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The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen

The Refugees  by Viet Thanh NguyenThe Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Published by Grove Press on February, 7, 2017
Genres: Short Stories
Pages: 224
Source: Purchased: ebook
Goodreads
five-stars

With the coruscating gaze that informed The Sympathizer, in The Refugees Viet Thanh Nguyen gives voice to lives led between two worlds, the adopted homeland and the country of birth. From a young Vietnamese refugee who suffers profound culture shock when he comes to live with two gay men in San Francisco, to a woman whose husband is suffering from dementia and starts to confuse her for a former lover, to a girl living in Ho Chi Minh City whose older half-sister comes back from America having seemingly accomplished everything she never will, the stories are a captivating testament to the dreams and hardships of immigration.

This second piece of fiction by a major new voice in American letters, The Refugees is a beautifully written and sharply observed book about the aspirations of those who leave one country for another, and the relationships and desires for self-fulfillment that define our lives.

Wow this collection made me think and get even more fascinated about those who left Vietnam and came to the United States to resettle. Some stories didn’t resonate with me as much as others did. The stories flowed together well though I thought.

“Black-Eyed Women” (5 stars)- a woman with a career as a ghostwriter finds herself laying some ghosts to rest. Her heartbreaking story of her and her family fleeing for a better life in America will gut you when you get to the end and read about how entwined she is with her mother.

“The Other Man” (5 stars)- a man who resettles in the US in the 1970s finds himself on uncharted territory when he ends up being sponsored by two gay men in San Francisco.

“War Years” (5 stars)- a young boy recounts a story about a widowed woman from Vietnam demanding money from his family in order to fight the Communists. The story helps him see his mother and father in a new light. I honestly thought the story was going in a different direction until I got to the end and you end up feeling pity.

“The Transplant” (4 stars)- A man named Arthur Arellano who has a liver transplant. This causes him to look for the man’s family. This causes him to look at his family in a different way when he finally meets the son of his transplant donor. I was enjoying this until the end, when I think that Nguyen maybe wanted you to feel sorry for poor put upon Arthur. I was kind of over this guy though when you realize how self absorbed he is.

“I’d Love You to Want Me” (5 stars)- A woman who is struggling with her husband’s onset of Alzheimer’s. Mrs. Khanh’s story was probably my next favorite after Black-Eyed Women. Her realizing that her husband had a life she didn’t know and how she really doesn’t care for her oldest son. You get to see Mrs. Khanh slowly giving up on her dreams when she starts to think about what does love really mean. In her mind, it’s being devoted.

“The Americans” (5 stars)- James Carver, an African American former Air Force pilot (I think) goes back to Vietnam with his Japanese wife to visit their daughter who is there teaching. Lord, his daughter was exhausting. There’s a scene when she yells at her father for what he did while running missions in the country. And sigh, nope, no sympathy for Claire. I did love though James going through his struggles in his career and life and him being pretty baffled by his daughter and what she wants from him. Loved the ending a lot though.

“Someone Else Besides You” (3 stars)- My least favorite. A man going through his family’s history and why he wasn’t ready to have children with his ex wife. The father in this story was odd to me. I don’t know what his purpose was besides to criticize the son. The story takes an odd turn after some vandalism.

“Fatherland” (5 stars)-Really enjoyed this one. A woman named Phuong is excited to meet her half sister who has lived in America, that comes back to Vietnam to visit her, and the rest of the family. The story set up (Phuong’s sister Vivien) was raised with her two other siblings in America and her mother divorced their father. The father marries his mistress and has three other children he names after the first set (yeah that happened). What I loved was Phuong coming to realization about her father and her half sister.

five-stars

The Wangs Vs. the World by Jade Chang

The Wangs Vs. the World by Jade ChangThe Wangs Vs. The World by Jade Chang
Published by Houghton Mifflin on October 4th 2016
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 368
Source: Purchased: ebook
Goodreads
one-star

Charles Wang is mad at America. A brash, lovable immigrant businessman who built a cosmetics empire and made a fortune, he’s just been ruined by the financial crisis. Now all Charles wants is to get his kids safely stowed away so that he can go to China and attempt to reclaim his family’s ancestral lands—and his pride.

