Posted in Uncategorized, Whatcha Reading??

A Look at Low, Volumes 1 through 4

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Sebastian the Crab was dead wrong when he said everything was better under the sea. It’s not a bunch of dancing fish and singing crustaceans like Disney would like for you to believe.

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No, it’s nothing quite so nice as all that. It’s more like hordes of deep sea pirates out for your blood, aquatic abominations that want to eat your face, and corrupt leaders who want to keep hope and morale, well, “low”. (You just knew that pun was gonna be used somewhere in this review. May as well get it out of the way now.) 😉

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So, for something a wee bit different, I’ve decided to go ahead and review the first 4 volumes of Low in this one post, rather than review them each separately. The main reason for this, is that I experienced very mixed feelings while reading this series. As I’ve mentioned before, Low wasn’t one of those reads that I was head-over-heels in love with upon finishing the first volume. In fact, if my boyfriend hadn’t already bought the three other volumes, I probably would have ceased reading this series altogether. I hate to say that because I had really been looking forward to reading it and I enjoyed the overall concept, just not the execution, I suppose. It’s always a bummer when you feel like you wanted to like something so much more than you actually did, and that’s exactly how I was left feeling. Fortunately, this series improved dramatically as I continued reading it. Volume 1 may have been a rough start, and definitely my least favorite of the four volumes, but I’m glad I carried on and continued reading the story.

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Low, Vol. 1: The Delirium of Hope introduces us to a grim future for humankind where, due to the sun’s lethal radiation, humans have been forced to live in the dark abyss of the world’s oceans. It’s been a very long time since humans left the surface behind, and resources are dwindling to the point of no return as we meet our central characters, the Caine family. This is a very busy volume with a LOT going on, and also the longest of the four installments. So, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of it and talk pros and cons regarding this particular volume.

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PROS:

  • A really cool concept. The whole post-apocalyptic science fiction set in the deep, dark vastness of our oceans had me completely psyched to read this.
  • The artwork and colors are lovely. Greg Tocchini (the artist) and Dave McCaig (the colorist) do a good job bringing to life the beauty and oftentimes horror of the world and characters that Rick Remender (the writer) has created.

CONS:

  • This series does have some decent character development overall, but I wasn’t feeling it whatsoever in this first volume. One character in particular has a complete moral shift in gears and character change over the course of a time hop so we’re given like no actual evidence of him growing or changing, he just does so between his last appearance and the next, and it’s honestly quite jarring.
  • Okay, I’m certainly no prude, I’ve generally got no issues with sex and nudity, but this was just . . . a bit much. Tons of female nudity and abuse, women being used for sex and then having extreme violence inflicted on them immediately after, orgies everywhere, etc. A lot of the outfits the female characters wear seem like they were designed that way simply because “tits” and “ass”. Again, this complaint is coming from someone who doesn’t typically shy away from mature content, but the male gaze was sooo prevalent in this one.
  • There’s an overall “always have hope” message in Low, and it felt especially preachy in this volume. It left me feeling like I’d had it hammered in my face over and over and over again. I get that it’s a good message to put out there, but the sheer repetitiveness of it was maddening at times.

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Low, Vol. 2: Before the Dawn Burns Us is where the series begins to get get a little better, in my opinion. In this installment, we see some of the bigger complaints I had with the start of Low slowly begin to simmer down. I also began feeling more invested in the characters and what was going on. The stakes are getting higher, and we get to learn more about different characters and different places with their own big bads. I found myself going from not liking Low by the end of the first volume, to liking it by the end of this one. Was I in love with the series at this point? No, but I did like it.

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Low, Vol. 3: Shore of the Dying Light is, without a doubt, the volume that I liked the most. Tensions are on the rise and there’s a lot at risk in this installment. Also, it is hands down the volume with the least blatant overuse of pointless female nudity which, I’m sorry, has been a real issue for me through this series. You can tell the intentions are for several of the characters to be represented as strong female characters, but I can’t help but feel that it is a little undermined when you randomly have one of those characters in a fight scene in volume 2 where she’s suddenly totally topless because reasons. I mean, come the hell on. Volume 3 was a nice reprieve from this sort of thing.

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Low, Vol. 4: Outer Aspects of Inner Attitudes takes us back to some of the events that went down in volume 1 and reveals something pretty interesting and story-changing events that unfolded. There’s plenty of action in this one and some trickery and surprises. It leaves off on a point that has me curious to see where the story will go when volume 5 comes out. It’s not going to kill me to wait for it like it does with some other stories from Image.

