Review

Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Batman and Robin Volume #3: Death of the Family

I only want to do a short summary of this book, as it’s pretty similar to the other two in terms of style and everything.

First, Damian sends Bruce across the world following “clues” he’s set out, based on the Wayne family. He has a hidden agenda that Bruce soon discovers, though, which tests Bruce’s trust for his son.

And then following the “zombie” attack in the last volume, Batman and Robin find themselves facing another army of the Joker’s creation. This time, however, they’re against each other.

I love the Joker, and the way the ordeal with him and the whole Bat family took place was great. Plotting them against each other was probably the mode evil thing he could have done.

Finally we see the dreams had by Alfred, Bruce and Damian, reflecting their inner fears. I thought this a nice issue, especially since it included Alfred’s dream. I love the relationship between Alfred and Bruce, and seeing how he cares for Bruce is always lovely.

3.5 to 4 stars for this volume.

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Manga Review: Bleach 3-in-1 Volume #1

<span style="text-I haven't seen the anime of this yet, and I'm not sure which was released first. I'm definitely interested in seeing the show now though, and am certainly going to read the rest of the manga volumes (if I can find/afford them all!).

As usual, I will try not to ruin the plot for anyone who wants to read it. I’ll just say that Ichigo can see ghosts, and one day comes across a soul reaper – who accidentally gives her powers away and is stuck in a temporary human body. Together, they work as soul reapers to rid the world of “evil” hollows – which takes them through some pretty sad memories.

The writing is great – I found this so so comedic, and just enjoyable to read all the way through. I read all 500+ pages in one afternoon!

There’s also some.seriously sad stuff in there – dead family members make guest appearances, and I actually found some of the scenes so touching and painful. The entire volume was just written so fantastically.

The art is amazing, too – I especially liked the odd blank page with just a small illustration that peppered the book. It was artistic, yet still presented the story well.

This is probably gonna be a favourite of mine for a long time. I cannot wait to read on – the end of the third volume in this collection is very intriguing! 5/5 stars.

Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Batman and Robin Vol. #2: Pearl

This is the second volume of Batman and Robin comics in the New 52 universe in DC. It starts with a little flashback to Damian’s early childhood, and his growing up to overpower his mother. We’re then thrown back into the “present” – full of sibling rivalry, father-son moments, and a hell of a lot of fighting.

The relationship between Bruce and Damian will always be great to read. I loved how Damian was so headstrong in this book, but then the ending was so sweet. And I actually really liked him fighting with the other “Robins” – Red Hood, Nightwing and Red Robin – in order to prove himself better than them. Nightwing’s response was definitely my favourite.

There are a good deal of villains in here – Terminus and his army of “scarred” victims of Batman, and a zombie uprising courtesy of Batman’s favourite clown. The action is good, and the “zombie” plot was great. 

And of course, the art was as fantastic as ever. 

4 stars.

Book Review: Anything That Isn’t This

Well this was a surprising read. Not just a typical YA dystopian novel, but a peculiar, artistic novel complete with illustrations throughout.

For some reason, I wasn’t expecting the strange world that Priestley created in this book. The Grey is suffocating Frank, the Ministry controlling his every decision. Most people are okay with it, comfortable in the routine provided. But Frank wants more.

First, Frank is obsessed with a girl from his school. Even after they graduate, he is desperate to be with her – he believes they’re ‘fated’. But after a while, he realises that maybe she’s not quite right for him.

This combines two typical YA romance plots – the “unpopular boy gets the cool girl” and also the “childhood friends become lovers” plot. I think it’s a bit unusual to mix the two, but I didn’t find anything spectacular about this aspect of the novel.

The whole book has a very strange abstract sort of feel to it; I was unsure at times whether to actually take what he was saying at face value or take it as a metaphor. There are loads of weird myths that are thrown around, many of which play a big role later in the book. 

The friendship with Scape was interesting; it kind of just happened out of the blue and ended in a similar way. And Mr Vertex was a weird character – it was obvious there was something strange about him, and I felt he really added to the abstract feel created.

