The Witcher, vol. 1: House of Glass by Paul Tobin (illustrated by Joe Querio)

Read: 5 August, 2018

I wasn’t a huge fan of the artwork for this one. It felt a bit rough or lacking in detail, and there were several panels where I had a great deal of trouble figuring out what I was looking at. In particular, Vara’s body (her arms, especially) seemed all over the place, proportionally. It’s not bad art, per se, but it could have been a lot better.

The story was okay. It definitely felt like a Witcher story, just not one of the better ones. There’s some good mystery and ambience building up, until Geralt finds the right person to talk to and they just infodump what’s going on. Which a lot of Sapkowski’s stories also do, so points for keeping it authentic, but those aren’t the stories that I really like.

All that said, I did enjoy the writing. When Geralt speaks, he sounds like Geralt. His humour, his deadpan, the way he just goes along with what people saying – even while he knows that they are lying – just to see what will happen… that’s truly Geralt. Even the “twist” at the end that he had a good idea of what was going on the whole time, even while the reader was befuddled by the mystery, reads just like Sapkowski’s stories.

I also liked the way Geralt bantered with Vara. They had a good rapport, and it worked better than just having Geralt wandering around by himself for half the story.

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Fear Street Sagas #1: A New Fear by R.L. Stine

Read: 23 April, 2013

For a couple summers in a row in my early teens, I got to visit my step-mother’s summer home in the Wisconsin north woods. The house was by a lake, so I’d just lie in a hammock, basking in the sun, listening to a tape that had Jethro Tull’s “Songs from the Wood” on one side and “Heavy Horses” on the other, and read through all of R.L. Stine’s Fear Street books.

I loved all of them, though I especially loved the Fear Street Saga trilogy and later Fear Street Sagas – which are different from the Fear Street books in that they deal with the cursed Fear family, rather than just anyone living on Fear Street.

Those were wonderful days and, by association, I still find those two Tull albums very haunting.

So when I saw A New Fear at a book sale, I knew I had to have it. I have no idea what happened to my old copies, though I assume that they made their way into a charity bin or onto some other young person’s shelf. Either way, they’re gone, and I was curious to see if the series would hold up to time.

And it totally does.

Don’t get me wrong, A New Fear is pretty terrible. The writing is very much of the “telling rather than showing” variety, there isn’t even an inkling of subtlety, and logic is occasionally set aside in favour of something gross and horrible happening. But A New Fear is such good fun that none of that matters, and the writing – while bad – is bad in a way that at least isn’t distracting (expect for the “faux old” lack of contractions).

I was surprised by how much of the story I could remember given that about 15 years (at least) have passed since I first read it.

Anyways, it’s pretty horrible, pretty gross, and isn’t about to instil a new generation with wholesome values, but it’s fun read and you could do a whole lot worse.

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