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All in all, this series grew on me the more I read of it. I was curious to see what others were thinking of Low overall, so I looked up other reviews and they really varied. Some people loved volume 1 the most and felt it never really reached that high again, but I felt volume 1 was the worst of the lot and that it only improved from there. A lot of people felt the same way I did about all the gratuitous female nudity. Yes, there was some male nudity as well, but it was like a light breeze compared to a hurricane. Most people, like myself, were fans of the artwork, but some found it muddy and hard to follow at points. So, it seems this series is a real mixed bag for people. Have you read Low? Do you have plans to read the series? I’d absolutely love to see what you think of it. 🙂

If I had to give a star rating for each volume of this series it would go as such:

Volume 1: The Delirium of Hope: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Volume 2: Before the Dawn Burns Us: 3 out of 5 stars

Volume 3: Shore of the Dying Light: 4 out of 5 stars

Volume 4: Outer Aspects of Inner Attitudes: 3 out of 5 stars

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Posted in Uncategorized, Whatcha Reading??

Books + Winter = BLISS.

As much as I grumble about the bitter cold and snow and ice of winter, even I can admit that there is a special kind of coziness to winter reading. Being all bundled up with plenty of blankets and something warm to drink while you read makes for a pretty cozy bit of relaxation.

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I’m juggling a few different books/comics at the moment. One I’ve slowly been chiseling away at is Strange the Dreamer, and it is utterly amazing. I tend to read it before work every day (as long as I haven’t wasted too much time rebelling against adulting that particular morning by refusing to get out of bed.) It’s the kind of book that could easily be devoured quickly, but I’ve been enjoying picking at it here and there and savoring the experience. I love Laini Taylor’s writing and indulging in this beautifully imaginative story each day before work helps start my morning off on the right foot. ❤

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Another thing I’ve been reading as of late is the comic series Low. It’s one I had been really excited to get into, and since my boyfriend is a fan of Rick Remender’s writing, he went ahead and bought the first 4 volumes for us to read. I’ll admit, I wasn’t really feeling this series upon finishing volume 1. In fact, if my boyfriend hadn’t already purchased volumes 2, 3, and 4, I probably would have stopped reading it. However, I decided to continue on and it is slowly getting better. Some of my major complaints have been resolved mostly (for now at least). We’ll see how it goes as I continue reading these first 4 volumes. Because of my conflicted feelings regarding the series so far, I’ve decided to wait and do a review of the first four volumes rather than doing them 1 at a time. I hope it continues to improve the further I get into the story because there are several elements to it that I do really enjoy.

The other story I’m currently reading is Gerald Brom’s book, The Plucker. First off, this book is a pretty one, so we have to talk about that. It’s a big lovely hardcover book filled to the brim with Brom’s dark and twisted artwork with a story to match. At first glance, one may take it for a “children’s book” since it is full of illustrations, but with the swearing, crass humor, and elements of horror throughout, it is certainly not intended for children. Unless the children involved are literal demons. Then maybe. The story is centered around a young boy and his toys and the dangerous predatory spirit now plaguing them. It’s sort of like if you mixed Toy Story or The Nutcracker with Evil Dead 2 and The Exorcist. 😛 It’s a fun read so far.

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Other recent reads of the new year include Saga, volume 8 (which I just recently reviewed), and Lewis Carroll’s Phantasmagoria and Other Poems. This weekend I intend to start reading Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur, which I am really excited about.

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So, what recent books have you been enjoying? Have you read any of these stories yet? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts on them!

Posted in Uncategorized, Whatcha Reading??

Saga, Vol. 8 (No-Spoiler) Review

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Woo! First review (and post) of the New Year! I hope everyone had a fantastic New Year’s Eve and an amazing start to 2018 so far. ❤ My boyfriend helped assure that much for me by stopping by our local comic book store New Year’s Eve and picking up this delightful title that just came out at the end of December. Needless to say, I about screamed with joy when he pulled into the parking lot and revealed his master plan.

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Brian K. Vaughan (the writer) and Fiona Staples (the illustrator) continue to weave their outlandish space opera of epic proportions in this volume, but add in some of the fun of the Old Wild West along the way. I don’t want to get into any spoiler territory, so we’ll keep things fairly vague as I talk about my feelings on this volume. And trust me, I got plenty of the feels for this series. ❤

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One thing I really like about the series as a whole is that it has a lot of heart, but not in a corny, mushy, or preachy sort of way. This volume is no exception. It continues to explore the theme of family, and what exactly family means when you really get down to it. It challenges convention at every turn and makes no apologies, and I utterly love it for that. ❤

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We see old and new faces alike in this volume and are presented with some pretty interesting “what-if” moments. It confronts deep-rooted feelings of both tragedy and hope head-on and still continues to surprise the reader with just about every turn of the page. This is a series that can make you cry one moment and then laugh another.

