Review: Civil War by Mark Millar

civil warI have to remind myself that the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) is not the same as Marvel Comic Universe. The Captain America and Iron Man that we have grown to love in the movies are not exactly the same in the comics.  They may share some story lines, traits and beliefs but really they are different characters.  As is the story is going to be a different story then the movie.  For one thing thing, in the comic the story relies kinda heavily on the involvement of both the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, both teams that do not exist in the MCU.  So the reasons why the registrations of Superhero’s is necessary had to be changed but the central argument seems to be the same.  To have a governing body to oversee superhero activities or continue to have autonomy on their work.  I can understand both sides.  On one hand, just because you have super human abilities does not mean you are or should be above the law and do what ever you like and then force other people to pay to clean up your mess.  On the other hand, you can’t force someone to work for someone without a choice of employers.Not everyone has the same prioritize and they shouldn’t be forced to submit to others.  I’m not sure how it’s going to play out in the movie since it doesn’t come out until Friday but I feel like the in the comic they were definitely more Team Captain.  Team Iron Man was doing all sorts of shady things.  Cloning older superheroes and creating new ones who will follow their directions.  Release super villains to track down the rebelling superheroes.  Who is supervising them?  The more I read the more I felt that people’s anger was misplaced.  What started it all was a few Mutants (were they actually X-men?) are filming a reality TV show.  They track down other mutants in Stanford, Connecticut. Even though they know they are out matched and they confront them anyway for the sake of better ratings.  They end up dying and taking with them a whole bunch of kids from a near by school. Now this is truly a tragedy but why blame all superheroes and not the producers and the network of the show that pushed them to get bigger rantings.  I haven’t read all the Civil War collections, as I see their are many, so maybe there are more to this then just that but it seems to me this is blaming all for the actions of few.  Say, like blaming the all Muslims for the actions of terrorist even though majority of Muslims live peaceful lives are are just as angry and appalled by the actions of Isis as everyone else.  Captain America, The Falcon, Iron Man, The Fantastic Four Spider-Man and so on are not going out looking for trouble they are only responding when there is.  That’s a big difference.  Maybe regulations should be made but this all of nothing solution that is presented in this is probably not the way.  I found this book to be enjoyable.  Gave me a lot to think about.  Not sure if if really prepared me for what’s to come in the movie since as I said in the beginning these are different beasts but I’m glad I did.

What do you do about alleged Plagiarism?

This Tuesday Cassandra Clare is set to release the next book in her Shadowhunters Novels. Her series is highly popular and is now on it’s third series inside this world.  The previous The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices were highly successful.  The former has already inspired a movie (a really bad one) and a TV show (from what I’m told is actually not bad and is doing well in the ratings but I personally couldn’t get past the first 2 episodes). Unfortunately the release of Lady Midnight, the first book in The Dark Artifices series is under a little bit of a cloud.  Sherrilyn Kenyon, the author of the Dark-Hunters series, is suing Clare for copying her ideas.  Kenyon’s series was first published in 1998 and Clare’s in 2007. They both center around an elite set of supernatural warriors that defend the world against demons and other supernatural beings.  Clare has of course denied it by saying she wasn’t influenced by Kenyon’s work.  I have read all of Clare’s books but I haven’t read any of Kenyon’s Dark-Hunters books.  I’ve read the Chronicles of Nick, which I love.  Seriously, I can’t recommend it enough.  The series is a YA spin-off of the Dark-Hunters series and has overlaps with her original series, with characters appearing in both.  Are there similarities? Sure? Probably?  I don’t think the idea of elite warriors who fight demons is new or original.  So I’m not sure what the outcome is going to be but does it matter?  Should I be concerned that Clare might have taken some ideas from Kenyon?  It hasn’t changed my opinions of her books.  They may have similarities but they are both very different in tone and style that they don’t feel the same.  Actually, until this lawsuit I didn’t even occur to me that they were similar.  Not the same way that drew comparisons between Julie Kagawa’s Talon series to Sophie Jordan’s Firelight series.  I wouldn’t say that one copied another but they definitely pulled from the same ideas. I think this gets a little murkier is the fact that Clare has been accused for plagiarism before.  During her fan fiction days, she was accused of adding quotes from TV shows and whole passages from an out-of-print book. There are whole debates about the ethics of fan-fiction.  Some would argue that fan-fiction itself is a form of plagiarism.  Needless to say this doesn’t help Clare’s cause but I don’t think it necessarily proves anything either because again, I think there is some ethical murkiness when it comes to fan-fiction. From what I’ve read, Fifty Shades of Grey is far closer to Twilight then Clare’s The Draco Trilogy was to Harry Potter but I can’t say for certain.  So where does this leave me?  I had already bought my copy of Lady Midnight before this came out so I will read it but my excitement towards it has lessened.  As readers do we have a responsibility here or not? If so, what exactly is it?  I’m kinda I’m curious to hear what others have think about this.

