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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.

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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…

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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.

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WWW Wednesdays

I keep putting this off again. Oops. Sorry?

What am I currently reading?

I’m just starting Red Queen, and am also reading The Three Musketeers, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Vol. #2 and Kahayatle.

What have I finished recently?

Since the last post, I’ve finished Manga Classics: Emma, Superwoman Volume 1, Supergirl Volume #1, Blue Beetle Volume #1, Superman Action Comics Volume #2, The Jigsaw Man and Dead to You.

What am I reading next?

I’ll be starting Ocean of Secrets Volume #1Rippler and Justice League Volume 1: Origins next.

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WWW Wednesdays

What am I currently reading?

Right now I’m reading The Jigsaw Man, Kahayatle and Manga Classics: Emma.

What have I finished recently?

Over the past couple weeks (since I last posted a WWW Wednesday) I’ve finished Belle’s Tale and The Beast’s Tale, Evil Rises, American Vampire Volume #1 and My Heart and Other Black Holes.

What am I reading next?

I plan on reading 07-Ghost Volume #3, The Three Musketeers and Superwoman Volume #1: Who Killed Superman? next.

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WWW Wednesdays

It’s been a long time since I posted one of these. I could blame my school work, but honestly I know I’ve just been slacking off. Sorry.

What am I currently reading?

At the moment I’m reading Belle’s Tale (Beauty and the Beast Volume #1)My Heart and Other Black Holes and American Vampire Volume #1.

What have I finished recently?

It’s been a long time since my last WWW Wednesday update, so this list is going to be pretty long…

Nain Rouge: The Crimson ThreeZenn DiagramThe Stereotypical FreaksAdventure Time Volume #5The Best We Could DoBatman: Detective Comics Volume 1 – Rise of the BatmenHal Jordan & the Green Lantern Corps Volume 1: Sinestro’s LawSuicide Squad Volume 1: The Black VaultSuperman, Action Comics Volume 1: The Path of DoomThe Jungle Book (Booktrack)MANGA CLASSICS Pride and PrejudiceCity of Heavenly FireThe OutsFrankensteinMANGA CLASSICS Great ExpectationsBatman: Night of the Monster MenNothing Tastes as GoodAdventure Time Volume #6Ensnared and Whisper to Me.

What am I reading next?

Next up is The Beast’s Tale, Evil Rises and The Jigsaw Man.

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Book Review: Nothing Tastes as Good

Nothing Tastes as Good

Nothing Tastes as Good by Claire Hennessy – Papberback, 336 pages – Published July 14th 2016 by Hot Key Books

I happened to see this book by chance, in my local library. I was drawn to it because of it’s cover, it’s title – I’m anorexic, and I happen to be drawn to things relating to mental health. It doesn’t expressly say on it that it’s about anorexia, but the cover made it pretty obvious to me. A warning to anyone that wants to read it: it’s hard. If you suffer from something like this, like me, then you will probably have difficulty reading something so close to home. Especially if you’re recovering. But it gets better. (I mean the book; I’m not using that “life gets better” crap.)

So Annabel is dead. I’m studying The Lovely Bones at school so the whole beyond-death narration isn’t that special to me now. But Hennessy does it pretty differently to Sebold.

We don’t know much about Annabel, not at first. But we begin to learn about her while she helps her assigned “soul-in-need” – The Boss (definitely not God) has promised her a final communication with her family if she helps Julia. And this looks easy, at first – Julia is from Annabel’s old school, with a loving family and good grades. Everything is fine, except she’s fat. Annabel thinks this should be easy – after all, she’s an expert in weight loss. She lost weight until she died.

But Annabel soon finds out that Julia’s issues are a whole lot more complex than her weight. At first, losing weight helps. But then her old scars come back to haunt her, and Annabel realises that maybe losing weight isn’t going to fix all her problems.

Aside from the obvious issue, this book does talk about a lot of important topics. It covers friendships and relationships, like most YA novels do, but it also combats ideas on feminism, affairs with older men, and people all having their own hidden demons.

