Archive for the ‘Books’ Category


Publisher: Bongo Comics
Writer: Nathan Kane
Penciller: John Delaney
Inker: Andrew J. Pepoy
Letterer: Karen Bates
Editors: Karen Bates & Terry Delegeane
Cover Artists: Jason Ho, Nathan Kane, Mike Rote
Release Date: December 24, 2014

When you’re facing mercenaries who want to kill your daughter? An alien predator who hunts humans for sport? A television game show host who wants to play for blood? Who do you call? McBain!

McBain #1 is the latest of Bongo Comics’ Simpsons One-Shots, and it plays with the conventions of what makes a comic in appropriately larger-than-life ways. In order to review this comic, it is important to look at the two defining characteristics of this edition: the story, and the presentation. Click below to read the rest of the review.


Last of the Independents

Series: Vancouver Noir, Book 1
Pages: 336 (Trade Paperback)
Publisher: Dundurn
Date: September 23, 2014

This is the debut novel of Vancouver writer Sam Wiebe, and the first in his proposed Vancouver Noir series following the cases of Michael Drayton, former Vancouver Police (VPD) officer and current independent private-eye. Independents was the unanimous winner of the Unhanged Edgar Award in 2012, an award given for the best unpublished mystery novel in Canada. Fortunately for us, Dundurn picked up Wiebe’s book, and we can now settle down to an evening or two of highly entertaining modern noir.

Before I get into the meat of the review, I need to come clean: I know Sam Wiebe. He was a student of mine at SFU back in the Fall of 2008, when I was his TA in English 399. In my defense, I gave his first assignment a C+ – a grade for which he promptly took me to task, a grade which he was able to successfully argue against for a review and upgrade. While I did adjust his grade in that case, it wasn’t due to any sympathy or lack of resolve on my own part – it was because Sam was able to argue pertinently and to-the-point. In fact, Sam’s formidable in-person nature – strong-willed without bullying, intelligent without condescension, a strong sense of justice – also comes through in his writing. Michael Drayton, Wiebe’s creation, is one of the more complete characters I have read in some time. Click through for my full review.


Series: The Wheel of Time, Book 3
Pages: 704 (Mass Market Paperback)
Publisher: Tor Fantasy
Date: October 15, 1992

Reading the third book in the main sequence of Jordan’s Wheel of Time, I see the story just starting to hit its stride. The main characters are now well developed, and our sympathies as readers are beginning to spread out to multiple perspectives and agendas. The Dragon Reborn is all about Rand al’Thor coming to grips with who he is, and what his place is in the world – things every person goes through at some point in their life, whether they’re intended to save the world or not.




My reviews of other books in The Wheel of Time series:

Prequel: New Spring, reviewed May 28, 2014
Book One: The Eye of the World, reviewed May 29, 2014
Book Two: The Great Hunt, reviewed June 22, 2014

<<Spoiler Alert: Again, I am including a spoiler alert for this review, despite the book originally coming out over twenty years ago – if you haven’d read it, it’s still new to you. This review contains plot and character details from this book, as well as from previous books in the series. If you wish to remain spoiler-free, do not click through.>>


Series: Sequel to 2008’s Little Brother
Pages: 448 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Tor Teen
Date: February 5, 2013

Reading the sequel to what has been one of my favorite novels of the 21st century (so far) is an exercise destined to have a hard time living up to expectations. While Doctorow’s Little Brother is, in my opinion, an important book, Homeland does a good job of being entertaining, but seems just a little too self-aware to live up to its predecessor. Click through after the break to get my breakdown of what works – and what doesn’t – in this book of rebellious youth growing up.

WoT02 The Great Hunt

Series: The Wheel of Time, Book 2
Pages: 705 (Mass Market Paperback)
Publisher: Tor Fantasy
Date: October 15, 1991

Reading the second book of a fourteen book (fifteen, if you count the prequel) series feels somewhat like still being in the beginning, despite having now read well over a thousand pages set in Jordan’s world. In this, my third review in my reread of Robert Jordan’s epic The Wheel of Time series, I find myself thoroughly enjoying the way so far, and ready to go ever onward. Click through to read my take on The Great Hunt.



