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).