Charles pulls Andrew, his aspiring comedian son, and Grace, his style-obsessed daughter, out of schools he can no longer afford. Together with their stepmother, Barbra, they embark on a cross-country road trip from their foreclosed Bel-Air home to the upstate New York hideout of the eldest daughter, disgraced art world it-girl Saina. But with his son waylaid by a temptress in New Orleans, his wife ready to defect for a set of 1,000-thread-count sheets, and an epic smash-up in North Carolina, Charles may have to choose between the old world and the new, between keeping his family intact and finally fulfilling his dream of starting anew in China.

Outrageously funny and full of charm, The Wangs vs. the World is an entirely fresh look at what it means to belong in America—and how going from glorious riches to (still name-brand) rags brings one family together in a way money never could.

Seriously. This book is awful. I read that this was supposed to be funny (I didn’t laugh at all) and hey if you want to read about a self absorbed rich family who consist of Chinese people, I say go read Crazy Rich Asians instead. One of this books’s genres on Goodreads is “Abandoned” so I should have looked into that before I spent money on this thing.

This book takes place in 2008, of course for us Americans, we know that is when the housing bubble in the US burst, and then we had a recession set in and millions of people were without work and or lost their homes. “The Wangs Vs the World” follows a millionaire (maybe billionaire) family living in L.A. who lose everything when the family patriarch (Charles Wang) decides to put up his home and businesses as collateral to start a new line of makeup products. When the economy takes a tumble, Charles decides he will pack up his second wife (Barbra) and pick up his two kids who are at school (Grace and Andrew) and make his way to his oldest daughter’s (Saina) home in Helios, New York. We get not only Charles’ POV during this mess of a book, but also Grace, Andrew, Barbra, and even the POV of the freaking car they are riding in for the majority of this road trip.

I can honestly say that I didn’t care for one character at all. These people suck. Charles is just a terrible father and husband. It’s understood he has affairs, but you know, don’t get upset about that. That’s just the world or something.

Barbra was obsessed with Charles when she knew him in China and just bides her time to get him after his first wife dies in the weirdest accident ever. She’s not worried about being a mother to his children that he had with his first wife and is just barely present it seems in anyone’s life.

Saina was okay at first, but she’s dumb when it comes to love and it gets old reading about her romance problems.

Andrew was a hot mess. I just…reading about someone’s comic stand-up is not interesting. At all. Wait, I take that back, I did laugh while reading Chelsea Handler’s books, so maybe once again it’s just that this book is not funny.

Grace was inoffensive. I wish I cared more, but honestly since the whole rest of their family was exhausting, I just wanted to be done with them all.

The writing was not that great. Between the run on sentences that lasted whole freaking paragraphs sometimes which was bad enough; Chang also had some dialogue I think either in Cantonese or Mandarin and doesn’t translate it. I say I think since once again she doesn’t bother to translate what people are saying.

Also, FYI authors, there is nothing endearing about reading how prejudiced and racist in some cases the whole family was about people who were African American. Also be prepared to read about how if you have a mixed race kid who is cute, that makes it okay to be with a black man or woman. Shoot they even had some comments towards white people. I just didn’t find any of it clever. I found myself cringing throughout and sighing.

Also there is a point in the story where Chang goes into a fixed rate loan he takes out which took me out of the story. Dumb me, but didn’t the whole housing crisis happen cause people everywhere had adjustable rate mortgages that overnight went from being several hundred dollars to several thousand? It just didn’t even make sense to me why Charles took out a loan when he supposedly had money to burn.

The book settings moves around a lot, the family is traveling by car from California to New York and all I have to say is that the route they take seemed to be making the trip longer, but I am too lazy to look up potential routes. That is way too much effort for me to be putting in towards a book I seriously disliked. The action at one case even moves to China.

The ending was just a question mark to me. I don’t know what I was supposed to think and honestly I didn’t care. I was glad to be done with this book so I can freaking count it towards Booklikes-opoly. FYI, that is the only reason I kept up with this.

Electronic edition: 368 pages (via Goodreads)

201 to 400 pages: $3.00

Bank: $23.00

one-star

The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch #1) by Rin Chupeco

The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch #1) by Rin ChupecoThe Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
on March 7, 2017
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Pages: 432
Source: Purchased: ebook
Goodreads
one-star

Let me be clear: I never intended to raise my brother from his grave, though he may claim otherwise. If there's anything I've learned from him in the years since, it's that the dead hide truths as well as the living.

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she's a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha-one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles...and make a powerful choice.

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This freaking book.

