Sunday, 22 November 2015

Thor Vol 2: Who Holds the Hammer? by Jason Aaron

Thor Vol 2: Who Holds the Hammer? is the second volume of collected issues in the pre-Secret Wars Thor run. The direct sequel to Thor: The Goddess of Thunder, more or less. This is another painfully volume padded out with extra material because of the Secret Wars deadline. It contains issues 6 to 8 of the comic sandwiched between the Thor Annual 2015 and a somewhat spoilerily titled What If? comic from 1978.

Who is Thor? That's the question on everyone's lips. Most especially Prince Odinson of Asgard. This volume, he starts to narrow down the list of suspects. Meanwhile, tensions continue to flare between the All-Mother and All-Father, Malekith forges his most dangerous pact yet, and Thor prepares to face her greatest challenge!

The Thor Annual issue contained three short stories by different creators. The first is set in the far future (with a disappointingly male Thor) and is an amusing enough story, also featuring super-old-Thor's granddaughters. The second story is the best and the main reason I was at all interested in the annual. Noelle Stevenson (from Nimona and Lumberjanes) tells a story of a couple of Odinson's friends trying to trick the new Thor into proving she isn't up to the job. Obviously, they fail spectacularly. The last story was pretty meh. It involved the former Thor, drinking and Loki's shenanigans. The art was also a bit too exaggerated for my liking.

The three issues of actual on-going Thor story were good, albeit brief. The biggest highlight was the reveal of new Thor's identity at the end. The ongoing search by Odinson for the new Thor could have gotten a bit old, but had a really fun resolution when he realised what he'd actually done was make a list of awesome Marvel Universe women. Cue cameos from all my favourite characters. And, of course, it more or less tied off a story arc, although not that finally. Definitely worth a read to follow the continuing story of Thor, although the bad guys aren't really my favourite (dark elves don't especially interest me).

And finally we have the 1978 What If? #10. I wish someone had told old school comics creators about showing instead of telling. They are so tedious to read with their unnecessary thought-bubble narration of what's drawn in the freaking panel. Sigh. I mean the old school art and unsubtle colours are one thing, but it's the text that really makes it unpleasant to read. It's also several (? or at least one) retcons old, so the story being rewritten bears no resemblance to the back story of modern day Thor (especially not if your starting reference point is the movies). Not to mention, the full title of this issue and its inclusion in this volume is a freaking spoiler, which I do not approve of. I understand why they wanted to pad out this volume and I approve of them doing so, but that doesn't mean I'm going to suddenly start enjoying old comics.

I'm not sure whether or how to recommend this volume. I definitely wouldn't suggest buying the hard cover (which is the only US paper edition that currently exists). The Annual wasn't bad, though, for two out of three stories, so if you're into Thor, it's one to consider. I am tempted to suggest just buying the individual issues, though, because I'm pretty sure three issues are going to be cheaper the whole volume, and really, they're the important part. I don't regret buying Who Holds the Hammer?, but if you're into digital comics and don't have strong feelings about how things look on your physical book shelves, just get the main 3 issues and maybe the annual.

4 / 5 stars

First published: July 2015, Marvel (my edition UK paperback since the US editions are only hardcover so far)
Series: Thor 2014 Vol 2 of 2 (to be followed by Mighty Thor 2015) 
Format read: Trade paperback
Source: Forbidden Planet, London

Friday, 20 November 2015

Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie

Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie is the third and final book in the Imperial Radch trilogy. You can read my reviews of the first two books, Ancillary Justice and Ancillary Sword, at those links.

For a moment, things seem to be under control for the soldier known as Breq. Then a search of Atheok Station's slums turns up someone who shouldn't exist - someone who might be an ancillary from a ship that's been hiding beyond the empire's reach for three thousand years. Meanwhile, a messenger from the alien and mysterious Presger empire arrives, as does Breq's enemy, the divided and quite possibly insane Anaander Mianaai - ruler of an empire at war with itself.

Anaander is heavily armed and extremely unhappy with Breq. She could take her ship and crew and flee, but that would leave everyone at Athoek in terrible danger. Breq has a desperate plan. The odds aren't good, but that's never stopped her before.

