Sunday, June 27, 2010

Review: Chew: International Flavor

Chew: International Flavor is the second graphic novel collection of the Chew series. In this one Tony Chu, FDA agent, and "cibopath" gets a new partner...his old partner from his police days, John Colby, a guy who caught a meat cleaver to the face in the last graphic novel. Through some clever play acting, they trick Chu's asshole boss into partnering them up. Chu and Colby make a good team and with some solid detective work they quickly make a bust on some illegal chicken trafficking mofos. The bust leads to Chu and Colby finding out about a new fruit, one that tastes remarkably like chicken. After one bite, using his cibopathic skills that give him psychic impressions, Chu is able to trace the origin of this new fruit back to a tiny Pacific island.

Chu, going it alone, decides to follow up on the lead, and travels to Yamapalu, the island where the fruit came from, to figure some things out. Along with Chu on the journey is his celebrity chef brother who has been hired by the Yamapalu government to open a fancy new restaurant there. The mission proves to be a tricksy one, as Chu has to contend with local thugs, militia, an incompetent local police force, a rooster named Poyo, a big boobied USDA ninja chick and her rat "Jellybean", and a skethcy Russian vampire. To top it all off, Chu might also have to rescue the girl that he likes from the clutches of evil...

This second Chew graphic novel is another instant classic. The writer-illustrator team of John Layman and Rob Guillory has proven once again that they're a dynamic duo. Layman's writing is clever and often very funny. He definitely has a skill for keeping the reader entertained, while also presenting a very interesting story arc, and adding great new intriguing developments. For me, Layman's writing and pacing is near perfect. I find it hard to put Chew down once I pick it up.

The other half of the duo, Rob Guillory, delivers on the art front once again. He has a very unique illustration style. It is somewhat on the cartoony side, compared to some of the near photo-realistic art seen in a lot comics these days, and the art goes a long way to helping define the personalities of the individual characters. His art really brings out the humor of Chew. There are many panels, where small details give me a chuckle, then others where the entire panel is completely hilarious.

The writing and art of Chew truly complement each other well, but there is another aspect of Chew that I think is a standout. On top of his writing duties, Layman also handles lettering duties. This may sound like a little thing, but it adds quite a bit to the work load. I hope Layman knows it is worth the effort though. The fact that Layman does the lettering means that there is no disconnect between his vision for the story and the way the dialog is presented. Layman has a great knack for giving the reader a great sense of inflection and temperament with the lettering and it really adds to the overall quality of the graphic novel.

I can now happily say that I am caught up on the Chew series. From here on out I am reading the individual issues, which means no more waiting around for trades to come out. Instead I can get my fix on a monthly basis. For those who want to do the same, now is the time, Chew: Taster's Choice collects the first five issues, and Chew: International Flavor collects issues six through ten. Issue eleven is in your local comic shop now, so get out there and get your hands on these books, and enjoy!

Grade: B+

Saturday, June 26, 2010

First Listen: United Abominations

I've been a Megadeth fan for years now, but I started to lose interest in the band's new material after the Risk album. They sounded too "alternative" on that album, and I decided to be content with the collection of great albums they had made up until that point. However, I've heard that in the last few years, Megadeth has had a bit of a revival, or a return to early form. Despite these rumors, I still stayed away, still hurting from that piss-poor Risk album. The local library is truly a wonderful thing, especially when they have Megadeth albums, so when I cast my eyes upon United Abominations, Megadeth's 11th album, I figured I'd check it out, it'd at least make an interesting blog post. So here goes, my United Abominations first listen:

Sleepwalker: The album kicks off with a pretty awesome intro and opening riff. Mustaine's snarl is back, but it sounds like there's been some post recording tweaks on it to make it sound better. The lyrics are pretty cheesy for this one, but musically it is thrashy and fast with some tight solos. Not a great start though...

Washington is Next!: Another sweet into/opening riff. This is the kind of stuff that made me love Megadeth back in the day. Not surprisingly, Megadeth is best when their material has a political lean. This song is definitely reminiscent of their classic material. Awesome solos, this is a real headbanger. Great Song.

Never Walk Alone...A Call to Arms: the "..." of the title makes me wonder if this is a two part song a la Holy Wars...The Punishment Due which is one of my all time favorite Megadeth songs. This song is another solid effort. There is no doubting their musical talent. Mustaine has done a great job acquiring skilled musicians for this album. They just need to stay away from cheesy choruses like the one on this song.

