Thursday, January 31, 2013

[Book Review] Deadman Wonderland, Volume 3


Deadman Wonderland, Volume 3
Deadman Wonderland, Volume 3 by Jinsei Kataoka

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I think this has been my favorite book so far in the series. Unlike volume 1 and volume 2, this one pretty much captured my interest from the beginning rather than getting more intriguing as I got deeper into the story.

We finally find out Yō’s full reasoning behind his actions at Deadman Wonderland--his sister, Minatsuki, who also happens to be a deadman (supposedly unbeknowst to Yō). Minatsuki gives Ganta a sob story about why she’s there, saying that she’d accidentally killed her abusive father. Ganta falls for it and decides that’s going to help her escape, only to be thwarted. He learns that Minatsuki is his next opponent in the carnival where we learn that Minastuki is a big ol’ lying freak who gets off on seeing other people sad or concerned.

In short: Yō is reunited with his sister and finds out what kind of monster she is while she uses him as a human shield. Crow starts giving calling Ganta’s projectiles the “Ganta Gun.” And, of course, Ganta wins the fight despite it all.

After the fight, Ganta meets another group of deadmen who want him to join their organization to take down Wonderland. To prove that he can trust them, they rig the event the loser (Minatsuki) has to go through so that she only loses some hair. They’re confronted by some overpowered Rock Monk that Shiro pretty much obliterates.

And the best thing happened. Ganta remembered his friendship with Shiro, and it was like the sweetest thing because Ganta seemed so genuinely happy as he remembered all the times Shiro saved/protected him not unlike she’d done when he first arrived Wonderland, even though Yō is terrified to death of her and calls her the real monster (in his mind). Which he may be right? As it seems that Shiro is the Red Man who killed all Ganta’s friends. We’ll see.

I think showing these different relationships is what really made this one for me. Even after Yō learns the truth, he continues to care about his sister. Now, they could’ve shunned Minatsuki, but both Ganta and Yō seem to be concerned with her well-being. Or at least, Ganta didn't want to see her maimed in any event. And it’ll be interesting to see how this new faction in Wonderland pans out.


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[Book Review] The Drowning City


The Drowning City
The Drowning City by Amanda Downum

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


2.5 stars. This was an ambitious first novel at best. Downum clearly has a beautiful way with words. Passages like the following really resonated with me:

Excitement hummed in her blood, dizzied her worse than any wine. And that was the true reason she was here, the reason she would go where she was sent, no matter how ugly the mission. Not for king and country, not even for Kiril, but because danger sang to her like a siren, and after the first giddy brush with death, the rush of knowing that she was still alive, she’d known she could never stop.


However, while I don’t doubt this played out wonderfully in her head, she forgot about her readers. This book wasn’t really written in the way that you’d expect of a first book in a series. It felt like I was jumping into the second or third book in a series, as if everything that was being said was information that I should’ve already known. I think she was trying to craft it in a way to be mysterious, feeding readers information piece by piece until the big reveal. But it just felt confusing and like I was missing out on a whole story.

The first 70 pages or so of this book could’ve been removed. The little information that we did get from those pages could’ve been woven into the story. Most of those first pages seemed rather fumbling and didn’t offer much useful more than seeming to pad the book to take up the reader’s time. Totally unnecessary, and it nearly made me put the book down. If I hadn’t stuck with it for one more chapter, and the next chapter did prove to be interesting, I wouldn’t have ever picked up this book again.

Also, she used many words native to the characters that the reader is unfamiliar with, words that most of the time didn’t even have a hint as to what they really meant, words that needed at least a dictionary in the back. I like when a book has a language that is its own (or some amalgam of real language), but it does no good when I’m sitting here hoping that this word means something honorific and just isn’t some random word that means “girl.”

Then, there was the confusing POVs. I’m a reader that doesn’t mind “head-jumping,” but it’s not implemented well here. Sometimes, I didn’t even realize the POV had changed until I read some information that made me realize that this had to be one of the other characters, and it was more than a bit frustrating at times, considering how much I wanted to like this story.

