With summer officially over, it’s time for some stub reviews!
Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
I finally understand all the popular complaints about Tolkien’s writing style. Although his descriptive passages were often quite dense in Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, they at least directly related to what was going on in the story. Return of the King is when I frequently found myself realizing I had no idea what was actually happening and had to backtrack through several tangents of random description before finding any actual narration. Although Tolkien’s verbose style never bothered me previously, here it did dramatically impact my ability to enjoy the book. I was able to enjoy the book, but it was a bit of a chore to get through. I don’t know if I’ve ever said this about a book before, but here it is: I liked the movie better.
Shadows in Flight by Orson Scott Card
At this point, the Ender’s Game series has been going on for so long that you’d think it would only have two options: stagnation or radical departure. Shadows in Flight is proof that this series suffers from neither. And it even delivers one of the series’ signature moments of understanding when one of its main characters literally sees through an alien’s eyes. It remains unconscionable to me that someone with the intolerant views that Mr. Card has so often espoused writes so often and so well about understanding someone with a completely different perspective, but he somehow does so brilliantly.
Resistance (Rising, #1) by Laura Josephsen
In the interest of full disclosure, yes: I do know the author. But that’s really just an added perk. This is exactly the kind of book I want to read more of, but Amazon.com doesn’t exactly have a search filter for, “Yeah, I’d like a fantasyish book with a distinctive setting that gives it flavor without overwhelming it, but which is actually mostly focused on developing characters and relationships and has really great pacing and this sort of tone which I can’t really think of a good word for.”
(Here it is on Amazon, or the Kindle version is only $4.99)
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson
I really wish someone had explained to me that I needed to read this before seeing The Dark Knight Rises. After reading this, I now know where most of the plot of the film came from, and actually have a greater appreciation for it as a loose adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns that actually is more true to the spirit of Batman than the comic it’s adapting. (Yeah, I went there.)
The Dark Knight Returns has an almost cinematic quality to it. I admire Miller’s work here and I understand this comic’s significance in the evolution of Batman, but I’m also glad that this interpretation of the character did not survive wholesale in later iterations. Instead, this is what Batman would be like if he had been created by Frank Miller (including all of his awkward hangups about women and politics.) I will say that I like the noir flavor and think it works quite well for Batman, I just think it would’ve worked better if he had acted more like… Batman.
So, in short, this is a brilliantly composed comic and I think I might hate it.
Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
You know what? No. This is getting its own entry.