Short reviews and update

I’ve been reading a variety of books lately, but keep forgetting to write reviews about them here. So for now, just to keep it up-to-date, here’s what I’ve been reading and a few of my thoughts about them.

Monstress Vol 2: The Blood by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda: I’m really loving this series. The art style is probably the best I’ve seen in a comic, and the world is so unique – a kind of steampunk, alternate version of a feminist Asia with all types of fantastical creatures and ideas. It’s a little dark, perhaps a bit gory for some readers, but the worldbuilding and story are worth it. Where the first volume was a bit confusing, with readers essentially dropped into the middle of this strange complex world, the second volume really picks up the pace with the plot and was a page-turning read. 5/5

Fray by Joss Whedon: I confess I haven’t watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or read any of the other works by Joss Whedon, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when reading Fray. However, I had read some good reviews and decided to pick this graphic novel up. There were some good elements here that drew me in – the futuristic city-slum setting, the skilled thief protagonist, the monster slaying…ultimately however I was a bit disappointed. I felt like there wasn’t too much character development and the main villain’s motive and the reason for the whole “uprising” just seemed so insubstantial. It all ended up feeling very shallow for me. 2.5/5

Giant Days Vols 1, 2 and 3 by John Allison: This was a totally different direction for what I usually read. Giant Days is about the adventures of 3 friends going through their first semester of university in the UK and is a more light-hearted, slice-of-life story with a bright, humorous art style. I love the characters – they’re all so distinct with their own quirks and it’s a delight to follow their ups and downs in their university days. After 3 volumes (a total of 12 issues) though, I’m not sure if I want to continue reading any further. We’ll see. In any case, this was a nice break from some of the more serious stuff I usually read. 3/5

B.P.R.D: The Hollow Earth and other stories by Mike Mignola: I’ve been meaning to read more in the world of Hellboy, so this was a good start. There isn’t actually any of Hellboy’s character at all in this series about the B.P.R.D (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense), but more about his friends Abe Sapien, Liz Sherman, and Roger (and newcomer Johan Kraus) and what they get up to after he quits the Bureau. I’m familiar with the world through watching the movies and watching some of the recent animations, and I’ve always loved the fairy-tale like quality of the world. The main story “The Hollow Earth” was okay, though not great. The opposition/antagonists in this story were not that impressive, and I never really understood why they needed Liz. But I found some of the “other stories” in the book quite interesting, in that they provided little snippets about the characters and how they met each other and Hellboy. 3/5

Hellboy: The Midnight Circus by Mike Mignola: A short-ish story about Hellboy when he was a child, when he stumbled upon a circus that might literally be from hell. Some interesting parallels in the story with Pinnochio, but I felt like I was missing some of the story because I wasn’t familiar with some of the characters. 3/5

 

Young Avengers Vol 1: Sidekicks by Allan Heinberg. This was the 2005 version of Young Avengers, and though I wasn’t familiar with these characters at all, I thought I’d give it a try. It’s basically about some kids who have similar powers to the Avengers and form their own group to fight against Kang the Conqueror for reasons which will become clear halfway into the book. I didn’t find any of the characters too memorable or the plot that exciting. I don’t think I’m going to continue this series. 2.5/5

Well that’s it for now. I’m still reading some fiction and non-fiction books which I will get to asap. Graphic novels and comics are just so fast and tempting to read though! Another update: I just signed up for NetGalley to read and review “galleys” or advance-reader-copies so hopefully that should mean that I’ll have some more reviews up on this blog soon!

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