I did enjoy the intrigue, mystery, and supernatural aspect that Downum tried to use. I think her characters have potential to be amazing and praiseworthy, but I just don’t think this was executed as well as it could’ve been. And I have to admit that I thought the ending was sublime and really showed what this story had the potential to be. I will give the second book a chance and hope that Downum found her footing a little better because this does have so much potential to be an amazing series.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

[Book Review] The Magician's Nephew


The Magician's Nephew
The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe has for, quite some time, been a movie that I’ve enjoyed, and I’ve enjoyed in just about every incarnation of it. I first remember seeing the movie as a young girl on PBS. I had to be around 6 or 7 at the time, and I was completely enamored with the movie. Now, at that time, I was also already a pretty avid reader, but it wasn’t until some years later that I realized that movie was based on a book--a book that was part of a series. You’d think as much as I love the movie(s) that I would’ve started reading the books well before now, and honestly, I did have all intentions of reading the series before becoming a grown woman with two children of my own. However, it didn’t quite work out that way. Better late than never, though, right?

I’m reading these books chronologically, even though this book and one other book in the series came a little later than some of the other books in the series. Luckily, Goodreads does have an option to see these books in chronological order, which is a very good thing because I wasn’t even aware there was technically a book before The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. And I guess I could’ve started there and read them in their publishing order since the other two books only really add a little history to the story, but I’m glad that I started it reading it like this.

Up to this point, the only thing I’d read by Lewis was The Screwtape Letters, which I did enjoy for its humorous way of dealing with Christianity, even though I know there was a stern message about being one of those self-righteous Christians whose “concerns” for other really point to a selfishness in their own hearts, who twist religion to better fall in line with their personal biases. I also like that the story came from the POV of the demon and not the sanctified.

This book chronicles the creation of Narnia and its first inhabitants including how the White Witch came to be and the creation of the wardrobe. The creation of Narnia in many ways parallels the creation as written in the bible right down to having a tree of life and a Adam (Digory) and Eve (Polly). Aslan even sang/spoke things into existence. However, Lewis added a creative flair to the old story and made it a really beautiful read as he described Narnia being born from nothing. I love stories that mark the creation of a new world. I enjoy seeing how different writers think a new world and its inhabitants would be created whether it’s from chaos or being called into being.

The queen was an evil accidentally introduced into Narnia during its creation, and I would’ve liked more backstory on the queen. We’re given just enough of her history to know what she was capable of and the hubris she dressed in, just enough to make her terrifying in the way that evil witch queens, such as Maleficent, are. She came from a dying world where she’d used the “deplorable word” rather than to lose to her sister, but we don’t know exactly what started this fight or if the sister was more evil than Jadis or if she were good. We only get to learn about how little regard Jadis has for life and how she would rather burn a world to the ground than give up her power.

She’s in a state of stasis when the children find her in her world, and she eventually ends up following them back to present day England and on to Narnia. As her world went to nothing, Narnia came from nothing. However, her magic wasn’t strong in Narnia, not like it’d been in her homeworld, at this point. So, she’s forced to bide her time, and Aslan takes precautions to protect Narnia from her influence, though he knows a battle will come.

This was a very quick read. The story is easy to get caught up in. I joked that the title of this book should’ve been Uncle Andrew, No because his playing at magic, with disregard to anyone but himself, is what opened up this new world to Digory and Polly. Which brings to one thing I noticed about the story. Maybe it’s just the way the book is written, since it is a young adult/children’s book (and I am an adult), but there was just something a little too plain cut about this story. There’s not much room for gray. Things are just inexplicably good or evil without much reason why. They just are.

For sure, this book suggests that even “bad” characters aren’t beyond redemption, but it just feels more like they’re “bad” because they just don’t know any better or they don’t know any other way to be, not because they have decided it’s better to be “evil” than “good.” And I’m bit surprised how much more complex these issues seem in the movies when compared to this book. Now, I know I am extremely early and should hold my judgment because I may end up having to eat crow for that statement.

I think this book has something to say about creativity and imagination, and how we can stifle ourselves by not believing in the magic of such things as shown through Uncle Andrew who denied the magic even though he felt it. In the end, he was unable to appreciate the true beauty of Narnia. We purposely silence the creative side of us in favor of being "practical" when those things are very important to who we are and how we view life.

I will definitely continue the series.


