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I, Vampire Vol. 1: Tainted Love by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Andrea Sorrentino

Another title of the new 52, a reboot of sorts from DC.  However, don’t ask me to explain all of the things DC has done in the past twenty years, with three different storylines, as I don’t think I can explain it.

Title: I, Vampire Vol. 1: Tainted Love
Author: Joshua Hale Fialkov and Andrea Sorrentino (illus)
Series: I, Vampire
Publish Date: October 9th, 2012 by DC Comics
Genre: graphic novel, superhero, horror
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: As a part of the DC Comics – The New 52 event of September 2011, I, Vampire is reborn in this new ongoing series!

For hundreds of years, vampire Andrew Stanton kept mankind safe from the horrors of the supernatural world, thanks to a truce he made with his ex-lover Mary, the Queen of the Damned. But now that truce has reached a bloody end and Andrew must do everything in his power to stop Mary and her dark forces from going on a killing spree – and she plans to start with the heroes of the DCU! Their past behind them, they find themselves ready to battle to the death…but only if those feelings really are all gone. Knowing the difficult battle before him, Andrew will have to work with John Constantine and Gotham’s Dark Knight, Batman!

Writer Joshua Hale Fialkov and artist Andrea Sorrentino mix the world horror with super-heroes in one of DC Comics’ most exciting new series!

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Percy Procrastinator says…

In this collection, it really is a story of Tainted Love. Andrew Bennett made a vampire out of Mary, but while he isn’t a killer and feeds to live, Mary took to being a vampire like breathing. And she reveled in it—in the hunt, the kills, the feeding—to a level Andrew doesn’t like. Now, some of this is in the flashbacks, and I get the sense that maybe the two of them traveled well together, but she slowly embraced the violence more than Andrew. I don’t understand why he didn’t act on this sooner.

For me, that was the tip of the proverbial iceberg of issues I had with this story. Andrew knows what Mary has become . . . so leaves her for decades and only reappears when she might give away that they exist. I don’t get that. In a world of aliens, caped crusaders, and powered people, who would blink at vampires? And wouldn’t it be better to let the general populace know about them? When several other DC heroes are brought into the story, I don’t understand why vampires aren’t made public. Further, having waited so long, now she has created so many, it’s not easy for Andrew to just get to her. He created a problem and is trying to deal with it, but it’s all too forced.

Not knowing anything about vampires in the DC universe, their powers made no sense to me. It’s as if they have any power ever mentioned by any source. Turning to mist, strength, speed, senses, shapeshifting into animals, even flying just seems to happen as needed for the plot, which doesn’t work for me. Then there is a twist at the end with a big reveal, but again, with no foreshadowing, it all fell flat.

Finally, the art was not good. There were times where it didn’t direct me in the correct direction to read, which didn’t help. I should have gone across both pages but read down one because it wasn’t obvious which way to go.

The only reason I am giving this a two instead of a one is that there are some good moments and some standout art. However, it was a close thing. Further, I don’t even see how this story could have been improved. It was too cliche.

Other New 52 reviews:

Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige

From the author of the successful Dorthy Must Die series comes a new fairytale retelling of the Snow Queen.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Title: Stealing Snow
Author: Danielle Paige
Series: Stealing Snow, Book 01
Publish Date: September 20, 2016, by Bloomsbury USA
Genre: YA fantasy, Fairytale retelling
Source: Provided by the publisher

Publisher’s DescriptionSeventeen-year-old Snow has spent the majority of her life within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high-security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she’s not crazy and doesn’t belong there. When she meets a mysterious, handsome new orderly and dreams about a strange twisted tree she realizes she must escape and figure out who she really is.

Using her trusting friend Bale as a distraction, Snow breaks free and races into the nearby woods. Suddenly, everything isn’t what it seems, the line between reality and fantasy begins to blur, and she finds herself in icy Algid–her true home–with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai, none of whom she’s sure she can trust. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she’s destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change the fate of everything…including Snow’s return to the world she once knew.

This breathtaking first volume begins the story of how Snow becomes a villain, a queen, and ultimately a hero.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Agent Annie says…

Ack, what a terrible book. It was so poorly written, even the choice of vocabulary was bad. You can’t have arrows pelt off of a wing. That’s not what arrows do! They pierce, sting, puncture, drill, perforate, etc. Pelting is what you do with a rock, or you can pummel with it or batter even. That simple choice of one inaccurate word is indicative of why I didn’t like this book. It needed a good editor.

The story was actually well conceived. I liked the plot, but the execution made reading this difficult to slog through. Even the ending (SPOILER) in which Snow holds her mother’s hand and freezes her solid was so lame. How was Snow able to do that? She had never done it before. It wasn’t even something she had considered. Also, how was her mother, who had been plotting for most of her own life, not to mention the entirety of her daughter’s life, not be able to defend against the freezing? It’s disappointing that the author chose to end the book with such an implausible scene in order to set the stage for next book. I definitely will NOT be reading any more books in this series. I give this book 2 stars.

