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Original Essays | June 20, 2014

Lauren Owen: IMG The Other Vampire

It's a wild and thundery night. Inside a ramshackle old manor house, a beautiful young girl lies asleep in bed. At the window, a figure watches... Continue »


Customer Comments

CKL has commented on (25) products.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (Inheritance Trilogy #1) by N. K. Jemisin
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (Inheritance Trilogy #1)

CKL, January 19, 2012

I don't read a lot of fantasy (I'm more of a science fiction guy), but picked up this book because it was one of the 2011 Hugo nominees for best novel--and I loved it. The second book is also excellent, albeit very different; and the third is already on my bookshelf, waiting for me. Highly recommended.
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(3 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)

I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells
I Am Not a Serial Killer

CKL, September 1, 2011

I haven't read a lot of YA horror, but I'd rank this right up there with Bradley Denton's Blackburn, both in terms of well-paced narrative and emotional engagement (also subject matter, but that's neither here nor there). Now reading the sequel, which is just as good, and looking forward to the third book.
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(3 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)

Wednesday Comics by Various
Wednesday Comics

CKL, October 27, 2010

This was DC's tribute to the full-page Sunday newspaper comics of yore. The results are a mixed bag, but definitely worth a look. There's a wide range of storytelling talent and art styles on display here. Neil Gaiman's Metamorpho tale gets a lot of mileage out of tweaking genre tropes and panel layout conventions. The Wonder Woman pages were too busy for me, visually, but I was pleasantly surprised by the stories featuring lesser-known characters like Kamandi and Deadman. And I think someone may finally have found the right tone for a Supergirl story.
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(3 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)

This Is Not a Game by Walter Jon Williams
This Is Not a Game

CKL, October 10, 2010

Logline: a near-future techno-thriller involving alternate reality games (ARGs). I mostly agree with Larry Hosken that it was "a fun bit of fluff," but I have four big nitpicks:

* HTML is not case-sensitive;
* many puzzles are mentioned in the story, but few are shown or even described;
* I didn't believe the "banana split" puzzle would have been unsolvable--I've been GC, and I've seen much tougher nuts get cracked in seconds; and
* most of Chapter Twenty-One.

Williams acknowledges Sean Stewart in his notes, and some of the game setups are lifted right out of The Beast. Some research clearly went into this novel, but I didn't ever feel like the author really grokked the ARG scene.

I guess that's really my biggest complaint. Other than being able to use a large number of dedicated followers to perform complex, distributed tasks, there wasn't much in this story that was specific to the ARG community. You could have told pretty much the same tale with a really dedicated group of online knitting enthusiasts... who discover a long-lost cross-stitch pattern... which leads to a hidden treasure! This Is Not a Quilt, anyone?
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(3 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)

Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale
Rapunzel's Revenge

CKL, October 10, 2010

The art is pretty sophisticated for a children's book--I'd put it on par with adult graphic novels.

Overall, I really liked the story--making Rapunzel a tomboy heroine was a nice twist (no pun intended)--but I did roll my eyes about halfway through, when the narrative turned into a video game. Seriously. Random NPCs pop up to ask Rapunzel and her companion Jack to help them by completing various quests, for which they get some information or other kind of reward.

This device is known in the Turkey City Lexicon as "plot coupons," and I suppose it's good enough for a younger audience, but still. I feel like the authors could have done better.
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(4 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)

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