Tv Series Review: The Mandalorian chapter one -Star Wars Disney+

The Mandalorian episode 1 written by Jon Favreau and directed by Dave Filoni is off to a good start in the first live action show in the Star Wars universe it captures the look of Star Wars off the bat. The first episode took a minute to get into, I would have to say mainly to Horatio Sanz acting. I didn’t feel like he was part of the universe and more or less a guy in a costume. I was very satisfied with what happened to his character. The music was kind of odd at times, some times it was nailed, but I swear I heard parts of a Rocky like theme, I honestly don’t think it was implanted in my brain because I saw Carl Weathers, who was good. The cast without Horatio Sanz and other actors in the opening scene are good, really good. You will play where have I heard that voice from with voice talent from Nick Nolte and Taika Waititi. Other actors are Pedro Pascal as the Mandalorian, who does not take his helmet off and sounds more like a young Timothy Olyphant tan Pedro Pascal under the helmet, Werner Hertzog, Carl Weathers, Omid Abtahi and Brian Posehn. I’m a pretty big Star wars fans I’ve seen every movie watched most of the tv shows I love Rebels, read a decent amount of Star Wars books.

 

The Plot: (loose spoilers – I describe the first five minutes of the show) The world is torn after the defeat of the empire (The Mandalorian takes place after Return of the Jedi and before The Force Awakens. Bounty Hunting is in business, the mandalorian enters into a bar after a character was getting shaken down. When he walks in he’s immediately accosted he takes down the thugs and in brutal form (the camera cuts away as some one is sliced in half), The guy getting shakendown offers a reward as thanks, but the mandalorian looks him up and he has a bounty and is removed. That sets up the tone of the show. The mandalorian turns in his bounties then learns of a top secret loose on the details mission that he takes on a remote planet.

 

What I Liked: The visuals are stunning there’s a lot of really cool visuals that could be posters the final shot, and the walking out of the bar shot. The transitions in the show are the exact in a Star War . The acting is good except for Horatio Sanz, sorry. The story moves really well, the episode is only 35 minutes, which felt odd and went very fast. I liked that he doesn’t take the helmet off, we get to see his face as a boy through flashbacks. The special effects were really good for a tv show. There’s a creature that was in Jabba’s palace, that is featured here in a really memorable cameo scene, it is not the same creature but a cousin or brother maybe. Excellent action scenes. There’s good bits of humor throughout, Taika Waititi’s character gave me the biggest laughs. I love the characterization of the bounty hunter, very Clint Eastwood the spaghetti westerns. Theirs is a western no man’s land vibe.

 

What I Disliked: The music was at times weird, and did not fit. There’s only one episode up for now but no timeline listed of when new episodes come out, which I find frustrating. I liked Nick Nolte’s character but did not like the scene he was in, it felt like total filler. I reminded me of a bad episode of the Clone Wars. I took a second to get in to the universe.

 

Recommendations: I will recommend the series, it feels more like Rogue One the film than any other star wars film. The action and atmosphere is great. You doesn’t have to know anything about star wars too watch this show. I rated this episode 4 out of 5 stars. Personal note don’t worry my book review friends this is mainly a book review site, I just got Disney+ the three year deal and wanted to give my insight to the new show, for people that are star wars fans that are maybe on the fence.

The latest trailer

Book Review: In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware is an anxiety filled psychological thriller, it makes you fill claustrophobic but yet on display. This is my second Ruth Ware novel I caught the hype train and read The Women in Cabin 10, I have to say I liked this one a whole lot better. my main complaint is it ended the mystery too soon and In the Dark, Dark Wood keeps you guessing until the end. The reviews blurbs on the cover do imply scary mainly Reese Witherspoon’s “Prepare to be scared … really scared!”, this book is a long panic attack, you are in a character’s mind living her worst case scenario with some added memory loss that really puts her on edge. The twist are mainly small but there’s a couple large ones, but the novel is mainly atmospheric. This book is scheduled to be a movie soon.

The Plot: Nora or Lenora is found in the dark woods, covered in blood and bruises, with most of her fingernails broken and battered, she has no memory other than she was a guest a a bachelorette (or the British version a hen party) at a remote cabin in the woods. Nora takes us through how she got invited to the party. Nora a Crime writer gets an invite from Clare trough her over ambitious friend Flo. Nora thinks there must be a mistake Clare had a falling out 10 years ago, she looks through the guest list and sees the one person she knows from the past, Nina they message and Nina is just as surprised at the invite as Nora. They each dare each other to go, something they will both soon regret.