When everyone was making a fuss about the pronouns in Ancillary Justice (in the main language there is only one gender and it is translated into English as "she") and decrying it as a feminist text, I was wondering what book they had read. The book I read did not have strong feminist themes and was mainly about colonialism. I have to admit I didn't think very much about themes in Ancillary Sword, but this final volume, Ancillary Mercy, deals very interestingly with ideas of sentience and personhood, particularly when it comes to AIs. Perhaps not a surprising development given the main character and first person narrator is/was a ship. But it is interesting that many of the questions raised took so long to come to the fore. Reading this book, I was thinking "yes, this makes perfect sense given what we know" and then being baffled when other characters didn't agree with me/Breq and friends.

Another strength of Ancillary Mercy comes from the very fact that it is the third book in the series. We know the key characters well, we already care about them and there aren't a huge number of new characters to have to remember. Leckie deals well with the character stuff, not letting the story be completely taken over by action and external events (something I have had issues with in other SF books). My favourite parts were small interactions between often minor characters, like the soldiers' protective feelings towards their lieutenants and Breq. As well as characterisation, the universe is very well developed. Leckie makes us care about tea sets! Plural!

Ancillary Mercy was a great conclusion to the series and I had trouble putting it down. I enjoyed it more than Ancillary Sword, which I gave 5 stars to already. They're not wildly different books (Ancillary Justice, which sets everything up and has a lot of flashbacks is the most different in structure to the other two) and I think Ancillary Mercy was my favourite mainly because the comic relief characters were funnier. Which is kind of an odd thing to say since this is hardly a comedy, but it is what distinguished Ancillary Mercy for me. (Although of the three I find Ancillary Justice the most iconic).

I highly recommend this series to all fans of space opera and hard SF. It's really excellent and showcases Leckie's writing talents and worldbuilding skills. This concluding volume was great and although it didn't tie up everything — the series ended up showing us a self-contained slice of a very large conflict — it was still satisfying. A must read! (But start with the first book.)

5 / 5 stars

First published: October 2015, Tor
Series: Imperial Radch book 3 of 3
Format read: ePub
Source: Google Play

Friday, 6 November 2015

Of Sorrow and Such by Angela Slatter

Of Sorrow and Such by Angela Slatter is a novella released as part of's new novella line. It's set in the same world as The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings and Sourdough and Other Stories, two collections that have either won awards or been shortlisted. However, that doesn't mean you have to have read anything else to enjoy this book. Of Sorrow and Such stands quite nicely alone.

Mistress Gideon is a witch. The locals of Edda's Meadow, if they suspect it of her, say nary a word-Gideon has been good to them, and it's always better to keep on her good side. Just in case.

When a foolish young shapeshifter goes against the wishes of her pack, and gets herself very publicly caught, the authorities find it impossible to deny the existence of the supernatural in their midst any longer; Gideon and her like are captured, bound for torture and a fiery end.

Should Gideon give up her sisters in return for a quick death? Or can she turn the situation to her advantage?

This novella is about an older woman living alone with a teenage adopted daughter, who dispenses herbal medicine to the residents of her village. It's mostly women that come to her or people with urgent problems who can't wait for the "real" (i.e. male) doctor's next visit. There is a lot of social commentary on how women are treated patriarchal societies when they don't have any power. And also how they're treated when they do, inconveniently, dare to have power. Because the main character, Patience, is a witch and spends a lot of her time looking out for both disadvantaged women and fellow witches. She's not a nice person, but she is a practical one, which is part of her charm. I quite liked her and her philosophy of doing what was needed. I haven't read Sourdough and Other Stories, yet, so this was my first introduction to her.

Of Sorrow and Such starts off by setting the scene, which can make it feel a bit slow, but Slatter's writing is so lovely that it's a consistently very readable story. It does pick up in the second half, however, and I had difficulty putting it down at that point (despite my desperate need for sleep).

I quite enjoyed this novella and it definitely makes me want to get around to Sourdough sooner rather than later (not sure that will be possible, alas). I highly recommend this story to fans of Slatter's other stories and to fans of fantasy generally. It's a little bit dark, but it's definitely not horror.

