January’s Comic Haul

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Holy Comic Haul, Batman! Between December and January’s comic hauls, there is just sooo much comic-related goodness in my life. ❀ Since I already went over the lovely new reads I got forΒ Christmas, I thought I’d share with you guys the ones I got for my birthday at the end of January, too. πŸ™‚

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Paper Girls, Vol. 1

In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this smash-hit series about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood.

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Huntress: Year One

As the last survivor of a crime family eliminated by bloody rivalries among the mobs of Gotham City, the orphaned Helena Bertinelli grew into the mysterious vigilante known as the Huntress.
New writer Ivory Madison shines a light on the dark underbelly of the mob world spanning from Gotham to Sicily, exploring exactly what led Helena away from a life in the Cosa Nostra criminal society and set her on a path of vigilantism. Also, find out more about Batman’s first meeting with the fledgling female crime-fighter and why, to this day, they struggle to see eye-to-eye.

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DC Comics: Bombshells, Vol. 5

Based on the hit DC Collectibles product line! As World War II rages across Europe, the Bombshells battle new enemies showing up out of the woodwork… The incredibly popular DC Collectibles line is brought to life in these stories that re-imagine the course of history!

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Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy

FRIENDSHIP TO THE MAX! At Miss Qiunzilla Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s camp for hard-core lady-types, things are not what they seem. Three-eyed foxes. Secret caves. Anagrams. Luckily, Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are five rad, butt-kicking best pals determined to have an awesome summer together… And they’re not gonna let a magical quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way! The mystery keeps getting bigger, and it all begins here.

So, yeah, between Christmas and my birthday, I’d say it’s safe to say I made out like a bandit with 15 new additions to my collection. πŸ˜› I’m looking forward to reading all of them. In fact, I’m planning on reading the fourth volume of Giant Days later tonight after I catch up on reading everyone’s blogs. How about you? Did you get any recent books/comics? What are you reading this weekend?

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A Look at Low, Volumes 1 through 4

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Sebastian the Crab was dead wrong when he said everything was better under the sea. It’s not a bunch of dancing fish and singing crustaceans like Disney would like for you to believe.

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No, it’s nothing quite so nice as all that. It’s more like hordes of deep sea pirates out for your blood, aquatic abominations that want to eat your face, and corrupt leaders who want to keep hope and morale, well, “low”. (You just knew that pun was gonna be used somewhere in this review. May as well get it out of the way now.) πŸ˜‰

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So, for something a wee bit different, I’ve decided to go ahead and review the first 4 volumes of Low in this one post, rather than review them each separately. The main reason for this, is that I experienced very mixed feelings while reading this series. As I’ve mentioned before, Low wasn’t one of those reads that I was head-over-heels in love with upon finishing the first volume. In fact, if my boyfriend hadn’t already bought the three other volumes, I probably would have ceased reading this series altogether. I hate to say that because I had really been looking forward to reading it and I enjoyed the overall concept, just not the execution, I suppose. It’s always a bummer when you feel like you wanted to like something so much more than you actually did, and that’s exactly how I was left feeling. Fortunately, this series improved dramatically as I continued reading it. Volume 1 may have been a rough start, and definitely my least favorite of the four volumes, but I’m glad I carried on and continued reading the story.

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Low, Vol. 1: The Delirium of Hope introduces us to a grim future for humankind where, due to the sun’s lethal radiation, humans have been forced to live in the dark abyss of the world’s oceans. It’s been a very long time since humans left the surface behind, and resources are dwindling to the point of no return as we meet our central characters, the Caine family. This is a very busy volume with a LOT going on, and also the longest of the four installments. So, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of it and talk pros and cons regarding this particular volume.

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PROS:

  • A really cool concept. The whole post-apocalyptic science fiction set in the deep, dark vastness of our oceans had me completely psyched to read this.
  • The artwork and colors are lovely. Greg Tocchini (the artist) and Dave McCaig (the colorist) do a good job bringing to life the beauty and oftentimes horror of the world and characters that Rick Remender (the writer) has created.

