Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Book Review: LIBRARY OF SOULS by Ransom Riggs

LIBRARY OF SOULS is the final chapter in the trilogy of books that began with MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN. The second book of the series (HOLLOW CITY) ended on a major cliffhanger as Jacob and Emma find themselves in modern day London separated from the rest of their friends who have all been kidnapped. They find themselves staring face-to-face with a hollow, those terrifying creatures that hunt, capture, and devour peculiars, and Jacob discovers he is able to control the hollow and make it do what he wants. The conclusion is a bit of a shocker and makes up for the weak points found in the rest of the book.

LIBRARY OF SOULS begins right where HOLLOW CITY ended. Jacob and Emma and Addison begin their hunt anew to find their missing friends and try to bring about the end of the wights. Their journey takes them from modern-day London to a place of peculiardom called Devil’s Acre, a place where the unwanted, rejected, and addicted peculiars come to reside. It’s also where the wights fortress is located. Along the way they meet new foes and allies alike.

I really enjoyed MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN. I thought it was a fascinating idea to write a novel and was intrigued by how well the story and pictures all fit together. Although I was excited by HOLLOW CITY, I was somewhat disappointed by it. The story lacked the depth and character development of the first book. I usually really enjoy the final part of a trilogy and was really looking forward to reading LIBRARY OF SOULS. However, I found the book to be the most disappointing in the series. The story wraps up the mysteries and loose ends of the first two books. It also introduces some unforgettable characters who I wish we would have had more time with (Sharon and Bentham) and has some grand climatic battles.  Yet, so much of the book feels forced. At times it felt like I was reading a story that was written just to beat a deadline. That’s the thing about turning one book into three: sometimes a story doesn’t need to be that long. I really think the series would have been better if it had been told in two books instead of three. Also, the gimmick that brought about the first book (photographs that inspired the story) has lost its luster in LIBRARY OF SOULS; the photographs aren’t needed now and the book even reads that way; the photographs aren’t central to the story anymore and are more of an afterthought. Personally, in some ways this series reminds me of the trilogy of Matrix movies (HOLLOW CITY ends very much in the same way that THE MATRIX: RELOADED does): the first story is so original and groundbreaking, the second story isn’t as strong but has some moments, and the final story fails to live up to the epic conclusion it has been building. That’s not to say LIBRARY OF SOULS is a bad book because it’s not. However, it’s just not the epic conclusion it should have been.


Sherman the Shark, Fillmore the Sea Turtle, Hawthorne the Crab, and the rest of the lagoon gang are back in TALES FROM THE DEEP THAT ARE COMPLETELY FABRICATED, the 20th collection of “Sherman’s Lagoon” comics. There is no annotation in the book, but based off references, most of these strips appear to be from 2014. Some of the storylines in this collection include Hawthorne being pinched by and becoming a werecrab, Sherman becoming a human lifeguard to win a bet, the guys getting their old band (Smooch – an obvious parody of KISS) back together after being inducted into the Hall of Fame, and a Christmas-time allusion to A Christmas Carol that features Hawthorne in the role of a Scrooge-like character. There’s even a long storyline that finds Sherman and Ernest being kidnapped on an interstellar trip to Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons. “Sherman’s Lagoon” collections usually have at least one environmental issue that is featured and in this collection the main issue tackled is ocean acidification. Overall, TALES FROM THE DEEP THAT ARE COMPLETELY FABRICATED is a nice “Sherman’s Lagoon” collection. It’s a must have for any fans of the comic and is a nice collection for anyone who just enjoys reading good comic strips.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Popeye & Lent

"Inherit the Mirth" March 9, 2013

Disney in Oz

"The Argyle Sweater" March 20, 2014

Baby Batman

"The Argyle Sweater" March 25, 2014

Charlie Brown & Rogain

"The Argyle Sweater" July 9, 2014

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

HAPPY DAYS the Musical

Beginning this Friday, July 29th, the theatre company I am a member is performing the musical Happy Days. It's based off the beloved hit tv series and was written by show creator Garry Marshall with music by Paul Williams. I play Arnold (the owner of the local diner) in the show. If you are anywhere near the St. Louis area this weekend or next, you should come out and see it!

Sunday, June 05, 2016

This Just In...

Based upon the author's own life, BREAKING CAT NEWS is a series of comics that imagines the three cats in one family (Elvis, Puck, and Lupin) as if they were reporters reporting on the news of the day. Everything from a spider on the ceiling, to their woman owner taking a nap, to buying new cat food, and even the arrival of a baby are explored through the eyes of these cat reporters. The incidents are filled with humor and are taken from real life. BREAKING CAT NEWS is a perfect little gift book for the cat lover in your life.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Thea Sisters Are Back

In THEA STILTON GRAPHIC NOVELS #5: THE SECRET OF THE WATERFALL IN THE WOODS, it's summertime at Mouseford Academy on Whale Island and the students are all preparing for the annual trek into the woods to watch the opening of the dam and to watch the return of the waterfall. However, when Professor Van Kraken is almost attacked by a bear in the woods, it becomes clear that something isn't normal. Some want to call the whole excursion off, but the Thea Sisters and a few others decide to investigate to see what exactly is going on. THE SECRET OF THE WATERFALL IN THE WOODS is another interesting tale about the students at Mouseford Academy and the selfish ambitions of Vissia de Vissen. I look forward to reading more of their adventures in future volumes.


What happened in the days immediately following the destruction of the 2nd Death Star in the movie RETURN OF THE JEDI? Well, STAR WARS: SHATTERED EMPIRE is a graphic novel that fills in some of the gaps. Instead of focusing on the main players from the original Star Wars trilogy, SHATTERED EMPIRE follows the exploits of a couple of, until now, unknown fighters of the Rebellion. There's Shara Bey, an amazing pilot and her husband, Kes Dameron, a skilled fighter. The couple fight in different divisions and are looking forward to the time they can retire and begin the life together that they have been fighting for. However, before that can happen, Shara is sent on one last mission to assist Luke Skywalker in an important task.

At the end of the SHATTERED EMPIRE story, there is the first issue of the PRINCESS LEIA comic. In addition, the issue of PRINCESS LEIA is followed by the very first issue of the STAR WARS comic from 1977.

Overall, I enjoyed SHATTERED EMPIRE. Shara was a great character and it was nice to see some back story about the parents of Poe Dameron.  It's a nice story that Star Wars fans will enjoy, particular fans of THE FORCE AWAKENS.