.  Though the book had its short comings it was still an amusing read.  At the very least I decided to keep reading it when a friend was asking me to play a game with her.  I am a fiend when it comes to games particularly puzzle games and that was the type of game I was being offered.  (I muliti- tasked and read and played at the same time.)

 

Over all it was a quick read and gave you a glimpse of vampires and what they are like but nothing in particular detail, the drawings were quite nice and really for a children’s book it was quite good.  I will also admit that this book introduced me to some added monsters I did not know about such as the Illithid and I was amused at the vampire games listed in the book.

 

So if you are looking for a light read, want a basic gasp of vampires or have a kid that is intrigued by the creatures of the night this book is the place to go.  It  is easy to read and follow and the side notes from the author who is just as much a character of the book as the fiction and story that is created in this non-fiction format are somewhat amusing.  Over all I would give this book a 3 out of 5.

Book Review – Batman: Battle for the Cowl by Tony S. Daniel

Title:  Batman: Battle for the Cowl

Author:  Tony S. Daniel

Published: 2009

Format: Paperback

 

I will admit that I am reading this particular story arch rather backwards.  I started with Red Robin (which has become my obsession) who was searching for Batman because he didn’t believe he had died.  I have now branched out to read the store of the after math following Batman’s death that precursors Tim’s search for the Dark Knight.

In this story the “bat family” have enlisted and called upon the help of other super heroes to help keep Gotham in lines as it had turned to turmoil since the disappearance of Batman.  As the city and the super heroes try to recoup things continue to spiral downward through the void left by the lack of Batman.  These problems strongly indicate that there is a need for a new man to step up and take the mantle of Batman and stand for what he stood for.

Yet in this story the question remains as who?  The logical response would be for Nightwing aka Dick Grayson the first Robin to take the mantle but he is hesitant and while he hesitates, Tim Drake steps up to don the cowl as there is a need and there is another deranged being who has tried to take on the mantle of Batman but with a rather loose interpretation of Batman’s morals such as killing criminals rather than arresting them and using guns.  The question then sits who is this new poser as Batman, can the super heroes stop this man and keep Gotham in one piece as a gang war breaks out among many other near disastrous moments?

I admit that as I was reading this comic I was constantly turning from one page to the next to the next review pages over and over again taking in the great artwork and the meaning of what was going on.  This was a powerful story that I know I will probably read again.  My biggest complaint and is that there were characters in this story that I am less familiar with such as Squire.  I think it is cool that other super heroes came to help and I love the idea but my knowledge is limited to the world of batman.  There wasn’t major history that I needed and though I may not know anything about Squire I could still follow along with story and it really wasn’t a big problem.

Over all I would give this story a 4 out of 5.

 

BONUS

 

Title: Gotham Gazette

Author: Fabian Nicieza

Published: 2009

Format:  Paperback

 

At the end of Battle for the cowl was a bonus story called Gotham Gazette.  When I hit this particular story I was given pause as the art style and storytelling changed.  Additionally there was a strong focus on several tertiary characters to the Gotham and Batman story so I have very little reference point to work from which made the story rather confusing to me.  I read it any way as a lot of it was some of the after math to what happened in Battle for the Cowl.

 

This story was a lot more difficult to get through save for at the end when the characters I know such as Tim and Dick made an appearance it helped set up a bit for the Red Robin series.  Additionally toward the end the story was also leading to someone figuring out the Bat secret and that to me is an interesting story arch but it didn’t delve far into it leaving me almost hanging.  The story ended well and I understand it ending but it was disappointing for me to get interested in a plot that ends a bit prematurely and is carried on a bit in a different story.

 

Over all, I think I would give this bonus content a low three out of five pages.  It wasn’t bad enough for a two though I found the art style to be a bit odd and drab and the story to be a bit flat but it wasn’t terrible and it did give me some entertainment and helped to set up for the future stories that I have already read.

Book Review – Red Robin: The Grail by Chris Yost and Ramon Bachs

Title:  Red Robin: The Grail

Author/Illustrator:  Chris Yost and Ramon Bachs

Format: Paperback

Publication: 2009

When approaching this comic I admit that I was rather excited.  I have a dear friend who likes to write fan fiction and it was this comic book that inspired her wonderful work, which I am still hounding her to finish.  I will start off by admitting that I sometimes like stories with a darker edge, and this is no doubt a darker story, which I love.

