Thursday, July 7, 2016

Hope and Red

Hope & RedHope & Red by Jon Skovron
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Bleak Hope is named after her village that was annihilated because of the Empire's biomancers. A legendary Vinchen warrior trains Hope in the Vinchen ways despite it being illegal to do so because she is a female. Rixdenteron is the son of a painter from a rich family and a male whore. He finds himself homeless when his parents die. He's taken in by a dangerous woman and renamed Red. Hope and Red come together to get vengeance on a ganglord and biomancers, but most specifically the biomancer who slaughtered Hope's village.

First I want to say I love warrior women. Perhaps it was because I watched a lot of Xena Warrior Princess as a child and she was the embodiment of a warrior. She battled gods and men alike and beat them down. That was absolutely what drew me to this book because who doesn't love a good warrior woman.

Hope and Red feels very much like a young adult novel. All the standard tropes apply. Special orphans and chance meetings with great people who almost inexplicably care for and train these youths. The YA fantasy mold is not broken or even bent here. So imagine the standard YA fantasy heroes and you have Hope and Red.

The chapters with Red were challenging for me from the beginning because of the massive amounts of slang used. Leaky, tom, mollie, slice, old pot, leeward, wag, and many other slang terms are squished into the lines in Red's chapters. There is a glossary, but after a little while it's unnecessary. That being said I wasn't overly fond of their slang.

The biomancers did present themselves as something unique from the rest of the story. These people use a mixture of magic and science to create living things from living things. Unfortunately rather than using criminals to further their research they use towns and villages for their experiments which is the crux of Hope's revenge tale. The biomancers are basically mad scientists that feel as if nothing is more important than their research. They seem to have the Emperor's permission to use seemingly whoever they wish to make new weapons to protect the Empire.

All in all Hope and Red was just an average YA fantasy book.

3 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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All-New Wolverine Vol. 1: The Four Sisters

All-New Wolverine, Vol. 1: The Four SistersAll-New Wolverine, Vol. 1: The Four Sisters by Tom Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Laura Kinney X-23 was cloned from Wolverine in order to make the perfect army of killers. With Logan's help she escaped that life. After Logan's death, Laura has decided to take on his mantle as Wolverine.
Something devious is happening now. Laura learns that a science team has cloned her in hopes to fulfill the dream of an invincible army.
The sisters, as they are referred to, have escaped a facility and the head of the facility wants them back.

Four Sisters was a good but unspectacular first arc of The All-New Wolverine. I thought the first issue was outstanding, but I quickly found myself bogged down by the cloning story. It seemed insane that the science team that created clones from Laura's DNA would be dumb enough to involve her, but they did.

The character interactions are absolutely what helped me hold on to hope when the cloning story dragged. The sisters themselves were an odd bunch as they each developed varying personalities although they were raised in the same fashion.
Their interactions were interesting although I wasn't overly interested in them as characters. The next major interaction was between Angel and Laura. Their continuing relationship is intriguing to witness.
Angel doesn't want Laura to get hurt, but she is recklessly using her healing power to it's fullest.
The best relationship may have been Laura and her clone Gabby. Despite being trained to kill, Gabby has retained her innocence and she speaks to Laura like she's her pesky little sister.

In the end I'd say I love Laura Kinney and she is a remarkable Wolverine. I didn't love the story, but I imagine her arcs will be exciting in the future.

3.5 out of 5 stars

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