Category Archives: Shannon Suggests

The Witch Who Came in from the Cold

Wow. This is a really enjoyable book, written by five authors–Lindsay Smith, Max Gladstone, Cassandra Rose Clarke, Ian Tregillis, and MIchael Swanwick. It was originally released on Serial Box (not currently available there), and this is a novelization.

The story so far… Prague, 1969-1970. The height of the Cold War. The CIA is working on extracting a defector, the KGB is keeping a close eye on what the CIA is up to… into the mix we get and ancient magical war which is beginning to heat up again.

Ice & Fire, East & West, compelling characters, people in the spy life who are unaffiliated, people in the magical life who are unaffiliated. Cross-cutting agendas, mixed loyalties, just enough spycraft, and a really interesting magical world…

It’s a novel with everything you could want from a premise like this, but also not enough since the world is deep, and the characters worth caring about.

Viral: The Fight Against AIDS in America

Written for the youngest of young adults, high school students, this book takes an unsparing (but not salacious) look at the origins of the disease. It also offers an unsparing look at the causes of the epidemic, and forthrightly addresses reasons for why it continued to spread for as long as it did. Social, political, economic, and medical challenges faced by, and overcome by, People With AIDS are examined in tough, passionate prose. The lessons Ann Bausum weaves through this powerful book illuminate both the days from a generation ago, and highlight the power of organization–a lesson of particular importance for every generation.

Shelley by Vandermeulen and Casanave

u3bexy1o0eqz5rsx7pkskwzkvjinm2nx-couv-1200Perfect for the ravenous reader of graphic novels, Romanic poets, or people who are clever. The prose guides the reader along the high points of Shelley’s early adulthood with breezy language and mod characterizations. The art is a fun combination of the style popularized in ’80’s alt-comics (notably From Hell), and early 20th Century comic strips like Thimble Theatre. On the whole, pleasant, and I am looking forward to the next volume.

Ebook only.

Catwoman, Vol. 1: Copycats

Visually striking, but ultimately a little thin, this new presentation of Selina Kyle too easily treads well-worn paths. The characterization of Catwoman hints at comics continuity in ways which barely matter, while moving too quickly through harrowing emotional beats which could have grounded the story for real-world readers. Nearly unbearable emotional pain gets replaced with impossibly low-consequence physical suffering (a five story fall ends with two broken ribs, and maybe something else, and glossed with a single panel of a close-up grimace). This is a stylish collection, but very little seems to lie beneath the surface.