Title:Lord of the Isles Author: David Drake Format: Novel; first in series of 9 Pages: 625 Published: 1997, by Tor Reason for Beginning: I grabbed a used copy for $1 at a university library sale, and wanted to read a fantasy about which I knew nothing. This fit the bill. Reason for Finishing: Sheer dogged stubbornness. Spoiler-free Synopsis: In a world that is essentially a large archipelago, the young, handsome residents of a small seaport find themselves drawn into the struggles and intrigue surrounding the archipelago’s sovereignty, while “the elemental forces that empower magic are rising to a thousand-year peak” (cover jacket). A complicated, but ultimately fairly standard, fantasy quest ensues. Continue reading “Book Review: “Lord of the Isles” by David Drake”
[3/14/2011: Added link to another review. Also, since this review is not quite up to my current standard, I intend to rewrite it with more in-depth commentary and accompanying pictures.]
Hm, seems like I’ll be reviewing webcomics on this blog as well. Fancy that. I just jumped 200 years in two posts!
Title:Dreamless Author/Artist: Written by Bobby Crosby; Drawn by Sarah Ellerton Format:Webcomic Published: January 4, 2009 – July 25, 2010 Pages: 70 Reason for Beginning: I don’t remember where I heard about it; possibly it was on the TVTropes list of fantasy webcomics. But the premise intrigued me and the art is painterly, so I gave it a go. Plus this was when I was only just discovering webcomics in general, and was exploring. Reason for Finishing: Short, as webcomics go, and sweetly romantic. The magical element (which remains unexplained) brings up some really interesting ideas. Synopsis: In the years before WWII, an American girl and a Japanese boy are linked from birth by being able, while sleeping, to literally see through the eyes of the other one. One will nearly always be awake while the other is asleep. Both are born bilingual, and since they can often sense each other’s “presence,” they manage to communicate and, soon enough, fall in love. The difficulty of loving someone on the other side of the world is not lost on them, and much drama ensues. THEN WWII begins, bringing more pain, more troubles, and, perhaps, a glimmer of hope… Story Re-readability: Perhaps sometime I will, though I don’t feel the need to right now. It ended in a satisfying manner, but the plot was sometimes handled a bit awkwardly. Artwork is beautiful, though. Author Re-readability: Maybe; the writing was decent, sometimes very good, just not great. Crosby has written a few other webcomics, I think one about zombies. Reading them would be based on whether or not they individually seem good. Artist Re-viewability: I’m already a huge fan of Sarah Ellerton’s Phoenix Requiem, which she writes as well as draws. So, yes. She’s my second favorite webcomic artist right now, next to Tracy Butler of Lackadaisy Cats. Recommendation: Mainly for people who like idealist love stories. The magical realist element does add a fascinating and fairly original twist
This is the only complete webcomic I’ve finished so far. Like I said above, the storytelling is a bit clunky at times, what with some flashbacks and time-skips that are a bit confusing at first. Everything does manage to sort itself out in good order, but it might briefly cause a headache or two, trying to figure out whether or not one of them is watching the other at a given moment, or why one character assumed something about the other when it isn’t clear to we readers. Things like that. But, like I said, it’s all sorted in the end.
However, it also felt like there were a number of missed moments, where the story could have done something unique because of its premise but instead took a more conventional route. It’d make a good movie, too, if it were skillfully fleshed out. There’s a lot of potential for grand drama here, not to mention the beautiful theme of interracial romance between a white Californian girl and a Japanese boy in the 1940s. I liked how each character was treated with equal respect and intelligence, neither succumbing to clichés. Their love felt organic and believable. They made you want them to be together.
Sarah Ellerton uses a softer art style than in The Phoenix Requiem, which is very sharply defined and vibrant. Here, the effect is almost like watercolors, and it complements the theme of romance and dreams. Very pleasant to look at.
Beyond that, I cannot think of any more to say about it. It is a pleasant read that will not demand too much of your time.
Title: Undine Author: Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué Format: Novella Pages: 65 (in the compilation book Tales Before Narnia by Douglas A. Anderson) Published: Original German: 1811. English translation by F.E. Burnett: 1885. Reason for Beginning: George MacDonald called it the most beautiful of all fairy tales he knew (and he knew a thing or two about great fairy tales, having written some himself). C.S. Lewis wrote of its “homely beauty” and haunting Northernness. Reason for Finishing: It intrigued and continually surprised me all to the end. Continue reading “Book Review: “Undine” (1811) by Friedrich Fouque”