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Volume for volume, Saga makes for a quick, intense and often-times hilarious and utterly random emotional roller coaster. The characters are so well-written and full of their own troubles and flaws that it makes them feel completely human despite, ya know, the whole televisions for heads, and having horns and/or wings thing.

I honestly feel that just about everyone can find SOMETHING they can relate to somewhere in this series. So, if you have yet to hop on the Saga bandwagon, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR???! Do yourself a favor and GET. ON. THAT.

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5/5 Stars.

 

Posted in Uncategorized, Whatcha Reading??

Monstress, Vol. 2: The Blood (Review)

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How the heck did I forget to review this one after I read it way back in August?? I’m seriously stumped on this one, but I guess I’m gonna have to chalk it up to what my boyfriend and I refer to as “squirrel brain”. After reading and reviewing the first volume of Monstress, I had been really excited about getting to learn more about the dark and intriguing war-torn world and story of our protagonist, Maika Halfwolf. The artwork in volume 2 is just as gorgeous and detailed as that of volume 1 and the story drew me in right off the bat. In fact, I think I may have enjoyed volume 2 even more than I did the first one, and that’s saying something because I absolutely loved volume 1.

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As I mentioned in my review for volume 1, this is a story that unravels bit by bit and often leaves the reader with a lot of questions. Volume 2 follows Maika and her companions as they do whatever it takes to learn the truth regarding her past.

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Aaaaand we get pirates this go around, so if you already weren’t on board, get your butts in gear, people!

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Oh, and did I mention there are UNICORNS?!?!

As I’ve talked about before, Monstress is a very dark story with lots of violence and lots of swearing. That isn’t something that bothers me, but it’s just something I like to forewarn people about since I know some people are sensitive to it and whatnot.

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Maika Halfwolf, our protagonist and resident potty mouth.

I’d previously gushed about how much I enjoyed the worldbuilding in volume 1, and volume 2 simply expands on that, making me love it all the more. I’ve seriously never seen this level of worldbuilding in comic-form before and it just continues to blow me away. I can’t wait to see what volume 3 will bring to the table. 🙂

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Posted in Uncategorized, Viewing Pleasures

Horror Television Intros

Hey, guys! Hope you’re ready for another horror-related post as Halloween continues to creep up on us. 😀 One of my favorite things about horror-themed television shows, has always been the spooky intros. A good intro/theme song just really sets the mood for the scares about to come. I’m making this post to give some credit where nightmare-inducing-credit is due, so let’s get this party started. In no particular order, here are some of the intros to television shows that perfectly set the tone for the creepy show to follow it. Bonus Points for those of you who get some nostalgia outta this! 😉


Are You Afraid of the Dark?

This show may have been aimed for kids, but that intro definitely creeped many a child (and adult) out, with the eerie music and child laughter, and that ugly ass hobo clown doll. Much like the intro itself, the show was kid-friendly, but still managed to slip in some things that were bound to haunt our sweet, impressionable little minds for years to come.

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Tales From the Darkside

Things start off innocently enough in this intro, with pretty countryside views of the normal everyday world, but then the music and narration takes a sudden turn for the creepy. I loved watching this show, and whether it was daylight or not, that intro always got me ready for the chilling stories to come.

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Twilight Zone

This is probably the most iconic intro to make my list, and a prime example of an “oldie but a goodie”. It’s an intro theme known by older and younger generations alike, and with good reason.

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Tales From the Crypt

Speaking of “iconic”, this theme song was enough to have many a child running to hide under their blankets when they heard it come on. A classic through and through.

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Goosebumps

Okay, I’ll be the first to admit, this show did not age so well, but who cares? Goosebumps may be cheesy now that we’re older, but I loved it growing up, and I sure as hell loved that intro (even with that dog barking along with the tune). 😛

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So, those are MY picks for my favorite horror-themed show intros, but how about you? Do you have any you think deserve a shout out? Hope you guys had fun with this post and that each of you is enjoying your weekend. 😀

Posted in Uncategorized, Whatcha Reading??

Saga Comic Binge Read

My boyfriend says I’m a monster because I always read his new comics before he does. I say, ya snooze ya lose. lol I’m sorry (no, actually, screw that, I regret NOTHING!) because when there are great comics to be read, I’ll be damned if I’m not going to read them. 😛 In all fairness, he takes forever to actually get around to reading them, and I keep my lips firmly sealed regarding spoilers of any kind. We have a system. It works. ❤

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HIM: “You can’t keep reading my comics before I get to!”            ME: “Bitch, watch me!”

Our local comic book shop had some pretty good sales over the holiday weekend so he went ahead and added to his collection of Saga, picking up volumes 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. Needless to say, I descended upon those poor, helpless trades like they were newborn infants left out to the wolves. I read all of them while I was over, one after the other, until I had to stop at volume 7 to go partake in 4th of July festivities because ‘MURICA.

