Monday, July 25, 2011

The San Diego Comic-Con Photo Scavenger Hunt Entry

I finally got back to LA after being bombarded by the insanity that is SDCC. Ugh, I feel awful, but I don't think I got nerd flu which has happened the last two years. Either way here are my entries for the contest.

1. An Extremely Obscure Cosplayer


Apparently this costume is from this http://www.retroist.com/2010/12/14/darth-vader-and-boba-fett-in-pulp-fiction/ internet meme. (I also think I should get points for this being a mashup.

2. A Mashup Cosplayer


3. Gender-Swap Cosplayer

That Aang is a girl . . fyi.

4. A Kid Cosplayer

This girl is Kiki from Kiki's Delivery Service and she is the cutest thing ever. In the whole world. Ever.

5. Ridiculously Huge Costume Accessories or Weaponry

There is a whole person inside that giant turnip head! We almost took out a booth getting this pic. Also, that is a girl dressed up as Howl.

8. An Awesome Comic Book Tattoo.


This gal had an AMAZING Mucha tattoo. It was so cool.

Ok, so that is all I managed to get out of the original 10 categories, but considering I spent most of the con trapped at my booth I'm pretty happy about that.

Monday, May 16, 2011

CBR III Review 8 - The Blue Sword

Hi all! So this review is kinda of cheating. The Blue Sword was one of my favorite books in middle school and my love for it continues to this day. I usually bust it out and read it when I'm in the mood for a really good entrancing read (sometimes just to remind myself that I still love reading) Normally I wouldn't count this for CBR but 1. I'm really behind and 2. I had read a romance novel, and then promptly sold it at the used bookstore to get more money for books. Normally that would be fine except I can't remember the name of it or what it was about. And I'd rather review this one anyway.

The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley is about a teenage girl named Harry Crewe whose father dies. Her older brother lives in the Royal Province of Daria where he is in the military. We pick up the action as she is adjusting to life on the outskirts of the Empire. Her home country is called The Homeland and they're basically a British knockoff, Britain circa 1820. Anyway, Harry is restless and she can't really place her finger on why. She really likes living in Daria and she is meeting interesting people but she still feels constrained. For the past 20 years the Homelanders have been trying to stretch their boundaries to the mountains and beyond. The want to conquer the old kingdom that is still in control of much of the wilderness. The old kingdom is Damar and their King is Corlath and he sort of just shows up all of a sudden at the embassy. Which also happens to be where Harry is staying. Damar is north of the lands that the Homeland has conquered, and to the north are these evil northern guys who are described as demon-ish. Like they're part demon.
Anyway, Corlath shows up at the embassy to get aid in fending off the northern hordes, it doesn't really work and he storms off. He almost runs over Harry who has just come back from riding her pony. Corlath leaves all angry but his kelar keeps bringing up the image of Harry. Kelar is the magic in the book and usually people in the royal family have it. It's very unstable. Typically the user can't control it very well. Most of the time it comes on like a battle fever when the user is fighting or even just angry. Corlath has to avoid looking at people in the eyes when he's angry because it gives the other person headaches and just kinda messes with you.
Corlath's kelar keeps telling him to go back and get Harry. Which he does, sort of against his will and the advice of his advisors. He goes back and gets Harry. She wakes up three nights later on the back of the King's horse, and is very confused. She is taken to the King's camp and treated as a guest of honor. From there things take a stranger turn because Harry is given Meeldtar, the water of life. Which gives visions, she see's a vision of herself as a warrior standing on a horse. She even sees visions of Aerin who is a queen of the past and considered Damar's greatest ruler. Basically it's hero's journey, and this is the part where whe learns she is special and there is a great task in front of her.
The rest of the book is great, Harry trains to become a warrior and she is shockingly good at it. She even suprises herself, she quickly adapts to the life of the hillpeople and really becomes one. Of course she plays a major part in defeating the bad guys. I don't want to spoil it, but if you've ever read any fantasy it's not the ending that is glorious, it's how the characters get there.
As I was writing this review I tried to nail down what I really love about this novel. I think part of it is how much I enjoyed it when I was 12. I had discovered fantasy a few years earlier and it had swept me off my feet. Not only that but I had an unhappy childhood, these book made me happy when the rest of my life really wasn't. I love how independant Harry is, she gets angry askes questions, most of the book is due to her doing what she feels is right, no matter how difficult. I love the Damar culture, it's very middle eastern. Nomadic people living in the desert, there is a great stone city at one point that reminds me alot of Petra. Plus there is a happy ending and everything ties up nicely, that always makes me feel better. Despite how much I love this book there are problems, there are some problems with with the world McKinley has crafted. Some details are left unsaid, there are some descriptions that really lack depth. I think on the whole, looking at the book with adult eyes that "lacks depth" is my key criticism. But considering that this is a young adult novel, and one that was written in 1982 (really before there was YA, this would have been considered a longer-form children's books and also before the YA revolution we're currently in) I think I can gloss over those things. I love this book because it's like a really comforting sweater, it feels perfect and reminds me of all the good times even if it is out of fashion and a bit ragged.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Review #7 Solied Doves

