Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Dispatcher:Travel by Bullet by John Scalzi


Ive said it before, and I’ll say it again: I really like John Scalzi’s books, and I enjoy the Dispatcher series, but if you asked me what my one problem with them are, I’d have to answer “core concept”.  His worldbuilding is virtually nonexistent- he wanted to write mystery stories, gave them a fantastical bent, and never bothered to explain the how or why of resurrection (but only from murder). It allows him to tell the stories he wants to tell (I assume) but it leaves me unsatisfied, like eating only candy for dinner. That being said, his newest Dispatcher novella, Travel by Bullet, is fun, fast, and entertaining. The book tries to exist in a post pandemic world of occasional masking, which just feels jarring, since the world building in this novella is so thin as to be nearly nonexistent. In spite of all that, I enjoyed it, and will happily read the next volume when it comes out. Thanks to Subterranean Press and NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest review. 

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Squirrel Girl: Universe by Tristan Palmgren

I adore Squirrel Girl. Ryan North’s run on the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is the epitome of what comics should be, and I am still so sad that it ended. I have read it through multiple times and read it with my oldest daughter. We also loved Shannon and Dean Hale’s Squirrel Girl novels. So I was very excited to get an eARC from NetGalley and the publisher of this new Squirrel Girl novel in exchange for an honest review. 

I was so very disappointed by this book. It’s not bad, it’s just so, so boring. The author only briefly captures the joy and delight of the title character. Most of the story is a paint by numbers slog of a cosmic comic story where most of the characters are cyphers. With the possible exception of Brain Drain, none of Squirrel Girl’s supporting cast sounds like themselves at all, and they add nothing to the narrative. Maybe my expectations were too high?  Perhaps, but that doesn’t make this book any less dull.