Size Doesn’t Matter (180): Miles Morales; Warbringer

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (180): Miles Morales; WarbringerMiles Morales: Spider-Man by Jason Reynolds
Narrator: Guy Lockard
Length: 6 hrs, 53 mins
Published by Listening Library on August 1, 2017
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible

Everyone gets mad at hustlers, especially if you're on the victim side of the hustle. And Miles knew hustling was in his veins.

Miles Morales is just your average teenager. Dinner every Sunday with his parents, chilling out playing old-school video games with his best friend, Ganke, crushing on brainy, beautiful poet Alicia. He's even got a scholarship spot at the prestigious Brooklyn Visions Academy. Oh yeah, and he's Spider Man.

But lately, Miles's spidey-sense has been on the fritz. When a misunderstanding leads to his suspension from school, Miles begins to question his abilities. After all, his dad and uncle were Brooklyn jack-boys with criminal records. Maybe kids like Miles aren't meant to be superheroes. Maybe Miles should take his dad's advice and focus on saving himself.

As Miles tries to get his school life back on track, he can't shake the vivid nightmares that continue to haunt him. Nor can he avoid the relentless buzz of his spidey-sense every day in history class, amidst his teacher's lectures on the historical benefits of slavery and the importance of the modern-day prison system. But after his scholarship is threatened, Miles uncovers a chilling plot, one that puts his friends, his neighborhood, and himself at risk.

It's time for Miles to suit up.

I picked Miles Morales up more because of Jason Reynolds than because of Spider-Man. Though I enjoy superhero stuff in general, I’m not enough into Marvel or DC to really want to read novelizations (if I wanted to read them, I’d go for comics); however, I’ll be making exceptions for some favorite authors. Reynolds brings his talent to bear on what would otherwise be a deeply silly story.

The thing here is that Reynolds was no doubt commissioned and given the frame of the story. Maybe I’m wrong but my assumption is that all the stuff that I didn’t like about Miles Morales didn’t actually come from Reynolds. The plot’s absurd and not in a way that’s funny or even ridiculous in the way superhero stuff is always ridiculous. I just find it really hard to believe that these villains are solely attempting to take down high school kids, and why did they all have the same name?!?!? And, like, they try to take Miles down with canned sausages, which just like nah man.

Setting that aside, though, Miles himself was awesome. Reynolds does such an amazing job with the character development, and Miles feels like such a real, authentic teen. He’s biracial (Black and Latino), and he’s poor. Unlike the typical Spider-Man origin story, he also has two loving and completely adorable parents.

What I like most, I think, is how Reynolds really highlights the ways in which life is different for a poor, non-white Spider-Man. Everything is harder for Miles, and he’s having to deal with racism on top of villains. Again, the plot makes some of that a bit preachy/ridiculous, but it’s the small moments that really stand out. Miles faces a different set of challenges from the other Spider-Men, and I’d love to see him getting a movie.

Marvel didn’t give Miles Morales a great villain, but Reynolds manages to make something pretty great out of the concept anyway. Guy Lockard’s narration is excellent, and I’d absolutely like to see more of Morales.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (180): Miles Morales; WarbringerWonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
Narrator: Mozhan Marno
Length: 12 hrs
Series: DC Icons #1
Published by Listening Library on August 29, 2017
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible

She will become one of the world’s greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . .

Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.

Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

As with Miles Morales, I’m reading Wonder Woman: Warbringer because of the author, not the superhero. Though I enjoy superhero stuff a lot, I’m not big on novelizations or classic superhero stuff as much. Still, there’s no way I’m not reading a Bardugo book, so here I am. For my money, Wonder Woman: Warbringer is better than the film, though DC still needs to learn how to laugh at itself.

My personal opinion is that Marvel is doing so much better than DC these days at all the reboots, because Marvel’s films have a sense of humor. They embrace the comedic aspects of being a person running around in a colorful bodysuit, fighting crime. DC’s all goodness or all grit, and there’s not much else there. Though the Wonder Woman movie is beautiful, and I’m a bit in love with Gal Gadot, it would have benefited a lot from Diana having a sense of humor. Like Clark Kent, Diana’s so good that she makes me roll my eyes and want to take a little nappy nap.

Bardugo does bring a bit of banter to play, and the characterization’s much more in depth here. Diana is, for the most part, the same, though she does have a delicious snarky banter when she’s around Jason, which YES HERE FOR IT. View Spoiler » Those sparks of humor and snark bring so much to an otherwise flat heroine.

Another way I liked this more than the film is that there’s more development. Some things that confused me in the movie about the island are explained here. However, I did find just precisely what information Diana had on the island confusing. She knew about some modern things, and her narration occasionally had a modern cultural reference, but for other things she was clueless.

The supporting cast is very diverse (Alia and Jason are half Black, Alia’s love interest is Black, and Alia’s bestie is Indian), and they actually perform roles in the plot, where in the movie, they’re mostly just following Wonder Woman around. The plot’s where Warbringer shines brighter than Miles Morales, since this does have an epic and impressive plot. In fact, the stakes feel much higher here than they did in the film, since Diana isn’t yet entirely invincible.

Even by Bardugo, DC is not my favorite, but she does a nice job with this story, and I bumped it up a half star for the addition of snarky banter. Take note, DC!

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

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