rushthatspeaks: (sparklepony only wants to read)
[personal profile] rushthatspeaks
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Vol. 1: The Crucible, written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa with art by Robert Hack.

Okay, so I was as surprised as anybody when Archie Comics reinvented themselves as well-written, groundbreaking, genuinely quality comics for the twenty-first century, and the whole thing still feels vaguely surreal and as though at any moment the comics will vanish back into some kind of reality warp, but this? Is a goddamn delight, if you like horror comics at all. I grew up watching the Melissa Joan Hart TV series of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, which adds another layer of frisson and piss-take to this book as a reading experience, but I don't think you need that to enjoy this, and I don't think you need to have read any Sabrina comics either. Basically, this just takes the premise of Sabrina the Teenage Witch-- witches live among us, desperately trying to keep their magic secret, bound by their own laws and customs, caught between two worlds-- and, instead of playing it for comedy, smashes it into the mass of genuinely creepy witch-based folklore out there and goes for the gusto.

Not to say that there aren't funny moments. Zelda and Hilda, Sabrina's aunts, have changed from the kind of dotty aunt who appears in sitcoms to a more Arsenic and Old Lace kind of vibe, now that they're supplementing the family larder by scavenging the town's cemeteries. Sabrina does, at one point, wonder whether she should attend her own dark baptism and consecration to Satan in the autumnal forest, or whether she should go to the pep rally and the game with Harvey Kinkle. Sabrina's talking cat remains a source of endless entertainment (when asked how he got turned into a cat, he mutters "This is what happens when you try to enact the Book of Revelations," and does a quick fade).

But mostly this is straight-up horror, aiming both at the occasional gross-out and at impressive psychological creepiness, and it's extremely well-written, with three-dimensional characters, cohesive (and unnerving) worldbuilding, and carefully researched folk magic. The art is gorgeous and expressive, and things like the (correctly icky) redesign of the 1940s Archie villain Madame Satan are labors of love (and footnoted for you at the back of the book). Literally the only complaint I have about this series is that it comes out so slowly, because I want more right away. This is both some of the best comics and some of the best horror of any genre I've read in quite a while, and yes, it will never stop being weird to find myself saying that.


Winter Tide, Ruthanna Emrys.

I shouldn't say too much about this because I beta-read it and am therefore pretty darn biased, but it's neo-Lovecraftiana for people who aren't racist sexist homophobic Other-haters, and it's out now, and it's great, and you should totally read it, especially if you find the Deep Ones and/or the Yith at all interesting. I am also told it works if you haven't read Lovecraft.


Within the Sanctuary of Wings, Marie Brennan.

So this is the fifth of the Memoirs of Lady Trent, who is an alt-Victorian naturalist who studies dragons, and it's the last one. You shouldn't start here-- you should start with the first, or possibly the second, as IMO they get better as they go-- but I thought I should mention that this is a five-volume series which comes to a tidy, pre-planned, and well-foreshadowed end without dragging on forever in endless not-written-yet limbo, and I am... trying to remember the last time I saw that happen ever, actually. M. L. N. Hanover's Black Sun's Daughter, I guess, a few years back, though that's urban fantasy, where I think finished series are somewhat more likely. Anyhow, it's a rare and precious thing. Also, there are many species of dragons in these novels, and they are interestingly differentiated and beautifully illustrated (literally, these illos are very cool).

I could wish the plot were a little less predictable, on both a volume-by-volume and an overall level, but by the time we get to book five the predictability has settled down into the kind of thing where you know pretty much what has to happen, but not how, and not necessarily why, and the details turn out to be fascinating. These are not spectacular books, but they are pleasant and down-to-earth and charming and comforting and should be read by persons who also like the Amelia Peabody series.

Date: 2017-04-28 08:25 am (UTC)
sovay: (Viktor & Mordecai)
From: [personal profile] sovay
Sabrina's talking cat remains a source of endless entertainment (when asked how he got turned into a cat, he mutters "This is what happens when you try to enact the Book of Revelations," and does a quick fade).

Yay.

Date: 2017-04-28 04:06 pm (UTC)
landofnowhere: (Default)
From: [personal profile] landofnowhere
should be read by persons who also like the Amelia Peabody series.

Does that recommendation go the other way? I adored Lloyd Alexander's Vesper Holly books when I was in my preteen, and I think of the Lady Trent books as filling the same niche: adventures of strong-willed globetrotting late Victorian heroine, with a distinctive narrative voice. I'm not sure why I never read the Amelia Peabodys, but now I feel like I should.

Profile

rushthatspeaks: (Default)
rushthatspeaks

July 2017

S M T W T F S
      1
2345678
91011 12131415
16171819202122
232425 26272829
3031     

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 28th, 2017 08:56 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios