TITHE: A Modern Faerie Tale by Holly Black has a teenage girl find that her changeling status makes her the chosen human sacrifice in a traditional faerie ritual, but her efforts to wriggle out of it are complicated by faerie friends who have their own agendas. Covers similar territory to War of the Oaks but being much darker, it’s much more effective—these fae are genuinely scary, even the nice ones (where reducing control of the Faerie Court is considered a definite good in Oaks, here it frees up a lot of fae to be very bad indeed.
THE BIBLE REPAIRMAN is a collection of shorts by Tim Powers, the title story including the delicious idea of a conman who purges Bibles of inconvenient verses (so that you can get a Bible that omits any criticism of adultery without altering its holiness in any other way). Other stories include a very good tale of ghostly possession, an almost-as-good tale of bodysnatching and a tale set in the same universe as The Stress of Her Regard. I think Powers does better at full-length, but this was still worth buying (plus I got it autographed at Illogicon).
EAST OF EDEN is John Steinbeck’s sprawling novel (the James Dean film only covers about 20 percent of it) chronicling the Trask family through three generations as they fall into sibling rivalry, move out West, meet the scheming socioapath Kate and bring various other characters into their orbit while working out Steinbeck’s theme that the struggle against our own Dark Sides is ultimately the only story there is. A thoroughly absorbing novel that shows the limits of any schema for writing fiction (much as I like Orson Scott Card’s breakdown of what stories are about, I don’t think it works here).
GIRL GENIUS: Agatha Heterodyne and the Hammerless Bell by Phil and Kaja Foglio has Agatha finally getting her castle up and running again, Gil Wolfenbach and Agatha making out and a great many people (including the protagonists) trying to figure out what happens now. Very lively, and as always, solidly entertaining.
INCORRUPTIBLE Vol. 5 by Mark Waid and Marcio Takara has Max Damage struggling to restore order to Coalville but finding his way blocked by an influx of super-villains, scheming businessman Hayes Bellamy and Max’s own inability to figure out how normal people think (“But I saved a kid—doesn’t that make up for the one I killed?”). A very good use of Max’s dark and monstrous life.
THE LIFE STORY OF THE FLASH by Iris Allen by Mark Waid and multiple artists was a graphic novel retelling the Barry Allen Flash’s history (in the form of a memoir written by his wife)from troubled birth (though even given it would be a major plot point in some of Waid’s later work, Iris should have been clearer about what happened) through the freak accident that gave him speed, the meeting with Kid Flash and ultimately his death. This does a very good job handling Barry’s relationship with Iris (including such details as why he promised to reveal his identity when they married, then didn’t) though it suffers from the post-Crisis cliche that Barry’s foes were more lovable goofballs who never tried to hurt anyone than hardened crooks (suffice to say, that’s not how they were written originally). Overall, though, very good.


Filed under Comics, Reading

4 responses to “Books

  1. Pingback: Comics | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  2. I’m glad you liked Tithe. The Bible Repairman and East of Eden sound fantastic–adding them to the queue. : )

  3. Pingback: TV and Books | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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