The main premise of this story is that Batman has died and Dick is the new Batman.  Tim believes that Batman is still alive and is looking for proof of that.  This follows Tim’s adventures as Red Robin as he looks for proof that Bruce Wayne is still alive.  As he goes searching he finds himself compromising in ways he never thought he would and is going down an ever slippery slope as he compromises more and more.  In the end he ends up involved with Ra’s Al Goul.  It is a powerful story that makes not be able to do anything but love Tim.

Having read my friend’s story pertaining to this set of comics I was familiar with some character names and what happened in this story but I was not disappointed in the least and I was finding myself sitting on the edge of my seat and wanting to read more.  I certainly felt the emotions that were supposed to be felt at various points in the story and I loved every minute of it.  I am looking forward to getting my hands on the continuation of this story as well as some back issues of other comics that helped to set this story up.  It is easy to say that I have fallen in love with this story arch and I would certainly recommend it to other people.  Really in some ways I feel that this is a decent launching platform into Batman comics so to speak as long as you are okay kind of jumping mid story.  This comic give you a lot of back story and the only thing I felt I was missing was knowing who some characters were as who Stephanie was in her vigilante form and being familiar with the Teen Titans but at the same time I don’t feel that it detracted from the story too much.  Really I would give this comic book a rating of 4 out of 5 pages.

Book Review – Beautiful Creatures by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia

Title: Beautiful Creatures

Author: Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia

Format: Paperback

Written: 2009

Published: 2012

 

After seeing the previews in the movie theater I grew curious about the book.  It took forever to get the book from the library as it seems that several people had the same idea as me to read it because it was coming out as a movie.  My curiosity started with reading an online sample of the book and I was quickly surprised by it.  In the theaters I had been convinced that the book was told from the perspective of the girl, considering that it how stories of this nature seem to be generally told, yet when I opened the book I was surprised to see it being told from the perspective of the boy.  Seeing this I was excited and all the more intrigued to hear a love story from the male perspective, and it started out quite good giving me a very clear picture of the town and life our main character Ethan Wate was living.  I was quickly hooked and turning the next page to read just a little bit more.

 

Sadly that breath of fresh air that excited me turned sour as I was meat with tedious repetition about the town of Gatlin and the life that Ethan lives there.  I don’t know how many times and ways I was reminded that the town of Gatlin was a southern town, very proud of its history and anyone not born of the two was an outsider shunned by all particularly if you are Lena Duchannes the nice of the town’s  ‘Boo Radley’.  This was what majority of the book consisted of, if that point was left alone and made minimally the book would not have been the door stop that it was!  For those who would like to make comparisons, if you are familiar with the thickness of the fifth Harry Potter book, Beautiful Creatures was thicker.  I don’t mind playing with the concept of the town being against Lena, making the romance between Ethan and her difficult but when I have to be reminded of why she’s not accepted and yet Ethan is despite his ‘poor choices’ it gets annoying.  Many of my friends had to unfortunately deal with me complaining about the book being the book that never ends.

 

What also made this book difficult for me was not only the fact of repetition but the inconsistency with chapter.  I know as a writer and an avid reader, some chapters are going to be longer than others but typically in my experience there is some consistency on chapter lengths.  In this book I could read a chapter that is only three pages long and a breeze to get through and the next chapter would be ten pages long.  It jumped and fluctuated in the extreme when it came to chapter lengths.  My other issue with the book is that each chapter wasn’t just named but also dated.  Generally speaking dating a chapter is not a big deal to me, but I have an issue when three quarters of the book is done where each individual day gets its own chapter but at the end a chapter can be labeled something like 12.15 and include the events of the 15th the 24th, 25th and lead me into the New Year.  I also have issues that the authors would make any busy day into one forever long chapter but had no problem making the biggest day of the book be three separate chapters.  I am grateful that they didn’t make the 20 plus pages into one chapter, but I felt if you can break that day up why you couldn’t break the other days up as well.

Outside of the idiosyncrasies the story itself was fair, I wasn’t in love with it and finding it to be as good as the general plot could have made or even the movie previews make it, but it was an okay story to say the least even if it was in some ways fairly predictable.  As a last note, the book Beautiful Creatures is the first in the series and thus in some small way sets up for the next book which leave you feeling that pretty much you’ve got the same story all over again only it is the next year.  Having no intention of reading any more of the books in the series I used Google to find out the rest of the story and it is in some ways rather predictable and not that intriguing playing on various classic tropes which makes me just sigh and almost roll my eyes.  Over all I would give this book a 2 page rating and say don’t waste your time.  I’ve not seen the movie but it looks to be better than the book was so as rare as it is for me to say it, go see the movie instead of reading the book and I’m sure you’ll be more entertained than I was in reading it.