4.5 / 5 stars

First published: October 2015, (available from ebook shops rather than on their website)
Series: Set in the same world as The Bitterwood Bible and Sourdough and Other Stories, but stands alone fine
Format read: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Challenges: Australian Women Writers Challenge

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Dangerous by Shannon Hale

Dangerous by Shannon Hale is a YA science fiction book and the first I've read by the author. I picked it up a while ago (I think it was as part of my "let's read all the books with disabled protagonists" thing in the lead up to Defying Doomsday). I finally got around to reading it, partly because I was in the mood for some YA, and partly because of the recent announcement that she'll be writing Captain Marvel and Squirrel Girl tie in novels. I figured I should make sure her writing was all right before getting too excited.

Maisie ‘Danger’ Brown needs excitement. When she wins a harmless-sounding competition to go to astronaut boot camp, that’s exactly what she gets . . . But she never imagined it would feature stumbling into a terrifying plot that kills her friends and might just kill her too. Now there’s no going back. Maisie has to live by her middle name if she wants to survive – and she’ll need to be equally courageous to untangle the romance in her life too. A clever, suspenseful thriller-adventure by New York Times bestselling author and master storyteller Shannon Hale.

The thing that stood out for me most, reading Dangerous, was how not formulaic it was. For whatever reason, I was expecting a fairly formulaic read set in space about a girl with no arm. It wasn't set in space either, except very briefly. It was about a girl with no hand on one of her arms, so that part was right, although note how it's not mentioned in the blurb while the space bit is. No wonder I was surprised. Actually, the only expected element of this book was the part with the world being saved. But I'm getting a bit ahead of myself.

Maisie is a smart teenager whose two scientist parents have decided to home-school her. (And hence she has one friend, a fellow home-school-ee.) She enters a competition on the back of a cereal box to go to astronaut boot camp and wins a spot. I always enjoy female protagonists that are into science and Maisie definitely doesn't disappoint on that front.

In terms of plot, I was surprised that the astronaut boot camp was over pretty quickly and was just a set up for the next phase of the novel. Even more surprising was that the next phase was also fairly transient. (I realise these statements are vague, but I'm trying to avoid spoilers.) The story does not take the most direct route to get to the end, which kept me wondering what would happen next until more than half way through (at which point the saving the world part became more obvious).

I liked the romantic story line in Dangerous for a few reasons. First it was absolutely not the main part of the story, second, it wasn't a love triangle, despite how it first may have appeared. Most importantly, Maisie prioritises saving the world and the safety of her family over any boys she may or may not have feelings for. She's also not too blindly trusting, especially once she has reason to be suspicious, which I appreciated.

Oh and I should mention the science. There was only one physics thing the author got wrong that bothered me (the space elevator trip did not take them high enough to be weightless, they would have felt a diminished gravitational pull the entire time). Which did bother me but didn't make me angry, just disappointed. It's at the level of physics knowledge that the characters themselves should've had, which is the most irritating part. But everything else was fine or at least hand-wavingly explained away by alien magic.

I quite enjoyed Dangerous and I am definitely interested in reading more books by Shannon Hale. I'm not sure all her books are for me — for example, I'll stick with the movie of Austenland and probably won't bother with the books for younger readers, but I am definitely up for Captain Marvel and Squirrel Girl. Marvel tie-ins aside, I will definitely be keeping an eye out for any future books from Hale that align with my interests. I definitely recommend Dangerous to all fans of YA science fiction.

4.5 / 5 stars

First published: 2014, Bloomsbury
Series: No.
Format read: ePub
Source: Purchased from iBooks

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Bitch Planet Book 1: Extraordinary Machine by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine de Landro

Bitch Planet Book 1: Extraordinary Machine written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and illustrated and co-created by Valentine de Landro is the first volume of collected comics in an on-going series. As you can probably guess from the title, it's not a comic for children, although I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to mid-teens and older audiences. The blurb on goodreads is quite unhelpful, so instead I'm going to transcribe what is written on the back of my trade.

Are you NON-COMPLIANT? Do you FIT in your BOX? Are you too fat, too thin, too loud, too shy, too religious, too secular, too prudish, too sexual, too queer, too black, too brown, too whatever-it-is-they'll-judge-you-for-today?

You just may belong on... BITCH PLANET!

