“The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer” by Michelle Hodkin

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1)(Author: Michelle Hodkin) + (Year: 2011) + (Goodreads)


Review:

I keep YA novels as my refuge for whenever I am feeling down, or whenever I have read a particularly bad/boring/tough book. That’s how this entire series ended up staying on the last page of my Kindle for years.

Well… I could have gone several more years without it, to be honest.

The premise of the book is quite good and at the beginning, I was pretty excited by the mysterious and ominous atmosphere. And that’s where things ended.

I really could make up my mind about what this book was supposed to even be. Romance? Horror? Parody?

I guess I will go with… a dream. It’s the author’s dream of what she’d like to have in life. The main character is a rather dull, very unsociable and awkward teenager. After losing her best friend, Mara moved to a new school where from a total nobody, she turned into a superstar because of her charmbrainswits… Errm so it might be because of…

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Which is the only compliment anyone ever gives her, outside of her boyfriend.

And don’t even get me started on the boyfriend. A.K.A the most perfect human that ever lived, or so says the author. Has a posh English accent, has read hundreds or even thousands of books, quotes entire pages of Lolita like it’s nobody’s business, drives a fancy car, has a multimillionaire/billionaire father, is worshiped by everyone in school, is handsome as hell, has beautiful eyes, has a lovely soft hair, is very possessive and willing to fight for his girl, is a great kisser, doesn’t kiss and tell, has superpowers. Excuse you. It’s not really like he’s a person at all. The author basically made a character who is 70% Ken doll and 30% British Captain America figurine.

And so this highly unlikely pair happens to match perfectly and create a super-duo. In a great lovestory adventure! Oh, wait… no. In a YA horror story? Not really?! So what are these two actually doing, even?

The entire supernatural story was not much more convincing than the love one. The events were rather scattered and random and I wasn’t even sure I cared to find out what’s going on because there was this general notion of:

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“The House” by Simon Lelic

The House(Author: Simon Lelic) + (Year: 2017) + (Goodreads)


Review:

The House was, at first, a suspenseful and quick read, and I managed to get through the first half in a matter of hours.

However, that was the moment I realized that this book is not going to live up to my expectations and that it’s not at all what it seemed to be at the beginning.

Judging by the description, I expected a truly “grisly” story with many twists and turns. Yes, there were twists, I will give you that much. But there was nothing very grisly, as there was also nothing very scary. And ultimately, the climax of the book was so ordinary and unpredictably predictable that I kept reading expecting something more to happen, because this just could not be it. It was. The book ended and I could not, for the life of me, believe that this was the actual event that we had been waiting for.

The things that The House did wrong for me were, as follows:

  1. After reading the book, I saw that many people highly appreciated the prose. Which part, though? Half of the time the characters were chatting among themselves. That was the first thing that made an unpleasant impression on me. The chapters were going back and forth between Syd and Jack and the two of them were bickering and correcting each other, mumbling, leaving half-finished sentences… I just imagined the two of them in person and they seemed like the two most annoying people that could have been telling this story.
  2. The abovementioned Jack and Sydney were such horrible people! How could any person actually root for a spineless momma’s boy and a bitch who is coked out of her mind? Seriously? Both of their narrations were of childish, immature people, who are barely hanging on the balance of their existence, both asocial, awkward and troubled. And what’s more: neither one of them actually achieved any personal development at any point in this book. Jack was annoyed that Sydney was doing drugs, but he didn’t actually try to stop her, he kind of just offended her on the topic. And Sydney did all sorts of despicable things which he just accepted because he lacks backbone. That never changed either.
  3. The villain of this book? Also the two supposed main characters. The person who was accused of being the bad guy was just so unconvincing and had such a minor presence, that I just couldn’t accept that this is actually happening and that that person is actually the direct cause of all of the events. The supposed villain’s indirect effect on the story is completely palpable, that much I can say. But at no point did they seem like they actually belonged in the present-time events in the book.
  4. The ending: generally, I support justice and retribution. So if I had known how the story ends before reading the book, I would have expected to like the ending. Yet, I absolutely did not. What happened did not seem like justice. It seemed like the origin story of yet another villain, or villains. I believe that out of the ending of this book, and namely the effect it had, or did not have, on the main characters, only more evilness and insanity could arise. No, thank you.

