Sunday, February 3, 2019

New Arrivals: A Comic Book Haul

It seems 2019 is destined to be the year of comics for me. Being new to the comic world there are so many awesome comic series I want to try out. So many! I've also discovered that I have penchant for omnibus and deluxe editions which will turn into another expensive hobby. Comics/graphic novels in South Africa are NOT cheap. I'm going to be forever broke...

It all started with the Super Sons Omnibus. I've been waiting ages for this to be released and it finally did (the day before Christmas!). Local pricing seemed to fluctuate wildly, so after comparing prices and even with shipping fees included Amazon was the cheapest option. I couldn't order just one item, so I also added Descender Book One and the DC Essential Edison of Batman: The Court of Owls.

This was also going to be a test to see how importing books from Amazon would work and how long the process would take. Roughly two and a half weeks, and lots of unnecessary stress, later these beauties arrived. I've discovered new comic books smell even better than normal books...

Super Sons Omnibus by Peter J Tomasi

Batman The Court of Owls Saga trade

Descender by Jeff Lemire Book One

I'm glad to report that they arrived unscathed, except for a small ding on the trade paperback, and much faster than I expected. I think I might live to regret this discovery. I've always avoided Amazon due to the fact that the last time I used them the book took 2 months to get here. Granted that was in 2008 and it seems that a lot has changed since then. Beware my poor, poor budget!

I also picked up the deluxe edition of Kingdom Come from a local retailer. I adore the painted artwork by Alex Ross. Isn't that cover amazing?

Kingdom Come by Mark Waid

I've already set my eyes on the next omnibus I want to buy. Someone please stop me!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Review: One Way by S.J. Morden

Title: One Way
Author: S.J. Morden
Pages: 330
ISBN: 9781473222564
Publisher: Gollancz
Published: 15 February 2018
Genre: Science Fiction | Thriller
Source: Review copy from publisher

Buy it from:
The Book Depository

Frank Kittridge is serving life for murdering his son's drug dealer, so when he's offered a deal by Xenosystems Operations - the corporation that owns the prison - he takes it.

He's been selected to help build the first permanent base on Mars. Unfortunately, his crewmates are just as guilty of their crimes as he is.

As the convicts set to work on the frozen wastes of Mars, the accidents multiply.

Until Frank begins to suspect they might not be accidents at all...

S.J. Morden's One Way starts off slow and grows in intensity as the stakes escalates. It's an atmospheric read where the Mars setting plays just as much a role as the cast of characters. Morden manages to capture the desolate, inhospitable Martian environment perfectly. An environment where every breath counts and your life depends on those around you. Every mistake could be deadly. Every step could be your last.
"His life was measured in breaths: the harder he worked, the fewer he had left." (p 122)
There are moments of beauty and touching camaraderie among the crew of convicts. Just as it seems they have overcome the worst of the obstacles thrown in their path it becomes clear that the deadly accidents on the expedition are anything but. When Earth is millions of miles away where do you run to? Where can you hide? Who can you trust?

The main protagonist, Frank, is an interesting, sympathetic character and becomes a caretaker for the rest of the crew. The other characters aren't fleshed out all that much and for the most part they felt disposable, which is the only real downside to the story. I never really cared all that much about them.

The brutal conclusion will have you at the edge of your seat, holding your breath in anticipation to see how far someone will go to survive. The greater conspiracy at work, although not entirely unexpected, provides an interesting twist and ponders the value of life in more ways than one.

The Verdict:
S.J. Morden's One Way is a brutal, claustrophobic, murder mystery set on Mars. While things start of slow it picks up pace, and soon you'll be enthralled by the character's struggle for survival in all its paranoid glory. An exciting read that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Recommended!

The rating: 7/10 (Very good)

Thanks to Charlene from Jonathan Ball Publishers for the review copy.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Review: Snapshot by Brandon Sanderson

Title: Snapshot
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Pages: 129
ISBN: 9781473224995
Publisher: Gollancz
Published: 10 October 2018
Genre: Novella | Science fiction | Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

Buy it from:
The Book Depository

Anthony Davis and his partner Chaz are the only real people in a city of 20 million, sent there by court order to find out what happened in the real world 10 days ago so that hidden evidence can be brought to light and located in the real city today.

Within the re-created Snapshot of May 1st, Davis and Chaz are the ultimate authorities. Flashing their badges will get them past any obstruction and overrule any civil right of the dupes around them. But the crimes the detectives are sent to investigate seem like drudgery - until they stumble upon the grisly results of a mass killing that the precinct headquarters orders them not to investigate.

That's one order they have to refuse, so now the hunt is on. And though the city they walk through is only a Snapshot, that doesn't make the dangers any less real.

While Brandon Sanderson might be best known for his epic fantasy tomes, he also excels in shorter forms. Snapshot, is a prime example of just how much Sanderson manages to pack into a 125 page novella. Expect one thing, get something completely different.

Snapshot's premise is fascinating, the characterization and worldbuilding is just enough to keep you invested and push the narrative forward. Just when you think you are ahead of the game Sanderson subverts what you think is about to happen and twists it into a far more complex, multi-layered story which questions reality and messes with your mind. The startling ending is bittersweet and best experienced for yourself. Well worth it!

The Rating: 7/10 (Very Good)

Thanks to Charlene from Jonathan Ball Publishers for the review copy.

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