Thursday, September 8, 2011

A reading recap for August

So, in the joy of getting out of school, I limited my reading strictly to comic books for June and July (okay, that wasn't actually the reason, but let's go with it anyway). I was kicked back into gear around the start of August, and that helped lead to this post. Now I still fully intend to read 1984, but my local library isn't cooperating, so I'm going to start with Dune instead. I'm currently a few chapters in, and I'll have a post about my impressions soon. In the meantime, here's what I read over the course of August.

A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin

Okay, so as sacrilegious as it sounds for a fantasy writer to say, but I was never really a fan of Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. Mostly, that can be chalked up to a certain death in the first book, and that fact that I'm just not a fan of the "People are inherently selfish idiots" philosophy that pervades the series. However, after watching HBO's Game of Thrones miniseries (while knowing what was coming), I was tempted to pick up the latest book and give it a shot. First off, the series helped me figure out that Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, and Tyrion Lannister were the characters to follow (because the performance of Peter Dinklage took Tyrion from being a great character to the greatest character). Anyway, this book moved the story forward, with the usual blood-soaked vision of fantasy that Martin is famous for. Still, despite my philosophical disagreements, my biggest problem was actually the pacing of the story, with far too many subplots and long viewpoint chapters devoted to extremely minor characters. On the other hand, there were dragons...

The Desert Spear by Peter V. Brett

In the sequel to The Warded Man, that I read a couple that I read a couple of months ago, Brett makes the rather bold choice to abandon all the main characters from the previous book for the first third of the book, and it just barely works. He uses the first third to establish a new main character (well, technically someone we saw very briefly in the fist book), and my only advice is to try not to get too bored by the recounting of the new guy's life history, because in the later parts of the book, it mostly pays off. Despite the fact that this book is much small that Martin's Dance With Dragons, it almost felt more epic in scope with the vast amounts of time and geography it covered. This much smaller fantasy series (I hope) is much more my thing, as I really don't like waiting 10-15 years to see the outcome of a series.

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Paper Towns by John Green
Looking for Alaska by John Green

I discovered John Green a few months back with Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and I'd been meaning to check out his other books. That happened. They're such delightfully easy reads that I can chomp through one in an afternoon as a palette cleanser to Dance With Dragons. Having checked out Green on YouTube, I do believe I may actually be a NerdFighter, as if this blog didn't make that clear already...

Ultimate Comics The Ultimates #1 by Hickman, Rubic, White

Well you didn't actually expect me to stop reading comics did you? Actually, I've read a bunch, having subscribed to Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited, but since this one is actually new (and I had to buy the issue), it gets a special mention. For those not aware, Marvel's Ultimate Comics line takes place in a much darker, more realistic (sort of) universe from the standard Marvel continuity, and the Ultimates are the equivalent to the Avengers. This first issue centers around Nick Fury (the version modeled after Sam Jackson) as he coordinates with Thor, Iron Man, Captain Briton and Hawkeye in various crisis around the world. This is a set-up issue, so it's hard to get a sense of where the series is going, but the biggest piece of news is that Captain America is not currently part of the team. Now the cover obviously suggests he will be, but it seems like bring Cap back into the fold is going to be one of Fury's first tasks.

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