The quickest way to describe this comic, in my opinion, is "Orange Is The New Black in spaaaaace". It's not quite the same, of course, and the plot follows a different direction and a different kind of woman. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The premise is a dystopian future where the patriarchy sends "non-compliant" women to a prison on another planet. And being non-compliant can cover anything from murder to obesity to not wanting to be an over-medicated housewife who lives only to please her husband. The women on Bitch Planet are, of course, all interesting characters (while the men that send them there are less so). Even more interesting and yet to be explored in great depth are the women who work on Bitch Planet as guards etc.

The main plot that loosely ties these five issues together is the building of an inmate megaton team. They're to be the first female team and will play against some male teams. Or is it all a ploy to dispose of the most aggressive and athletic inmates? That said, the megaton team organising does not strongly dominate the plot. For example the first issue introduces us to Bitch Planet (with a bait-and-switch) and issue 3 focuses on the back story of one of the inmates, Penelope.

There's a lot of nudity in Bitch Planet, but most of it is not sexualised, which is a nice change. But if you're the kind of person who absolutely does not want to see a large number of naked female bodies in your comic... well that strikes me as a bad reason to skip Bitch Planet, but at least you've been warned.

Bitch Planet is an excellent comic that I will definitely continue reading as the trades come out. It's particularly good at taking unpleasant aspects of modern life and pushing them to the horrifying extreme. Some of those extremes resemble 1950s housewifery, but others don't seem that far away from modern reality, unfortunately. I highly recommend it to most readers, especially anyone interested in a feminist book with a very diverse cast of characters.

4.5 / 5 stars

First published: October 2015, Image Comics
Series: Bitch Planet, ongoing series. Collects issues #1–5
Format read: Trade paperback, although I also got a digital ARC
Source: non-Amazon online bookshop / publisher via NetGalley

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

The Illustrated Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JK Rowling and Jim Kay

The Illustrated Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone written by JK Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay is, basically, a large-format, glossy, illustrated version of the first beloved Harry Potter book. Do I need to put a blurb in? Well, I wouldn't want to break the flow of my blog...

Prepare to be spellbound by Jim Kay's dazzling depiction of the wizarding world and much loved characters in this full-colour illustrated hardback edition of the nation's favourite children's book – Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Brimming with rich detail and humour that perfectly complements J.K. Rowling's timeless classic, Jim Kay's glorious illustrations will captivate fans and new readers alike.

When a letter arrives for unhappy but ordinary Harry Potter, a decade-old secret is revealed to him that apparently he's the last to know. His parents were wizards, killed by a Dark Lord's curse when Harry was just a baby, and which he somehow survived. Leaving his unsympathetic aunt and uncle for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry stumbles upon a sinister mystery when he finds a three-headed dog guarding a room on the third floor. Then he hears of a missing stone with astonishing powers, which could be valuable, dangerous – or both. An incredible adventure is about to begin!

I enjoyed reading this edition with it's illustrations every few pages. It probably helped that there's been a few years' distance since my last read of the series but I found myself paying attention to small details that hadn't necessarily stuck in my mind. Or maybe it was a case of reading the words arranged differently on the larger pages.

The illustrations were nice and it was interesting to see that Kay did not stick to making the characters look like their actors. Keeping in mind that I'm not an art expert, I think a variety of media were used for different illustrations. As far as I could tell, there were water colours, pencil and, er, thicker paint. (Oil paint? I don't know. Can you tell I wasn't paying that much attention in art class?)

As well as illustrations of the actual story and characters, there were also a few pages that were excerpts from in-universe books. For example, a page showing different types of dragon eggs. There were also some lovely details in the art that weren't explicit in the text like the extra shops in Diagon Alley and Hagrid's keys, which certainly added to my enjoyment of the story. Right now, Bloomsbury's Harry Potter website has a lot of info about the new illustrated edition including some previews of the art. Have a look if you're on the fence about buying it.

Harry Potter is Harry Potter and if you haven't already read it, I can't imagine anything I could say would change that. If you're wondering whether to get this particular edition, then I would say probably yes. Y'know, depending on the factors going into your decision, like price (it isn't cheap). It strikes me that this would be a very nice edition to read to children as their first exposure of Harry Potter, especially if they're young. As far as I've managed to ascertain, Bloomsbury (and presumably the US publisher) are planning to release one volume a year so if you start now with 10–11 year olds, they can keep up being the same age as Harry and friends through to the end. (And more reliably so than when the books were originally coming out. I started off being the same age as the characters, but with longer delays between books that did not last, alas.) At any rate, I eagerly await the illustrated Chamber of Secrets coming next year.

