Category Archives: books/book review

THE-LAST-BOOK-YOULL-EVER-READ

Book Review: The Last Book You’ll Ever Read, by Cullen Bunn

I accepted a review copy of The Last Book You’ll Ever Read through Rockstar Book Tours. It’s by Cullen Bunn (author), Leila Leiz (Illustrations), Giada Marchisio (Colorist), Jim Campbell (Letterer). The book was also spotlighted over on Sadie’s Spotlight. So, you can hop over there for an interview and  a chance to win a copy of the book for yourself.

Read this book at your own peril.

Olivia Kade wrote the book that ended the world. Now she needs someone who won’t read it.

Civilization is a lie. Hidden deep in our genes is the truth. And it is slowly clawing its way to the surface. Olivia Kade knows the truth, and she has become the prophet of the coming collapse. Her book, SATYR, is an international bestseller, and it is being blamed for acts of senseless violence and bloodshed all over the world. Olivia’s own life is in danger from those who have read her work. Determined to conduct a book tour, she hires security professional Connor Wilson to act as her bodyguard. She only has one requirement: he cannot read her work.

Collects the entire smash 8-issue series.

my review

I thought this was OK, leaning toward Meh. I liked the art, the way it was clean sometimes, but then loose when people lost their civilized mien. The subtle ways some things were relayed tickled me—like Conner suddenly going shirtless (let’s say half naked for the sake of my comparison) at the same time that he essentially went half Wilding. I loved the coloring and I saw where the author was going with the plot. But I still have to say ‘Meh.’

One of the main reasons is how sexualized so many things are. Now, I know when a female reader of a male claimed media (as graphic novels still are) starts saying anything like “I thought there was too much sex,” or “the female character was too sexualized,” a lot of people roll their eyes and dismiss the reviewer as a pearl-clutcher, a feminazi or whatever—and yes, I know women were involved in the publication. But hear me out.

I understand that the book is saying humanity is skewing toward baser instincts. Sex and lust are just such instincts and the Olivia’s book was called Satyr, after all. Plus, even the main characters were losing themselves in a way. I didn’t miss any of the symbolism (and I don’t have any general issue with nudity or sex in a graphic novel, not even a gory horror one). But I also don’t think any—except maybe one—sex scene is actually stitched into the plot. There are several of the last book you'll ever read photothem and they tend to just be shoved in between chapters with no real plot-relevant purpose. And there are just so many non-sexual panels that are a little too male gaze sexy to serve the purpose. The cover is a great example of what I mean. I eventually just rolled my eyes at it all. Not because I was overly scandalized or because my feminist leanings, but because it was all just so darned pedestrian. I was legitimately bored by it.

All in all, I didn’t hate it. I saw value in it. But it definitely wasn’t my favorite graphic novel of the year.


Other Reviews:

Insatiable Readers: Last Book You’ll Ever Read

The Last Book You’ll Ever Read: The Complete Series by Cullen Bunn & Others (Major Spoilers Ahead)

The Last Book You’ll Ever Read – A horror graphic novel

 

 

a kingdom of flame and fury

Book Review: A Kingdom of Flame and Fury, by Whitney Dean

I accepted a review copy of Whitney Dean‘s A Kingdom of Flame and Fury through R&R Book Tours. The Book was also featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight. So, you can hop over there for an excerpt, author information, tour schedule, and (if you hurry) a chance to win a copy of the book.

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At ten years old, Raven was mysteriously willed to be the next ruler of Seolia, a kingdom nestled within the realm of The Four Kingdoms. Orphaned as a baby, she has spent fifteen years ruling over a kingdom she believes she did not earn all while hiding secrets: she possesses dark magic and she thirsts for blood. Now at almost twenty-five years old and with a sudden addiction to stealing life, Raven must fight through her new procured darkness to save her soul, but when a mysterious stranger arrives in her kingdom, she starts experiencing vivid dreams that detail who she truly is. As she slowly starts to unravel her story, what she uncovers at the end of the spool will change the course of her life and her kingdom forever.


my review

I went into this book with such high hopes. But it honestly just strangled them, one extra page at a time. I’ll give the author that the writing is mechanically competent, editing pretty clean, and the world is interesting. I didn’t even hate the characters. But the book is far, far, far too long for the plot that it contains. The middle just draaaaaaags and then the whole thing finishes on a cliffhanger. So, there’s not even any payoff after sticking with it until the end.

