Book Reviews

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Acquisitions: The Plague Legacy Book 1
Christine Haggerty
Fox Hollow Publications
Street: 12.06.13
Haggerty is a strong writer with mature prose, which means a lot in this day and age. She has talent for description, and built a sympathetic protagonist—but the failure here is a lack of world-building to justify the dystopian setting. There was too much focus on rivalry and a boring love triangle at the expense of the legitimate obstacles of a post-apocalyptic world. Chapters introduce new settings as the featureless militarized Regulators and their orphan Acquisitions head for the city of Salvation, but the only real tension arises from the constant head-butting of protagonist Cam and his inexplicably homicidal bully, Devon—who repeatedly finds Cam alone, inflicts some wound and then is interrupted before he can do any real damage. The group made it across a ravaged America in just over a week, and was only once accosted by feral dogs. Orphanages, disease, starvation and destroyed cities are not enough to sell the horror of dystopia—I can find worse on the news. The book became stale before it was halfway over, and the resolution of the rivalry at the book’s end only left me wondering: Why did that take so long? Thus, the setting seems to have been chosen for its trendy appeal rather than its necessity to the plot. Understandably, this book is setting up a (hopefully) bigger story, but that’s not really an excuse for repetition here. –Megan Kennedy

Daft Punk: A Trip Inside The Pyramid
Diana Santorelli
St. Martin’s Press
Street: 01.21.13
This modified high school textbook is not just a boring history lesson on Daft Punk. Each page is filled with the progression of both Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Hommem-Christo’s first spark of inspiration to their current music. Deep Daft, a reccuring section in the DP textbook, provides short tangents to broaden your view of electronic music by giving a four-on-the-floor breakdown of the electronic genre with loosely related fun facts. Did you know that DP did the score for Tron: Legacy, which features Jeff Bridges from the original Tron? Learning is fun! On top of the band’s history lesson, a broad timeline of electronic music is explained, starting with the forefathers of electronic, Kraftwerk, and Moog instruments, followed by branching into the many degrees of “electronic” music. The book contains a great amount of knowledge overall, both related and unrelated to DP. A great textbook read, and the best part: no “Homework.” –Joshua Joye

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal
Mary Roach
W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Street: 04.01.13
Pull up your big-kid pants and get ready for some shit-talk, and not the type that first comes to mind. Gulp is the adult version of the digestive system episode of The Magic School Bus. Roach takes a cool and didactic role, dealing with everything from how your sense of smell dictates your sense of taste, to how fecal enemas could change the world, like your badass aunt/uncle who taught you about all of the things your mother and father were afraid to discuss. So don’t be frightened by the idea of your colon—we’re all adults here. The information conveyed in Gulp is engaging, technical and delightfully awkward (key word: delightfully). Your alimentary canal is as equal a part of you as your skin or your mind and, as Roach taught me, important beyond what most of the United States (see: world) currently understands. If you’re into reading things as silly as they are serious, I implore you to pick up a copy of this book. It could change your life. –LeAundra Jeffs

Interesting Drug
Shaun Manning
Illustrator: Anne Wieszczyk
Boom! Studios
Street: 05.28
Interesting Drug hit the shelves at a good time, right as the new X-Men movie has us contemplating the possibility of changing the past. One evening, a man claiming to be from the future approaches college dropout Andrew Smith and hands him pills. Pills he claims will allow him to travel back along his own timeline. Turns out, this drop-out helped create this time drug called Chro-Noz. He is tempted by the thought everyone struggles with, what if he could go back in time and change his past? Interesting Drug takes a fresh look at the idea of altering history and whether or not it’s feasible. The story is heartbreaking, intense, and clever in its use of antagonists. The artwork shifts color tone in past and present scenes, easing the time travel confusion. The drug itself is not the issue, it’s the abuse of the drug that causes trouble amongst the masses. While not addictive, would users become addicted to revisiting their past? That is the question that lingers through the pages, leaving the readers to consider their own histories. –Rebecca Frost

The People Inside
Ray Fawkes
Oni Press
Street: 08.13
I read The People Inside on my iPad, a format on which it should absolutely not be read. It should be read in book form, all the panels visible at once. The pages tell twelve different stories of twelve different relationships. The words on each panel read like a song, a song I would love to hear the melody to. The stories are real. Some stories end happily, some end tragically. The illustrations are simply black and white, but as time goes on, as we pass, our panels turn black with no more story to tell. And it’s heart-wrenching. If there is one thing the author tries to impart, it is that we are who we are on the inside and nothing can change that. Who we are defines our relationships and how we react to them. It is hard to read at points, as it illustrates domestic violence and harsh truths. But I would strongly encourage anyone who has ever doubted themselves or loved to read The People Inside. I read The People Inside on my iPad, a format on which it should absolutely not be read. It should be read in book form, all the panels visible at once. I was able to read the book in hardcover format, which improved the story by 1000%. When holding the book, experiencing the individual stories is beautiful. The pages tell twelve different stories of twelve different relationships. The words on each panel read like a song, a song I would love to hear the melody to. The stories are real. Some stories end happily, some end tragically. The illustrations are simply black and white, but as time goes on, as we pass, our panels turn black with no more story to tell. And it’s heart wrenching. If there is one thing the author tries to impart, it is that we are who we are on the inside and nothing can change that. Who we are defines our relationships and how we react to them. It is hard to read at points, as it illustrates domestic violence and harsh truths. But I would strongly encourage anyone who has ever doubted themselves or loved to read The People Inside. -Rebecca Frost

Rust Volume 3: Death of the Rocket Boy
Royden Lepp
Boom! Studios
Street: 05.13
When I started reading this third volume of Rust, I realized immediately I could not fathom the history of this story without starting from the beginning. I sought out the first two volumes and I am so glad I did. Threads and plot points from the very beginning come back around and start to make sense. The book and the series exploit that childlike wonder the lurks deep down within. It inspires the budding adventurer that hid long ago. It’s the perfect series to give to a child coming into their own as they discover things that are interesting. I felt the pain the characters felt, all through brown and sepia toned artwork. The small and simple drawings are filled with emotion and fragility, but with enough action and lightheartedness to not make it a huge bummer. I want kids to read it. I want parents to read it with their kids. Or even adults who are still children at heart because it will please, without fail. –Rebecca Frost

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