Saturday, January 30, 2021

A Few Graphic Novels

I got the second Jane Foster: Valkyrie graphic novel, At the End of All Things, and the third Aquaman graphic novel, Manta Vs. Machine, from the library the other day.  I don't really have much to say about them, but I did like them better than the previous graphic novels in both series.  

At the End of All Things felt a lot more like the type of story I wanted from the Jane Foster: Valkyrie series. First there was a story where Death herself was sick.  So Jane and Stephen Strange assemble a team of doctors to go and try to cure death.  After that, shadow demons start popping up and attacking Midgard, so Jane rushes to the rescue, along with a few other Avengers.  While most of them agree to stay on Midgard and hold the demons back, Jane and Thor go to find the source of the trouble.  Unfortunately that was all part of the plan - Tyr wanted to lure Jane there in order to get Undrjarn, the All-Weapon, from her because it is the only thing that can (somewhat) control RØkkva, an ancient evil that has been sealed away for millennia, which Tyr plans on using to take control of Asgard and assume his place as All-Father.

This was fun, and if the series keeps giving stories like this, I'm definitely up for reading more!

Manta Vs. Machine
was a bit all over the place.  Using the mech Lex Luthor gave him (which is programed to have the personality of his father), Black Manta assaults Amnesty Bay, wanting to get revenge against Arthur (as always).  But he attacked an Atlantean peace garden, which brought a pregnant Queen Mera into the fight.  They defeat Manta but she overtaxed herself too much and has now slipped into a coma.  I thought she was going to lose the baby, but that story ends with the princess being born albeit 4 months premature.  There are also a few other stories shoved in here, including a random one where Arthur and Mera announced their engagement (and talk about having kids or not), and another one where Arthur tries to raise the spirits of Amnesty Bay (while also getting stressed out himself? I don't know, this story was the most all over the place).

After reading this one, I'm kind of on the fence about wanting to read more in the Aquaman series right now.  I'm interested to see what happens with Mera (although with her in a coma she's going to be sidelined now, which sucks) and the new Princess, but the stuff going on in Amnesty Bay really isn't holding my attention (also, I'm sad that Tula has very much been relegated to a background role in Amnesty Bay).  The random sea gods and goddesses that Arthur brought with him to Amnesty Bay are also just kind of there right now, and I'm not really connecting with them (although the incident where the one goddess went to the supermarket and flipped out because people weren't respecting her was pretty funny).  I guess I'll see how I feel once the fourth volume comes out.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Architects of Memory

I've been waiting to read Karen Osborne's Architects of Memory, the first book in the Memory War duology, for quite some time now.  I was excited to finally get my hands on it.  I started it over the weekend and would have finished it sooner but I had to put it aside for a few days while I was doing some training for work.  Once that was finished though, I immediately picked it back up and finished it. :)

Architects of Memory follows Ashlan Jackson, a salvage pilot who is terminally ill.  She lives in a world where you sell yourself to a company in order to eventually earn citizenship with that company; unfortunately some are much worse than others, charging you for every little thing (and extending indefinitely the terms of your indenture).  For someone with a terminal illness, it's much worse because if the company finds out about it, they can cancel your contract and leave you to die.  So Ash does everything in her power to hide her illness to buy her time to finish her contract and hopefully pay for treatments.

Her salvage crew is sent to clean up the wreckage of another ship from an inter-company war; while going through her routine salvage operations, Ash discovers that there was an alien weapon on board, one powerful enough to destabilize the tenuous peace among the companies.  And for some reason, she is able to handle it...

Overall I really enjoyed Architects of Memory.  Michael R. Underwood's endorsement on the back of the book said it was for fans of Firefly and I really got that.  This was a quirky crew that overall I really enjoyed hanging out with (although I admit I would have liked to have read a bit more of them just hanging out doing their things; they get separated from each other pretty quickly). 

The world of Architects of Memory was interesting, and unfortunately could very much become reality if corporations control the means of getting into space, I could see people basically going into slavery to them to get themselves into space as well. While Ash's crew didn't seem to have hard boundaries between the indentures and citizens, it was really interesting to see how that played out on some of the other ships.  I should also mention that I liked Osborne's aliens, the Vai, as well (although I admit to some confusion on how they could have come to be...)

I do think my biggest complaint was the ending though.  It didn't really feel satisfying; I honestly thought Ash would make more of an attempt to get out to the White Line, possibly dying in the process (I also admit to not really understanding what the White Line was exactly, beyond being the border the Vai retreated to).  But as I said, overall I did enjoy the book; it's a fast paced read and I would definitely like to read the second part when I get the chance! :)