Month: March 2017

Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Hal Jordan & the Green Lantern Corps Volume 1: Sinestro’s Law

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

This was my first proper insight into the world of the Green Lantern Corps, which maybe meant I wasn’t prepared/up to date with the background information but oh well. (Thankfully my boyfriend is a major comic book nerd and has briefed me on most things.)

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Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 1: Sinestro’s Law (Hal Jordan & the Green Lantern Corps #1) – eBook (Review Copy) – Published February 14th 2017 by DC Entertainment

After the disappearance of the Green Lantern Corps, leaving just Hal Jordan behind, the universe has been taken under Sinestro’s Corps. Everyone is convinced they’re doing good… But then Sinestro is revived at near-death point and takes over control completely.

Hal is Sinestro’s target, but the rest of the Green Lanterns come back and get in his way. With the power harvested from both the Parallax and fear, Sinestro’s battle with Hal and the Lanterns is brutal.

I wasn’t quite as interested in this one as I was with Batman, even though I love the Green Lanterns. I’m not quite sure why – maybe it’s because I’m not as familiar with the previous events as I’d like to be. Either way, I just didn’t follow the story all that well.

The ending, however… DC do a great job of leaving you in the dark. Hal?! He can’t be dead… right? Cliffhangers!

And as usual, the art is great. Clear colour schemes for the battles of green v. yellow, and tons of action. Not quite as much in terms of character relationships, but some of the characters were so sassy and funny.

I’m only going to give this 3.5 stars though, as it didn’t intrigue me quite as much as the Batman Detective Comics.

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Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Batman: Detective Comics Volume 1 – Rise of the Batmen

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

I finished this last night but was too tired to write the review then. (Sorry.)

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Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 1: Rise of the Batmen (Detective Comics Vol. III #1 – eBook (Review Copy), 158 pages – Published February 7th 2017 by DC Comics

I actually had an issue with my copy of the file that I received (via NetGalley) which left me with a chunk missing from the start. Obviously, this was quite annoying and prevented me from being able to really enjoy the full story. I liked it nonetheless, and will still be reviewing what I was able to read.

I’m not going to tell you the whole plot and spoil it for anyone, but the basic gist of this is Batman and his recruits putting up a fight against “The Colony”. There’s action and shock and relationships – everything you could want in a volume of comics.

The ending was just… damn. Tim?!?!?!?! I loved the ending. And hated it.

The art is great, too, and I really like all the covers in the gallery at the end. And the relationships between all the different characters are really good. (I especially like Steph and Tim.)

I’m going to give 4 stars to this edition of comics, mostly because I can’t give any higher without having read the start. The ending is definitely what got me.

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Graphic Novel Review: The Best We Could Do

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

This isn’t really a graphic novel, but kind of an illustrated memoir. It is not a fictional story with magic or monsters; instead, it discusses so many different aspects of life, growing up in different places during different times, and being a family.

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The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui – eBook (Review Copy), 330 pages – Published March 7th 2017 by Abrams

The events are not recollected chronologically, jumping from the birth of the author’s child back to the childhood of each of her parents, and then all the way back through to the present. There are dates and locations noted throughout, but I did get a tiny bit lost on occasion. (If I’m honest, though, I didn’t actually read the date on half the pages so it’s kinda my own fault.)

 

There are several key themes and events in this novel. One huge factor is war; how it affected the family and their life together. There’s also a lot about what it means to be family, what motherhood is and what childhood is, and also the loss of a loved one. Another massively important theme is immigration; Bui describes being a refugee, illegally sailing away from Vietnam after they surrendered, and trying to build a life as a family in a whole new country. So many people are ignorant of these issues and hardships, not realising how much some families go through just to taste happiness.

The colour scheme is rather clear – oranges and blues, mostly. It has a very watercolour-y effect, giving a sense of remembrance and recollection of the past. The art is really lovely in this – I feel it portrays the story fantastically, and is just beautiful to look at on its own.

I found it really interesting how Thi Bui focused so much on the lives of her parents before they met, emphasising how even parents are people with their own lives and pasts and problems. As she becomes a parent herself, she realises how her mother must have felt for all these years.

As someone with a pretty “boring” life, I was also really intrigued by the journey everyone in this book made. The migration to America, trying to build a life and earn money and keep safe – it was a pretty emotional journey! But Bui never dwells on these negatives, never moans or wishes for change. She just says everything as it is, which I really admire.

This is a really interesting read for anyone who likes history, learning about different cultures, or just wants to appreciate their family more. It discusses some huge issues – miscarriage, infant fatalities, immigration, war – that a lot of people could benefit from reading about. And the art is wonderful! 4 stars for this novel.

If you’re interested in this book, it’s available now on Amazon.

 

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Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Adventure Time Volume #5

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Adventure Time Volume #5 by Ryan North – Paperback, 128 pages – Published June 2014 by Titan Comics

Just a quick review of this, as it’s pretty similar to all the previous volumes.

Familiar characters dominate the stories as usual, including Jake, Finn, BMO, Princess Bubblegum, Ice King, Marceline and even Lemongrab. The relationships between the characters are nice in this, especially regarding PB and Marceline.

