Tag Archives: books

Batman: No Man’s Land by Greg Rucka

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This book is going to get rated harsher than some of my other book posts. Does it deserve it? Probably not. Is it going to happen anyway? Yes.

Hi, yes, HUGE Batman fan here. We’re talking the girl who had a Batman bathroom. We’re talking about the girl who plans on getting a Batman tattoo sleeve. We’re talking the girl who calls out people on their not-so-accurate love of Batman. “Ohhh, you only like the Nolan films. Obviously you don’t really love Batman.” Yeah, that girl is me.

That being said, I haven’t read every single Batman comic out there. I’ve read a bunch, but not everything, and No Man’s Land is one of the ones I’ve yet to get my hands on. It gets talked about a lot in some of the comics I’ve read, and I know a lot about what happens during NML, but I haven’t read it.

You don’t need to read the comic to know that this book is wrong though. Books can be wrong, and this is one of them.

Picking up this book for $1, I was intrigued. “Someone made a book about the comic book? Okay? Well, I might as well read it.” First off, I like reading books, and I like reading comics. I’m completely fine with reading comics that get turned into books, but comic storylines into books? I feel like maybe that’s a sacred space and shouldn’t be touched on. It’s already a written media. Come up with your own storyline for NML using what we don’t know but still keeping everyone in character and the original storyline accurate.

Did that get confusing? Okay, so let me try and explain. What this person has attempted to do is rewrite the comic book in a strictly “words only” format. I don’t feel that should ever be done though. You could say, “Well, remember this period of time we didn’t know where Batman was? Here’s a short story about those missing days” and I would accept that. That is ok. This just kinda feels like plagiarism, and not even good plagiarism.

Okay, so what you want to actually know about the book: Let’s talk specifics. First, it’s not a bad read. I was entertained y the whole book. A little annoyed by some out of character-ness from Two-Face, Joker, and Nightwing, but still a good read. Greg Rucka is a good writer. I just think he chose a bad storyline to write about.

For example, you can’t just come into the Batman universe and rewrite people’s beginnings. Harley Quinn has a show and a book that go over her origin story. This guy decided she needed to seem crazier, thus giving her an absurd origin story. You can’t rewrite history, guy! That’s what Fanfiction.net is for, not a published book.

I think if you truly love Batman, this book isn’t for you, but if you have a passing interest and don’t really know too much about it, then why not? Pick the book up. I sadly won’t be reading anything more by this guy though, even if the plot sounds good.

Word of advice: Go original next time. Make your own Batman plot line.

X-Men: Dark Mirror by Marjorie M. Liu

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I haven’t posted about the books I’ve been reading lately. That might be because I’ve fallen across a few duds. That might also be because I keep falling back into what I consider my “safe” authors. You know the ones. You already love them, so you’re not taking a huge risk by reading one of their books.

This is the first new author book I’ve read in quite some time, and it’s the first comic book series to novel that I’ve read as well. I don’t have a preference between novels and comics, though for this one, I would LOVE to see it in comic form. You’ll see why as you keep reading.

X-Men: Dark Mirror is written by an actual comic writer, which is why I think the characters were true to themselves and the writing is very true to the regular plotline. I could definitely believe this was canon. This book was funny, and I enjoyed it quite a lot. This is going to be one of those books that when someone mentions they like X-Men, I’ll say, “Oh, have you read this book?”

I picked this up at a used bookstore (always the best place to buy books) and it seemed like something I might like. The story is about how the X-Men, namely Scott, Jean, Wovlerine, Kurt, and Rogue switch bodies with other people. Scott and Wolverine end up as women (which is why I want this in comic form) and Jean ends up as a man. Liu does a wonderful job of talking about how they miss their powers, even though some of them have wanted them gone before.

I will say two criticisms of this book: It isn’t long and it’s pretty fast-paced. I thought the group would stay in the mental hospital for longer than a day. I kept waiting for them to get caught, but their stay ended pretty quickly. This kind of ties in with how I kind of expected the book to be longer. There could’ve been a lot more written here. I took this book to DC with me, and was halfway through in the course of an hour. This book lightly touched on issues, such as the loss of their powers and how it affected them, when it could’ve been expanded.

I’m not trying to persuade you not to read this. I strongly recommend that if you like X-Men-comics, movies, or otherwise-this book is fun and you should buy it. This book will be finding its home on my shelves, much to my friend’s dismay.

If you’re interested in some other recommendations or want to read some more reviews, check these out: The Starlight Crystal by Christopher Pike, Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk, or Alice Have I Been by Melanie Benjamin.

On Humanity And Stephen King

In my “Read all the books on my shelf” resolution (I totally bought more books, so my number, which was decreasing, just increased again), I finally decided to pick up Skeleton Crew by Stephen King. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the book was filled with short stories (I like his short stories the best). The first one, if you haven’t read the book, is The Mist.

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Warning: This post will contain spoilers, so if you haven’t read/watched The Mist and Maximum Overdrive, I wouldn’t recommend continuing to read.

I’m not going to lie, this movie freaked me out, and the book did as well. Being an avid fan of 90% of Stephen King’s writing and movies, I noticed an interesting occurrence in the short stories turned movies, and I’m not really sure as to why.

