book review: gyakushu! (vol. 1)

Gyakushu is a manga-style story written by Dan Hipp of revenge. In a cold kingdom there was a master thief who found a valley of paradise. He was followed there and his wife was raped and eaten by the emperor’s minions and he was fed to a whale. Now he’s a masked and bandaged man out for revenge.

It’s a decent fantasy story, and there are good interactions between the masked man and a 9-year-old kid who looks a lot like his son from the flashbacks. I didn’t really like the narrator old man figure who kept on talking about the story, but it wasn’t done horribly. The black & white art carries the action, and there are a number of good striking visuals (I really like the whale thing).

book review: the walking dead (books 3, 4, 5 and 6)

I recently went through a binge of reading The Walking Dead, getting books three, four, five and six from the library.

There’s a lot of good stuff to these books. Books Three and Four deal with Woodbury and the Governor, who’s made a town subject to his will near the prison where our main characters had holed up. Book Five sends them out on the road looking for safety again after the prison is compromised, and in Six they find a new community to help.

I do like the character turnover Kirkman pushes through in these books. People die, including mothers and babies, and the characters get all fucked up because of it, even though there are more people in the world. I loved the flashback scenes where Shane was still talking about being rescued. The idea that someone somewhere will be able to help them is so alluring, but it just keeps getting dashed. It’s a great story, even as everyone is dealing with cannibals and murder and generally being scary people.

book review: under the jaguar sun

I picked up a copy of Italo Calvino’s Under the Jaguar Sun at a used bookshop the other day when I was buying a birthday present. Evidently it was going to be a collection of stories based on the senses, but Calvino died before it could be finished.

There are only three stories in the book. The first one, the title story, is about taste and is my favourite. It’s about a trip to Mexico and talking about cannibalism and the way you can and can’t share the experience of taste with a person no matter how close you might be.

The second story was called The King Listens and is sort of interesting in how it describes the way a king lives, stuck to his throne. The third was about scent. I can’t remember its title but it was about hunting for a living being by scent, told in three ways. The second and third were more interesting in their technique than story, but the first one was just great.

I have a copy of this book back in Vancouver that I hadn’t read, so this one will be going home with Holly who will probably not be impressed by Calvino’s literary tricks in the latter stories.

book review: the narrative of arthur gordon pym of natucket

The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym is a tale about sailing. There are three main stories of adventure: one is about accidentally setting sail with a drunk, one is about stowing away on a ship and getting caught in a mutiny and then resorting to cannibalism, and the last is about going to tropical Antarctica where the savages were full of perfidy (most likely because they weren’t good trustworthy white men was the message, which yes, is racist and problematic, like reading Lovecraft – all these fucking old horror writers seem most horrified by non-whiteness).

It was good in a weird way, despite all its flaws. Nothing felt very important. I mean the narrator was basically the only person to survive several of these adventures and it didn’t really phase him much. And the dismissal of “these terrible things” really undercut the horrific nature of anything that happened. As did all the convenient coincidences, like Pym’s dog being smuggled aboard the ship he’s a stowaway on.