Book Review: Glass Sword

Glass Sword (Red Queen #2)

Glass Sword (Red Queen #2) by Victoria Aveyard – Paperback, 464 pages – Published February 11th 2016 by Orion (first published February 9th 2016)

When I read the first novel in this series, Red Queen, I was absolutely hooked on Aveyard’s writing. So I found the second book, Glass Sword, eager to follow Mare’s story as she fought alongside the Scarlet Guard and bring the newbloods to safety. Although the book is good, it was not as amazing as I had first hoped. Still, I’m really looking forward to reading the next one.

After the battle in the Bowl of Bones, Cal and Mare are on the run. Everyone knows their faces, their stories – the stories Maven and Elara are telling, anyway. Cal, the fallen prince, the murderer of the king and his own father. And Mare, the Lightning Girl, to one who corrupted the prince. And of course, the Scarlet Guard are being hunted.

Farley, Kilorn, Cal, Mare, and Shade steal a jet from the Scarlet Guard’s hidden island, and set out to collect as many people from Julian’s list before Maven finds them. Sadly, they are not always the first ones there. Eventually, they have a small army ready, just in time for meeting Jon – a newblood with vision that stretches farther than any Silver eye’s. He hints at their fate, the action they should take. In three days, they will free both Reds and Silvers from Corros prison.

As always, this war brings death. One death is particularly important, but I won’t ruin it. And one death honestly broke my heart. (I was kinda hoping they would come back throughout the whole of the rest of the book, even though I knew they were dead.) I was so not expecting that death.

The not-relationship between Mare and Cal is continued, and sort of developed. They clearly still care for each other, but try not to let their affections get in their way.

Honestly, I didn’t like Mare that much in this book. She came across as kind of stuck up, often pointing out how she was so “valuable” and “special”. She also became colder and more comfortable with murder, but that would happen to most people in a violent environment like hers. Still, I felt like she lost some of her original charm and personality, and became too harsh and, well, bitchy.

Also, Mare misses Maven (or the person she thought he was, anyway) which is natural. She tries to remind herself that he was never truly like that, and that he was always a monster. But I actually found myself still rooting for him, hoping for him to come out innocent. I just don’t seem to hate him as much as intended.

Despite Mare’s character flaws, the story was still great. The ending has definitely left me wanting more. What will happen now that the truth is out? Now that the imprisoned Silvers are free to tell their stories? I can’t wait to find out. 4 stars.

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491

Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Batman Beyond Volume #1: Escaping the Grave

Batman Beyond (DC Universe Rebirth) Volume #1: Escaping the Grave

Batman Beyond (DC Universe Rebirth) Volume #1: Escaping the Grave by Dan Jurgens – eBook, 146 pages – Published June 11th 2017 by DC Entertainment

Another story from DC’s Rebirth universe, set several decades from now in Neo-Gotham – or Jokerz Town as it’s been dubbed. There’s a new Batman on the streets and a whole gang of Jokerz. Terry, having been trained by the late Bruce Wayne, is wearing the cape and cowl now. The new clown-crazed criminals need to be dealt with – especially when they kidnap Terry’s old girlfriend, Dana.

Terminal, an old school friend of Dana and now the leader of the Jokerz, has a mad plan in action. It involves the original Joker, who everyone believed to be dead.

There are several big surprises in this novel. It’s a really interesting volume, definitely enticing you to read on. The readers aren’t the only one being surprised, though – every character is dealt their fair share of shock in this story!

pro_reader

Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

I like what I’ve seen of Terry so far, and his relationship with his little brother. I look forward to learning more about them. And I’m super interested to see what happens after the final plot twist was revealed. This seems like a really interesting comic, and I’m giving this issue 4 stars.

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491

Graphic Novel Guide Review: DC Essential Graphic Novels 2017

DC Essential Graphic Novels 2017

DC Essential Graphic Novels 2017 – eBook, 126 pages – Published January 10th 2017 by DC Entertainment

This is a really useful guide for anyone trying to decide how to get into comics/graphic novels, or what to buy/read next. It provides a synopsis, review quotes and images from 25 of the most “essential” novels from DC to date, as well as a suggested reading order for Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Suicide Squad, Flash, Robin and more.