4.5 / 5 stars

First published: October 2015, Bloomsbury
Series: Harry Potter, book 1 of 7
Format read: Hardcover
Source: Online, non-Amazon-owned bookshop

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Thor Vol 1: Goddess of Thunder by Jason Aaron

Thor Vol 1: Goddess of Thunder written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by Russell Dauterman is the first collected volume of comics about the new female Thor. I bought the only paperback version currently available which is the UK edition. Tragically, that means the spine doesn't match all my other Marvel comics, which makes me sad (but not sad enough to fork out for the hardcover which would not match in a different way).

Mjolnir lies on the moon, unable to be lifted! Something dark has befallen the God of Thunder, leaving him unworthy for the first time ever! But when Frost Giants invade Earth, the hammer will be lifted - and a mysterious woman will be transformed into an all-new version of the mighty Thor! Who is this new Goddess of Thunder? Not even Odin knows...but she may be Earth's only hope against the Frost Giants! Get ready for a Thor like you've never seen before, as this all-new heroine takes Midgard by storm! Plus: the Odinson clearly doesn't like that someone else is holding his's Thor vs. Thor! And Odin, desperate to see Mjolnir returned, will call on some very dangerous, very unexpected allies. It's a bold new chapter in the storied history of Thor!

The premise here is that Thor Odinson, the Thor we had gotten used to (and the Thor in the movies) becomes unworthy of his hammer and no longer able to lift it. Since mjolnir is a magic hammer, no one else can lift it either until another worthy person comes along. It just so happens that this worthy person, who becomes Thor as soon as she picks up the hammer, is a woman.

We do not find out the identity of the new Thor in this volume. Instead the story deals with her getting used to her powers and coming to terms with her new role. We also see Odinson moping about and feeling sorry for himself, Odin being angry and a bit of a tool, and of course there are frost giants and other bad guys for Thor to fight. Speaking of other bad guys, this comic convinced me that Titania is 100% the best Marvel villain. You'll have to read it to see why. (Titania was also in She-Hulk, if you want to cross-reference.)

I rather enjoyed this comic. One of my favourite parts was, especially in the first few issues, when Thor speaks in the Asgardian font and formal language but has thought bubbles in more standard English and plain font. It made for a nice interplay. And — ignoring the fact that I was spoiled as to her secreted identity before I started reading — that did give me the hint that she's human rather than Asgardian. Not a prevailing theory once Odinson starts trying to work out her secret identity.

Thor: Goddess of Thunder is a pretty good read. I found her to be a compelling character and there were some nice anti-sexist bits. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys superhero comics (and female characters). I will definitely be picking up the next volume (even if it's a bit stunted thanks to accursed events Secret Wars).

4 / 5 stars

First published: April 2015, Marvel Comics (I have the UK trade paperback because there's weird stuff with the US editions only being hardcover)
Series: Yes. The 2014 Marvel NOW! run of Thor. Contains issues #1–5 in a series that's ongoing but that will be re-numbered after Secret Wars
Format read: Trade paperback
Source: Physical book shop

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson is a collected webcomic which tells a single story over the rather lengthy volume. It's a fantasy story set in a world that also has futuristic/magical technology/science.

Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel is perfect for the legions of fans of the web comic and is sure to win Noelle many new ones.

Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren't the heroes everyone thinks they are.

But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona's powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.

At about 260 pages, it's much heftier than the comics I'm used to reading. But on the other hand, it was nice to read a fully fleshed-out and complete story in one volume. Nimona is a shapeshifter who decides that she wants to be sidekick to a arch villain. She's the sort of person that just does what she wants, so Ballister, the villain, is powerless to stop her. Well, there's also the part where she's actually insanely powerful as far as shapeshifters go.

The story is mostly about Nimona egging Ballister on and helping him make nefarious plans (and pushing his plans too far). The world it's set in sort of initially seems like a fairly traditional fantasy world, with knights and jousts, but then we see that they have technology as well as magic, with TV, computers and magic-related technology. I also really loved the character of Nimona. It was kind of empowering seeing a female character be powerful and allowed to do whatever she wants (mostly). (Of course there were complications because otherwise there wouldn't be a plot.)