“Nailbiter, Vol. 1: There Will Be Blood” by Joshua Williamson

Nailbiter, Vol. 1: There Will Be Blood(Author: Joshua Williamson) + (Year: 2014) + (Goodreads)


Review:

I’m not giving this volume a higher rating, simply because it was a very vague beginning of the series. Other than that, the idea is a pretty original one and I am definitely interested to see what happens in the next volumes.

The story of Nailbiter takes place in a small town with a really big number of serial killers. Now that a new serial killer has appeared, the detectives both have to stop the serial killer, and figure out why there are so many of them in such a small town.

The entire volume was a very long setting for the story to come, so it was rather uneventful, considering the length. Of course, there were things happening, but it was obvious that we are seeing the creation of a larger story. I would have preferred it if more was revealed, because that would have made the first volume substantial and would have given it its own story and main event.

The main characters were not that much to my liking. None of the ones that appeared often were very charismatic or interesting, but I guess they worked out fine as a team.

The art was interesting – not spectacularly beautiful, but not ugly either. I rather liked it, so that’s a good thing.

My hopes for the next volume are that they are actually going to reveal one of the main story lines and set up a worthy villain, because it’s obvious that the serial killers are pawns in a bigger scheme.

“Wraithborn” by Joe Benítez

Wraithborn(Author: Joe Benítez) + (Year: 2006) + (Goodreads)


Review:

I’m giving this book 2 stars only because I saw that there was a story hidden somewhere deep down there.

The abovementioned story is a very simple YA plot: a girl who just wants to mind her own business is drawn into a world of darkness where she has to learn to fight against evil, when all she wants to do it continue her life as normal.

This arc has been used only a million times in YA novels, but if they continue drawing readers, including myself, then that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

However, everything goes downhill for Wraithborn after this. The plot doesn’t have anything that sets it apart from other similar books, the heroes are in no way charming, the villain is powerful only in words and offers no real plot twists or challenges, and last, but not least, the artwork is very unappealing.

Melanie, the main character, is very, very hard to like. She’s weak, lacks will power, and is very self-centered (although here we have to mention that many teenagers are self-centered in general). But the thing which bothered me the most about her is the fact that she’s not a person who wants to help others. She prefers staying off the radar and protecting her own ass. Then, a jump to the future, and she has been completely transformed into a savior of the defenseless. I’m not buying it.

Story-wise, Melanie would not have survived at all, had there not been deus ex machina in every single issue. Every time she is in trouble, there’s a masked warrior coming to her rescue, and in very special occasions, she has magic mojo that she can’t control just bursting out of her. Valek somehow knows that he needs to find her, and also guesses every time she would be in distress, and even though they barely talk, aside from battle grunts, by the end of the volume they have developed a special bond.

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I won’t even bother commenting the other characters because they are so shallow and only there so that it seems like there’s some characters.

What bothered me the most, though, is the art. The women are almost naked, always, they have identical faces (which makes it hard to understand what they mean when they say that Melanie is unattractive: She looks just like the rest of y’all?), and they all look like sex slaves. Now, I have nothing against sexy, but there’s sexy as in sultry and/or erotic, and sexy as in just cheap. I would not say that Valek, fighting alongside his sister, whose panties are there for all to see, is sexy. I would say that is kind of bothersome, actually.

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Classy: the man and the woman on the left, Valek and Kiara, you might have guessed, are siblings.

Bothersome is also the fact that although Melanie is the hero of this book, and apparently she is to become a big badass sometime in the future, on all of the covers she is just hanging there while almighty Valek is behind her back in a fighting position. Because even when girls are strong, they still can’t make it without a guy to protect them. Great message! Not.

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The cover of issue #5. As you can see, Melanie is a fierce warrior, she needs no man, and she… Wait. She’s just standing there looking confused and defenseless in the shadow of a strong male.

[Image Comics] First issues, part 2.

Horizon #1

Horizon #1 (2016)
Author: Brandon Thomas

Eh… Not the worst one in the pile. But very messy, confusing and weird.

And worst of all, completely forgettable. I will illustrate: I read it yesterday before going to bed. Today, I couldn’t remember whether I read it. Then I was sure I didn’t. I opened the file again and realized I’m on the last page. I backtracked through the entire book to remember what I had read. Remembered. Closed the file. Now I have a very vague recollection again.