The book kind of felt grey, but not in a bad way – as in, I felt how Frank felt about his life. I was pretty shocked by how dark it got at the end, quite suddenly. The ending was a bit of a whirlwind, followed by a moment of calm. The calmness was nice, an interesting ending that left your imagination running wild.

I didn’t really enjoy this book at first but I did eventually get into it, and quite liked it. I definitely liked the unique feel it had, almost like Coraline. 3.5 stars.

Book Review: Everybody Hurts

I don’t usually read cheesy YA romance novels, and very rarely do I enjoy them much. This was kind of an impulse read, and I probably wouldn’t have read it usually. But I’m glad I did.

It is pretty cheesy, and the voices of the characters are maybe over-exaggerated and trging-too-hard. But something about the writing was just really good, and I often found myself not wanting to put it down. Even though it was about love and sex and brain tumours. 

Jango is an interesting character, who seems like a plain old bully/idiot at first but actually turns out to be pretty good. His home life is complicated, and his friendship with Matt is more valuable than he lets on. But near-death experiences bring out the truth – and Jango’s affectionate, kind side.

Like I said before, it does all feel a bit too artificial – the “teenage” lingo is just not right, and the events are maybe played out to be more dramatic than they needed to be. I’m not actually sure how much I liked either of the main characters, but the telling of the story was great and made up for any dislikes I had.

It is a bit of a feel-good, cheesy romance in the end, which is nice to read sometimes. It’s got a lot of twists – bad luck, bad tempers – that make it a bit more unique than similar YA romances. 4 stars.

Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Batman and Robin Volume #1: Born to Kill

Damian, despite being a bit of a self-centred, arrogant little boy, is one of my favourite characters. I mean, he’s a ten-year-old superhero. That’s pretty cool.

I also love his relationship with Bruce – hence why I was so eager to read this series. Bruce as a father is great in general (I mean, he’s not great, but it’s amusing and sweet to read) but I think the clash of personalities between him and Damian makes it even more interesting.

My ultimate favourite is, of course, Alfred Pennyworth. He’s as snarky as always in this, but is no less badass than any other member of the Bat family.

The plot of this novel is based on Nobody, or Morgan Ducard as he’s actually called. Throughout the book we learn about his past with Bruce, and the reason for their rivalry. 

Throughout this story Damian is developing hugely – and will continue to do so in later issues. His upbringing turned him into the perfect killer, and he’s finding it hard to agree with Bruce’s “no killing” policy. But Bruce is encouraging him all the way, and refuses to give up on him.

The moments between Bruce and Damian can be so sweet, and I loved watching their relationship develop and become more secure. Batman will always need a Robin, and Robin will always need a Batman.

4/5 stars.

Graphic Novel Review: Tyranny

So as you’ve probably realised by now, I have anorexia. And because of that, I am always drawn to books about eating disorders, including this graphic novel I found in the library. It’s always good to see realistic and relatable presentations of ED’s, and I’m also always quick to point out when something is being portrayed wrong.

This book was a pretty accurate representation of my own personal battle with anorexia. It addressed the starving and the bingeing that many anorexics go through, as well as the body dysmorphia and unhealthy habits and routines. It included friends of Anna (the protagonist of this book) who are also suffering – one of which eventually suffered a heart attack and died. It’s not uncommon for people with anorexia to have friends who pass away as a result of the unhealthy habits brought on by the disorder.

Anna does eventually decide she wants life, and goes into treatment. She learns to tell Tyranny (the voice/persons of her ED) that she doesn’t care about being thin anymore, and eventually she gets her to leave entirely. (I can’t say that’s happened to me; it’s more of an ongoing, up-and-down struggle in my experience.)

One thing I wasn’t sure was so good about this book was the inclusion of weights – her weight loss process, the weight of another patient. This can be incredibly triggering for people suffering with an eating disorder, and can make people feel invalidated – feeling as if their ED isn’t as “bad” or “real” because their weight wasn’t quite as low. For this reason, I would be hesitant about recommending this book to people who are trying to recover from their disorder.

