Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Call by Peadar O'Guilin

A friend from work recommended Peadar O'Guilin's The Call to me a little while ago.  I had it on hold and should have gotten it last week, but I didn't get it until yesterday.  But even though I was hoping to have it finished long before now, it was fine because I totally read the entire book last night.  I started it sometime between 10-11pm.  By about 3:30am I was thinking I should just stop and finish it tomorrow, but I kept going back to it, to the point of jumping into bed and picking it back up to finish it.  I think I was done sometime around 4:30am (so really, it's an easy read - over 300 pages in around 6 hours.  But it's YA, and YA tends to be easier to read).

The Call has a very interesting premise.  Teenagers in Ireland disappear for exactly 3 minutes and 4 seconds.  During that time, the Sidhe call them into the Grey Lands and hunt them.  What is 3 minutes here is hours there.  Only one in ten children return alive (which is greatly improved odds from the one in one hundred that it was before the whole country started training them to fight and survive).  

Nessa is one of the teenagers of an age when she will be Called soon.  No one expects her to live because her legs have been damaged by Polio.  But Nessa is determined to prove everyone wrong.  She will find a way to survive when the time comes.  And so she follows all the rules and learns EVERYTHING she can about the Grey Lands, the Sidhe, and the people who have survived their own Call.  She's determined that nothing will get in her way.  Not even her feelings for Anto, the cute boy she loves.  

The Call follows Nessa and her friends (and enemies in the case of Conor and his Knights) through a part year of school.  I really liked how when pretty much any of the teens gets Called, the book swaps to their point of view so we get to see what happens (and learn so much more about the Grey Lands than we would otherwise have).  There's a lot of Irish mythology in it, which made me want to read the Mabinogion (which I really should have just done years ago!)  I was also really glad I read The Tain back in school, as well as The Black Cauldron because characters like Cu Chulainn and things like the Cauldron came up in The Call (and I knew what they were!)

I have to admit, I loved when Conor got Called because that chapter read like an epic tale.  He was compared to Cu Chulainn with good reason, as he slaughtered Sidhe left and right.  Compared to all the other Calls, it was so different (and he was the only one who wasn't at all afraid).

I do wish I had a little more information about the Sidhe's side of things.  What was the treaty they signed that condemned them to the Grey Lands?  How did they manage to isolate Ireland from the rest of the world?  Hopefully we'll get the answers to all of this and more in the sequel that's apparently forthcoming!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Copperhead Volume 2

Soooo Copperhead Volume 2 ends on a cliffhanger.  The story is supposedly ongoing, but there hasn't been an issue published since #10 came out in October 2015.  Sigh.

Copperhead Volume 2 is a new arc involving most of the characters from Volume 1, but it felt like a little time has passed between the two arcs.  When Clara throws Nestor in jail, he warns her that she's making a big mistake.  Sure enough, Nestor's brother Zolo breaks him out of prison.  Zolo wants to hightail it out of town but Nestor insists on trying to make Clara pay.  So they set an ambush and capture Budroxifinicus instead.  They drag Budroxifinicus out to the Bastion, hoping to lure Clara into a trap.  For her part, Clara is right behind them with a posse!

Volume 2 was a super fun chase through the desert.  As I said though, it ended on a cliffhanger, which was super disappointing - I want to know what happens next!!!! :(

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Copperhead Volume 1

A friend of mine really recommended Copperhead to me (I don't honestly remember why though...we were chatting about things and it came up).  I was excited to find both collected editions at the library so I took them out a week or two ago and finally sat down to read them. 

Copperhead Volume 1 opens with Clara Bronson and her son, Zeke, travelling on a train to Copperhead where she is the new sheriff.  Right off the bat the story is great.  Some idiot tries to sit next to her on the train, and some other guy steps in to save her.  We don't actually see what happens, but she ends up kicking both guys off the train as they arrive in Copperhead.  From there, Clara and Zeke are picked up by Deputy Budroxifinicus (who Zeke calls Boo because he can't pronounce the name, even though Budroxifinicus would prefer Zeke NOT call him that).  Budroxifinicus is a hilarious character because he is super full of dry wit. 

Anyway, Clara and Budroxifinicus are called out to a domestic disturbance at the Sewells place.  Missus Sewell assaults Clara and ends up brought in to the jail.  Meanwhile, Zeke goes out to help his neighbour find her lost dog.  You're not supposed to go out at night because that's when the natives will get you.

I should clarify at this point: this is very much a science fiction western.  The natives are these bug-like monsters who clearly lived on the planet before humans came here.  Budroxifinicus is some sort of alien (I don't think the book actually said what kind).  And Clara and Zeke were posted here from some other planet.

So yeah.  Anyway, Zeke and his neighbour get rescued by an artificial human (an "artie" as Clara calls them - they were created for the war against the native creatures I believe and are pretty much killing machines.  Clara really dislikes them).  Clara was called back to the Sewalls because something tore through the house and murdered the father and the boys (well most of the boys - one was badly injured but managed to live). 

So the rest of the story ends up this sort of murder mystery with Clara and Budroxifinicus trying to figure out what exactly happened (while waiting for the one living Sewall boy to hopefully wake up and tell them).  Budroxifinicus does some great police work in the middle of this, and Clara starts to get over her prejudices for the non-human people.

I really, really enjoyed reading Volume 1 and can't wait to read Volume 2 (hopefully later tonight though - I don't have enough time right now).

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Aquaman: Volume 7

Well, Aquaman Volume 7: Exiled was a bit confusing at first. It opens with Aquaman fighting Atlantean soldiers on the surface. Then it gives us a bit of back and forth between what happened in the past vs what's happening now. And it takes quite awhile for everything to come together and make sense. But once it finally does, it gets pretty good.

