Sunday, January 22, 2017

Books: 2016 in Review

Time for my annual-ish project of recapping the books I read in the previous year. Lots of graphic novels once again really juiced the total. I'm going to eschew the links to the Goodreads reviews to save me time this year, but you can see them all here.

Brian Michael Bendis is now my most-read author, after not making the top 10 two and half years ago. Robert Silverberg slipped out of the top 10 as a result.

Brian Michael Bendis (16)

  • Jessica Jones: Alias, Vol. 1. 5 stars. "This volume is a nice exploration of the seedy side of Marvel."
  • Guardians of the Galaxy/All-New X-Men: The Trial of Jean Grey. 4 stars. "A fun Guardians/X-men crossover."
  • Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 3: Guardians Disassembled. 4 stars. "This did a good job at reminding you who each of the Guardians were, while still moving along the story." 
  • Jessica Jones: Alias, Vol. 2. 5 stars. "I continue to enjoy the comic more than the TV show (and I enjoy the show)."
  • Alias, Vol. 3: The Underneath.
  • Ultimate Comics Spider-Man - Volume 2. 4 stars. "It felt like it moved a little slowly."
  • Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man, by Brian Michael Bendis, Volume 3.  3 stars. "It descended into Ultimate Universe silliness with Captain America as President and the Battle of Wyoming. Whatever." 
  • Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 4: Original Sin. 3 stars. "If you want GotG to deal with the Cancerverse and Venom, this is the book for you. I don't." 
  • Jessica Jones - The Pulse: The Complete Collection. 5 stars. "If I had any complaints, it was that the plot jumped from this to that, but it's a comic book, what did I expect?"
  • Daredevil by Brian Michael Bendis & Alex Maleev Ultimate Collection, Book 1. 4 stars.
  • Ultimate Comics Spider-Man by Brian Michael Bendis Volume 4. 4 stars. "Some quality Miles Morales storytelling." 
  • Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, Vol. 5
  • Daredevil by Brian Michael Bendis & Alex Maleev Ultimate Collection, Book 2. 4 stars. 
  • Daredevil by Brian Michael Bendis & Alex Maleev Ultimate Collection, Book 3. 4 stars.
  • Spider-Man: Miles Morales Vol. 1 (Spider-Man (2016-)). 4 stars. " This is just as good as you'd expect given Bendis' previous Miles Morales work."
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: New Guard, Volume 1: Emperor Quill. 3 stars. 
    •   

James S. A. Corey (8)

  • Drive. 4 stars.  "This 7-page story is the long version of [the opening paragraph of Leviathan Wakes]. It's good, but not as good as the [that] paragraph." 
  • Leviathan Wakes. 4 stars. "I found the story compelling and enjoyable, but I am not quite sure what to think of the turn it took halfway through." 
  • Caliban's War. 4 stars. "I continue to enjoy this series. I'm still not 100% sure about the genre mishmash." 
  • The Butcher of Anderson Station. 4 stars.  "A bit short for two bucks, but something to pass the time while I have the next book in the series on hold."
  • Abbadon's Gate. 4 stars. "I enjoyed this more than I expected."
  • Gods of Risk. 4 stars. "I thought the main character was really well-drawn, as a teenager in over his head -- as most teenagers are."
  • Cibola Burn.
  • Nemesis Games. 

Matt Fraction (4)

  • Hawkeye, Volume 1. 5 stars. "It's a clever, snappy, above-average comic book that was still a lot more fun than it should have been."
  • Hawkeye, Volume 3: L.A. Woman. 4 stars. "It was still good fun particularly since I enjoy the more down-to-earth superhero antics."
  • Hawkeye, Volume 4: Rio Bravo. 4 stars.
  • The Immortal Iron Fist: The Complete Collection, Vol. 1. 4 stars. "It was good enough that I incurred overdue fines to finish it."

Scott Lynch (3)

  • The Lies of Locke Lamora. 4 stars. "This is a very good book, and it was fun to read."
  • Red Seas Under Red Skies. 3 stars. "It was exciting, and the characters were unique and fleshed-out."
  • Republic of Thieves. 4 stars. "The writing seemed to have matured."

Ryan North (3)

  • The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Volume 3: Squirrel, You Really Got Me Now. 4 stars. "Fun, without being cloying."
  • The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe. 4 stars. "This book worked pretty well as a satire of a variety of other Marvel Universe titles from years past."
  • The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Volume 4: I Kissed a Squirrel and I Liked It. 4 stars. "Charming."