Just to get this out of the way, this was not a good book. As many reviewers at Booklikes noted, this YA fantasy novel hit every trope that many of us readers are tired of reading.

Main character is the best (insert name of thing) ever.

There is purple prose galore.

World-building is all over the place and more often than not, author contradicts themselves regarding the rules they have put in place.

There is a love triangle (STOP IT!)

People (usually women) are jealous of main character for reasons unknown. That don’t make sense to you as a reader, but at that point you just go with it since you want it to end.

Development of characters seems to be an afterthought.

Book ends on freaking cliffhanger so you know as a reader that the author/publisher is going to stretch this thing out to at least 3 books. Looking at you “Dorothy Must Die” series which managed to push out 4 books.

I really loved the cover for “The Bone Witch” and when I read the synopsis a few months ago I thought this book would be right up my alley. I was wrong.

Told in alternating points of view, “The Bone Witch” has a character who is a bard (no, not looking up his name) who comes across Tea, who is a dark asha (think witch, it’s easier) also called bone witches.

This bard has come from (don’t recall kingdom) in order to find Tea.

Tea agrees to tell her life story after the bard witnesses her slaying a daeva in order to get its bezoar. Just think of a daeva as an undead thing that looks like a dragon. I don’t know. The bezoar is a jeweled remnant left behind that a dark asha like Tea can use in her spells. Seriously, after that the book just jumps into a free for all regarding this world that we find ourselves reading about.

When the POV switches to Tea, we find out what incident occurred in order for Tea to be declared a dark asha. We get to read about how she raised her dead brother (Fox) from the grave. And this is what kills me. The book has promise when you read about that. You are instantly fascinated. Then you are drowned in minutiae and you just don’t care anymore.

The book goes back and forth between the bard’s POV and Tea’s. I really wish that Chupeco had not decided to tell the bard’s POV in italic. I know that they want to visually show the different points of view. But it was hard to read. I don’t think people realize that when you have an e-reader or heck even a hardcover or paperback having someone’s eyes having to constantly adjust to different fonts can cause a headache. I know I had one yesterday.

Tea was not exciting at all. If you want to read about her crush on Prince Kance enjoy that. Also read about how angry she is at having to deal with chores and the food she eats. For pages and pages. I am not kidding about this. A good 3/4 of this book was just descriptions of what she was wearing, what was in her hair (jeweled things that somehow give ashas power), how she felt when Prince Kance was near her, what she was eating, how she sang, danced, and fought. This book borrowed heavily from “Memoirs of a Geisha” to the point that a few times I felt like I was experiencing deja-vu because a scene would sounds so similar to one from that book.

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There were a few things in here that I think that Chupeco wanted to include for a very special after school moment, but it fell flat to me. She includes a character (named Likh) that wants to be an asha (he has a silver heart) but in this world, since he is a male, he has to be a deathseeker. Likh doesn’t want to be one, and Tea and her dead brother Fox try their best to be behind his efforts to become an asha. At one point he makes a speech that he doesn’t seem himself as a boy, that since he was a boy he liked girl things (dolls and dresses) and I just cringed inside.

Image result for stop it gif

I think Chupeco is trying to portray him as gay. But that does not equal only liking girl things and not liking swords or rough play. Heck I was a tomboy and fought my mother tooth and nail to not be in a dress outside of church (boy did she despair) and yet I was not gay. I just think she should be careful with generalizations like this when writing.

We have other characters like Lady Mykaela, Lady Zoya, Mother Parmina and others who I wish we had been able to visit with more. They had more going on then Tea that was for sure. But honestly after a while, it was hard to keep track of so many people. Every few pages it felt like someone new was being included in this book.

The writing was purple prose run amok.

And honestly what really kills me about this book is that I still don’t get the world building that Chupeco has in this book. We have ashas who can control fire, water, wind, and earth (I think). And then we have dark ashas who can control the dead. How the heck does that even link up to the other four elements? Even Captain Planet decided to go with “heart” for crying out loud as a fifth element.

Don’t get me started why ashas who can control the elements are even being taught about dancing, flower arrangement, how to sing, how to perform, etc. Chupeco even has the ashas going to tea houses to have conversations with men. Once again there is a whole what in the world thought running through my mind. When Chupeco goes into Tea having to work off her debt to the “Mother” of her house I just started to laugh. This fantasy world is definitely not for me.

