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DamienLovecraft

theguywhoreads

When I pick a book up, I am travelling to a distant place and some times I become one of the characters in a book. My love for stories are the ones that begin and end where fiction is more honest than reality.

Currently reading

Beauty Is a Wound
Bill Tucker And Annie Berry, Eka Kurniawan
Progress: 16/384 pages
The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy and Longing
Coleman Barks, Rumi
Progress: 53/206 pages

The Graphic Novella of Lovecraft

Lovecraft - H.P. Lovecraft, I.NJ. Culbard

Adaptations are never easy if not done right. My love for H.P. Lovecraft is by far, not the easiest but it is his stories that I enjoyed, even though I read only one collection of his stories (The Call of Cthulhu and Other Stories, which I had read and reviewed). Now, this recently released collection of four of his short stories into graphic novel is what excites me to read, especially when I enjoy the artwork by I.N.J. Culbard, which he too adapt the stories. There are four stories adapted into this one massive graphic novel - The Dream - Quest of Unknown Kadath, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, At the Mountain of Madness and The Shadow Out of Time - are related to one another in ways of the world building itself. But do any of it achieved its potential of enjoyment... to me, only two out of four of them are good.

 

The first two stories were some what slow and boring. Nothing really much happening and the narrative itself is rather monotonous. I can't help but feel like I am going into a history lesson class of the universe of ancient ones. Sadly, it doesn't bring the horror out of the stories and ends up pretty much a dud to me. The last two achieve what was intended - the true horrors of the unknown mystery that inspires movies like Alien or John Carpenter's The Thing that has a good substantial influence of Lovecraft's work - a perfect blend of science fiction and horror. The artwork brings out the best in the stories and fits very well here as it does brings out the macabre of the scary.

 

Fans of Lovecraft will enjoy parts of the stories but for those who do not know Lovecraft, might not appreciate much. To me, I would say it deserves a 3.5 out of 5 for this one.

Madness of Split-Personalities...

The Bird's Nest - Shirley Jackson

Split-personality. How many authors managed to write a perfect plot about split-personality? This is my first and from what I can understand, its one of the weirdest I have ever read. Shirley Jackson's The Bird's Nest is not an easy read. Mostly because its very monotonous. Divided into different perspectives, I do enjoy parts of the book, especially the exchanged between the characters, which is very interesting and funny. Other times, parts of the book can be rather tedious.

 

As the blurb goes, Elizabeth Richmond works in a museum and one day, a part of her takes over. Not just one part of her but four and to each of the personalities, each wants to take over Elizabeth's body. Her aunt can't handle her. Her doctor just couldn't diagnose her well. In the end, what ensures is madness but with humor of course. The setting is not much but the exchange is brilliant between characters in this book. Its just the writing I had a problem with (and that is why it took so long for me to complete it; I almost gave up but in the end, I fought my way to finish) - many parts just seem unnecessary. I can't understand the point of being in such a situation and other times, the reasoning just didn't add up as to why, if one knows the other personality, didn't realize its actions. While to each of the perspective is unique, I can't help but did find this a challenge to continue reading it.

 

For the ending... it was a classic Shirley Jackson kind. I can say its pretty much surprising as to how it ends that not only puzzles me, but her kind of endings, much like her previous books I have read, is a norm for her style. Overall its one of those books, while better in writing the conflict of split-personalities that clashes of their needs and wants written well here, what suffers is the dullness of certain parts of the book that doesn't really pull me into it a lot. A 3.5 for me.

A Post Apocalyptic Lyrical Journey of a Man and His Son

The Road - Cormac McCarthy

Post-apocalyptic stories are predictions of the future of "what ifs" the world is turn upside down and throw in some characters and see what they will do. Cormac McCarthy's take on The Road is so much about a man and his son (nameless) do when they are thrown in a situation that can lead to life or death and their relationship experiences during their journey on... the road. A Pulitzer Prize Winner in 2007, I can't help it when it comes to post-apocalyptic stories that I want to read, but finally, it is now that I had read it... and I do have mix feelings with it.