United Abominations: Title track time! I always have high hopes for the title track, it should be good, the band went to the trouble of naming the album after the song, so that should say something about the quality. The intro hearkens back to songs like Architecture of Agression and Countdown to Extinction. Once agian, political rantings equal an awesome song. Mustaine uses news broadcast style spoken word to deliver many of the lyrics, and it makes for an interesting compliment to the drums and guitars. Another good song.

Gears of War: I'm already skeptical of this song, seeing as it shares the same title of a video game, and was used on that very game's soundtrack. Damn, musically this is a fucking sweet song, but the lyrics are bad, cheesy lyrical content, mixed with a delivery that is not great. *sigh* Next.

Blessed are the Dead: Great song title. I'm not feeling this one from the get-go though. This song is lacking the energy of some of the other tracks and Megadeth is best when they play fast and furious.

Pray for Blood: This track starts out strongly with a catchy riff and some punchy drumming. This song lacks any depth beyond the surface polish though, and once again, I find myself cringing at some of the lyrics.

A Tout Le Monde (Set Me Free): I guess this is a re-make of the song that was on the Youthanasia album. That was a pretty sweet song, but I'm skeptical about the remix...The beginning sounds much like the original, but with slightly different music. A glance at the album's liner notes shows that the lyrics are the same, but this one features some dueting with Cristina Scabbia from Lacuna Coil. Not necessarily awesome. This sped up, revamped version just doesn't do it for me.

Amerikhastan: This is a first for the album: The lyrics are better than the music on this track. I still don't love it though.

You're Dead: I'm starting to feel like a broken record: instrumentally this song is cool and interesting, but lyrically it is on the cheesy side.

Burnt Ice: The songs on the album are starting to run together. I appreciate the tasty riffs and the great solos, but for the most part, that is about all the album has to stand up on. The lyrics are so-so at best, and ending on a song about drugs just about breaks the album's back.

In summary, there are about two great songs and the rest are pretty much forgettable. Dave Mustaine put together a skilled line up of musicians for this album, but it still is lacking when compared to their older "classic" stuff. The song writing needs some work, Mustaine's lyrics often come across as cheesy.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Review: The Waste Lands

The Waste Lands by Stephen King

The Waste Lands is the third novel in Stephen King's The Dark Tower series. This installment picks up soon after the events of the second novel and wastes no time getting rolling. The confrontation with a giant cyborg bear early on sets the tone for this novel. Initially, King focuses on three characters: Roland, the Gunslinger, and his companions Eddie, and Susannah, Roland's gunslingers in training. The three companions have been living in the woods, training, and recuperating from their adventures in the last book. Roland appears to be slowly losing his mind. His mind is torn between two realities, one where he let a young boy named Jake fall to his death, and another where the boy Jake still lives and is alive in New York City. (Time Travel and parallel worlds is crazy like that.)

However, thanks to the confrontation with Shardik, the massive cyborg bear, they discover one of the "beams" a barely visible ethereal beam that supposedly helps hold the world together and also leads to the Dark Tower, which is located in the center of the world. Given that finding the Dark Tower is their main quest, Roland and his pals start to follow the beam.

Meanwhile, in our world, the boy Jake, who is inadvertently causing Roland to lose his mind, is also going insane. He can clearly remember dying, but he is still alive, and now he's obsessed with finding a door that will lead him back to Roland's world. To get there he needs a key, and help/guidance from Eddie, (yes the same Eddie), and he needs to find the right door. While Jake is looking for the right portal, Roland, Eddie and Susannah are working to create a portal so that they can bring Jake across to their world. The entire scene of Jake's crossing is fantastic. King blends fantasy and horror elements and together they make the scene a standout part of the book.

Stephen King is one of my favorite authors, so my opinion may be a bit biased, but after reading the first three books, I really think the Dark Tower series is fantastic. It has elements of fantasy, science fiction, horror, and good ol' westerns...only the best, coolest elements from those genres too. The Waste Lands is a book that is always moving forward. Roland and his companions are constantly striving towards the Dark Tower, and while it might be easy for these books to come across as boring quest-style fantasy, it never felt that way to me. King works diligently at developing his characters, and moving the plot forward.

