Injection Volume 1 by Warren Ellis

injection

the-book
Injection, Vol. 1 (Injection #1)
By Warren Ellis(Writer), Declan Shalvey (Artist), Jordie Bellaire (Colorist)
Publisher: Image Comics
ISBN13: 9781632154798
Pages:120
Genre: Graphic Novel/Science Fiction

Blurb:

A few years ago, a public/private partnership between the British Government and a multinational company saw five clever people placed in university-owned offices and allowed to do whatever they liked. It was called the Cultural Cross-Contamination Unit, and the idea was that it would hothouse new thinking and new patents. Five actual geniuses, all probably crazy, very eccentric, put in one place and given carte blanche to think about ways to approach and change the future. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
They did A Crazy Thing, which was referred to as The Injection. A mysterious Thing that they did in order to make the 21st Century better and stranger. It got out. It got loose into the fabric of the 21st Century, whatever it was, and now things are getting weird and ugly, faster and faster.
So a few years have passed. They’ve all gone their separate ways, into separate “jobs” that allow them to follow and sometimes deal with the repercussions of The Injection. We are in the period where the toxic load of The Injection is at such a level that events that are essentially paranormal in nature are coming faster and faster, headed towards a point where humanity won’t easily be able to live on the planet any more. Not a Singularity of glory, but an irretrievable constant blare of horror coming too thick and fast for anything to deal with.
From the creators of Moon Knight: From the Dead: the story of five mad geniuses trying to save us all from themselves.


my-thought

I believe this is my first encounter with Ellis, although I do not want to be quoted on that. I hate to admit that it did not go as well as I had hoped. I am really not going to spend any amount of time rehashing this plot-line. As you can see, the blurb has it covered.

Truth be told, I struggled with Injection and we got off to a rocky introduction. In the beginning it felt overly complex with a questionably vague story-line. I simply was struggling to follow the events unfolding. The narration and plot seemed to lack cohesion. I felt as if I were being thrown back and forth sporadically, and I was unable to make sense of the choppy back story that was randomly inserted into current events. For me, it was not working.

Eventually it did slowly begin to pull together and form something of mild interest and potential though. The concept I realized, is smart and original. Unfortunately, it was just a very long wait for this to become evident. I also found myself unable to enjoy the dialog for the majority of the novel. It was dry, lacking any true emotion and well as we know, dialog and artwork are a huge part of graphic novels. 20170323_160657-01

The artwork was another uncertain facet of Injection for me. It wasn’t overly engaging yet not entirely disappointing either. It was a bit dark in terms of visual quality and style. There was nothing that grabbed me on an aesthetic level. While Injection is not meant to be beautiful, there was just nothing of huge interest occurring with the color scheme and illustration. Something about the art began to feel almost as obscure as what was or was not happening within the story.

It all felt a bit too mysterious. The characters, while diverse, failed to raise any particular interest even after their back stories were uncovered. It was almost as if Injection tried too hard and too little at times. It was a muddle reading experience for myself that ultimately left me piecing together exactly what this group of geniuses had done and were now doing.  So here is where I currently stand:

Pros

  • Diverse Characters.
  • Elements of folklore intermingled with sci-fi have potential for a unique story arc going forward if executed in a more fluid fashion.

Cons

  • Story and dialog lacked cohesion and felt choppy.
  • The story was too vague even for an introduction.
  • Artwork was dark and bland at times.

I won’t rule Injection out completely as a series. While there was violence, I did appreciate that there was only one scene of brief nudity which happened to be a male character for once and was presented in a nonsexualizing manner. Depending on future volumes, there are certainly some aspects to the story line that could be pulled together to form a decent and original sci-fi experience. But there will need to be some serious developments and narration improvements for this to happen for me.

For now, I am choosing to shelf this one and explore other options. I am however giving it 3 stars for the originality that was obscurely tucked within.

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The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison

butterflygardenthe-book
The Butterfly Garden (The Collector #1)
By Dot Hutchison
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
ISBN13: 9781503934719
Pages: 276
Genre: Thriller/Mystery

Blurb:

Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.

As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding…


my-thought

*Warning – this book contains scenes of rape & violence.

The Butterfly Garden is a tale of abduction, abuse and secrecy that will certainly work well for some and should be avoided by others due to the graphic nature of the content. While I did not find it to be too overwhelming, it is fair to say it has the potential to be very unsettling.

“Three butterflies for a broken girl: one for personality, one for possession, and one for pettiness.”