Basically, another world is invading ours. The other world, named Thule, was once a part of Atlantis. But when King Atlan succeeded in uniting Atlantis, a sect of wizards escaped by creating their own world. But now whatever magic kept them apart is failing. But they knew this day would come and so have spent centuries preparing for it, with the intent of conquering our world.
Arthur went to fight this threat on his own, leaving Mera behind as Queen of Atlantis. But when he came back to tell her that there are many innocent people who would be killed if he outright destroyed Thule, she accused him of being a traitor. So Arthur has been been trying to rescue the innocent Atlanteans of Thule while fighting the dark magics of the wizard kings AND evading the team Mera has sent to capture him.

Of course, Mera isn't actually Mera; her shapeshifter sister has taken her place on the throne. I was thinking she'd been mind controlled or something because the angry Mera on the throne was obviously not the regular Mera.
So Arthur fights everyone on his own for awhile until Wonder Woman confronts him. Then he gets the rest of the Justice League to help him invade Thule and destroy it while making sure as many innocents as possible get out. Oh yeah and he takes a little time out before this to go save Mera (but it's ok, she manages to save herself in the meantime - Mera is awesome!)

So while confusing at first, overall Exiled is a pretty good read. Still no war of the Seven Seas though (which was totally alluded to at the end of Volume 4). But apparently there's a Volume 8 coming, so *maybe* it'll be in there?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Aquaman Volume 6

Well, Aquaman Volume 6: the Maelstrom was better than Volume 5.  But still nothing about the other kingdoms being reunited.  :(

This time, Aquaman has to fight the Chimera, the crazy experiment a Triton Base scientist cooked up using the brain of an Atlantean monster.  The Chimera was able to camouflage as things, and had all the super powers of all the predators under the sea.  He thought he'd be able to mind control Arthur (especially since he was able to control the minds of fish better than Arthur), but he totally failed.  But he lived to fight another day, so I guess we'll see the Chimera again sometime. 

After that, Arthur invited Dr. Shin, Daniel Evans, and the Martian Manhunter into Atlantis to help him solve a problem: why are the seaquakes happening?  It turns out, they're because Arthur is king, but he is part surface dweller, so the living kingdom (it absorbs the thoughts and feelings of dead Atlanteans) has not completely accepted him.  It should have been fine when his mother died.  Which leads to a bigger mystery: where is Arthur's mother?  Her body should have been in its tomb/casket.  But it is missing.  So Arthur and Mera go off hunting through gates to find her.  They make their way to Katangala, the land of psychic talking apes.  And eventually find Atlanna's trail leads them to the Maelstrom.  But Atlanna was told Arthur and his father were murdered by her Atlantean husband's hand.  Will Arthur be able to convince her that he is who he says he is?

Oh, we also got the origin story of Mera (of how she left Xebel and decided not to assassinate Arthur).  That happened nearer the beginning of the volume, but was pretty out of place with most of what happened. 

Like I said, this was better than Volume 5 though.  The stories fit together a lot better, rather than being random weird, almost unrelated things. 

So *hopefully* I get the story I'm waiting for in Volume 7!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Aquaman Volume 5

This....was not the story I thought it was going to be.  Aquaman Volume 4 left off with Arthur Curry's half brother being visited by the king of Xebel, who was reuniting the rulers of the seven sea kingdoms to take down Aquaman.  It had long been thought that Atlantis was the last one.  Turns out that's false.  So I was super excited to read that story. 

Hopefully it's in Volumes 6 or 7?

Aquaman Volume 5: Sea of Storms was kind of all over the place.  Aquaman discovers there's a human base in the sea.  He wasn't able to deal with it at the time though (for reasons).  The base is experimenting with a piece of the brain of an Atlantean monster that Arthur had to kill.  After that, Arthur and Mera attended his high school reunion (where he discovered that many of the people he went to school with are still okay with him, even though he ran off from high school).  While he was at the reunion, an archeologist stole Arthur's trident and used it to open a portal.  He thought it would go to Atlantis.  Turns out it just went to Hell, releasing the Giant children.  So Arthur and Wonder Woman dealt with most of them.  Mera and Wonder Woman dealt with the rest.  But then there was a giant algae monster that Arthur had to deal with because it was killing a reef.  He battled the green avatar for no reason (the green avatar kept telling him to stop, but apparently Arthur Curry is kind of dense like that).  Eventually the green avatar went and dealt with it (but was almost nuked by Atlantis in the process).

So yeah.  This was a super weird volume.  A different writer took over from Geoff Johns, so that might have made a lot of the difference.  Hopefully Volumes 6 and 7 will be more coherent!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Invader Zim: Volume 2

Well, no use in waiting.  I read Invader Zim: Volume 2 immediately after finishing Volume 1.  And Volume 2 seemed even crazier than Volume 1!

This time around, we had Zim applying for a loan in a human mech suit.  Gir is piloting the legs; when he sees popcorn, he sends the legs in an opposite direction, tearing the mech suit in half.  Hilarity ensues as Zim tries to track down Gir (and the legs).  Next, Zim and Gir crash land on barren planet.  They trigger something which causes millions of years of evolution to happen in mere moments.  And end up battling giant bugs to get their Voot Cruiser back.  Then we had the pants aliens conquering the planet at Zim's invitation, turning humans into pants zombies.  Next Dib became Zim's intern to try to get better footage of Zim's base.  And finally, Zim went on a hunting trip to bring something truly terrifying back to Earth to impress his classmates. 

Volume 2 is in some ways more wackier than Volume 1 was; I think it was by Chapter 2 that I felt "here it is, here's the show I loved."  I'm all Zim-ed out for tonight, which is fine because Volume 3 isn't out yet.  But I can't wait for when it is out - I think it'll be awesome!