Review: Welcome to the Jungle (or, Not The Dresden Book I Promised)

I felt bad for not reading Changes yet, and especially since I probably won’t get around to it until I’m done the Powers book that I’m on now, (though I did take a break from that to read Going Postal).  But comics don’t take nearly as long to read and since I had a few spare hours, and the first of the Dresden comics, I decided I might as well do a quick review for that.

Also I’m totally counting it as one of the Telling Tales challenge books, it has Greek mythology and Celtic folklore, and ok, it might be stretching the definition a bit, but the Telling Tales challenge is (I think) the only one that counts graphic novels. I also realized that I didn’t count Powers that Be as one of the New Author challenge books, even though one of the author’s is new to me. So totally adding it to the list. Anyways. Sorry this is so short, but I’m in England visiting my sister right now so I’m probably not going to have a lot of time for really long posts.

Welcome to the Jungle is set right before Storm Front, (so right before the book series starts) and is written by Jim Butcher and illustrated by Adrian Syaf. I was really excited when I first found it because I was expecting the graphic novels to just follow the books, (and the second graphic novel is called Storm Front as well) but instead I get a whole new story that I’ve never read before. Also it’s set at the Zoo! (I love the zoo, we went to the zoo for my birthday last year… when I turned 26. In my defense we went to African Lion Safari for my sister’s and she’s only a year younger than me, so I’m not the only one who misses doing cool stuff like that for my birthday). And sidetracked… So the story starts with a murder at the zoo *gasp!* and Dresden is called in to figure out what happened because so far their best guess is that the gorilla did it… then he went and locked himself back in his cage. There’s also the damsel in distress, because Dresden’s a sucker for a lady who needs his help, and bob makes an appearance, (hooray!) oh, and of course a deadline.

One of my favorite things about the novels is his interior monologues and snippy comments so I was pleased to find that they were worked into the graphic novels as well. Jim Butcher has a style of writing that is both entertaining and makes you feel like you could be part of the story too. I wouldn’t have thought that it would translate well into a graphic novel but was pleasantly surprised. Maybe it was because Butcher wrote it himself, or maybe because, as he explains in the forward, when he’s writing it in his he pictures the scenes as panels from a comic.

Either way I’m looking forward to reading the next ones.

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Saturday Story Starters… but not art ones

Alright, so not as early as I usually post, but I was kind mixed up about what day it was, (I lose track a lot when I travel). I’m posting the usual daily story starters, as well as the week long short story prompt. I figure it’ll be easier to do them both on the same day since I’m not doing the art ones on this blog any more (and no I haven’t started the other blog yet… but I’m thinking of getting a start on it tonight before we head off to France for a couple days).

Daily Story Starters:
1. It was a strange night, there seemed to be a chill in the air…
2. Feeling the effects of too much sun…
3. The smell of rain
4. The cold had seeped into my very bones…
5. The smell of winter
6. Blood trickled down his leg…
7. On a rainy night in…

The week long prompt comes from the “what-if-inator”: what if the fall of  Egypt had never happened.

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Long Boring Flight

Made it to England (hooray!) between a long boring wait at the airport, then a long boring wait while the plain flew (am I the only person who finds it almost impossible to sleep on a plane?) I got another challenge book out of the way: I read Terry Pratchett’s Going Postal. Moist is one of my favorite characters, he’s a conman! I still haven’t read Making Money which I know also has Moist in it, but that’s on my list too.

I’m keeping this short because I’m super tired, (I haven’t slept since heading for the airport) and also because I’m editing a review that I’ll hopefully post tomorrow or the next day.

Still no update on the other blog because I was busy getting ready for travel, but working on it.

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Daily Stuff

I think this is going to be the last time I post any art challenges on this blog, I’m going to start a second one like I was thinking about. I figure since I’m going to be going to England in a few days I’ll at least have something to write about. I might even post some of my art journal entries.

Anyways I’ll do a post with a link to it whenever I get it up and running (hopefully this week). Until then here are the daily writing and art prompts.

Writing:
Her eyes were glazed with a fever, making her…
Past the edge of the city…
Sipping from the glass of water she had poured him…
The nightmare at the hospital…
Not knowing was the hardest part…
I enjoy watching storms…
I think I need…

Art:
red balloon
exotic bird
xmas past and present
bottles or jars
black and white
mannequin
the auction

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Another Story Starter Saturday

Welcome to another Story Starter Saturday! From 7th Sanctum this week we’ve got a another character description from the quick character generator: The young priestess.

The art challenge this week is to draw your object to express anger.

Good luck all!