Abducted and branded with lavish butterfly tattoos, young girls are forced to live out their allotted time within a garden their abductor has created for them. His “butterflies”. Stripped of their true identities with the only real escape being death, the girls have learned to live within the confines of their prison. That is until a twist of events will expose the truth and reveal this dark secret.

We are introduced to Maya as she is being questioned by two FBI agents after a harrowing escape from The Garden. It is through Maya’s account of events that we are told the grisly story of The Gardener and his Garden. One man who harbors a monstrous obsession with beauty and the “home” he has built for his victims. But Maya’s story leaves even more to question. What is it that she is not sharing?

I am slightly divided on my feelings for The Butterfly Garden. There are a multitude of elements that work so well within this twisted tale, yet there are also a couple that depreciated my experience.

Our protagonist Maya is complex. She consists of many layers that are slowly peeled away, revealing a young woman who has suffered greatly. Yet she hasn’t in the traditional sense. She has hardened. Refusing to be defined by the past she has run from. It was easy to establish an instant connection with a real respect and concern for Maya that only grows as the story progresses. But as she continues with her recollection with the two FBI agents, we realize there is also an air of uncertainty surrounding her. She is hiding personal details and aspects of her life. We are left to decipher whether this is due to her desire to separate herself from her dark history or something even more. I thoroughly enjoyed her.

The plot is not entirely new. Many thrillers and mysteries revolve around abductions. But the concept of the Garden is original. And it is terrifying in its own right. I do not want to elaborate much further on this because the revelation is a large portion of the experience, but the butterflies and their fate are one that resonates and lingers. The Gardner is the epitome of nightmares.

“The trouble with sociopaths, really, is that you never know where they draw their boundaries.”

The Butterfly Garden brilliantly touches on many facets of the human mind and psych. It delves deep into what happens when living is the only option and escaping has been removed from the equation. I found my brain running through a barrage of possible effects on the victims that included shock, hypervigilance, denial, and total submission. How does one learn to survive? Can one learn to survive?

“It was a strange kind of pain, choosing to lie there under the needles and let him write his ownership into my skin.”

The narration transitions seamlessly from past recollections up to the present events, cleverly divulging a fascinating story at a consistent pace. The Butterfly Garden offers  up a somewhat unique and compelling perspective through Maya’s interrogation. So what was it that ultimately subtracted from my experience?

Two things: 

  1. There was never a sense of urgency or panic.
  2. The ending completely fell apart for me.

I am willing to attribute the lack of tension and suspense largely to the fact that the story is being told from in hindsight from a survivor. It is evident that Maya sees matters for exactly what they are and has learned to adapt to each situation as necessary. She is in part desensitized due to all she has encountered in life. But it was monotone at times. It felt almost awkward to read about such heinous crimes and never truly experiencing a full range of heightened emotions and tension. This is a thriller? Maybe a mystery? I am not sure at this point.

The ending was where it derailed for me. It angered me and left me frustrated and questioning the credibility of it all. It was liking watching everything unravel in a rushed and clunky manner that was demeaning and detrimental. I have tried to come to terms with the decision the author has made here and I simply cannot. For this reason I am cautious to recommend what was almost a brilliant read and will be knocking off a full star.

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Goodreads Monday – 11/22/63

goodreads-monday

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners. To participate, you simply choose a random book from your TBR and show it off. Don’t forget to check out her blog and link back to Lauren’s Page Turners and add your own links!

My Random Pick

stephenking
11/22/63

By Stephen King
Publisher: Scribner
ISBN13: 9781451627282
Pages: 849
Genre: Historical Fiction/Sci Fi

Blurb:

Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away…but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke… Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten…and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful.

It is kind of a no-brainer that if Stephen King’s name is on it, I will eventually buy and read it. He is an auto author for me. He has been since I very first picked up The Shining many years ago at my poor mother’s forbidding. I smuggled it out of the local library and kept it stashed away underneath my mattress only to read each night and drift away into some of the craziest nightmares. Yet I could not stop. It has been true love ever since.

King is not only a man of horror though. He has written countless titles over the years. Some that make me think, some that make me cry (The Green Mile), and some that just blow me away. One thing remains consistent, he never fails to impress me. He occupies multiples shelves on my bookcases, and I will never be able to read them all. But none the less, 11/22/63 is on my list. Have you read this? If so, what genre would you say this title best falls into?

What’s on your TBR?

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