 

As the story opens, there was no mention of how this world began. A flash of light, the lost of government control and the world is in chaos. Dark gray skies that reflects the ocean, the world is cold, without warmth, food and water. Two characters were written without any names, as much as it is, are on the road going south in a nameless world, country or even state. Their journey takes them to places of unimaginable horrors (as written inside) that make's the man distrust humanity. And as a whole, the story just writes itself about their simple, and yet it is about hope. And there it ends - no beginnings, and yet no ends.

 

I can't say this is bad, and I won't say it is good. Its a book without chapters, and with just simple parts of writing that can be read in a day (took me days yes, but we all have other books to read). The thing about reading is some times, I have no idea who is talking first - the man or his son. There are no open close dialogues here. I had to read it to know who is who. While the description of the world building is bleak as it is, its prose is lyrical and beautifully written. Ovefrall I do enjoy the read but I am not sure if this is a favorite. Maybe when I pick it up again and read it one more time, I might change my opinion on this. Its a 3.5 rating out of 5 for me.

The Magic Is In Everwood...

Some Kind of Happiness - Claire Legrand

One of the rare times I read a middle-grade book is when I read an interesting blurb - one that involves a good story that has fantasy element that I like and two, the appeal of its plot that is not common in most books of the subject matter it tackles. Some Kind of Happiness is a book above that talks about what it means to move forward through the power of story that even in the darkest part of reality in a child's life, magic and truth saves it all.

 

Finley Hart is on her way to stay with her grandparents and this is her first time meeting them. Her father hardly spoke much about them... and nobody spoke much about her father at all. Staying in Hart estate means being respectful, proper and nice while staying there. But for Finley, across the estate, there is a forest that she calls it Everwood - a place where stories are weaved and Finley is Queen. But in these woods lies a secret so big and dark, it could destroy every thing in what the Harts believe in...

 

Claire Legrand has written a story that is bold and incredible and yet, touching a sensitive subject that targets middle-grade readers with a serious fiction not only that is heavy, but executed lightly and easy to understand. The flow of the story is amazingly powerful to read and yet endearing and good. When it comes to broken hearts, depression and anxiety, Legrand delivers so well, I can't believe this is a book for middle-grade readers. As it is, I really enjoy my read as not only its part fantasy and mystery, its also about family and drama of its whole. The way its written, splits up to two versions of what is narrative in the escape made-up world and real world events is beautifully craft. Its easier to understand how we see Finley thinks and although the way it end is pretty much impossible to accept, overall its a good read. Books like these are hard to find now and should be read by all.

When Vision Wants To Be Normal, Being Not Normal Is Normal

The Vision: The Complete Series (Vision: Director's Cut (2017)) - Mike Del Mundo, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, Tom King, Michael Walsh

Comics that I know of is never this good. Here's some thing honest coming out from me - I stop reading comics after the year 2002. It was then, I had no idea what was going on in the comic world. Who are the great writers of its time (except Geoff Johns because of his writings on The Flash; I never knew he went and wrote other great titles like Green Lantern & Aquaman) and who are the popular artists at that time. After more than a decade, and out of my own comfort zone of the past that I finally gave The Vision a try. This was because, recommended by someone whom had been reading comics for the past decade, Tom King is an author, that I was being told, had changed the way comics was written. After I had read The Vision...

 

... I never would have thought there are writers like Tom King change the way comics is written now.

 

The Vision isn't exactly a marketable character to have his own solo series. When Marvel Comics had asked Tom Kingto write, what will he actually deliver, was the question I had when I first heard of a solo series. Would it be like any other series that fail? Is it another attempt of just making money for any Marvel fans to buy? How interesting is The Vision can it get? After reading this edition, I never thought what comics to the general public understands would deliver a dark, creepy and weirdly read that is comic from the house of ideas. There are many writers that has such caliber of the weird (Grant Morrison to name a few; I can't seem to remember others) and Tom King, not only he is consistent in delivering The Vision, the kind that is monotonous in speech and that is faithful in his robotic, not human self, but writing a synthezoid who tries to be normal, isn't really normal to be normal. Here's what this solo series is about.