Nimona was a fun read. It's not quite the kind of comic I usually read but it's definitely the kind I would read again. And as I said at the start, it was satisfying to have a complete and somewhat lengthy comic story all in one volume.

4.5 / 5 stars

First published: May 2015, Harper Teen
Series: No. Self-contained.
Format read: Paperback
Source: Non-Amazon-owned online book shop

Friday, 16 October 2015

Tsana's October Status stressed. But I just handed in a deadline thing so theoretically I can relax and breath a little bit. For a few days. Maybe. The weekend at least.

I've been reading a lot of comics because they are kind of easier to deal with right now. I keep jumping around novels, reading several at once and not finishing anything because I'm reading each individual thing too slowly. So there have been a lot of comic book reviews in the past month, is what I'm saying.

What Have I Read?

As I said, mostly comics.

What Am I Reading?

A bunch of stuff. Most actively, I'm reading Nimona, a collected webcomic by Noelle Stevenson. It's surprisingly thick, as far as comic book collections go, so it's taking me a few days of reading in bed.

I'm also listening to the audiobook of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak during my commutes... which are not particularly long so it's been taking a while.

Aaaand... I'm still reading Blood and Dust by Jason Nahrung and Empire Ascendant by Kameron Hurley. The latter is a bit too heavy and difficult to deal with when I'm stressing about other stuff. Blood and Dust is a better fit.

New Booksies

Of which many are also comics. So it goes. Purchased unless otherwise noted.
  • Saga Volume 1 by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples — already reviewed
  • The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol 1: Squirrel Power by Ryan North — already reviewed
  • Invisible Republic Vol 1 by Gabriel Hardman — ARC from NetGalley and already reviewed
  • The Infinite Loop by Pierrick Colinet — ARC from NetGalley and already reviewed
  • The first five books by Ben Aaronovitch starting with Rivers of London, because they were on sale. (Yay for price-matching, I was able to buy them for the equivalent of £2 each from Google Play rather than Amazon) Probably won't read them for a while.
  • Bitch Planet Vol 1: Extraordinary Machine by Kelly Sue DeConnick — ARC from NetGalley and also trade paperback purchased
  • Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie — hotly anticipated, preorderd the ebook and it finally came out
  • Dreamer's Pool by Juliet Marillier — free book of the week on iBooks, whoo
  • Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins — the sequel to Hex Hall
  • The Illustrated Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JK Rowling and Jim Kay — Duh.


Wednesday, 14 October 2015

The Wicked + The Divine Vol 2: Fandemonium by Kieron Gillen

The Wicked + The Divine Vol 2: Fandemonium written by Kieron Gillen and illustrated by Jamie McKelvie is the second collected volume of comics in the ongoing series. You can read my review of the first volume here. This review (and the blurb) contains spoilers for Volume 1.

The second volume of the award-winning urban fantasy series where gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. Following the tragic and unjust death of Lucifer, it takes a revelation from Inanna to draw Laura back into the worlds of Gods and Superstardom to try and discover the truth behind a conspiracy to subvert divinity.

This volume picks up where the first left off, with Laura trying to deal with Luci's sudden death. She's determined to find out exactly what happened and throws herself more deeply into the world of the gods in the meantime. There are parties, late nights (that last two days), drugs and smoking. Ordinary teenage rebellions which take on a divine light when the gods are involved.

Apart from Laura, the story also continues to follow the rise of the gods. The last two gods are revealed and it seems that the stage is set for whatever it is they are supposed to do. But... what are they supposed to do? I suppose we'll find out later on. (But we do learn some more of their history in this volume.)

The ending of Fandemonium is intense and left me thinking "Wow, did that really just happen? ... But what will happen NEXT?!" Some bold storytelling choices, which I won't spoil.

If you enjoyed the first volume of The Wicked + The Divine, then you should definitely get your hands on this one if you can. It continues the same story and ups the ante. I really want to find out what happens next! (Looks like I'll only have to wait until December, whoo!)

4.5 / 5 stars

First published: July 2015, Image Comics
Series: Yes. Vol 2 of ongoing series, containing issues #6–11
Format read: Trade paperback
Source: Non-Amazon-owned online book shop