The illustrations are very neutral, because I neither liked them much, nor disliked them in any particular way. The story, as mentioned, is nothing special. It, just like the illustrations, is just there, without provoking any specific emotion. In other words, mediocrity at its best.

Cannibal #1Cannibal #1 (2016)
Author: Jennifer Young

Alternative history, cannibals and swamp hillbillies.

There’s nothing that I gave a damn about in this book. It felt like a sad, exhausted attempt to come up with an original idea. There were a lot of angry, aggressive dudes and one slutty female character.

In general, this was a very testosterony read, and that’s very strange once you notice that the author is female. Which means she’s trying too hard to make it in the big boys’ world, by making a very mancentric book.


Moonshine #1Moonshine #1 (2016)

Author: Joe Harris

More wolves, and more hillbillies. In fact (and this is not a spoiler because it hasn’t happened), I can see this book turning into werewolf hillbillies vs. Italian mobsters.

I am very much over mafia books/movies. This glorification of one of the filthiest layers of scum in society is extremely unnecessary and it makes it seem like these people are “cool”, which they aren’t, “classy”, which they aren’t, and “worthy of attention”, which they could be only if they are securely locked up in a prison to fight among themselves and rid humanity of their lowly presence.

Thanks, bye.


She Wolf #1She Wolf #1
(2014)

Author: Rich Tommaso

You guessed it.

The cover gives nothing away about exactly how UGLY this comic book is. The art was beyond intolerable. It felt like a big joke, or a random strip of rookie comic book drawing for a fanboy website.

And the story is not much better. Young Madonna and her werewolf boyfriend have a fight. Details are unclear because of bad dialogue and horrible illustrations. Oh, and this is from the times people hated Madonna, I guess. She was universally hated by all of the people around her.

Don’t trust me on this one? At the time I’m writing this post, the GR rating of She Wolf is 2.

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Sons Of The Devil #1

Sons of the Devil #1 (2015)
Author: Brian Buccellato

I’m not sure what to even say about this one. I would rate it like this, in reality:

Art: 0
Story: 0
Characters: 0
How much % I cared: 0

I feel sad that people take their creative potential and shove it into such cliched, boring stories, which have no soul in them. There are so few stories with demons and devils in which there’s any twist, any originality, or any reason for the reader to keep on reading. This one is definitely not one of them.


Southern Cross #1Southern Cross #1
(2015)

Author: Becky Cloonan

Art: nope.

Story: potentially.

I strongly disliked the main character. By strongly disliked, I mean that I hated her. She is quite possibly the bitchiest, most annoying main female character that I have ever had the misfortune to read about. She was incessantly rude, and always angry at people, however, when we know nothing about the character, there’s no way to redeem such asshole-ish behavior.

The only thing connected to her that could grow into a half-decent story is her mission and if I were forced to pick one story out of this entire sorry bunch to follow, I would probably go with this one.

Surgeon X #1Surgeon X #1 (2016)
Author: Sara Kenney

When I saw this I had some hopes, relying on the Winter Soldier look and the Repo atmosphere.

Nope.

I felt strongly that I could not care ANY LESS. This book is trying too hard. It’s offensive to feminism of any kind. This is what really bothers me abut women trying to empower women in media. They make them out as harsh, bitchy and insufferable jerks. “We need a strong woman!” “Okay, here’s this asshole.” NO! This is counterproductive. I would not like this person if they were male or female.


The Fix #1The Fix #1
(2016)

Author: Nick Spencer

I knew I will hate this, and I did. Read the summary and you can tell right away.

The Fix is basically every corrupt, bad cop cliche and then some. Vulgar, cheap lifestyle, drugs, women, crime and mobsters.

I’m not even going to kill any more brain cells writing this review.

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Throwaways #1Throwaways #1 (2016)
Author: Caitlyn Kittredge

Pfft… I don’t know. This comic book is a mess. Spies, secret agencies, super secret camps, sleeper cells, war veterans, weird punk guys with green mohawks and seizures. Is this supernatural? Is it brainwashing? Science fiction?

One thing I do know: I’m not reading anything else from this series.