And then there’s books

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS is the Big Finish that could have stood being a little less big—the long stretches of Harry reading about Dumbledore’s backstory, Hermione and Ron locking horns and Harry feeling miserable wouldn’t have hurt from being trimmed some. Things pick up so much once they’re at Hogwarts, I wonder if spending so much time away from the school was a big mistake (the school term does provide a structure this book doesn’t have) but the spectacular final battle makes up for a lot. Far from a failure but not the best of the series either.
THE VICTORIAN DESIGN SOURCEBOOK by Noel Riley is a guide to Victorian taste in furniture, housing, painting, glass, silverware and so on, with text about trends, tastemakers and manufacturers, but relying more on Pretty Pictures as examples. Good, though obviously not for everyone, and it loses a point for having most of the pictures be black-and-white.
28098696SHAFT: A Complicated Man by Davis Walker and Bilquis Evely gives us the backstory on the man who would risk his neck for his brother man, here a boxer who pisses off the mob when he refuses to take a dive, then returns two years later to lock horns with the gangsters again. This is a stock story (and I don’t think Shaft ever needed an origin story) but it has the blacksploitation feel down and gains just from having Shaft’s name attached. Then again, I completely lost track at the climax of who was backstabbing who. Cover by Evely, all rights to current holder.
SILK: The Life and Times of Cindy Moon by Robbie Thompson and Stacey Lee gives a spin-off series to a young girl who was bitten by the same spider as Peter and acquired roughly similar powers, only to be sealed away for 10 years to keep her safe from enemies. I don’t like the idea of Peter sharing an origin, and I didn’t like the retcon that he was actually turned into a mystical spider-totem, but the actual story here isn’t bad. On the other hand, it’s not that good—Black Cat doesn’t work for me as a villainous crimelord and Cindy just has way, way too much cutesy, I-learned-my-dialog-from-TV banter going on.

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