What I Liked: As someone who has had bouts with anxiety, the description are right on and put you in that space. Nina was by far my favorite character, great sassy character that is not afraid to speak her mind and make a situation uncomfortable. I loved all the allegories to stages and play acting, and how it fit so well with all the reveals. I like the atmospheric tension with the setting. I was satisfied with the the reveals and reasons of the antagonist. There some great uncomfortable humor at one character’s expense that had me laugh out loud once, and chuckle. The ouija board scene is the by far my favorite scene.

What I Disliked: I felt no police would allow a suspect to have all the free reign with visitors, and the hospital administration letting almost anyone with no relation back to see a patient. The novel had some good twist but for the climax there’s a scene that is so telegraphed I kept rolling my eyes, other reviewers have really harped on this scene, it was a misstep but I didn’t let it effect my rating too much with the other twist and turns landing.

Recommendations: If you’re looking for a good solid mystery then this one works, there’s no big twist that change everything but twist that for the most part keep you guessing. I will recommend this book to people curious about what happens to your mind and body during a panic attack, if you’ve never had one. I rated In a Dark, Dark Wood 4 out of 5 stars this has restored my faith in Ruth Ware since I gave The Women in Cabin 10 3 stars.

Book Review: Recursion by Blake Crouch

Recursion by Blake Crouch is a mind bending Science Fiction, I would say like no other, but this is the writer of Dark Matter, so mind bending is what he just does.  A good science fiction for me makes me ask questions about the potential future and this book will compel you to ask questions. The story is all about memories of the past and how we connect to them, and second guess the choices we made in those instances. I was thrown into my own life and thought about my own memories the happiest and the saddest. This story can be compared to Inception meets Primer with some Edge of Tomorrow thrown in. This novel like Dark Matter is a story that goes off the rails, you will not know where this story is heading, it changes directions at least 3 times, but man is it a good ride. Blake Crouch is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors, I was super bummed when I was not selected for the ARC on netgalley for this book. I liked the story as a whole a lot better than Dark Matter, but the twist hit me a little harder in Dark Matter, but Recursion has more of them. Blake Crouch’s work has been turned into series and he has some upcoming like Wayward Pines a 2 season show that aired on Fox staring Matt Dillon, Good Behavior which is based on a novella just finished season 2 on TNT, Dark Matter is to be a film at Sony, and he sold Recursion to be a series on Netflix produced by Shonda Rhimes of Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy.

The Plot: Barry a detective in robbery homicide gets a call about a possible jumper, he’s the first to meet Ann, as she sit on the edge of the roof. Barry thinks of ways to tackle her and drag her away but pauses when it is revealed she has FMS False Memory Syndrome. A new disease that travels in social circles and could be contagious, the disease makes a person have a whole lifetime of other memories from their own. Ann describes how she is all alone but she remember having a loving husband and a son in her memories. She tracked the man down, and he didn’t know her or want to do anything with her. Ten years earlier Helena is a researcher at Stanford in memory she hopes to one day cure the Alzheimer disease that her mother has. She gets an offer she can’t refuse for full funding for a project she’s dreamed about, but never told anyone about. her financier seem to know more about her and her project than meets the eye. This research either leads to the cure or the cause of FMS.

What I Liked: This story goes everywhere, even when writing the plot for this review is only one eighth of the story, you can not predict where this story is going to go. I could compare it to one of my favorite Tv shows American Horror Story, where you never know where the plot line is heading. The twist are layered throughout and keep you guessing. There’s a real heart to the story and a sweet love story about second chances. The action when it there is really good. The bad guy has a good deal of layers and motive for his actions. I did not like Helena’s character at first but grew to really love her. The two character perspective of Helena and Barry really works. I was never confused by the narrative, and this story is one that could easily get confused with in another writer’s hand. I love the questions this story ask about memory. The science isn’t crazy detailed but I felt it was just enough.

What I Disliked: Helena’s character does take a little while to love, at first I was really missing the Barry chapters, but here character does get better. This novel repeats its self a lot, I had a couple friends not like Dark Matter for that reason alone and since it is memory it is more. I really noticed it at the end I think that Crouch tried to make it different, sometime he succeeded sometimes he failed. I thought Barry’s character was sometimes too smart for his background.