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Monday, January 21, 2013

[Book Review] Girl of Nightmares

Girl of Nightmares (Anna, #2)Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've just finished reading this book. It's 3:30 in the morning, and my Nexus 7 is on its last leg because I was too enthralled to plug it up. When I bookmarked the last page I'd read in GRRM's 4th book, I told myself that I'd read a few pages of this to catch up and call it a night. I didn't expect to fall so quickly.

In a matter of a few pages, the story started going many interesting places with a battle-weary Carmel breaking up with the gang (and by extension Thomas) because she no longer thinks she can handle the supernatural part of her life and the normal part of her life clashing any longer. We witness Thomas come into his own as a black witch and become much more confident with his powers, and, in his search to free Anna from hell, Cas learns a few more secrets about his father and his blade, how it can aid him in saving Anna, and the price you sometimes have to pay for those you love.

Up until the end ending, I was pretty sure that I was going to give this 3 or even 3.5 stars, but I truly loved the ending. At first, I was worried that Blake would use an old overused formula to solve the Anna dilemma where everyone leaves the story happy and leading normal lives, and maybe other readers will think she still fell victim to cliché. However, the scene was written with such simple beauty, very bittersweet, but I'm glad that Cas got to make his peace and realize that it is indeed true that sometimes you have to let go of the things you love the most. And Anna truly did find peace and happiness in the end, and they did get to be together in a very unconventional sense that I liked. But I did feel like how she solved the problem with the blade was predictable.

As with the first book, there was an eerie vibe to the story, especially when reading the parts where Anna has her "accidents" which Cas experiences through waking nightmares. Those moments were melancholy, but served to make Cas' resolved to get her out. I think the first book still did a better job of catching that spooky feel since we spend so much more time with Cas trying to deal with Anna and various other ghosts as Cas geared up to face the thing that killed his father.

I was hoping we'd find out more about where this hatred of Anna started with Anna's mother. In fact, I didn't feel that this closed some of the questions that I still had since the first book. I didn't mention that in review of the first book because I just knew that loose ends would be addressed. SPOILER: It wasn't. I thought the transition of Carmel leaving the group and rejoining the group was done way too fast. Overall, I felt there just wasn't as much focus on character in the first book because Blake had so much going on in this story, especially since another two importantish people--Gideon and Jestine--were introduced.

While we did learn a little about the two, it was very shallow making it hard for me to connect or care about them. Jestine more than Gideon since Gideon did appear in the first book. But I did like Thomas becoming more confident in his powers while continuing to be the same old goofy Thomas.

I think I still enjoyed the first book more than this one, but it's a worthy sequel.

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

[Book Review] Deadman Wonderland, Volume 2

Deadman Wonderland, Volume 2Deadman Wonderland, Volume 2 by Jinsei Kataoka
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Spoilers.

This manga. This is the second time in a row where this manga started a little slow for me but picked up right before I decided to read something else and come back to it later. It wasn't that I thought the beginning was boring, but I had other books that were starting to get really interesting that I was reading at the same time. And then, they introduce Crow, the Corpse Carnival, and Ganta's new friends in the G ward.

Ganta is still trying to survive in Wonderland when he hears that the Red Man (the being who killed all his friends) was right under his nose living in block G. However, that block isn't on any of the maps, but it does exist. And Ganta, Shiro, and Yo manage to find it. They meet Senji "Crow" Kiyomasa who Ganta believes is the Red Man, only to learn that there are many "branches of sin" (people who can manipulate their blood). Ganta is still in the dark about his powers and how they work, and Crow wants to test Ganta's powers in a skirmish. But they're all subdued by the guards before a fight can break out.

Later, Ganta learns he has to fight Crow, and Crow is undefeated. His captors tell him that even if he loses, he'll still be of some use to them. During his fight with Crow, he learns some important things. He learns it is better to thin out the blood and using it at melee range rather than using it as a ranged projectile due to blood loss. Crow mentions during the fight that Ganta was reaching his limits because of this, but Ganta manages to overcome his limit, which Crow has never witnessed before--or even thought possible. Ganta wins the fight in the end, of course.

After the fight, Ganta meets the other misfits of G ward, people who are presumably like him, and he learns the cost of losing a fight when he watches a doctor take one of Crow's eyes.

