Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Black Wings Beating by Alex London - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


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Title: 
Black Wings Beating
Author: Alex London
Recent Release Date: September 25, 2018

Synopsis: The people of Uztar have long looked to the sky with hope and wonder. Nothing in their world is more revered than the birds of prey and no one more honored than the falconers who call them to their fists.

Brysen strives to be a great falconer--while his twin sister, Kylee, rejects her ancient gifts for the sport and wishes to be free of falconry. She's nearly made it out, too, but a war is rolling toward their home in the Six Villages, and no bird or falconer will be safe.

Together the twins must journey into the treacherous mountains to trap the Ghost Eagle, the greatest of the Uztari birds and a solitary killer. Brysen goes for the boy he loves and the glory he's long craved, and Kylee to atone for her past and to protect her brother's future. But both are hunted by those who seek one thing: power.



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Review: I have been waiting for this book. YA Fantasy is my favorite genre and to finally have a book like this with a lead queer boy means so much. I wish my teenage self had had this book. Not only is this a book with boys kissing, there's also a vast magical world based on falconry. So much thought went into the culture London created. The subtle avian references really flesh out the world.


The first chapter of this book is so intense. It paints such a wonderful picture of the world and the characters within it. The family dynamics are such a large part of this book and the first chapter paves such an excellent path for them to be thoroughly delved into. The first chapter also sets in play the chapters from adults' perspectives sprinkled throughout the book. Most of the book is from either Kylee or Brysen's persepctive. 

Going into this book, I didn't even read the synopsis. I just knew it was written by Alex London, there was falconry, and there were gay characters. I expected a gay male lead, but Brysen shares the role with his sister, Kylee. Kylee was absolutely my favorite character. Their relationship as siblings goes through so much in this book.

Love is at the center of this book. Not only romantic love, but familial and platonic. Each character is motivated by love in some way. The motivations all make sense and each character has a detailed past. 

The worldbuilding is phenomenal in this book. The bird imagery is everywhere. It's ever present. The culture is so well thought out. The geography of the area is described in such detail. I just got back from a tans Atlantic vacation and the imagery definitely reminded me of the beautiful Scandinavian landscapes.

Although this book is definitely only the first in a series, it is a complete story. I was very satisfied with the ending.

I give Black Wings Beating a 5/5. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book. It's a YA Fantasy with a queer boy protagonist!!! I can only hope that one day I have a book out in the world that can be recommended alongside this one.   


--PAUL

Monday, September 24, 2018

Saban's Go Go Power Rangers Vol. 1 (comic) - Paul's REVIEW


Saban's Go Go Power Rangers Vol. 1Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: 
Saban's Go Go Power Rangers Vol. 1
Writer: Ryan Parrott
Artists: Dan Mora & Raul Angulo
Release Date: July 11, 2018

Synopsis: Ryan Parrott (Star Trek: Manifest Destiny, Saban’s Power Rangers: Aftershock) and Russ Manning Award winner Dan Mora (Klaus, WWE) present a look at the Mighty Morphin story from the perspective of the teenagers with attitude; Jason, Kim, Trini, Zack, and Billy days after they first became Power Rangers. Fighting evil is hard, but surviving high school may be even harder—welcome to real life in Angel Grove.



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Review: I FINALLY got to read Go Go Power Rangers! It seems like it took forever for this collected volume to come out. Through social media I've heard about this ongoing series a lot, especially leading up to the big event, SHATTERED GRID. 


This series takes place really early in these teens' time as rangers. The stories focus more on their personal lives than fighting Rita and her goons. I really liked the focus on each character. There's added background for one-off episode traits from the tv series. Trini's fear for heights is mentioned. Zach has hesitations about Jason being a leader. Jason's obsession with karate has a reasoning. "Skull and Bones" was probably my favorite added backstory. 

The three rules of being a ranger are given more time. There's just more overall depth about their initial exploration of their new powers. I liked seeing how Rita learned of their true identities. 

The rangers' second mission is to the moon. Having read the 1969 story, I know Zordon was anxious. 

I finally got to meet Matthew, the other friend! I'm very interested in how his story continues. 

I'm impressed by this series. I am very excited to continue reading it. Parrott brings a realistic drama to the over-the-top story. I give this first volume in the ongoing Go Go Power Rangers series a 5/5.