Chupeco tries to describe the runes that Tea is learning about, but man oh man my eyes just glazed over. We really only get two fight scenes in this book, and those were the only interesting parts of this book. Everything else was a big meh to me.

Chupeco has “The World of the Bone Witch” section that she included at the end of the book. It would have been better to put that up front after she showcased the maps of this world. I also really wish that Chupeco had thought to include a dictionary for the terms in this book. You have to guess a lot at what certain words mean or what she means when talking about somethings. For example, the clothes that the ashas wear are referred to as huas. Guess what I could not find that word anywhere in the dictionary. I ended up having to Google and found out that hua means China. I don’t know if that is true or not since it popped up via Wikipedia. I imagine that Chupeco means that this outfits (based on the endless pages of descriptions) are similar somewhat to kimonos though. Same thing when I tried to look up daesha which turned up some interesting results.

The setting of this world that Chupeco creates at first glance sounds interesting. Everyone has an actual physical representation of their heart that they wear for all to see in a heartglass. People (ashas mostly) can see the colors in the heartglass and can tell if you are happy, anxious, sad, sick, etc. But if you give your heart away (cue danger) you can slowly start to die. But sometimes not. And sometimes you can get a new heart. I am sure this is all going to reveal about love or something in book #2 or #3.

Chupeco also shows the kingdom includes people with blonde hair and blue eyes, dark haired people with dark eyes, and golden skinned people with I can’t even remember what eyes they had, I think she refers to their shape. But then people pop up who are dark skinned and I just didn’t have the energy to figure out what kingdom they even come from.

The ending was a freaking cliffhanger. There are enough clues here and there that you can imagine what happened to put Tea on this path, which is why having a cliffhanger really doesn’t work. There was one reveal that I think will surprise some readers if they manage to finish this book. I know that I don’t really care what caused Tea to take the measures that she is about to do.

I read this for booklikes-oply. The Kindle Edition is 432 pages.

one-star

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani ChokshiA Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on March 28, 2017
Genres: YA - Fantasy
Pages: 352
Source: Purchased: ebook
Goodreads
five-stars

Gauri, the princess of Bharata, has been taken as a prisoner of war by her kingdom’s enemies. Faced with a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. Hope unexpectedly comes in the form of Vikram, the cunning prince of a neighboring land and her sworn enemy kingdom. Unsatisfied with becoming a mere puppet king, Vikram offers Gauri a chance to win back her kingdom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together, they’ll have to set aside their differences and team up to win the Tournament of Wishes—a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor.

Reaching the tournament is just the beginning. Once they arrive, danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans and mischievous story birds, a feast of fears and twisted fairy revels.

Every which way they turn new trials will test their wit and strength. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.

I needed a fantastic book and I savored this one for two days though I wanted to swallow it whole at times. It lingered with me in my sleep and I smiled when I woke up because I was so happy to just keep reading this book. Chokshi includes Indian myths and also just really great characters that you want to keep reading about. We also get appearances from characters from the last book that I was sad to see go when we finished. I often worry when authors start writing a YA book and write a sequel or decide it will be a trilogy. That’s only because not many have held up. This one holds up. I highly recommend.
Spoilers for those who have not read “The Star-Touched Queen.”
Readers were introduced to Gauri in the last book. Sister to Maya, we find out that Guari ended up becoming a soldier. We know that Maya was worried about what would become of her sister due to their awful brother Skanda. When “A Crown of Wishes” starts we have Gauri captured by a rival kingdom (Ujijain). She doesn’t know what is to become of her, but she is determined to escape and rule her own kingdom, Bharata even if it means killing the Prince of Ujijain. And the Prince of Ujijain (Vikram) longs to be seen as the rightful ruler of his people. He is obviously intelligent and wise, but without the council’s blessing, he knows that he would only be a puppet king, and he wants more.
Due to both of them having wishes in their hearts they are afraid to say out loud, these two end up being thrown into a magical journey together, that if they survive, will end up with them winning two wishes if they participate and win the Tournament of Wishes.
Gauri is headstrong but loyal. I loved her from beginning to end. Based on what we find out about her upbringing and what her brother did to those she cared about, it’s natural that she is cautious and not trusting with Vikram. But slowly but surely, Vikram warms her heart and she warms his as well. I loved seeing the growth between the two of them and actually laughed out lout at their back and forth with each other, think of Carey Grant and Rosalind Russell in “His Girl Friday” if you want an apt comparison.
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Vikram was so good. I was having a book boyfriend crush. And that has not happened in a long time. He was cautious, but ultimately optimistic about everything, Vikram more than Gauri had a lot of hope in him for the future. I did love how in certain ways he was strong and in others Gauri was stronger. I loved that Chokshi made the female character in this book a warrior and the man a philosopher. There is a moment when he says as you wish and I maybe squealed out loud.
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There are too many characters to name in this book, but the most important is Aasha. I loved her and at first didn’t get why we were being introduced to her, but slowly that gets revealed. I would love a short story with her in the future, hint hint.
The writing was lyrical and also flowed wonderfully. I honestly have no complaints. I loved the myths that were wrapped in this story and enjoyed looking up all of the words that I didn’t understand. My only complaint, my Kindle dictionary did not recognize any of the Indian terms so I had to often go Google on my cell phone and look things up in Wikipedia. In the back of the book is a glossary, that was not as extensive as it should have been. Since I bought an e-book it would have been awesome if the words that were in the glossary were connected to the first time they were used in the text so I could click and go and read and click and go back to my place in the book. Just something for next time for the publisher to think about.
The setting of this book was great. Think of an India that exists in myth and legends. The descriptions of everything made my long for this book in a visceral way. I know that a lot of people were oohing and ahhing over the cover, I would have loved it if this book had included illustrations, I would have probably lost my mind in a good way if we had gotten that. For now, my imagination was enough and I daydreamed about forests that dripped with golden fruit and diamonds, women who wear rivers as dresses, people who when they tell a story a bird flies out of their mouths, and a garden of swords.
The ending was fantastic. No spoilers, except I leave you with this:
“i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is youhere is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)”