Yō continues to be a hinderance disguised as help in this one, and I’m really interested to see where this is going with him. I loved the scene where he thought that he’d gotten rid of Shiro and saved his own life only to see Shiro emerge from carnage. I would say unscathed. She did look okay, but parts of her bodysuit, which pretty much covers every inch of her except her face, was damaged and we see strange scars/stitches that looked similar to another mysterious character who was just introduced into the story with this volume. And Yō is completely baffled by all this strange stuff that has entered his life since Ganta’s appearance.

Still enjoying this. I’m enjoying how things are being gradually revealed to the readers in small chunks. As a reader, I feel just as anxious as Ganta to find out what the hell is going on.They give me just enough to have me completely hanging on to this story and then they pull back a little ensuring that I keep coming back to Wonderland.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

[Book Review] Queen and Country

Queen and Country, Vol. 1: Broken GroundQueen and Country, Vol. 1: Broken Ground by Greg Rucka
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As much as I love Greg Rucka, I'm not entirely sure that this series is for me. I never found myself sucked into the story, and while the art was good, it felt a little too cartoonish at times for some of the scenes.

I think the most fascinating part of the story for me were the moments we saw Tara in her apartment where it seems to be hinted at that she's a heavy drinker. In fact, Tara is fascinating. So many of the panels seemed to show her as tired and resigned to her fate. She doesn't question her superior's orders, only having one explosive moment near the end when she got in Kinsey's (I believe that was his name) face.

However, I do think the story is told well. Rucka manages not to fall victim to spy tropes, and infuses some realism into the story. You won't find spies using the latest unheard of technology, and you won't find characters who all get along splendidly or blessed with the ability to push their differences aside and come together to defeat a common foe. You will find a story where politics are ruthless resulting in characters taking gambles that could severely hurt their careers.

I'll move on to volume 2 soon and decide if this is a series I want to continue.

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Saturday, January 12, 2013

[Book Review] Libriomancer


Libriomancer
Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Spoilers.

Libriomancers have the ability to “pull” things such as objects and even people/animals (albeit, it’s a bit dangerous to pull anything other than objects from the books) from books. Isaac is a libriomancer who has been delegated to a librarian job after something went awry during an investigation two years prior to this story. Isaac is part of a secret society whose job is, among other things, to keep magic in check. The society is headed by Johannes Gutenberg who is hundreds of years old, but now he's missing. And vampires have shown up at Isaac's door. So, of course, Isaac finds himself on the case.

As an avid reader, why wouldn’t I want to read about about magic centered around the power of reading? Isaac could be any one of us bibliophiles if you look over the paranormal part. He gets lost in the magic of the worlds that books create. Even before he became a libriomancer, they were his protection and his home. Being able to actually manipulate the power was just a perk of a love he already had. It was adorable how he’d get distracted just thinking about all the books inside a library and how he’d get upset if a book had been abused.

You’d think with such an arsenal at the libriomancers’ disposal that things would get out of hand quick, but Hines did a great job of adding many limitations to the magic.One of the more interesting limitations is the fact that the magic is “created” by readers in a sense, and a libriomancer just taps into that magic and bends it to their will. Also, certain books are magically “locked” to keep libriomancers, especially people who have no idea that they’re libriomancers, from pulling something from a book that could possibly cause chaos. I chuckled a little bit at the paragraph where Isaac mentions that J.K. Rowling was asked not to include a certain item in her future books.

Isaac is a bit Dresden-ish to me. His humor and attitude just made me picture Harry in his place more than a few times. But I’m starting to think that’s the usual archetype for the male paranormal hero just as many paranormal female heroes share many of the same traits. However, Isaac is a huge geek with a love for Doctor Who, Firefly, and science fiction novels--the latter two inspiring him to wear a brown duster. His companion is a loyal fire spider named Smudge who he pulled from a book and became too attached to to return. Smudge is prone to flaring up when danger is near and causes more than a few fire accidents.

I do have to give Isaac a few more props because he wants to use his magic. So many male and female protags in a paranormal book don’t want to use their magic or spend way too much time debating over what using the full extent of their magic could mean. Isaac is forbidden to use his magic, but he wants to use it. Yes, he talks about the possibility of losing himself in his magic, which is a very valid concern for a libriomancer, but he’s more curious about how doing certain things with his magic could shape their ideas on how their magic works. I loved that. He’d get excited about the prospect, embrace the ideas of how “book magic” could be fully shaped, and he’d even, at times, understand that he probably does not have enough control of his power to test that.