 

The Visions is currently living at 616 Hickory Branch Lane, Arlington, VA, 21301. Its a suburbs where normal people goes to the city to work. They have nothing to talk about except the heavy traffic and they are trying to fit in. Things are different when the appearance of The Grim Reaper attacks the Visions family when The Vision is away, every thing that The Vision strife to fit into being normal, has a whole different meaning to a path that is as dark as humanely possible.

 

This is what I had read that leads to how the ending is. This is not an action-pack comic book where Avengers will appear and fight against the villains. This is not your normal kind of superhero comic book where good wins against evil. This is definitely not the kind that what you had watched in the movies, you will received such high adrenaline action sequence that will leave you awe and wow. No, this is The Vision, seeing through his eyes and his experience that leads to a path so deep, how his family wants to live to be normal but what is normal, in order to fit in? This is the darker part of Marvel, without the tag Marvel Knights or MAX that includes foul languages except its without. Its the path where it leads to the unknown unspeakable tale that what we do, is madness. And to read is what brings this comic book, a masterpiece that deserves its attention that it should be read.

 

With such writings, the art by Gabriel Hernandez Walta brings the right tone to it. The expression of each characters brings life as it should be. The colors are vibrant and the feeling is grit. This hardcover deluxe edition is what I would call the director's cut as it includes not just the entirety of 12 issues run but also includes the sketches of the comic cover pages, the realization of the visuals, the entire behind-the-scenes script of the 12 issue run plus all the letter fan page letters printed in one. I am happy to say this has now being one of my favorite reads this year (even though it was released in 2015) and I am looking forward to read any Tom King material when I go pick up my next comic book read.

 

One of the Darkest Histories of Malaysia is now one of the Must Reads for YA

The Weight of Our Sky - Hanna Alkaf

The Weight of Our Sky is one of the rarest Malaysian books I enjoy. I did tried a few that even prevent me from reading any further local author works... until this was released. I heard so much about it that I said to myself, alright I will read this and if its not good, I will never read another Malaysian written book ever. And for that, there were no regrets.

 

Melati Ahmad is a young 16 year-old girl with a Djinn inside her head that torments her with scenes of death of her mother. Taunting her in her daily life, the only way she can suppressed it is by counting of threes. On the day of 13th May, 1969, the inevitable happened and she was cut off from her mother when racial clash between three races happened in Kuala Lumpur. With the Djinn inside her head and Melati need to survive in one of the darkest history event in Malaysia, can Melati ever reunited with her mother without getting caught on both sides?

 

Fictional and yet, based on May 13th 1969 Racial Clash in Malaysia, I found myself engrossed in reading what would be a better young adult novel about Melati trying to survive and saving some others in need of help and looking for her mother. I love the style of writing and the constant flow of storytelling. Hanna Alkaf had done no other authors (those who wrote historical stories) dare - writing fiction based on May 13th. There is suspense and there is hope, and the genuine of how close reality was written. There are scenes of violence that may make you feel cringe and there scenes of sadness that may make you feel teary. What I like about it is its straightforwardness in telling this story. The characters are well-developed in a sense you can remember them. I always love Aunty Bee and Jaydev, no matter how supporting characters they are. Still, there are words that really are memorable - "Di mana bumi dipijak, di situ langit dijunjung". Absolutely real and priceless.

 

I am proud to say that this is one Malaysian book everyone should read. Ms. Hanna Alkaf is bold, brave and for her first English debut book on how she wants her book to written, truly a respectable author I am looking forward in the future to read more. If you have not read The Weight of Our Sky, its time to read it.

The Best-Selling Comic from the Blockbuster Movie in 2nd Edition Format!

The Mask Omnibus Volume 1 (The Mask) - Doug Mahnke, John Arcudi, Matt Webb, Keith Williams, Rich Perrotta

The real deal is the comic book version, not the movie adaptation. The movie was more of a friendly, nicer and fun comic with Jim Carreytaking the role of Stanley Ipkiss but for this original version, the comic takes place in characters that taken to wear the mask, and a more darker sinister approached but funnier than the movie. This is the second edition of an out-of-print omnibus of The Mask that collects The MaskThe Mask Returns and The Mask Strikes Back.