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Review: Powers That Be

I know I know, this isn’t the review I promised. I got sidetracked from Changes when I realized that it was almost the end of the month and I hadn’t read any sci-fi yet. The sci-fi challenge is really the only one with deadlines, since it specifically said one each month for a year, rather than just twelve in a year.

Anyways when I was home for Christmas my mom had a pile of books that were to go back to the used bookstore because she had doubles of them. One was Power Play the third in the trilogy, which I grabbed because hey, free books. Then I stole the other two, (she’ll probably get them back if only because I don’t have room on my shelves for books that aren’t mine) and decided that it would make a good start to the sci-fi challenge.

Powers That Be is the first in this trilogy by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, I’ve never read anything by the latter and I wasn’t really a big fan of the former before, but then I hadn’t read anything by her since grade school. That summer I decided to read all the Dragon Riders of Pern books, my mom is a huge fan of hers she had whatever was out then. I think I was too young and didn’t get a lot of what was going on since usually I like the same books as my mom and there have also been a lot of times when I went back to books I read as a kid and was surprised at how different my take on them is now.

The book takes place on the planet Petaybee and is mainly from the point of view of Yanaba Maddock, a newcomer who’s sort of retired for medical reasons and sort of charged with spying on the locals to figure out all the weird stuff that’s been going on. Yanna works for The Company, and has pretty much her whole life so even though she got put on disability she doesn’t have bad feelings towards them, though she doesn’t always think much of her superiors. The Company basically owns the planet, they terraformed it and settled people on it, but now generations later they’re finding these people less than cooperative. From space they’ve taken readings that indicate there’s minerals they’d love to get their hands on, but every time they go look for them their people go missing, or die, or go crazy or end up far older than they went out there. There have also been sightings of a bunch of weird animals. Since everything on Petaybee should have been put there by the Company they want to know who’s been messing around.

The guy in charge of the base there is pretty suspicious of the people of Petaybee, but Yanna doesn’t really think much of him anyways, and the locals are all nice and welcoming so she remains pretty neutral when she goes in. That doesn’t last long though. She tries to stay suspicious, or at least keep an eye out for suspicious stuff, but the locals quickly start winning her over, especially Sean who’s the love interest.

Yanna’s relationship with Sean is actually the thing that annoys me the most about this book. It’s not even that I don’t like Sean’s character, I do. But whenever she’s around him she’s so out of character, and all mushy and annoying. But that might just be a pet peeve of mine rather than a problem with the story. I don’t mind romance in books, but the kind of love almost at first sight thing that she has going irks me. I like to see it develop more than just have them hit it off right away with no real obstacles.

Otherwise I liked the book, it’s not often that books have an arctic setting so it was fun to see how she dealt with obstacles that don’t usually come up in stories. The people of Petaybee are very much a part of their world; because the planet isn’t really used for much, and the space base doesn’t care much about the locals, they’ve had to manage on their own. They live off the land and only end up buying bare necessities like pots and such from the Company store. They also care a lot about their roots. The Company took people from earth who they believed would do well in the planet’s harsh climate, so they grabbed people of Irish and Inuit descent. The current generation is a hodge-podge of those two cultures, which you can really see in their songs. I really enjoyed how much thought she put into developing the people on Petaybee.

In contrast we learn very little about Yanna. Besides the incident which left her lungs barely functioning and put her on disability, (which was a big turning point in her life) all we really know is that she’s a Company employee and has been most of her life. Despite that it wasn’t like she didn’t have any personality or was unlikeable, and a couple times I ended up laughing at her attempts to figure out life in the town which was so much different from on a ship. I also liked that she didn’t just blindly follow orders or try and reason away everything that she was seeing, like her superiors. Most of the ‘bad guys’ in this book are really just people so set in their ways that they can’t accept what’s going on.

All in all I’m looking forward to reading the next one Power Lines, and it will fit nicely into February for the sci-fi challenge. I’ll probably read the third one in February too, so I’ll have to find something else for March.

I’m hoping to get a start on some of the other challenges too in February. I’m going to visit my sister in England, (my starting point is Canada) and I usually get a lot of reading done on long flights since the seats aren’t really comfortable for sleeping. Also I really will get around to Changes again!

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Daily Prompts

This week’s daily writing prompts are:
1. The chains were loose enough to allow some freedom of movement…
2. The stranger came early in February, one wintry day, though biting wind and
3. write about a small package that is delivered to someone, with explicit instructions to…
4. Crunching through fallen leaves
5. My head hurt like hell…
6. They waited…
7. The spines of old books.

And the art ones are:
1. aquatic vehicle
2. stars
3. China town
4. where the wild things are
5. tattoo
6. flower show
7. something sweet

Have fun with these, and I really am going to try and post a book review tonight or tomorrow!

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