five-stars

Dark Tower: The Long Road Home #5 by Robin Furth

Dark Tower: The Long Road Home #5 by Robin FurthDark Tower: The Long Road Home #5 by Robin Furth
Published by Marvel on July 2, 2008
Genres: Graphic Novels
Pages: 28
Source: Purchased: ebook
Goodreads
three-stars

With Roland's spirit still trapped in the court of the Crimson King, the Dark Ruler makes the young gunslinger a shocking offer that may cost the last line of Eld his eternal soul.

Well this issue has Roland finally released from the mental clutches of The Crimson King and Marten Broadcloak. Roland is left changed by Susan’s death as well as Maerlyn’s Grapefruit. His two friends are worried for him and the fact that he knowingly holds back something from his father.

I am so confused still on what happened to Sheemie. And though we get a climatic battle it felt a little flat to me. Maybe cause I used to not be impressed when the X-Men would be fighting on the astral plane too.

I will say that I don’t get why Bert and Alain keep quiet a out Roland. I would have one hundred percent told on him. There friend is off and they keep their mouths close based on loyalty. But considering how much trouble Roland got them into, it feels false to me that Bert of all people would willingly go along with things.

It was good to see them ride into Gilead. Of course everyone is happy since Farson spread the rumor that they were dead. Eh as I said before I think the last issue and this one would have been better served combined. There was just something missing from these issues.

Roland comes face to face with his father Steven (raises eyebrow at King) and still doesn’t care what his mother is up to. One wonders what else is coming to bring down Gilead.

The extra in this issue goes into The Guardians of the Beam. I really wish the issue had gotten more in depth with each guardian though. It does give details on Maturin the Turtle Guardian.

“See the TURTLE of enormous girth!

On his shell he holds the earth

His thought is slow but always kind;

he holds us all within his mind.

On his back all vows are made;

he sees the truth but mayn’t aid.

He loves the land and loves the sea,

And even loves a child like me.”

I did love the callback to The Talisman and Black House talking about twinners too. By the way still annoyed years later with King not doing a follow-up to Jack Sawyer in The Dark Tower series since King alludes to Jack coming to the Gunslinger’s aid that was never followed up on. I hold on to the stupid dream that King does another Dark Tower novel the true final since we don’t see Sawyer in the final volumes and with the ending of the Dark Tower we know that things change for Roland.

three-stars

Dark Tower: The Long Road Home #4 by Robin Furth

Dark Tower: The Long Road Home #4 by Robin FurthDark Tower: The Long Road Home #4 by Robin Furth
Published by Marvel on June 4, 2008
Genres: Graphic Novels
Pages: 33
Source: Purchased: ebook
Goodreads
four-stars

As Roland's spirit floats through todash space it is irresistibly drawn to End-World and the court of the Crimson King himself! There the young gunslinger comes face-to-face with the very embodiment of evil in its own domain. And for the last of the line of Eld there may be no way out. Meanwhile, on Mid-World, Alain and Cuthbert desperately struggle to protect Roland's unconscious form, and themselves, against a pack of ravening wolves.

