Url Phantomhive

Url Phantomhive

Trying to shed a light on the wonderful maze of books...

Review
4 Stars
Brother's Ruin
Brother's Ruin - Emma Newman

Brother's Ruin was a wonderful short book and a great start to the Industrial Magic series, which kept myself asking only one thing: Where/When can I get the next one? and Is it going to be a full length book? (Okay, these are in fact multiple things but certainly show my enthusiasm).

It had everything in it to make it a very nice read for me. Set in a Victorian England with a Royal Society which enlists everyone with magical abilities, I knew from the start I was going to like it. The Gunns have fallen on some hard times, as a good price is paid for a talented mage, their worries seem to be over when their son Ben seems to develop magical abilities. He's eager to try out, but what he doesn't know is that he's not the mage, his sister is, and she's been hiding it for years.

I was surprised at how much story fitted in the limited amount of pages this book has. Still, I would have loved to see it as a full length novel. The scene was set nicely, and you can see Charlotte struggling between the desire to keep herself safe (and her life predictable) and helping her family. I'm extremely looking forward to the next novel. I would certainly recommend it.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
4 Stars
Big Mushy Happy Lump
Big Mushy Happy Lump: A Sarah's Scribbles Collection - Sarah Andersen

Last year I read Adulthood Is A Myth, which was my introduction to Sarah Andersen, but it almost felt like being old friends, as a lot of her short comics were so relatable.

So, when I came across Big Mushy Happy Lump, my expectations were quite high, but I need not to worry, because it was as nice as the first one. I think the comics are very relatable to a lot of people, but besides the way they are drawn is also helping making these so popular, is my guess.

Much of what I said in my review of Adulthood Is A Myth still stands, and I'm pretty sure that if you enjoyed that one, you'll like Big Mushy Happy Lump as well.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
3 Stars
The Dragon Engine
The Dragon Engine (The Blood Dragon Empire) - Andy Remic

The Dragon Engine was my first book by Andy Remic, so I was completely unfamiliar with the world presented in The Blood Dragon Empire. However, since it had a nice old fantasy feel to it, it didn't feel like it was a great loss, or that you should have read the previous series (as I also understood that it features other characters).

Here, we are introduced to a band of war veterans, coming together one final time to steal that one final, huge, treasure. What they don't know is that the Dwarves who said treasure belongs to are not quite as extinct as expected, and they are headed by the main villain Skalg, Cardinal of the Church of Hate.

Indeed, it has been done before, and most certainly, there were some cringe worthy, eye-rolling scenes for sure, but still I mostly enjoyed reading The Dragon Engine. The dynamics between the heroes of the stories was nice, as they felt like old friends. The story was very raw, very dark, which is why I think it will not appeal to everyone. But I for one, am looking forward to reading the sequel.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
4 Stars
Britannia
Britannia - Peter Milligan

I was pleasantly surprised by Britannia, the new graphic novel (now in trade paperback) from Peter Milligan. Recently not all my graphic novel experiences have been so good, so my expectations were not so high, but this turned out to be without reason.

Set during the rule of Nero both in Rome and in Britannia it follows Antonius Axia, who is called the first detective. He doesn’t do that much of detecting, but since he Sherlocks his way through life by being observing I guess the title is not that far off. However, it is mostly a horror story, so the detective-part wasn’t big enough for my liking. It is still quite a complete story in the limited amount of pages.

What I did like was that every issue was followed by a short essay on different aspects of the stories, like the Vestal virgins, Nero and life in Roman Britain.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
3.5 Stars
Camp Midnight
Camp Midnight - Steven T. Seagle, Jason Katzenstein

Skye was going to spend the summer with her Dad and step-monster, but instead they send her off to summer camp. Caring parents as they are, she ends up on the wrong bus and is forced to spend her holidays in Camp Midnight, a summer camp of the paranormal variety.

 

While this is certainly a middle-grade graphic novel I wanted to read it as Steven T Seagle was involved with Big Hero 6, an animation movie that took me completely by surprise and ended up on my all time favorites. I also enjoyed Camp Midnight a lot, and while marketed to a younger audience, I'm quite confident it is not meant to scare even them. The art worked really well with it.

 

My only problem with it was that the ending felt a bit rushed, but of course it is difficult to put too much story in a limited number of pages.

