Saga: Volume 8 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples (Saga #8)

Saga

<–Saga: Volume 7                                                                                                               Saga: Volume 9–>

*******Spoilers for all the prior volumes.*******

Title: Saga, Volume 8
Series Title:
Saga
Authors: Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples
Date Added: July 2, 2017
Date Started: February 4, 2018
Date Finished: February 8, 2018
Reading Duration: 4 days
Genre: Graphic Novel/Comic, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Paranormal Romance, Space Opera, LGBTQ+

Saga, Volume 8Pages: 146
Publication Date: December 27, 2017
Publisher: Image Comics
Media: Paperback


After the traumatic events of the War for Phang, Hazel, her parents, and their surviving companions embark on a life-changing adventure at the westernmost edge of the universe.


You are anyone who has ever existed, and that makes you exactly like everyone who has ever existed. -Petrichor

It’s either bitter irony or cruel coincidence that I’m reviewing what could be considered the “pro-choice” volume of Saga.  Alana and (now) Earl Robot arrive in a place that’s literally called Abortion Town in order to get her a termination at eight months.  I should try not to be preachy, but fuck it tbh; it’s not like people listen to women anyway.  Chances are, anyone seeking a termination at eight months isn’t doing so because they suddenly decided against it.  It occurs in the wake of tragedy, and Alana’s plight mirrors so many.

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The Prophet of Yonwood by Jeanne DuPrau (Book of Ember #3) (DNF)

<–The People of Sparks (BOE #2)                              The Diamond of Darkhold (BOE #4)–>

Title: The Prophet of Yonwood
Series Title: Book of Ember
Author: Jeanne DuPrau
Date Added: September 17, 2017
Date Started: December 23, 2017
Date DNF: December 27, 2017
Reading Duration: 4 days
Genre: Mid-grade/Young Adult (YA), Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian

The Prophet of Yonwood cover

Pages: 289
Publication Date: April 1, 2006
Publisher: Yearling Edition
Media: Paperback


Nickie will grow up to be one of the first citizens of the city of Ember. But for now, she’s an eleven-year-old girl whose father was sent away on some mysterious government project.

So when the opportunity to move presents itself, Nickie seizes it. But her new town of Yonwood, North Carolina, isn’t what she’d anticipated. It’s a place full of suspicion and mistrust, where one person’s visions of fire and destruction have turned the town’s citizens against each other. Nickie explores the oddities around her–her great-grandfather’s peculiar journals, a reclusive neighbor who studies the heavens, a strange boy who is fascinated with snakes–all while keeping an eye out for ways to help the world. Or is it already too late to avoid a devastating war?


There seems to be some disagreement with whether or not this is the 3rd or 4th book.  Goodreads has it marked as the 3rd, but in my set The Diamond of Darkhold is the third installment and Yonwood doesn’t even have a number.  I can kind of understanding putting the prequel in the midst of the series to have readers reflect on how the world arrived at this point while the resolution to the narrative is still up in the air, but I see better advantages of reflecting when the original story is full told.

Regardless, The Prophet of Yonwood wasn’t nearly as engaging as the other books.  This is disappointing since the lead up to what caused the conditions prompting Ember’s construction could’ve been a gripping tale.  While I didn’t finish it, it seems like the author’s focus was on prophesy and proselytizing instead.

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Parallel by Anthony Vicino

Title: Parallel
Author: Anthony Vicino
Date Added: May 9, 2015
Date Started: November 19, 2017
Date Finished: December 12, 2017
Reading Duration: 23 days
Genre: Science Fiction, Novella

Parallel by Anthony VicinoPages: 94
Publication Date: November 17, 2014
Publisher: One Lazy Robot
Media: eBook/Kindle


Hari and Gerald tore a hole in space and time. It’s a small hole, but it’s a big problem. A pinprick to a new Dimension. Too small for either Hari or Gerald to fit through, but it looks pretty. They’re about to learn that pretty things can be very dangerous.

Ryol, Ambassador to the Lenoreans, must investigate the Rift on behalf of the Alliance. What she finds there could usher in the destruction of every world she’s ever known.