Some of the most important graphic novels, according to this guide, include Watchmen, Batman: The Killing JokeThe SandmanV for VendettaGotham Academy and Flashpoint. Of course, there are 19 more novels listed, too.

The guide includes stand alone novels, and Vertigo novels. There is a section dedicated to comics inspiring and inspired by TV shows or films, such as iZombie (a personal favourite that I’m dying to read). As well as a backlist for every DC and Vertigo graphic novel, the guide includes a selection of different collectables available.

Everything listed in this book has an RRP included, and the ISBN (and lots of other details) to make it easy for anyone to find and buy. The authors and artists are all credited, too.

pro_reader

Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

The layout of the suggested reading order pages could’ve been a bit clearer, I feel, but I think this guide served its purpose pretty well. 3.5 stars.

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491

Book Review: Kahayatle

Kahayatle

Kahayatle (Apocalypsis #1) by Elle Casey – eBook, 385 pages – Published June 22nd 2012 by Elle Casey

I can’t actually remember where I got this – probably Instafreebie or from the author’s newsletter – but I know I got my copy for free.

The book’s about a couple of kids coming together after the death of every adult and young child. It’s hard to survive, with everyone fighting over any supplies, but things are getting really bad – as in, cannibalism bad.

Bryn partners herself with the skinny, gay kid hiding next door, despite knowing he’s not gonna be much help in the defense department. He tells her about the death of his little sister – eaten by other kids. They decide it’s no longer safe to stay where they are, and are proven right when attacked inside their home. They plan to retreat to the everglades, where the swamps should be inhospitable enough for others to avoid them, but still safe enough to survive in. On their way, they find Bodo, a German exchange student.

Eventually, they do end up at their destination. But the everglades – or Kahayatle, as the indians call it – hold many new problems.

I did notice a fair few grammar mistakes, and just generally found this book a little unprofessional at times. Often, I find unprofessional books really hard to read – but I actually enjoyed this. I’m even considering buying (or borrowing) the rest of the series.

The tiny bits of romance did seem a little out-of-place, not integrated particularly well sometimes. But I suppose it’ll be developed later in the series, and I didn’t find it too lovey or anything, which is definitely good.

With a bit more polishing, I think this could easily be a 4 star book. But for now, I’m going to give it 3.5. It was a good read, but there are some improvements that could be made.

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491

Book Review: The Monstrous Child

The Monstrous Child

The Monstrous Child (Mortal Gods #3) by Francesca Simon – Paperback, 320 pages – Published December 1st 2016 by Faber Faber

I finished this on Tuesday but have had some technical problems, which is why I’m posting it now. (Sorry.)

Apparently this is book #3 in the Mortal Gods series – but I read it believing it to be a standalone novel and really enjoyed it like that. It’s another short, new YA book, which a pretty large font to fill up more space. I never used to like short books, but I’ve found some I’ve really enjoyed recently, including this one.

One of Loki’s (monstrous) children is Hel, a girl with a perfectly normal human body… except her legs are deadLike, full-on decaying dead. Still, she’s a goddess, even if she’s never treated as one.

Hel has learned to just deal with what she’s got in life and carry on. But when she’s kidnapped and taken to Asgard – the home of the gods – she finds an unexpected light of hope. His name is Baldr, and he’s the only one who’s ever treated her like she’s normal. The only problem is that he’s married.

And then, just to make matters worse, Hel is literally thrown into the underworld, sentenced to be the queen of Nifelheim for all of eternity. It’s cold, smelly, and soon enough, full of dead people. She’s alone, plotting her revenge on the gods, with no chance of escape – but at least it’s hers. She can build her own fortress without anyone guiding her; she can order the dead around however she pleases. And she can have a high seat ready, beside hers, for when Baldr inevitably comes for her.

What she wasn’t planning was a third seat…

Anyway, Hel has created Hel for the dead, the End of Days is drawing nearer, and dear old Dad has dropped by for a favour. All very… fun. 