I might have been able to tolerate that if it wasn’t paired with constant whiplash changes in character attitudes and behaviors. “I won’t do this.” Does it. “You can’t do that” Does it. “I’ll do the thing.” Doesn’t do it. “I love this man.” Hates same man. “I don’t sexually love this man.” Has sex with him. Back and forwards, back and forwards, back and forwards, back and forwards. I’m talking a full half of this book is just characters flipping between opposing attitudes/opinion/actions. And I was just completely done with it far before the book was done with me. Yes, I understood that the author was trying to show that the characters were conflicted, but it just felt contradictory and exhausting.

Even the narrative is contradictory. Here’s an example. The reader is told no one ever goes in the woods and there is virtually no crime on the island. Raven walked into the woods and was immediately accosted by a serial rapist. If no one goes in the woods and there’s almost no crime, he’s two rarities at once. He contradicts two pillars of the world as the reader has been told it exists. Exhausting.

Further, this is labeled a dark romance. I don’t think it’s a dark romance. It’s a freaking tragedy. I recognize the elements that Dean was trying to paint as dark romance. But it’s just toxic, abusive behavior without enough shading to make it an actual dark romance. Lastly, and this

a kingdom of flame and fury

              Special edition cover

one was just an annoyance, but it really annoyed me. Nothing about Raven—her situation, her attitude, her demeanor, her kingdom, her training, her history, her interactions with others or them with her—felt queenly. Nothing. The book isn’t even clear on what she rules. Was it a country, an island, a town, or a village? Village is used more often than anything else. So, she’s queen of a village? Linguistically, it doesn’t even make sense.

I think this book will find an audience. Exhausting whiplash aside, most aspects of it aren’t bad. I am just apparently not that audience.


Other Reviews:

Bookworm Bunny Reviews: A Kingdom of FLame and Fury

A Kingdom of Flame and Fury

 

yours and mine banner

Book Review: Yours and Mine, by A.E. Bennett

I accepted a review copy of A.E. Bennett’s Yours and Mine through Travelling Pages Tours. The series was also featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight.

yours and mine cover

She told a lie. He confirmed it. Now they’re secretly betrothed against their families’ wishes…

Lady Octavia Dorchester is the most desired young lady in the Realm. Now that she has twenty years behind her, society has deemed her ready to marry. Although she’s not enthusiastic, she promises to act like a proper lady and look for a good husband—just like her powerful father Lord Roman Dorchester wants.

Lord Gerald Verte has been painfully shy his entire life. He’s never been comfortable in society and lives in the shadow of his older brother, the imposing Lord Tristian Verte. Despite his desires to remain indoors and away from people, he promises his older brother that he won’t shame the family name, no matter how much his anxiety threatens to overwhelm him.

After sharing a dance at a ball held in Octavia’s honor, both she and Gerald know what no one else believes—it’s love at first sight.

When their respective family members object to the match, Octavia lies about their betrothal and Gerald corroborates her story. Raising the ire of both Lords Dorchester and Verte, Octavia and Gerald are torn apart and kept from one another until tragedy strikes.

my review
I really enjoyed this. Honestly, I’m always a little disappointed when an author has a chance to recreate society after some global devastation and chooses to recreate strict, oppressive gender hierarchies instead of equality. It says so much about humans that we’d rubber band back toward ignorance instead of widening our mindset. But Bennett does well with a heroine who has very forward thinking and rebellious attitudes. (Though one is left wondering where they came from if no one around her shares the ideals.)

But I adored Octavia. She saw what she wanted and went for it, societal opinions be damned. The ‘love’ was pretty instant though. And Gerald was just SO marvelously awkward and noble. I think it would be impossible not to adore the most cinnamony cinnamon roll to ever be written.

This is a novella—only 117 pages. So, it lacks world-building. Magic is mentioned, for example, that plays no roll in the story. One assumes it is relevant in the next book though. All in all, I finished this pleased and will happily read another Bennett book.


Giveaway:

yours and mine giveaway

Direct Link

Other Reviews:

Yours and Mine by A.E. Bennett – Book review