Astonishing X-Men Vol. 2: Dangerous, Joss Whedon and John Cassaday

CONTINUING THE SAGA OF EXCELLENT BOOKS THAT ARE EXCELLENT.

ALSO IT IS LATE AND I HAVE LOST THE ABILITY TO THINK OUTSIDE OF CAPSLOCK.

SO I AM GOING TO SHOUT THIS REVIEW AT YOU.

WHEDON, IMMA LET YOU FINISH, BUT DANGER DIDN’T HAVE ONE OF THE BEST RUNS OF ALL TIME. SHE WAS LOVELY IN THE FIRST FIGHT WE MET HER, AND THEN SHE WAS ALL “OH, I’M GOING TO GET A GIANT INSENT ROBOT TO KILL YOU FOR ME” AND IT WAS LESS COOL. ALSO, THE PROFESSOR WAS NOT AWE-INSPIRING, EVEN AS HE WAS KICK-ASS. I DID NOT APPROVE OF THAT.

UMMMMMMMMMMM, I LIKED IT IN GENERAL? I THINK THIS WAS THE LEAST MEMORABLE VOLUME. THERE WAS TOO MUCH ANGST. WHICH SOUNDS FUNNY, WHEN I SHOUT IT AT YOU.

LOLZ.

*DRINKS TEA*

I GAVE IT FOUR STARS OUT OF FIVE, BECAUSE IT STILL FILLED ME WITH DELIGHT, I JUST CAN’T EXACTLY REMEMBER WHY A MONTH AND A HALF LATER. SORRY, WHEDON/CASSADAY.

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Astonishing X-Men Vol. 1: Gifted, Joss Whedon and John Cassaday

So a little while ago I got to talking about comics on the internet to my friends, as one does. I mentioned that I hadn’t actually read any.

Cue horror and staring from all corners of the internet.

But you see, I live in a small town, and I am not from a practicing nerd family, and my library believes in vampire books and contemporary romances. I had an excuse! I’M SORRY I’M SORRY FORGIVE ME WORLD!

Time passed, as it has a habit of doing. I went to visit some friends! And then, out of the blue, when I was at a shakespeare rehearsal, they presented me with a lovely sign, and the Whedon/Cassaday arc of Astonishing X-Men! I no longer had an excuse. I must bite the bullet and read comics.

And so I did.

And I was DELIGHTED. ^_^ They almost made the trip home enjoyable! Um, the plot. There are aliens, and a cure for mutation, and people coming back from the dead. But I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that the plot is not the MAIN reason people (like me- specifically me,) like comics. We (that is to say I) like it for the characters, and the dialogue, and something I didn’t even realize until reading this, which is the art. The art is SO AMAZING. I didn’t know you could do that, before!

I’m just gonna skip through my incoherent talking about art, because no one needs to see that. Or read it. Because it is incoherent. (Unlike this explanation, which is SO LOGICAL I could use it as a philosophy thesis.) I’m just gonna mention some parts in this volume which I REALLY liked. 😀

Anything with Emma Frost. Or Kitty Pryce. Oh, and any time Hank McCoy and Wolverine are talking. Oh, and I loved Cyclops whenever he was around too. ^_^ So that leaves out- Ord, and the researcher, and the nightmare girl- oh, and I loved Brand and Nick Fury too! The rest of it was just lovely, not DELIGHTFUL.

And yeah, I gave it four stars out of five.

Looking for Alaska, John Green

Oh my gosh, this book pissed me off so much. I had to stop right when I got to “after,” and I wandered around wal-mart like a maniac thing, idly poking myself with sharp things to see if I bled and staring at bread like I’d never seen it in bags before.

Now I give it four stars out of five, because it’s masterfully done. But when I see it I still want to break things and scream.

Oh. My. Gosh. So much anger. GAHHHHHHH.

Pudge goes to boarding school. There he meets a motley group of people, and a circle of immensely important ones. Most importantly within the circle is the Colonel, his roommate, and Alaska, from down the hall. They teach him how to smoke, and swear in rhyme, and pull pranks, and other things of dubious moral integrity, that undoubtedly have long philosophical and ethical shadows in his life.  I read this book in conjunction with a friend, and we’re not totally on board with the teen sex. I think the work used to describe it was “unnecessary.” Also “gratuitous.”

Pudge becomes part of a very tight, very intimate clan of friends. And then something happens. Screaming is probably the right response.

I still can’t believe that this was John Green’s first book. It’s insanely good.  It’s just- really, really well done. I’m not sure that you should read it, but if you like being emotionally abused by books, this one is REALLY GOOD at it.