What I Can’t Wait to Read in 2016

It’s 2016!  Happy New Years!!  A new year means new books!  And we love new books even if they just add to our TBR pile.  So here a 10 books that I’m super excited to read in 2016!

  1. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater- The final book in the Raven Cycle and I couldn’t be more excited and dreading at the same time.  It is well documented about how much I love the series and Maggie as an author.  I can’t wait to see what will happen to Blue and the Boys but at the same time not ready to say goodbye.
  2. The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan – The first book in Rick’s new series The Trials of Apollo is going to be good.  I just know it.  For one thing Percy is back!  That’s really all I need to know.  I also hope it means that Leo is also back and happy and in love with Calypso.  That would be the best.
  3. Untitled by Sarah J. Maas – So the next book in the Throne of Glass series doesn’t have a title but hasn’t dampened my excitement for it.  Aelin has all but declared her intentions and now heading for home.  The real fight for Erilea is abou to get real.
  4. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir –  An Ember in the Ashes was one of the books that I loved the most last year.  A mixture of historical fiction, dystopian and fantasy it was truly something refreshing.  I can’t wait to see what happens next.
  5. The Last Star by Rick Yancey – The final book in the 5th Wave series should be interesting.  The 5th Wave was full and real but the The Infinite Sea was a intriguing but not as entertaining.  Now that we know that who the aliens are and not things are really going to go down.  Not to mention the movie for the first book comes out soon and I’m quite interested to see how it transitions from page to screen.
  6. Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard – The Red Queen was the other book by a new author in 2015 that I really loved.  The other was Ember in the Ashes.  It was quite a debut.  I can’t wait to see what Mare will do now.
  7. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare – It’s been over a year since Cassandra’s last series ended. She has filled the void with her novella series Tales from Shadowhunter Academy it hasn’t been the same.  Now we are moving from New York City to LA with Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorne five years after the end of The Mortal Instruments so of course the world is once again in peril and it’s mostly the Clave’s fault.  I do hope it’s better then the last 3.
  8. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas – I’ll admit that I was only so so on the first book but I think this series has real potential and I’m willing to give it a go.
  9. The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan – Magnus and friends stopped Ragarnok from happening at least for now and now he’s going to have help from his cousin Annabeth.  (Annabeth is going to be very busy this year) We know from the last book that Thor lost his hammer and judging by the title that is going to be a major part of this book but he won’t be the only God as we also know that Loki has been pulling strings for a long time. Things should get interesting.
  10. The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon – Now I’m not sure if this book is really going to come out this year or not but according to Goodreads, it’s scheduled for 11/3 so *crosses fingers* Paige has taken over the syndicate only to be betrayed by her former boss.  It’s time to start a revolution against Scion but I have a feeling they won’t go down without a fight.

And so many more books I want to read and not to mention try to complete our reading challenges. It’s going to be a busy reading year.  How about you? What books are you looking forward to reading this year?

Review: Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

Beth has already done a short review on this book so here I am to give a longer, spoilerier review. This is a dystopian novel set in a future post-nuclear-holocaust Sudan. It follows the life of Oyesonwu, a woman born of rape and blessed with magic powers that she will use to change the world. This novel did not shy away from presenting the horror of rape, weaponized rape, genocide and female genital mutilation. Okorafor has a powerful voice and I am really glad to have read this book. I am also looking forward to reading more by this author. After the cut, though, I am going to discuss some problematic things in this novel.