CONS:

  • This series does have some decent character development overall, but I wasn’t feeling it whatsoever in this first volume. One character in particular has a complete moral shift in gears and character change over the course of a time hop so we’re given like no actual evidence of him growing or changing, he just does so between his last appearance and the next, and it’s honestly quite jarring.
  • Okay, I’m certainly no prude, I’ve generally got no issues with sex and nudity, but this was just . . . a bit much. Tons of female nudity and abuse, women being used for sex and then having extreme violence inflicted on them immediately after, orgies everywhere, etc. A lot of the outfits the female characters wear seem like they were designed that way simply because “tits” and “ass”. Again, this complaint is coming from someone who doesn’t typically shy away from mature content, but the male gaze was sooo prevalent in this one.
  • There’s an overall β€œalways have hope” message in Low, and it felt especially preachy in this volume. It left me feeling like I’d had it hammered in my face over and over and over again. I get that it’s a good message to put out there, but the sheer repetitiveness of it was maddening at times.

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Low, Vol. 2: Before the Dawn Burns Us is where the series begins to get get a little better, in my opinion. In this installment, we see some of the bigger complaints I had with the start of Low slowly begin to simmer down. I also began feeling more invested in the characters and what was going on. The stakes are getting higher, and we get to learn more about different characters and different places with their own big bads. I found myself going from not liking Low by the end of the first volume, to liking it by the end of this one. Was I in love with the series at this point? No, but I did like it.

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Low, Vol. 3: Shore of the Dying Light is, without a doubt, the volume that I liked the most. Tensions are on the rise and there’s a lot at risk in this installment. Also, it is hands down the volume with the least blatant overuse of pointless female nudity which, I’m sorry, has been a real issue for me through this series. You can tell the intentions are for several of the characters to be represented as strong female characters, but I can’t help but feel that it is a little undermined when you randomly have one of those characters in a fight scene in volume 2 where she’s suddenly totally topless because reasons. I mean, come the hell on. Volume 3 was a nice reprieve from this sort of thing.

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Low, Vol. 4: Outer Aspects of Inner Attitudes takes us back to some of the events that went down in volume 1 and reveals something pretty interesting and story-changing events that unfolded. There’s plenty of action in this one and some trickery and surprises. It leaves off on a point that has me curious to see where the story will go when volume 5 comes out. It’s not going to kill me to wait for it like it does with some other stories from Image.

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All in all, this series grew on me the more I read of it. I was curious to see what others were thinking of Low overall, so I looked up other reviews and they really varied. Some people loved volume 1 the most and felt it never really reached that high again, but I felt volume 1 was the worst of the lot and that it only improved from there. A lot of people felt the same way I did about all the gratuitous female nudity. Yes, there was some male nudity as well, but it was like a light breeze compared to a hurricane. Most people, like myself, were fans of the artwork, but some found it muddy and hard to follow at points. So, it seems this series is a real mixed bag for people. Have you read Low? Do you have plans to read the series? I’d absolutely love to see what you think of it. πŸ™‚

If I had to give a star rating for each volume of this series it would go as such:

Volume 1: The Delirium of Hope: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Volume 2: Before the Dawn Burns Us: 3 out of 5 stars

Volume 3: Shore of the Dying Light: 4 out of 5 stars

Volume 4: Outer Aspects of Inner Attitudes: 3 out of 5 stars

Saga, Vol. 8 (No-Spoiler) Review

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Woo! First review (and post) of the New Year! I hope everyone had a fantastic New Year’s Eve and an amazing start to 2018 so far. ❀ My boyfriend helped assure that much for me by stopping by our local comic book store New Year’s Eve and picking up this delightful title that just came out at the end of December. Needless to say, I about screamed with joy when he pulled into the parking lot and revealed his master plan.