One thing I love about the Dark Tower books is that there are very little rules governing Roland's world. While in other alternate world stories, this could be really frustrating, I think it is one of the great qualities of the series. You truly never know what is around the corner for Roland and his companions, anything can happen to them, and chances are it will be a really shitty experience for them. King is willing to do all types of terrible things to his characters, and to me it is nice to know that there is no chance they will make it to the Dark Tower unscathed or unchanged.

Perhaps it is our shared homeland, Maine, but I feel like I connect very strongly to King's work. His characters come easily to life in my mind's eye, and his settings feel familiar to me. It could be that we share the same micro-culture and have had similar experiences; King lives about an hour from where I was born, and lived for 21 years. Whatever it is, when I open up a novel by Stephen King, whether it be a Dark Tower book, or something else, I am usually blown away. The Waste Lands was no exception. It kicked ass. It melds genres, and successfully incorporates cyborg bears, demon sex, a house that has a taste for human flesh, and a highly intelligent, yet loony, A.I. train named Blaine. So, yeah, awesome. Read it.

Grade: A-

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Review: Anna Mercury

Anna Mercury is a sci-fi/spy thriller/action graphic novel from comic writer extraordinaire, Warren Ellis. A great way to describe this is to think of James Bond in space/alternate worlds (quickly erase any Moonraker imagery), yet as a feisty red-head babe with huge boobs and a black leather outfit. OK, got it? Good. Moving on.

Anna Mercury plunks the reader directly into the action and the first few pages feature Anna jumping around, soaring through the air, and whopping ass on some sorry baddies. As you wade through the eye candy, you start to get a sense of when, where, and whys of the story. Anna is in the city of New Ataraxia and is working with cells of spies from the neighboring city of Sheol. The two cities are at odds with one another, and New Ataraxia has recently test-fired their new super weapon on one of Sheol's major bridges. The destructive power of this weapon is massive and the next shot will be aimed at the city of Sheol, destroying it, and killing the inhabitants...But not if Anna Mercury can help it!

With her "fly by the seat of her leather pants" Modus Operandi and her can-do attitude, she quickly hatches a plan to stop the weapon, which is stationed on a moon-base. As Anna stows away aboard a rocket bound for the moon-base, we discover that she is part of the "Constellation Project" a top-secret organization that deals with half-formed planets, all which have humans on them, that are somehow tethered to, and in invisible orbit around our own. With super-advanced British technology, they've figured out how to send people to these planets for short periods of time. Anna Mercury is in New Ataraxia to try and right an old wrong, where and accidental transportation of an American Warship completely deformed Ataraxian society, causing a once peaceful and scientific people to turn warlike.

One of the hitches to traveling to places like New Ataraxia is that the agents cant stay for long. Sixteen hours is the record. Each agent is equipped with an anchor field. A device that not only allows the wearer to return back to Earth, but to also generate useful physical affects, like jumping over tall buildings and whooping ass...this drains the device's energy faster and if the anchor field runs out of juice, the agent is screwed, and will simply explode, so careful monitoring is required.

Anna Mercury likes to push the abilities of her anchor field to the limits, causing a bit of drama with her handlers, and making the reader slightly worried that maybe she wont make it back home. That's about it for tension in this book though, as it focuses more on action and explosions.

Reading Anna Mercury is much like watching a summer blockbuster. It is sort of entertaining, and some cool stuff happens and it looks really cool, but at the end it leaves you feeling empty, wondering if it was worth spending your money on. Anna Mercury has some cool ideas, I liked the anchor field, and the science fiction behind the tethered planets, they were cool, but I would have liked to see more of that. I don't care about all the T&A, though some might love it, and the massive explosions lost impact as they happened all too often to be that interesting. The artwork by Fecundo Percio was pretty nice to look at, but it didn't stand out as amazing. I know Anna Mercury was supposed to be a total fox, but there were times Percio's art made her look mannish, giving her a jaw and chin that were Buzz Lightyear-esque.

As far as Warren Ellis' work goes, this was pretty pedestrian. I've certainly read far better by him. Tried and true fans of Ellis will likely count this as yet another gem, but for me it was simply a somewhat generic action story.

Grade: C-

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Review: The City & The City

The City & The City by China Mieville

Initially, The City & The City takes place in the fictional eastern European city of Beszel, where a young woman is found murdered. At first glance it appears to be a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlu, but it turns out to be anything but routine. In order to properly investigate, Borlu, must travel to the neighboring city of Ul Qoma, a city that is very different from Beszel, yet the two are related in a very fantastical way.