Other recommendations…

If you’d like to read a good book with a fairy tale style story, I recommend The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, the Mordant’s Need Duo by Stephen R. Donaldson (The Mirror of Her Dreams, & A Man Ride’s Through) or His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Spider-Man/Deadpool Vol. 0: Don’t Call It A Team-Up

Sadly, I cannot rate this very high. Maybe after I read more in the series, it will be higher than a two, but unto itself, I can’t go higher.

Title: Spider-Man/Deadpool Vol. 0: Don’t Call It A Team-Up
Author: Joe Kelly, Fabian Nicieza, Daniel Way, Kevin Shinick, Brian Posehn, Gerry Duggan, Christopher Hastings, Scott Aukerman , Pete Woods (Illustrator), Patrick Zircher (Illustrator), Eric Canete (Illustrator), Carlo G. Barberi (Illustrator), Aaron Kuder (Illustrator), Mike Hawthorne (Illustrator), Jacopo Camagni (Illustrator), Skottie Young (Illustrator), Ed McGuinness (Illustrator), Reilly Brown (Illustrator)
Series: Spider-Man/Deadpool, Book 00
Publish Date: May 24th 2016 by Marvel
Genre: Superhero
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: Two great tastes that taste great together! As Spidey and Deadpool fast-talk their way into an ongoing buddy book at last, grab the full story of their unlikely bromance. Through the magic of comics, Wade Wilson steps into the swinging shoes of a young Peter Parker! Then, the friendly neighborhood wall-crawler and the anti-social there-goes-the-neighborhood merc trade blows and “yo mama” quips. If friendship blossoms during encounters with Hit-Monkey and the Hypno-Hustler, will that jerk Otto Octavius ruin everything by being all Superior?


Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Percy Procrastinator says…

This is a situation where there needs to be a reader’s guide. Many book series have published a prequel after the first several books are out. They can clarify things that the author intended but that the readers didn’t understand or know about. Or they can muddy the waters to readers who don’t know when to read it. For me, this is firmly the latter.

I don’t usually notice art in comics. If It’s a good story, the art is second. It’s only if the story isn’t going well that I notice the art.

I noticed the art.

It could have served to help tell the story, and that’s what they were trying to do, but it fell flat for me. I lost count of how many different styles were used. I think it attempts to patch a few things here and there to be tied to other stories. Again, maybe if I had already read other volumes, it would make sense. It doesn’t.

The story itself is disjointed. It feels more like an anthology that covers several gaps in an ongoing story than a cohesive story itself. We start in some action, but I never got the sense that there is tension about anything. I think that’s because, as with most series, the main characters have a feeling of not being able to be hurt. That’s certainly true here. After that, we move to a different point in the timeline, and things are different, and it takes a while to figure that out.

In the end, I found this too disjointed. Again, it reads as if it actually came out several years into an ongoing series and acts to glue various things that happened in that series better. If they had had some expository explaining where the story fit and what happened, or maybe even a warning that it should be read after a certain point, it might be better. Perhaps if I ever get to those, I will revisit this and see how it stacks up then. Until then, I can’t recommend it.

The Unleashing by Shelly Laurenston

UnleashingTitle:  The Unleashing
Author:  Shelly Laurenston
Series:  Call of Crows Book 1
Publish Date:  March 31, 2015
Publisher: Kensington Publishing
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Perspective: Third Person, Multiple Perspective

Publisher’s Description:  Kera Watson never expected to face death behind a Los Angeles coffee shop. Not after surviving two tours lugging an M16 around the Middle East. If it wasn’t for her hot Viking customer showing up too late to help, nobody would even see her die.

In uncountable years of service to the Allfather Odin, Ludvig “Vig” Rundstrom has never seen anyone kick ass with quite as much style as Kera. He knows one way to save her life—but she might not like it. Signing up with the Crows will get Kera a new set of battle buddies: cackling, gossiping, squabbling, party-hearty women. With wings. So not the Marines.

But Vig can’t give up on someone as special as Kera. With a storm of oh-crap magic speeding straight for L.A., survival will depend on combining their strengths: Kera’s discipline, Vig’s loyalty… and the Crows’ sheer love of battle. Boy, are they in trouble.

A preview copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel (in other words, SPOILERS!).

Nell 100Hey, ‘Vana! I finished the Unleashing! It was a good story! It was different than what I normally go for, but it was good. Did you read it?

ivana 100Yeah, I did.  It’s different than what I usually read, too.  The pit bull, Brodie Hawaii, is my favorite character.  Who did you like?

Brodie Hawaii stole the show.  I liked Kera, the protagonist, because she kept her morality when all her peers seemed to lose theirs. I also liked that it took her a couple of times to grasp her new life. What’d you think of the story?

Mainly, I thought there wasn’t enough of it.  There was too much focus on the “sorority house” and not enough on the plot of the bad guys, not enough on the mythology, not enough on the danger they are supposed to be fighting.  I feel like this was one of those books that couldn’t decide if it was serious or fluff.

