REVIEW: The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master, the husband who commissioned her, dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York in 1899.

Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop. Though he is no longer imprisoned, Ahmad is not entirely free – an unbreakable band of iron binds him to the physical world.

The Golem and the Jinni is their magical, unforgettable story; unlikely friends whose tenuous attachment challenges their opposing natures – until the night a terrifying incident drives them back into their separate worlds. But a powerful threat will soon bring Chava and Ahmad together again, challenging their existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice.

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Audiobook Info
Narrated By George Guidall
Length: 19 hrs and 43 mins

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Let me introduce you to my new favorite book. It’s called The Golem and the Jinni. It’s a debut novel that has won many awards (Nebula Award Nominee for Best Novel (2013), Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature (2014), James Tiptree Jr. Award Nominee (2013), Goodreads Choice Nominee for Debut Author, Best Fantasy (2013)). I usually don’t notice that kind of stuff but once I finished it I stopped my iphone (I was listening to it) and thought, “tell me this epic piece of work has won something for this quality of work.” No lie.

There are two main characters Ahmad and Chava. Let’s talk about Chava: She is the voice of reason in our story. She keeps Ahmad centered when he longs to be free of his shackles and responsibilities. At times she’s Debbie Downer but you never fault her for it. She’s a golem. She was created to be the way she is.

Ahmad on the other hand is our jinni of this tale. He’s made of fire and his personality is just as fiery. He’s quick to anger and storm out. But just like Chava, we don’t fault him for it because that’s just always what he’s been. Part of what he is was taken away from him so it’s only natural that he fight tooth and nails to get it back.

The supporting characters like Rabbi Avram Meyer, (the Rabbi that helps Chava when she gets to New York), Boutros Arbeely (the tinsmith that employees Ahmad), Maryam Faddoul (the coffee shop owner that cares about everyone), Mahmoud Saleh (the doctor come ice-cream vendor) all lend to this rich tale. I read critically, even though I don’t always mention it here, and when I’m reading a giant tale I catch myself wondering if characters are truly important to the story or are they just there for padding. (Blame The Count of Monte Cristo) I can’t think of one character in this novel that is just padding. All characters have some weight in the story and each one makes the story that much more rich.

The bad guys are sinister but don’t actually seem like they are an evil apart from all other evils. Helene Wrecker even made them human in a way most people wouldn’t.

Let’s talk about the audiobook now: George Guidall is now my new favorite narrator. I will see him out when I buy new audiobooks. I think I might have enjoyed the book more with his narration then I would have just reading it alone. The only reason for that is because of his rich accented English when he pronounces the different characters names. I would never figure out how to say Yehudah Schaalman on my own…

Final rating is definitely a 5/5. Why wouldn’t it be? The narration from the audiobook also gets a 5/5. It’s also getting fit into my favorite contemporary book.

Read this or listen to this. It’s necessary.


Comic Review: Saga #23 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples


Check it out at Comixology

Remember: Comic reviews contain spoilers for previous issues

Wow. This book was pretty heavy. I knew it was going to be because of Alana’s new drug hobby and Marco’s situation with Hazel’s dance teacher but I didn’t really expect this…

It’s honestly a great issue. There are times when the books are light but always have this hidden intensity but that have to be offset with books like this week’s issue.

Comixology’s synopsis for this issue was simply, “Betrayal.” It’s on so many levels. You can’t really like anyone but Hazel and her babysitter in this issue. But I love each character for how crappy they are too. And we get a glimpse of said crappiness in this issue. But Marco always remains better to me than anyone else because of how devoted he is to Hazel and even Alana despite the events that almost happen in this issue. Alana sucks more than usual. (Know that I love Alana despite suckage)

REVIEW: Fables Vol. 3: Storybook Love by Bill Willingham & Mark Buckingham

In the Fables’ world, there isn’t a lot of happily-ever-after to go around. As refugees from the lands of make-believe, the Fables have been driven from their storybook realms and forced to blend in with our gritty, mundane reality.

But that doesn’t mean they don’t have any room for romance—or the pain, betrayal and jealous rage that go along with it. In fact, love may be blooming between two of the most hard-bitten, no-nonsense Fables around. But are they destined for happiness— or a quick and untimely death?