 

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
2 Stars
The Panem Companion
The Panem Companion - V. Arrow

I was not completely sure what I was thinking when I decided to read a companion novel to this popular series. There were some questions that I wanted to know an answer to, but in hindsight, I think it probably wasn't really something for me.

The thing is, that I can get annoyed when people start over-analyzing something, which most certainly is the case in The Panem Companion. There are a few interesting pieces like, where in America are the different Districts located and what do they all do, but a lot of the book is actually taken up either by fan theories (which you can find online by the truckload) or metaphors which are apparently planted into the smallest details of the story.

Not for me.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
3 Stars
Wondering Sight
Wondering Sight (The Extraordinaries Book 2) - Melissa McShane

Last year I read Burning Bright, the first in a new fantasy series, and to say I was excitedly awaiting the second novel, Wondering Sight, would not do it justice.

I was initially disappointed that the characters from the first book didn't show up here, and also the story has moved away from catching pirates in the Caribbean to life in Britain. Sophia has another gift completely, as she as an Extraordinary Seer, can see Dreams and Visions that teach her about past and future. When she, at the start of the novel sets out to get her revenge of the man who disgraced her, it quickly turns into obsession which will not only put herself but her friends as well in danger.

I didn't like it as much as the first book. I just couldn't really get into it, and I felt the rules of the Sight were too easily bended for Sophia's convenience. Plus, I guess I missed the ships and the pirates, since a lot of the book is filled with society gatherings and parties. I guess the focus will change to another Gift in the next book, so I hope it will be something more for me...

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
3.5 Stars
The Outs
The Outs - E.S. Wesley

During the Outs, strange things happen. But it doesn't seem to matter no one can remember what happened afterwards as everything gets a reset at the end of them. However, things must be changing as Caleb realizes he's kidnapped a little girl during the last episode of the Outs.

This was such a confusing read. A little bit of that was of course to be expected when memory stealing black-outs are taking place, but even then it was too confusing. I never got a clear idea as to what happened during the Outs, and strangely I thought the 'bringing everyone who died back from the dead when the Outs end' felt a bit like cheating. It creates a world (together with some other things that I won't mention so not to spoil) in which anything can be explained so easily, it becomes very plot-convenient.

More than Caleb, Kitzi was a very interesting character. As Caleb's only friend she tries to keep him safe, but she also has a secret of her own. Also, something is wrong with Amanda, the little girl who's kidnapped.

Will it make an easy read? That depends on how much you want to be able to follow the book. For quite some time I'd no real idea of what I was reading, but I have to admit that it was a very compelling read and I wanted to know how it would end. It was definitely not your everyday read, so for who likes those, I would recommend The Outs.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
3 Stars
The Dinosaur Lords
The Dinosaur Lords - Victor Milán

O, Dinosaur Lords, how much I was looking forward to you! The idea of combining knights and dinosaurs just sounded so great, it had to be great. Then the reviews started to come in, and they were not that enthusiastic, but I held a copy in my hand, and the drawings were so nice. It had to be good. Needless to say, my expectations for this one were sky high.

It managed however to bother me from page one. It starts saying that this world in which it plays is not like Europe, and the book goes on to be one of the most Europe-like settings I've read in a long time. Admitted, it's more like Spain than England, but all the names are like in Europe, just slightly different. It would need a good story and lots and lots of Dinosaurs to make up for the bad start.

Unfortunately, at the end of The Dinosaur Lords, I felt disappointed. It was an okay story, but in a field so heavily populated as High Fantasy it is easy to get lost between all the other stories out there. You'll need something that adds to your story and there was this perfect chance: Dinosaurs. I thought they played too little a role. At times I almost forgot they were there. A shame.

While it was a fast read, it was not the book I'd hoped for.

Review
4 Stars
Letter 44: Vol. 1
Letter 44: Volume 1 - Charles Soule, Alberto Alburquerque, Guy Major, Dan Jackson

When newly elected President Blades entered office, he didn't think life would be easy. He didn't expect to learn about aliens, possibly/probably planning some kind of invasion, and a secret space mission to study the aliens.

This was surprisingly good. I was a bit skeptical, because lately I wasn't having to much luck with my comics, but this story really good capture my attention. It's part political intrigue and part space mission, and the latter was the most interesting one for me. The crew has been in space for several years and new problems have arisen. Not to mention the pregnancy of one of the crewmembers.

