Reviews

“Jessica Jones: Alias [Vol.4]” by Brian Bendis & Michael Gaydos

I only realised I had no clue about how exactly Jessica had obtained her powers the moment I opened this last volume. It was a first step down a memory lane that grew into quite an experience. Again, they managed to create an emotional balance that had its peaks without ever being too much of anything. There was time, and space, for the whole spectrum to play out.

That said, I must confess I shuddered when Killgrave was first mentioned. I believe he was disturbingly well portrayed throughout the TV series, having left quite a dent behind, and was certainly not expecting his written version to feel even creepier. It was one of those surprises that I could have lived without, but that I am now embracing.

Speaking of surprises, I felt rather nostalgic running into Jean Grey. Even though my relationship with her character is based only on the X-Men movie series, I always thought there was something incredibly soothing about her. Her presence ended up being quite reassuring.

Back to the expectations discourse, I found the ending to be rather unexpected. It was… different, I guess, a step into a future that will certainly never be the same.

Alas, it’s over. Sigh. I feel as though I should give The Pulse a go, having had such a great time with Alias.

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Reviews

“Nothing” by Janne Teller

Pierre Anthon announced, on his first day as a seventh-grader, that there was no meaning to life. After professing his truth, he abandoned the classroom and found refuge on a plum tree. As his classmates walked by on their way to school, Pierre Anthon reminded them of the lack of meaning in their stride, setting them on a frenzy to prove him wrong.

“I’m sitting here in nothing. And better to be sitting in nothing than in something that isn’t anything.”

Nothing by Janne Teller had me immediately thinking of Lord of the Flies by William Golding. The mood seems quite similar, but I believe Nothing takes a step further into the abyss. To be quite honest, I am still trying to figure out what exactly that entails.

I should start by mentioning the writing style as it’s probably the most tangible thing about this book. There is something incredibly peculiar about it. It feels raw, like over-scrubbed skin, making every single ghost of an emotion grow into something immeasurable. There are also the overpowering silences. Having read the whole book out loud, it is impossible to label them chance or even coincidence. I believe this book was skillfully designed to create a sort of emotional echo that feels claustrophobic at times.

That said, I have been meditating about the ending for hours. At first I was disappointed, having expected something groundbreaking to happen, an extraordinary lesson to arise from a middle that had me shuddering. Then I started thinking, and by that I mean definitely overthinking the whole thing. As readers we witnessed these events, we read through them holding onto an ending yet to come, an ending that we expected to deliver hope, meaning. However, just like the children, we encountered none after having deposited everything. Disturbing beyond words, yes, but perhaps not beyond reason.

“There was definitely something that mattered in spite of everything, even if that something was something you had to lose.”

I can’t help but think that Pierre Anthon is partially right. We do tend to forget our role as creators of meaning, setting its weight on time instead, time that has no shoulders to carry it on and no hands to deliver it with. Thought-provoking, is it not?

All in all, the only thing I am sure of regarding this book is that it is certainly going to haunt me for a long time.

Reviews

“The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams

“The apartment faces an alley and is entered by a fire escape, a structure whose name is a touch of accidental poetic truth, for all these huge buildings are always burning with the slow and implacable fires of human desperation.”

Tennessee Williams astounds me with his ethereal plays. He creates, designs, these scenes, these people, and they seem to float across time and space, endlessly relevant. It all happens within walls, within transparent curtains of humanity, the surroundings at times blurry beyond general contextualization, but was there ever any more truth?

“The scene is memory and is therefore nonrealistic. Memory takes a lot of poetic license. It omits some details; others are exaggerated, according to the emotional value of the articles it touches, for memory is seated predominantly in the heart.”

There is an unbelievable amount of detail in The Glass Menagerie, more than enough to effortlessly outshine the delicate figures that Laura all but worships.

Speaking of them, how incredible is it that the voice of reason arrives with the stranger, with the outside perspective? Jim, once upon a time Laura’s dream, the “long-delayed but always expected something that we live for”, arrives in the scene with a dose of reality gentle enough to cut through glass. Oh, and if it isn’t then that delicate Laura too learns how to let go of the unicorn, perhaps accepting its difference to lie beyond the horn – a dream broken into freedom.

Speaking of freedom, it sweeps Tom off his feet. I will be forever in love with the way Tom sits movies on the opposite side of moving. The power of self-consciousness is incredible. When we think too much about walking it feels as though we don’t actually know how to do it. Same happens when we think about breathing, suddenly the possibility of forgetting how to do so, of missing one breath, the breath, becomes absolutely terrifying. The glass breaks, it startles them awake from their dream, and steps are taken with determination.

Speaking of determination, there is Amanda. Not quite here or there, wanting the best for her children, wanting them to learn from her tales, memories and dreams in one. There is a palpable duality to her, one that broke and mended my heart, again and again.

Together they are an intricate event, and they remain so, even after parting ways. I believe that is why the portrait of the father, the “telephone man who fell in love with long distances”, is present at all times. He might not be there in person, but he is there in them. Past, present and future co-existing.