Once in Ul Qoma, Borlu teams up with Ul Qoman detective, Qussim Dhatt, and the two work to uncover clues about the murder. As they begin to unravel the mystery, they also begin to suspect a truth, one that points to unseen powers behind both cities, and the secret that relates the two cities to one another.

The major, and arguably only, fantastical element to this novel is the nature of the two cities, Beszel, and Ul Qoma. The two cities share physical space, but not social or legal space. This at times was a hard concept to grasp because it is a multi-faceted concept. At times the terms of the distinction between the two cities appeared to be physical, the two cities certainly have their own identities, and characteristics. However, at other times it came across as a psychological distinction: inhabitants of one city simply used a technique of "unseeing" to maintain distinctions. Then there are "crosshatched" sections of the cities where a location appears to be in both cities at the same time. Things like greenspaces, rivers, and large buildings often had a degree of crosshatching that caused ambiguity. Of course all of this gets even more fantastical as the author begins to explore the space between the two cities: Breach.

While this novel is much lighter in terms of the surreal that you can usually find in a book by China Mieville, there are hints at it. Not only in the relationship of the two cities, but also in the bizarre artifacts that are dug up at an archeological site in Ul Qoma.

Above all else, this is a well written crime novel. If taken only at that single value, this is a solid book, however when you add in the surreal, fantastical elements you get much more. I found the relationship of the two cities to be quite thought provoking, and since Mieville never comes right out and tells what the hell is going on, the reader gets a personalized perception of what is going on in Beszel, Ul Qoma and inbetween.

One complaint I have is that the book was difficult to get into. I dragged through the first third of the book, then my enjoyment waxed and waned through the final two thirds. This might just be a gripe that is unique to me though as the book wastes no time, beginning at the scene of the crime.

Overall this is a solid novel. It is interesting and thought provoking, and I like knowing that, due to the fantastical content, my experience of reading it is unique to me. This is a "fantasy" novel that can be enjoyed by a wide range of readers.

Grade: B-

Monday, June 7, 2010

Review: We3

Animal Weapon 3 is a top secret U.S. Air Force project in cybernetics. They've taken three household pets, a dog, a cat, and a rabbit, and turned them into killing machines. These cyborg/animals have enhanced nervous systems, and sport mechanical exoskeletons complete with more firepower than some small nations. Each of the three animals are tweaked to be specialists within a team; The rabbit is a demolitions expert, the cat a stealth killing machine and the dog acts as the heavy artillery or tank.

The book opens with the team eliminating a terrorist leader, yet despite the success of the mission, this cybernetics project is nothing more than a prototype, and they are promptly decommissioned. Part of their enhanced nervous system is enhanced instincts, and their natural instinct for survival is greater than anyone could have expected. Soon the three animals are on the run from the might of the U.S. government, using all their cybernetic skills to stay alive, and to find someplace they can call "home".

We3 is unlike anything I've read before. Through life I've been a fan of anthropomorphic stories like the Redwall books, and Watership Down, and even Dr. Rat was a good read, however this is unlike any of those in many ways. I think the big difference is that the animals of We3 have only a few human qualities, and despite their cyborg shells, maintain a large degree of the cute, fluffy traits that make them animals we humans keep as pets. This was an endearing quality of the book, and while it felt kinda creepy to care about a cyborg animal, I did care, and like the soppy guy I am, and despite the odds stacked against them, I really just wanted them to find a safe, loving home.

We3 benefits from both fantastic writing and art. As a fan of Joe the Barbarian I was interested to read some of Grant Morrison's other works, and I was not disappointed. His writing and scripting is top notch, and this story packs a lot of punch on multiple levels. We3 has action, and explosions, but it also has some very touching and emotional moments.

Working in perfect harmony with Morrison's writing, is the eye-popping artwork of Frank Quitely. This book is full of great art. Each panel demands scrutiny because Quitely's art is so nice to look at. His illustrations have a simply clarity about them, yet are still extremely detailed. I really loved the occasional double-page splashes. There's also some less conventional pages where Quitely would draw a large illustration, showing the action at a basic level, then overlay it with smaller panels that show micro-shots of smaller aspects of the given scene. This was a really cool element, and it worked well within the story. Quitely is one of the best comics artists out there and he is on top of his game here.