Maybe not the most original work out there, but I enjoyed myself a lot while reading it and I'm curious as to how this will continue.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
4 Stars
A Man With One Of Those Faces
A Man With One of Those Faces - Caimh McDonnell

It is not often that I immediately decide to buy a book based on a single review, but after (I believe it was) Magdalena's review for the second book of the series, I couldn't resist. It just sounded like the thing I would most definitely like, and I did.

Paul is a man with one of those faces, they blend in very easily and are often mistaken for those of others. As such, he's doing a volunteer job at a hospice as the 'granny whisperer', talking to dying patients and pretending to be their relative so they feel less lonely. That is, until one of them tries to kill him.

What follows is a very funny pursuit in which Paul, together with Nurse Brigit try to stay out of the hands of the Dublin underworld. I liked it a lot. I expected to like it, but still, there needs to be some kind of connection and luckily it was there. The characters are very witty and the there's enough making fun of the clichés that it actually doesn't matter not everything is super original. I truly felt sorry for both Paul and Brigit as their lives haven't always been easy and they made some difficult decisions.

To be honest, for me was it not the laugh-out-loud experience that other people said it was, but I did smirk from time to time, and I truly enjoyed reading it.

Review
3 Stars
Chest Of Bone
Chest of Bone (The Afterworld Chronicles Book 1) - Vicki Stiefel

Sometimes you're reading a novel and you're 30% through it and only then realize that you still don't have a clue about what the book is about. That happened to me with Chest of Bone.

I expected something more of a fantasy novel, but it was more or less a murder mystery with some fantasy elements thrown into it. This is not necessarily a bad thing of course, as I certainly like my murder mysteries from time to time. However, the writing was also quite strange. I can't really explain it but felt different, and I think it was one of the reasons why I couldn't get into the story for a long time.

The story itself was quite interesting (mostly the part about the 'exotic' food) but the main ideas have been done before, a number of times. The jury is still out whether or not to continue with this series in the future.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
4 Stars
Hogwarts: An Incomplete And Unreliable Guide
Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide (Pottermore Presents) - J.K. Rowling

Hogwarts has arguably been my favorite magical school. Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide, the third in the Pottermore Presents series, provides, much like its predecessors little bits and pieces of the wizarding world.

Can you enjoy the series without reading this? Sure you can. Can you enjoy Hogwarts without reading this guide? Absolutely.

But if you don't want the magic to stop and don't mind the fact that it is rather short and offers only some new information, give it a try. Since I never ventured into Pottermore, I don't know if it holds anything new for users of Pottermore.

Review
4 Stars
Short Stories From Hogwarts Of Power, Politics And Pesky Poltergeists
Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists (Pottermore Presents) - J.K. Rowling

As with the previous book, Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists, gives some much awaited insights into the wizarding world.

While it was fun to read, I particularly liked the listing of all the Ministers of Magic and some information on them, as it was clearly some information not necessarily needed for the series. Also, some history.

One thing I did notice, as with the previous book is that it is clear which characters JK Rowling likes best, because some of the teachers deserved a better/longer chapter.

Review
4 Stars
Short Stories From Hogwarts Of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies
Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies (Pottermore Presents) - J.K. Rowling

Pottermore Presents currently three ebooks with collected extra writings from JK Rowling about the wizarding world. While they are not essential to the series, they provide just a little bit extra, which I liked a lot.

This first book collects the stories on Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies. Some chapters were very strong, like the ones about McGonagall and Lupin. Others, like the one about Trelawney could have been improved.

Still, I enjoyed it a lot.

Review
5 Stars
March: Book One
March (Book One) - Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell, John Robert Lewis

When I read Maus last year, I was surprised at how well a graphic novel is able to tell a story with such an impact. Reading March: Book One, I'm strengthened in my beliefs that it is a very good medium for these kind of stories.

I happened to get this book as a surprise (for signing up to a newsletter), so at first I didn't know what to expect. But once I read a bit about it, and then started reading it, I couldn't put it down (and I didn't since it was only 130 or so pages).

I think the racial segregation is one of the black pages in American history and it's very important that people learn about it. This book is a powerful way to do so. Would recommend!

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