This was good. I don’t know about the whole Sheemie thing that was included. I had to grab my hardcover of Wizard and Glass cause I literally had to go wait I don’t think this happened, did it? Like a dozen times. Because of my less than fawning slobbering over these issues I am going to see about trying to get the next issues in one volume if possible. One reason why I had to get the single issues was because my library didn’t have these available.

Issue four has Alain and Bert fighting off freaking wolves and along comes Super Sheemie to save the day. The only cool thing I loved was the Crimson King confronting Roland to his face. He definitely didn’t seem all powerful then, just very weak to be scared of a newly minted Gunslinger.

Even though the Crimson King throws down about not letting Roland see his true face, I thought he seemed small and bent. This one seems even shorter than the last issue.

The extra in his one just have details about Mid-World mutants. And yes the illustrations in some cases was a bit too much for me. Boo to spiders. Always. Then the extra delves into human mutuations as well.

four-stars

Dark Tower: The Long Road Home #3 by Robin Furth

Dark Tower: The Long Road Home #3 by Robin FurthDark Tower: The Long Road Home #3 by Robin Furth
Published by Marvel on May 7, 2008
Genres: Graphic Novels
Pages: 33
Source: Purchased: ebook
Goodreads
four-stars

With Roland's consciousness trapped within Maerlyn's Grapefruit, his ka-tet companion, Alain, enters the mystical todash space in an attempt to rescue his friend. But as he and Roland flit in and out of alien dimensions, Cuthbert, the last member of their ka-tet, desperately tries to stave off a pack of slavering mutant wolves that have come to devour the unconscious Roland and Alain!

This one went to four stars with the story following Roland still enthralled and we get to see him standing and seeing a future event when he stands in front of the Tower (oh Oy). We also get to see adult Roland who is lost and alone. We only get to see his eyes and the rest of him seems to be swallowed in darkness. Constant readers know what happened to bring Roland to the Tower.

Of course this is just something for Marten to taunt Roland with in order to break Roland and force him to become a servant to the Crimson King. It’s like they just met Roland.

Cuthbert Allgood (notice the last name) and Alain are still trying to get back to Gilead and carrying Roland. Alain decided to once again do what he can to reach Roland and try to pull him out of Maerlyn’s Grapefruit. Poor Bert is left alone and realizes he’s in danger.

I thought Roland and Alain fighting off Marten in this otherworld was pretty boring. Those panels lacked the zap of the other issues. I just can’t take a man seriously that has pink lightning coming out of his eyes.

I will call bs on one scene with Roland and the narrative trying to explain it away. I rolled my eyes a lot.

Once again the extra saved this issue a lot. We get to see what becomes of Arthur Eld and his companions. Not going to lie though how they get out fo trouble made me scratch my head. I do think King should put something together (a prequel to the Dark Tower) that includes stories like this and explanations of people and places.

four-stars

Dark Tower: The Long Road Home #2 by Robin Furth

Dark Tower: The Long Road Home #2 by Robin FurthDark Tower: The Long Road Home #2 by Robin Furth
Published by Marvel on March 5, 2008
Genres: Graphic Novels
Pages: 31
Source: Purchased: ebook
Goodreads
three-stars

Roland's spirit is trapped inside Maerlyn's sinister Grapefruit and is taken on a terrifying journey to the outer reaches of End-World... to the harsh domain called Thunderclap!

This one feels even shorter than the last issue. We come across Sheemie who is changed by something in Dogan and  released. Then from there then we go to Alain, Bert and Roland as they still try to get Roland in his unconscious body back to Gilead.

Roland finds himself talking to Marten Broadcloak who threatens him.

Once again we find Alain and Bert doing what they can to keep Roland safe from harm.

I honestly found this issue to be a little drab unfortunately. All of the colors were muted except for Roland’s eyes which the illustrator depicted as pink and glowing (representing him inside Maerlyn’s Grapefruit). And I was amused by one of the writers deciding to have big bolded text spelled as KRAK and BLAM. Made me think back to Batman and Robin in the 70s TV show.

