February 2022 – Book Review

As we March forward into the year, here is a look at what Chaos has read during the month of February.  

Books will be rated on a 1 – 5 star scale with 1 being bad and 5 being excellent.  If you enjoy what you see and don’t want to wait until the next book post, please follow us on Goodreads.  We’ll stay consistently updated there before compiling our month’s reading and thoughts here.

The comics Chaos has read will also be included at the end of the post.  Normally those will just be listed and not officially reviewed.  If you ever want to hear about a comic in particular though or want his thoughts, don’t be afraid to ask.  He enjoys discussing what he’s read. 

Now to the main event!

I Don’t Want to Die Poor: Essay by Michael Arceneaux – 2.5/5 Stars

I have to begin by admitting that this is not the book I thought it would be.  After reading about the premise, I was interested in hearing from a comedian as he took on debt and financial woes.  I wanted to laugh along as Arceneaux delved into some serious issues that many face.  Instead, this felt like a collection of personal essays that tended to weakly tie into the idea of debt.  

The book felt strongest when Arceneaux stuck closer to the idea of how debt has impacted his life or when he opened up more personally, such as his relationship with his mom.  I wasn’t as moved or interested when he went on tangents about music, reality t.v., or his idea of what different jobs might feel like.

Overall, I felt like Arceneaux had a lot of interesting and strong points, which often got buried in his attempts at humor.    

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson – 5/5 Stars

Once again Sanderson shines at creating a believable magic system that is wonderfully detailed while leaving itself open to further exploration and elaboration.  He also does well with his overall world building and establishment of unique settings such as the Armedius Academy and even Nebrask (which we never get to even visit).

What pushes this book to a five star rating is the actual story and character work that is married so nicely to Sanderson’s rich-feeling world.  Even when incorporating somewhat cliche story patterns: odd-couple growing to appreciate one another, teens solving a mystery that no adult has cracked yet, a special school for those with magic, etc., Sanderson is able to make it just different enough that it feels special.  It also helps that his characters are fun to read about and worth investing in.

I know I’m late on getting around to this 2013 novel, but on the bright side, that’s nine fewer years. I need to wait for a sequel because I really want to know what happens next.  Get on it Sanderson!

Kiki’s Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono – 3/5 Stars

This was a cute and fun book aimed at a younger audience.  I enjoyed the simple story that never really got intense or very dramatic.  The backbone of the narrative is Kiki’s coming of age and figuring out what it means to be both an adult and a witch. The story reads like a bunch of mini-adventure for Kiki and JiJi.  I laughed along the way and smiled at the joyous ridiculousness of some of the tales.  

This was a wholesome and pure-hearted book that would be great to share with children or to read yourself when you’re looking for something more feel-good.  It’s not a deep literary classic, but it’s a fantastic children’s book.

Nightflyers by George R.R. Martin – 2.5/5 Stars

This was a book that involved some interesting concepts and ideas, but never really gripped me.  Most of the characters felt like they were really just there to fill out the crew and provide some bodies.  They felt one-dimensional and whiny.  The actually important characters were a little better, but not by much.

Once everything really starts to fall apart for the crew and people start dying, I sadly didn’t care too much.  The book firmly took a jump into the horror genre and while the descriptions seemed cool enough, the actual stakes felt bland and hollow.  

R.R. Martin did set up some interesting elements of mystery: the mythical and ancient race/ship, the secretive captain, but then the pay-offs didn’t feel special.  On the brightside, the book is a short and quick read, so even if the payoff isn’t fantastic, the exposure to the premise and ideas still felt worth it.  

Impossible to Forget by Imogen Clark – 4.5/5 Stars

The novel started with the interesting enough premise of four adults gaining guardianship of an almost adult girl whose mother just died.  Three of the adults are middle-aged and have been friends with the deceased mother since university.  One of them is much younger and a stranger to the rest.  

I was curious to see how things would play out, but then the book quickly jumped back to the aforementioned university years, retelling the four friends’ meetings and then following them through their lives up until the present.  This is where the book really shined.  Focusing mostly on the two women of the group, Angie and Maggie, Clark does a wonderful job of delving into these characters’ inner workings and creating people I cared about as individuals and as part of a larger group.  The flow of the novel was great, giving readers snapshots of the character’s lives at different points and then moving on before anything dragged.  This is a character-driven experience, so I am glad that the characters were actually worth following.

Sadly, once the story actually catches up to the present, the novel slows down a bit and feels a little too long.  My curiosity about the characters and where they would end up remained, but we could have gotten there a bit faster.

Impossible to Forget is an engaging story of four friends (and a few others in their lives).  The level of conflict and drama stays pretty low, since the characters are all mostly nice people, but Clark still gives readers plenty of reasons to stick around.  This is definitely worth a read for the characters alone.  

Comics Read This Month:

  • Iron Man: vol 1. – Big Iron by Christopher Cantwell and Cafu Cafu
  • IDW’s Glow Comics: Issues 1-4 and Summer Special by Tini Howard and Hannah Templar
  • Miles Morales: vol. 4 – Ultimatum by Saladin Ahmed
  • The Immortal Hulk: vol. 8 – The Keeper of the Door by Al Ewing and Joe Bennett
  • The Immortal Hulk: vol. 9 – The Weakest One There Is by Al Ewing and Joe Bennett
  • The Immortal Hulk: vol. 10 – Of Hell and of Death by Al Ewing and Joe Bennett

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