Hello all! I know that I haven't written in forever. I have been reading I just got kind of swept up in life. I have been reading, and I'm going to spend this weekend trying to catch up with the reviews. I finished Soiled Doves: Prostitution in the Early West by Anne Seagraves early March. I picked it up while in Seattle for the Emerald City Comic Con. I bought it while I was on the Seattle underground tour which was really cool and very dirty. A must for anyone with kids who like dirt grime, and general weirdness. Anyway, this book is a history, but it is in no way academic. There are sources and I believe that the author researched the book and only put forward what she found to be the truth. Having said that I still found this to be a fast, fun and quick read because she presents the book as a series of stories. The stories are captivating, many of these women had hard, terrible, joyous and happy lives. Each woman had her own reasons for going into prostitution or being a madam.
It was wild to read that often madams were pillars of the community. A town wasn't really a town until they managed to get some women to it. And the first women were usually prostitutes. A madam was first and foremost a businesswoman. Often these women were wealthy and would do things for the community. They'd build theaters, churches, orphanages. Usually a madam was the woman who donated the most to local charities, usually to offset the detriment to society that her establishment caused. These were raucous women who make their own money, choices and power. It's great to see historical context for women in power.
The prostitutes themselves had varied reasons for employing their trade, some were poor and had no choice, some had bad husbands, some were even looking for adventure. Some of these women went on to become successful madams, some married and many others died tragically. There were a few times in this book where the author seemed to slut-shame but after a while I think she was just reflecting the society around them. These women were seen as sort of pariahs. They could only really socialize with the men that paid them or other prostitutes. Many women were impoverished, working their trade in shanties or back alleys. These women had hard lives, they were chewed up and spat out dying young, like in their 30s!
Overall this book was SO informative it can be hard to separate fact from fiction especially in an era like the old west where truth and fiction have blended for decades. This book presented easy to read history and presented the facts for me.

Review #6 India Black

India Black has a fabulous cover, a woman in a red Victorian dress holds her fan seductively. The author's last name starts with a 'c' which means that when I walk by the mystery section on my way to the information desk that I can't help but see it. (Just a reminder, I work in a doomed bookstore) Luckily said bookstore lets me check out books. India Black is the title character she is a Madam in Victorian England. She runs a brothel call “Lotus House.” One of her clients dies while being entertained. He even dies in quite a compromising position, dressed up as Queen Victoria and chastising a wayward Prince Albert. Either way she is trying to dispose of the body when the mysterious agent known as French appears and helps her cover up the death. Apparently the Client was a member of the War Office and has important documents that the Prime Minister (PM) can't have leaked. The rest of the book follows the twists and turns as India and French try to get the documents back.
It's quite entertaining. Its not a mystery in the strictest sense, more like 007 in Victorian England. It's also really wacky and funny. India is super badass, terribly clever and very funny. She is a take no nonsense woman who is also a whore. At one point she tries to distract the Russian ambassador with a hot lesbian tryst with a Jamaican hooker.
This book reads like a first book. It's a bit spotty in places and I think the concept of the book outpaces the writing. It's the execution that falls flat. For instance, India uses a lot of Victorian slang, which is cool. Except in practice, because I don't know what the slang means, and it's kinda weird. On the whole it was a fun romp, even though it didn't end like I wanted it to. However, I'm very happy that I didn't have to pay for it.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Review #5 Frostbite

