It’s been a month since my last post here (my life is clearly too busy) but in that time I finished two more books (numbers 39 and 40 for the year) that I want to comment on briefly.
The first is another graphic novel: volume one of Bloodshot from Valiant comics. Written by Duane Swierczynski with art from Manuel Garcia and Arturo Lozzi, Bloodshot is the first Valiant book I’ve read and I enjoyed thirst foray into the Valiant universe. Described in the summary as, “the shade of gray that freedom requires,” and, “the perfect confluence of military necessity and cutting-edge technology,” these first four issues of Bloodshot from 2012 tell an emotionally resonant story of a warrior trying to understand who he really is outside the context of the missions he is sent to perform. This was an enjoyable read and I can easily imagine coming back for more of both Bloodshot and Valiant.
The second book I finished recently is completely different – not only from Bloodshot but also from most of what I usually read. A writer whose blog I follow (Cassie Ellen) wrote a romance novel recently entitled Story of a Secret Heart and she gave it out for free to those who would be willing to write a review. I fear my review will not be positive. Though supposedly reflecting the author’s own experiences in Australia following a painful breakup, much of the story is hard to believe; beyond that it is not well written, none of the characters are particularly sympathetic, and the narrative is hard to follow. Admittedly I don’t read many romance novels (this was my first) so perhaps there are genre tropes that the author is following in the same way that comic book writers follow tropes (I didn’t find many of the events in Bloodshot ‘believable’ either but then they weren’t presented as true). However in this case the language is riddled with cliches (every few paragraphs it seems the author begins an observation with the words, “to be perfectly honest”) and the young woman at the center is somehow happily in love with a man whom she also fears might kill her in a jealous rage; this is somehow supposed to be empowering as she enjoys the “freedom” to drink herself into a stupor repeatedly for a year and to have random sex with a drug dealer and his friends. The book was not well written and, other than a few interesting or humorous quotes at the end of the chapters, it felt largely like a waste of time to have read.
Fortunately for me I do a lot of reading and so this low point in my year is one I can quickly move past. I’m already into a few new books that I should finish before long so expect to see some better book reviews in the future. Hopefully my brief thoughts can help you steer clear of this lousy book and to explore some great graphic novels instead.