#WWW Wednesday – February 28, 2018

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

I didn’t post here last Wednesday as I have decided to alternate Wednesday posts between this blog and my writing blog. That way I might actually find time to visit fellow participants in each blop hop! So this post covers my last two weeks of reading.

What have you recently finished reading?

First up, I finished The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. While I had a couple of issues with the pacing and being able to keep track of a fairly large cast of characters, I thought this was a great insight into the life of a Black teenager in present-day America. I reviewed it in more detail here.

I also read Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Andersen. This is the book form of the webcomic Sarah’s Scribbles. It is cute, though I think I like it better as an isolated comic I sometimes see on the Internet, rather than all of them packed in together.

Because of the amount of walking and hiking (and driving to the mountains) I’m doing to train for my trek in Nepal in April, I’ve finished many audio books! Though I haven’t necessarily loved many of them, they have been a good distraction when I have been walking uphill for four hours (I am not even kidding).

First I finished Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley, which was fine, I guess. I felt the balance between the sci-fi elements and the fantasy wasn’t quite achieved, and most of the characters annoyed me, but I did like most of the world-building and the mythology. You can read my full review here.

Then I finished the audio book of Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn. This was another 3-star book, as I felt it read more like a MG book, except it had more mature content in it. While it is the first in a series, it concluded enough that I’m not going to keep going.

After that was The Matchmakers by Jennifer Colgan. This was a cute fantasy romance about a cupid-type Fey who has to team up with a human to help three couples fall in love or they both lose their ability to love forever. I did enjoy this one.

And then there was Bootleg by Alex Shearer, which was a fairly short kids’ book about a Britain under control of the Good For You Party, which bans chocolate and all other sweets. This one was a bit silly but in the way you let slide when reading children’s books.

I’ve still got to get reviews written for most of these!

What are you currently reading?

I’ve had barely any time to read, what with hiking and actually finding inspiration for my own writing again, so I’m still reading the same ebook I started after The Hate U Give. It’s called Deadly Sweet and is by Lola Dodge, and even if I end up hating it (I am enjoying it so far), that cover is going to be one of my favourites of the year.

I am also reading Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh. I am sure many of you remember the blog of the same title, which gave us such gems as The Alot and This is Why I’ll Never Be an Adult (where “Clean all the things!” originated). The book is a mixture of some of the blog posts and some new content.

What do you think you’ll read next?

That’s a great question, I’m glad you asked it! I’m actually working on my March/April TBR right now! Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie and The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon are the two left over from my January-February TBR but knowing me I’ll probably get distracted by something else 😛

What are you reading this week?~ Emily

“All that stuff about the pleasures and dangers of fantasy, and what are stories for?” // Review of “Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen” by Dylan Horrocks

Title: Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen
Author: Dylan Horrocks
Genre: Graphic novel/fantasy/sci-fi
Date Read: 25/11/2016 – 26/11/2016
Rating: ★★

Review:

This was an interesting book and I admire it for what it’s trying to do and the messages it is trying to convey, but I felt it got a little too bogged down in that and forgot to tell and interesting story at the same time.

Sam Zabel is an aspiring cartoonist, carving out a living writing bad superhero scripts that he hates, all the while trying to find the inspiration to write something truly incredible. Then one day, he comes across an issue of an old New Zealand comic from the 50s, and when he sneezes, finds himself transported to the world inside its pages. What follows are a whole lot of questions Sam is not sure he knows the answer to.

The themes of this book are ones worth considering. It touches on the objectification of women in comics, and how far can we allow the “it’s just fantasy” argument to go before fantasies that are presented in and absorbed through comics and other mass popular culture media become problematic. These are important things to consider, and I appreicated Horrocks bringing them up.