Overall, I felt it was a good portrayal of anorexia. It was brutally honest and included both the starving and the bingeing, which lots of people don’t often discuss. 4.5 stars.

Book Review: Inkheart

This book was orginally written in German, but has been translated into many languages over time. Obviously, I read the English edition. It’s also been adapted to a film, which I’m sure I have seen but can’t remember.

Meggie is 12, so a rather young protagonist. But this book didn’t feel overly immature, despite the young age of the main character.

The story is rather complicated, but it involves a lot of books, magic, and villains. It is quite an innocent book, I think, especially with the sweet, happy ending that it has. But again, it’s not immature or childish. 

Dustfinger was an interesting character, often walking the line between good and bad. I am interested in seeing more of him throughout the rest of the trilogy. Capricorn was quite a traditional, old-fashioned villain, giving it a sort of old fairytale feel. I loved the idea of the books coming to life when you read them.

I was also a big fan of the romantic perspective this story gives on books in general; I personally adore reading and loved hearing books being described in such wonderful ways. I definitely identify with Elinor in that way – even if my name is spelt slightly different!

It’s quite a long book but not hard to read at all. It’s sweet and innocent and exciting, with the kind of magic I remember from reading when I was younger. 4.5 stars.

Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Harley’s Little Black Book

I love Harley Quinn as a character, so I happily agreed to review this novel. It definitely wasn’t as great as I hoped, or as good as Harley as a character in Suicide , but it still had some strengths.

So in this book, Harley basically just collects together a load of tales from her adventures with various characters. It contains a hell of a lot of innuendoes and sex jokes, and a makeout scene with Lobo that I really was not interested in seeing.

I did feel like Harley was just made out to be a bit of a sex-crazed idiot at times, when there’s actually a lot more of her character to be shown. There was a flashback to her childhood experience of being bullied, which I thought was fantastic. 

There was still the loveable, crazy character being written, and the whole stories/general writing had that kind of fun tone that I love about Harley. Again, it was maybe too light and fun, but it was a nice little read. 

Thank you to the author/publisher for giving me a review copy of this book

I maybe wouldn’t have liked this half as much if it was any other character, but I just love Harley Quinn. It wasn’t her strongest appearance, though, despite it being her own book. I’m going to give it 3 stars out of 5. 🌟🌟🌟

Book Review: The Earthsea Quartet

The Earthsea Quartet (The Earthsea Cycle #1-4) by Ursula Le Guin – Paperback, 681 pages – Published: October 28, 1993

As the title suggests, this is a collection of the first four books in the Earthsea Cycle. It took me just over a month to read it, but obviously I read about 5 books at the same time so that probably didn’t help.

The first book in this collection was published in 1968, so the writing does sound pretty old-fashioned. The last book was more modern, and my favourite of the four. But the archaic style suits the story; an Archmage in the ancient land of Earthsea accidentally summons a being of great evil, and must right his wrongs. We also meet Tenar, a girl sacrificed to the Nameless god’s, who is present in two of the stories. Ged, the Archmage, makes an appearance in all the stories, but is only the protagonist of two. The switching of POV was an interesting choice and may be an annoying feature to some, but definitely gave a lot more depth to the land.

The book is “only” 691 pages long (which, for a quartet, does not seem particularly large) but did drag on quite a lot at times. I found the first three stories to be presented densely on the page, making it take longer than average to read. The last book was a lot easier in my opinion. 

The passing of time was not documented much, but that didn’t seem to affect the story. I wasn’t particularly invested in Ged – I liked him, but didn’t feel much emotion from or for him. Tenar and Therru were my favourites – I’m sincerely hoping to hear more about Therru in later books.

This was a proper fantasy read, being commonly known as one of the most important books in its genre. It isn’t a light and easy read, but once you get into it it is rather enjoyable. 3.5 stars; only being raised by the fourth book in the collection.