My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Review: Watchmen

Watchmen Watchmen by Alan Moore
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was another book club selection that I would not have picked up on my own; mostly because I am not much of a graphic novel type. However, in this case, I was actually surprised that I liked it at all. The book is actually 12 comic books mashed together with some filler text that provided some back-story. The general concept was that what we would commonly refer to as super heroes actually became a fashion for awhile ... and they were seen as what they really were ... masked vigilantes. The premise opens up a very interesting debate on how government should work and what should happen when it fails to protect the governed. The American West (and to some extent, the South) has a significant history in vigilantism, so it was pretty easy to see this world as possible ...

And it was an extremely dark and unpleasant world. I didn't much care for the apparent fascination with blood in the frequent depictations of violence within the story, but I could accept them given the dark tenor of the plot. A few heroes even had intriguing character flaws, but the format didn't really allow us to explore them very deeply. There was a touch on predestination using Dr. Manhattan as the foil that was actually very well done; however, the scene on Mars was almost entirely superfluous IMHO and should have been dumped. Others may argue that it is was a component which illustrated Dr. Manhattan's inhumanness (or at the very least, his isolation from humanity), but I thought that had already been accomplished when he left Earth.

Finally there was the story within a story provided by a character whose sole purpose was to read another comic book within THIS comic book and presented a storyline that was apparently supposed to shadow (or foreshadow) how this story would end ... and I must say that the two stories were only tenuously linked at best and the ending of the main plot was singularly unsatisfying, while the ending of the black freighter story was relatively predictable. All in all it didn't add as much to the story as it should have.

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.