Book Review – The Last Thing I Remember by Andrew Klavan

Title: The Last Thing I Remember

Author:  Andrew Klavan

Format: Hardback

Written: 2009

Published: 2009

I picked up this book on a lark I saw the title and it lured me in, making me wonder what the book was about; I read the synopsis and I was pulled in a little deeper.  I opened the book and it was just the same as the synopsis and I found myself curious, little did I know I would had just grabbed one of the best books I’ve read in a long time!

The book starts off with a young man sitting in a room strapped in, with signs of torment on his body, not knowing how he got there and what happened to lead him there.  The last thing he remembered was doing what almost any teenager his age did, which was chatting with friends watching a movie, playing music and working on homework just before bed.  There was nothing else to indicate as to why he should be where he was and why the voices on the other side of the door have determined that he is no longer of use and needs to die.

The fear and confusion that is felt by this young man, whom you learn is named Charlie is remarkably believable, and a very clear and vivid picture is painted of Charlie and his situation as he tries to figure things out and has realistic flashbacks to his normal everyday life and fights to get free and survive.  It doesn’t take long for the action to really pick up and your heart start to race and pound as you feel for Charlie in his situation.

Now as I write this review, I’ll be the first to admit that Charlie can come across as a Gary Stu (that too perfect person) as he is a bright young man who is getting good grades in school, loves the country he lives in (The United States), is a black belt in Karate, and a good Christian young man, in a way he is an all American boy.  Yet despite these amazing credentials, they are played off nicely and Charlie still comes across as a likeable and believable character, and it is these traits that help drive the story and make what would be too un-real become realistic as he escapes from seemingly impossible situations.

Yet the story is not all about Charlie in that room waiting for death remembering what little of his life from before, he quite literally goes from the frying pan into the fire on several occasions.  To be honest, you get sucked in and you find everything from the despair that Charlie feels to the power of what little hope he can find when he finds it.  Nothing is easy for Charlie to say the least and as you learn what happened between his last night as a normal kid to the present that he finds himself in, answers come but more questions arrive and I have to say I look forward to reading the next book here soon!  Over all, I have to give this book a 5 out of 5 as I haven’t had a book grip me as well as this one did, nor react as strongly to the emotions written here as I did this book.  To be honest my words miserably fail to describe how well I loved this book and I hope, despite my failing, you will consider picking this book up to read it!

Book Review – Heat Wave by Richard Castle

Title:  Heat Wave

Author: Richard Castle

Format: Hardback

Written: 2009

Published: 2009

Heat Wave is an interesting book to consider, when it is a book that was written by a fictional character of a hit TV series.  Though the book was obviously written by a real person, Richard Castle is not, himself, a real person, and sadly there is no information on the actual author who wrote the book.  ABC, the company that produces the show Castle wishes for readers to believe that the character Richard Castle wrote the book.

In the TV series Castle is acclaimed to be a New York Times Best Seller Novelist, and to be honest the quality of the writing in my opinion was lacking in that respect.  Don’t get me wrong, the book was amusing to read and I did enjoy it, but I wouldn’t place it as a best seller, or of the quality of a bestselling author.  There were a few idiosyncrasies with phraseology, and things were rather rushed at points. Also I wasn’t fond of the combined nickname for detectives Raely and Oacha.  Throughout the book they are referred to as Roach in the singular sense many times and I had to pause and remind myself that Roach represented two people, not one.  Also the use of a lot of names with the same starting letter caused things to get a bit difficult at times.

Yet, despite my issues with the book, and it not being of the caliber of a bestselling author, it was still a decent read.  I was amused and found myself laughing aloud on occasion, as there were several witty moments in the book.  It was also interesting to see where certain episodes of the TV series were loosely incorporated into the book.  The book though rushed did not truly capture my interest until near the end when Detective Nikki Heat was hot on the trail of her murder suspect, and by that point I was mainly eager to know if my prediction of who committed the murder was accurate.  I will say that I was correct, but I won’t say who the murder was, for those who would wish to read this book.  Over all, I give the book a three out of five pages.

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