--PAUL

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Star Wars: Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith, Vol. 3: The Burning Seas (comic) - Paul's REVIEW


Star Wars: Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith, Vol. 3: The Burning SeasAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: 
Star Wars: Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith, Vol. 3: The Burning Seas
Writers: Charles Soule & Chuck Wendig
Artists: Giuseppe Camuncoli, Daniele Orlandini, David Curiel, Java Tartaglia, & GURU-eFX
Release Date: September 11, 2018

Synopsis: As the Empire's grip tightens on the galaxy, the stirrings of a rebellion begin in the Mon Cala system. The fearsome Darth Vader knows that order must be maintained at all costs - and this time the job of snuffing out hope falls to Vader, his inquisitors...and Wilhuff Tarkin! To bring Mon Cala to heel means fi nding the surviving Jedi that foment this unrest. No tolerance for rebellion can be aff orded...but how far will Vader go to complete his mission? The Dark Lord of the Sith goes in for some wet work in this brutal story!




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Review: I am continuing to enjoy this ongoing series showing Darth Vader shortly after Episode 3. It's cool seeing Mon Cala prior to Imperial control. I like how there's a bit of a tie-in with the ongoing Star Wars comic series. There are also flashbacks to the Clone Wars era. 


I like this time period. Each jedi that evaded Order 66 is dealing with the new world in a different way. I also really enjoyed seeing a young Ackbar. 

There are two standalone issues included in this volume. First, there's a story that shows the relationship between Darth Vader and Tarkin developing into what we see in the original trilogy. 

The other is an Annual written by Chuck Wendig. This shows another interesting Vader/Tarkin dynamic. There are a bunch of great references that I love in this issue! Project Stardust. Geonosis. Krennic. Galen Erso. Overall, it's a really cool tie-in to Rogue One

Yet again, I give this volume of the ongoing Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith a 5/5.  


--PAUL

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Star Wars, Vol. 8: Mutiny at Mon Cala (comic) -Paul's REVIEW


Star Wars, Vol. 8: Mutiny at Mon Cala (Star Wars, #8)Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


Title: 
Star Wars, Vol. 8: Mutiny at Mon Cala
Writer: Kieron Gillen
artist: Salvador Larocca & GURU-eFX
Release Date: August 7, 2018


Synopsis: The Rebel Alliance sets their sights on strengthening their forces by growing their numbers. But with a greater number of supporters comes dissidence and difficulty - can Leia, along with Han and Luke's help, forge one alliance from many factions? 



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Review: I am unimpressed and disappointed in this ongoing series. The story is fine, although not too interesting. The thing I dislike the most is the artwork. The realistic drawings are not good. It's not creative and it just looks lazy. I hope they go with a different style moving forward. 


I did enjoy seeing Mon Cala. Although why do the female fish aliens have boobs? I really enjoyed the Rebels cameo as well as seeing some prequel love in the Clawdite alien. C-3PO with the Clawdite impersonating an Imperial Moff was the best part of this volume. I would read a whole comic focusing on that duo. 

The story is dragging and the art in this volume was horrible. I give this volume of the ongoing Star Wars comic series a 2/5


--PAUL

Friday, September 21, 2018

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra, Vol. 3: Remastered (comic) - Paul's REVIEW


Star Wars: Doctor Aphra, Vol. 3: Remastered (Star Wars: Doctor Aphra, #3)Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: 
Star Wars: Doctor Aphra, Vol. 3: Remastered
Writers: Kieron Gillen & Si Spurrier
Artist: Emilio Laiso
Release Date: July 10, 2018


Synopsis: Simon Spurrier takes the reins as rogue archaeologist Doctor Aphra jumps to light speed and accelerates into the next chapter of her life! Aphra is used to being in way over her head - but this time she's not alone! Who else is caught up in her latest misadventure? Let's hope they're friendly...otherwise Aphra may have finally bitten off more than she can chew!



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Review: Lesbians in space! Or at least, same-sex attraction. I am so excited to see queer characters in Star Wars. I can only hope representation makes its way into the films. 