Part two of two. The second vampire book I read over the weekend was Frostbite by Richelle Mead. This is the second book in her hugely popular Vampire Academy series. I enjoyed this book, even though it was weaker that the first book. I plan on reading the whole series though, so this book was not bad enough to keep me from reading the other ones. I just want to warn you that the world of Vampire Academy is insanely complicated. It took me about 50-100 pages of the first book to really figure out what was going on. I will try to break it down as concisely as possible. I have a tendency to ramble and be too verbose, I apologize in advance.
The book is about Rose Hathaway she is in this high school and is training to be a Guardian. There are three kinds of vampires in this world
Moroi – full blooded vamps, they drink blood and need to in order to survive but they are good, can go in the sunlight (even though it weakens them) and they can do magic based on one of the four elements. They are the leaders of this vampire society, many of them are Russian-y and there are 12 royal families. Its a very uptight upper crusty world.
Strigoi- evil bad vampires. They drink blood to survive and to kill. They are super strong, super fast and super evil. If you are bitten and drink their blood as a human, dhampir or moroi you become Strigoi. If you are Moroi and drink someone's blood and kill them, you become Strigoi. They can't do magic or go in the unlight at all. They also like to kill Moroi.
Dhampir – These are half vampires. They don't drink blood, but have increased strength, hearing vision etc. Dhampirs are traditionally Guardians. Bodyguards that are trained to protect Moroi from Strigoi. It's a weird class system because Dhampirs are definitely more like servants but they are vital to this weird vampire society. Rose is a Dhampirs. It gets even more complicated because two Dhampirs can't have children but Moroi+Dhampir =Dhampir and Human+ Moroi= Dhampir. There is also a lot of baggage attached to being a female Dhampir because there aren't many female guardians. A lot of uppercrusty Moroi men will sleep with Dhampir women and beget Dhampir children off of them. There is also this weird concept where Dhampir women let Moroi feed from them and it's this very sexual kinky fetish thing. But it's also really looked down on and Dhampir women who do this are called “blood whores.”
There is even more stuff but I think that is the basics. Rose is best friends with Lissa who is Moroi, a royal and the vamp who Rose is going to serve as guardian to. It's also crazy because they have this weird psychic connection where Rose can slip into Lissa's head. They go to St Vladamir's which is the Vampire Academy of the series. Rose is supposed to go to one of her final tests to be a Guardian. She goes with her mentor and fellow guardian Dimitri. Rose is in love with him, and he's into her. But it's forbidden for Guardians to be together because they would be making out instead of protecting their charge. They go out to this big royal estate for her test but no one is there because there has been a Strigoi attack and everyone is dead. This colors the rest of the book because the kids all go up to some fancy Moroi ski resort which is where the final drama of the book happens.
I can't really write too much about this book because it is VERY much a sequel novel. Rose is still dealing with the events from the first book. Her bff Lissa and Lissa's new bf. Rose is still dealing with her feelings for Dimitri and the conflict she has with her mother who sort of abandoned her at a young age to the school. (It's a super fancy boarding school in Montana)
Once you understand the world it becomes really engrossing. I think that is what I like about the series. I also love Rose. She is a total badass. She is top of her fighting classes and is an awesome warrior woman. I love that she can beat people up. I also love that she is sexy and is known for being a bit loose, but she's still a virgin. She is sexual, but not a slut which I think is a really great description to make. Too often a woman is either a Saint or a Whore. Its nice to see a teenage character who acknowledges her sexual feelings without needing to act like Samantha from Sex and the City. She also has this relationship with Lissa. They are best friends but they still fight. There are parts of each other's lives that the other one doesn't understand. It is a very human and complicated relationship. Rose is totally loyal to Lissa and vice versa, but it doesn't mean that they don't have problems. If anything Rose is jealous of Lissa's boyfriend. According to convention this would mean that Rose is sexually/romantically interested in Lissa. But that is not the case. She is just jealous that another person now has such an intimate relationship with someone who Rose had had an intimate relationship with. I think it's a very complex relationship they have and that it's very true to real life and real girls relationships. Either way I would suggest reading this series. There is also a great review of it on io9.com which is where I heard about it.