I thought this was a really different kind of book. The narrative voice is really sarcastic and youthful, pretty funny too, as well as still sounding like a Norse goddess. She also sounded somewhat modern, too – which I suppose would be the case if you were immortal. Sometimes I found her to find a little too sarcastic and bitter, a little too chatty and “different”. I don’t know, it just didn’t sound all that natural sometimes.

The whole Norse theme was refreshing – not some paranormal YA romance that you see everywhere – and really well told. Hel was a really interesting character, too; modern enough to relate to yet still believably a Norse goddess.

As I said, I read this without realising there were other books before it in the series. I didn’t realise that at all while reading – I didn’t feel like I was missing anything and still enjoyed it plenty. I’m going to say 3.5 to 4 stars for The Monstrous Child. I’ll have to look out for the other books.

DSCN9574.JPG

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491

Book Review: Highly Illogical Behaviour

Highly Illogical Behaviour

Highly Illogical Behaviour by John Corey Whaley – Paperback, 249 pages – Published May 26th 2016 by Faber and Faber (first published May 10th 2016)

This is only a short book, but there is a huge story between these pages. I personally found this book amazing because I related so much to one character, Solomon, due to my own personal experiences with mental illness. (Hah! You’ll get that reference if you read the book.) But I still think that anyone will enjoy this book, and gain a deeper understanding of the mental health issues that are discussed.

Lisa seeks out Solomon, the “crazy” kid who jumped into a fountain three years ago, in hopes of writing a scholarship-winning essay on him. Solomon hasn’t left the house in three years. Not even to go in his own back garden. Every time he tries to, or even thinks about it, he has severe panic attacks. So instead of trying anymore, he gave up and made peace with a life inside four walls.

As an aspiring psychologist, Solomon’s case is perfect. But they become close friends, and eventually, Lisa even brings her boyfriend, Clark, to meet Sol. One thing they never expected was Sol falling in love… with Clark.

I have had times where I have been unable to leave my house. I used to have my school work sent home, and would avoid seeing anyone for as long as I could. It never got as bad as Sol’s case, but I would happily stay inside my house 24/7. (My mum won’t let me, though.) So I really did relate to Solomon. The descriptions of his behaviours and thoughts were really accurate in my opinion. It was quite inspiring to watch him slowly emerge from his shell and start living again.

Of course, there’s also the topic of homosexuality in this. I love how Clark remained so friendly even when he knew Sol was gay – not doing the whole “ew he might fancy me” thing that a lot of guys tend to. They were best friends. But Lisa was fed ideas by her friend, Janis, that made her worry Clark was cheating on her with Sol. Yeah. Awkward.

Overall, I just thought this was fantastically written. There are aspects for everyone to relate to, I think. And hopefully, it will help people understand why some of us may seem so “crazy”.

I can easily give this book 4.5 stars. I really enjoyed it, and loved the characters and their relationships. Even when Lisa was using Sol, I could see how she had good intentions. It was so well written.

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491

Manga/Graphic Novel Review: MANGA CLASSICS The Jungle Book

MANGA CLASSICS The Jungle Book

MANGA CLASSICS The Jungle Book (Originally by Rudyard Kipling) by Crystal S. Chan – eBook, 327 pages – Published April 3rd 2017 by UDON Entertainment

The Jungle Book isn’t my favourite book ever, but I like this Manga Classics collection and thought I’d give this one a try, too. This one was quite different from the others I’ve read, containing seven different “books” – three of which made up The Jungle Book story itself. The other tales were of a white seal trying to save his friends from the murderous men, a mongoose protecting his new family from snakes, a young boy who witnessed the dance of the elephants that no man has ever seen before, and finally a man and the parade of animals serving.

Four of these books I had never heard of before, so they were interesting to read. They all contained little poems like those in The Jungle Book, meaning they all fit together well as a collection.

The art was different to what I expected; it often took a comedic, exaggerated look. It wasn’t the best art I’ve seen in a novel like this, but it expressed the story well enough. I did, however, notice a few typos throughout the novel.

pro_reader

Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

Not a bad novel, but I can’t say I’m overly amazed by it. I’d give 2.5 or maybe 3 stars at a push.

Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Gotham Academy Second Semester Volume #1: Welcome Back

Gotham Academy Second Semester, Volume #1: Welcome Back

Gotham Academy Second Semester, Volume #1: Welcome Back by Brenden Fletcher – eBook, 162 pages – Published by DC Entertainment (first published July 25th 2017)

I absolutely love this comic series! My boyfriend introduced me to the first semester and I just adored it right away. The writing is fantastic – the dialogue between characters is so funny. And the art is always great and easy to follow. It’s just so well written overall, I think. So much action and mysteries everywhere; nothing is ever what it seems at Gotham Academy.

The characters are so well written, and I absolutely adore Olive, Pom and Colton. I’m not so keen on some of the others, but that was probably the intended reaction. Not all characters are made to be loved.

This comic ties into others in the Rebirth universe – such as We Are Robin – and features famous characters like Batman, Damian, Clayface and Killer Croc (not all in this particular volume, though). So whether you’re a big superhero comic fan or not, I think everyone can appreciate and enjoy this comic.

The Detective Club is on their way to discovering the true past of Gotham – and Olive’s real heritage. Unexpected allies and foes are found along the way, including Batman himself – Olive’s least favourite hero of all.

Another good aspect in this is the inclusion of homosexuality – which is brilliantly weaved in without defining the character or affecting the plot. I’m not going to give away who the character is, but I so think they could’ve chosen a better “crush”. (Let’s just say it’s one of my favourite characters falling for one of my not-so-favourites.)

pro_reader

Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

This has definitely encouraged my new-found love of comics to grow, and I’m going to read on right away. 5 stars. A fantastic comic.

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491

Manga Review: The Ocean of Secrets Volume #1

The Ocean of Secrets Volume #1

The Ocean Secrets Volume #1 by Sophie Chan – eBook, 170 pages – Published May 16th 2017 by TokyoPop (first published April 1st 2015)

This was a really interesting little manga. Lia, living with her adoptive family, remembers nothing of her life before adoption. When her sister takes her out in their uncle’s boat, Lia discovers a world of secrets she could never have anticipated.

Just as she thinks she’s going to drown, Lia is caught and saved by Moria and Al, sailing… through the sky. They teach her about the kingdoms floating in the sky, right in the middle of the mysterious Bermuda Triangle. And they tell her about the magic they wield, like the other citizens of the three sky kingdoms.

But Al and Moria can’t go back to their home. They sail around instead, avoiding capture; Al was accused of a crime involving the Queen and Princess of Lyronaz, which he had no part in. So now they are forced to roam around the skies alone.

The Peacekeepers finally catch on, though, and Al is captured. Can Lia borrow enough of Moria’s magic to rescue him? Or will she fall back to earth – to her death?

At the end of the volume, the King is finally reunited with his beloved daughter. Al is finally accepted as innocent, but is now determined to discover who is responsible for framing him.

pro_reader

Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

The art is pretty nice, relatively simple and clear. There were a few grammar and spelling mistakes, but in general it was written quite well. If the next volume is available for review on NetGalley then I may request it.

A really interesting idea. I like the idea of the kingdoms banished to the sky. 3.5 stars.

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491

Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Volume #2: Bottled Light

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Volume #2: Bottled Light

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps (DC Universe Rebirth) Volume #2: Bottled Light by Robert Venditti – eBook, 146 pages – Published June 6th 2017 by DC Entertainment

Following on from the previous volume, the Green Lanterns are back but Hal is gone. Sinestro has been defeated, but now the Lanterns are defending a planet from an attack by Starro.

While the Lanterns are fighting Starro, Hal Jordan finds himself in some mysterious realm with Abin Sur and other deceased Green Lanterns. The remaining Guardians of the Universe summon Kyle Rayner to try and retrieve Hal.

The Starro attack turns out to be a lure, though – bait. Brainiac is behind it, having captured the Green Lanterns (as well as the entire planet). But who’s behind him?…

It took me far longer than it should’ve to understand the title of this volume…

pro_reader

Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

This is a really, really good story arc. I like this comic series in general, but this was really enjoyable and interesting. 4 stars. As well as the great plot, the writing is clever and pretty funny.

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491