Recommendations: If you liked Dark Matter you will like this book, when both of these books ended I collected my thought and thought of the science fiction questions asked and put in my own life. I like science fiction that makes me think and this did. If you like stories about memories then you will love this book. I acknowledge this book has flaws but the story experience is one to beat, so I rated this book 5 out of 5 stars. This is my second five star review fro Blake Crouch and eagerly anticipate his next one, I actually plan to reread Dark Matter and post the review on this site, since I was still so new at reviewing the first time I read it.

Book Review: Goosebumps: Let’s Get Invisible by R. L. Stine

Let’s Get Invisible by R. L. Stine is the six in the original Goosebumps series, I’m rereading them in order, and giving them to my nephews, but the’ve been so much fun, so I’ve reviewed six so far. This on is all about invisibility, the ultimate way to play hide and seek. Stine always adds something real and relevant to his horrors and this time it is addiction and peer pressure. The group of friends keeps challenging each other to go invisible longer, you’ll hear a lot of really this is the last time, only to do it more and longer. The twist was really good and clever, one of the better twist so far. This one is mild on the scares but you will get the feeling to shout maybe you guys should not do this again. This novel is more focus then others we are shown the device that makes you invisible pretty early for a goose bumps book. I did feel that the gimmick of invisibility started to run out. This story was made into an episode for the Fox TV show, in the 2nd season episode 6 and is currently on Netflix.

The Plot: It’s Max’s birthday party, he had all these outdoor activity’s but it’s raining. 15 kids show up all together but start leaving at 5 (lame). Max is left with his annoying little brother Lefty, Erin the girl he likes and her best friend April the kind of shy timid one. The group are looking for something to do, they watch Terminator but then get bored, Erin who has a thing for attics realizes Max has one and they set up an adventure to the attic. The dog Whitey joins them, they rifle through old magazines when the dog starts pawing at something in the back and find out it’s a small door to a secret room. The rood contains a large old timey mirror that is wood paneled with a light attached above it. Max looks into the mirror marveled at the lack of dust and how clear it is pulls the cord on the light above as all his friend and brother freak out, because he has vanished, Max thinking this is a joke pulled the cord again as he reappears. with his friends asking how he did that. Before he can explore more his friends mom comes. Two days later Max can’t stop thinking about the mirror and little does he know his little brother is thinking the same thing. Max explores late at night and his brother follows wanting to play the ultimate game of hide and seek, they each stand in front to the mirror and pull the cord and play, for a bit when Max starts to fill weird and light all a sudden, he’s had enough and pulls the cord, but he and his brother don’t reappear right away something has gone wrong. They do appear but the more they do it the longer it takes and Max starts noticing something is not right about the return.

What I Liked: A way more focused story than other goosebumps series stories. The fear of not returning is done well. The twist is good, even though the final twist doesn’t make too much sense. The addiction angle was really great, it made me think about how friends in the past have peer pressured me into doing something that maybe weren’t that safe, just like in the story. the invisible prank on the neighbor was a classic make them see something then get someone else and nothing, but it works here.

What I Disliked: There was no history of the mirror, the novel goes out of it’s way to say it used to be the grandparents home before and even has them come over, Lefty tries to mess with them and is foiled by Max, but nothing ever happens. Also the grandparents come over for a meal and it ‘s just chicken noodle soup, really set up your serving game. the invisible angle gets tired with i’m going to quit then does it again. The final twist did not make sense, I liked that is was telegraphed fro the beginning, but with what happens in the climax it didn’t make much sense.

Recommendations: This one is a good one for the younger kids, it teaches them about peer pressure and is not scary, it has a couple prank scares but nothing really scary. I would compare this to Monster Blood where it is not scary and more humorous, I liked this one a lot better than that one. I rated Let’s Get Invisible 4 out of 5 stars. The ranking of the six I’ve read so far, from best to worse is Stay out of the Basement,The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb, Say Cheese and Die, Let’s Get Invisible, Welcome to Dead House and Monster Blood. I will continue to ready the series in order and give it to my nephews when finished, next up is Night of the Living Dummy.

Book Review: Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

The Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly a book that take real people and actions during World War II and creates a compelling work of fiction that fells very true. Lilac Girls follows three women Kasia a Polish teenager who works for the underground against the Nazis, Herta a young German doctor that works at women’s German prison camp, and Caroline an American that volunteers at the French Consulate and helps the war effort. These tails are all connected in some way and intermingle at times. Tis story is a bout the war but also after it and about how broken the war tore apart these countries. This is the first book that really deals with the war and the aftermath, where most novels stop at the end of the war, lilac girls takes place in 1939 and goes up until 1959 way after the war was over. This novel has a serious melodramatic tone but there a plethora of emotions these ladies go through some have highs when others have lows, that balance really helps with the flow of the novel.

The Plot: Caroline is a former broadway star, that now dedicates her life volunteering at the French Consulate in America. When a big star drops out last minute of a charity ball she get Paul a current broadway performer that is French. Caroline falls big for him but he’s married, there marriage has no love anymore with him living full time her and her back in France. Things are heating up between the two of them when Germany invades France. Paul can’t just leave his wife there and journey’s back with Carolines help securing a visa for them both, but things don’t go as planned. Kasia is a young Polish teenager when Poland is invaded by Germany, she’s half german half polish, which makes her not good enough she has friends that our Jewish and taken away. She ‘s young but wants to do something, she joins the underground, a resistance works to overthrow German rule in Poland. She gets caught and declares her and certain members of her family enemies of the state and sent to a Concentration Camp. Herta is a young German woman working her way to be a doctor, she wants to help people. The war happens and she gets a job at the only place that will hire her a doctor at a Concentration Camp. She soon finds out the job isn’t about keeping prisoners well but performing experiments. Will she comply and throw away every thing she believes in or not?

What I Liked: The history is mingled in really seamlessly, and really easy to follow the events. I liked that this novel doesn’t show just how badly the Jewish people were treated, but everyone else who went against Germany. The novel really explains country pride and how that is used to motivate. The aftermath of the war is very eye opening I think this is the first story that I’ve read that goes into detail about how the war messed up people, places, and finances. This story easily wraps the reader up form the start. The switching between narrators was really effective in terms of story and not confusing to the reader. The twist and turns are written really well and keep you on your toes. The acknowledgements go other what Kelly added and what she drew from with Caroline and Herta being based on the real people, it was really helpful, and neat to know how much was true.

What I Disliked: I thought there was a bit too much coincidence in the novel, you have how all the women are connected which I actually liked, but the story line had too many first time coincidences, for example there’s one scene with a lost baby, one that was taken from it’s mother at a camp and a character is sent to find, she finds the baby at the first place she looks, which I went really no exhaustive search. No characters spoke with an accent of inflection, even on attempts to speak english.

Recommendations: World War II fiction is my absolute favorite and this book is one of the better novels of it. Lilac Girls is the first in a series and I plan to read book 2 in the series Lost Roses soon. I recommend this book for historical history buff, women’s fiction this book has some kick butt female leads. The immersive writing reminded me of World War II fiction like The Alice Network by Kate Quinn and Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. I rated this book 5 out of 5 stars I acknowledge this books flaws but the fantastic story more than makes up for it.

Wrap Up: October 2019 Book Reviews

There’s only two more months until the end of the year, that’s crazy.  I am currently one book away from hitting my goal of 65 novels this year.  I’m currently changing up my work schedule that will allow me more reading time.  I read five books this month, one biography, one graphic novel and three tales of horror, with one being a netgalley ARC.  I felt I was reading slow this month but hit my average anyway.  I read one five star read and the rest were four star, not too bad in reading content.

5 Star Reviews:

Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones – This book paints a picture of a hardworking puppeteer, director. writer, composer, and creator. I loved this book, I’m a huge fan of the Muppets, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, The Labyrinth, and The Dark Crystal. This book really drives home Henson’s kind character, insane work ethic, and his visionary ideas. The book is a almost 500 pages (almost 600 pages with the citations) and when I finished I still wanted more. highly recommend I was ten when he passed, and cried not understanding about death and this book recounts what his tragic final days were like, I still got emotional while reading it.

4 Star Reviews:

Flight of Fright: 17 Turbulent Tales edited by Stephen King and Ben Vincent – this book has tales of the supernatural, tales of death, tales of suspense, and tales of the dangers of the innovation called flight. The authors of stories in this anthology include Steven King, Roald Dahl, Joe Hill, James Dickey, Ray Bradbury, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Richard Matheson, and others. This book is about fear, now sometimes it is physical fear, but in a couple stories it is the idea of fear. this collection was really balanced in terms of quality storytelling in my full review I broke down every short story and gave it a five star rating scale.