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Brian K. Vaughan (the writer) and Fiona Staples (the illustrator) continue to weave their outlandish space opera of epic proportions in this volume, but add in some of the fun of the Old Wild West along the way. I don’t want to get into any spoiler territory, so we’ll keep things fairly vague as I talk about my feelings on this volume. And trust me, I got plenty of the feels for this series. ❀

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One thing I really like about the series as a whole is that it has a lot of heart, but not in a corny, mushy, or preachy sort of way. This volume is no exception. It continues to explore the theme of family, and what exactly family means when you really get down to it. It challenges convention at every turn and makes no apologies, and I utterly love it for that. ❀

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We see old and new faces alike in this volume and are presented with some pretty interesting “what-if” moments. It confronts deep-rooted feelings of both tragedy and hope head-on and still continues to surprise the reader with just about every turn of the page. This is a series that can make you cry one moment and then laugh another.

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Volume for volume, Saga makes for a quick, intense and often-times hilarious and utterly random emotional roller coaster. The characters are so well-written and full of their own troubles and flaws that it makes them feel completely human despite, ya know, the whole televisions for heads, and having horns and/or wings thing.

I honestly feel that just about everyone can find SOMETHING they can relate to somewhere in this series. So, if you have yet to hop on the Saga bandwagon, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR???! Do yourself a favor and GET. ON. THAT.

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5/5 Stars.

 

Book/Comic-Related Christmas Haul

Brrr! All of the people wishing for a “White Christmas” certainly got their wish here in Michigan. (What were you lunatics thinking?!) πŸ˜› I just got in from shoveling a bunch of snow and am chilled to the bone. Thankfully, hot chocolate with butterscotch schnapps mixed in is a thing. πŸ˜‰ It’s soooo good and soooo warm. I’m in a state of total bliss now as I thaw out.

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I hope all of you enjoyed the holidays with your loved ones and had a wonderful time. ❀ (And maybe even gave and got some awesome prezzies!) πŸ˜› Christmas certainly is NOT all about the presents, but this post sure as heck is gonna be. πŸ˜‰ I was too excited about some of the fantastic gifts I got this Christmas not to want to share them.Β  and Let’s start this post off by talking about my favorite gift I unwrapped this year:

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I have been coveting these particular Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland vintage artwork ornaments for YEARS. Seriously, years. My dream is to one day decorate my Christmas tree in all literature-themed ornaments and decorations, and these fit the theme so perfectly. Needless to say, I was beyond elated to get them as one of my gifts from my boyfriend. He ended up spoiling me rotten, but these were my favorite of the gifts he got me for sentimental reasons. ❀

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Okay, enough being mushy, let’s move on and talk about COMICS! πŸ˜€ I got some graphic novels I am very excited to read. First, we have the first three volumes of the manga series The Girl from the Other Side. I’d been seeing artwork for this series floating around and absolutely loved what I saw, but I had no idea it was an actual manga series until I read a review on volume 1 from the Random Melon Reads blog. I can’t wait to learn more about this story. Here’s a tidbit about it from Goodreads:

“In a land far away, there were two kingdoms: the Outside, where twisted beasts roamed that could curse with a touch, and the Inside, where humans lived in safety and peace. The girl and the beast should never have met, but when they do, a quiet fairytale begins. This is a story of two people–one human, one inhuman–who linger in the hazy twilight that separates night from day.”

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Next, we have some more mainstream goodies starring some of my fave DC leading ladies! πŸ˜€ I’ve heard really good things about Batwoman: Rebirth, and I’m looking forward to continuing the Bombshells series with volumes 3 and 4. Volume 2 had a definite lack of Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy so I’m pumped to see them right on the cover in the thick of the action for volume 3.

