Friday, May 01, 2009
The Shakeup Has Begun
Well, the first thing I’ve been doing to shake myself up a bit is read things I don’t normally read. To that end, I’ve finished the first two Harry Potter books and will start on the third this evening. I have read Young Adult fiction before, but almost always science fiction or animal stories. This is the first fantasy oriented YA I’ve read in quite a few years. I must say I enjoyed both Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets quite a bit. I gave them both 4 stars on Goodreads. They were easy reads, with interesting characters, and though the action scenes were few and far between and were not terribly well written, the stories held my interest anyway. I think I can see why youngsters would love them, and I probably would have loved them more when I was a wee tyke. I was going to order the third book on my Kindle this morning but these aren’t available on Kindle. I guess they are still selling too much in printed form. Lana and I are going out to dinner tonight, though, right next door to Barnes & Noble, so I’ll pick up the third book there. I certainly wouldn’t be going out deliberately to buy the third book if I hadn’t enjoyed the first two, and I feel comfortable recommending them for adults as well as kids.
I also picked up a couple of graphic novels. I’ve read only half a dozen of these in my life, but since I very much enjoyed Watchmen I’ve been eyeing such works with a bit more respect. So far I’ve read The Darkness: Ultimate Collection. Although the artwork was fantastic, I was much less enamored of the writing and the story. This essentially included the first few issues of the comic, and then a second, slightly later set of issues. I really liked the first half, which was another “origin” story. I don’t really know what all the “Pencils,” “Inks,” etc. means as far as people’s involvement with the story, but I’m assuming (someone correct me if I’m wrong) that Garth Ennis, listed as “Story,” is the main writer for the first half of this work. I thought he did a very fine job. Unfortunately, the second half of the “Ultimate Collection” had a different person, called “Writer,” and it seemed to undermine much of the good stuff that had gone before. Carefully nurtured characters had their personalities twisted and were used as plot fodder rather than acting consistently with the setup for them in the first issues. Other characters were spent cheaply when they could have been much more effective alive, and there were plot twists of convenience that mainly served to irritate me. Although the promise of the first part might have persuaded me to spill more money (These things are expensiveeeee), the drop off in the second part has ended my association with The Darkness.
I have another graphic novel, which I’ll probably start today, called The Magdalena. And just to let you know how out of it I am where graphic novels are concerned, I just realized as I was looking through it for this post that this is also an issue of The Darkness. I guess I’m not through with that series, after all. This is part of that universe apparently, but featuring a different main character. It’s also written by a different person from either of the first two I read in the series so all bets are off as to what I’ll get. I’ll let you know.