Did you see the massive IMAGE COMICS sale? Because I sure did! And… I made have gone a little cray-cray.
But whatever – it is hard NOT to buy comics from IMAGE, for many reasons. Here, I made a list:
- They are creator owned. In other words, the money flow is more direct and the rights stay with the creators.
- You get a DRM-free file!! Image even puts a “save to dropbox” button right by your comic book after you’ve bought it! Just, wow… I wish every publisher did that!
- If you buy straight from their website, you can avoid comixology (aka Amazon!). Huzzah!!
Anyhow, here’s what I got:
No idea how much I’m going to enjoy these, though they all have great reviews and great creators. Oh, but I have read the first issue of PAPER GIRLS and OMG. It is SO GOOD you guuuuuuuys! DON’T WAIT FOR THE TRADE – GET IT NOW!
Anyhow: great books, Image Comics!
Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #2
Published by Penguin on April 1st 2008
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased myself
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Also in this series: Magic Bites
As a mercenary who cleans up after magic gone wrong, Kate Daniels knows how waves of paranormal energy ebb and flow across Atlanta like a tide. But once every seven years, a flare comes, a time when magic runs rampant. When Kate sets out to retrieve a set of stolen maps for the Pack, Atlanta's paramilitary clan of shape shifters, she quickly realizes much more is at stake. The stolen maps are only the opening gambit in an epic tug of war between two gods hoping for rebirth, and if Kate can't stop the cataclysmic showdown, the city may not survive.
Thoughts: The Kate Daniels series has so many fans, it’s ridiculous. It’s one of the top-selling, most anticipated Urban Fantasy series out there. But, after reading Magic Burns, all I can think is: the books must get a hell of a lot better than this if they’re still so popular.
Don’t get me wrong, Magic Burns is a good book. It’s solidly written, with interesting world building and high-stakes action. There were some elements here that, even as a relatively seasoned UF fan, really stood out: namely, I loved the idea of the central city park over growing to become a hub of witchcraft, complete with a giant turtle into whose belly you crawled. I have such a clear mental image of it – and it’s really stuck with me.
I also really enjoyed a number of the secondary characters: I’d read a series starring Kate’s were-shadow, Derek. He’s a sweetie in that silent-but-observant-and-may-also-kill-you sort of way. I also thought it was pretty awesome how quickly Kate latched onto Julie – the orphan introduced in this book. I was expecting her to be written out by the end of the novel, but colour me surprised.
That being said, there was a lot in this book that just made me roll my eyes: Kate is a special flower, but no one can know – except, of course, until she really needs to use that power. What even. Then there was the senseless dog death – how does having the main character kill a dog help endear her to me? Oh, and Curran? I’m sorry, but he was really creepy in this book. Some of his “famed” “seductive” lines just came off very assault-y. If Adam (from the Mercy books) had said this crap, Mercy would have had his butt kicked. And I would have helped.
Bottom line? Technically a good book, but there were things in it I just found abhorrent. I’ll be reading on, as it can only go up from here… right?
Twice a year, the English Library has a massive, huge, gigantic book sale. It’s the talk of the town for at least a week, as very very little happens in Switzerland.
This year, I managed not only to: 1) align the stars in order to be in town for the sale, 2) remembered the sale early enough to invite people to join me! We held our ground and fought the crowds – and we all came back with bags of books.
I tried not to go too crazy, though, and only picked up books I knew I was going to read:
- Living with Books by Alan Powers – This coffee table book is so friggin perfect. It is basically just pages and pages of photographs of book shelves. Very meta.
- Blood Red Road by Moira Young – I’ve had this on my wishlist since before it came out… but I think the series is over now? Whatever. I hope it is great!
- Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson – I’ll be honest: I don’t really want to read this book. I know it is extremely important and essential, but… I don’t know if I will be able to handle it. I do, however, want to try. Some day.
- The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien – I love this super retro edition. Wait, maybe I shouldn’t call it retro, as it is a first printing from the 70s. 🙂
- Run by Ann Patchett – I love, love this book and didn’t have it in hardcover. I am especially happy to find this particular cover, as the UK cover is horribly white-washed.
Anyhow, there you have it. A quick peak at the books that have recently joined my shelves. Any recommendations about where to start?
Aurelia by Anne Osterlund
Published by Penguin on 2008-04-17
Genres: Fantasy YA, Young Adult
Source: Purchased myself
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An impressive debut, equal parts commercial appeal and literary prowess.
Princess Aurelia is next in line to rule the kingdom of Tyralt, but she would rather be one of the common folk, free to learn and roam and . . . not marry the next tyrannical prince that comes courting. Naturally, the king wants Aurelia to marry for political power. Aurelia wants to marry for love. And someone in the kingdom wants her . . . dead. Assigned to investigate and protect Aurelia is Robert, the son of the king's former royal spy and one of Aurelia's oldest friends. As Aurelia and Robert slowly uncover clues as to who is threatening her, their friendship turns to romance. With everything possible on the line, her life, her kingdom, her heart, Aurelia is forced to take matters into her own hands, no matter the cost.
Thoughts: I adored Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund when I read it back in… many years ago. She immediately went onto my list of “why-must-they-be-so-perfect” authors and I hoped my next foray into Osterlund-land would be just as impressive. Years later and – at last! – I finally got the chance to read her debut novel, Aurelia. And it was good. Very good, even. But it’s no Academy 7.
Let’s start out with the good: the characters. Aurelia features a POC heroine who is doing her best to cope with a very complicated life. Boys and her hair are not her priority – but she isn’t oblivious to those things, nor is she dismissive of girls who do make that the centre of their world. Meanwhile, Robert, he book’s male protagonist, is a genuinely good human being. He may be trying to protect Aurelia, but certainly doesn’t believe he has a “right” to her. All in all: big thumbs up.
The bad: Aurelia is far, far too short. Sure, there was drama and intrigue and whatnot – but it didn’t build long enough for me to truly care about its resolution. And the ending? Rushed and unsatisfying. Of course, I know there is a sequel, and many of the outstanding issues should be resolved in the next book, but… I want some kind of real conclusion. Not just a big “TO BE CONTINUED…”. Not cute. But, then again:
- this is Osterlund’s first book,
- I’m sure it was heavily edited to fit the publishing world’s many-sequel model, and
- despite #1 and #2 it is still very entertaining.
Bottom line? In spite of the not-so-great aspects, Aurelia is worth a read – especially if you are into good historical YA novels. But, for God’s sake, go read Academy 7 already!