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Speaking of continuing series I’ve already started, I’m looking forward to seeing what shenanigans the girls from Giant Days get up to in volumes 4 and 5. I’m also thrilled to report that Cupcakes and Machetes has gotten into this comic recently as well. It’s always fun getting to talk to friends about comics and books and whatnot. πŸ™‚

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And on the topic of awesome female-centered comics I like to enjoy with my friends, I also now get to enjoy volumes 2, 3, and 4 of Rat Queens! I didn’t shy away from expressing my love for this series when I reviewed volume 1 back in March, so you can imagine how giddy I was to receive more of this series. It isn’t every comic I give a rating of “Five out of five flaming orc skulls.” πŸ˜‰

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I got some other awesome non-comic or book related gifties, but the last I want to share with you guys is this awesome shark mug and shark snack bowl duo. It’s no secret that I love me some sharks, so I was pretty pumped about these. Especially because I’m also a fan of coffee mugs. And snacks. πŸ˜›

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Did you have a lovely Christmas this year? What was your favorite present you gave and/or received? Are you glad the holiday chaos is finally over?? πŸ˜›

Oh! And because a couple of you asked to see it, here’s a pic of my R2-D2 Christmas sweater I got this year. πŸ™‚

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Monstress, Vol. 2: The Blood (Review)

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How the heck did I forget to review this one after I read it way back in August?? I’m seriously stumped on this one, but I guess I’m gonna have to chalk it up to what my boyfriend and I refer to as “squirrel brain”. After reading and reviewing the first volume of Monstress, I had been really excited about getting to learn more about the dark and intriguing war-torn world and story of our protagonist, Maika Halfwolf. The artwork in volume 2 is just as gorgeous and detailed as that of volume 1 and the story drew me in right off the bat. In fact, I think I may have enjoyed volume 2 even more than I did the first one, and that’s saying something because I absolutely loved volume 1.

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As I mentioned in my review for volume 1, this is a story that unravels bit by bit and often leaves the reader with a lot of questions. Volume 2 follows Maika and her companions as they do whatever it takes to learn the truth regarding her past.

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Aaaaand we get pirates this go around, so if you already weren’t on board, get your butts in gear, people!

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Oh, and did I mention there are UNICORNS?!?!

As I’ve talked about before, Monstress is a very dark story with lots of violence and lots of swearing. That isn’t something that bothers me, but it’s just something I like to forewarn people about since I know some people are sensitive to it and whatnot.

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Maika Halfwolf, our protagonist and resident potty mouth.

I’d previously gushed about how much I enjoyed the worldbuilding in volume 1, and volume 2 simply expands on that, making me love it all the more. I’ve seriously never seen this level of worldbuilding in comic-form before and it just continues to blow me away. I can’t wait to see what volume 3 will bring to the table. πŸ™‚

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“You’re Not Good Enough” Book Tag

Despite that bleak-sounding title, this tag is actually a lot of fun. πŸ™‚ I saw Birdie Bookworm’s post with it and couldn’t resist giving it a shot. The rules of the game go as such: you pick 30 characters from books you’ve read and write those names down. After that, you randomly select 2 of those names for each of the questions. At this point, you’ll use what you know about each of the characters to pick who you think is the best answer given the specific question presented. Pretty easy, right? Since I like reading graphic novels/comics so much, I’m including characters from those as well as regular novels. Alrighty, now that we’ve sorted out the rules, let the games begin!

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You only have one more spot on your spelling bee team, who would you pick to complete your team?

Sevro au Barca (from the Red Rising trilogy) VS. Zaphod Beeblebrox (from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

Huh, funny how both characters came from science fiction novels. Well, this one is definitely no contest. In a match of intellect I am absolutely going to have to pick Sevro over the outlandish Zaphod Beeblebrox.

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Both characters want to kill you, which one would you kill first so you have a better chance of surviving?

Katniss Everdeen (from The Hunger Games trilogy) VS. The Darkling (from the original Grisha trilogy Shadow and Bone)

Damn, I would prefer not to be on the bad side of either of these characters, but I’d say I’d rather not have to take on the Darkling over Katniss. I’ll take my chance with Katniss and her arrows in this case.