Unfortunately, I found the storytelling a bit bland. Particularly at the start, there’s a lot of telling rather than showing. You’d expect a graphic novel to manage that better than a novel written in prose! The characters were all fairly two-dimensional character archetypes, and I didn’t feel that they each had their own unique voice. While obiously the artwork made them easy to tell apart, if I had been reading this in prose, it would have been one of those cases where I could barely distinguish them.

While this was a good idea, there was too much emphasis on the ~point, and not enough on storytelling to hold my interest for too long. I would recommend this if you are interested in the themes, but not so much if you’re just interested in reading some more graphic novels.


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“UNHAND THAT SCIENCE!” // Review of “Nimona” by Noelle Stevenson

Title: Nimona
Author: Noelle Stevenson
Genre: Graphic novel/fantasy
Date Read:
22/06/2016- 23/06/2016
Rating: ★★★

Review:

This book is very adorable. I am definitely glad I read it, even if I did have to wait six months to get to the top of the queue for it at the library, and I can definitely understand the slew of 5 star ratings. For me, I felt the story was not quite original enough for that, but it was still a good story, and clearly told with a lot of love.

Sir Ballister Blackheart is surprised one day when a young girl, Nimona, who is also a shapeshifter, turns up on his doorstep, determined to be his new sidekick. He reluctantly takes her in, and together they learn of some deep secrets at the heart of the Institution, the, er, institution that controls science, knowledge and government in their world. In trying to go public with what they know, they end up becoming the most wanted criminals in the Kingdom, and it turns out that there’s much more to Nimona than Ballister first thought.

The plot of Nimona embodies, and to some extent, I think, parodies a lot of fantasy tropes. It’s aware that it is doing this, and the subtle references to these tropes create a lot of the humour in the book.The characters are definitely what make this story unique; their banter is terribly enjoyable to read, and watching the relationships between the characters develop (or learning more about previous relationships) was delightful.The world-building is deliberately vague, with a combination of both common medieval fantasy and dystopian settings, which was also humorous.

I think my rating may to some extent be a result of a lot of hype surrounding the book that it didn’t quite live up to for me, personally, but if you would like a cute graphic novel to read, perhaps as a break after some darker books, this is definitely one to consider.


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#ROW80 Check-in: Returning from hiatus

Well, August is over and with it goes the craziness I had while preparing for two shows. The choir production was performed last Saturday and went splendidly, so now I only have Guys and Dolls to prepare for at the end of this month, which means I will hopefully be able to dedicate some more time to writing. A few weeks ago I was whining on my LiveJournal about wanting to write but not having the time, and staring at a blank piece of paper/screen whenever I try.

However, this week I have so far written a little over 1000 words of a short story set within my novel’s universe (some time after the novel’s end, though). I think I might have mentioned in a previous post that I had created a pantheon of gods for one of the countries in my novel and that I now wanted to write about them. Well, that is essentially what I have done, except I have also involved my main characters as well. The two countries in my novel have a bit of a science (Dodgos) vs. religion (Trilvain) thing going on with each other, and I guess this little piece sort of draws on my own views of that debate, namely that the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive. I haven’t quite finished writing yet, but hopefully over the next few days that will happen… I don’t really know what I’m going to do with it, I guess I will just keep it tucked away until the novel itself is completed.

I’ve also been reading a fair bit lately, though a lot of that has been graphic novels, which are much quicker to get through. I’ve now finally read V For Vendetta (preferred the movie, but I saw the movie first and loved it so much I was always going to be biased) and also the first four volumes of Joe Hill’s Locke and Key series. I’m waiting for my local comic shop to restock Volume 5, since Volume 4 ended on a rather epic cliffhanger. I also reread Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and funnily enough, it seemed a lot shorter than it did when I was ten. I basically finished it over two lunch breaks. I realised Alice is quite a whingey, rude character and didn’t like her much.  Though I suppose if it’s all in her head, she’s allowed to a bit.

Anyway, that about brings you up to date with me. It’s bedtime in my time zone now, so I shall catch up with you all in the morning! Happy Wednesday!