Inaccurate Realities Partial Cover Reveal

If you haven’t heard of Inaccurate Realities, you should. It’s Speculative Fiction Magazine that launched an Indiegogo campaign this past summer and is now getting ready to launch it’s first issue. All of this week, bloggers like myself are revealing parts of the cover before revealing the whole thing on September 27th, 2013 so check that out here.

Here’s the partial cover:

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For more info on Inaccurate Realities, check out their website and Goodreads page.

– A. A. Omer

You Read What? Book Review: Vicious

Author: V. E. Schwab

Publisher:  Macmillan

  • Imprint:  Tor

Date Published:  September 24th, 2013

Format: Paperback. ARC (Advanced Reader’s Copy)

Source: From the publisher for an honest review (More specifically, grabbed it at the BookExpo of America 2013)

Synopsis:

A masterful, twisted tale of ambition, jealousy, betrayal, and superpowers, set in a near-future world.

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.

Number of Days It Took to Read: 1

Cover: 

vicious

I love this cover. Looks even better in person and Victo Ngai is a genius.

The Writing Score: 5 out of 5

Recommendation: Must Read

Memorable or Forgettable: Memorable

Rating:  5 out of 5

Review:

 

I got this book at BEA (BookExpo of America) this past May and waited an hour (or was it two?) in line to have the lovely V.E. Schwab sign it (I also got her to pose with my Batman plushie which felt fitting given the theme of the book). I read it. I loved it.

 

No.

 

Love feels so…limiting. It feels mundane. It feels too abstract when this particular love was how I felt right after seeing The Avengers and The Dark Knight. It’s the same feeling I get whenever I listen to The Avengers by Alan Silvestri (The Avengers movie’s main theme). I get blurry eyed, salty droplets run down my face and this oddly warm ball of…hot fudge? erupts from my belly and into my chest (not actual hot fudge because that would be gross. Figurative hot fudge). I love superheroes and everything related that I’ve read so much on them through novels, comics, short stories, academic papers etc.

 

They’re my kryptonite.

 

Being so versed in the superhero genre means more work for the authors to impress me. This is not said from an egotistical standpoint but from someone who’s read so much from a particular genre that patterns form and so does the number of eye rolls. I like my superheroes and want them to be respected but I also expect them to be challenged in new ways. In Vicious, we have a story that isn’t about superheroes. It’s a story that challenges what we know about heroes and the super powered. I could say this was a story about supervillains but that’s also not entirely true and it would be far too simple.

 

Are you a villain when you do something bad in general or are you still one when you do something bad to bad people? What happens when doing the right thing happens to align with what you wanted to do for your own interests? Are you a hero then? A villain?

 

Vicious makes it’s home in the grey and manages to tug, and not drag, the superhero/villian genre along with it since the very concept of superheroes is very grey as well (see post on Superhero vs Vigilante). Let’s get past the fact that we have a well written story that’s both engaging and has made great use of it’s structure in regards to the ordering of time. This story has two great female supporting characters who have a great complex relationship with one another. The main protagonists make us doubt our belief in good and evil or, at the very least, in finding a “good” character designated in the story. There are none. At least not for the entire book and maybe not in the ideal sense of good or right.

 

Vicious is an outstanding book because it’s taken the extraordinary and made it something within our reach without diminishing the fantastical, high flying element. It’s avoided making the mistake of turning the “relatable”, in a world of the super powered, into the mundane and everyday. These individuals have superpowers. There’s no way this’ll ever be “realistic” and that’s the trap that most Hollywood types fall into. The realism and relatability happens with the character development. Who they are as people as opposed to their physical abilities or what is “possible” in the limiting sense within the external world. WHAT WILL THEY DO ONCE THEY HAVE THIS POWER? That’s the central question of the book and a question readers should as of themselves if put into a similar situation.

 

I can honestly say that this is one of the best books of 2013 in my very humble opinion and it’s out today for your consumption. So check it out and form your own views on good, evil and their very grey edges.

A. A. Omer

The opinions expressed here are mine and readers are welcome to disagree. In fact, I encourage it! I never believed in putting particular books or authors on some sort of universal pedestal but you’re free to put it on your individualized pedestal because I most certainly will.

