Two Hearts (Peter S. Beagle Short Story Review)

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Peter S. Beagle’s whimsical fantasy tale The Last Unicorn is a classic. It’s one of my favorite books of all time, so when The Shameful Narcissist recently read and provided a link to a short follow-up to the story, of course I was eager to return to Mr. Beagle’s rich and enchanting world of magicians, unicorns and other mythical beasts.

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The original tale is a clever and spellbinding journey all its own, so I was very hopeful that this newer adventure would be able to capture some of the magic woven in the first book. I was obviously hopeful, but I had to wonder, could Two Hearts manage to match the charm and whimsy of its legendary predecessor? Well, as Captain Cully would say: sit down, have a taco, and let’s talk about Two Hearts.

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Although this short story features multiple characters we came to love in The Last Unicorn, you may be surprised to learn that the main character is someone new entirely. Sooz, a young girl from a small village plagued by a child-eating griffin, is done waiting for the king to send more knights who all seem to fall prey to the very beast they’ve been sent to slay. She’s decided to take matters into her own hands and runs away from home to seek the king out for herself, to get his help specifically. Young Sooz, you see, has heard all about brave King Lir and the dragons and giants he’s slain, the impossible riddles he’s solved, and the maidens he’s saved.

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Unfortunately, no matter how noble the hero, the one thing they may never vanquish is time, and the king is now in the later years of his life, his mind often failing him. On her way to seek the king, Sooz befriends the infamous Molly Grue and Schmendrick the magician from the first tale. Although King Lir is frequent to forget and lose himself as he admits to Sooz, the mention of a familiar character always manages to bring him back, if even for only a matter of time.

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Lir’s bravery and kindness propel him to agree to help Sooz and her village, but will the best intentions of an aging hero be enough to finally bring an end to the griffin? You’ll have to find that one out for yourself. 😉

I will tell you, however, that Peter S. Beagle definitely captured the enchantment of his original tale once more, much to my delight. Especially in the last third or so of the story. We finally get to see what has become of the characters he introduced us to so many years ago, and he introduces us to a brave young girl who would do anything to protect those she cares for against a hungry monstrous creature. For fans of The Last Unicorn, I would definitely say this one is easily worth the read. I enjoyed it and it made me want to re-read the original book again.

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Monstress, Vol. 3 (No Spoiler) Review

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Marjorie Lui and Sana Takeda’s gorgeously rendered epic Monstress is back with its third volume, Haven. If you’ve read and recall my reviews for Volume 1 and Volume 2, it will come as no surprise that this is something I’ve been eagerly awaiting all year.

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Throughout the story of Monstress, our main character Maika Halfwolf has seen some shit. Potty-mouthed poet cats, crazy-ass witch-nuns with a deadly agenda, ancient gods that hunger for flesh, and bipedal shark people to name just a small few. Really, that is only the smallest of tastes for the complex and layered world presented to readers throughout the series. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Monstress has the most detailed and fleshed out worldbuilding I’ve ever seen in comic form. The more you read of the series, the more things begin to come together and take shape, especially in volume 3.

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The kind of villain I can get behind: knows how to rock an all black outfit, loves a good book, and cuddler of dogs!

The artwork, as always, continues to shine in the third installment, and the characters are being forced even more out of their comfort zones (well, what little bit of comfort they were previously able to cling to in their war-torn world, anyway). Kippa is finding direction in her life and becoming stronger, Ren is forced to make a difficult decision, and Maika might even have to start playing nice(er) and make . . . dun dun dun . . . friends! GASP! 😛 Even the ever-growing, ever-hungry god Maika constantly struggles with is taking shape, both literally and figuratively.

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Although we get more answers, there are still plenty more questions you’re left with by the end of Volume 3, but it only makes me look forward to Volume 4 that much more. Especially with such a doozy of a cliffhanger.

I Kill Giants (No-Spoiler Graphic Novel Review)

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Joe Kelly and J.M. Ken Niimura’s I Kill Giants is a graphic novel that tells the tale of a young girl with a chip on her shoulder named Barbara Thorson, who just so happens to be an accomplished killer of giants. Or so she claims. The eccentric loner of her town, Barbara does all that she can to keep giants at bay, reputation be damned.

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Barbara is a complicated character (as most humans are.) She’s got her points that will have you rooting for her, but she also has qualities and views that make her come across like an angsty little jerk-face at times. Given everything she has going on (real and/or imagined) she may just have her reasons, though. The more you read of her story the more it will come to make sense. Barbara makes mistakes and things get messy, which just makes her feel like a real human. She’s angry and jaded, but has her soft moments, too, where you just want to scoop her up like a little chipmunk (a chipmunk that will promptly bite the shit out of you the moment you let your guard down.)

