Saturday, February 27, 2016

This Week in Reading



BOOKS:
Vicious Circle, by Mike Carey, pages 295 – 373.
Angelopolis, by Danielle Trussoni, pages 232 – 280.
Rebuilt, by Michael White & Tom Corcoran, pages 43 – 64.

COMICS:
Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor 13 – 15
Fables 130 – 137
Four Seconds 1
Fred Hembeck $ell$ the Marvel Universe
Watson & Holmes 2 – 5

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Podcast Guest Appearances

Over the last few weeks, I have had the joy of appearing as a guest on a couple of fine podcasts. There are a few more to be recorded and released in the near future, but here are two that recently came out.

Ryan Daly invited me and Emily to team up with him on the excellent show, Secret Origins. In episode 27 of that terrific podcast, we talked (appropriately) about the great father-and-daughter team of Zatara and Zatanna.

I also recorded recently with Stella, from the excellent Batgirl to Oracle Podcast. I talked with her in episode 114 about my love of both alter egos of Barbara Gordon, as well as her relationship with Commissioner James Gordon. This was in the context of covering Batman #520.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

This Week in Reading

BOOKS:
Vicious Circle, by Mike Carey, pages 204 – 295.
Angelopolis, by Danielle Trussoni, pages 1 – 232.
Rebuilt, by Michael White & Tom Corcoran, pages 1 – 43.

COMICS:
DC Comics Bonbshells 9
Doctor Who: Tenth Doctor 8 – 12
Looney Tunes 22
The Pitt OGN
Superman 12
Trekker omnibus, pages 247 – 262 (*)
Underworld Unleashed tie-ins: Adventures of Superman 530, Extreme Justice 10

(*) covering parts 3 and 4 of the story “Sins of the Father.” Ruth and Darrin Sutherland covered this story in detail on episode 14 of the excellent podcast Trekker Talk.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Review of Captain's Fury



Book #7. Captain’s Fury, by Jim Butcher. Unabridged audio.

This is the fourth book in the 6-book series, and it does have a bit of the feel of a middle chapter. I have enjoyed the prior books I the series, (book three is reviewed here) and this one was fine, but it was more set-up than the prior books, and less action.

The main action of the novel involves diplomacy, as Captain Tavi attempts to strike a truce with the invading Nasaug. Issues of Tavi’s history are revealed, as his mother reveals that he is in fact the grandson of the current leader, revealing him to be Gaius Octavius. And he discovers that he possesses (or has received) the magical power of furycraft.

Although these plot developments were interesting, and laid very interesting groundwork for the remaining books in the series, it made this novel it bit less action-heavy that prior books. But I like where the series is going, and certainly look forward to the future novels.

There is a fun story told about Butcher’s creation of the series. The inspiration evidently came from a bet Butcher made with a member of an online writer’s workshop. The bet was that he could not write a good story based on a dumb, to which Jim responded by saying he could do so with dumb ideas. The dumb ideas that he was challenged with were “Lost Roman Legion" and “Pok√©mon.” And I think I can see those influences.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along!

Just do the following:
Grab your current read.
Open to a random page.
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

From Page xvii of Rebuilt, a non-fiction work by Michael White and Tom Corcoran.

"[culture] is more important than vision or mission when it comes to what is going on in a group. Every organization has a culture. We think the  most acute problem with the Church today is with its culture."

Saturday, February 13, 2016

This Week in Reading



BOOKS:
Captain’s Fury, by Jim Butcher, COMPLETED.
Vicious Circle, by Mike Carey, pages 110 – 204.

COMICS:
Archie 372
Archie & Friends 2
Batman 519 & 520
Constantine the Hellblazer 9
Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor 1 – 7
Doom 2099 5 – 7
Starfire 9

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Review of The Black Prism



Book #5. The Black Prism, by Brent Weeks. Hardcover. 

This novel is the first book in the Lightbringer series. It takes place in the Seven Satrapies,  semi-independent countries loosely controlled by a ruling council, along with a person known as The Prism. The nature of the Prism’s power is such that they tend to die after their 7th, 14th or 21st year in the position. The Prism also represents the god Orholam, who it is believed to bestow magical power onto his chosen people. Over the course of the book, we learn that the realm is in turmoil, as a leader from a distant Satrap, King Garadul, wants to wage war on the Capital, and for his nation to secede.

The current prism is Gavin Guile. Both he and his twin brother demonstrated the requisite power to become the Prism, and after a brief but bloody war, Dazen was defeated and imprisoned. One of the key plot points of the novel is that an identity-switch may have occurred, meaning it may in fact be Dazen who is the Prism and Gavin who is in shackles.

Early in the novel, we meet the Prism’s natural son Kip, a 15-year-old who does not know who his father is. Kip is taken to the capital to be trained, bringing with him a dagger that was given to Kip by his mother on her deathbed. Kip has promised to use the knife to kill the man responsible for her death. And from there ... adventure ensues!

One of the strengths of this novel is the world’s color-based magic system. A drafter of magic in this world transforms light into the physical substance luxin. Different from the light-based constructs that a Green Lantern creates, the luxin has physical properties of strength, weight, and durability. Each color of luxin has its own particular characteristics, and the vast majority of drafters can only draft one shade of luxin. Bichromes have more power, while Polychromes are the most powerful of the drafters. The Prism is both the most powerful and the most efficient of the drafters, being able to both use all the color magic, as well as the ability to “split” light.

This is epic fantasy, and like all epic fantasy, it has long passages of description and world-building. And there is a pretty large cast  of POV characters, but by the midpoint of the book, most of their voices and perspectives had become clear, making the plot easy to follow.

The book tells a complete small story, but ends on a cliffhanger that clearly leads into the next book.

Note: I learned of Brent Weeks from an interview he did with Paeter Frandsen, of the Spirit Blade Underground podcast. 

Source: purchased at a local Barnes & Noble location