Welcome to part 2 of the series in which I’ll be giving short reviews of all 50-something books I’ve read this year, in blocks of 10! I hope you enjoy it, and I’ll finish off the post with my highlight from these 10 books.
X-Men & Avengers Axis (Graphic Novel) – 8/10 … this is one of my favourite Marvel cross-overs, and the last one before Secret Wars. The 9 issue series was great fun, and a chance to see some of Marvel’s best known heroes and villains as you’ve never seen them before.
Green Arrow: Year One (Graphic Novel) – 8/10 … having watched the Arrow TV series, I had to see if the comics were any good, and this one was! This is a great, self-contained superhero story that follows Oliver Queen’s journey from pampered rich-kid to hardened hero.
Spider-Verse (Graphic Novel) – 6/10 … undoubtedly one of the more underwhelming series I’ve read. The ambition of the story was remarkable, but it failed to deliver, and ended up as a bit of a repetitive mess, though with all the artistic quality of modern Marvel hits.
Spellbound, by Blake Charlton – 7/10 … the sequel to Spellwright, this novel sees Blake Charlton’s fantasy world expand. I can’t help but feel that this sequel didn’t quite live up to the heights of the first book, though it continued to set up a brilliant story which will hopefully find a fitting finale in the upcoming third book.
Perseus Spur, by Julian May – 8/10 … I happened to read this book as part of my coursework for the final term of second year. It’s a very well written, slightly tongue-in-cheek sci-fi with plenty of humour, and as it was the humour that I analysed, I can categorically say that it’s good. I have an essay that says so.
Prayer, by Tim Keller – 7/10 … another solid book by one of my favourite Christian authors. I felt that this particular book was lacking a bit in readability – it was a bit of a slog at times – but it was a very informative exploration of the topic at hand, with a history of Christian thought on prayer, and practical tips for Christians in the present.
The Flash: Rogues Revolution (Graphic Novel) – 7/10 … I’ve really fallen in love with DC’s New 52 run of The Flash this year, and this second volume didn’t disappoint. Maybe not the best story ever, but as an introduction to the Flash’s world, and some of his most famous villains, it was a very good book.
Captain Marvel: Higher, Further, Faster, More (Graphic Novel) – 9/10 … Captain Marvel is one of my favourite Marvel characters, and this first volume of Marvel’s All-New run of comics didn’t let me down. One word comes to mind: fun. This is an enjoyable, accessible comic set in the far reaches of the Marvel universe, in bizarre locales that make this a colourful, stand out book.
Popologetics, by Ted Turnau – 7/10 … despite being long and somewhat academic (after all, Turnau is an academic), this was nevertheless a book with an important message – a message that says that Christians shouldn’t be afraid to engage their faith when it comes to popular culture, neither rejecting nor accepting it whole-heartedly, but looking for the good and the bad, and seeing how it can help them to reach those around them.
The Plausibility Problem, by Ed Shaw – 9/10 … this is one of my stand-out books of the year, let alone this group of ten. Whether you agree with Shaw’s position on homosexuality or not, I think you have to appreciate the raw honesty that comes out in this book. Shaw, a pastor who calls himself same-sex attracted, opens up about his personal struggles with his faith and sexuality, as well as calling on the church to do more to build relationships with homosexual people, and love them as they would love anyone else.
Whilst there were several graphic novels in this bunch, the highlight has to be the final book, The Plausibility Problem. It was the best book I read by a Christian author all there, and I would recommend it to anybody seeking to learn more about what the church can do to welcome more people through its doors.