Forgive me my muddled thoughts, but my world expands at each of Tennessee William’s words. I must definitely see The Glass Menagerie on stage, and would rather like to have Anna Chancellor as Amanda.

Reviews

“Jessica Jones: Alias [Vol. 3]” by Brian Bendis & Michael Gaydos

“I hate buildings.”
“You hate buildings?”
“And yet I live in New York City. So imagine how it is to be me.”

I never thought I would end up finding such a relatable character in the superhero universe. That said, please do bear with me, I haven’t been this excited about a character in quite a long time. You see, I tend to read my way into novels, their characters becoming like distant family, faces that you can’t quite picture, but voices that you would recognize just about anywhere. I believe this particular medium, the way the writing is combined with the art and spread across the page, dilutes the barrier between where the reader stands and where the text exists, blending them into one final composition that wouldn’t otherwise exist. Mind you, I think this event is valid for any relationship between reader and text, the latter assuming many different forms, but there is something magical about this one in particular.

Speaking of magic, this third volume begins with an issue drawn in a completely different manner, in a completely different style. While I must confess I found it slightly harder to read, the art was sublime. I felt the need to share just how incredible it was. Also, narratively speaking, the bold change, choice, ended up making sense, which only had me falling even more in love with the whole production.

Focusing on the story arch itself, I found myself beyond invested. They delivered quite a different and interesting angle, exploring just how far humanity is willing to go to be, to feel, special, powerful.

I am honestly in awe of the shade of realism, of relevance. Jessica Jones is just like everyone else, like you and me, peeking at the glossy magazines at the store, criticizing them for their content and yet going for a quiz; she has issues dealing with feelings, she makes bad choices, mistakes, and ends up getting hurt. She also saves lives though, and not always by using her powers. Quite a lesson, huh?

Hilarious, clever, emotional, beautiful, and pertinent beyond words. I need more.

Reviews

“The Sound of Seas” by Gillian Anderson & Jeff Rovin

I remember having mentioned a certain turbulence when reviewing A Dream of Ice. I was referring to the process of getting back into the storyline after a rather long intermission. I am pleased to announce that nothing of the sort happened when starting The Sound of Seas. To be quite honest, it surprised me how quickly I fell back into it, as if we had never truly parted ways. For such a dense novel, in the sense of being incredibly rich in detail, I find that to be extraordinary.

“Either everything matters or nothing does.”

I am in awe of how Gillian Anderson and Jeff Rovin managed to tie such an immense amount of loose ends in less than three hundred pages. It does feel condensed, perhaps even slightly rushed, but I believe it wouldn’t work any other way. It’s as if all the information gathered becomes this one point of energy that then expands into everything.

Speaking of everything, there are at least three topics I believe were addressed in a rather particular and relevant way: the concept of balance, blending love and hate instead of sitting them on opposite chairs; the concept of language, the way we create and comprehend meaning; and the reference to the unknown, to the fear associated with it and its many, possibly catastrophic, consequences.

“Nothing is ever truly lost, so long as it is remembered.”

I must confess I was expecting a much more straightforward ending. However, I think that going with something on the verge of ethereal was a brave decision, one that has the boundaries fading, glowing into possibility beyond the last page.

It’s the kind of novel, the kind of saga, that has its characters carrying on with their conversations as it fades into black; the kind that ends with an extreme close-up shot that grows into extreme wide as the characters walk away and blend with the horizon; the kind that could be represented as a sunset.

If I had to choose just one word, I would describe The Earthend Saga as interesting. Cleverly written, engaging, intriguing, it succeeds at being incredible without touching the realm of ridiculousness. To be fair, it’s impressive how real, how possible and pertinent, it all seems.

Poetry · Reviews

“Let Them Eat Chaos” by Kate Tempest

Let Them Eat Chaos is one of those books, one of those poems, that everyone should somehow run into, meet, and end up reading at some point, for one reason or another. It should be destined.

Condensed in these words resides a truth that could swallow the world into wholeness.

“This poem was written to be read aloud.”

As you pronounce each and every word, as you taste them, as you feel them, they become real in you, they become you.

The fact that Kate Tempest wrote this, that a fellow human being wrote this, is hopeful, is hope. Let it be contagious, let it be contagion itself.

“wake up and love more”

Reviews

“Jessica Jones: Alias [Vol. 1]” by Brian Bendis & Michael Gaydos

I seem to have fallen in love with my very first comic book. Mind you, I have enjoyed the ones I have read up until this point, but for some reason I seem to have connected with Jessica Jones in a different way.

I have given the matter some thought. Could this be because of the television series? While I understand how the physicality of it could help create the bond, I don’t think that’s quite the case. I have read Wynonna Earp and, even though I have enjoyed it, I didn’t find myself as… invested. To be honest, though I find Jessica Jones’s adaptation to be visually beautiful and thought-provokingly disturbing, I can’t help but favourite the written version over it. There’s something about it… can’t quite put my finger on it!