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Oh, I’ll be back for YOU, my pretty! *cackles*

This series is just soooo damn good. It’s one of those gems that really lives up to all the hype surrounding it. In case I didn’t scream my love for this series from the rooftops enough in this “Cute Comic Couple” post or my spoiler-free review regarding Volume 2, let me just say:

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Posted in Uncategorized, Whatcha Reading??

Saga, Volume 2: No Spoiler Review

Volume 1 of Saga had me madly in love at first read, and Volume 2 made me put a ring on it. This series really is something special. The writing. The artwork. The characters. It’s the total package.

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It’s actually been a couple weeks since I finished reading this, but I kept getting sidetracked when it came to writing up a review for it. I think I’m going to have to attribute some of that to the fact that this is a tough series to review and define. It’s such a fresh, exciting, witty, and outrageous series that it can be hard trying to confine all of its awesomeness into a neat and tidy little package of a review. That, and sometimes I can be a total procrastinator. 😉

This volume gives all us Marko/Alana fans some much desired backstory of how they came to be the epic couple we now know and love.

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We get to see Marko way back when he was just a little tyke and get some more insight regarding the friction between his and Alana’s people. We also get to learn more about how much of a book nerd Alana was before she was too busy on the run from bounty hunters to crack open a good book. (As if we needed any more reasons to love this woman!) ❤

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And of course we have adventures aplenty from bounty hunting duo, The Will and Lying Cat, as well as a certain somebody from Marko’s past. Perhaps someone with an old grudge of her own?

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Prince Robot IV is of course still relentless in his hunt of Alana and Marko. The man is willing to do anything to find them, even reading trashy romance novels.

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Plus, you get adorable new characters like this little cutie:

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If you want a comic series that truly lives up to all the hype around it then Saga is for you. A beautiful blend of science fiction and fantasy, action and romance, laughs and thrills. As if you hadn’t guessed by now, this is a solid read and deserves nothing less than 5/5 stars. The only drawback is if you don’t have volume 3 on hand when you finish reading this because there’s a definite cliff hanger!

Posted in Random Fun Stuff, Uncategorized, Whatcha Reading??

Cute Comic Couple

Ah, Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us and love is in the air. And for those of us who don’t feel it, at least there is discounted candy to look forward to on February 15th.

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So for a bit of holiday fun I figured I would take some time to share my thoughts on one of my favorite comic book couples: Saga‘s very own dynamic duo, Alana & Marko.

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Alana, Marko, and their child, Hazel.

Their tale takes the whole star-crossed lovers trope and runs with it in the most awesome way possible: an intergalactic space opera/fantasy that pulls you in from the very beginning and leaves you begging for more. Like, seriously, I have only gotten to read the first volume so far, and I am already fully invested in these two as a couple.

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D’awww! ❤

Alana and Marko’s story begins with war but turns into so much more than that. Despite the hardships of being on the run, raising a newborn, fighting off bounty hunters, and everything in between, these two never lose sight of how much they care for one another and for their child. They do whatever it takes to keep their little family together and alive.

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It’s rare that I so quickly and so fully get behind a couple the way I did with these two, but I couldn’t help myself. Each of them is an enjoyable character in their own right, and together they’re just perfection. Like peanut butter and chocolate. Yeah, poetic, I know. 😛

If you haven’t picked up Saga yet I truly cannot recommend it enough. Every person I’ve encountered that has read volume 1 agrees that it is an instant favorite and that they cannot wait to get their hands on the next volumes. Believe me, you will want to see for yourselves the moving story of these two.

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Posted in Whatcha Reading??

Whatcha Reading: Golden Son

Having an awesome best friend is great. Having an awesome best friend who has an uncanny knack for recommending good books is even better!

The aforementioned best friend would be none other than my fellow blogger, Cupcakes and Machetes. You can read some of her reviews on some of said good books at her blog.

Years ago, when she thrust her copy of A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin into my hands and demanded I read it, I listened. I regret NOTHING. It launched an addiction to the books/shows/fan theories/basically all things even remotely connected to ASOIAF/GOT.

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I think this comic appropriately sums it up for most of us who read ASOIAF per a friend’s recommendation. 😛

From then on I knew I could trust in her book suggestions. So when she recommended Pierce Brown’s YA sci fi novel Red Rising to me I heeded the call and gave it a read back in 2015.

It. Was. Great. Here’s a link to Red Rising’s Goodreads page so you can learn more about it!

Now I’m reading the second book in the Red Rising trilogy, Golden Son. I literally just started it today so I can’t say too much about it yet other than that it holds your interest right off the bat and that I am already into it. 🙂

I don’t know why I waited so long to get around to reading the sequel, but it seems an appropriate read for the end of November (aka- Sci-Fi month!)