The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey – this is a horrifying look at a a world dealing with a fungus that turns the host into a walking zombie that is hungry only for flesh. This book centers on a young girl of the age of nine the interesting protagonist makes this zombie like story a great one. The theme is this book is hope and it covers both hope and hopelessness fully. This book manages to be heart-filled and heartbreaking at the same time. This book was the closest I read to being five stars, the flow got slow, but one of the most inventive novels I’ve read in quite some time I bought the other book in the series and will read it soon.

A Lush and Seething Hell by John Hornor Jacobs – this is two books in one, a novella The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky and a short novel My Heart Struck Sorrow. This advanced copy published on October 7th was given to me by Harpercollins and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Both stories challenge idea of death and hell on earth. They both involve the past and choices made, for the better or worse. Both stories have good wrap ups and ending that will leaving you thinking for a bit after the story has ended. My heart Struck sorrow I rated it a highly recommended 5 stars, it is the second story in this book. Where a man dealing with the lose of his daughter and child becomes obsessed with a journal and recording of a man searching for a particular song about a man going to hell.

Bone, Vol. 2 The Great Cow Race by Jeff Smith – this story adds more slapstick and more focus to the ridiculous second graphic novel in the Bone Series. This book is part Looney Toons meets Grimm Fairy Tales.  I bought this for my cousin who is 12 I’ve loved reading this series with her, it is very fun.  There is animated character’s smoking cigars is my only warning to this series.

 

 

 

Book Review: Once Upon A Dream, a Twisted Tale by Liz Braswell

Once Upon a Dream by Liz Braswell is a book from Disney’s Twisted Tales Series, where reader are given alternative versions of classic Disney stories by having What if questions. For Once Upon a Dream the what if scenario is, What if Sleeping Beauty never woke up? This scenario really hooked me, to get this book for my girlfriend, which Sleeping Beauty is her favorite story, and she let me read it after her. I was excited that it was actually Disney doing it. This is a YA book and it went over a lot of things I didn’t see the book tackling, like depression, arranged marriage, love at first site, female empowerment and self harm. This novel did throw me at first having a new background for Sleeping Beauty, but there is a reason, and I was satisfied with the reason, it does take a hundred pages to get there, though which I found was a bit too long. I manages to put some ideas about Maleficent, the movie, into the book about her character and explore some of those avenues of good and evil. The title come from the song that is sung in the movie Sleeping Beauty and covered in Maleficent by Lana Del Rey

The Plot: Princess Aurora has always lived in the castle, her parents wanted a boy so they could broker more land in a wedding. The fairies comes to the birth and offer gift of Beauty and song to Aurora and Merriweather offer her parents every wish they desire but they get Aurora when she turns 16. Maleficent prophecy is that when Aurora reaches 16 goodness will be restored on this wicked kingdom. We see Prince Phillip try to kiss Aurora and instead of wake her up he falls asleep thinking why didn’t I check to make sure she was dead. Aurora has been trapped in the castle since she was little Maleficent put thorns up all over the castle protecting them from an ongoing apocalypse going on on the outside, thanks to her parents greed. Maleficent punishes a man or drunkenness and saying he has been outside and survived. Aurora doesn’t believe this until she finds a feather for a bird that is not trapped with them in the castle, and the drunken man has not been seen again. She begins questioning the truth, and she’s horrified when she finds out what Maleficent has been hiding from her all along, is she a savior or something more.

What I Liked: The way things are revealed to the reader is really clever. There is one big twist that I really enjoyed. I liked that the book explored real life issues, and did it in a real way not a storybook way. Aurora is a strong character that does not need a man saving her. I loved the character of Hubert, Prince Phillips dad, and the reveals of that character. I liked the action the climax was almost too much but I did enjoy that the fight had real stakes and death at hand. I liked Maleficent’s overall plan for Aurora.

What I Disliked: This book could have been really good but it fell into cliches of people being demons, thank goodness not every person is, but when characters go it’s probably another demon, you have a problem, and it was too frequently. The chapters were way too long there sometimes good length then they will be fifty pages.

Recommendations: I have two teenage cousins that would absolutely love this book, as an adult I read 10 YA books a year, I like what was explored but the over all story had too many repetitions for me to whole heartedly recommend. I was torn by this review Liz Braswell has written two more in the Twisted Tale series and one is about Aladdin my favorite, with what if Aladdin had never found the lamp. I rated this book 3 out of 5 stars but I will give Liz Braswell another shot.

