Category Archives: Adventure

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters – Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters

Given how much I enjoyed Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I decided to give another Austen adaptation a try – Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. I had high hopes, but my only expectation was that the main plot points remained the same, and on that front the novel did not disappoint.

Overall the novel was mostly consistent, and generally well written. There were a few times, I felt that some passages were a little long-winded and perhaps not as concise as they could have been. It was in those moments I felt the shift between the tone of Austen and that of Winters’, the subtle differences were all of a sudden much more obvious. In my opinion that was a shame, as I felt it disrupted my flow as a reader. I kept having to remember that the book is an adapted contribution from two different writers.

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters

As you would expect from an adaptation, there were plenty of new plot twists and new character development moments to enjoy. Some I would arguably say are more exciting than others, some I would say might not matter if they had been included or not. But combined they certainly added a new layer to the original novel.

This added layer was most evident in the new character traits attributed to the Dashwood’s and the Steele’s. Elinor Dashwood in particular, became a much more exciting and likeable character, than was possible in the Austen’s original version. This was simply achieved by a slightly more up-tempo pace throughout, and of course the addition of new events into the plot.

It was good to see that although this was an adaptation, Winters’ had taken care not to leave any wide open plot holes, or major character misalignments. Sure if you’re specifically looking for them I’m sure you’d find them, as you would in any book, film or play. But for me, Winters’ took enough care and paid enough attention to detail, that by the end of novel I felt that all the interlocking stories had been satisfyingly concluded.

Whether you’re a fan of adaptations or a fan of Austen, this is definitely a novel I’d recommend other readers try. But, for a true comparison, it is always worth reading the original too – and I do mean READ, not watch a film or TV series adaptation!

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Filed under Adventure, Fantasy, Fiction, Jane Austen

Suicide Squad, Volume 4 Discipline and Punish, by Ales Kot, Matt Kindt, Patrick Zircher

As always Suicide Squad is well drawn, descriptive and reasonably action packed. I once again fell in love with Harley Quinn and her spunky quips and it was an interesting concept to see the Suicide Squad’s progression from being submissive to Amanda Waller; to beating Waller herself into submission.

James Gordon Junior’s issues with the Mother complex and reading someone actually wanting to refer to Waller as ‘Mother’, was creepy and left a bad taste in my mouth. No doubt this was how it was meant to feel and it’s great that a graphic novel can produce such a strong emotion. It would be interesting to know how other readers reacted to it.

Suicide squad #4One thing in this volume, which I particularly disliked was the over-use of captions, such as ‘DEADSHOT. SHOOTS THINGS’. At first they were reasonably useful, a re-cap of who’s who, then with the introduction of James Gordon Junior and Cheetah they were snippets of potential back-story to flesh them out as characters, but after that they were unnecessary, irritating and a little ridiculous. Each subsequently unnecessary caption felt like a poor attempt at humour that, spoilt an otherwise entertaining page.

 

Getting several more detailed backstories was fantastic, it had to happen before the series is closed and it has been a long time coming. However I did feel that the inclusion of so many, made it particularly difficult to follow the plot as it became a little bit of a mish-mash.

 

I enjoyed the sudden appearance of Cheetah as she is fascinating as a character. One of the exciting things I take from these graphic novels is that you never know who might show up, who might get their head blown up and who might be (repeatedly) resurrected!

 

Overall I did enjoy the novel, it remains one of my favourite comic book series, but this particular volume is far from the best and certainly not my favourite as an individual novel. The Suicide Squad team had been Waller’s puppies since the day she rolled in, I find it hard to think that they would miss it as much, as the writers of this volume would have us believe. I feel there was much more potential and exploration to be had from this plot and it’s missing something. In the end it felt a little bland and out of character, in comparison to the previous 3 volumes. But I do look forward to seeing what volume 5 will bring and I hope we see more of Cheetah!

 

© Gemma Feltham 26th July 2014

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Filed under Adventure, Fantasy, Graphic novel

Inferno by Dan Brown

Following a suitably short, but none-the-less intriguing if rather stark and violent prologue, in the first chapter of Dan Brown’s Inferno, readers are greeted by a very confused Dr Robert Langdon; immediately readers are thrust into this latest fast-paced, nightmarish adventure. Having read many of Brown’s previous novels, being re-acquainted with Robert Langdon felt like meeting an old friend, familiar but new at the same time because it’s been a while. It was a lovely feeling which allowed me to immediately sink into the novel and I dare say other readers would feel the same.

Characters who initially suffer from amnesia or memory loss as Langdon does are fascinating, because there are endless scenarios, multiple possibilities which could explain how they came to be in that predicament. It is always an exciting adventure finding out exactly what happened; and in doing so Brown allows readers to indulge in making up their own answers, before the secrets are revealed. But of course painstakingly revealing secrets is Langdon’s (and therefore Brown’s) forte. Combine this literary technique with a rapidly changing pace and the inclusion of both long and short chapters, and you’ve got a novel which grips and pulls at a reader’s every sense and emotion.

InfernoAs is my usual thoughts on Brown, Inferno is gripping, full of suspense, eloquently detailed (although some may feel it’s overly descriptive) and educational in a fun way. Art History has never been so appealing! In comparison to The Da Vinci Code I found Inferno somewhat darker in tone. This comes from the very nature of the possible impending threat, a topic which is very much at the fore front of the global political agenda, the nature of some of the characters and some quite shocking and stark violence within the pages. Whilst you hope never to be in Robert Langdon’s shoes, as a reader you get a thrilling and adrenaline-fuelled adventure to enjoy from your sofa, bed, bath or wherever!

In particular I must praise Brown for his ability to convey to the reader everything Langdon sees, hears and feels. There is a fluidity to the novel each revelation, clue cracked and new location appears sequentially with ease, again the change in pace and length of chapters assists with this. You do not merely have to be a spectator, Brown gives his readers the opportunity (through his literary prowess) to step into the novel and become Langdon, his companions and to an extent even his adversaries.  Inferno is full of plot twists and turns, cliff-hangers and extremely detailed and intriguing back stories, for characters whose role in the novel is often not fully explained or understood; until it is revealed at the very end. The deceptions revealed in chapters 81 and 82 in particular I found truly astounding- I never saw them coming! At one point I was so stunned I closed my book and just thought about what I had just read. The level of thought put into the concoction of deceptions such as Brown’s; if they truly exist in the world well… but each reader will make of that what they will, but it makes for very gripping and very entertaining reading

There is some repetition within the novel, and at times the amount of paragraphs given to describing the numerous places and countries Inferno involves can be distracting from what is an otherwise a well-established plot. One does wonder how much of the description is for the scriptwriters of the film, and how much is for the actual readers.

Overall I think it’s a good addition to the adventures of Robert Langdon. Fans should find it enjoyable to read but also those just being introduced to Dan Brown’s novels will find they can equally enjoy the novel without needing to have read any of his previous books. Despite the numerous negative reviews out there this series will always be one of my favourites and I will continue to buy Brown’s novels, simply because of the experience I get when reading them.

© Gemma Feltham 15 June 2014

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