Setting Sun collects the end of Warren Ellis’ run on Hellblazer. It’s an assortment of short horror stories, all of which I liked. John Constantine is such an arrogant bastard he seems made for Warren Ellis to be giving him words. One of the stories in the book was about a guy who thinks he’s stumbled onto the great conspiracy, and Constantine just feeds him more and more and then disappears, all for the sake of a laugh. The idea that magic is real combines really well with the idea that believing in any old thing because it says it’s magic is completely stupid.
One of my favourite things about reading Hellblazer is that I’ve never felt the need to start at the beginning. Storylines just kind of float around and work. That makes this just as good a starter volume as any.
Neil Kleid and Nicholas Cinquegrani’s The Big Kahn was an excellent comic about religion lies and trust. It opens with the funeral of a rabbi. Within a few pages we discover that the rabbi was actually a conman who’d settled into his fake life. The effects this has on the dead rabbi’s family is big and profound. One of his sons was set to take over from his father, but now he’s let go and wracked with guilt over all the lies (that he had no idea about).
The art is very clean and light and doesn’t get in the way of the story, but the writing is what makes this book great. It’s all about grief and trauma and coping and what you can do about the bad things your family did, something I’ve got a little history with myself (although who doesn’t?). Very worth reading.
In our YA Services class last week, Eric brought up Patrick Ness’ The Knife of Never Letting Go as a YA dystopia that’s much better than The Hunger Games. I borrowed it after class and wasn’t disappointed.
Todd is a month away from his 13th birthday, which is the time in Prentisstown you become a man. The thing is that in Prentisstown there are no women, and he’s the last boy left. Oh and also everyone can read everyone else’s thoughts all the time (it’s called Noise), including animals (Todd’s dog says “Todd!” a lot and “Poo!” – but is still less boring than the sheep who just say “Sheep!”). And Prentisstown is the last outpost left on the planet after the Spackles – the alien inhabitants from before the colonists arrived – caused all of this terribleness with their bioweapons.
But then Todd finds something in the woods whose thoughts he can’t hear, and he learns how misled he’s been.
Ness’ worldbuilding is excellent. There are so many things that make you go “How does that make sense?” but through careful revelations of what Todd didn’t know because he’s still a kid when the book starts that makes the horror of Prentisstown (and of the world in whole) much more gripping. Todd and Viola (the strange thing he found in the woods whose thoughts he couldn’t hear is a girl) engage in this huge voyage and the stakes feel really high. Also, I loved that he doesn’t love his dog from the beginning.
My only complaint is that the ending is so cliffhangery to make you want to read the next book, it’s a little offputting. I mean, I borrowed the next book, but manipulation into reading a trilogy kind of bugs me.
Other than that this is a great read, especially about the effects that violence has on people. No violent act in this book is just a tossaway thing, which I love.
If you’re looking for tales of the library you’re in completely the wrong place. You see, for the past three years I’ve been making up the entire thing. I never worked at any library. I was just trying to hide the boringness of my real job at the cheese factory. Though we make delicious cheese, my job is not very much to write home about. I have seen the light however, and will commence to tell the truth about my real life at the cheese factory from now onward.
So as not to confuse I got rid of all those fanciful tales of libraries and the interesting funny things that happen at them. (Or could possibly happen in them if I’d ever been behind the scenes of one. Which I haven’t. Ever. Nope. Not even that time you saw me with your own eyes. If those are your real eyes. The ones you use for lying.)
Do you remember James Frey, the Million Little Pieces guy? Wrote a memoir of coming up from the bottom of druggishness and all that. He was on Oprah. And then he was outed as a liar who’d made it all up.
Million Little Pieces remains in the nonfiction section of the Millennium Library.