Nell 100I can see from where you are coming.  I guess I liked the story and the characters.  It was not a deep story, that I will grant you.  I think it was more cheese popcorn, but I really did like it.  It didn’t make me feel out of control and it didn’t dwell on Kera’s death.  It was a quick start and hopped right into the plot, but I appreciate that sometimes.  I don’t like it when an author spins one book into a series.  Now the next story can move deeper into Kera’s world and deeper plots.  I looked up the author and she is fairly well known for her romances, so I’m sure she’s trying to keep the two genre supporters happy.  Was there any parts of the book that you liked better than the others?

ivana 100Yes.  I liked “The Revenge of Brodie Hawaii” for the sheer bloody justice of it.  I thought the flashback scene with the First Crow was the best writing in the whole book.  I’m pretty upset about the cover, though.

Nell 100The cover? The cover upset you? What’s wrong with the cover? I always use the cover to gauge whether I want to read a book, but I really can’t say I was upset by one. What’d it do to you? Steal your ice cream?

ivana 100No, but that man has NO Norse heritage in him at all.  He’s dark, for goodness sake!  Not blonde, no beard, and no tattoos.  And the story is about Kera.  Why is there a guy on the cover?

Well, now that you brought my attention to the cover, I have to admit *groan* that you are right.  I don’t remember any guy that looked like that in the story.  The only thing that has got anything to do with the story are the birds in the background.  I know covers sell books, but shouldn’t they at least have something to do with the story?

Nervous Nellie says…

Main characters:  ♥♥♥♥ Kera Watson is a very genuine person.  She is a Marine veteran and a strong woman.  She has seen war and suffered PTSD.  She is experienced and smart.  Ludvig is cute.  He is a huge, smitten, giant of a man that falls in love with Kera at a coffee shop.  He’s the one to introduce her to the Crow world. Brodie Hawaii is my favorite character in the whole book — love her.  She came from abuse and becomes the best friend anyone could hope for.  Also, the replacement choppers are to die for!

Other characters: ♥♥♥♥ I didn’t like the other Crows at first.  Snotty Jr. High girls.  I know it’s tough being the outsider coming into an already forged group.  Trying to find your niche is really hard sometimes and the other Crows don’t seem to give Kera any slack at all.  They don’t teach her, help her, listen to her or even sympathize with her.

World:  ♥♥♥♥ The world is interesting.  I got a trip to Asgard out of the book and got to meet Odin.  I got to see Valkyries, Vikings and Norse Gods.  It is really fun to dive into.

Story: ♥♥♥♥  Ludvig is smitten with Kera and saves her life by bringing her to a whole new life.  Kera struggles with her identity, where she belongs.  She was once a Marine and in a time of crisis, you go back to what you know.  The other Crows don’t like her ideas or her schedules.  She tries to help and is rebuffed.  As the story goes on, the other Crows begin to see Kera’s worth and so do a lot of others.  The mystery is good.  The Norse Mythology is fun.

Overall: ♥♥♥♥ I enjoyed the book very much.  It is a very fast read and I reached the “Point of NO Return” early on in the book.  (“Point of NO Return” is when you know you can’t stop even though it’s bedtime.)  I liked the storyline, the characters and there were some sex scenes, so I think I could label this a paranormal romance.  It did have blood, gore, and killings but it also had puppies.  Best of both worlds.

Invested Ivana says…

What I Liked:  The first chapter shows us Kera’s death, rebirth, and incredible strength as she defends herself from an invasion of Giants.  This chapter comprises the Kindle preview, and based on this chapter, I decided to purchase the book.  I love that Kera’s pit bull, Brodie Hawaii, also becomes a Crow — complete with wings and battle armor — and takes her bloody revenge on the evil men that abused her as part of a pit bull fighting ring.  And I really love the flashback to the First Crow; this scene gave me the best sense of the mythology in the book.

What I Didn’t Like: Pretty much everything else. This book just isn’t my cup of tea.  What I consider the story — the actions of the Mara to bring forth Gullveig — was such a minor part of the book.  The rest of the book was filled with bitchy and shallow sister Crows; a too-quickly-formed romance; and eye-rolling sex scenes.  There were a LOT of characters introduced in this book.  The narrator makes it more confusing by inconsistently referring to characters by either their first, last, or nicknames. We get some character POVs that don’t really seem to add to the story.  The dialog gets really preachy in spots, too, particularly around the areas of veteran welfare.  As much as I like the idea of bloody justice, I’m not sure I’m completely comfortable with a storyline that encourages a character to develop TOWARD unquestioning killing.  While the story relied on Norse mythology, I didn’t feel like the reader got to learn much about it.  A lot of character and place names are thrown around, but nothing was really explained and the god-like Crows are reduced to a collection of badly-behaved sorority girls.  I think I’ll stick with Kevin Hearn and the Iron Druid Chronicles for my Norse mythology. ♥ ♥

More Reviews:

If You Like This Book……

I think you would like Thea Harrison’s Elder Races, Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires or Patricia Briggs Alpha & Omega series.

A preview copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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