Book Review: A Lush and Seething Hell by John Hornor Jacobs

A Lush and Seething Hell by John Hornor Jacobs is two books in one, a novella The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky and a short novel My Heart Struck Sorrow. Both stories challenge idea of death and hell on earth. They both involve the past and choices made, fro the better or worse. Both stories have good wrap ups and ending that will leaving you thinking for a bit after the story has ended. My Heart Struck Sorrow was the new story The Sea Dreams It is the Sky has been published before. I enjoyed My Heart Struck Sorrow quite a bit more. Chuck Wendig author of Wanders does really cool foreword to the book. Thanks to HarperCollins Publishing and Netgalley for letting me read an Advanced Readers copy of A lush and Seething Hell by John Hornor Jacobs in exchange for an honest review. It was first Published on October 8th 2019 with an expected mass market publication on October 29th 2019.

The Plot for The Sea Dreams it is the Sky:Rafael Avendano, a former poet, has escaped Argentina and now lives in Spain. The Poet now wears an eye patch has now goes by the Eye, it is a mystery to how he lost it. He meets Isabel a Teacher of poetry in Spain, and originally from Argentina knows a little of his work but found it crude and juvenile. She and most of the world thought Avendano was dead, during the takeover of Argentina. She befriends him as he is called back to Argentina in hopes of a reunion. Isabel watches his apartment in it she finds a secret manuscript telling just how he lost his eye, she keeps getting mysterious notes with just a latitude and longitude on them, pointing to a place in Argentina.

The Plot for My Heart Struck Sorrow: Cromwell needs a distraction from the recent deaths of his wife and son, he with his partner Harriet find that distraction as there job being part of the library is to go through a collection bequeathed to it. The Parker estate is one such donation, they are excited to too into the collection since Parker was a member of the Library of Congress in the music division collection folk songs and stories. Cromwell and Harriet discover a secret room that was locked away, of Parkers last assignment. Where Parker went searching for a particular song about a man and hell.

What I Liked: Both stories blend fact and fiction pretty seamlessly. Both stories are about lyrics in a song or in a verse of poetry, and the writing in both are really great, the folk songs especially, I could almost here them. The endings in both stories really work well, and end a in a very full circle way that I always appreciate. I really loved the characters in My Heart Struck Sorrow, they felt very real and grounded I understood their obsessions. I really like the work with the untrustworthy narrator. The flow in My Heart Struck Sorrow is so good such an easy read.

What I Disliked: The story flow of The Sea Dreams it is the Sky is so slow in the middle I loved the first couple chapters but then it slows down so much. My Heart Struck Sorrow is almost double The Sea Dreams it is Sky but it took me much longer to read Sea Dreams, because of the flow. I also had a little thing with The Sea Dreams it is Sky and it’s use of pronouns, sometimes I was confused with it and had to read passages over as a pronoun is switched to a dream person.

Recommendations: I will recommend this collection of two tales for a perfect October read, my favorite by far being My Heart Struck Sorrow. My rating for stories is The Sea Dreams it is Sky 3 out of 5 stars and My Heart Struck Sorrow 5 out of 5 stars. I would highly recommend this to readers who like historical horror, or horror with a great deal of real life with a twist. I rated A Lush and Seething Hell by John Hornor Jacobs 4 out 5 stars.

Book Review: Bone, Volume 2 The Great Cow Race

Bone, Vol. 2 The Great Cow Race by Jeff Smith adds more slap stick and more focus to the ridiculous second Graphic Novel in the Bone Series. This book is part Looney Toons meets Grimm Fairy Tales. The Story still manages to add to the lore of Bone and the mysterious dragon while the main focus is on The Great Cow Race. Every character from the first novel manages to make an appearance in someway. This novel was not as sexualized as the first one I get the Bone series for my 11 year old cousin, and the first one was close to borderline for a Scholastic Inc. published book.

Plot: Three cousins are kicked out of the town of Boneville, Fone Bone, Phoney Bone and Smiley Bone. Mainly because of Phoney Bones schemes blew up in his face. Phoney Bone is at it again as he and Smiley Bone work at a local tavern in Barrelhaven paying off a debt, they acquired in the last novel. They plan to get everyone in town to bet on a mysterious new cow, that has the best odds, while giving hundred and one odds to Gran’ma a human that has won the last two cow races. The mysterious cow is Smiley Bone in a cheap cow costume. The Rat Creatures see the Cow Race as the oppertune time to grab one of the Bones’, they still are unsure of which fulfills the prophecy and which one’s they can eat.

