Review: Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir

25111012*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

Title: Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir

Author: Stan Lee, Peter David, Colleen Doran

Publisher: Touchstone

Publication Date: October 2015

ISBN: 9781501107726

Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Stan Lee is a man who needs no introduction. The most legendary name in the history of comic books, he has been the leading creative force behind Marvel Comics, and has brought to life—and into the mainstream—some of the world’s best-known heroes and most infamous villains throughout his career. His stories—filled with superheroes struggling with personal hang-ups and bad guys who possessed previously unseen psychological complexity—added wit and subtlety to a field previously locked into flat portrayals of good vs. evil. Lee put the human in superhuman and in doing so, created a new mythology for the twentieth century. In this beautifully illustrated graphic memoir—illustrated by celebrated artist Colleen Doran—Lee tells the story of his life with the same inimitable wit, energy, and offbeat spirit that he brought to the world of comics. Moving from his impoverished childhood in Manhattan to his early days writing comics, through his military training films during World War II and the rise of the Marvel empire in the 1960s to the current resurgence in movies, Amazing Fantastic Incredible documents the life of a man and the legacy of an industry and career.

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Stan Lee fans with absolutely fall in love with this beautiful new memoir. It’s a fully coloured look back on what made the man who helped to create one of the most prolific writers/creators on the North American comic scene. If there’s any one thing to be said about this memoir, it’s absolutely gorgeous. It’s spans Stan Lee’s life from childhood until present, explaining to the read the highlights of this man’s incredibly successful life. These pages show how Marvel came into existence and touches on the creation of the many superheroes that we all know and love. If you’ve never read the stories of Spiderman or the Fantastic Four, you’ve at least heard of them. The recent boom in superhero movies speaks to how important these stories have become in our lives in the last 50+ years. Stan Lee entered the scene at the right time, coming into an emerging industry that he helped to form and shape.

It’s a fun and informative story about a man who is incredibly interesting. My only criticism is that this book really is Stan Lee’s way of tooting his own horn. I was a little sick of being reminded that  he is most wonderful by the end. This book is really anything but humble. But other than that, it’s a really interesting look into a fascinating life. It’s a great look into the life of a man who shaped the comic industry that we come today.

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Review: The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson

25776011*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Title: The Gap of Time

Author: Jeanette Winterson

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Publication Date: October 2015

ISBN: 9780345809179

The Gap of Time: The Winter's Tale Retold (Hogarth Shakespeare)

Synopsis from Goodreads:
The Winter’s Tale is one of Shakespeare’s “late plays”. It tells the story of Leontes, King of Sicily, whose insane jealousy results in the banishment of his baby daughter, Perdita, from the kingdom and then the death of his beautiful wife, Hermione. Perdita is brought up by a shepherd on the Bohemian coast, but through a series of miraculous events, father and daughter, and eventually mother too, are reunited. In Jeanette Winterson’s retelling we move from London, a city reeling after the 2008 financial crash, to a storm-ravaged city in the US called New Bohemia. Her story is one of childhood friendship, money, status, video games and the elliptical nature of time. It tells in a hyper-modern way, full of energy and beauty, of the consuming power of jealousy on the one hand, and love, redemption and a lost child on the other.

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Winterson’s The Passion solidified me as an avid fan of her works, but after reading The Gap of Time I’ve become a lifer. I’m incredibly excited about this novel and I’m so happy to have the chance to review it for you. For any Shakespeare fans out there, The Gap of Time is a modern adaptation of The Winter’s Tale. This is a story that I was familiar with, but just in case you aren’t, Winterson provides a quick synopsis of the play to get you going.