 

The Mask - When Stanley Ipkiss bought weird looking green color mask for his girlfriend Kathy, little did he know that what he holds will give him whatever he wish, true his dark side. Better known as Big-Head Killer, Ipkiss wretch havoc all over town and attracts mobsters and a giant named Walter that will stop him with any thing... if only they know the real power is in the mask.

 

The Mask Returns - The Big Head is back and now the mobster has it. More chaos, more havoc and more destruction... but is Big Head a 'he' or a 'she'. Lieutenant Kellaway had took the mask and took advantage of it and only Kathy will do any thing to stop Big Head... including Walter.

 

The Mask Strikes Back - When a young guy discovers the mask, his dreams come true - to be Big Head. Three of his friends too wants to be Big Head. The sighting of Big Head attracts Lieutenant Kellawayand the mob and will do any thing to stop the madness... including Walter.

 

The first two mini-series is a classic of its own. Writer John Arcudireally creates an interesting character that delves into the hidden desires of a person that corrupts a soul before the mask takes over. Doug Mahnke artwork had change to a more solid outline from the first appearance to the last (except for The Mask Strikes Back). While the second sequel pale in comparison of its two predecessors, this second edition is for those who missed out the first omnibus series, that has bad binding. This edition the binding is much more solid. If you haven't read The Mask of any of the comic books or you had enjoyed the movie adaptation but wants to read it (and believe me, its a whole different read), you can always pick up this edition at your local comic bookstores. I really love it.

One of the Best Written Young Adult Books That's A Must-Read!

The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas

Every book that is written has a certain importance on its plot. Whether it is a warning to the world of a certain disease that may wipe out mankind or if it is about standing up against bullying... or even if its about mending a broken heart, most authors clearly or try to pass their own words through writing their books for the readers to read. For Angie Thomas, it is clear her debut book has a voice of her own and its a voice about injustice through police brutality. Reading The Hate U Give truly speaks louder than the words written and really deserves a lot of attention, not just through writing but through what the message was meant to be.

 

Sixteen year-old Starr Carter had witnessed a murder that became a sensational news - a police officer shot her friend in cold-blood. For Starr, she was told to follow the rules when there's police around but now, the death of a close friend leads her two worlds collide - one that she hides well in a school she attends but another where Garden Heights is a place that isn't always safe when prejudice and street gangs rule and she has to make a choice - to speak up or to be silent forever.

 

I love The Hate U Give. I enjoyed so much of the writing because the world that Angie Thomas weave is real - the culture of the black people and the way they speak is real. What is even more real is how it portrays the injustice been down towards their race and how prejudice happened for their kind. There are a lot of layers to be read in this book and how this is one of the must-read-before-you-die kind of books should be picked up. When I read it, it opens up what I want to understand on their side of view - why racism is the way it is in America and why bias towards the black happens only in the ghetto. The message itself speaks out loud and people must read this book. There is so much more here that I don't want to spoil much but I can say, this book deserves a full star rating. If you haven't read this book, read it. Its an important young adult book by far, to me, deserves as one of the best literature book ever written.

A Title I Don't See The Connection With, A Story With Potential But Never Hold Up...

Holding Up the Universe - Jennifer Niven

Reading Holding Up the Universe, there are most parts of the book I didn't enjoy and only few I felt there is so much potential to explore but it just didn't hold it up for me. Another, I kept wondering how does this title connects with the plot or even the characters itself.

 

Libby Strout has a past she wants to forget but she is going to make a difference this year because this year she is making a come back - going back to school. Jack Masselin has a secret - one he has kept since he was six after a fall from a rooftop. When both of them meet, it wasn't some thing that hits it off too well between the two and accepted by others - a girl once dubbed as 'America's Fattest Teen' and a boy who everyone thought knew. But their past has a connection and falling in love wasn't part of it.