What I Liked: The art work is top notch, the panels really fit the dialogue boxes. There is still no inter monologue to the characters but there is the occasional heart and a broken heart. The slap stick is way funnier than in Bone, Vol. 1 Out of Boneville we know the characters so there is no set up getting in the way of the joke and it feeling forced. There’s a Sight gag on a roof that is getting repaired that had me rolling. I loved that the opossums babies and the cricket were back in this book, those parts were my favorite from the first volume.

What I Disliked: The lore and the mystery about the prophecy is interesting, and I wanted to see more, the filler even tho some parts were funny it needed to move along. This series reminds me of Dragonball Z and all the filler that blocks and holds up that epic story. I wanted to see more of the Rat Creatures.

Recommendations: I liked this one a lot more then the first volume of the Bone Series, If you like Looney Toons then you will like Bone, I can totally see Daffy Duck substituted for Phoney Bone and his Cow Race scheme. Though the book does have the same bad habit that Looney Toons did as well where the characters smoke a cigar from time to time. I rated Bone Volume 2 The Great Cow Race 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey

The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey is a horrifying look at a a world dealing with a fungus that turns the host into a walking zombie that is hungry only for flesh. This book centers on a young girl of the age of nine the interesting protagonist makes this zombie like story a great one. The theme is this book is hope and it covers both hope and hopelessness fully. This book manages to be heart-filled and heartbreaking at the same time. This novel gives every character an agenda and watches as the five main characters seek to accomplish that agenda some fail as other prevail. I have not read many books that I consider the ending perfect, but man is this ending perfect, it moves the narrative along nicely and it calls back to the very first scene, making it full circle but a completely different context. About the Author, this is my first novel I’ve read by M. R. Carey, but I have read various graphic novels in his vertigo DC Comic nook series Unwritten and Lucifer. I have also seen most of the Lucifer tv show now on Netflix which M. R. Carey is a creative consultant.

The Plot: Melanie A girl of 9 doesn’t have much of a life after school, because after school she is locked in a cage and under heavy watch, along with her classmates. She doesn’t know the outside world but she wants to. She has one teacher Miss Justineau that seems to understand her and is the teacher’s pet, an incident happens as one comforting gesture patting Melanie on the head, makes the teacher jump back in fear of what she has done. Melanie doesn’t understand and is treated horribly and lock up in restraints by the mean Sargent Parks. In class they learn about a new threat the Hungries which are a vicious new wave of humans that grave flesh. Miss Justineau takes some days to comeback and nothing is the same she keeps here distance making Melanie fell like she did something wrong. Parks keeps treating her as dangerous. Melanie stars noticing her classmates start to disappear one by one. She ask Miss Justineau where they’re gone and the teacher looks scared as Parks comes into class and sends everyone back. Miss Justineau tries to intervene and talk the children’s curious nature. That day Melanie learns everything and it will change her life and the world as Miss Justineau innocently reveals the truth about Melanie and the school’s real purpose.

What I Liked: How much information your giving at the beginning then how fast everything is revealed and you seem the hidden subtext and danger in the words used. The character’s agendas are really great and all different some our counteractive and some work together. I like how the character’s don’t change but the situation does and it changes the view of the character and there motivations. I liked how you could feel the confinement in the descriptions. I liked that we get 5 characters different perspectives. The action was written really well. Perfect ending for this novel.

What I Disliked: The middle slowed down too much, the beginning was full of all this information and subtext then an incident happens which is excited and unexpected, but then it takes the novel in a new direction and slows down a lot. One character seems to accept fate too easily I wanted to see more of the internal struggle a bit more.

Recommendation: This book is really special and very unique. This is my second book about a killer fungus and this one far exceed that one with it’s serious tone. If you like books about a zombie apocalypse, then this is a pretty great one that nails the apocalypse part most of all. If you like shocking mind blowing ending that also fit in to the narrative perfectly. I read this book because of the Joss Whedon (creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) blurb on the cover “So surprising, so warm and yet so chilling … As fresh as it is terrifying.” I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars, I own both books the Boy on the Bridge and Fellside, which have now jumped up on my TBR because of this book.