Collects issues 11-18

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Wow. Every volume of this impresses me more than the last. Each storybook character’s history and life gets so much fuller and richer with each installment.

The art is wonderful and fits the story perfectly and the cover art is AMAZING.

Cover inside Volume

Cover inside volume

In this volume, we see what the people of Fabletown will do to keep their true nature a secret from a reporter. Let me just say it was super imaginative and done in only a way that people of fairy tales would do things. We also get a visit from Goldilocks and her attempts murder. She really is crazy. How Bill Willingham came up with a homicidal maniac Goldilocks is beyond me but it’s great.

I really liked seeing Bigby Wolf and Snow White’s interactions too. And with that ending I’m really excited to see what will happen next.

Comic Review: Rocket Raccoon #3 by Skottie Young

Rocket Raccoon #3

Everyone’s favorite pistol-packin’ raccoon finally finds himself face-to-face with the intergalactic imposter. It’s macho ado about everything as Macho Gomez guest-stars and the Ex-Terminators are hot on Rocket’s tail!

Released: September 3rd

Check it out on Comixology

I’ve been a little out of the comic book loop because of my conference I was at last week and prepping for said conference the week before so I’m late on my review for Rocket Raccoon #3 but better late than never.

I’m going to sound like a hipster when I say this but I’m going to say it anyway: I have loved Rocket Raccoon since before the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Done. Got that out of the way. Now, add Skottie Young to the picture and you put me in heaven. Skottie Young is one of those people who piss me off because he’s just too damned talented. He writes and he draws. That’s not fair you should be able to one or the other not both. AND then he’s funny on top of it all. Geh. I’m so jealous. But at least I get to read the fruits of his labors.

Every issue of Rocket Raccoon has been hillarious and this one is no different. Let me give you a good quote to illustrate: After a big guns-a-blazing fight with these guys that are a towing company. He’s still standing and his opposition is throwing their guns out the window: “I’m so glad you showed up. We have a little car trouble and we sure could use a tow. Or I could shoot you both. Your call.”

Super funny. Great art and great coloring. Normally I don’t mention the coloring. It usually doesn’t seem too important to me. It should because I feel like a lot of colorists don’t get enough credit. Let me give Jean-Francois Beaulieu some credit because it’s well deserved. He is damn amazing.

Check this out:

Page taken from Rocket Raccoon #3

Batman, Vol. 4: Zero Year – Secret City by Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo

The second arc of BATMAN: ZERO YEAR is collected as the New 52 origin of The Dark Knight delves into Bruce Wayne’s past with the Red Hood Gang and his run-ins with aspiring District Attorney Harvey Dent! You won’t want to miss the moment that Bruce becomes Batman! This new hardcover collects BATMAN #21-24.

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Let’s start with the art since I’ve made an error in judgement long ago when I started reading Scott Snyder’s Batman. Before I didn’t like it since everyone was square jawed and bright blue-eyed. Now I read other Batman comics and wonder why they aren’t. When I started reading this volume I was extremely happy to find the comfort of Greg Capullo’s art. The way the may characters are clean looking in a way that Gotham isn’t makes me love it. It’s a very stark contrast against the grittiness of Batman. Please don’t think that makes it fluff it’s not it’s just a style that I’ve come to love in comic artist.

There is stuff like this with his art:

Batman: Secret Year – Zero City

Batman: Zero Year – Secret City

But then there is also stuff like this:

Batman: Court of Owls

He’s a very versatile artist and I crave his Batman work.

Now, as for Scott Snyder’s story, that’s a pretty amazing work all on it’s own. I’ve been so impressed which each volume. (The Court of Owls is probably my favorite). Batman is Batman with him. Alfred is amazing (as he always should be). And villians are terrible. I love every second of his work.

The Killing Joke, is what I believe to be the original version of Red Hood’s tale the way it is. If you by chance look at my review you’ll notice that I didn’t like the story but that I thought it was really good. That happens to me from time to time. (Doesn’t help that I don’t like Alan Moore – don’t nag me about this I’m entitled to my own opinion). But I think with the way this is going that I’m actually going to like Scott Snyder’s version of the events.