My reviews of other books in The Wheel of Time series:

Prequel: New Spring, reviewed May 28, 2014
Book One: The Eye of the World, reviewed May 29, 2014

<<Spoiler Alert: While it feels a bit odd giving a spoiler alert for a book that is over twenty years old, there are always new readers discovering Jordan and his epic series. This review contains plot and character details from this book, as well as from previous books in the series. If you wish to remain spoiler-free, do not click through.>>


Pages: 64 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Date: April 18, 2012

I have a lot of children’s books here at home. Being a father and a bibliophile means that most trips to the mall involve purchasing a new book or two for my son (as well as a new book or two for myself – I need to stop going to the mall so often). For the most part, I won’t be reviewing them here – there are plenty of wonderful bloggers and review sites out there that already do that job much better and with more knowledge than I can claim to have in the area. However, I will gladly make exceptions if, on occasion, I get a book for my son that also entertains and/or tickles me as I read it. This is one such book – and it is, in some ways, written more for me than it is for my four-year old boy.


Pages: 416 (Paperback)
Publisher: Tor Teen
Date: April 29, 2008

Cory Doctorow first came to my attention when I picked up a copy of Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. Its combination of absurdism and new paradigms in a realistic future setting hooked me on his writing, and I quickly came to be a semi-regular follower of Doctorow’s website, Boing Boing. He’s a huge believer in and supporter of the Creative Commons, and he puts his money where his mouth is – each of his books is available for free download, forever. That said, he still sells strong numbers, and has even increased his audience through this rather unorthodox approach. Lest this become a review of the man rather than the book, I’ll start talking about my favorite of all his works (so far): Little Brother.


Pages: 384 (Trade Paperback)
Publisher: W.W. Norton and Company
Date: September 21, 2009

This is the eighth science-themed book I’ve read this year, and while it is one of the least specific, covering a range of topics, it is also quite interesting. Muller’s purpose in writing this book is laid out right in his title: he wants to be able to explain, in layman’s terms, the important scientific questions (or policy decision informed on science) that a new President must face. While the odds that I’ll one day become President are pretty long (seeing as how I’m not American), I still found the book to be both informative and accessible.



Series: The Wheel of Time, Book 1
Pages: 832 (Mass Market Paperback)
Publisher: Tor Fantasy
Date: November 15, 1990

I originally read Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series beginning in 2002 when I was living in Japan. My friend Mike introduced me to Mr. Jordan’s fantastical world, and I was hooked from the very beginning. At that time, there were nine books out in the series, Jordan having released them at a pace of almost one a year (take that, George RR Martin!). A tenth came out in 2003, and eleventh in 2005. Then, nothing. Jordan got sick, and passed in September of 2007, leaving his series unfinished, and his fans both saddened and disappointed. That was not, however, the end of The Wheel of Time.

My reviews of other books in The Wheel of Time series:

Prequel: New Spring, reviewed May 28, 2014


Series: The Wheel of Time, Book 0
Pages: 400 (Mass Market Paperback)
Publisher: Tor Fantasy
Date: January, 2004

New Spring was originally published as part of an anthology in 1999: Legends: Short Novels by the Masters of Modern Fantasy, edited by Robert Silverberg. I came across this volume in a library years ago, but never got around to reading it. A few years after the original version, Robert Jordan decided to flesh out the novella into a full novel as the first of an intended prequel trilogy, and it was republished on its own. This is the version that I’ll be reviewing here. I had the book for several years before starting it; however, recently, I’ve decided to give the entire Wheel of Time series a reread, now that Brandon Sanderson has completed his “collaboration” with the original author, Robert Jordan, who passed away seven years ago leaving the series unfinished. Sanderson has, by all accounts, done a yeoman’s job, in the process writing three new volumes to finish the series. Over the next year or so, I’ll be revisiting the series (and reading four of the volumes for the first time), beginning with this, the only prequel Jordan completed before his untimely death. Click through after the break for my review.

My other reviews in The Wheel of Time series:

Book One: The Eye of the World, reviewed May 29, 2014