Suite Scarlett, Maureen Johnson

Oh, Maureen Johnson. You are so entertaining on twitter. And you write books which break my heart. (I have a heart of diamond when reading fantasy or SF. When it comes to Contemporary, it’s more like sugar brittle. You look at me, and I shatter. But still! ^_^)

Scarlett’s family owns a hotel in New York City, which does NOT mean they’re rich. Think more “oh, by the way, we’re going to have to use all the children as unpaid labour. Enjoy the summer!” School’s out, and Scarlett is stuck manning the front desk and acting as maid service.

Things could probably be going better.

Then her brother Spencer gets a part in a production of Hamlet, which brings several new people into her life. (Including a startlingly attractive southern boy.) Together with the addition of a new guest who hires Scarlett as a her personal assistant (and calls her O’Hara,) the summer has gone from zero to about an eleven in the space of an afternoon.

And then things KEEP happening.

Okay, I really enjoyed this book. 😀 I shared it with my sisters, and they also really enjoyed it. 😀 We all agree that Eric (Startlingly Attractive Souther Boy) is lose, and Spencer is the one we want. And because Scarlett is RELATED to him, there’s no danger of a romance there, so we can stalk him all we want! SKINNY SNARKY ACTOR BOYS WITH STRONG FAMILY RELATIONS AND LITTLE MORALS FOR THE FREAKING WIN. (SSABWSFRALMRFTFW.)  *cough*

I loved how realized everything was. There were no half characters. Everyone had depth, made mistakes, and had triumphs. (Except for Eric. He was all lose. Pure lose.) It dealt with cancer- but NOT in the way you think. It dealt with friendship, and revenge, and family, and finances, and what love looks like from the outside.

Oh man, Lola and Chip. I heart them so hard. And they make me so SAD! I sniffled! The path of true love never did run smooth… And you know? Eric? You see how SMOOTH everything was going with you and Scarlett? TAKE THAT AS A SIGN AND GO BACK TO YOUR SOUTHERN SWAMP WHICH YOU CRAWLED OUT OF. Fool boys and their wearing of tight shirts. Boo. Hiss.

Now, SPECER wore a tie. *plots*

I gave it four stars out of five. SSABWSFRALMRFTFW. *cough*

Warbreaker, Brandon Sanderson

In most books, the basic things are set up within the first couple of chapters, and then events unfold from there for most of the book, perhaps with a twist at the end. That is a lovely pattern.

That is not the pattern this book follows. Things Just Keep Happening, for the ENTIRE STORY. And I don’t want to spoil any of it for you… I’ll just go over the basics of how the story starts, then. *nods* That sounds reasonable!

It opens with a man in prison. He breaks out, killing several guards with a sentient, talkative, and bloodthirsty sword, but only after stealing something from another prisoner, and then killing the man. Then he vanishes from the story, and we go to watch a 17 year old princess who has suddenly been declared the most-expendable of her father’s daughters. She’s being sent off to marry the God-King of a neighbouring empire to try and stave off war just a LITTLE longer. This marriage is considered a death sentence, since as soon as she’s produced a heir she’s expendable. Also, the God-King has returned from the dead, is considered omnipotent and commands an army of zombie soldiers. This, plus the fact that she’s not allowed to look at or talk to him, makes the prospective marriage not quite a completely joyful idea. Meanwhile, an atheist God is grappling with his inclination towards the seven deadly sins. And then- Oh, just read it. Then we can talk about AWESOME SWORDS AND COLOURS AND DEVIOUS MERCENARIES AND SNARKY FREAKING GODS. *cough*

I gave it four stars out of five. The only reason that it’s not at five stars, was a vague feeling that it was moralizing in a way that I didn’t quite agree with. It was very vague, but enough to make me not want to read it every night before I go to bed/carry extra copies to pass around to friends, which is the level of awe and adoration required to get to five stars in Jasmine-World right now. With that said, you should all go read a copy. Lightsong the atheist god wins at life. (And death.)

Birth Marked, Caragh M. O’Brien

As is proper for post-acolypic dystopian agricultural narratives, Gaia is named Gaia. (I wonder what after?) She’s also a teen midwife. Which, you know, is not the most common of tropes. Especially since part of the job description around here “advancing” four babies every month to the walled city known as the Enclave. They supply the shanty town outside with food and a measure of medical supplies, and in return the town takes their children.

Just so you know, the babies aren’t being used for organ harvesting, if that was what you thought first. You have a terrible, dark wicked mind. *pause* Let’s be friends! *cough* No, the kids are being adopted. They have a chance to live much better lives than the kids outside the wall. Lots of food, lots of water, better schooling, all around comfier lives. However, the Enclave only takes “perfect” children, which is why Gaia was never up for advancement. She has a fairly blatant scar across her face, caused by hot candle wax when she was small.

