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Book Club No. 5

Hello fellow bookworms - today I'm going to rant and rave about a couple of things I've read lately that were really super good for so many reasons. If you're a fan of graphic novels/comics or if you're someone who's never actually thought of reading them, I have a couple to mention that I think are brilliant and well worth a read no matter what your usual reading preferences are. I also have an honourable mention of a biography because a) they're not usually 'my bag' and b) it was about a favourite musician of mine who has led an interesting life so again, it's worth some reading time. So let's get into it:

Injection - First up I'll talk about Injection from Image Comics. Matt bought Injection for me to read way back in March for my birthday and it took me ages to finally sit down and read it but once I did, I demolished it in one sitting. It is a new series from Image Comics but I'm definitely going to keep getting future installments when they are released because I was really hooked by the story. Reading the blurb, Injection is described as being "science fiction, tales of horror, strange crime fiction, techno-thriller, and a ghost story all at the same time". That alone grabbed my interest. The story basically follows the tale of 5 'geniuses' in different fields/with different specialisms who created Injection which poisoned the 21st century. They tried to *play God* essentially, and tampered with the world and the natural state of it and the story starts with the repercutions of their tampering starting to show across the world. Strange things start happening and they need to come together again to try and sort it out.

At first I found the story a little bit confusing because it jumped back and forth in time and of course because of the mix of genres, the story is riddled with terms and words which you later come to understand, but it can make you feel a little bit stumped when you first start reading it. But once I got my teeth into it - I was hooked. The story is really different to anything I've ever read before because it does successfully mix sci-fi, horror, post-apocolypse on the horizon etc. sort of aspects in a really clever way that makes you keep turning the page. They also managed to leave the Injection #5 (last chapter in the collected Volume 1) on a great cliff hanger so I can't wait to read what happens next. The mix of characters who are normal and 'otherworldly' is great, the illustration style is really clean and crisp but gritty in a good way, and the story seems so different to anything else, I can't recommend it enough.

Book Club: Currently Reading

Descender - The latest comic I've picked up is Descender which - surprise surprise - is another whopper from Image Comics. If you couldn't tell already, Image is one of my favourite comic presses (the other being Vertigo) and that's because the variety of comics they release is so extensive yet so many of them tick so many boxes for me. Anyway I have had my eye on Descender for some time now and finally gave in a purchased it during a rummage in Newcastle's Forbidden Planet store. It is a straight up science fiction-based story and instantly screamed "Mass Effect" for me. If anything reminds me of Mass Effect, you can pretty much assume I'm going to go bat-shit bananas with excitement and love it. So let me give you some info about this awesome series.

The story is set in space ten years after planet-sized robots called Harvesters appeared and basically destroyed/caused mayhem across the galaxy which resulted in the various other alien species across the galaxy outlawing robots of all kinds as they were seen as dangerous, unpredictable and responsible for what happened. One of the main characters, TIM-21 wakes up to find that he may be the only robot currently alive and thus becomes the most wanted robot in the universe. The scientist who created him and some other characters (who are essentially part of a sort of inter-galactic government) want to try and find TIM-21 in order to look at and test his DNA as it is thought his DNA could hold the key as to why and how the Harvesters were created and could help them stop the Harvesters from attacking the galaxy again in the future. Of course because TIM-21 is pretty much the only guy on the "most wanted" list, he has bounty hunters in abundance after him too so it's a very quick pace, action packed comic which I've really enjoyed reading. Again, just like Injection, I read this first volume in one sitting and fell in love. The story is great so far, the character designs are rich and varied as there are so many alien races and the artwork is beautiful. Unlike Injection's clean, *traditional* comic book illustration style, each panel in Descender looks like it has been hand drawn and painted with watercolour ink giving it a slightly softer edge but a gorgeous colour palette. Again, Volume 1 ended on a *huge* cliff hanger so I need to pick up Vol. 2 ASAP!

Seasick Steve Ramblin' Man: The Biography - Like I said at the start of this post, I tend to read a lot of fiction and the only non-fiction I like is true/real crime and thus biographies very rarely enter my life. However on a recent shop in HMV, I saw this biography about one of my favourite guys, Seasick Steve, and decided at £5.99, I may as well pick it up and see what it's all about. For those of you who may not have a clue who I'm talking about Seasick Steve is a bluesy, raw musician who shot to stardom after appearing on Jools Holland's Hootenanny because people fell in love with his redneck hillbilly style and the fact that he played a three-string guitar and stomped on a wooden box to make his music and it actually sounded *great*. I've loved him for years but as a fan, I've never really known much about him as he's an elusive character who keeps himself and his life out of the public eye for the most part. As an elderly gentleman who is thought to be a former homeless man, I knew his backstory and life would be interesting to find out more about.

Although I never think this kind of non-fiction reading is half as interesting as the fiction stuff I love, I did enjoy reading this as the author, Matthew Wright, tells Steve's story in a very informal, easy to read way. His writing style is quite casual and feels almost like diary inserts at times as if he's just typed up notes he's made on the man each day. It is easy reading with a nice relaxed twist but is still gripping enough to make you keep turning the page. Now, obviously I wouldn't recommend this book to everyone because I think you need to be a fan of Seasick Steve in the first place to pick it up, but if you are a fan or you are someone who enjoys reading celebrity/musician autobiographies/biographies, you might enjoy this one.

Catch up with previous Book Club posts here!

- A.
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