I do these (not so) quick takes for books for which I won’t be doing a full review but about which I might still have something to say. This is the 2020 Quick Takes III page. Go here for Blogger on Books Quick Takes II and here for Blogger on Books Quick Takes I.

Storm Limited Series 1, 2, 3, 4 (1996 edition) by Warren Ellis and Terry Dodson is the kind of complicated interesting story I like for my favourite she-ro, full power on display (undimmed) and yet conflicted as she fights against impossible odds and *spoiler alert* wins. Bonus Cable as well. Of course, this being the comicverse they had to add an ending panel for the teen fan boys – Storm (out of character) altering her costume so that her hips and shoulders can breathe because gravity defying bra-less breasts aren’t enough. *insert smiling smh emoji here*

“To this day, the number forty – quaranta in Italian – served as a grim reminder of the origins of the word quarantine.”

“Only one form of contagion travels faster than a virus, Sinskey thought. And that’s fear.”

The pull quotes above are from Inferno – the latest (to me) puzzle book by bestselling author (of the Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons), with a high stakes medical mystery added to the usual globetrotting art scavenger hunt. I wasn’t feeling this book for most of my read – unlike Da Vinci Code which I remember hooking me from the jump. Maybe the lead character across all three books was always unbelievably astute and maybe it’s him being so with amnesia and a raging headache that makes it stand out this time. The amnesia certainly doesn’t stop him noticing how beautiful his doctor/side kick – and forced love interest – is. Also the art descriptions I was so fond of in Da Vinci feel clunkily inserted here. That said, Inferno’s seed planting kept me curious (if feeling a bit manipulated). What’s particularly interesting is that the real world in 2020 is experiencing a pandemic, the outcome of which remains uncertain, and this book liberally references plagues past as our heroes (?) race to stop another. In pursuit is a shadow fixer. Also in pursuit, the World Health Organization – more of a medical contagion international police than it seems to be in real life. The medical trivia mixed in with the art trivia this round include a favourite nursery rhyme: “Ring around the rosie… a reference to a rose-colored pustule on the skin that developed a ring around it and indicated that one was infected. Sufferers would carry a pocketful of posie in an effort to mask the smell of their own decaying bodies as well as the stench of the city itself, where hundreds of plague victims dropped dead daily, their bodies then cremated. Ashes ashes. We all fall down.” About 350 or so pages in a twist surprised me, before in the final pages taking yet another turn. So while not wholly engaging, the book is in the end entertaining, though its discussion of scientific responses to overpopulation (the question it raises about if the end justifies the means) made me uncomfortable as a Black person and a woman, both of whom have been on the painful end of an affirmative answer to that question.