Book Review – Batula by Steven T. Seagle

Title: Batula

Author:  Steven T. Seagle

Illustrator:  Marco Cinello

Format: Hardback

Published: 2012

 

Tomorrow is Halloween so I figure this is probably the most seasonably appropriate book I shall read. While it is seasonably appropriate it is not scary in the least.  It’s all about a fruit bat turned vampire.  Yes you read that correctly.  A fruit bat who has been bitten by a vampire.  Okay with that out in the air, I would like to back track into how I came to read this book.

 

It was a while back from now that I found myself perusing the comics at my local shop when I found the book.  It hat my attention at the title.  I mean really what is there not to love about bats?  Yes I am fond of the little winged rodents of the night.  Not my favorite critter in the world but a fascinating creature all the same.  Of course the title alone speaks of Dracula so I was intrigued further to the point of reading the back of the book.  It was at this point that I found myself having the need to possess this books at it makes many a promise that was just too good to pass up.  Generally speaking when we hit the three win mark I know it is a book I’m interested in.  This book promised me more than 3 win points, and I shall list out the win points this book has beyond the fact of being a children’t comic (which is a neutral point as this can be both a good and bad thing depending on the content).  Win 1 – The story is about bats,  Win 2 – The story is about Vampires  Win 2.5 – The story is  about a bat that is turned into a vampire (I mean really that has to count for something!  Win 3 – There is a ‘werewolf’ in the story (really for me this should count as a double win as I love werewolves even if this ‘werewolf’ is a werewolf spider named Wulf).  Win 4 – This book was published by Image Comics which is a publisher I generally trust as most everything I’ve read produced by them has been quite good.  Win 5 – The back cover is enticing in format Win 6 – The cover is really cute/good in my opinion.  (See image bellow.)

 

Needless to say 6 wins told me that this as a must own book! Of course, there is the adage of never judge a book by it’s cover and honest to goodness I didn’t judge on cover alone – I did use the blurb on the back as a guide as well.  Now I will say now that book isn’t bad but it doesn’t deliver on the promises it makes or at least the immense potential that this story could produce.

 

To be honest, the story was very direct and straight forward even for a children’s picture book.  It told a rather bland story about Livingston the fruit bat who was turned into a vampire bat met the spider Wulf and stopped an attack on his orchard all the while garnering attention and adoration from the other bats who didn’t notice him much because he learned to like himself.  Yet, while the story was lacking the pictures held up very well, a lot of the images were adorable and I loved looking at them, even as I write this post I’ve flipped through the book a few more times taking the time to examine the pictures and appreciate the art work for what it is.  In looking through the book a second time it has won and charmed me a bit more than the first time through.

 

Also, I feel it should be noted that while this book was done by Image Comics and was in the comic book store, it is not fashioned like a comic book, it is more fashioned like a children’s picture book.  In the end, the book wasn’t quite what I expected and didn’t live up the the win score it promised me from the start but it was still a decent read, I still love the art work and if there were to be another Batula adventure I would probably read it as this story was still something of an introduction to the character and there is a lot of potential when it comes to the character and the stories one can tell with him.  So because of the adorable artwork I think this book can come in at at 4 out of 5, particularly for a children’s book.  If you judge it on story content alone (which you can’t really and shouldn’t as the art tells a story too) or on a book among all books the story would be a 3 out of 5 for me.

Book Review–A Room Full Of Bones By Elly Griffiths

A Room Full Of Bones, Elly Griffiths

2012

Electronic / Kindle Edition

This was a Kindle Daily Deal on 31 October, 2013, because it was a “mystery with a halloween theme”.   That, coupled with the fact that Amazon keeps telling me to read the next book in the Ruth Galloway Mystery Series (A Dying Fall) because I liked Ann Cleeves Shetland Island Quartet, is what led me to pick this particular book as my Halloween read.

I have seldom regretted a book choice this much.

I strongly suspect that this book was written for those who’ve read previous entries in the Ruth Galloway series and decided that–for whatever mysterious reason–they like this world and these characters.   Because there really isn’t much mystery to speak of.   Most of the book is told in present tense from shifting points of view.  Ruth and her married-but-sometimes-lover, police DCI Harry Nelson, spend most of the book doing things like getting up and getting breakfast and driving places while thinking about how much they hate various things.

Really.  That’s the thrust of the book.  I can’t count the number of sections that went exactly like this:  “Ruth is hungry.  She makes herself a bowl of porridge and a piece of toast.  Ruth has always hated  porridge, really.  It’s hot and gluey and not at all like a real food.  But it is quick and filling and she has a lot to do today.”

Ruth Galloway is supposed to be an anthropologist specialising in bones (Temperance Brennan, anyone?)  but she seems to be more of a professional atheist specialising in mocking any and all religions.    Even that of her best friend Cathbad, a practicing Druid who used to be called Michael Malone, is unsafe from endless passages deriding religion as “rubbish”.

I don’t expect anyone to adhere to my religion, and I don’t feel hurt when my religion (Christianity) is derided.   After all, it’s outlasted stronger opinions than the negativity from places like Elly Griffiths’ keyboard.  So it’s not a case of Christian butthurt when I assure you the worst part of this book is the relentless anything-but-the-Bible-thumping that Griffiths engages in.   The reader can’t go three pages without being reminded that Ruth hates Christianity, that her parents were nutters of the Fundamentalist Variety and Ruth hates anything to do with any sort of God.   In fact, by reading this paragraph alone I estimate that you have digested at least 75 pages of the book’s total 353.

If these sins aren’t enough to persuade you, let me add that for mystery-novel lovers the book commits an even graver sin yet.   There is very little mystery to be had.   To be sure there’s a dead body in spooky circumstances in the opening chapter, and a subsequent death further down the pike.   But the book isn’t really about figuring out who did it or why.  It’s about Ruth, her baby by Nelson, Nelson and his wife and  the routines all these people go through in the wake of the first suspicious death.   Even the end discovery of “whodunit” is a non-event entirely, mentioned in passing while discussing some mundanity in the characters’ lives.

This is a smudged-dark romance between two bitter forty-year-olds disguised as a mystery.  It is an atheist polemic disguised as a mystery.  It is not a mystery.

I’m giving it two bookworms because I’m in a charitable mood.

2bookworms

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