Friday, December 13, 2019

Worlds Unseen (graphic novel) - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Europe Comics via NetGalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

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Title: 
Worlds Unseen
Author: Georges Abolin
Illustrator: Olivier Pont
Release Date: September 18, 2019


Synopsis: 906. William is ten years old when his family leaves London for Barellito, a small Italian fishing village. The quiet of the village will not last long, however, thanks to the ripples created by the arrival of William and his family. His own life, too, is about to be upturned, in this remarkable and wondrous new land where he will find new southern landscapes, a new kind of liberty, and above all new friends: Paolo, Nino, and the charming Lisa, united forever by an extraordinary event and a strange object…



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Review: This graphic novel had a lot of interesting concepts, but I found it just boring. I never got into this story. I had difficulties figuring out the perspective. The book starts out in 1902 in Italy. Then it jumps forward four years. There's a young boy in a new city. A mysterious girl his ageA group of kids all born on the same day. They get high one night together...I think. There's some nudity and sex scenes. There was just a lot of different things happening, but still I was bored. 


I was very unsure who the audience for this book is supposed to be. It seems to be from the perspective of a child, but there's some adult material. 

The artwork was off-putting for me. There are some unusual facial expressions drawn that I was not able to interpret. 

Overall, some interesting ideas. But, I was bored. I give this book a 2/5.  


--PAUL

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Greta and the Giants: inspired by Greta Thunberg's stand to save the world (picture book) - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Frances Lincoln Children's Books via EdelweissI voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

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Title: 
Greta and the Giants: inspired by Greta Thunberg's stand to save the world
Author: Zoë Tucker
Illustrator: Zoe Persico
Recent Release Date: November 19, 2019


Synopsis: This inspiring picture book retells the story of Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greta Thunberg—the Swedish teenager who has led a global movement to raise awareness about the world’s climate crisis—using allegory to make this important topic accessible to young children.

Greta is a little girl who lives in a beautiful forest threatened by Giants. When the Giants first came to the forest, they chopped down trees to make houses. Then they chopped down more trees and made even bigger homes. The houses grew into towns and the towns grew into cities, until now there is hardly any forest left. Greta knows she has to help the animals who live in the forest, but how? Luckily, Greta has an idea…

A section at the back explains that, in reality, the fight against the “giants” isn’t over and explains how you can help Greta in her fight. 

This book has been printed sustainably in the US on 100% recycled paper. By buying a copy of this book, you are making a donation of 3% of the cover price to 350.org.



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Review: This picture book should be on every child's book shelves. It features such a great message of standing up for your ideals and having the courage to stand up. And how that bravery can inspire and encourage others to stand up too. It's all about working together with others to make all of our voices heard. 


This book has such a great message, but from a story perspective I felt it was too easy. I wanted to see the giants push back, but I understand the desire to be purely inspirational for this audience. It's hopeful. A great example of conservation optimism. 

At the end of the book there's a note about Greta Thunberg, the inspiration for this story. It also explains that although this story has a happy ending, there's still a struggle ahead of us in real life. I give this picture book with a great message a 5/5. A perfect gift for conservation minded kiddos.


--PAUL

Man in Furs (graphic novel) - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Europe Comics via NetGalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

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Title: 
Man in Furs
Author: Catherine Sauvat
Illustrator: Anne Simon
Release Date: September 18, 2019


Synopsis: In 1870, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch publishes "Venus in Furs," an erotic novel revealing the author’s desire to be dominated by a woman. After the success of the novel, a woman turns up at his doorstep and offers to take on the role of the dominant woman. He submits to her completely and they get married. Years later, Leopold has remarried and lives a quiet life, far removed from the sexual escapades of his first marriage. This is when he learns that his surname is being used, to his detriment, to describe a new sexual perversion: masochism. 



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Review: This graphic novel describes the origin of the phrase masochism. This is a very interesting historic fiction based on true events and true people. The focus is sexual fantasy and its perception in the 1800s. I found the subject matter very compelling, but the story aspects of it made me bored at times.


There's obviously mature content in this book. It made me want to do more research into the origins of these concepts and the world's perception of sexual interests throughout history. I give this book a 3.5/5. I would definitely be interested in reading more graphic novels like this, but the story definitely could have been tighter. 


--PAUL

Friday, November 22, 2019

Little Bird: The Fight for Elder's Hope (graphic novel) - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Image Comic via Edelweiss. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*


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Title: 
Little Bird: The Fight for Elder's Hope
Author:  Darcy Van Poelgeest
Illustrator: Ian Bertram
Upcoming Release Date: November 26, 2019


Synopsis: Award-winning filmmaker Darcy Van Poelgeest teams up with Angoulême nominated artist Ian Bertram to bring you the highly acclaimed dystopian sci-fi, Little Bird.

With the same limitless scope as Star Wars, and the social-political explorations of A Handmaid's Tale, Little Bird tells the story of a young resistance fighter battling against an oppressive American Empire while searching for her own identity in a world on fire. A gorgeously illustrated epic where one girl risks everything to save her people, their land, and the freedom they so desperately deserve.



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Review: The description of this book has everything. It's an epic with social-political exploration. There's a young heroine fighting for what she thinks is right. I was really looking forward to this book. Unfortunately, I could not get into it.