Time is running out for the Lenoreans to discover more of the precious energy source that powers their world. Perched upon the brink of calamity their fate is inextricably tied with Earth’s. Now, with the fate of both worlds in her hands, Falia must decide which planet to save.


In opening a portal to another dimension, two scientists arouse the attention of a far more advanced alien species, the Lenoreans, with an interest in whether or not our planet has the energy their world needs to survive.  These aliens have technology that allows them to divide their attention/consciousness between numerous tasks, so the character Ryol could be having a conversation with you while simultaneously monitoring several integral systems on the Lenorean home world in addition to paying attention to events on other planets.  They can also alter their biochemistry to survive on otherwise uninhabitable landscapes and restructure their minds to cope with new stimuli.  In short, if they wanted our planet, they could easily take it.  The only thing that slightly annoyed me about these aliens was that Ryol was describe as “tall and blonde” because of course she’d have to be.  Them looking human/being humanoid is perfectly understandable in the scope of the story, but there’s no reason aliens always have to fit the most privileged model.

The story itself was fantastic.  It didn’t go at all how I expected, and the author pulled no punches at the close, leaving an ending that while hopeful was still bittersweet.

4.5 stars.

Gyo by Junji Ito (Gyo #1-2)

Title: Gyo
Series Title: Gyo
Author: Junji Ito
Date Added: September 14, 2017
Date Started: November 26, 2017
Date Finished: November 30, 2017
Reading Duration: 4 days
Genre: Manga, Science Fiction, Horror

Gyo coverPages: 400
Publisher: VIZ Media
Publication Date: September 2003
Media: Hardback (Library)


Something is rotten in Okinawa… The floating smell of death hangs over the island. What is it? A strange, legged fish appears on the scene… So begins Tadashi and Kaori’s spiral into the horror and stench of the sea. Here is the creepiest masterpiece of horror manga ever from the creator of Uzumaki, Junji Ito. Hold your breath until all is revealed.


Gyo is creepy story about dead bodies that remain active even within a state of advanced decay due to strange machines that attach to their bodies, powered by the gases of putrefaction.

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Stone & Iris by Jonathan Ballagh

Title: Stone & Iris
Author: Jonathan Ballagh
Illustrator: Ben J. Adams
Date Added: May 25, 2017
Date Started: July 1, 2017
Date Finished: July 5, 2017
Reading Duration: 4 days
Genre: Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction

Pages: 32
Publication Date: January 10, 2016
Publisher: Self
Media: Paperback

Shares Paradigms With: SOMA, The Matrix


A mysterious breakthrough brings Alison Shaw to the edge of her vanishing world. Everything she knows will soon be gone—everything except the memory of an unlikely friend. But is their bond strong enough for her to hold on to? And is a memory worth living for when nothing else is left?

This book was gifted to me personally by the author, but I still write my review with critical awareness and in good faith, though I suppose it remains entirely possible, if not probable, that I have some unconscious biases based on our cordial rapport and friendly correspondences.  I believe writers need to support one another, giving critiques when necessary and giving credit when and where it’s due.
I had to read Stone & Iris twice in order to understand it.  This is one of the best things any story can force me to do in regards to being ingenious enough to require knowledge of the end in order to comprehend the underlying intricacies of the plot.  I hesitate to divulge too much detail, since uncovering the truth about Alison, Jeremy, and David is the core revelation that leaves you reeling, and it more than likely will require at least two reads.  Since the story is only 32 pages, it’s not a lengthy foray per se, but if you want to understand what really happened, it will require more than just a pondering skim.
Though it doesn’t take place within Ballagh’s Quantum Worlds Series, Stone nevertheless lays a foundation for it, and it could be considered the precursor to the artifex (the androids in his fore mentioned Quantum Worlds duology) and AI technology.  The narrative appears to be confusing, because it’s supposed to be.  Certain characters switch roles in seemingly nonsensical ways that nevertheless have valid reasons.  Writing a story that is purposely haphazard is no easy feat, because you’re seeking to deliberately confuse the reader so that they will wonder why they’re confused.
The author told me that Stone & Iris is the work he’s most proud of, and that pride is more than warranted.  It’s a calculated yet bittersweet story about consciousness and reality that shows the lengths to which we will cling to what we truly love.
5 stars.

