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386 entries have been written about this.

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A review of "Rising Stars, Vol. 3: Fire And Ash" — 4 years ago


A high score based on the strength of the whole series. An interesting and uplifting story, not really providing tonnes of additional character insights, with one or two notable exceptions. The story proceeds quickly enough (maybe too quickly – a lot of time passes), with a number of tense and exciting moments.

A review of "Arana Volume 2: In The Beginning Digest (v. 2)" — 4 years ago


A continuation of the first volume, with not a whole lot of development, except a little bit of exposition about the Webcorps/Wasps backstory, and the relationship between the Hunter and the Mage.

I was happy to have seen a few of my “but, but, that just can’t continue on like this” points resolved (a little), but ultimately, I didn’t think there was much in this volume. The characters continue to leave me a little flat, so I think I’m going to leave the series for a while.

A review of "Arana Vol. 1: Heart of the Spider" — 4 years ago


A cute-ish beginning that introduces our heroine and a few of the major characters in her life. I like seeing Webcorps acgain, but am not entirely sure about AraƱa’s team, nor their interactions with one another. I think the problem is that the comic is written for teens, and as I close in on 40, the appeal of teen lit is fading. Or maybe it’s just teen comics.

The artwork is acceptable, although a tad exploitative. (Can you exploit a comics character?)

So, nothing earth-shattering, but there’s potential.

A review of "The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives" — 4 years ago


A decent introduction to probability and statistics with a few human interest stories about the mathematicians involved, just to add colour. The book is written in a pleasant, conversational style, and I really enjoyed the Shall We Dansu? reference. Oh, and a physically attractive book, with a really nice cover image and good texture.

Ultimately, I thought the book was trying to be too much for the space it had, and ended up being too little for any of the target audiences – not enough math for those interested in the science, and I’d suspect not enough human interest and/or business application for the rest of the readers. I’d’ve liked to have seen this book expanded, with greater depth in one direction or the other.

A review of "Emma, Vol. 4" — 4 years ago


This “review” isn’t really about volume 4 – I’m writing it after reading volumes 1-4 in a row, and my impressions have blurred together so much that I couldn’t distinguish one volume from the next if I wanted to.

A cute story. I’m not entirely sold on the character artwork (as usual for me, I have trouble distinguishing some of the characters, notably the minor ones – give me a panel with some of William’s sisters and a subset of their friends, and I’m completely lost), but the backgrounds and props are exquisitely done.

The maid + gentleman love story is not new, as has been noted, and feels a little fanciful to me, but still I root for Emma and William, even if I’m not as engaged as I was (for example) when yearning for Godai and Kyoko.

Kaoru clearly has a love of the subject matter and it comes through, but I was slightly thrown by what felt like an anachronism early on – William with a model airplane in 1895.

So, light and cute and entertaining, but nothing ground-breaking.


Hippopottoman — 4 years ago


The book isn’t perfect. A lot of people complain about the number of words that Stephenson coins, I can’t entirely disagree – they make the first few dozen pages rocky going. (Not The Name of the Rose difficult, but still a little work.) The thing that irked me most about the new words is that Stephenson makes a big deal about how he’ll call a root vegetable that has a role like a carrot a “carrot” even though it’s not really a carrot so as not to have to endlessly describe things, but then makes up a new word to mean “automobile”.

That being said, most of the new words made sense, and some of them are clever, blending two existing words so we get a new one with the sense of both.

In any event, the new words are quickly assimilated into our vocabulary and soon one begins not to notice them, so the reading gets easier.

And it’s good. Really good. Like I say, not perfect – the characters don’t quite come alive in the way that I’d like, but the world feels real, and the science feels like it’s working within a consistent framework. A few bits of the story drag a little, but the way that the world of Arbre is revealed to us, essentially peels back the layers of an onion from the inside, continually giving us a bigger and bigger picture to deal with. Stephenson’s clearly a bright guy who’s done his homework, and that really comes through in the work.

And ultimately, I enjoyed the story – mostly the pace was good, I liked the theoretical discussions and “calca”, and I loved the overall concept of the book. More deserving of the Hugo than The Graveyard Book, in my opinon. Highly recommended.

A review of "The Book of Negroes (Canadian Edition)" — 4 years ago


A really strong starter. I was immediately captivated by the voice the author used for Aminata, and the initial part of her journey is fascinating and packed with beauty, horrors, and intense emotion. The story remained interesting throughout and, assuming it’s an accurate representation of events, gave a good introduction to the various ways in which the slaves taken from Africa were treated and mistreated in the United States and Britain (Canada). Eventually, though, I became slightly less enamoured of the story – it was partly the fact that Aminata was a superwoman (although this is hardly an uncommon situation in books, and was perhaps the only way to present the story that Mr. Hill wanted to without resorting to following multiple main characters, which would’ve lessened the emotional impact – just for some reason I was really aware of her specialness) and I think partly due to the structure of the story. By presenting bits of the end first, then tracing us through her chronology, Aminata’s story became more and more constrained, funnelling down toward the end that we’d been led to expect. I found that this reduced the tension and anticipation somewhat, leading to a weaker finish than might’ve been. Still, a powerful book that tells a vital story. Recommended.

Hippopottoman — 4 years ago


Sad. Not a sad story, but sad that this is the end of the Rebus books.

The story was pretty good, but I mostly didn’t care about the whole Russian angle. We do get the usual coincidences and big web of connected people, which sometimes is fun, and sometimes grates. What makes this story, like many of the Rebuses, is the interactions of the characters we’ve come to love – watching Rebus, Siobhan, the other CID members, and even Cafferty deal with John’s impending retirement made for an excellent show.

A review of "The Composer Is Dead" — 4 years ago


Pretty good. I’m not entirely sold on the colour illustrations, but the black-and-white silhouettes are pretty good. The “story” is thin, aimed at giving a very brief overview of the instruments in an orchestra, but there are a few funny bits.

I saw the The Composer is Dead performed by the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony, read by Mr. Snicket, and even had Nathaniel Stookey sit next to me. The performance left the book by itself in the dust, and I’ll have to reread the book with the enclosed CD to see how that compares – I expect it’ll at least bump the rating up to 4 instead of 3

A review of "Free: The Future of a Radical Price" — 4 years ago


An interesting experiment (giving the book away for free in all but its dead tree form) and also an interesting book. In many ways an extension of the concepts explored in The Long Tail, Anderson continues to explore the ramifications of digital products. Instead of focusing on the effects of near-infinite stockrooms, this time he deals with how companies can survive (and thrive) on a business model based on giving large portions of their “goods” and services away for free.

While the topic was interesting, and Anderson’s writing style engaging, I felt let down by the lack of depth in the analyses. I felt that certain topics could have been more rigorously probed, and that only the surfaces were scratched.

Moreover, I was annoyed by the seeming lack of attention paid to details in the book – there were a number of instances where ratios were inverted, quantities miscalculated, and other errors made. Most glaring, Anderson calling Neil Gaiman’s “The Graveyard Book” “The Graveyard”. Most of these mistakes were small, but I found they accumulated, causing me to lose a little of my enjoyment.

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