You can buy it here

Review # 4 Braced to Bite

Part One of Two. This past weekend I worked at the Pasadena Antiquarian Book Show. Not only did was I the only person under 65 to attend, but I also cemented my youth by reading not one, but TWO ridiculous teen vampire novels. The first one being Braced to Bite by Serena Robar. The book follows Colby Blanchard who is a all around perfect high school blonde. (She's someone I would have hated in HS) She is top of her class, takes APs. She is also the top of the cheerleading pyramid and is friends with some vapid people and is about be asked out by the star quarterback. Well, the quarterback doesn't ask her out, and while she is walking home through the woods after the big game she is attacked. The guy ends up beating her up and making her drink his blood, but she kicks him in the crotch (Awesome!) She then wakes up in a ditch. She walks home and realizes once she gets there that it's been three days. Her mom cuts her hand and Colby actually drinks the blood. Then Colby's crazy great aunt makes the diagnosis that Colby is a vamp! Apparently the aunt worked as a nurse in WWII and she saw a few vampires that way. It's throw away lines like that that make this book hilarious. It has a really light tone and doesn't take itself seriously, which is fun. The only problem is when you apply more logic to them the story's logic starts to fall away. But it really didn't detract too much from the book, it was a $2.99 bargain book.
Anyway. Colby spends the next few chapters adjusting to her new vampire status. We learn that she doesn't have fangs, and this is the one bit of the book that really makes me love it. Colby's father is an orthodontist. So, of course, she has perfect straight teeth. When she was 12 her father had her cainines removed to give her that perfect smile. Yeah, she is a vamp with no fangs, it gets better. He feels so bad about it that he makes her stainless steel fangs that attach to her headgear. Yeah. She has headgear fangs. It may sound stupid, but it's definitely something I haven't seen in Vampire novels yet, so points for originality. I also love how awkward that is, having to wear headgear while you feed is just so ludicrous. Being a teenager is an exercise in awkward futility. You're really not an adult, and you can't really do anything. Your body is changing and you don't really know what to do with it. I just love how embarrassing that image of her is.
The main plot of the book is that Colby is a half-blood vampire. It's explained in the book why, but not very well. To be honest, I really don't care that much. The bottom line is that half-bloods are considered aberrations, they are sought out and destroyed. Her vampire investigator is Thomas and he is the love interest. He tells her that all vampires are licensed by the Vampire Council and your license is a magic ring. Most of the book is about Colby and Thomas trying to get her that ring.
I really enjoyed this book. It was cute and mildly original. Even though most of it was the same cliched stuff you see in teen novels (awkwardness, new feelings, new powers or new talents, and a crush) it was so light hearted and fun that I didn't mind the dumb bits. Like I said, the book didn't take itself seriously so neither did I. It doesn't get serious scrutiny and it was fun. I would read the sequel.

You can buy the book here. Heck, if you want my copy I'd gladly send it to you for free.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Review #3 Among Other Things, I've Taken Up Smoking