 

There are times I did make a comparison to All The Bright Places, not because of the theme but the way Jennifer Niven writes. Its almost similar in some aspects - every thing falls into place, some of the character's exchange of dialogue feels unreal and the ending feels rushed. Holding Up the Universe has that streak, but towards the end, there's some thing special that really brings out the book - a little hint of reality. While it does cover topics of bullying, cruelty towards teens and the same kind of angst teenagers go through, I can't help but wonder how does this title relates much to plot. Maybe I don't see it but in many ways, how does it relate to it? While for me the first act was weak, I was brought to my attention as to how the author brings out some thing personal and real to the emotions of hurt on these characters. Sadly, Jack Masselin doesn't strike me as a character that has personality, compare to Libby, who has it. Then again, the surface written plot lines kills all that.

 

Reading this gave me some mix feelings. I can't say I didn't like it but I can't say that I do like it. There are some good parts and bad in this book - for example, Libby is a brave teen that comes out from her own isolation despite how, once, she was shameful about her physical appearance. On the other, there is nothing with strong attributes that gives Libby the confidence with reasons of coming out from her own isolation that she put herself into and going back to school. There are a few others I just can't seem to accept on my own but while the last act brings out the flaws of moving forward after a past, which is a good part that reflects on reality, there are times the weight of the book that is too surface, pulls it back under the sea. Overall - its an okay read for me but for other readers, it might be otherwise.

About A Boy and A Girl And How Thin The Plot Is...

All the Bright Places - Jennifer Niven

We have read this before in the newspapers. We heard it from other people. Its a subject of taboo that we do not want to talk about... suicide. There are many reasons that leads to such a choice and its commonly known and read how suicides among teens do happened, of their own private reasons. I had read one such book before reading All the Bright Places, which to me... I wonder then when I first bought it few years back many readers gave good ratings. Of course, not every one gave it that high... and I am one of them.

 

I had issues with this book from the beginning. I had a few more some where in the middle. It was not until I am reading towards the end, I realize this is a story not about Theodore Finch - its about Violet Markey and how they met that one change another's life forever. How Violet copes with lost, and how Finch manage to help her with it. Still, there is some thing I did not like from the beginning. It was superficial, it wasn't realistic and it tries hard to make a realization of the main theme. I had mixed feelings as I read and towards the middle, I never care about the characters any more. I just do not know what I should really care about as I go along. It was until the 3rd act that I had guessed where its headed and how this heading feels... too thin. Every thing is just surface. There's nothing deeper to it and that gave me a reason to push forward to end my reading quick.

 

I can't say its horrible at all, as its not really that bad too. On the one hand, its pretty much straight path. Although trying to keep me guessing (even for other readers), the closure for this was bittersweet. What spoils it was the beginning and middle. I do understand what Jennifer Niven is pointing out and on her notes, its through her experience. Still, it suffers a lot in some ways I just felt what's holding my reading was if I bother to finish it and I did.

 

Overall - I felt a 3.5 out of 5 is a given. It would have been better if the characters are explored and the reasons are properly executed or laid out. What suffers it is what I said from above.

The Absolute Transmetropolitan Beginnings...

Absolute Transmetropolitan Vol. 1 - Warren Ellis, Darick Robertson, Rodney Ramos

The medium of comics doesn't just revolve around superheroes alone, its a medium of the artistry and writer to express what they intend to give comic readers that illustrations is not just a man in a cape or a woman with a sword and a shield. Its about writing a good story, with illustrations that really tells a good story that doesn't talk about super powers but a story that talks about without them. I have been a fan of Transmetropolitan before The Authority or The Planetary, two most iconic comics that deals with some what superhero themes. Transmetropolitan is none of that - its about in the future and the people living in a nameless city in the perspective of one Spider Jerusalem, maniac psycho journalist who hates this place. A place where the citizens prefer to believe lies and fantasies and escape the reality of their troubles by shooting up drugs that are legal even if it harms the body, program shows like Sex Muppets that are shown to children is allowed and beating up an old woman who hassle a stranger is okay. No, this is just the side of what Transmetropolitan is - for its actual purpose of reading Transmetropolitan is about how we deal with the truth we kept denying to ourselves.