We3 is a pretty short graphic novel. It collects only three issues, but there is a lot packed into book. Tight writing, great art and an interesting story make this a great read.

Grade: B+

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Shitty Album I Used to Rock Out to:

Dr. Feelgood by Motley Crue

In my younger and more vulnerable years, I listened to some shitty music. I owned albums and albums worth of terrible music. One such album was Dr. Feelgood, Motley Crue's fifth, and most successful album. Looking back I like to think that I was less a victim of bad taste, and more a victim of the times. This album sold 6 million copies here in the states! That's some major sales! Nearly every recording artist would cream their jeans if they sold that many albums today. I was only about eight when this came out, so there's a good chance I was heavily influenced by what I saw on MTV, thus driving me to buy the album. I was young and impressionable, so I guess I have an excuse...however, that doesn't explain why I would still occasionally rock out to this album as a teen.

This album is packed with "hits". From the title track, to Kickstart My Heart, Without You, Same Ol' Situation, and Don't Go Away Mad. Nearly every song manages to fit snugly into some sort of rock cliche, whether it be drugs, sex, or relationships. Oh, and don't forget ballads! Without You and Don't Go Away Mad are pretty standard rock ballads too.

As a kid, I aspired to be cool like the Crue. I wanted big hair, fast motorcycles, a girl with body from outer space, and a fucking drum set that floated over the crowd at my sold out rock concerts. Motely Crue were sex, drugs and rock n' roll, and Dr. Feelgood is the album that epitomizes this better than any other.

One of my favorite Dr. Feelgood memories happened soon after I had bought the album. I was chilling in the hot tub at a Holiday Inn with my brother and I asked him what the song Dr. Feelgood was about. (This is a conversation that occurs between us a lot even today...but with other music, and not in a hot tub.) Bear in mind that I was eight, had probably already listened to the song ten times that day, I for sure knew the lyrics by heart, but I had no idea what they were about. My brother leaned in, and whispered conspiratorially: "Drugs, it's about drugs". My eyes probably grew wide, and I probably leaned back thinking how cool it was to own something so edgy, yet probably simultaneously developing a nervous twitch, wondering what my mom would do if she found out.

I think that story sums up Dr. Feelgood the album: if you're an idiot, like I certainly was at age eight, it is a cool album, but otherwise, it is a piece of shit, and not worth listening to.

This is one of those albums that has followed me through life. I rocked some air guitar and air drums to it as a kid, slow danced to the ballads at high school dances, (yes my high school was that cool!), and now, I'm hoping to put it to rest. So here's to me not getting the lyrics to Kickstart My Heart stuck in my head ever again.

If you're feeling nostalgic...

Friday, June 4, 2010

Review: Sweet Tooth: Out of the Deep Woods

About ten years ago, the apocalypse hit. Since then, the only children being born are human/animal hybrids. Gus, a human/deer hybrid is one of these new children. Gus has no memory of his mother, and he lives in a small cabin, in the woods with his sickly father; the only other person he has ever seen. In this harsh post-apocalyptic world, kids like Gus have a price on their heads, and while Gus is out foraging each day for food and firewood, he wanders a bit, trying to figure out why the land beyond the edge of the woods isn't all "fire and hell" like his dad told him it was. Gus' wanderings attract the attention of hunters, and as they attack Gus' home, he is saved by a mysterious and violent man calling himself Jeppard...the same man who has been troubling Gus' dreams.

Despite Gus' misgivings, Jeppard appears to more friend than foe though and he promises to lead Gus to The Preserve, a supposed safe-haven for hybrid children. As this unlikely pair strike out across the new post-apocalyptic frontier, they begin to form a tenuous bond.

The bond that develops between the two is quite interesting. Jeppard nicknames Gus "Sweet Tooth" thanks to the latter's affinity for candy, but beyond that Jeppard's gruff demeanor seems hard to crack, even for the the sweet, innocent Gus. However, as we all know: the road is fuckin' hard, and as they get in and out of some deadly scrapes, they do indeed bond, and maybe, in some ways, they each need the other.