The third book I read was “Among Other Things, I've Taken Up Smoking” by Aoibheann Sweeney. I picked up this book at one of the local used bookstores. It was just a dollar and it had a blurb from Alison Bechdel. The book follows Miranda as she grows up. There are four parts, the first is her childhood and high school. The other three are what happens when she goes away to NYC for a summer. We learn that she grew up on Crab Island which is a tiny island near a small fishing town in Maine. Miranda is a lonely child because her mother dies when she is very young and she is raised by her extremely detached father alone on the island. It's just the two of them. Her father is an expert classicist who specializes in Ovid. He is working on a translation of The Metamorphosis and Miranda helps him. She is really an outsider in her own life. Even though she can't remember it she was born in NYC. Which to the town means that she is from “away.” Her father is SOO aloof the whole book, but he is her everything. He is this huge figure haunting the entire book even though she moves away from him in the second half. After she graduates from high school, with no prospects for the future. Her father suddenly gets her a job with at the Latin library that he helped to found. So Miranda packs up and goes to NYC to discover herself.
I found this book really strange. The reviews on Amazon are cut right down the middle with half of them saying the book is a moving portrait of a young person finding themselves, with the other half calling it boring drivel where nothing happens. It's true that this is a really really slow book. This is Sweeney's first novel and you can read that. You can tell she wanted to write a moving story about discovering yourself. It comes off overly ambitions. Her writing is not bad, but uneven. Most of the time the prose was unremarkable, but suddenly there would be a brilliant line. The prose also comes off as non-existant. That might be because Miranda is almost non-existent. Much of the book is colored by Ovid's work. Miranda will go into great detail about the Roman stories, these tie into the story, but not effectively enough to really warrant what becomes their overuse. If anything it is her father that is the main character. The book is really more about Miranda discovering her father than her self. She lived alone with him for 18 years, he really was her everything. She cooked and cleaned for him. She typed his translations for him. He was basically her only friend and confidant. Her father comes off as this huge looming figure. By the end you find out about him and his past that explains some of his behavior. But their relationship is very weird.
In conclusion I probably wouldn't recommend this book. I don't regret reading it, but like Miranda it was a non-entity. In fact, it's been about a week since I read it and I'm already forgetting most of it.

Buy it here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Review #2 His Lady Mistress

Hello all! Yes this review is late, and I'm embarrassed that this is only my second review. But I am going to try to have my third one up tomorrow. I'm nearly done with my third book. Anyway. For my second book I ended up reading His Lady Mistress by Elizabeth Rolls. I was playing with my new ipod touch and downloaded the Borders ereading app (full disclosure I am a bookseller there). I had downloaded a free Harlequin romance novel onto the app on my laptop a month or so earlier so I was ecstatic that the stupid thing actually syncs. The books that I had downloaded appeared on my ipod.
Unfortunately that meant that this piece of tripe appeared. Bleeeech! This thing was a piece of shit, it's no wonder it was free! FUCK ALL! I am a romance novel fan, but I don't place them in very high esteem. Which means I end up yelling at the book I'm reading. But I'll keep reading it. Don't ask. I have a weird relationship with romance novels. It comes from being a cynical romantic. Either way this book had a way of sucking me in. I never really cared much about the characters but they both just seemed so bad for each other I had to find out how they get together. Yes this review is tl;dr so dr.