I loved pretty much everything, but there were a couple of moments that just had me. I absolutely adored the interaction with Captain America and the easiness of her lunch with Carol. Also, the moment I realized I was in love with the medium was the interview at the police station. Might be ridiculous and naïve of me, but I found it to be so cleverly drawn and disposed across the page! Also, it was fantastic to see all these heroes being casually mentioned or actually having them show up.

I still know close to nothing about comic books, but falling in love with this one in specific, and reading The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman, has me interested. There’s something undoubtedly special, particularly powerful, if not truly magical, about this world.

Eagerly awaiting the arrival of the others.

Reviews

“I am Sleepless: Sim 299” by Johan Twiss

Originally reviewed for Whispering Stories – 5 stars

Planet Ethos is at war with a rather mysterious enemy, the Splicers. As to secure and preserve the continuation of the species, all newborns with a particular genetic code are removed from their families and injected with the Prime Stimulus. Known as the Prime Initiative, its goal is to raise beings capable of great, astonishing, things.

Aidan is one of those children. Aidan is special. At the young age of twelve, Aidan carries the fate of the world on his shoulders.

It’s incredible how appropriate the title of this book is. From the minute you start reading I am Sleepless: Sim 299 by Johan Twiss, it’s like a switch is turned – on or off, you can’t quite tell, perhaps something in-between. It’s almost as if you’re transported into a different reality, and suddenly you find yourself in a state of hyperawareness that quickly becomes addictive, making it impossible to put down.

I must confess that at the beginning I felt like I had been dropped in the epicenter of a storm – now that I have finished it, I am certain that I was, and glad too. I am Sleepless: Sim 299 is an event, an event that grows into epic proportions without ever losing its sense, its purpose, its morals. I am in awe of Johan Twiss’s talent, of his skill, of how he managed to coherently link every single detail.

Speaking of talent, not only is the narrative engaging, mixing adventure with action and even romance, it’s also beyond pertinent, relevant even, creating a safe haven and opening doors to the discussion of matters that the world rather enjoys not acknowledging. Written in a simple yet visually rich tone, the novel is accessible to the young minds that will eventually lead the future.

“Pain is a teacher. Love is life.”

I always fear when powers are involved as they sometimes lead the characters to get lost in them, to become only them. I am Sleepless: Sim 299 surprised me, amazed me, by actively encouraging inclusion. There are still problems, of course, realistic bullying as some develop faster, grow quicker, but the essence is incredibly hopeful. On that note, I must say that, even if sad, the idea of having these powers come with defects is beautiful in its genesis – and all that color, elemental almost, within reach. There’s so much humanity in this book, so much hope, and so much cleverly written humor!

Honestly, I was on the edge of my seat throughout the whole book. I cannot wait for the next one to be out. Oh, and have I mentioned the little blurbs that introduce every chapter? A stroke of genius, I would say.

If you liked Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and Veronica Roth’s The Divergent Series, you should give I am Sleepless: Sim 299 a go.

LGBTQA+ · Reviews

“Curious Wine” by Katherine V. Forrest

I don’t recall how I came upon Curious Wine, but I seem to have had it for quite some time. Perhaps a find from the endless hours spent perusing lists of LGBT-themed books? I did take a leap of faith a few years back, so that must have been it.

Reading Curious Wine made me think of both Desert Hearts and Claire of the Moon. I felt as if I was watching the narrative happening through a grain filter, which was both endearing and helpful, as it offered the distance, both in terms of time and space, required not to take affront about the way certain matters were addressed.

I quite enjoyed the setting, the escape that became the way into something instead of an ephemeral way out of something else. There’s a particular mood, a cloud of mist, surrounding Curious Wine. It has its ups and downs, its clichés and its breathtaking lines… Oh, and the flirting through poetry.

I believe I would go as far as calling Curious Wine relevant, even if I still feel conflicted about the depiction of women at certain times throughout the narrative.

All in all, I would say it was a rather different read, a bit experimental, a bit… secretive. I think I will go and investigate what the author has been up to lately.

Reviews

“The Wanderer” by Sharon Creech

If I were to write down my favourite quotes from The Wanderer by Sharon Creech, I have a feeling I would end up transcribing the whole book. Choosing just one moment doesn’t seem fair.

The Wanderer is life and as alive as the sea. It comes with ups and downs, moods and tides, storms and rainbows. Once you are in, you are in for the whole journey.

The story is brought to us by the hands of Sophie and Cody, and is told through their journal entries. Their writing, absolutely stunning in its simplicity, involves you, absorbs you, immerses you to the point that you too start feeling the salt on your skin, on the tip of your tongue. And then Sophie starts wandering through her mind, wondering and questioning things that most people would much prefer to ignore. And out loud too. She is both afraid and fearless, and her story is one that will both break and mend your heart.

It’s most definitely a must read. A story about what it means to be a family.