Thursday, June 2, 2011

Reading recap: May (and April)

Ultimate Comics Avengers Vol. 1: The Next GenerationTime for another recap of the books I've been reading. I recently realized that I didn't do one of these for April, then remembered that was because I only read a couple things, so I've just included them here. I'll point out I had fairly narrow taste in my personal reading this month, most comic books and epic fantasy. Actually, I Twitter-spoiled the biggest entry in this list, it being a highly-anticipated mail delivery. After my discovery of the comic world when I read The Ultimates in March, I've dived in headfirst and I have to say I'm loving it. So here it is, a comprehensive list of everything I've read for fun over the last two months.

Captain America Omnibus and The Death of Captain America Omnibus

Captain America Omnibus, Vol. 1They say never judge a book by its cover, but I think I fell in love with the Captain America Omnibus when it arrived in its hardback, glossy-paged glory. Fortunately, the inside was just as exciting. Ordered as an attempt to learn more about the current Captain America stories before my most anticipated film of the year releases next month, the books collect what I'd heard was Ed Brubaker's "historic" run on the series, and features the event that made national news, the death of Captain America. I hurried though, and quickly ordered the sequel, and in the spirit of full disclosure, the third book is currently on its way. I was impressed with the complexity of storylines and character development. The Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes story was particularly good, and I still haven't seen the end of it.

The Warded ManThe Warded Man by Peter V. Brett.

Peter V. Brett's debut novel, The Warded Man is a fantasy story set in a world where homes are warded against nightly demon attacks and no one dares outside in the dark. Brett provides three different main characters, all starting as children and growing to young adults by the end. I found this to be an enjoyable, though the plot points were fairly predictable. Mostly it didn't matter, but it was irritating when the book was trying to keep a secret that I'd figured out chapters ago.

HyperionHyperion by Dan Simmons

This book had been recommended to me as "Canterbury Tales in space," and it basically was. Framed in a larger narrative, a group of travelers each tells the story of how they came to be there. This is one of the better written science fiction books I've read, though I did find it a little lacking in the overall fun department. This is the book I spent most of April reading. Maybe because of the many smaller stories, the pacing never really picks up for more that a few pages, so I'd return eagerly to finish the story I was on, but then another would start and it would be a few days before I picked it up again. Fun fact: shortly after reading this, I heard that Bradley Cooper (of Hangover fame) is looking to adapt this series for the big screen.

The Black Prism (Lightbringer)The Black Prism by Brent Weeks

I'd previously read Brent Weeks's Night Angel Trilogy, finding his work an interesting medium between the very gritty fantasy of George R. Martin and the magical work of Brandon Sanderson. The Black Prism was an enjoyable read, and Weeks does a good job of creating unique and complex characters. The book has no stereotypical hero or villain, and pulls of an interesting twist on the classic farmboy. That said, it's a "magic system" book, full of rules for how the magic works, and I find that type of story can become tedious.

Marvel Ultimate Comics

Ultimate Comics New Ultimates: Thor RebornUltimate Comics Avengers Vol. 1: The Next GenerationUltimate Comics Avengers, Vol. 2: Crime and PunishmentUltimate X-Men: Ultimate Collection, Vol. 1
Finally, I did some reading in Marvel's Ultimate universe with Thor Reborn, New Avengers: The Next Generation, New Avengers: Crime and Punishment, and Ultimate X-Men: Ultimate Collection, Vol. 1. It's kind of fun seeing how many times they manage to work "ultimate" into their titles. Thor Reborn and New Avengers: The Next Generation were my favorite, with more traditional hero team-up stories. Next Generation provides an Ultimate universe version of Red Skull, while Thor Reborn brings the Ultimates back together. I wasn't a huge fan Crime and Punishment, mainly because I'm not really a fan of the Punisher or Ghost Rider. Meanwhile, Ultimate X-Men was an interesting take on the X-universe, with characters like Cyclops and Storm cast as teenagers.

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