Anyways, there’s a bit of the world. When the story opens, Gaia’s just successfully completed her first solo job, and as a part of it, had to advance a new baby. It’s not the best way to start a career as a midwife, for sure. She’s come home in search of some tea and a hug from mom, and found that the day just got significantly worse. You don’t like the government regulations on your job? HA! Try the government kidnapping your parents and sending an annoying officer down to question you about how loyal you are! Things can’t get worse now! Well, except for the news that execution is on the menu for her family, you know…

Gaia quickly formulates a plan some might call foolish, or even insane. That would be because it IS insane, but let’s not dwell too much on that. I mean, what else could go wrong? Aside from the public hanging…

I really liked the characters here. They weren’t the kind who start shouting about their emotions all over the page, which I have heard people complain about, because “you never get to know the characters,” but I like it. I mean, how often in real life are we privy to people confessing exactly how that makes them   feel in the middle of extensive trauma? Because, let’s face it, these are people who have been through a lot, and none of it making them inclined to trust easily. And sometimes actions speak louder than words, after all. *smiles* I’m sorry, the romance just makes me melt inside a bit. I am so behind that relationship it is not even fit. The fact that I started shipping them from the first meeting is probably a sign of my deeply flawed idea of romance, but let’s not be too nice about the details, okay?

Oh, and the death scene was one of the best ones I’ve read in a long time. It’s just, quietly devastating.

I gave it four stars out of five. And I had to write the author, and she said there IS a sequel in the works, WHEW. If read it, you’ll know why I closed the book and promptly went to her website to find the contact form. It’s a very. Um. Modern ending.

P.S. Finding science in the book is a bonus game. 😀 Play it with your friends!

Hex Hall, Rachel Hawkins

So Sophie Mercer is a witch. Not in a “sacrifice goats and call up demons” way, but in a “my dad was a warlock who got my mom pregnant and then kinda neglected to tell her about that or the magic that ran in the family until AFTER I was born with the ability to make some really socially inappropriate people fall in love with each other,” way. And Sophie isn’t supposed to use her magic when normal people might see it, but she slipped one night at a dance, and things went DRAMATIC.

Wham, welcome to Hecate Hall, where Prodigium (faries, witches, and shifters) are sentenced invited to go when they can’t “control themselves.” She’s gone from almost normal life, to reform school with people who can kill you with their minds. ^_^ To make things even BETTER, she finds out after she’s there that her DAD, (remember the warlock who neglected to mention his war-lock-ness to her mom?) is now head honcho of the committee that’s in charge of keeping Prodigium secret- which translated means that everyone she’s going to school with has a grudge against her dad, and therefore her.

Oh, and the cute guy she’s crushing majorly on is dating the mean girl who is alternately trying to recruit her into her lovely little “oh, let’s raise some zombies on the weekend, it’ll be fun and sparkly!” group and trying to sabotage what’s left of Sophie’s life. And Sophie’s been in the “normal” world for most of her life, so she’s behind the curve on most every subject that the twelve year olds think a teddy bear could master.

What does Sophie do? What any self-respecting teenager would do. Say “I hate my life,” be sarcastic to teachers, make friends with the only other person who has a similar social standing (the pink-loving vampire who OMG, might have EATEN someone!) and sigh from a distance at the cute boy.

AND THEN EVERYTHING GOES DARK.

DUM DUM DUM.

The summary I just wrote might not be entirely accurate to all the details. JSYK. I didn’t want to spoil things for you. I want you to read the book, and when it hits the end, to have my exact reaction- OMWORD THAT IS FREAKY OH NO BODY COUNT WAH I TRUSTED YOU WHO CAN I TRUST EVERYTHING I KNOW IS A LIE. (That reaction might be a trifle louder than I am normally, but I just ate half a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Volume happens.)

Let’s go over the points that I feel need to be communicated.

  1. You should read this book, so that Rachel writes many more books that we the general population gets to read. The fact that it is lovely and has a wonderful plot and I read it in one sitting is taken for granted, as related to the caps lock in the previous paragraphs.
  2. I love Sophie’s sarcasm.
  3. I love Archer. I know things look bad, but that’s only because the circumstances LIE LIKE A RUG. We don’t have all the information! EVERYONE KNOWS THAT WHEN YOU HAVE ALL THE INFORMATION THINGS WILL LOOK BETTER.
  4. Jenna’s story is wonderful. I need to make a note and put it on my wall so that I treat all “side characters” in a similarly made-of-stark-awesome way.
  5. I want Demonglass now. Plz?

I gave it four stars out of five. Go read it. I need to go find tea and learn how to communicate without shouting.