The book opens with the Autumn of 1817 our heroine Verity Scott watching gruff working men carrying a body out to the cemetery. Verity (who is 15 that is important) follows them about their grisly business. We learn that this is Verity's father who has, gasp! Killed himself! So he doesn't get a proper burial and Verity has followed them out there to plant bluebells on his grave because she can't leave a cross but maybe they won't notice if there are flowers. So she goes to plant them when A MYSTERIOUS STRANGER is there paying his respects to the suicide! They pray over his body then the stranger takes her into his “strong arms [and] held her as she stumbled and then lifted her to lie cradled against [his] broad chest.” Yeah. It's going to be like that. He introduces himself as Max and that Verity's father was his superior in the war. Blah blah sad face. He takes her home to her crappy cottage and lights a fire to dry her clothing, makes her food and puts her to bed. Basically acting as a father figure (He calls her “little one” like 100 times). He is also impressed with her spirit for going out there or something. Then he leaves before she can wake up but gets her food for breakfast. Which is when she realizes “she had one friend. Even if she never saw him again, somewhere in the world was Max. Someone she could love” And that is the end of the fucking prologue.
In the next chapter it is Late Summer 1822. 5 years later -- that is important. Verity is now 20 and her name is now Selina Dering. She had to move in with her Aunt and Uncle who are minor royalty. Like they have some money and the title but they really need their daughter to marry rich. Verity/Selina is working basically as a servant. Her Aunt Lady Faringdon is constantly yelling at her and her cousin Celia treats her like shit. It's just Cinderella. But dumber and with more sexin'. Lord Blakehurst is coming to stay with the Faringdons and they think he wants to marry Celia and he's Mr. Moneybags so everyone is kissing his ass. Celia is trying to nab him while he's staying there and très scandal! It's MAX omg I'm sure you didn't see that coming, the rich eligible bachelor is the love interest, fuck all and eye roll. Max is there to find Verity; he cares so much for her that it took him five fucking years to look in on her. He asks her uncle where she is and the uncle tells Max that she's dead. We the reader know she's not so this is a clue that the Uncle is BAD. Thank you book. Right after Max finds out that she is “dead” he is walking through the halls and runs into her. He doesn't recognize her, even though its only been five fucking years and you really don't change THAT much between 15 and 20. As she was walking through the halls she ran into him because she was trying to avoid the unwanted advances of her creepy d-bag cousin Godfrey. Just in case you hadn't noticed, all the Faringdon's are EVIL and the son is an INCESTUAL RAPIST OH NOES! POOR VERITY or Selina or whatever her name is. She also doesn't tell him who she is because . . . that really isn't made clear except that she is afraid of her aunt.
Back to the review Max gets an instant boner for her 'cause that's what happens in romance novels. No that was not sarcasm “His whole body hardened as he walked on slowly, suggesting all manner of things that they could do for each other.” He flirts with her over a few days and makes a proposition --- Leave this terrible place and be my mistress so I can bone you night and day and give you some monies! At first she demurs and resists. But he pursues her and I like that he wants her to agree to a relationship with him. He isn't going to pressure her. He has a yes means yes, no means no attitude which is nice, but I think that it's to create a obvious contrast to Godfrey, who FYI is evil. She keeps saying no but on his last night at the aunt and uncle's house she gets all sorts of horny and her cousin is really mean to her and calls her a whore. Verity/Selina cuts of the cousin's hair (yea fucking awesome) and then thinks, everyone thinks I'm a ho I might as well gtfo, get some dick, and get paid. So she goes and has sex with Max. Remember earlier when I thought he was kind of being a feminist? Well he then makes her strip for him, and is all “I won't force you, you have to come to me” which sounds like weird power games so I revoke my voucher for him.
The next morning Max wakes up and finds blood on the sheets cause she was a virgin! Then his valet finds out that Selina is actually Verity DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!! Does this make him happy? No this sets up the major conflict of the next 12 chapters. “He'd taken the bait, hook, line and several pounds' worth of sinker. Caught by the oldest trick known to woman.” Yes he now believes that she lied to him so that she could trap him into a marriage. *eye roll* This couldn't be farther from the truth because like all romance heroines she is a pure as the freshly fallen snow, and unspoiled and innocent and needs protection, selfless etc. Max storms in all pissed at her when he finds out and her conclusion is “she hadn't satisfied him. But, now he knew the truth, she had disgusted him with her wanton behavior.” My favorite part about this sentence is how pitiful it makes her sound and the ridi circular logic. Either she is a whore, or she isn't. I don't understand how she can be a super sexual whore and leave him unsatisfied. She's bad in the sack but she does it all the time? I guess that would just make her bad at her job. Me, personally, at all of my jobs I pick up tricks that make it easier and learn important job skills. You'd think it would work for whores too. (side note: I am not trying to disparage sex workers in any fashion I'm referring to the abstract whore image that this book is referencing as truth because this book has no basis in reality and relies on false stereotypes of the dumbest variety)
Now here is where the plot thickens and gets ridiculous. He marries her! Forces her even! He thought he has been trapped and even though he doesn't want to marry her, and even though she protests whenever she can he still makes her marry him because he “[has] enough respect for [her] father's memory to make [her his] wife rather than [his] whore.” Please tell me that is not the stupidest plot bunny ever designed. I should have stopped reading here, but managed to get sucked in like an idiot.
He takes her to his Aunt Almeria, basically the evilest old lady ever. She has to teach Verity to be a proper lady or whatever. Basically Almeria treats her like garbage for the rest of the book. Max gets a special license and marries her. He then takes her to his country seat with his twin brother, Richard. The both of them are just really mean to her for a while. He takes to fathering her some more, and tries to get her to eat because she is losing weight and won't eat. Blah Blah. She repeatedly explains to him that she didn't want to trick him and she repeatedly proves herself to be good and selfless. The next 100 pages are just him being mean to her and periodic sexing that isn't written very well. Oh there are also some plot reveals. Spoilers alert We find out that Max won't get married because of a vow he made to his dying mother (that he didn't even like) to make sure his heir was his twin brother because his mother thinks that Max is the irresponsible one because he when was a boy he goaded his twin Richard into riding a wild horse that bucked him and now Richard can't walk very well. Also we find out that Verity blames herself for her father's death because after the war he was addicted to opium and Verity looks like her dead mother so in his opium hallucinations Verity's dad would get all upset and yell at her. So 15 year old Verity threw out his opium and in the withdrawals he killed himself because they were so bad. Yeah. Can you believe that? The more I read the more I just wanted to die.
At one point she tries to take a lover in London so that Max will throw her out, which fails. The big reveal at the end is that Verity's grandmother (who had disowned Verity's father because he married her mother) had a change of heart before she died. She decided to leave everything to Verity. That left the Faringdons high and dry though so they faked Verity's death, told the Granny that she was dead, and started to call Verity Selina. Because they are evil. The Granny changed her will back to the Faringdons and then she died. Some good Samaritan lawyer saw the notice in the paper that Verity was getting married, realized the Granny had been had and came to Max to present a scenario where, through legal Regency mumbo-jumbo, she can get her inheritance. Max does this and get's her money cause he loves her, when he's not calling her a whore or being a total asshole.
The big climax at the end is where Godfrey tries to kill her. But that is actually anti-climactic because most of the second half of the book is about Max being an asshole to her and her overcoming it. It's really upsetting because he just assumes the worst about her and even jumps to the craziest conclusions about her behavior just so he can hate her. It's super weird. Then suddenly out of this Max decides that he loves Verity and wants to make babies with her. The entire book is plotted so badly and the only characters that are in characters are the 1 dimensional side characters. They are just wooden stereotypes of faithful brother, old uptight aunt, friendly older servant and evil uncle. These are the only characters that act in a sensible manner, and that is just because they aren't fleshed out. If the author had taken more time with the side characters I'm sure they would act just as out of character as Max and Verity. It's like the author vomited 6 different romance stereotypes into each of them. Max is a fatherly gentleman, and a rake, and tortured because he had bad parents. He obsesses over Verity and spends LOOONG pages monologing about her virtues but he will call her a whore to her face, repeatedly just to hurt her. He also consistently acts “in her best interest” in a very creepy controlling way. Verity on the other hand is spunky and independent, but can't think for herself at all. She is supposed to be this great selfless yet independent character but I don't think she makes a decision for herself in the entire book. All in all this book is terrible and I hope that no one reads it ever again.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

