Friday, March 16, 2007

Review Copy Reviews

Once again, AiT/Planet Lar has come through for me, sending me a book to review just when life was getting me down. Between Larry and Illusive Arts I never seem to get too far down before someone sends me something. More on Illusive in a bit, for the moment I want to focus on:

Giant Robot Warriors by Stuart Moore and Ryan Kelly.

Before I really get into the meat of the book, let me just say that a comic book with a dust jacket is pretty cool, especially when the dust jacket has a different cover image. As with so many of AiT/Planet Lar's books, there's a short text piece at the end which explains when this book was written (in the year after 9/11) and how the feelings of the writer have changed since then. It's not strictly necessary for the enjoyment of the book, but it added one heckuva layer to my own reading of it, which I appreciated.

As for the meat of the story... well, there is a main storyline that works really well as a plain ol' over-the-top adventure with Giant Robot Warriors (and I feel like I should be putting an exclamation point after that). It really is hard to not chuckle at the concept of GRWs being a part of modern warfare. The set-up and execution of that side of the story is absolutely perfect, from the charmingly annoying main scientist to his grumpy boss and the wacky assistants. It's all familiar and yet new, and it all works. The subtext of that main plot is the political arena in which the GRWs operate, and that's where the tale starts to sink its mechanical digits into your brain. There's a lot going on there, some hinted at and some stated outright, and it's all powerful if you look beyond just the fun and games.

Part of that subtext is revealed in the wonderful mysterious sideplot, which comes to fruition at just the wrong moment for our hero. Indeed, it's hard to call it subtext once it hits the open near the end of the book. Still, there is a deep subtlety here you just don't expect from a book called Giant Robot Warriors. Ultimately, the book pulls through on the combined strength of the silliness of the main concept with some political subtext and a dash of believable characters mixed in.

This is a fun book, and definitely worth a look from anyone who wants to read something light, but really tasty.