Collecting from issues #1 to #18, a short story from Vertigo: Winter's Edge #2 and I Hate It Here one-shot special, the Absolute Transmetropolitan Vol.1 is an absolute version to get as it includes not just the above I mention, but also some extras worth reading. To me, this is one edition I have been waiting for to get and when I finally get my hands on it, it completes what as a fan would say, the ultimate edition to own. What is it about? I am sure you have read some of the other reviews by now about this series but I will definitely do a write up but not here - some where where I will be comfortable with to do an absolute writing of Transmetropolitan but for now, this deserves my highest rating. Good binding with a slipcase and oversize, this is one edition that is a must get.

 
 

 

A Sequel Much Better In A Duology!

Our Dark Duet - Victoria Schwab

Finales are never easy to write, especially when it comes to expectations for readers or fans. Our Dark Duet ends with a certain adrenaline beginning that races towards the middle and ends with an unexpected closure. Its the pinnacle choice of what must be and has to be to make this duology a read some thing different worth picking up.

 

Picks up months after the events in This Savage SongKate Harker is hunting monsters in Prosperity. She is fearless and deadly until a new different kind of monster appears that force her to return to the one place she escape from - VerityAugust Flynn is a Sunai hunting other monsters and has a role - to vanquish sinners, monster or even humans. But when the battle between the North and South of Verity is at a standstill still, the appearance of a new kind of monster is tipping the balance and it will take more than his violin to stop this Chaos Eater.

 

The sequel is so much better than the first - the pacing is fast, the delivery is better and it does not waste time into getting the chapters unfold of what's next in a direct way. I truly enjoy Our Dark Duet more than the first book. The ending perhaps is a choice I foresee that is inevitable and of course, there are great things involve. The character development is well crafted, as always. What I love most, is the interaction between the characters that is pretty much awesome. Overall - I love it better than before.

After 1987's Predator, There Are The Comics...

Predator - The Essential Comics Vol.1 - Mark Verheiden, Chris Warner, Ron Randall

When Predator was released unexpectedly in 1987, it was one of the finest science fiction movie of its time since the release of Alien in 1979. In 1989, Dark Horse published Predator, the comic book series as an in-direct sequel to the movie before 1990 Predator 2. I have not read any of the comic versions until finally, I bought this... and I have some mix feelings towards it.

 

Predator: The Essential Comics Volume 1 features three reprinted mini-series that was published before over the years and one never before published adaptation of Predator 2 until now. In Predator: Concrete Jungle, the story takes place in New York city where during the hottest summer, the Predator is on the hunt again... except, he brings his compatriots. Detective Schaefer, brother of Major Alan "Dutch" Schaefer, together with Detective Rasche investigates the murders and the conspiracy of one certain general that was involved from the movie. As the Predators invade New York City, it take Schaefer and Rasche to save the day. In Predator: Cold War, the Predators are now in Siberia and once again, on the hunt. Schaefer and Rasche once again together with a beautiful Russian soldier will stop the Predators on their hunting game... only the Russian government and the American government and a certain general want the Predators technology. In Predator: Dark River, its summer all over again and this time, a crazed Predator from Schaefer's past returns and wreck havok in South America. Once again, Schaefer investigates and this time, he will put an end to it.

 

The comic book series is filled with a lot of one-liners and cheesy action. I can see that writer Mark Verheiden really love the movie and so, his style of writing is similar to how the 1980s are then but it doesn't get any better. Although I do feel the concept of the Predator universe is some what not understood, its not exactly the best of its own when it comes to reading. On art, Chris Warner and Ron Randalldid a good job capturing the presence of the characters. Its not really good and its not that terrible. Its just how it is when reading a Predator adaptation comic and felt as if a fan would have envision it. Overall for me, Predator: The Essential Comics Volume 1 would appeal to fans but not as an introductory story to those who are not familiar with.

The Final Six Book of Gone Series Ends With A Bang!

Light - Michael Grant

The final volume of Gone series ends with a bang. Since the beginning of the first book, Light leads to its final showdown between the gaiaphage and the survivors of FAYZ as the children going against the darkness. Its pretty much a straight forward story that leads to a satisfying ending. While many supporting characters died in this volume, the ending matters a lot. Overall, Light ends the series with a bang that fans will be happy with.

Only If Its Cheap Its Worth Picking This Up...