In The Mist, the short story ends with ambiguity. You don’t know specifics about what is The Mist or where it came from. You know the military was involved, but that’s the extent of your knowledge. You don’t know if the Mist ever goes away. The movie ends with the characters on the run, traveling from place to place, hoping to escape. That’s how it ends.

That’s not how the movie ends. While I understand the need to explain why the situation happened, I don’t understand why the need to change the ending entirely. I’ll admit, the movie ending is hauntingly good. You don’t see it coming. The lead character kills everyone in the car, including his son, because there doesn’t seem to be any hope of escape. Then he runs out of bullets and runs into the Mist to be eaten. Instead, army trucks roll through and clear away the Mist.

I have this theory, but I’m not going to divulge it yet. Instead, I’m going to bring in another example first.

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The movie was called Maximum Overdrive, but the short story was named Trucks (found in Night Shift).

The movie changed a lot from its original form. The premise is generally the same. Trucks come alive, but for the movie, all electronics come alive. I understand storytelling and know that this change made for good tv. That’s not what I have the problem with.

Trucks ends with the humans in slavery to the trucks, filling up their gas tanks for the end of time. Maximum Overdrive ended with the humans riding away on a boat until the technology stops attacking people (cause you know boats aren’t technology and comets give electronics a mind of their own). Are you noticing a trend here?

Why are the endings “human friendly”? The message you take away from these movies is that humanity always comes out in the long run, that they will survive. That is a major shift from the “Will they? Won’t they?” ending originally written. Why is that?

Unfortunately, this post isn’t going to answer that question solidly. All I can do is speculate. Why are the original Stephen King endings not good enough for directors?  If Joss Whedon can kill off characters and end things however he wants (WHAT DID THE END TO DR. HORRIBLE MEAN), why can’t Stephen King do the same?

Does every end of humanity movie really need that “humanity is always triumphant” ending? What do you readers think? Which endings would you enjoy the most? There’s something to be said in the endings you can’t predict, the endings where you walk away from the movie going, “But do they ever escape? Do things get better?” It’s okay not to have the answers sometimes.

On a side note, if you’re ever looking for a good adaptations of some of his short stories, there was a series on TNT called “Nightmares And Dreamscapes” (Not all the stories are from the book Nightmares and Dreamscapes). They sell the dvd set on Amazon, or you can just, you know, illegally download it online somewhere.

Joyland by Stephen King

Joyland

The cover first attracted me to this book. For someone whose greatest fear is clowns, I have a certain attraction to all things carnival. Combine that with the attractive redhead on the cover, and I was knew I was buying this book. The only thing that made me more sure was the name attached to it: God of all writing, Stephen King. Mr. King and I have had a very long relationship, starting when I first picked up Dreamcatcher at age 9.

What I thought I was picking up was another Stephen King “keep me up at night” horror stories. What I got instead was more of a young adult murder mystery. I’m not saying the book was bad, but it certainly didn’t live up to my expectations.

King’s books do have some mystery to them, but this one just completely lacked that scary element that you’re almost guaranteed with his name and the word “HORROR” written on the back. The predictability of this book was also a loss. I like mystery books, but if I can deduce less than halfway through the book who the killer is, you almost can’t call it a mystery. Granted, smaller things like “it isn’t white” were harder to figure out, but this book was definitely lacking in the suspense department.

I’m glad I read it though, simply to get it out of my system and because I pretty much HAVE to read everything Stephen King writes. It puts my mind at rest at what a good book Joyland should be, and replaces it with the facts. Was it entertaining? Did it draw me in? Yes to both, but when it comes down to it, it’s not something I will reread, and it’s losing its place on my shelf. I have to make room for better, not-so-disappointing books.

My Sweet Audrina by V.C. Andrews

Well, you have to hand it to Andrews, she writes one hell of a story, and she knows how to suck a reader in. Perhaps she sounds familiar to you, but you can’t place the name? If you know about Flowers In The Attic, that would be her work. And now that we’re all on the same page with how twisted some of her stories are, we can continue.

I read Flowers, and I actually liked the story. The movie was a poor representation, I have to admit. I was not impressed. So upon finding this book at The Book Thing, there’s always that level of “eh, why not?” when dealing with free books.

From what I’ve gathered from Andrews’ wiki page and from my experience with what I’ve read in her books, they read like soap operas. Case in point, My Sweet Audrina. SA: “So her parents told her that her sister had died, but she is actually the sister, and her cousin is her half sister! And her husband is sleeping with her cousin/sister, and her cousin/sister is trying to kill her.” And that’s only some of it. From just that extremely brief summary, you can tell this book is drama, drama, drama. It left me wondering if I ever actually liked the book (but of course, I’m keeping it so I can refer to it later. It’s definitely something that sticks with you.)

I’m probably tapping out on Andrews after this book. There is only so much drama I can stand, in my life or a book’s, and this just gets to be too much. And honestly, the writing isn’t that good. Sure, it’s a page turner, but the way this supposedly 7 or 9 year old girl is speaking, she talks like an adult. Everyone in the book pretty much has the same voice, and this isn’t the first book where the children talk like adults. I know that can actually happen in real life, but not like this.

Also, the “BIG” plot twist about Audrina actually being Audrina was obvious from the get-go.

This book is mildly depressing, and I’d give it two stars if I hadn’t enjoyed reading and reflecting on it so much. So it gets 3 stars out of 5, but here is where my adventuring with V.C. Andrews rests.