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Four, Twice

I'm halfway through a book right now and before I got too much farther, I thought I would pause and talk about the last four books I've read plus a comic.

Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson - Alif is a computer hacker in a repressive Arab state who works for those who wish to speak their minds but stay out of jail. He is in love with a member of the royalty who tells him she is marrying another man. Life gets even more complicated from there with djinn and computer programs and trying to finally grow up. I didn't like Alif much at first but he grew on me as he grew and the book as a whole is fascinating - well-written, thoughtful, and full of cool ideas. I really dug it.

Sorry Please Thank You by Charles Yu - This is Yu's second story collection and the first since his excellent novel was published two years ago. The first story, "Standard Loneliness Package," tells the story of a man who works for a company that allows him to experience people's grief, sadness, and more for them so that they don't have to. "First Person Shooter" deals with zombies and crushes. "Yeoman" has the same concept that Redshirts does but takes it in a different direction (plus, short story vs. a novel). The stories are varied, of course, and while I didn't love them all the ratio of interesting to not was pretty high.

Dare Me by Megan Abbott - A group of high school cheerleaders gets a new coach. The captain, who basically ran everything under the old coach doesn't like it. Her best friend and lieutenant does. Mean girls doesn't even begin cover it. Plus, there are dead bodies. I liked this novel but didn't love it - there just wasn't enough to hook me character-wise and while the writing was good, it didn't knock me out. Your mileage may vary.

The Yard by Alex Grecian - The Yard in question is Scotland Yard and the time period is the late 19th century, just after Jack the Ripper disappeared. It is the beginning of having detectives who specifically investigate homicides and some forward thinking men are developing forensic science. The book begins with the murder of an Inspector and follows three main characters in that wake - Walter Day, the newest Inspector on the squad; Constable Hammersmith, who pursues justice for a boy left to die in a chimney; and Dr. Kingsley, who brings with him a wealth of knowledge and forensic innovation. Even though the story can be predictable at times, the characters are great and Grecian keeps you turning the pages. This looks to be the start of a series and I can't wait for the next one.

Fantastic Four Vol. 3 by Jonathan Hickman and Neil Edwards - It's been a while since I read the first two volumes of Hickman's run on this title but I was easily able to get right back into the story. Hickman has been working through some big ideas but also has a great sense of character and fun. My favorite issue of the four collected here just might be the one where Johnny takes Franklin and Leech to a toy store where they run into Arcade and Impossible Man because it's so much fun. On the other spectrum, we get a story where future Valeria visits Sue. Plus, arrogant college-age Doom. Oh, and Neil Edwards draws the hell out of it all, abetted by a trio of able inkers. I need to read the next volume soon.

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