Archive: May 2018

tweets for 2018-05-30

Thursday, May 31st, 2018

tweets for 2018-05-29

Wednesday, May 30th, 2018

Book Review: Atar Gull (Long Courrier) by Fabien Nury & Brüno (2016)

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

Revenge is a dish best served cold. Like, glacially so.

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for racist violence, including rape.)

Based on a novel of the same name, penned by the French writer Eugène Sue and published in 1831, Atar Gull is a story of revenge – of the “dish best served cold” variety. Taken prisoner by Taroo, chief of the Great Namaquas, Atar Gull finds himself on a slave ship bound for the West Indies. During the voyage, the Catherine is attacked and ultimately boarded by a band of ruthless pirates, led by Captain Brulart. A ruse, a sacrifice, and a ship chase later, Atar Gull is one of the few surviving captives when the vessel finally docks in Jamaica. Here, he’s sold to plantation owner Tom Will; part of a lot of “Negroes and Negresses” to serve as a dowry for his daughter Jenny.

While all these horrors are certainly just cause for what comes later (or some of it, anyway), the breaking point comes when Atar Gull learns the fate of his father, the chief of the Little Namaquas before him. If the previous pages didn’t completely dispel with the myth of the “benevolent slaveowner” (an oxymoron if ever there was one), then certainly this calculating and heartless scheme will do the trick.

Gazing upon his father’s lifeless face, Atar Gull hatches a plan of revenge that’s slow to unravel, yet destroys everything in its path.

Usually I love revenge stories that center members of oppressed groups as anti-/heroes, but my feelings were a little more conflicted here. It’s hard to root for Atar Gull without restraint, since so many innocents suffer under his wrath: Will’s human captives and nonhuman chattel chief among them. Consequently, Atar Gull’s revenge felt a little empty and … unsatisfying. The final panels, though? Chilling AF.

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

tweets for 2018-05-28

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

tweets for 2018-05-27

Monday, May 28th, 2018

tweets for 2018-05-26

Sunday, May 27th, 2018

tweets for 2018-05-25

Saturday, May 26th, 2018

tweets for 2018-05-24

Friday, May 25th, 2018

tweets for 2018-05-23

Thursday, May 24th, 2018

tweets for 2018-05-22

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

Book Review: Spectacle, Vol. 1 by Megan Rose Gedris (2018)

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

Engaging premise and setting, but a deeply unsatisfying ending.

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC through NetGalley. Trigger warning for ableist language directed at the circus “freaks”.)

Twin sisters Anna and Kat are performers in the Samson Brothers Circus: Anna tells fortunes, while Kat is a knife-thrower. Whereas Kat’s talents are all too real, Anna is a fraud. Well, kind of: while Anna tells the rubes what they want to hear, she can predict the future and decipher the past with the help of her self-made conjecture engine. It’s kind of slow and not very flashy, so – like Anna – it mostly stays in the background.

When the circus’s train is stalled out in the middle of the desert, Kat turns up dead, stabbed in the back with her own knives. Not wanting to alarm the other performs, circus owner Jebediah Tetanus (how’s that for an evocative name?) tasks Anna with solving the murder in secret. But things go from bad to worse when a series of tragedies beset the circus, including Tetanus’s own arrest at the hands of the corrupt deputy sheriff. Not to mention Kat’s lingering spirit, which flits in and out of Anna’s body to hide from pursuing demons.

So I really wanted to love Spectacle – and some of the elements here are great – but there’s a lot going on. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, except that very little is resolved by the end of chapter five. Usually I expect that a TPB has a self-contained story arc, but Book One of Spectacle feels more like the first two-thirds of a story. The ending – in which one of the roustabouts suddenly sprouts a rhino horn – is deeply unsatisfying, to say the least.

The art wasn’t initially my favorite – so many blockheads! – but it grew on me pretty quickly. I enjoyed the setting, which is some time in the mid (?) 1800s (?). This makes for some great old timey humor, such as when the circus doc diagnoses Anna with hysteria and prescribes coffee. With a side of heroin.

The story features a cast of pretty fascinating women characters, from Flora the would-be fat lady/current snake charmer to Lucy Chen, a clown who did it all for love. I really hope that my suspicions about the source of the weirdness between Anna and the bearded lady pan out; a cute F/F romance makes every story better, okay. I wish that we’d seen more of Eve and Lynn, the conjoined twins; there’s a lot of ableist yet era-appropriate language thrown their way, and I want desperately for the story challenges this as the plot unfolds. The collision between science and the supernatural also holds some promise going forward.

P.S. WHAT GIVES WITH THE PICKLES!?!

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

tweets for 2018-05-21

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

tweets for 2018-05-20

Monday, May 21st, 2018

tweets for 2018-05-19

Sunday, May 20th, 2018

tweets for 2018-05-18

Saturday, May 19th, 2018

tweets for 2018-05-17

Friday, May 18th, 2018

tweets for 2018-05-16

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

tweets for 2018-05-15

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

Book Review: The Year of the Introvert: A Journal of Daily Inspiration for the Inwardly Inclined by Michaela Chung (2018)

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

Not a daily journal per se.

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received an e-ARC for review through Edelweiss.)

I picked The Year of the Introvert up expecting to find a guided journal, but what I got is a little different. While there are some journal prompts here, they typically come at the end of a week or so of inspirational passages. In addition to these “Reflection Questions,” each month features a “Monthly Gratitude Moment” and themed “Celebration.” The result is an eclectic mashup of diary, self-help, and inspo calendar. Which is awesome if that’s what you’re looking for, but I wanted something with a little less text and a little more white space to explore my own thoughts and feelings.

One of the things that really rubbed me the wrong way is the author’s propensity to talk about herself. A LOT. Like, I thought a journal was supposed to be about me, and not someone else, right? Looking at her body of work, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised; Chung has made a career out of her introversion – which is great! – but one thing self-help gurus like to do is pontificate about themselves and how awesome they’re doing, so.

Some of her advice is kind of eye-rollingly obnoxious, too. If I had extra cash on hand, I wouldn’t go hiding it in places I might never find it again. Putting a five in my coat pocket is a good way to turn it into wet scrap paper, okay. I need it in my checking account anyhow because BILLS. (Yes, I am rolling my eyes as I write this.)

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

tweets for 2018-05-14

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018