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Reviews Written by
D Brookes (Sheffield, UK)

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My Friend Leonard
My Friend Leonard
by James Frey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My Friend Leonard, 19 May 2011
This review is from: My Friend Leonard (Paperback)
I'll presume that you want to read this book because you read Frey's last book and liked it, and you're already open-minded enough to appreciate (or forgive) his writing style, syntax, and foul language.

This is Frey's "autobiography pt.2" and picks up where the last left off, and is essentially more of the same. If that sounds appealing, you won't be disappointed. If you had a problem with the first book, don't bother buying this.

Unlike 'A Million Little Pieces' this one doesn't have much of a direction to it, and lacks focus. When a guy is given a choice between getting through rehab or dying, you know where you're going with a story and it can only have one of two outcomes and you read to find out which. But knowing that Frey obviously made it through rehab long enough to write two novels, he's now found himself in the big wide world and that makes for a potentially big wide story, so it's hard to know where he's going with it or why. The title hints at a framework that turns out to give it all the structure it needs, though, and the book is a touching account of a deep friendship. Leonard is more than enough of a character to carry the story even without Frey's crass, melancholic, sometimes humourous narrative.

For those who are wondering, this remains a story told from Frey's perspective, not a third person account of Leonard or written in Leonard's voice. Leonard is now a large part of Frey's life and this makes the book, in a way, a dual biography. Compared to 'A Million Little Pieces', it's shorter, faster-paced and allows for greater breadth than the confines of rehab. I would say that it's as good, but probably not better, than the first, and so can't find any reason not to award it the same score.

Vey readable, moving and well-told despite Frey's unconformist literary style.

8.5 / 10

David Brookes
Author of 'Half Discovered Wings'


A Million Little Pieces
A Million Little Pieces
by James Frey
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Million Little Pieces, 16 May 2011
Take a brief look at the other reviews here - most of the negative comments are valid, but these shouldn't spoil your enjoyment of the book. Most of the positive comments are valid and justified.

Despite being an essentially unlikeable person (according to his own commentary and the reactions of the people who knew him), Frey has a decent grasp of plot, pacing and prose. Impatient readers might get fed up with his repetition, but there's no overkill here and it only serves to reinforce his account of an experience that most of us will never have, if we're at all lucky. His self-imposed trials on the path to recovery will endear you to him more than most characters you will read about.

Whether or not all of it is strictly true is probably beside the point. The funny thing is, the supposed 'enhancements' aren't even necessary. This is a fast-paced tale of gruelling experiences - compelling, encouraging and inspiring.

8.5 / 10

David Brookes
Author of 'Half Discovered Wings'


Waltz with Bashir [DVD] [2008]
Waltz with Bashir [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Ari Folman
Offered by Direct Entertainment Supplies
Price: £2.43

3 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Waltz with Bashir, 21 April 2011
I found the film unwatchable. I'm a lover of animation and this is simply god-awful, scruffy, two-dimentional, poorly-animated digital trash. It irritated me to the point that I had to turn it off, something that I rarely do. It seems to be a modern trend to digitally animate and therefore save cash on the inbetween frames that make animated fluid. This is about as sophisticated as a Macromedia Flash cartoon.

The dialogue in the 25 minutes I watched was insipid. The grand, overblown presentation is presumably meant to disguise the meaningless drivel that the characters spout at each other, cliched and almost pretentious.

It's probably a fairly moving film if you ignore the fact that:

a) it's an animated film with awful animation
b) it's a film where the writing can only be revealed by the dialogue, and the dialogue is awful
c) the opening (at least) is horribly cliched (awful)

I can't comment on whether this is political propaganda, because I don't know enough about the subject. Unfortunately I wish I hadn't purchased this one purely because it's, as far as I viewed it, a terrible film.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 16, 2011 7:45 PM BST


The Fourth Man (Planetary)
The Fourth Man (Planetary)
by Warren Ellis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Planetary, 14 April 2011
At just under 30 issues this series did well to create the impression of multiple one-off storylines whilst actually building towards a single integrated plot. It was very well conceived and executed with brilliant artwork and snappy dialogue.

You'll notice pretty quickly that most of the characters are reinventions of popular comics heroes. I spotted the Hulk, Iceman, Captain America, the Fantastic Four and a bunch of others who are arguably interpretations of lesser known characters (or else just coincidence). It seems a stupid excuse for a book, to just rewrite all these existing creations, and akin to parody (or plaigarism). This element, I didn't like.

Other than that, it's a cool read with some great twists, lots of surprises and great, memorable moments. Not the genius that some people make it out to be, but worth a read if you can find it cheapish.

7 / 10

David Brookes
Author of 'Half Discovered Wings'


Planetary: Leaving the 20th Century
Planetary: Leaving the 20th Century
by Warren Ellis
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Planetary, 14 April 2011
At just under 30 issues this series did well to create the impression of multiple one-off storylines whilst actually building towards a single integrated plot. It was very well conceived and executed with brilliant artwork and snappy dialogue.

You'll notice pretty quickly that most of the characters are reinventions of popular comics heroes. I spotted the Hulk, Iceman, Captain America, the Fantastic Four and a bunch of others who are arguably interpretations of lesser known characters (or else just coincidence). It seems a stupid excuse for a book, to just rewrite all these existing creations, and akin to parody (or plaigarism). This element, I didn't like.

Other than that, it's a cool read with some great twists, lots of surprises and great, memorable moments. Not the genius that some people make it out to be, but worth a read if you can find it cheapish.