CBR III #1 Rose and Isabel


This is my first CBR. I'm totally excited but I'm starting by taking it easy. I started with a comic book that I'd been meaning to read. Rose and Isabel by Ted Mathot. Mathot is an artist working at Pixar. I picked up a copy of his book at Wondercon. (Full disclosure I work at a comic book store and go to a lot of conventions for work) Anywho, I couldn't resist a comic about badass warrior women who aren't half naked.
The book starts out with a description of Amazons and then other warrior women throughout history. Then Book 1 starts out with the 3 Prescott boys leaving home to go fight for the North in the Civil War. The book takes on an anti-war sentiment with the line “We are only to guard the nearby union railroad for a few months.” Cause you know and I know that they will not be back quickly. The months stretch on to years and Rose (the younger and more headstrong of the two) decides to venture out into the Civil War and take back her brothers. Her father forbids it so she sneaks out of the house. She asks her sister, Isabel, to come along to help her. That is the bulk of the comic book, the two of them questing to find their brothers. The book shows the two sisters being trained by their father to fight, and shows that they are both amazing fighting prodigies. Hence all of the allusions in the being to amazons and warrior women. The two girls are show to be heirs to these great female warriors.
The art is good. Mathot works as a cartoonist and it’s clear here that the book has more of a cartoon look and not an illustrated look. There are some parts that are not as . . . finely drawn as I would prefer them, but it doesn’t detract from the overall storyline. The book is entirely in black and white which makes for some interesting art choices. The book brings up some really interesting ideas about war, the futility of it and the pain of war. The sister’s relationship is also tested. All in all it was a fun read, and I will be looking out for sequels that he has out Cora and Cora II.

You can buy the book here