At first, I wasn’t keen on Annabel. I wanted to like her – I felt I should, because I could relate to her story so much. But she was a bitch. She wanted other people to be like her, and rather than encouraging recovery and health and happiness, she shared tipped on weight loss. It really did hurt to read. Her ideas on “perfection” and being weak for eating just really hit a nerve for me. Not because it was wrong (though I’d never encourage an eating disorder in someone else), but because it’s exactly how I’d think about myself. Her behaviours, her worries, her anger – they were so real.

But Annabel, despite being dead, grows alongside Julia. Yes, she tells Julia to starve herself and run on an empty stomach and hate herself, but eventually she starts to feel for her. She wants Julia to combat her issues, to actually be happy. And she realises, despite having been so upset with her old friends for recovering, that maybe she wasted her life. Maybe she could have been something more, rather than striving to be less.

I found this really emotional. Annabel’s love for her sister, the sister she neglected for years while she was focused on her goals, and the future she cut short. The way Julia’s life changed when her passion for writing and journalism was overtaken by her obsession with food, calories, exercise. It’s so real and so sad. And the ending isn’t “happily ever after” – Annabel’s still dead, Julia’s in counselling – but it’s real. It gives hope that things can change, that Julia can really achieve happiness.

At first, I didn’t like this that much. I know Annabel is just a character, but I just didn’t like her. She was one of those girls that makes anorexia sound like a choice, a lifestyle, and I hated that. But later she realises she is sick, and I actually felt sorry for her. I was sorry that she had been brainwashed by her illness into believing she was doing what was right.

The only reason I’m giving just 4.5 stars to this book is because Annabel was a bitch. Yes, she is a character, and yes, she grows considerably throughout the novel, but her encouragement of EDs just drove me insane. Personal pet peeve, I guess.

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Graphic Novel Review: MANGA CLASSICS Great Expectations

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

I discovered these Manga Classics via NetGalley, and am so glad I did! I’m definitely intent on reading a lot of the collection.

Manga Classics Great Expectations

Manga Classics: Great Expectations by Stacy King and Crystal S. Chan (Originally by Charles Dickens) – eBook (Review Copy), 312 pages – Published May 20th 2015 by UDON Entertainment

I’ve only seen the film of this story, and not even read the original novel. But I am planning to do so, and I really feel like this has given me a better understanding of the plot and the characters.

The story itself, written by Charles Dickens, is pretty good – not my favourite, but not bad. It tells the story of Pip, a little boy who wants nothing more than to be a gentleman. But his humble lifestyle is not particularly accommodating of that wish, until an anonymous benefactor sends him to London…

I think the characters and emotions are portrayed really well through the artwork in this, helping to understand the developments in the plot and relationships that are taking place. The language makes it easier to follow and understand, too, which a lot of people have problems with when reading older novels. For example with Miss Havisham, who’s emotions are somewhat exaggerated to show her grief and frustrations.

If you like classic novels but are maybe uncomfortable with the language or length, then I’d definitely recommend this line of graphic novels. Even as an accompaniment to the original books, just to give that extra insight and understanding.

Simply because this isn’t a favourite story, I’m going to give 4 stars. But the adaptation itself is fantastic.

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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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WWW Wednesdays

What am I currently reading?

Ah, um… I’m still reading all the same books as last time, apart from Nain Rouge: The Crimson Three and The Outs.

 

What have I finished reading recently?

26123233Just Lost Girls.

What am I reading next?

I’ve still got My Heart and Other Black Holes and The Earthsea Quartet to go, as well as Zenn Diagram.

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WWW Wednesdays

What am I currently reading?

Still reading The Jungle Book (Booktrack), City of Heavenly Fire, Ensnared, Lost Girls and Frankenstein.

What have I finished reading recently?

Adventures of Superman Volume One and Adventure Time Volume #4.

What am I reading next?

I’m still to start My Heart and Other Black Holes and The Earthsea Quartet.

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