[Blog Tour] Shadows by Paula Weston Guest Post

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Hey there Linh here. I’m both excited and honoured to host Paula Weston’s guest blog about her book, Shadows now out in bookstores all across North America. Read on to see Weston’s insight into the word changes between the Australian and North American versions of Shadows. Check out the other tour stops!

foolAbout Paula: Paula Weston is a writer-journalist-professional communicator with pH creative. Weston is also a huge fan of Australian literature, fantasy/paranormal writing across books, TV and film; comedy in addition to being a closeted comic reader and TV addict. Shadows, the first book in the four book Rephaim series published by Tundra Books in Canada is now out in stores with the second book, Haze coming out in Fall 2014. Weston currently resides in Brisbane with her husband, Murray and their pets, a retired greyhound and a moody cockatiel. (Taken from the author’s website)

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Not everything translates…even in English by Paula Weston

Australians, Americans and Canadians may speak the same language, but even in today’s globalized world there are still some words that don’t always translate between our cultures.

The Rephaim series is all about angels, half-angels, hellions and demons – definitely universal concepts. But the series is also set in Australia (mostly) and written by an Australian, and it turns out you guys aren’t necessarily familiar with all of our lingo.shadows

Which is why, if you compare the Australian edition of Shadows to the North American one, you’ll find a few small changes. The same happened for the edition of Shadows published in the United Kingdom earlier this year – though not necessarily with the same words.

It’s quite common for Australian books (or, specifically, books using terms that are particular to Australia) to be tweaked here and there for overseas markets, but as far as I can tell, the reverse generally isn’t true: I’m pretty sure most books coming to Australia from the US and Canada aren’t tweaked for us. Of course, Australians have long been familiar with North American terms, thanks to decades of pop cultural influence from TV shows, films, music and books. (I picked up a few ‘Americanisms’ from reading Stephen King as a teenager and watching The Cosby Show.)

For me as a writer, it’s important readers understand what I’m describing so they can stay immersed in the story, so I get the reasons behind these sorts of changes. But, by the same token, I’d still like the ‘Australian-ness’ of this series to shine through. So I’m incredibly pleased with the light touch Tundra Books has taken in bringing the Rephaim to North America.

When I realised I was writing a story about fallen angels, half-angels and hell spawn (because I didn’t know that’s what I was doing at first – but that’s another story), I already had the Australian setting in my mind. It made sense to me: Australia is my home. I love the feel of the place, the natural environment and the people. (And the thought of throwing in some very down-to-earth Aussies – like the dope-growing Butler brothers – in the midst of eons-old mythology was particularly appealing.)

But that has meant there are words that don’t work for all readers. In the Tundra edition, most of the changes are simple: ‘car park’ becomes ‘parking lot’; ‘bedhead’ becomes ‘headboard’; ‘takeaway’ becomes ‘takeout’.

And then there are those words that would simply have no meaning at all to North American readers (unless they hang out with Australians):

  • loo (washroom)
  • eggflip (spatula)
  • jumper (sweater)
  • stubbies (shorts); (‘stubbies’ is actually a brand of work shorts)
  • doona (blanket).

I love that much of the ‘local’ Australian flavour is still there through mentions of wildlife and vegetation. So here’s a quick visual guide to the birds, marsupials and trees mentioned in Shadows, in case you’re unfamiliar with them. I hope readers in the US and Canada enjoy the Australian setting and – more importantly – the story.  Thanks for having me on the blog.

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Lorikeet (photo credit: http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=download&id=553136)
Wallaby_cropped
Wallaby (photo credit: http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=download&id=1190980)
Moreton Bay Figimg_0068
Moreton Bay Fig (mine, no credit needed)
Jacaranda_cropped
Jacaranda (photo credit: http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=download&id=68758)
Poinciana_img_0305
Poinciana (mine, no credit needed)
IMG_0681
Eucalpyt/gum tree (mine, no credit needed)
Flying foxes_cropped
Fruit bats (also known as flying foxes): (photo credit: http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=download&id=617766)

 

I am a terrible person…and I’m back

Oh followers and readers of this blog…

I have failed you.

With injured wrists followed by the long, hot month of Ramadan which led to a reading slump and then just pure laziness normally associated with the last few weeks of summer before the stress of school,  I found myself neglecting this wonderful place that allowed me to voice my opinions that were at first uncalled for but now feverishly demanded. Ok, maybe not FEVERISHLY. Maybe looked forward to? Yes? Alright.

So I haven’t been completely and utterly useless the last few weeks. I’ve started a comics blog with the wonderful Christa from More Than Just Magic which I will link to my comics review page here. I’m very very excited for this project and hope you guys will check it out. It’s a Canadian flare to comics with all of your non-Canadian favourites as well (TheImprobableChuck.tumblr.com). School started as well which means I will be SUPER busy but this tends to mean I’m really great with updating the blog often with reviews and random nonsensical things.

Feel free to comment on the posts. No such thing as a stupid comment BUT there is such a thing as a disrespectful comment so none of that please.

That’s all. Thought I’d let you know that I am alive and have not forgotten about this blog.

A. A. Omer