Then, there's Lena. The moment Lena Greenwood entered the book, I knew that I was going to love her. She kicks ass like most female protagonists in a paranormal series, but her looks set her apart from them. Isaac described her as heavy set and beautiful. Notice I said “and” right there instead of “but.” Her weight isn’t treated as something “wrong.” Isaac doesn’t lament that she would be prettier if she was slimmer. In fact, when he described her, her being heavy set was just a matter-of-fact opinion coupled with the rest of his description about her. It doesn’t really come up again for him again except one other time, but another character did ask Isaac, “Who’s the fat chick?” I really appreciate Hines adding a beautiful female protagonist and love interest who isn’t a size 2 and whose weight isn’t analyzed from every angle as "something wrong with an otherwise beautiful woman."

Lena is the lover of a psychologist who treats people like Isaac. (Libriomancers are susceptible to taking characters into their heads and forming multiple personalities, and her girlfriend, the doctor, has treated Isaac in the past.) She loves the doctor, but she begins to love Isaac, too. I wasn't surprised when they became a threesome more in the way of a triangle with Lena being the pinnacle. I mean, how many times have we gotten a threesome in a paranormal romance book featuring a woman when she can't choose between two men? However, I liked some of the reasoning behind it, aside from how they feel about one another, being that they both make Lena feel complete.

She's able to have multiple sides to her personality because of both of them. She's a magical being born from a book. Her nature is to be agreeable for her lover. She adapts to be a perfect mate for them. She can't change that about herself. She can only be choosy about who she allows to shape her, which the ultimate form of trust for her. With two lovers, she's finding for the first time that she can disagreeable if she likes because she can offer a differing opinion where once she could only be agreeable to a lover--whatever their whims. She's finding a new dimension that allows her to be more than just what Isaac or the doctor wants her to be. She’s beginning to feel like she has true depth.

Anyhow, moving on.

One thing that annoyed me? All the name dropping. This is an issue that I’ve taken with many books that do so much name dropping. It always ends up feeling overdone to me.

Media that depends on pop culture references, whether it’s a book or some type of visual media (movies, television shows, etc.), leaves me feeling some kind of way--mainly because I always end up thinking: “Who is going to care about/know about these references in a few years?” True, Hines used some classics that are and will continue to be enduring, but many of the vampires/monsters take their names from authors popular at this moment like Stephanie Meyers and Charlaine Harris, who--no offense--I don’t see their current works being something that people will care much about twenty years from now. When writers root themselves so deeply in the trends that are hot right now in a story, it tends to make a story feel dated when coming back around to it, especially if that story isn’t meant to be about an era past.

I would’ve liked to have seen more originality as far as the books were concerned in the story, but I understand it being easier to reference books already in existence since most readers would already be vaguely familiar with most of them. And it wouldn’t require Hines to go into detail describing the book. But Meyerii vampires, also known as Sparklers, really? I do have to give Hines some props for books being an "unnatural" way of becoming a monster.

Even though libriomancers were the main magic practitioners talked about, there were hints of other interesting magic(like Isaac’s boss using music called “bardic magic”), and I hope we get to see a little more of those. I’m hoping to see more of Johannes Gutenberg and Ponce de Leon in future books because the bits of their relationship shown in the book was an interesting tease for readers. The story could’ve been a little stronger, but I did enjoy it and the characters.



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Thursday, January 10, 2013

[Book Review] A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, Vol.1


A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, Vol.1
A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, Vol.1 by Daniel Abraham

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

More like a 3.5, but I erred on the higher side of 3.5 than the lower side. GRRM's books are brimming with information about the characters and the kingdom(s). I'd never read the series before watching the show, but as I'm going through them now (the books, I mean), I think the show did do an exceptional job of capturing the spirit of the novels. Now, comics are such a short, concise format that I wasn't sure how this was going to work, but it managed to hold its own surprisingly well, cutting to the meat of the important parts to tell the story. I want to say that they focused more on the same scenes the show focused on more or less, but I guess that makes sense since, for many readers, that would the scenes freshest on their mind and those scenes are the easiest to translate into a graphic novel. As far as the art goes, it wasn't bad, but I thought it was little too pretty, especially considering how gritty the series it.