Doctor Aphra is an antihero. I love how her ongoing series brings something new and different to the Star Wars comics. I especially like her dynamic with Imperial officer Magna Tolvan. Tolvan's Lawful Evil and Aphra's Chaotic Neutral(or maybe Evil?) pairs well together. 

There's a great Rebels cameo in this volume. There's also hilarious Imperial bureaucracy. As always, the evil droid duo also add so much humor. This was a great arc in this ongoing series. I am excited for more from Doctor Aphra! I give this volume a 5/5.


--PAUL

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Vol. 6 (comic) - Paul's REVIEW



Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Vol. 6Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: 
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Vol. 6
Writer: Kyle Higgins
Illustrators: Jonas Scharf & Jagdish Kumar
Recent Release Date: September 18, 2018

Synopsis: The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers face their greatest challenge yet as their deadliest foes return.

Danger surrounds the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers on all side as Finster’s monsters erupt around the globe. Even with Zordon’s return, it will take more than the Rangers themselves to face down these terrible leviathans. Meanwhile, the return of the Rangers’ deadliest foes reveal hidden secrets from Promethea that will change everything...



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Review: This is the last issue leading up to the big event, SHATTERED GRID! I usually just read the collected volumes, but when #25 was released, I did go out and read it. So after reading this volume, I am all prepared for the Shattered Grid collected volume.


Parts of this volume just feels like a lead up, but there's still plenty of great content. The mechazord and Promethea are introduced in this volume. Grace and her people set up an interesting parallel to the rangers. She is proactive and escalates, while the rangers are reactionary. Some of my favorite scenes were between Grace and Jason, two red rangers discussing how heavy the helmet can be. 

There are some great monsters in this volume from new creations of Finster like Sheeple and Pilgrimace to old favorites like the Wizard of Deception. 

The White Ranger was my favorite as a kid. I even took a school picture with the falcon zord. I loved seeing Saba taking initiative and being a real character.

This volume concluded the ongoing story of Baboo and Squatt traveling through dimensions. It was fun, but I'm not that big into the mini-comics. 

I give this volume a 5/5. Another great section of this ongoing series. I am ready for SHATTERED GRID!   


--PAUL

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Saban's Go Go Power Rangers: Back to School (comic) - Paul's REVIEW



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Title: Saban's Go Go Power Rangers: Back to School
Writer: Marguerite Bennett
Illustrators: Ilaria Catalani, Jordan Gibson, Ferek Charm, Xiao Tong Kong, Jon Lam, & Jim Towe

Release Date: September 19, 2018

Synopsis: It’s Spring Break for the Rangers, and the first time since they received their Power Coins that the Rangers will be apart. As they each embark on their own week-long vacation, these teenagers with attitude discover that being a hero doesn’t alway mean having to morph! Award-nominated Marguerite Bennett (Batwoman, Animosity) teams up with fan-favorite artists Jim Towe (Youngblood), Derek Charm (Star Wars: Adventures, Powerpuff Girls), Jordan Gibson (The Amazing Spider-Man), Xiao Tong Kong (Adventure Time Comics) and Ilaria Catalani (Rugrats: R is for Reptar) to present a new look at the Power Rangers. 



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Review: This one-off issue of Go Go Power Rangers is a more relaxed story, a break from the big event of Shattered Grid. Each of the original five power rangers has just had a week off from school and Rita's attacks. After regrouping at the Command Center, they each tell their adventures. 


Jason volunteered at an ASL school. Zack went to D.C. to volunteer with his older brother to help fight against insurance companies not covering damage in Angel Grove from alien and Power Ranger related incidents. Trini worked at a ranch for rescued horses. Billy helped an immigrant and dealt with his own social anxiety. And finally, Kimberly evaded her parents to get out of the house and train. 

Each of the stories has a different art style done by a different artist. They each match the tone of the story pretty well. Kimberly's story has a fun, hand drawn journal aspect to it. Each of the stories is pretty short, not allowing for too much depth. Although short, I liked the representation and progressiveness shown in this issue. 

The voice of this comic is different from the other ongoing series. It's lighter and more jokey, but it goes along with the feel for this one issue. There also isn't as much depth or mythology as the ongoing series. It makes me a little nervous for the future of the ongoing series, but I have hope. I give this issue a 4.5/5.    


--PAUL