The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

For a long time I had Atwood on a pedestal. I mean she wrote The Handmaid’s Tale!

Then I read Angel Catbird and it was a bit sad and embarrassing (please don’t read it). So it has been a while since I’ve read anything by Atwood (not counting the brilliant graphic novel adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale).

I was however curious about The Testaments.

Please note I will attempt to make sure there are no spoilers in this review and as such, I won’t talk much about plot (here’s the the Goodreads synopsis) but the storyline takes place 15 years after the first book.

First of all, if this were written by a YA author as her version of what happened to Gilead I probably would have applauded it.

But this is Margaret Atwood we are talking about, and so I had high expectations.

I don’t mean to say I didn’t enjoy it. I did. I liked (or liked despising) the fact that we were back in Gilead and hearing from Aunt Lydia. Lydia was a great character and it was especially interesting hearing from her perspective.

The story was fast-paced, very plot-driven, and it ended up being a quick read despite its 400 pages. But I felt that her young teenaged character in the non-Gilead world wasn’t convincing. Some of what she said sounded odd. And really, I was disappointed that we don’t hear from Offred.

After I read the book, I saw a review that remarked that The Testaments picks up plot elements from the TV series and I wondered, what have I missed out on since I haven’t seen the TV show? And to be honest, after learning about that, I was a bit pissed off. Is this a sequel of a book or of a book and a TV show? Did I need to get a Hulu subscription in order to learn what I was missing?

So after it all I feel that this book, while readable and entertaining, was, for me, not very satisfying. It brought me back into a familiar world with hopes of answers but I wasn’t wowed by it.

Comics good, comics bad

Angel Catbird

Perhaps I had too high expectations of this series. I mean, it’s written by Margaret Atwood after all. Yes that very Margaret Atwood, writer of The Handmaid’s Tale. And she has written a comic series about a man who can morph into a catbird. There are other half-human creatures around like half-rats and half-cats and half-ravens and even a bat-cat-man. That’s fine, that’s all good and fine, because hey, it’s a comic and anything can happen.

But there are so many issues with this comic I don’t know where to begin.

Perhaps with the very obvious villain (a rat-man of course) you can see coming a mile away, or rather, from that very first page that he appears.

Perhaps with the way so little seems to happen on each page.

Perhaps with all those very many cat puns.

Perhaps with the idea of this being Margaret Atwood, who as a kid probably read some comics and thought, eh I could do this. And then goes and writes this extremely simplistic and cheesy comic because, of course people who read comics can only understand black and white. I mean complex and subtle is meant only for readers of actual books, not comics. Pffft.

Perhaps with Dark Horse, who published these books and, I imagined, cowered at the thought of telling Margaret Atwood, THE Atwood, that her comics could be improved upon.

Perhaps the fact that with some hope of an improvement in Volume Two, I actually read Volume Two and groaned audibly when two female characters immediately start fighting over the man. Blech. (Making me think once again that her image of comic book readers equals young teenaged boys).

Ok I don’t want to think about this series anymore. I’m done!


And on to the Comics Good section of this post.

Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year One, Vol. 1 (Injustice: Gods Among Us #1)

by Tom Taylor (Goodreads Author) (Writer), Jheremy Raapack (Artist), Mike S. Miller (Artist), Tom Derenick (Artist), David Yardin (Artist)

I read a comic BASED ON A VIDEO GAME you guys!!

And it was AWESOME.

I hate the cover but I picked it up partly because I thought the husband might want to read it. He’s a fan of Batman and Superman and this promised both of them in one comic. Then I saw the ‘Based on the hit video game’ blurb at the bottom, shuddered, but still threw it in my bag to bring home.

Why I actually read it myself, I am not entirely sure. Curiosity I guess. I have read a few Superman/Batman/Wonder Woman comics. I am not a fan of DC Comics and tend towards comics like Ms Marvel, Saga, Captain Marvel and my latest love, Spider Woman, with more prominent, less stereotyped female characters.

But I found myself intrigued by this very dark Superman, a Wonder Woman who’s pretty much egging him on, and a Batman who is like the voice of reason (!).

Also it was kinda funny.

Top Ten Tuesday: Most-read authors


Top Ten Authors I’ve Read The Most Books From


So according to Goodreads….

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 10.44.06 AM

I was puzzled. I didn’t think that I had read that very many Gaimans. Then I realized it’s because of The Sandman series! There are 10 volumes in that series.

That also explains Brian K Vaughan (thanks to Y: The Last Man) and Noelle Stevenson (Lumberjanes issues – so I don’t really think those count as books!) and Lemony Snicket (A Series of Unfortunate Events). Bill Willingham (Fables) and Joe Hill (Locke and Key) are also there.

So… if I’m to take this on individual novels alone – and not comics or books that belong to a series – the top prize goes to Margaret Atwood, then Ursula K Le Guin. I kind of suspected Le Guin would be there, but not Atwood, as it has been ages since I’ve read any of her books!

As for Laurie R King, I have dipped my reading… er… toe in all of her series, Kate Martinelli, Mary Russell and even Harry Stuyvesant). But was surprised to see Stephen King there. Next up is Jasper Fforde. I adore Fforde’s books and he is very sweet in person (I got to interview him when he was in Singapore ages ago!) but it has been too long since I’ve read his books too.

I am a Flavia De Luce devotee as I am pretty much up to date with that series by Alan Bradley – a very rare event in this reader’s books.

Joyce Carol Oates has written plenty of books and I apparently have read quite a few of them! Same for Haruki Murakami although I have not read his latest books. Judy Blume was an author I adored and read and reread as a kid. I picked up her latest book In the Unlikely Event, but have yet to read it.

As for the late Kage Baker, I finished The Company series last year I think. It is one of my favourite series ever! I’ve yet to read any of her non-Company books, but am looking forward to slowly savouring them.

More than 10 authors I know but I think many of them shouldn’t really be counted as ‘most’.

I think that LM Montgomery should be up there too, but as I last read the Anne of Green Gables series ages ago, I didn’t record that on Goodreads. Note to self: must reread Anne!

Who are the authors you’ve read the most?