Greg Pak (3)

  • Hulk: Planet Hulk. 2 stars. "It wasn't to my taste."
  • Hulk: WWH - World War Hulk. 3 stars. "A lot of smashing wrapped around a fairly straightforward story"
  • The Totally Awesome Hulk, Volume 1: Cho Time. 3 stars. "Some fun stuff but so, so, sexist." 

G. Willow Wilson (3)

  • Ms. Marvel: Vol. 5: Super-Famous. 3 stars. "It got a little silly in parts."
  • A-Force, Volume 0: War-Zones! 3 stars. "I was mildly entertained."
  • A-Force, Volume 1: Hypertime. 3 stars. 

Claudia Gray (2)

  • Bloodline.  4 stars. "This is the best of the new canon works that I've read."
  • Lost Stars. 4 stars. "This book did something that none of the other new Star Wars tie-in books did; it made me care about characters who weren't from the movies."

Jeff Lemire (2)

  • Hawkeye, Volume 5: All-New Hawkeye. 3 stars. "The storytelling wasn't as compelling as the previous amazing volume."
  • Descender, Vol. 1: Tin Stars. 3 stars. 

Greg Rucka (2)

  • Before the Awakening. 3 stars.
  • Shattered Empire. 3 stars.

Dan Slott (2)

  • Amazing Spider-Man: Worldwide, Vol. 1. 3 stars. "What dragged this down for me was how ridiculous Zodiac was as a villainous organization."
  • Amazing Spider-Man: Worldwide, Vol. 2. 3 stars.

Mike Benson (1)

  • Luke Cage: Avenger. 3 stars. "This was a mishmash of stuff."

Lois McMaster Bujold (1)

  • Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen. 4 stars. "It wasn't very exciting, as all of the conflict was internal." 

Ernest Cline (1)

  • Ready Player One. 3 stars.

Ta-Nehisi Coates (1)

  • Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet, Volume 1. 3 stars.

 Kelly Sue DeConnick (1)

  • Captain Marvel, Volume 2: Stay Fly. 3 stars

Luke Dempsey (1)

  • Club Soccer 101: The Essential Guide to the Stars, Stats, and Stories of 101 of the Greatest Teams in the World. 4 stars. "It fails to be 5 stars only because alphabetical order is a weird way to read them."

Steve Ditko (1)

  • The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl & The Great Lakes Avengers. 3 stars. "The real star of this book in my view is the Great Lakes Avengers who are an interesting group in their own right."

Alan Dean Foster (1)

  • The Force Awakens. 4 stars. "I liked it because I like the story from the film."

Jason Fry (1)

  • The Weapon of a Jedi - A Luke Skywalker Adventure. 3 stars. 

Kieron Gillen (1)

  • Darth Vader, Vol. 1: Vader. 4 stars. "It really captures the spirit of what made Darth Vader cool in the original trilogy without layering on too much new crap."

Sam Humphries (1)

  • Guardians of the Galaxy & X-Men: Black Vortex. 3 stars. "Parts of it were fun."

Jason LaTour (1)

  • Spider-Gwen, Vol. 1: Greater Power. 3 stars. "I didn't find it compelling."

 Ursula K. LeGuin (1)

  • The Daughter of Odren. 4 stars.

Kate Leth (1)

  • Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat!, Volume 1: Hooked On A Feline. 3 stars. "It was fine."

Jeff Loveness (1)

  • Groot

James Luceno (1)

  • Catalyst (Star Wars): A Rogue One Novel. 4 stars. "This was interesting in its own right."

Naomi Novik (1)

  • League of Dragons 

Ken Ono (1)

  • My Search for Ramanujan: How I Learned to Count. 4 stars. "Overall, I found the book very interesting."

Amy Reeder (1)

  • Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Vol. 1: BFF. 3 stars. "I liked Moon Girl. I did not like Devil Dinosaur."

J. K. Rowling (1)


  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay. 3 stars. "I wish Rowling would go back to writing novels."

Brandon Sanderson (1)

  • Calamity. 3 stars. "This series definitely did not live up to the potential of the first book."

John Sandford (1)


  • Saturn Run. 4 stars. "The second half of the book really kicked things up a notch."

Charles Soule (1)

  • Lando. 3 stars. "A pleasant enough read."

John Tiffany (1)

  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. 3 stars. "This relied heavily on one of the things that bothered me by the end of book seven, namely the inbred nature of the wizarding world."

Mark Waid (1)

  • Princess Leia. 4 stars. "It does what a tie-in should do by enriching the back story rather than complicating the events of the movies."

Walt Disney Company (1)

  • Star Wars: 5-Minute Star Wars Stories. 4 stars. "It's a good way to induct your kids into the cult of Star Wars even if they're too young to see the whole movies."

Ben H. Winters (1)

  • Underground Airlines. 4 stars.












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