Showing posts with label Norse mythology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Norse mythology. Show all posts

Monday, July 24, 2017

Heathen Vol 1 by Natasha Alterici

Rating: WORTHY!

This is from an advance review copy for which I thank the publisher.

You never quite know what you're going to get when Net Galley has a 'read now' offer, and it's often a mixed bag, but in this dive into the mixed bag of fortune I came out ahead! This is the second graphic novel out of three that I really enjoyed, so I have no idea why it would need a 'read now' offer. I guess people don't appreciate quality when it comes stealthily in on a longboat and attacks their insular little village of life, huh?!

This is a beautifully illustrated (by the writer in rather fetching sepia-like tones) series which collects several individual issues into one volume. It's about Aydis, a young female Viking who kissed a girl and she liked it! Whether this really was the punishment for this "crime" in Viking times, I don't know, but apparently Aydis's sentence was either marriage or death. Knowing the one would be no different from the other in Aydis's case, her wise father took her out of the village and returned claiming she was dead.

Meanwhile alive and well, Aydis vows to free Brynhild, who was imprisoned behind a wall of divine fire by Odin. A quick chorus of "O-Odin can you sear...." Okay that was bad, Scratch that! Moving on...Aydis's hope is that with Brynhild and the Valkyries on her side, she can take on Odin, bring an end to his not-so-divine patriarchy, and finally get some freedom and independence for women!

Riding her talking horse Saga, who isn't above having the odd adventure him- or her-self. I wasn't sure, and maybe that was intentional. Or maybe I wasn't paying sufficient attention! Aydis is quite a distraction with her mind rampaging in six different directions at once. Anyway, she sets off for the mountain wherein Brynhild is trapped. The last thing she expects is to be kidnapped by the goddess of love, Freya, and despite her proclivities, she's not happy about it! And so the story continues!

I loved it, and if you have a liking for a Viking like none you've met before, set your course for this Norse and you'll love it too. A Norse! A Norse! My Vikingdom for a Norse! Okay, no, that didn't work either. Never mind! Seriously, this was a true pleasure to find and read, and I recommend it unreservedly. Besides how can you not want to read a book by a woman with a grand name like Natasha Alterici?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

I Bring the Fire by C Gockel

Title: I Bring the Fire
Author: Gockel
Publisher: Amazon
Rating: WORTHY!

p106 "…dark and black at the point." I think the latter automatically implies the former!

This is an odd little novel, but it was short (only 136 pages). I can much more easily read a short bad novel all the way through than ever I can force myself to read four hundred pages of bad, but this actually was not bad at all. It was really good, although it was odd in a way, in that it was formatted unusually. There was no cover, and pretty much all of your typical front pages (title page, acknowledgements, dedication, contents, etc) were mashed together onto one page. I wondered if this was caused somehow by the transition from a word processor document to a PDF format which didn’t propagate too well? Or maybe the author hates wasting paper as much as I do?!

This is part one of what promises to be quite a series, each volume of which is now available:

  • Monsters: I Bring the Fire Part II
  • Chaos: I Bring the Fire Part III
  • In the Balance: I Bring the Fire Part 3.5
  • Fates: I Bring the Fire Part IV
  • The Slip: An I Bring the Fire Short Story (mostly) from Sleipnir's Point of Smell
  • Warriors: I Bring the Fire Part V

Love those titles!

I know that some professionals whine about how a book has to be laid out in a certain way - Library of Congress rules and all that bullshit - but you know what? Screw them. This isn’t the age of lead characters painstakingly laid out in a metal tray. It’s not the age of primly formatted, hard-bound, printed books. This is the age of e, and Congress and Big Publishing™ no longer get to dictate to writers what we can and cannot do, what we can write, how we format it, and what gets published. Those days are long gone and good riddance to them, so kudos to C Gockel for flouting tradition.

I warmed-up to this novel quickly. It begins in a delightfully unusual way, and I started to like the main character, Amy Lewis, at once. Amy is in vet school and is on break, driving from Stillwater, Oklahoma to Chicago where she stays with her grandmother, and finds work to help pay her way through college. Unfortunately, she runs her car off the road nearly falling asleep from the long day, and the first person to arrive on the scene is a serial killer.

Fortunately, the second person to arrive on the scene is Loki, and this is a different Loki from the one you think you know. He turns out to be the good guy (after a fashion!), and rescues Amy, thus beginning their acquaintanceship; but just like there's more to Loki than you expect, there is more to Amy, too.

There were some parts of the book that I took to skipping. Periodically we’re treated to a flashback in italics, of Loki's childhood. I read the first of these and found it uninteresting, so I jumped over all of the italicized portions after that. The rest of the novel, however, was well-written and really entertaining. There was a really nice line of humor threaded through it, and it sported plausible characters with natural behaviors, and interesting events. The story kept flowing easily, and it readily and easily pulled me along with it, so no complaints at all there.

The concept of a domesticated Loki was hilarious. I was starting to love this author by the end of the novel/novella/novelette, whatever this was (I don't know the actual word count)! I recommend it.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Ragnarok and Roll by Keith R A DeCandido

Title: Ragnarok and Roll
Author: Keith R A DeCandido
Publisher: Plus One Press
Rating: WARTY!

I both started and finished this one today, and when I say I finished it, I didn't finish it. I read the very first chapter and decided that this was so uninventive and pedestrian that I had zero interest in reading any more (on the principle that life's way-the-hell too short).

The novel is about Cassie Zukav, a resident of Florida, who battles mythological creatures from Norse legend. It's first person PoV which I detest, so my feeling on starting it was that I wouldn't like it, and I'm sure that this contributed to my negative take on it. The first person is in the past tense, which ameliorates the style somewhat, but it's still 1PoV and it's all me, me, me, I, I , I, and that kind of self-aggrandizement sucks big ones on a cold day. It really does. Who cares how self-important Castor Zukav is?

Why did I even pick this up, knowing it was 1PoV? Well, I initially asked myself "How can I not like a novel with that title?!" and I found out pretty quickly the answer to that when I read that Cassie is a boring dive-tour guide in Florida who spends the majority of her nights drinking and listening to the same band at the same dive bar in the Keys. Why would I be even remotely interested in a completely one-dimensional character who was completely boring in three dimensions? As if that wasn't bad enough, the way Loki decides he's going to take over the world and bring on the new ice age is to form a band and play in a dinky little nowhere town in the Keys. Seriously?

The fact that, after learning all this, I still finished that one chapter is a compliment, believe me, but there was no way I was about to voluntarily read any more of this uninspiring and insipid drivel.