James Bowman (jeb1981) wrote,
James Bowman

Books I read in December 2015

Twisted Mirrors Volume 3, by Serena Loder, 4.5/5 (A-)
A really interesting installment, with lots of world-building for the boetheri and the elves, lots of solid low-key character moments, and some major reversals of the status quo of the series. Things are definitely set up for a good finale!

Transformers: Infiltration, by Simon Furman, 4.5/5 (A-)
An excellent reboot of the Transformers concept, really emphasizing the "robots in disguise" and "alien invasion" motifs, while still staying true to the spirit of the Generation One era. It even has some appealing human characters, and a genuinely menacing Megatron. Definitely recommended for Transformers fans, and I suspect it'd be a great way for new fans to check out the franchise as well.

Doctor Who: The Crimson Hand, by Dan McDaid et al, 4/5 (B+)
A solid final run of Tenth Doctor comic strips from Doctor Who Magazine, featuring fun new companion Majenta Pryce. My picks of the litter were probably the haunted-house-in-space and the return of the Skith, but the final arc wrapping everything up is satisfying as well. I think Majenta grows a conscience (if a weak one) a bit too quickly, but otherwise the character's pretty great, more in the vein of Turlough than most companions.

Doctor Who: The Child of Time, by Jonathan Morris et al, 4/5 (B+)
A set of Eleventh Doctor comics, very much in the vein of the Moffat era - including a time-bending finale with parts stealthily assembled from bits of the earlier stories. The individual stories also range from good to excellent. Some great stuff here for fans of this Doctor!

Doctor Who III Volume 1: The Hypothetical Gentleman, by Andy Diggle and Brandon Seifert, 4/5 (B)
Two neat Eleventh Doctor stories. The first one is interesting, but doesn't really pay off here (looks like it's going to later). The second one, featuring the Doctor and Rory, is the more amusing of the two.

Doctor Who III Volume 2: The Eye of Ashaya, by various, 3.5/5 (B-)
An OK set of Eleventh Doctor stories. The middle one, featuring a Soviet cosmonaut, is probably the best. The weakness of this volume is that the latter two stories don't quite capture the Eleventh Doctor's tone - in fact, I wonder if the middle story was originally written for the Tenth.

Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury, 4/5 (B+)
Certainly a classic of dystopian SF. And certainly prescient, successfully predicting some common complaints about modern culture and its more shallow obsessions. Overall, the book was an enthralling read, mainly due to the growing tension as Montag's worldview - and his life - fall apart. The only issue I encountered when reading was that certain more lyrical passages went on too long, sometimes to the point of burying the ideas Bradbury was trying to express.

One subtler theme I found interesting was that a society that discourages deep thinking - even an ostensibly happy one - may slowly go mad. That a truly happy life needs meaning, not just entertainment. Note that despite feeling very much a part of the society in the novel, certain major characters repeatedly display suicidal behavior. (Certain minor characters are even more unstable.) This may not be as loud as the book's anti-censorship and anti-anti-intellectual messages, but it's still something to consider.
Tags: books, reviews

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