If you’ve been reading this string of Batman comics/graphic novels and enjoy them I don’t think that this will be disappointed by this installment.

REVIEW:The Girl and the Clockwork Cat by Nikki McCormack

Feisty teenage thief Maeko and her maybe-more-than-friend Chaff have scraped out an existence in Victorian London’s gritty streets, but after a near-disastrous heist leads her to a mysterious clockwork cat and two dead bodies, she’s thrust into a murder mystery that may cost her everything she holds dear.

Her only allies are Chaff, the cat, and Ash, the son of the only murder suspect, who offers her enough money to finally get off the streets if she’ll help him find the real killer.

What starts as a simple search ultimately reveals a conspiracy stretching across the entire city. And as Maeko and Chaff discover feelings for each other neither was prepared to admit, she’s forced to choose whether she’ll stay with him or finally escape the life of a street rat. But with danger closing in around them, the only way any of them will get out of this alive is if all of them work together.

Review copy provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Hey, guess who was pleasantly surprised by this little gem? That’s right. Me. I stayed up until 2:30a.m. reading because I wanted to finish.

Why was I so surprised? Actually, I judged a book by it’s cover and title. They were pretty much the only things about the book that I didn’t like. The Girl and the Clockwork Cat makes it seem like it’s a middle grade book that is going to lack depth, so does the cover. But truthfully, I hope most people aren’t like me and gives this book a chance because I thought it was fantastic.

Maeko, is a street rat, left to live a harsh life of thieving. She only has one person she can trust, Chaff. While that sounds terrible, it’s a simple life and she’s used to it. Doesn’t really mind most of the hardships either. But when a cat with a clockwork leg ends up in her lap things change drastically for her.

Her life was already adventurous but now she is deep in some stuff she doesn’t want to be involved in but because of her kind heart (that she tries to ignore and definitely not put out on display) she becomes the center of the conflict so she can help out people that maybe don’t deserve it. But, hey, that’s also how she meets Ash.

I normally don’t like a love triangle. They add angst that is usually unnecessary. In most books they are written in a way that you know who the winner will be right off the bat and you just have to feel bad for the sad sap that is the third wheel. Not this one. I rooted for both and shunned the idea of both and different times. It was very out of the ordinary and thus a good plot device. And just as an aside, while I like romance in my stories, I don’t like for that to be the focal point most of the time. This one was mainly a tale of adventure with some romance on the side. Loved that.

It ended in a way that makes me believe there will be a sequel (that I will absolutely read if it comes out) but it also makes for a fine stand-alone novel.

A few things I would have like to have seen: (1) Ash and Maeko kiss. Come on. I really wanted that. (2) To find out more about the dude who was in jail that gave Maeko the heads up that Hatchet-face shouldn’t be trusted.

Overall, great read and I recommended to everyone likes a good adventure tale.

REVIEW: Game of Thrones (Song of Fire & Ice #1) by George R.R. Martin

Note: This is something I read earlier in the year but didn’t review until now. Expect to see Song of Fire & Ice Review #2 soon.

In A Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin has created a genuine masterpiece, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill the pages of the first volume in an epic series sure to delight fantansy fans everywhere.

In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes of the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

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I honestly didn’t want to read this. My husband and a bunch of my friends got into this and when they told me about it, it just seemed too heavy and too involved.

Then my husband started telling me about all the awesome things The Imp, Tyrion, did and how he deals with all the adversity that comes with his size in a time that doesn’t not deal with people that are different. He feels the pain but doesn’t let him take him over and in spite he conquors others. I loved hearing about that. So I started watching the show.

I watched the show first because it had less commitment involved. I decided if I liked it then I would read/listen to the book directly afterwards. That is exactly what happened. I finished season one and was completely in shock over the turn of events. I couldn’t believe that stuff actually happened in the story. I thought HBO took too many liberities or something like that. Nope. It just turns out that George R.R. Martin just hates all of his fans as much as we love his characters.

An amazing story unfolds when you read this. You start to love and love to hate every character (there is no middle ground). Crazy stuff happens in the plot that you would never expect.

I usually like stuff that set in modern times but I loved this and it took me completley by surprise.