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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

[Book Review] Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters


Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters
Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters by Mike Grell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Spoilerish. Finally getting around to finishing this after it sat sadly neglected during the holidays. This was my second choice reading since I couldn't get my hands on what I really wanted at the time, which was Captain America: The Chosen (but I have it now).

I liked how the story opened with the hunters versus prey analogy, painting the city as an urban jungle of sorts, but I wasn't immediately drawn into the story. It wasn't a bad story, but it wasn't doing much for me. Moments of it like the talk that Oliver and Dinah had after sex where she says she won't make orphans with Oliver were really poignant and touching, magnified by the art that manage to capture so much of the sorrow surrounding that moment. And Oliver's feelings about his mortality and his place in the world was expressed well, too. I had to chuckle a little when he referred to himself as grandfatherly at 40 since in this modern era, that age is when life truly begins for many people these days.

But despite all these elements that I usually adore in a story, it was slow to pull me in. It wasn't until Dinah's rescue that I found myself gripped and unable to put this down until I finished. That's when it stopped being a typical 80s midlife crisis comic. The imagery and words from that point on really gripped the horror of what was happening. My heart started pounding fast at the distress on Oliver's face when he found Dinah being tortured. The panels manage to catch the desperation he felt at witnessing that scene, and finally learning about Shado who asked Oliver why his struggle with the men who hurt Dinah was more valid than the honor, and consequently her life, that she lost because of them.

It became much more than a story of good and evil where killing is wrong and due justice is the only right answer. It seems to convey that sometimes you have to cross the line, but it doesn't come without its cost.



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Friday, January 4, 2013

[Book Review] Captain America: The Chosen


Captain America: The Chosen
Captain America: The Chosen by David Morrell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Spoilers ahead.

Before I get to the Captain America gushing, I need to get this out of the way. I don’t like the setting for this. No, I’m okay with the war environment, but I didn’t like that it specifically had to be Afghanistan and Al Qaeda related with the 9/11 references. That felt, in my opinion, felt like a cheap sympathy grab on Marvel’s part, making it feel more like an US versus THEM problem, which can distract from what I felt was the true message of this story.

This story is mostly told from the POV of James Newman, a young soldier serving in the United States military. He wants to help his country and the country he’s fighting in, but he’s no longer sure how to help when he can’t distinguish those who need help from those he needs to fight. He misses his wife and infant son. And he’s also becoming jaded toward fear because he’s living in a constant state of fear. During a fight, Captain America shows up on the battlefield and “helps” Newman to save some of his squad. The only problem? No one else saw Cap. In fact, he’s many miles away dying.

The super soldier serum has finally “failed” for Captain America. Not only is he losing all the physical conditioning he had, but he’s regressing to a state far more frail than he was even before the serum. He’s initially given 6 months to live, but his health degrades in weeks instead of months. Captain America agrees to submit to one last test, an experiment that allows him to telepathically project himself in any location, but causes him to expend a lot of energy, which speeds up his regression.

He’d been using this ability to find and map out terrorist hideouts, but then he learns that he can project himself into the consciousness of others, making them believe that he was standing right there with them. Not only that, but apparently, this also gives him access to their thoughts, feelings, and memories. He uses this to cause fear at first, but changes his focus to inspire ordinary heroes to be courageous. He says that courage isn’t the absence of fear, but a motivation for it. Fear will make you do things you didn’t think possible, which is true.

I appreciated the idea of Captain America expending himself to help people in any way he can even after his body starts to fail him. Captain America pushes himself so hard and takes it so personally when he feels he failed the people he swore to protect. Despite his rapidly deteriorating state, he still puts everything he’s got into helping others. This does feel like something that Captain America would do—defending others until he just couldn’t any longer.

The idea of the serum finally catching up to him and proving that it wasn’t a complete success was an interesting angle. It’s never fully discussed in the comic how that might’ve happened. If he hadn’t been frozen in ice, would he have burned out a few months later? Had the experiment actually been a complete success and his time in the ice had subtly degraded the effect of the serum? Did he overextend himself? It’s a mystery, but I’m not upset there isn’t some drawn out explanation about why this might’ve happened. It leaves readers to speculate for themselves.