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This is a coming-of-age story, complete with its emotionally heavy moments, but it also has a lot of silliness and fun to it as well. There’s more to this one than meets the eye, but I’m not gonna get all spoiler-y on you. 🙂

As is often the case with graphic novels, this one makes for a quick read, but it packs an emotional punch within its pages. After reading this, it definitely made me want to check out the film adaptation that came out earlier this year. I could see this translating wonderfully on film if in the right hands.

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Upcoming June Book Club Read: The City of Lost Fortunes

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Last month I read a really good review from none other than the fantastic Kim over at From Hook or By Book, and I just knew I wanted to read the book. Her excitement about The City of Lost Fortunes made me excited to read it as well. 🙂 So, I promptly added it to my towering, ever-growing mountain of TBR books, and I nominated it for my book club’s June meeting which I will be hosting. Votes were initially split between The City of Lost Fortunes and Making the Monster: The Science Behind Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, but eventually The City of Lost Fortunes won the vote.

Here’s the synopsis from Goodreads:

The fate of New Orleans rests in the hands of a wayward grifter in this novel of gods, games, and monsters.

The post–Katrina New Orleans of The City of Lost Fortunes is a place haunted by its history and by the hurricane’s destruction, a place that is hoping to survive the rebuilding of its present long enough to ensure that it has a future. Street magician Jude Dubuisson is likewise burdened by his past and by the consequences of the storm, because he has a secret: the magical ability to find lost things, a gift passed down to him by the father he has never known—a father who just happens to be more than human.

Jude has been lying low since the storm, which caused so many things to be lost that it played havoc with his magic, and he is hiding from his own power, his divine former employer, and a debt owed to the Fortune god of New Orleans. But his six-year retirement ends abruptly when the Fortune god is murdered and Jude is drawn back into the world he tried so desperately to leave behind. A world full of magic, monsters, and miracles. A world where he must find out who is responsible for the Fortune god’s death, uncover the plot that threatens the city’s soul, and discover what his talent for lost things has always been trying to show him: what it means to be his father’s son.

You had me at “gods, games, and monsters”. 😀 I’m greatly looking forward to reading this book soon. It only came out in April of this year, so it’s still pretty new. Is it one you’ve read yet? If so, I’d love to hear what you thought of it. Maybe it will make its way into your TBR list like it did mine. What current books are you most excited to read right now? 

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Found Some Old Drawings

I love finding old and forgotten drawings. 🙂 I recently unearthed a couple old charcoal illustrations I did several years ago and figured I’d share them with you guys. It’s no secret that I love horror movies, and I’m pretty sure I did these as quick Halloween pieces, but I scanned them in together as a single image, so here we have Frankenstein’s Monster and the Bride of Frankenstein!

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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. 🙂

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Horror Television Intros

Hey, guys! Hope you’re ready for another horror-related post as Halloween continues to creep up on us. 😀 One of my favorite things about horror-themed television shows, has always been the spooky intros. A good intro/theme song just really sets the mood for the scares about to come. I’m making this post to give some credit where nightmare-inducing-credit is due, so let’s get this party started. In no particular order, here are some of the intros to television shows that perfectly set the tone for the creepy show to follow it. Bonus Points for those of you who get some nostalgia outta this! 😉


Are You Afraid of the Dark?

This show may have been aimed for kids, but that intro definitely creeped many a child (and adult) out, with the eerie music and child laughter, and that ugly ass hobo clown doll. Much like the intro itself, the show was kid-friendly, but still managed to slip in some things that were bound to haunt our sweet, impressionable little minds for years to come.

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Tales From the Darkside

Things start off innocently enough in this intro, with pretty countryside views of the normal everyday world, but then the music and narration takes a sudden turn for the creepy. I loved watching this show, and whether it was daylight or not, that intro always got me ready for the chilling stories to come.

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Twilight Zone

This is probably the most iconic intro to make my list, and a prime example of an “oldie but a goodie”. It’s an intro theme known by older and younger generations alike, and with good reason.

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Tales From the Crypt

Speaking of “iconic”, this theme song was enough to have many a child running to hide under their blankets when they heard it come on. A classic through and through.

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Goosebumps

Okay, I’ll be the first to admit, this show did not age so well, but who cares? Goosebumps may be cheesy now that we’re older, but I loved it growing up, and I sure as hell loved that intro (even with that dog barking along with the tune). 😛

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So, those are MY picks for my favorite horror-themed show intros, but how about you? Do you have any you think deserve a shout out? Hope you guys had fun with this post and that each of you is enjoying your weekend. 😀