Title: Blood of Others
Author: Rick Mofina
Number of pages: 480
Genre: thriller
Book Number/Goal: 31/52
My Rating: 2/5

A serial killer preys on lonely women frequenting online chats, and murders them in elaborate grotesque ways. A detective, a cop and a journalist are trying to solve the case, working more-or-less independently.

The biggest flaw of the book is the lack of mystery: the identity of the killer is revealed early. Other promising mysteries, such as the strange illness of a character's son, are just distractions that do not add anything to the story. Another flaw is too many points of view, which doesn't enrich the story because most of the characters are similar to each other. (The murderer is the only halfway-interesting person.) The ending is entirely predictable. And there seems to be an implicit moral, "do not trust strangers on the Internet" - tired and old!
Title: The Secret Portal (Volume 1)
Author: Reno Charlton
Number of pages: 179
Genre: fantasy, young adult
Book Number/Goal: 32/52
My Rating: 1/5

A "boarding school novel" about children who encounter a parallel magic world within their own school. They make friends with magical creatures, learn about each other's classes and daily lives, and fight together against the common enemy.

The story is straightforward and rather primitive. Maybe I shouldn't judge it so harshly because it's oriented at children and is supposed to be easy reading, but so is Harry Potter, and there's a world of difference. Not every novel automatically becomes exciting just because it has magic in it.
Title: The Arrival
Author: Shaun Tan
Number of pages: 128
Genre: graphic novel
Book Number/Goal: 33/52
My Rating: 5/5

A story of an emigrant who left his troubled country to build a new home in a (hopefully) better place. Everything in the new country is weird: monster-like animals, alien machinery, exotic hieroglyphic language. The man meets other immigrants, every one with their own story.

The book contains no text - the plot must be "decoded" image by image, and somehow it works! The graphics is amazingly detailed and stylish, in sepia tones reminiscent of old photographs. It doesn't just tell a sequence of events but reflects the feelings of someone far away from home, struggling to cope with the new reality. It appears that the author meant the alien land as a metaphor for Australia, but every emigrant can relate to it.


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