Jeppard is a hard guy to trust though. Jeff Lemire, who does double duty as writer and artist, deos a fantastic job of creating trust issues between the reader and what you see and read on the page. Lemire's pictures literally tell a thousand words, and I found myself heavily scrutinizing each facial expression, trying to glean insight from them. The amazing thing is that this "gleaning" is actually possible, so great is the art. Lemire seems to know it too, cutting away to show only a character's back at crucial moments, preferring to keep certain qualities about the characters ambiguous. Lemire has a strong knack for maintaining the tension by revealing just enough, or obscuring certain things at just the right moments.

Living a secluded life, Gus knows little about the outside world, and while he learns; the reader learns as well. I thought this was a nice touch to the book. As a reader, I very much felt like I was along with Gus and Jeppard for the journey. Every post-apocalyptic setting has it's own unique qualities about it, and experiencing them through the eyes of a character who is also experiencing them for the first time is a really great way to get a feel for the setting of Sweet Tooth.

The contrast of the sweet innocent Gus with the brutal, severe Jeppard is quite interesting, and I found myself relating equally, in very different ways to each character. The way they took things in: Gus with wide eyed wonder, and Jeppard with narrow eyed scrutiny tells a lot about the two characters.

I've read a lot of great stuff in the comics medium lately, yet Sweet Tooth: Out of the Deep Woods is a major standout. Lemire's work on this book is quite remarkable. Both the writing and the art, while somewhat sparse, is quite fantastic. Lemire has written a story that I'll be happy to visit again.

Grade: A

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Review: Little Brother

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Little Brother takes place in the very near future, and stars Marcus, (AKA w1n5t0n, AKA m1k3y), a high school kid who is smart, techno-savvy (read: skilled hacker) and good at beating the system.

One day he and three other friends skip school to play Harajuku Fun Madness, an ARG (alternate reality game...those kids do the durndest things these days), that involves puzzle solving, trivia, scavenger hunting and other fun things. While playing, a massive terrorist attack comparable to the 9/11 hits Marcus' hometown of San Francisco. The Bay bridge is blown up, not the Golden Gate bridge, but the more strategic and functional one. Caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his friends are taken into custody by the Department of Homeland Security and taken off to a secret prison.

Like many seventeen year olds, Marcus is a bit of a wise-ass, even in the face of serious government types, and his defiance brings unwanted attention down on him. After a few days of cruel treatment, and incessant questioning, Marcus is released to find his city a mere shadow of it's former self. In his absence San Fran has become a police state where everyone is treated as a potential terrorist, and the DHS has taken control. Vowing payback for his treatment, Marcus decides to take down the DHS himself.

Knowing he is being carefully monitored by DHS, Marcus uses his hacker skills to create a functioning computer and web server out of an XBOX. Then, sort of like the spreading of a virus, gets other people his age to do the same. Using this secure server, and a bevvy of other savvy tricks, Marcus begins his revolution, where no one over 25 is trusted, (boy did that make me feel old!), and Little Brother is watching Big Brother.

Technically a Young Adult novel, but it never felt how I pictured a YA novel to be. It has swearing, sex, violence and torture which are very adult themes, however Little Brother is far more than that. It is an extremely thought provoking novel, with events that could easily be front page headlines under the right circumstances. Doctorow creates an extremely feasible and believable near-future that in many ways made my skin crawl. In some ways this is a paranoid book, well, at least it made me paranoid, but instead of coming off as a paranoid-anti-government book, it has more of a freedom of speech, freedom of technology feel to it. Mind you, that feel is very low key. If you want to find those things in Little Brother you can, but Doctorow never loses sight of the story, and this novel never once comes across as preachy.

This book has many great things in its favor: great, believable, fleshed out characters, fantastic plotting, and a very cool vibe, but what stood out as the real star for me was the pacing. There is no "getting into" this book, no slow period of adjustment where you learn about the characters and the plot...the plot simply takes off and never really lets up. Doctorow doesn't waste any time or space. He crafted a very solid novel that is a joy to read. I couldn't put this one down, and when I did, I couldn't wait to pick it back up again.

As one of the least technically savvy humans on earth, there were times when I felt lost as Marcus used or created some technical wonder that I had never heard of. However, I was quickly clued in as Doctorow did a fantastic job of describing these things in ways that were easy to get the gist of. This required a bit of techno-speak, but never too much so that it bogged down the story.

Little Brother is my first taste of Cory Doctorow's writings, but I am an instant fan. I don't really have any complaints about this novel...maybe it was too enjoyable? Any way you hack it, this is a great book, and I give it my full recommendation.

Grade: A