Recently Read: Dungeon Quest: Book One, by Joe Daly

Dungeon Quest - by Joe Daly

Dungeon Quest - by Joe Daly

I’m a big RPG nerd (surprise!)  I’ve always loved RPGs in any form:  Tabletop D&D (nerd wife actually has a D&D tattoo, lol – ok, it’s supposed to be my initials PD, but it looks kinda like DD), console RPGs (Japanese, western, strategy), MMORPG (I’ve played most of them).  There’s something about the questing and leveling up I just dig.  So, when I saw there was an original graphic novel (OGN) coming out spoofing the adventure RPG I knew I had to read it.  It was so much greater than I hoped for.  That book:  Dungeon Quest: Book One, by South African cartoonist Joe Daly.

Story in brief – Millenium Boy – a freakish little character with a head hinting at Megalencephaly – decides he needs an adventure because homework sucks and he’s sick of watching Dr. Phil.  So he collects his starting level gear (bandana, pocket knife, hobo stick with food) and heads off into Glendale to start his adventure.  He collects a few other characters Steve (starting weapon: Baseball bat, class: developing rogue), Lash Penis (dumbells, warrior/tank), and Nerdgirl (Archer, practitioner of Kyudo-Japanese Archery).  Together they begin their quest, at first starting fighting just local bullies, but later on after levelling up their equipment more dangerous foe.

Anyway, its a great sendup of the RPG genre in general, complete with level up screens each time a fight ends or equipment is updated.  WARNING: This is definitely not for kids.  It contains harsh language and multiple references and views on penis.  (Including an explanation of why Lash Penis is named Lash Penis.)  All in all though, if you like the RPGs, or even know what they are all about, you’ll really enjoy this.  I highly recommend it, and will be looking forward to Book Two sometime soon.

Recently Read: Shadow of the Wind

Shadow of the Wind - by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Shadow of the Wind - by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

This is probably my favorite novel of all time.  I mean this without a hint of hyperbole.  It’s been so long since I’ve contemplated a statement like this that I am nervous about expressing it, but I believe it is true. Don’t even read this review just go out and get this book.  Don’t wait for it at the library, go buy it.  You’ll want to read it again.

The plot of Shadow of the Wind is difficult to describe in a sentence or two.  It is the story of a young man (Daniel Sempere) who comes into possession of a rare book in a mysterious secret library called the Cemetery of Forgotten Books.  After falling in love with the novel, he seeks to learn more about the author (Julian Carax).  From there the mystery begins as no one seems to know much of the author and Daniel discovers that someone has been seeking out and destroying all copies of Carax’s works. Continue reading

Release date for New Patrick Rothfuss

The Wise Man's Fear - by Patrick Rothfuss

Patrick Rothfuss today announced that his eagerly awaited follow-up to The Name of the Wind finally has a publication date.  According to his blog, The Wise Man’s Fear will be released in February 2011.  Originally expected to be complete in 2008, the author’s sophomore effort is sure to be a huge seller despite the delays.  If you haven’t read The Name of the Wind yet, now’s a good time to pick it up.  While I didn’t enjoy it as much as I have works by Martin, Erikson or Bakker, Name of the Wind was definitely entertaining and really showed a lot of promise for the future.  Here’s to hoping that Rothfuss is able to live up to the built up expectations and avoid a sophomore slump.

Recently Read: Pleasure Model

Pleasure Model - by Christopher Rowley

Wow.  Haven’t finished a book in awhile where I felt so conflicted afterwards.  Pleasure Model by Christopher Rowley is the first book to be published by Tor in their Heavy Metal Pulp line.  For those unfamiliar, the line is based off of the Heavy Metal graphic magazine that was the influence for a number of animated movies over the past few decades, and remains a popular adult graphic adventure magazine.  The idea is to take story lines similar to what you would find in the magazine, write them up as prose novels in the style of old pulp adventures, and then have an illustrator add illustrations to almost every page.

The result was, if nothing else, a lot of fun.   I’ll start my review literally from the cover.  The book contains a beautiful painted pulp-style cover by Gregory Manchess.  This is what originally sold me on the book.  As I’ve admitted previously this type of cover will get me to buy a book just so I have the art. Continue reading

New Adds: Crime x 5

So, I’ve been starting to pick up some vintage crime paperbacks when I can find them for a decent price.  I found three more this afternoon at the local used book store – Barely Seen by Frank Kane (1964, Dell), Marked! by Bob Bristow (1961, Dell – Bob McGinnis cover), and Run for Doom by Henry Kane (1962, Signet). Haven’t read any of these authors before but I am a sucker for pulp crime covers, especially those gorgeous good girl paintings by Bob McGinnis.  So if you know where I can find some, let me know.

In addition, I found Savage Season, the first Hap & Leonard book, by Joe Lansdale and Small Crimes by Dave Zeltserman. I just started to hear about Zeltserman recently, but what I’ve heard sounded good.  For half price, it’s worth a go.  I’ve also never read Lansdale (I know, a crime in itself).  Been waiting to find Savage Season for awhile, so I’m looking forward to checking this out.

Anyway, I’m happy with the haul.

Recent Reads: Deadhouse Gates

Deadhouse Gates

Erikson - Deadhouse Gates

Earlier this year, I decided I was going to re-read the first 2 books of the brilliant Steven Erikson series Malazan Book of the Fallen before attempting to read all 9 published volumes in a row prior to the publication of the 10th and final volume at the end of the year.  My quest is now 2/10 of the way done with the completion of Book 2 – Deadhouse Gates.

For those that haven’t read, Erikson’s Malazan series is fantasy, but this is not your standard Forgotten Realms/R.A. Salvatore light reading fantasy.  No, Erikson’s world is much darker, much more complex, and much less well explained. This is not a bad thing though, but it does make the series difficult to get into for many people.  It’s like being thrown into a country where people speak your language, but all of the local dialect, customs and rules are foreign to you.  You need to work to understand what’s going on, but when you get it … what a rush.

I compare this favorably with my two favorite fantasy authors – George R.R. Martin and Scott Bakker.  In fact, I think with the exception of Tolkein and Martin, I don’t think you can find such a richly developed fantasy world.  This being my second reading, and the first time I read it back to back with the first volume, Gardens of the Moon, I can definitely say I got more out of it.  Not that you need to read them back to back since most of the characters are new, but it definitely helps to fully grasp what’s going on.

While I’m tempted to take a break before the even longer 3rd volume, I plan to start it tonight.  I’ll leave lighter reading for breaks at work.  My quest must continue.