However, I wasn’t too crazy about how that story was told. In some panels, there was too much back and forth going on trying to get Newman to keep it together. I know it was necessary, but it started to feel a bit filler-ish after a while. And I’m not even going to touch that part of the ending where Newman went full Rambo (and this was written by the author of the Rambo books), and it was a bit too hackneyed in some panels
Many of the lab scenes didn’t really feel necessary, especially since he was basically telling Newman his story from beginning to end at the same time. The lab scenes added too many questions that weren’t addressed like when they wanted to know who he chose. Chose for what? To become the next Captain America? To fetch his dinner? How were they supposed to make a new Captain America, if they were hoping he’d choose an heir, to be able to perform physically on the same level? Or were the hoping for someone to continue this new experiment they started?

The government obviously didn’t care about—or was blind to—the fact that it took more than physical prowess to make Captain America, if that’s what they were going for. But part of, maybe even a large part of, the traits that make Captain America who he is doesn’t have to do with physical conditioning, but his indomitable will and the virtues he holds close to his heart, and this was something he had even before he became Captain America. This is something that anyone can have and extends beyond beliefs, race, citizenship, etc. Captain America knew this and admired the people who didn’t have his conditioning, but performed their duties every day. He questioned if ordinary people could go out there and risk their lives to help others, what made him any different? What made him better? Just because he may be physically superior to them didn’t make him better.

After Captain America did his final heroic deed in the book, the first question posed was, “What will we do without him?” But I can see this question being the opening for them to start relying on their own strengths, a wakeup call to the fact that you can’t always rely on a superhero to save the day. Quite often, you can only rely on yourself, and you have the necessary “powers” to do so.

I thought this was a good story, but it could’ve been better. Some of the ideas behind it were magnificent in theory, but were not executed to their full potential.

In the end, I felt like the story’s main goal was to show how there are ordinary people doing extraordinary things every day. Even though we only see him with Newman, he is actually inspiring many others at the same time, encouraging them to use their strengths to help their fellow man. You don’t have be Captain America to embody the virtues of courage, honor, sacrifice, and loyalty. You can find these same “hero” traits in doctors, teachers, farmers, any average person in the world. Everyone has the potential to be a Captain America. It’s not always the strength of body that makes a hero.



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This blog is a mishmash of thoughts, pictures, and rantings among other things about games I've played, games I will play, and games I am currently playing. From time to time, I may post book reviews that I've written that are about different games and/or game worlds. Feel free to recommend games or add me on the platforms I've listed. I don't do competitive multiplayer much anymore, but I'm always down for some co-op these days. I'm usually DigitalTempest everywhere unless otherwise specified.

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2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge
Tiara has read 6 books toward her goal of 52 books.
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Tiara's bookshelf: currently-reading

The Elfstones Of Shannara
tagged: upcoming-reads, currently-reading, 2016-audiobook-challenge, classi...
Gardens of the Moon
tagged: currently-reading, fantasy, z-narrator-ralph-lister, 2016-audiobook...

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Tiara's bookshelf: read

Deceived
really liked it
Review to come.
tagged: 2016-star-wars-reading-challenge and 2016-audiobook-challenge
The Girl from the Well
liked it
More reviews @ The Bibliosanctum TL;DR Review 2.5 to 3 stars. Not badly written… I’m just disappointed by the squandered potential. I’m going to reread Anna Dressed in Blood to make myself feel better about this Longer Review: T...
tagged: 2016-women-of-genre-fiction-reading, horror, and young-adult
Thirteen Reasons Why
I don't think this quite captures the complexity of bullying and suicide, and some of the issues that Hannah started facing toward the end of the novel really seemed to detract even more from the feelings she was going through by having ...
tagged: young-adult, popsugar-2016-reading-challenge, 2016-audiobook-challe...
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
liked it
Spoiler free review to come.
tagged: 2016-star-wars-reading-challenge
The Phantom of the Opera
really liked it
tagged: classic-horror, classics, audiobook, 2016-audiobook-challenge, horr...

goodreads.com

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