Friday, May 04, 2007

Books read in April 2007:

Summer Knight by Jim Butcher. Dresden files Book 4
Death Masks by Jim Butcher. Dresden files Book 5
Blood Rites by Jim Butcher. Dresden files Book 6

X-men: Fairy Tales by C.B. Cebulski et al - This is a terribly strained attempt to use folktales from various cultures to tell stories featuring X-team characters. I'm usually all over anything having to do with retold fairy tales, but this is pretty bad. It doesn't even have the redeeming feature of good art. Not recommended.

Dead Beat by Jim Butcher. Dresden files Book 7
Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher. Dresden files Book 8

Batman: Year 100 by Paul Pope et al - Very interesting story of the Batman of 2039. This future is one of totalitarianism assisted by omnipresent surveillance that owes a debt to V for Vendetta. The story has solid ties to the Batman we know today, and even back to his roots in 1939, and we're left wondering who is behind the cowl. Paul Pope's art is appealingly raw (see samples here.) but with a core of realism that shows the character's essential human weakness. Also included is an 18-page story called "Berlin Batman" which has Batman as a secret Jew in Germany at the dawn of World War II.

Batman: Secrets by Sam Kieth et al - This is a poor story made readable by striking and unexpected art. It's a classic Batman/Joker battle with themes about the media's power to determine reality. At the center of the story is a secret from Bruce's childhood that turns out to be not much at all. Kieth does an incredible job of drawing the story, however, with a style that ranges from almost photorealistic in the many flashbacks, to loopy and surreal when just Bats and Joker are in the frame. In short, fun to look at, but don't read too closely.

White Night by Jim Butcher. Dresden files Book 9

Tick Omnibus 2: Thvrsday Ad Infinitvm by Ben Edlund - [Reread] I own the first two Tick Omnibi, and I reread #1 back in January, but at the time, I couldn't track down #2. Now 2 has surfaced, and I read it again, but can't find #1. If I ever get both in my hands at once, I have a friend who I want to loan them to. If you've not read The Tick, I encourage you to track down these initial issues, fun and silly and vaguely disturbing.

Are we sensing a trend here? Yes, nearly the entire month of April was devoted to working my way through The Dresden Files. As mentioned in an earlier post, I began reading them in March (after having listened to the first book on audio back in 2006) and was just reading happily along, enjoying what I perceived as some fun, vaguely silly dark fantasy. Then I hit book 6: Blood Rites. Suddenly things started happening to Harry Dresden that made it clear this is not just the serial adventures of a modern-day wizard, but is a multi-volume work that actually has a story arc that will take several books to complete. As I continued reading, I developed a new respect for Jim Butcher's storytelling abilities, and I can't wait for the next book to come out.

By the way, for those unaware, Jim Butcher has a very infrequent LiveJournal on which he posts little writing lessons. They are some of the clearest, most concise and elegant explanations of how novels are structured that I have ever seen. Required reading for anyone who thinks they have a novel in them.

Books read this month: 10. Books read so far this year: 44

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