Books Read in July, 2019
Dejah Thoris and the Green Men of Mars, Volume One: Red Meat by Mark Rahner and Lui Antonio (Graphic Novel)
Steal the Sky by Megan E. O’Keefe
Throne of Bones: Nightborn by Lou Anders
Dejah Thoris and the Green Men of Mars, Volume Two: Red Flood by Mark Rahner and Lui Antonio (Graphic Novel)
Dejah Thoris and the Green Men of Mars, Volume Three: Red Trigger by Mark Rahner and Jethro Morales (Graphic Novel)
The Magician King by Lev Grossman
June, 2019 Locus
Substrate Phantoms by Jessica Reitman
Up Jim River by Michael Flynn
Park Polar by Adam Roberts
Jupiter Magnified by Adam Roberts
Superboy starring the Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 1 #197-207 (Comics) (r)
Forty Thousand in Gehenna by C.J. Cherryh (r)
The Orville: New Beginnings #1 (Comic)
The Living Land: The God Box by Shane Lacy Hensley and Darrell Hayhurst (RPG)
Batman ’66 Meets Steed and Mrs. Peel #1-6 (Comics)
Batman ’66 Meets The Legion of Super-Heroes #1 (Comic)
Batman ’66 Meets Wonder Woman ’77 #1-6 (Comics)
And that was my reading for July, 2019. This was a pretty decent month of reading in a lot of ways, with plenty of reading of comics, both old and new to me, during the month interspersed with a bunch of books and other stuff. It was actually an average month of reading for me, and most of the books this month were pretty enjoyable, though none stood out for the most part. Anyway, the books that I enjoyed the most were...
The Magician King by Lev Grossman - This is the second book in The Magicians series by the author, and I had re-read the first book the previous month to prepare for reading this one finally. And first things first, let it be said that you can't read this novel as a stand-alone novel, 'cause it references all manner of stuff from the earlier book.
Where to start with that out of the way? Okay, this book is not for everyone but that was true about the first novel as well. Author Grossman's writing is somewhat...dark, and to be honest this series is an adult version of Harry Potter in a world that is not as trivial as some aspects of that world seemed to me. This book focuses on Quentin Coldwater and his friend, Julia, and both characters' stories are told in alternating chapters of the book for the most part. Quentin begins the story as one of the kings of Fillory (a land from a series of books that turns out to be real, Narnia-like but more dangerous) and is quite bored with his life. But Quentin is never satisfied with what he has. A tax discrepancy leads Quentin and a group of others, including Julia, on a trip to the outer isles and Quentin gets the adventures he's (not!) looking for. Meanwhile, Julia is a former high school friend of Quentin's who appeared late in the first book, but she failed the entrance exam to Brakebills, unlike Quentin and several others. We learn who she is and how she came to be the way she is in a flashback story. She sacrifices everything she holds dear to learn magic from unlicensed groups. Her quest to become a first class magician ends very badly for her even though she attains her objective. The price is much higher than anyone would want to pay. (There are some truly distasteful moments, including a rape scene (that is quite integral to the story), in the Julia flashback tale.) I will say that the series, as seen through two very deep, very poignant books, is a clever take on the "students at the magical school" genre, simply because it is told with an adult perspective and focuses on the more realistic elements of such a school and real magicians in the real world. Fillory, on the other hand, serves as the mirror to that in some ways, though definitely twisted, in which the reader glimpses the realities of ruling such a (magical) kingdom, and some of the tasks that must be dealt with. The ending to this novel is a climax so shocking, and yet fitting, to the quest that Quentin has gone on that I won't spoil it here. It brings home the essence of who Quentin Coldwater is, and shows the price that must be paid for undertaking quests. Like I said at the beginning of this review, the series is not for everyone and this book certainly gets that caveat here again. That said, give the series a try; you won't be disappointed. Highly recommended.
Batman ’66 Meets Steed and Mrs. Peel #1-6 - Yes, this is a mini-series and it's a comic book series. So sue me. :) The concept of this series is what would happen if Adam West's Batman from the tv series and his cast of fellow heroes and some of his villains met up with Patrick Macnee's John Steed and Diana Rigg's Emma Peel? The answer: Plenty of action and '60s style humour and adventure action! I'm not going to say a lot about the comic or the plot here, but will say that this was just a fun read that caught the "feel" of the characters to a "T" and gave me that nostalgic sense for what the Batman and The Avengers series brought to the small screen in the 1960s. Highly entertaining and a cracking good read. Highly recommended, if you can find all six issues (of course).
Overall, I managed to read 8 novels, 1 RPG and RPG product, 1 magazine, 25 comics, and 3 graphic novels in July. This brings the year total in 2019 to a set of numbers that look like this: 52 books, 9 RPGs and RPG products, 12 magazines, 118 comics, and 3 graphic novels.
Anyway, thoughts and comments are always welcome. :)