The stories are funny, weird and super enjoyable, full of humour and colour and adventure (duh). The fourth wall is, of course, practically nonexistent, as the commentary along the bottom of the pages addresses the audience directly. It really immerses you in the world of Finn and Jake, as well as adding another layer of humour. The commentary makes these comics unique from most others.

The art is awesome. I still love looking through the gallery of covers at the end. The colours are so vivid and the styles are all so wonderful. It’s one of the nicest comics to just look at.

Of course, it is kinda childish. But it’s an easy and relaxing read, and there are some very subtle jokes and comments that only older readers will understand.

4 stars. It’s a really fun read, and I love all the characters so much!

Go and grab a copy here.

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Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: The Stereotypical Freaks

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

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The Stereotypical Freaks by Howard Shapiro – eBook (Review Copy), 154 pages – Published November 14th 2012 by Animal Media Group

This is a relatively short book, though it’s long for a single comic/graphic novel. It’s pretty different to the other comics I’ve read – there is no epic fight scene, no caped vigilante. But there is a hero, and there is one epic battle.

The general plot involves four teenagers coming together to compete in a “Battle of the Bands” competition. Danny and Tom are good friends already, often jamming out together in Tom’s garage. But they can’t win a competition as just a duo – it’s time to recruit new musicians.

The kids they find end up being Tom’s childhood friend, Mark, and the strange new kid, Jacoby. They start forming a strong bond, until Danny voices his concerns about Mark and his different crew of friends.

Jacoby eventually opens up to the band about his personal problems, too. They never would have guessed what incredible war he’s been fighting in secret. But he’s their friend, and they’re more motivated than ever to practice hard and win the competition.

The art is pretty simplistic, without any colour. Each chapter features “Recommended Listening” which is a great touch for music fans. And I really like both the conflict between Mark’s new ‘popular’ friends and the band, and the huge weight that Jacoby is carrying. The ending is bittersweet, realistic. But I did notice that the issue with Mark and his mates is not resolved, which is kind of annoying.

This is a really refreshing story, confronting an issue that is all too real for many young people. It doesn’t sugarcoat it, but it doesn’t make it sound like hell, either. It’s just honest, and I think that’s really good.

It does provoke some emotion which is fantastic, but I didn’t feel much connection with the individual characters on the whole. And the plot is… meh. I like that it’s about Jacoby’s illness and him wanting to carry on despite it, but I also feel like it dominates the story a bit too much. Like, the illness has become his identity, taken over the whole story. It’s good to focus on it, of course, but I’m not sure it should’ve been the only plot.

I think about 3.5 stars is appropriate for this. It’s different, honest, and great for any music fans.

If you wanna check it out, it’s available on Amazon here.

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Book Review: Zenn Diagram

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Thank you to the publishers of this book for sending me a copy via NetGalley.com

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Zenn Diagram by Wendy Brant – Review ARC/Galley, 222 pages – Expected publication: April 4th 2017 by Kids Can Press

Side note: I accidentally said Zenn diagram instead of Venn diagram to my A level maths teacher because of this book. It was incredibly embarrassing.

 I don’t usually like typical YA romance stories very much, but I quite liked this. It wasn’t just romance, but that was quite a big part of the story.

Eva is eighteen and has never really been able to touch anyone or anything. Not because she can’t, but because she gets serious fractals when she does. They’re like visions, only made of just patterns and colour that show Eva the issues and problems people are hiding.

One good thing from these fractals is that they make her a great math tutor. Her maths skills are amazing, and when she touches anyone’s calculator she can feel what math frustrations they have. Combining these two factors make Eva the best tutor, well, eva. 

She has two students currently; Josh, the footballer and her best friend’s crush, and the new kid, Zenn. Little does she know how both these boys are going to change her life…

Quick note: No, this is not one of those annoying love triangles.

Without giving too much away, it turns out that the circles of Eva and Zenn’s life overlap more than they ever knew.

So the themes in this book are wide and plenty, ranging from religion to death of family, loss of virginity, first loves, best friends, and way more. I like how Eva is, at first, a very stereotypical nerd who finds most girls shallow and horrible, but that she allows herself to try makeup and become obsessed with a boy because she knows it’s natural. Feminism should allow for love and crushes and makeup and girliness.

The writing is very appealing to the age group I think, the voice of Eva pretty accurate throughout the book. There is loads of humour, but also some pretty nice serious notes, too. The change brought on by her best friend beginning a relationship is very relatable, and well-portrayed. They drift apart, get new friends, but find their way back to each other eventually. It’s quite sweet.

Eva’s family is great, too. I won’t ruin too much but her mother reacts so naturally to the circumstances.

My only real issue with this book is with the ending. I like that we don’t know exactly what happens, but the whole deal with the scholarship/grant money… Hmm. Surely it would make Zenn angry to be treated like charity? And although it’s nice, it’s maybe a little too easy and perfect.

It was a really nice book. Not too long, but full of great content. Because of the ending, I will have to put my rating at 3.5 to 4 stars out of 5.

If you want to check it out, this book is available for preorder on Amazon.

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