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You’re on the Bachelor/Bachelorette and you’re down to these two characters, which one are you going to give your rose to?

Atticus Finch (from To Kill a Mockingbird) VS. Temple (from The Reapers are the Angels)

Yeaaahhh, I’m going to have to say I’ll go with Atticus Finch on this one. I’m not looking to woo any underage girls, no matter how good at killing zombies they might be.

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You’ve been chosen for the Hunger Games, who would most likely volunteer in your place?

Maika Halfwolf (from Monstress) VS. Melanie (from The Girl with All the Gifts)

I would have to say Melanie. She seems way more likely to take one for the team and go into the games willingly to protect someone, especially if she cares about them. Maika on the other hand is a lot more jaded and would probably just let me go into the games to die.

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You’re stranded on an island, which character would you sacrifice to engage in cannibalism?

Esther (from Giant Days) VS. Molly Grue (from The Last Unicorn)

Ew. lol I’m not looking to turn cannibal any time soon, but logistically speaking, Molly is more scrawny and wiry if I’m remembering right, so probably not that great to eat. If you’re going to stoop to eating people to survive, might as well eat someone that is a little more tender like Esther. Sorry, Esther!

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You’re the next DC/Marvel superhero (with your own tv show, of course), who is your sidekick?

Hodor (from A Song of Ice and Fire) VS. Lord Maccon (from Soulless)

Okay, I adore Hodor and all, but I am going to have to say Lord Maccon. How could I pass up having a ruggedly sexy Scottish werewolf for a sidekick? I’m sure his alpha tendencies would cause a power struggle, but I think I’d be okay with that. πŸ˜‰

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You’re a manager of an avocado admiring company, who would you fire for lack of communication skills?

Coburn (from Double Dead) VS. Angel (from My Life as a White Trash Zombie)

Heh, undead pitted against the undead. What an interesting turn of events. Well, I know that Coburn has one hell of a foul mouth on him and an attitude for days, so I suppose he might not be as great communicating with whatever sorts of customers or clients frequent “avocado admiring companies” overall. “The customer is always right” is sure to not fly with him, especially if the customer is a homicidal idiot like the ones he encounters in his book.

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You’ve just finished a book in which your favorite character dies, which character is most likely to comfort you?

Alice (from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) VS. Luther Strode (from The Strange Talent of Luther Strode)

Mmmkay, so on one hand we have a hulking ultra-violent killing machine, and on the other we have a small little English girl. Oddly enough though, I’m going to have to give this one to the massive beast of a man who can shove his fist straight through your chest. Luther has that sensitive side to him that keeps him from just becoming another ruthless maniac. He’s got heart, so I could see him comforting someone like that. Plus, Alice doesn’t see the point in books without pictures, so yeah, definitely gonna have to give this one up to Luther.

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Ugh, it’s High School. Who would most likely be part of the popular clique?

Isabelle Rossignol (from The Nightingale) VS. Kinsey Locke (from Locke & Key)

I would have to say Isabelle for this one. There’s nothing snooty about her character or anything like that, but she’s a girl that everyone deems to be beautiful and although there is SO much more to her character than just looks, that’s really all it takes for some people to be deemed “popular” in society. Plus, Kinsey’s got too many demons (literally AND metaphorically) to join the ranks of the popular kids at school.

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The day has arrived; you’re finally a year older! Who would have the nerve to forget your birthday?

Bilbo Baggins (from The Hobbit) VS. Jeremy Clovenhoof (from Clovenhoof)

Jeremy Clovenhoof. Without a doubt. The guy is literally the devil, so yeah, gonna have to go with Clovenhoof on this one.

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You’ve just found an upcoming BookTube star. Who would it most likely be?