The art is very unique. There's grotesque elements and disproportion to emphasis the strangeness. This is a future with an uber-religious USA, genetically modified human beings, and something called a resurrection gene. The world seems massive, but it was too much for me to grasp. 

I was hoping to enjoy this book, but it ended up being a DNF for me. The artwork is unnerving, but excellently fits with the story. There's a lot going on. A big world. I think I might have just not been in the right head space for this type of book. I give this book a 2/5.


--PAUL

Monday, November 18, 2019

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge (graphic novel) - Paul's REVIEW


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Title: 
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge
Writer: Ethan Sacks
Artists: Will Sliney, Dono Sanchez-Almara, & Protobunker
Recent Release Date: November 5, 2019


Synopsis: A thrilling call to adventure on the very edge of the galaxy! Black Spire Outpost has long been frequented by smugglers, merchants and travelers from every system looking to make their score on the infamous black market - or experience exotic thrills only the remote world of Batuu has to offer. Beings like the infamous Dok-Ondar, proprietor of rare antiquities, thrive on the unique opportunities that abound on this lawless outpost at the edge of Wild Space. But the First Order has come to Batuu - and now its survival is at stake! The road to Black Spire's salvation begins in the past...with a job that Han Solo and Chewbacca once pulled for Dok-Ondar. The newest chapter of the growing Star Wars saga begins with this riveting comic adventure tie-in to the theme park!



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Review: Welcome to the Black Spire Outpost on Batuu! I haven't been yet, but you may have if you've recently visited Disney World or Disney Land. There's obviously a lot of references to how the actual park looks. The cover featured the Millenium Falcon just like the actual attraction. 


This graphic novel tells one story focusing on one of the original characters made for the parks: Dok-Ondar. Within the big story there are four smaller tales being retold. Han Solo deals with a baby sarlacc. Greedo's ego is showcased. Hando comes in contact with the Guardians of the Whills. And, Doctor Aphra travels to the Sith Homeworld of Moraband. Each of these stories show off different aspects of the park that you can see for yourself if you go in person. This is what Star Wars does so well, making connections and building a big lived-in world.

There are plenty of wonderful references. Ki-Adi-Mundi and Chirrut are just two of my favorites. Dok-Ondar is the true star of this book. He's an underworld mastermind.

I give this book a 3.5/5. It's full of fun stories with connections to the park and featured characters from different eras. This definitely is a tie-in story, though. 


--PAUL

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Topside (graphic novel) by J. N. Monk - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from NetGalley from Lerner Publishing Group. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

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Title: 
Topside
Author: J. N. Monk
Illustrator: Harry Bogosian
Recent Release Date: October 1, 2019


Synopsis: A wild outer-space fantasy about fixing your mistakes and the friends you meet along the way.

When Jo, a headstrong maintenance technician, makes an error that destabilizes her planet's core, she only knows one way to fix things: leaving her underground home for a trip to the planet's dangerous, unruly surface. Soon she's wandering through deserts, riding on the back of giant beasts, and cutting deals with con artists and bounty hunters. Meanwhile, agents of the core are in hot pursuit. J. N. Monk and Harry Bogosian (co-creators of the web-comic StarHammer) present a wild outer-space fantasy about fixing your mistakes and the friends you meet along the way. 



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Review: This graphic novel shows a group of misfits working together in a strange, and elaborate world. The whole book is colorful with great designs of characters. There are aliens, weird creatures, and detailed backgrounds. I love world building that is just there in the background without explicit explanations. It is an intricate and bizarre world. 
I enjoyed the comical take on bureaucracy. 

This book was a fun, easy read about finding your own path and diverting from the assigned path. I give this book a 4/5.


--PAUL

Monday, October 21, 2019

Star Wars: Tie Fighter (graphic novel) - Paul's REVIEW


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Title: 
Star Wars: Tie Fighter
Writer: Jody Houser
Artists: Roge Antonio, Joshua Cassara, Geraldo Borges, & Ig Guara
Recent Release Date: October 15, 2019


Synopsis: Enter Shadow Wing! The Empire's salvation - the Rebellion's doom! As the war between the rebels and the Galactic Empire stretches on, it is the innocent people of the galaxy who are most at risk. An elite squadron of TIE fighter pilots is assembled to help protect Imperial interests - and hammer the Emperor's fury down upon the treasonous and violent Rebel Alliance. But how far is this untested team willing to go to preserve law and order? And are the pilots of Shadow Wing as loyal to the Empire as they seem?



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Review: This Star Wars comic follows the Shadow Wing Squadron of the Empire from the Battle of Hoth to the destruction of the second Death Star. This is part of a cross-media tie-in with Alpha Squadron. This book is full of references to other stories and characters, almost to its own detriment. 


There are a lot of interesting characters and a decent enough story, but there isn't enough focus. Too many peaks at other characters that aren't relevant to this story are given too much spotlight. There's even an asterick referencing the Solo tie-in comic Imperial Cadet. I wasn't sure which characters were new to this story and which ones were just references. 

I did enjoy the pacing, though. We really got to see the Shadow Squadron experience some stuff. It's an unusual style having every issue end with a flashback though. I'd love to see these characters reappear. What do they do after the Emperor is gone?

I give this book a 3.5/5. It's not enough of a story on its own. It relies too much on references and doesn't do enough on its own.   


--PAUL