Buckle up kids; you're in for a long ride...
While it may seem that my life has been consumed with getting this webcomic started, I have done a few other things this summer. As a bookaholic, I try to make sure I'm reading something at all times. Though I didn't get to read as much as I wanted, I did manage to finish a few good books. I read a little bit of everything this summer, so if you're at all interested in reading, take a look.
I, Lucifer by Glen Duncan
What it's about: God has decided to give Lucifer a shot at getting back into heaven. All he has to do is live a blameless month as a human and resist the temptations he has created.
What I thought: I guess it shouldn't have surprised me that Lucifer was as vulgar as he was, but it did. This is not a tale for the weak of faith. Duncan is at his best when he visits stories from the Bible from Satan's perspective. The temptation of Christ, the crucifixion, and the Garden of Eden are all recreated with an evil twist. Outside of the story remixes, and a few high points where the devil waxes philosophical on the ideas of temptation, God's existence, and sin, the rest of the book is a bit scatterbrained. Duncan tries to make the devil a neurotic mess with a writing sty1e to match, but sometimes it's just too random to follow. Still, it's a quick read and if you enjoyed C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters, and you can stomach Duncan's sometimes-crude language, you'll probably enjoy this. B-
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
What it's about: Cousins Sammy Clay and Joe Kavalier rise to fame in the comic book boom of the 1940s.
What I thought: Probably one of the best books I read this summer. Chabon is a gifted writer. Every sentence feels like it was specially crafted for your enjoyment. Though the main plot is the comic book business they start, the real drama is found in the internal struggle Joe faces. He is reluctant to give into the success of his new life in America while his family is suffering in Nazi-controlled Prague. This is a beautiful book that has a bit of something for everyone. Action, humor, love, suspense, and mystery are all blended together in a wonderful story filled with unforgettable characters. A
Cell by Stephen King
What it's about: Cell phones turn everybody into crazy zombies. A group of travelers treks through Maine in attempt to put an end to the "phoners." Blood, gore, and action ensue.
What I thought: King breathes new life into the tired zombie genre by giving the "phoners" a flock mentality and weird techno tendencies; they stick together, have to recharge at night, and can enter your dreams. Though the incident that turns people to zombies seems to be a massive nationwide crisis, King keeps it personal and never takes you away from his little group of survivors, which helps you get to know the characters, but also diminishes the scale of the epidemic. It's not going to win a Pulitzer, but Cell is definitely an entertaining read. B
Next by Michael Crichton
What it's about: Crichton weaves fact and fiction to tell a cautionary tale of the state of genetic research. Crazy diseases, lawsuits involving ownership of genes, and monkey/human hybrids are all thrown into the mix.
What I thought: At first, I thought this was going to be a story like Lost or Heroes, where a bunch of random people are all tied together. The first several chapters don't seem to connect, each one introduces new characters and subplots and I kept waiting for the stories to converge. Unfortunately, many of the characters never meet and most of the plots slowly peter out. In the end, you get a bunch of disjointed stories on the dangers of genetic experiments followed by a lengthy note from the author about the state of the genetic industry. It's an interesting read, but don't expect too much from it. C
A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore
What it's about: Pawnshop owner Charlie Asher is a normal guy with a normal life, until people start dropping dead around him. Shortly after losing his wife, Charlie learns that he has a new employer, the one and only Death. Now he has to help people move to the next life or face the forces of darkness.
What I thought: This book has a very Betelgeuse/Tim Burton kind of vibe. Despite its dark subject manner, the story remains lighthearted and comical. Moore has a knack for sticking normal people in bizarre (and often hilarious) situations. The characters are memorable and their dialogue is sharp and witty. A great read if you're in the mood for a little dark comedy. A
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J,K, Rowling
What it's about: Do I really need to tell you what it's about? It's the conclusion the epic Potter franchise, the pop-culture phenomenon of this generation. Harry learns about Dumbledore's questionable past, tests his relationships with Ron and Hermoine, and of course, faces Voldemort for the last time.
What I thought: Simply amazing. I used to be a Potter naysayer, refusing to give into the hype, but after a friend convinced me to read the first book, I fell in love and read the next five books in two weeks. So unlike other Potterphiles, I only had about a year of anticipation cooking for this book, not a lifetime. Thankfully, this book didn't disappoint. It managed to be completely different from the other books, while staying true to the flow of the series. Just about every sub plot was given a tidy conclusion, and the final battle at Hogwarts may have been the most exciting moment in the entire series. There are too many great things to list about this book (Snape's true intentions, Dumbledore's past, the Hallows, the many narrow escapes, the wonderful epilogue, etc.). If I had to describe this book in one word, it would be "satisfying." A+
Mass Effect: Revelation by Drew Karpshyn
What it's about: The prequel to the sure-to-be-hit Bioware RPG, Mass Effect: Revelation follows Alliance officer David Anderson as he tries to track down the person responsible for destroying an Alliance research base.
What I thought:(taken from an earlier blog post) I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a quick and easy read, and though the story isn't amazing, it serves its purpose. It's sort of like a made-for-TV movie; it was fast and entertaining, and didn't ask for too much of a commitment (that is until the game comes out) The best thing about it is probably the set up for the game. Karpshyn does a remarkable job of dispensing a massive amount of information without giving up the relentless pace. There's a ton of back-story in the book that sets up the inter-species tension of the game. Fortunately, the delivery of all that info is never boring. Rather the predicament humanity finds itself in as it rapidly expands and tries to find its role in the galaxy is a fresh take on a familiar concept. If you have even the slightest interest in the upcoming game (and how could you not?) I recommend giving this book a read. B
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore
What it's about: Narrated by a resurrected Levi who is called Biff, Lamb fills in the missing years of Jesus' (or Joshua as Biff calls him) life. From studying under Chinese monks and rescuing children from a sacrificial ceremony in India, to his last moments on the cross, Lamb is a thoughtful and humorous take on the story of the messiah.
What I thought: Once again, not a book for the weak of faith, this book could offend some strict conservatives. If you don't count yourself in that group, go pick this book up. Moore is remarkably accurate with his descriptions of ancient cultures and if you're familiar with the Bible, you'll likely enjoy the retelling of some of the gospel stories from the inside. It's a hilarious, touching, tragic, respectful rendition of the story never told. A
I think I might have read another book or two this summer but if I did, they were too forgettable to mention. Besides, if you've read this far you probably could have finished I, Lucifer and Mass Effect: Revelation by now. So get to reading.