rynet_ii: A deoxys (alien-like pokemon) with a neutral expression. (I'm totally an alien u guise)
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The City and the City by China Miéville


Murder mystery set in a very unusual pair of city states which are physically located in the exact same location, but the citizens of either city are trained from birth to "unsee" and "unsense" the presence of the other city and can only cross over under approved circumstances, lest they risk the wrath of a force known as Breach. The story starts with Inspector Tyador Borlú investigating the murder of a mysterious young woman found in the city of Besźel; over the course of the book he discovers the woman was involved in the conflict between Besźel and Ul Qoma and was quietly investigating the nature of Breach and of the rumored "third city," Orciny. Borlú thus has to piece together the woman's identity and just what she'd been involved in, while being mindful not to break the rules of Breach.

The situation with the twin cities is puzzling to work out the nature of, especially since it's never fully explained just how the cities came to be "separated" and indeed, isn't known to the citizens themselves. I'm not sure if the status quo never being totally broken was better for the story or not? You spend pretty much the entire time going "Okay, but why is Breach a Thing?" and while you do learn how Breach operates you don't really ever learn why most people, including Breach, thinks it's so necessary to Besźel and Ul Qoma beyond the unstated "this is just how it is." Which may be the point, really.

Pandemonium by Chris Wooding

You know those rejected cartoon pilots you sometimes see on youtube? The ones that were made to show off the concept for a new series and are still a little rough in the writing and art department but have enough potential and heart in them that you kind of feel sad about how it'll probably never get the chance to be polished up a bit and turned into a proper series? Pandemonium is kind of the comic book equivalent of that- it's very clearly the Volume One of a story but as I found out once I looked it up, there was never a volume two because the publisher doesn't want one. Which is slightly frustrating.

Anyway, the actual story itself is basically "The Prisoner of Zenda with cute anime-esque demon people." Our protagonist is a teenage boy named Seifer Tombchewer who lives in a tiny village in the mountains on the edge of the Darkling realm and dreams of More Out There. He gets his wish via a bunch of tiny minions knocking him out and abducting him to the palace, where he is forced to pretend to be the missing Prince Talon Pandemonium in order to thwart Clan Pandemonium's enemies. Naturally, although Seifer is initially disinterested, he turns out to have a knack for the role and is generally a nicer guy than the original Talon, earning him the loyalties of several people.

There's lots of goofy humor and I found the art a bit stiff in places, but it's a pretty cute comic overall, enough that I am genuinely disappointed it most likely won't get continued.



Flight Volume 1, edited/collected by Kazu Kibuishi

Anthology of various short comics all at least vaguely based around the theme of "flight." The stories/art range from cute, brooding, mechanically focused, to kind of incomprehensible. More "art" focused than... narrative focused, I guess? "Outside My Window" was probably my favorite of the lot.

Prince of the Elves by Kazu Kibuishi

In this volume Emily and the gang mostly gather their resources, and we get a bunch of info on our new antagonist, Max Griffin, as well as on the amulet and on Prince Trellis.

Thoughts:
    • Okay, despite looking like a kid, Max Griffin apparently has not aged in fifty years. That is pretty fucking creepy to think about!
    • Baby Trellis! Trellis has (had?) an uncle! Still kind of HMM trying to figure out how to mesh in what we saw here with what we've already been told about the Elf King.
    • Also- we just got a HUGE revelation about the nature of the Stone Spirit. MAINLY: EVERY SINGLE STONE IS STILL PART OF THE SAME SPIRIT WHICH IS THE ONE WHO'S BEEN TALKING TO EMILY AND TRELLIS AND THE ELF KING AND MAX AND OKAY, WOW. I thiiiink the implication might be that the Stone Spirit isn't the power source of the stones per se but something that lives within "the void" that the stones are attached to, but I could be off.
    • Either way, we still don't know what exactly they're after, although the Stone Spirit definitely seems to be more of an evil force than a neutral one. But why have they been playing their stonekeepers off of each other? And why did they grin when Emily saw them interacting with Max?
    • What this seems to mean is that Emily's ultimate enemy is also the same entity that Emily is drawing power from. This is probably not a good thing.
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