“As Roland wrestles with his inner demons, Alain and Cuthbert have problems of a more prosaic nature…”

The extra shows many in Gilead afraid that Arthur Eld is dead after following a ghost of his wife that was floating around. When he returns weeks later he appears to be bloodthirsty and kills anyone he comes across. Two of Arthur’s trusted companions, Sir Bertrand Allgood and Sir Alfred Johns decide that they will do what they can to save Gilead and find their king since they don’t believe he could be turned. I did laugh again at the illustration of these two men since they looked like Star Trek characters holding a sword and a gun. I’m sure that wasn’t the reaction the illustrator was going for. Still this extra made the issue for me.

three-stars

Dark Tower: The Long Road Home #1 by Robin Furth

Dark Tower: The Long Road Home #1 by Robin FurthDark Tower: The Long Road Home #1 by Robin Furth
Published by Marvel on March 5, 2008
Genres: Graphic Novels
Pages: 32
Source: Purchased: ebook
Goodreads
four-stars

Gunslinger Roland Deschain has seen the death of his lover Susan Delgado. And the Big Coffin Hunters who burned her at the stake are now in pursuit of Roland and his ka-tet Cuthbert and Alain.

I found myself bored reading this and the next four issues. We get to see Alain and Bert do what is necessary to keep Roland safe after his mind and soul are absorbed into Maerlyn’s Grapefruit. Also if you are thinking of eating while reading this issue I say skip food. You get to see Susan’s remains and Roland cradling her.

There is some humor here and there with Alain and Bert trying to outrun the posse on their tails.

I am happy though this issue allows us to see how Alain and Bert function without Roland to direct him. We also see Sheemie have something done to him when he comes upon Dogan.

“But don’t be laughing at Sheemie, I beg ya, because he’s been through considerable trials.

First, he’s busy blaming himself for not protecting Susan Delgado from those who did her harm. See him clutching a fallen lock of her hair as if it were Susan herself?”

I am going to complain my Fire got funky this issue and when it tried to enlarge some of the panels it did the show them. I stead the screen went black and I had to keep scrolling forward which was a pain.

The extra in this one follows Arthur Eld still recovering from his Queen’s death and her murder from the child she bore. A ghost that is the Queen is seen around the castle and Arthur pities her. This ends with the King appearing to be in some sort of trap.

four-stars

Stephen King’s Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born #7 by Robin Furth

Stephen King’s Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born #7 by Robin FurthStephen King's Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born #7 by Robin Furth
Published by Marvel on August 1, 2007
Genres: Graphic Novels
Pages: 32
Source: Purchased: ebook
Goodreads
five-stars

It's the final chapter in the first arc of this top-selling title from the mind of Stephen King. Roland and his ka-tet have their long-awaited showdown with Eldred Jonas and the Big Coffin Hunters. And on the outcome of this fateful confrontation rests the future of Mid-world itself! Plus-the tragic conclusion of Roland Deschain's love affair with Susan Delgado and much, much more!

I know it’s stupid, but I was still hoping for a different ending. I remember crying reading Wizard and Glass years ago. Since this graphic novel follows Roland from this time then back to Gilead and how he comes to chase the Man in Black, it doesn’t tell it the same way the book does. So we don’t get to see Roland, Jake, Eddie, and Susannah along with Oy.

Due to Susan helping the boys get away they are able to slaughter all of the Coffin Hunters and Roland of the House of Eld puts an end to Jonas. Poor Jonas. Who only wanted to be a Gunslinger and who is then thrown out when he doesn’t pass his test.

“Apt last words, because the next moment, as Roland puts two bullets through his face…

Jonas will find himself standing before all the gods.

I’ll wager it won’t be a pleasant experience for Eldred Jonas.”

Then Susan’s aunt who is terrible is angered when Rhea comes to her and reveal what Susan did. From there we go back to the action of the Gunslingers and then the twin deciding that there will be a Charyou Tree and Susan will be the human sacrifice.

The illustration of her being set aflame was sad and we see that Roland due to collecting the globe can see her death. And then Roland’s friend stand by to give him comfort.

The extra in this one goes into Charyou Tree and how it affected Arthur Eld. No spoilers but it was pretty cool. We get to see how the Deschain line of Eld came into being. And we also see how a woman’s jealousy is maybe what brought the Crimson King to life.

five-stars
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