Deathblow: The Deluxe Edition - Jim Lee, Brandon Choi, Tim Sale

It was in 1992 when 7 popular comic artist (Jim LeeRob LiefeldMarc SilvestriErik LarsenTodd McFarlaneJim Valentino & Whilce Portacio) form Image Comics. In 1993, a new imprint called Darker Image show casing what they call a darker side of heroes with an anthology of three stories in a single issue featuring Sam Keith's Maxx, Jim Lee's Deathblow and Rob Liefeld's Bloodwulf. It was intended to be a 4 issue mini-series... but only the first was released and no more.

 

During a book sale, I found a copy of Deathblow deluxe edition for a very good price and I remembered more than 2 decades ago, I had mixed feelings about it after I read all 12 issues. Now, re-reading this edition not only brings out the good old days but also, what I finally understood the feelings then I go through that now I realize how badly written this comic turn out to be.

 

Deathblow is Michael Cray, a Team 7 soldier that is dying of cancer. On a mission to kill a dictator in Costa Mesa, he stumbles upon some thing supernatural and later in Baghdad, a similar occurrence happened but he killed a priest in the process. As the story flows, the whole story became biblical with words like armageddon, the release of Prince of Darkness, Black Angel, demons and four horsemen of apocalypse and every thing else from a military kind of story turns into a supernatural end of the world tale. I do have a big problem with such a change and in many ways, here's my complain.

 

The story is terrible. There's nothing really interesting when it comes to the plot itself. I had watched and read many stories about armageddon and this is probably one that feels like a fan boy trying very hard writing such a story. The dialogue is horrible. Its hard not to laugh it out and not easy to accept it that it feels forced when I read the exchange of words between the characters. And then of course, there is the style of writing - I just feel like maybe its paying a homage to Frank Miller's style of writing but trying too hard to copy that style. I feel so disappointed when I found out its written by Brandon Choi that this is not his best. Its laughable how terrible the execution and structure turns out to be that I just bear with it as I read it.

 

The art on the other hand for the first few pages is done by Jim Lee and a style seriously, again, trying to be like Frank Miller's Sin City. I mean, if this is another artist, I can say its a terrible copy. Although I love Jim Lee, this doesn't do too well in it. When Tim Sale took over the penciling chores, I feel this is not his best at all. There are moments where the eye can sustain the joy of looking but some times, it doesn't at all.

 

Deathblow is a mess. Its a mess trying to wow young comic readers for the art, not the story. For me, although its terrible, it does have some certain quality love towards it if I overlook the flaws (too many) of this book. For a cheap hardcover edition I paid for that doesn't cost a lot, I can say the price I paid that is cheap, is worth the price of the comic.

There Are Monsters... and There Are Monsters!

This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity) - Victoria Schwab

I am pretty much torn on this. There are things I like about This Savage Song, and there are some I don't. For instance, the world building isn't much impressive and although it has its own uniqueness, its not the kind that pulls the readers into the universe of Verity. There are other good points in this that I will point out.

 

Kate Harker is a Harker - a human living in a city filled with monsters. But a Harker is to be feared. A Harker controls one side of Verity with a shaky truce signed. August Flynn is a monster. He is the third Sunai of the Flynn that controls the other part of Verity. In the city of Verity, there are other monsters that lurks when the sun goes down. And the truce is about to be broken and war is imminent.

 

The beginning chapters feels like a Romeo and Juliet tale. A small introduction of Kate, why she is the way she is to prove herself to her father that she is a Harker and August, trying to fit in with the humans. When they meet, there is some thing exchange between them... until a Malchai attacks Kate that reveals some thing sinister is going on. The first act is slow and there are things I do not like how slow it can get. But after the third act itself, this is where it picks up well. It was towards the end that I thought this book ends as just one book but gave a reason why Our Dark Duet exist as the finale of the duology.

 

To me, this is probably the least like of the series. I actually didn't wanted to start reading Monsters of Verity for some months now but it did took me some time to finally pick this up and read... and took me one of the longest time to finish it. Its a different kind of approach from Victoria Schwab, one I felt she is trying some thing different. Although the creation of monsters is nothing unique, why I gave a four star rating is actually the second part of the book. It is how Victoria Schwab delivers the way she always does.