This story is metafictive in that it knows it’s a fictional adaptation of a play. It acknowledges the original and moves forward to retell the story from there. The novel flows from a recap of the play, to the retelling, to an analysis and a brief history at the end. Her explanation at the end is as much a part of the novel as the fictional stories. It’s an identifying factor of metafiction to include interruptions from the speaker/writer, including footnotes or endnotes, or in this case, a discussion at the end. I am a huge fan of metafiction, but even more so when it’s accessible to a large audience. If you’ve never encountered metafiction before, this is a great place to start. The Winter’s Tale is a familiar story that’s easy to pick up and Winterson structures it in a fun and engaging way where the novel itself acknowledges its fictitiousness. It’s modern and edgy, and yet again shows how Shakespeare is a masterful writer whose stories are classics that apply in any age.  Some people may not find it relatable, but it’s a genre of writing that I’ve come to love.

I loved the characters and Winterson’s adaption of them. She brought Shakespeares creation into a modern setting. Set in our reality they are so extreme. They are violent and passionate in a way that makes the reader uncomfortable, but also connects us to the story. Leo is a loose cannon, blinded by fear of infidelity and a lack of trust, Mimi loses everything and loses her agency to the men around her, Perdita is full of life and love and is a unifying force.

I really enjoyed reading the latest from Winterson. I hope you do too! 🙂

Review: A Sky Unbroken by Megan Crewe

23199314*I received this book from Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review*

Title: A Sky Unbroken

Author: Megan Crewe

Publisher: Razorbill, an imprint of the Penguin Group

Publication Date: October 2015

ISBN: 9780143198307

A Sky Unbroken
Synopsis from Goodreads:
The rebels have been disbanded, their plans ruined. Betrayed by those she trusted most, Skylar finds herself herded, along with a small group of Earthlings, into a living museum—a human zoo—on the Kemyates’ space station, subject to her captors’ every whim. Any move Skylar makes could result in the extinction of her people—but giving in means losing any hope of freedom. Meanwhile, Win returns home and evades punishment by pretending to be loyal to Kemya. But he can’t bear knowing that Skylar is imprisoned or watch his fellow Kemyates swallow the Council’s lies about Earth. He must bring the truth to the Kemyate public and see the Earthlings freed—even if it means openly challenging his world’s rulers. In this final book of the action-packed Earth & Sky trilogy, neither Skylar nor Win knows they are about to uncover an even deeper conspiracy—one that could push the future they’re fighting for completely out of reach.
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An exciting trilogy reaches a thrilling conclusion in this final book of the Earth and Sky series by Megan Crewe. I’m sad it’s over! A Sky Unbroken will have you on edge, hopeful for the characters’ success, but uncertain if they will be able to achieve the goals they pursue. This is one of my favourite YA series that I’ve read in the past few years, and I definitely wasn’t disappointed with Crewe’s ending. She leaves this story open so that we have hope that we might see more of Win, Skylar and the other rebels.
Crewe shocks us with the unthinkable in this story. It’s impossible to fathom. How do we move forward from here? No Spoilers! You’ve gotta red to know! I loved Crewe’s courage to write what she does, to embrace the extreme, to make her story even stronger. I don’t think I would have liked it quite the same if she’d taken another route. It’s just so crazy that it could really be true. It really makes this trilogy stand out from the other. Her plot twist is a big risk that definitely has a lot of people struggling to digest. Crewe really calls into question the meaning of life: what does it mean to live? How does one move forward when all is lost? What is humanity? It’s fantastic!
Alongside her story, Crewe has great character development. Her characters are strong and they all insist on their individuality and their strength, despite their race or gender. The more I read about Skylar, the more I liked her. She’s one of a kind on this Kemate planet. The other humans are sedated, mindless. She fights for humanity even with those who think her expendable. While she does love (yes there is a love triangle–the one downside), her identity isn’t constructed based on the men around her. She doesn’t let them define her. She doesn’t know fully what she’s looking for in love, but why not have a little fun while she can? She understands that her life will never be the same, and she doesn’t really no fully how to move forward, however, she is lucky to find companionship along the way. Her relationships are secondary to the main plot. It’s not the focus, but it does happened.
Overall, LOVED this final book in the Earth and Sky series.