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Saga: Volume 7 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples (Saga #7)

Saga

<–Saga: Volume 6                                                                               Saga: Volume 8–>

*******Spoilers for all the volumes prior.*******

Title: Saga, Volume 7
Series Title: Saga
Authors: Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples
Date Added: June 11, 2017
Date Started: June 24, 2017
Date Finished: July 2, 2017
Reading Duration: 8 days
Genre: Graphic Novel/Comic, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Paranormal Romance, Space Opera, LGBTQ+

Pages: 152
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Image Comics
Media: Paperback


From the worldwide bestselling team of Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan, “The War for Phang” is an epic, self-contained Saga event! Finally reunited with her ever-expanding family, Hazel travels to a war-torn comet that Wreath and Landfall have been battling over for ages. New friendships are forged and others are lost forever in this action-packed volume about families, combat and the refugee experience.


Be warned, this volume of Saga is absolutely devastating.  When I reached the final pages, I just sat there, turning them with my mouth agape and tears streaming from my unblinking eyes.  Image and word combined into heartbreaking artistry, and I’m thankful the author promised the next volume will be more upbeat.  I don’t think I could take another story line like “The War for Phang.”

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Saga: Volume 6 by Brian K Vaughn and Fiona Staples (Saga #6)

Saga

<–Saga: Volume 5                                                                               Saga: Volume 7–>

Title: Saga, Volume 6
Series Title: Saga
Authors: Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples
Date Added: June 11, 2017
Date Started: June 17, 2017
Date Finished: June 22,, 2017
Reading Duration: 5 days
Genre: Graphic Novel/Comic, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Paranormal Romance, Space Opera

Pages: 152
Publication Date: June 29, 2016
Publisher: Image Comics
Media: Paperback


After a dramatic time jump, the three-time Eisner Award winner for Best Continuing Series continues to evolve, as Hazel begins the most exciting adventure of her life: kindergarten. Meanwhile, her starcrossed family learns hard lessons of their own.


I think I’m going to do this review in bullet points and pretty much just copy and paste from my notes, because I’m lazy, and I just added two more books to my review pile.  So here goes:

  • Blue (Wreath’s tongue) is definitely a Romance language.  I can kind of understand what they’re saying.  Thank you junior high to college level French.
  • Hazel is combination of colors just like Hazel (Alana and Marko’s daughter) is a combination of worlds.  Also holy shit *spoiler* she has four wings. *end spoiler*
  • The two reporters, Doff and Upsher, actually did pick up that obscure Oswald quote Alana says on the Circuit when she can’t remember her lines.  Someone warned her that that might happen, and she completely brushes off and then gets high.
    • Speaking of the reporters, Doff (the green-skinned one) recognizes the similarities between Alana and Marko’s story and him and his partner, which is a double entendre because they’re gay, but homosexuality isn’t accepted on their planet Jetsam.  Upsher, though, is too caught up in getting the story and refuses to see it.  His argument is that them kissing won’t send shock waves through the universe like Alana and Marko’s relationship and offspring will, but he’s missing the point Doff is trying to make.  They all just want to live their lives free of persecution based on whom they love and whom their family is.
    • Upsher (blue) is also kind of an asshole.  Doff actually has a heart and cares more about others over just getting a story.
  • Only the royal robots have colored screens.  I didn’t notice this until a character mentioned it, but then I remembered that Dengo the janitor only had a black and white face.  Also at least the royals literally have blue blood.
  • Again this series kicks ass with its inclusion.  Petrichor (which refers to smell of rain) is a trans woman from Wreath who *spoiler* accidentally finds out Hazel’s secret. *end spoiler*  She (Petri) is someone who 100% understands having to keep certain parts of your body secret to protect yourself and possibly your family.  I think it’s an awesome parallel, though I’d love to hear a trans person’s perspective at some point.

If you’re not yet reading Saga, and you enjoy science fantasy, space opera with brilliantly written characters, amazing artwork, and a story that will both keep you on your toes and make you think, I’d highly suggest you buy or borrow it.  I’m lending my Volumes 3-7 to my friend next week, because no one should miss out on this story because they’re currently short of funds.

And so it goes on…

<–Saga: Volume 5                                                                               Saga: Volume 7–>

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