7 / 10

David Brookes
Author of 'Half Discovered Wings'


Planetary TP Vol 03 Leaving TP The 20 Th Century (Planetary (DC Comics))
Planetary TP Vol 03 Leaving TP The 20 Th Century (Planetary (DC Comics))
by Warren Ellis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Planetary, 14 April 2011
At just under 30 issues this series did well to create the impression of multiple one-off storylines whilst actually building towards a single integrated plot. It was very well conceived and executed with brilliant artwork and snappy dialogue.

You'll notice pretty quickly that most of the characters are reinventions of popular comics heroes. I spotted the Hulk, Iceman, Captain America, the Fantastic Four and a bunch of others who are arguably interpretations of lesser known characters (or else just coincidence). It seems a stupid excuse for a book, to just rewrite all these existing creations, and akin to parody (or plaigarism). This element, I didn't like.

Other than that, it's a cool read with some great twists, lots of surprises and great, memorable moments. Not the genius that some people make it out to be, but worth a read if you can find it cheapish.

7 / 10

David Brookes
Author of 'Half Discovered Wings'


Planetary, Vol. 1, All Over The World And Other Stories
Planetary, Vol. 1, All Over The World And Other Stories
by Warren Ellis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Planetary, 14 April 2011
At just under 30 issues this series did well to create the impression of multiple one-off storylines whilst actually building towards a single integrated plot. It was very well conceived and executed with brilliant artwork and snappy dialogue.

You'll notice pretty quickly that most of the characters are reinventions of popular comics heroes. I spotted the Hulk, Iceman, Captain America, the Fantastic Four and a bunch of others who are arguably interpretations of lesser known characters (or else just coincidence). It seems a stupid excuse for a book, to just rewrite all these existing creations, and akin to parody (or plaigarism). This element, I didn't like.

Other than that, it's a cool read with some great twists, lots of surprises and great, memorable moments. Not the genius that some people make it out to be, but worth a read if you can find it cheapish.

7 / 10

David Brookes
Author of 'Half Discovered Wings'


Planetary TP Book 04 Spacetime Archaeology (Planetary (Windstorm))
Planetary TP Book 04 Spacetime Archaeology (Planetary (Windstorm))
by Warren Ellis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.50

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Planetary, 14 April 2011
At just under 30 issues this series did well to create the impression of multiple one-off storylines whilst actually building towards a single integrated plot. It was very well conceived and executed with brilliant artwork and snappy dialogue.

You'll notice pretty quickly that most of the characters are reinventions of popular comics heroes. I spotted the Hulk, Iceman, Captain America, the Fantastic Four and a bunch of others who are arguably interpretations of lesser known characters (or else just coincidence). It seems a stupid excuse for a book, to just rewrite all these existing creations, and akin to parody (or plaigarism). This element, I didn't like.

Other than that, it's a cool read with some great twists, lots of surprises and great, memorable moments. Not the genius that some people make it out to be, but worth a read if you can find it cheapish.

7 / 10

David Brookes
Author of 'Half Discovered Wings'


Wolverine: Old Man Logan TPB (Wolverine (Marvel) (Quality Paper))
Wolverine: Old Man Logan TPB (Wolverine (Marvel) (Quality Paper))
by Mark Millar
Edition: Paperback
Price: £22.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Old Man Logan, 14 April 2011
This snuck up in the middle of the current Wolverine monthly comic book, out of the blue and unexplained. It's a sort of possible-future / alternate reality future for the Marvel Universe - I don't a definitive answer will be forthcoming - and it's absolute genius. It doesn't really matter if it's official canon or not, because you can imagine that it is if you want to and either way, it won't spoil the fun.

Excellent artwork, some great set pieces, and a really great take on the character and his possible future. Logan is humanised in a way you probably wouldn't expect. There are loads of cameos from future versions of other heroes from the Marvel Universe that strengthen this story.

I'd very much be interested in reading more stories from this timeline/alternate universe.

Apocalyptic and affecting. I can't actually think of anything wrong with it, so have no choice but to give it

10 / 10

David Brookes
Author of 'Half Discovered Wings'


God of Clocks (Deepgate Codex)
God of Clocks (Deepgate Codex)
by Alan Campbell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars God of Clocks, 23 Mar. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Minor spoilers.

Hooray! A book with real imagination, bold ideas and lots of fun!

I read the first two books in the series and thought they were bursting with original ideas and plenty of atmosphere. I wish I could have remembered more of the details before picking up this third book, because it jumps straight in and doesn't do a lot to remind you who the multitudinous characters are. Disappointingly, all their motives appear to have been explained in the previous instalment and therefore this didn't make a huge amount of sense to me, despite being easy to read.

As literature this is fairly light but with concise imagery that is a real strength. This does get a little close to overwriting at times but that only helps to give you some great set-pieces without being too wordy. Forgiven.

What isn't forgiven is that this is a book with time-travel in it. Oh, how my heart sinks when I realise a book includes time-travel. It's such a dumb concept at the best of times, but only when you keep it simple (i.e. Back to the Future or Terminator) can you skip over the absurdity of it. When a writer tries to draw in the 'science' of it, writing in theories and overexplaining things, you open up a whole can of worms that makes the text vulnerable to scrunity.

I can't be bothered to nit-pick here but basically the characters in the book directly contradict themselves constantly about this aspect of the plot. One of these is the eponymous God of Clocks, who really should know better. One minute he says even a little trip would destroy the universe, then they're time-travelling left right and centre, deviating from plans in a way that 10 pages earlier would apparently have eradicated the cosmos. You can see how this utterly undermines everything about the story, and is annoying to boot.

The ending also suffers, being too sudden and just a little side-note following the knot of unecessary time-travel and other bits. Two important characters seem to disappear completely. A pretty heft side-plot is resigned to a brief epilogue.

A disappointing end to the series - although I still stand by the first line of this review.

A generous 6 / 10

David Brookes
Author of 'Half Discovered Wings'


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