Emily “with a Y (from The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls) VS. Arya Stark (from A Song of Ice and Fire)

Heh. Just the fact that both of these characters would have no access to the technology needed to become BookTube stars is funny to me. But, pretending that they did in fact have the technology, I would see Emily being more into that sort of thing than Arya. It’s been a long time since Arya had time for things like books.

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Sleepover time! Unfortunately, you can only invite one person. Who would you invite?

Gwen (from Spider-Gwen) VS. Inej (from Six of Crows)

Hmm . . . I think I’d have to go with Inej. I really liked her character in SoC. She seems like a really good friend in the story, too.

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Bam! You’re pregnant! Who’s the other parent?

Dee (from Rat Queens) VS. Marko (from Saga).

Well, that certainly escalated quickly. Both characters are awesome, but I’m gonna have to go with Marko. Added bonus: He’s already got that dad thing down since he’s got a kid. Major drawbacks: He’s got a bounty on his head aaaand I really don’t feel like getting my ass kicked by his wife (and awesome character/his soulmate) Alana.

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You’ve just written a super important text. Who would see it, but not reply?

Karou (from Daughter of Smoke & Bone) VS. Darrow (from Red Rising)

This is a tough one. Neither of them are really jerks or anything, but both of them feel like they have the weight of the world(s) on their shoulders, so I could really go with either or on this question. I think we’ll go with Darrow though since the technology in his story is beyond the point of simple text messages. He’d probably see my archaic form of communication and laugh.

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You’ve just woken up and it’s time for breakfast. Your mom and dad have been replaced by . . . who?!

Tyrion Lannister (from A Song of Ice and Fire) or Atticus O’Sullivan (from The Iron Druid Chronicles)

While it would be beneficial to have a powerful druid for a family member, Atticus is just too swoon-worthy of a character to be a parental figure. So Papa Tyrion it is.

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Like I said, I went ahead and did this tag after seeing Birdie’s awesome post, so if you think it looks fun, have at it! And let me know if you do because I’d love to read your answers. πŸ˜€

 

 

No Spoiler Review- Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening

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I just love it when a book lives up to all the hype surrounding it, and Monstress delivered this and then some. Hands down, this story has the best worldbuilding I have ever seen in comic form. It’s a beautiful blend of magic and horror from beginning to end.

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“Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steam punk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both and make them the target of both human and otherworldly powers.” Goodreads

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Between Marjorie M. Liu’s dark and intriguing writing, and Sana Takeda’s consistently gorgeous and impeccably detailed artwork, it’s hard NOT to fall in love with Monstress. The only reasons I can imagine anyone complaining would be if:

A.) They get squeamish over blood and violence.

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B.) They’re offended by cuss words, and when cats are the ones uttering said cuss words.

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Or C.) They don’t like monsters. Or ghosts. Or the ghosts of monstrous gods.

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Another thing I really enjoyed about Monstress were the characters. Maika (the main character) has seen some shit in her seventeen years of life. She had to become tough to live through the things she’s been through. She has scars both mentally and physically that prove her to be a survivor. The world she lives in is not kind, with war, slavery, and murderous and power-hungry witch-nuns only providing a taste of the dangers that has left most of the population wounded and desperate no matter what “side” they are on. Also, if you are seeking a story that represents strong women, this one’s for you. I mean the pages are literally filled with them. Unlike most stories where male characters tend to vastly outnumber the female characters, Monstress actually flips this concept.

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This is the sort of story that slowly unravels with time, but not in a way that ever leaves the reader bored. It simply has layers. Layers upon layers. Like onions. And ogres. (You’re damn right I just made a Shrek reference there.)

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This first volume did a great job at introducing the readers to the world, characters, and story, but it definitely leaves us with questions. Which is honestly just fine with me because I am really looking forward to reading more when volume 2 comes out this summer! πŸ™‚ Definitely a 5/5 star beginning to what will no doubt be an incredibly epic story.