Thursday, February 27, 2014

Romance vs Zombies

First of all, I have to admit I am not a fan of romance novels. Never have been, in fact. I find them boring and, at least partially, pointless. But that’s me, I prefer other books. One of the ‘classics’ of romance novels you will find mentioned a lot is, of course, “Pride and Prejudice.” And there’s a newer version around, called “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.” I couldn’t withstand this one, because zombies make everything better in my experience - even romance novels.

To be honest, I managed to snatch a lot of Jane Austen books in e-book format for free (when I started reading e-books, quite a while ago by now). And, to be even more honest, I haven’t finished any of them and only started one or two. It’s the overwhelming combination of the language and the content that make it hard to impossible for me to get anywhere with Miss Austen.
For someone like me, to whom English isn’t the native language (and certainly not the language of Miss Austen’s time), reading the books is a hard chore, not a pleasure. And for someone like me, who doesn’t really ‘dig’ romance novels, reading any of her books with the heroines that only want to secure a good marriage, is even more of a chore.
I’m well aware that at her time, a woman not getting properly married was a woman in trouble. That the wealth and social standing of the husband was also the wife’s. That a woman who married below her social standing would be ‘downgraded,’ not manage to get her husband ‘upgraded’ instead. I am aware of all those facts.
They make me wonder, however, why many people today still seem to love those novels and, most of all, “Pride and Prejudice.”

Which brings me to the ‘modern’ “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.” Unfortunately, the author does a very good job at copying Miss Austen’s style. Unfortunately, because that means the book isn’t any better or easier to read than the original. I haven’t managed to finish the original, so I can only guess where the differences (apart from the glaring obvious one - the zombies) between both versions lie. I guess the marriage arrangement of the five sisters in the end are the same as in the original. I guess all the fight scenes in the novel do not exist in the original, as there a) are no zombies to fight and b) it’s improbable Miss Austen (or most other writers of her time) would have written such action scenes.
Is the novel a good one? Well, it might be better than the original. Zombies usually make things better. Will I read it again anytime soon? Not even if you put a gun against my head. A bullet to the brain might be less painful. It’ll be faster, at any rate.

“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” has not converted me to romance novels. It hasn’t made them worse to me, either, since that was hardly possible, so not much harm done.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Loki - Agent of Asgard

It’s been a while since I’ve really been reading comics (well, apart from the free online ones, I read quite some of those regularly). Much longer since the last superhero comics I’ve read (I think that was Young Justice, for the short time the series ran in Germany). But, well, I’ve always liked Loki (especially since Avengers and Thor) and I couldn’t really withstand the new series by Marvel he stars in.

Getting the first issue online was a great thing, since I’m currently miles from the next comic store. I would prefer having the comic book in my hands, but online whenever I want to is good as well.
I knew the comic was coming, since I’d seen previews on various sites, but I only really realized I wanted it, when it really came out. I saw a few pages that had been posted on Facebook. I liked what I saw. I liked the comic, once I read it. I laughed out loud at this panel, which comes at the end of the two pages Loki needs to get the Avengers to fight each other, so he’s free to complete his mission.

Loki will, of course, never be a perfect, shining hero. That’s not in his nature, not in his current incarnation, not in the past ones, not in the future ones. But he makes a very good secret agent or, as Marvel puts it in the summary for the series, Asgardia’s one-man secret service.
He wants to break free from the expectations. That’s what he died for, to bury the villain Loki and get a new chance. He wants to be utterly himself, not slipping back into the role the universe wants him back in. By serving the All-Mother (unlike Odin All-Father, who is dead, the All-Mother is a triumvirate of three goddesses who rule the new Asgardia), he can purge his records in Asgard, removing the old legends, the old facts. New legends for old - a chance to have a new life without the burden of the past. A way out of the box, the expectations of the others, is worth working hard for.
However, with the end of the first issue, I do have the feeling getting away from his old self will be a good deal more difficult than he thought.

I like the style of the comic and the humour and will follow it for a while (not sure how long). If you like a devious main character, Agent of Asgard is a good one for you.