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Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

So, I can’t believe how incredibly lax I have been this past month about blogging. I finished this book awhile ago (before Beth finished A Walk in the Woods!). This was the hardest of the books that Beth assigned me to get through. (Which I think is funny. I read the easiest and then immediately started the hardest). But, it was nice to know that even if I was having trouble with it, at least I was reading a signed copy.

Georgie has always wanted to be a comedy writer and she has worked very hard over the years writing for various television shows. Now, she and her writing partner have a chance to pitch their own show. This is their dream. But, it’s Christmas and she was supposed to go to Omaha with the love of her life Neal and their two kids. He tells her not worry, they’ll go without her, she should stay and write her pitch. She stays. He leaves with the kids. A chain of events is then set off in which Georgie has to wonder about her future and her past. Did Neal leave her for good or just for Christmas? Trying to get in touch with Neal she discovers that she has a magic phone that can call Neal in the past. Well, at one particular time in the past where she was sure Neal had left her for good.

This one, my last one in my pop culture homework assignment, was so slow starting. At the beginning of the book (probably for the first fifty pages) I didn’t care about Neal or Georgie and so I wasn’t invested in their relationship. It didn’t matter to me if they stayed together or if they split. But, the further I got into the novel, the more I started really getting into the context. Georgie is thinking about her priorities and what she wants from her life. I can relate to that. In fact, this was probably hardest to read because Georgie and I are about the same age and I have also been thinking a lot about my priorities this summer. Georgie is coming to realize all of the things that she has taken for granted (that you can’t take for granted.) Neal is not my favorite paramour in literature; he’s brusque and standoffish. Without Georgie, I probably wouldn’t care about Neal (without Neal, I might care about Georgie). But, Neal and Georgie do seem to have something good in the flashbacks we are treated to as Georgie thinks about her relationship (and as Rowell provides us the context of the phone calls to the past.)

It is a neat concept: a magic phone that can call one place and time in the past. That’s pretty neat. At the Rainbow Rowell reading I went to earlier this summer someone asked about the magic phone and she said, “Who wouldn’t want a magic phone they could use to talk to a past love?” Me. I wouldn’t. But, if I had a magic phone and I could talk to my past self, man that would be sweet. Past Kate could have saved Present Kate a lot of trouble. This was my least favorite of the four Rowell books I read this summer but it was still pretty good.

And, with that, I am done with my Pop Culture Homework assignment!

What I’m Reading Now: Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

Beth and I are in the same book club. I’m a little behind everyone else this month. I’m a little embarrassed by that because I recommended this book!

Quick Review: Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

Featured imageI’m going to be brief because I don’t want to be spoilery and also want to wait until Kate finishes it to talk in more detail. I will say it was a truly powerful novel.  A dystopian novel set on the African continent.  Onyesonwu is born from rape and because of it is an outcast but she has a destiny that will change the world. I admit that I haven’t ready many books that take place in Africa so this was a new voice for me. At times it confusing and it was also horrifying.  Nnedi Okorafor does not shy away from the ugliest and violent moments of the novel and it’s equal parts terrifying as it is uncomfortable.  It’s an unflinching portrait of racism and sexism and how both corrupt a society.  Onye is not only a woman but also Ewu, a child born of violence from an Okeke women and Nuru man.  She is shunned by most and seen as both worthless by many more.  When it becomes clear that she is more then normal, she repeatedly turned away from the local sorcerer not because she isn’t extraordinary but because she is a woman.  One has to wonder, how differently things would have turned out if she started training when she first asked to but I guess we will never know.  When she finally unleashes her power and saves the day it’s a sight to see.  My favorite part of the novel is the friendship from Onye and Luyu.  At first, they are just two girls who are in the same class, who are forced together thanks to a common experience shall we say but as they grow they become closer.  They give each other strength and support.  They each show bravery and different ways.  I truly don’t believe that Onye would have made it through without her.  Mwita may be the love her life and soulmate, more then a soulmate really but it’s Luyu who is the back bone.  She keeps everyone grounded in a way.  Her bravery is truly inspiring because unlike Onye and Mwita who have varying degree of powers, Luyu is nothing but human but she knows there are bad things happening and will do anything to help Onye stop them.  This isn’t an easy book to read but what the characters go through are not meant to be easy.  If you feel uncomfortable because it’s supposed to be uncomfortable.  You should be horrified at the lengths people will go for an idea and belief.  It truly was a great book.