The first sentence of this book- "Kaye took another drag on her cigarette and dropped it into her mother's beer bottle"- let's us know immediately whaThe first sentence of this book- "Kaye took another drag on her cigarette and dropped it into her mother's beer bottle"- let's us know immediately what kind of a world we are going to be dealing with during at least part of "Tithe", the first of Holly Black's trilogy about dark faeries. Kaye is kind of a gross heroine with a bad attitude, an alcoholic mother who fronts punk bands, and friends who reek of cigarettes, sweat, and disappointment.
This is a weird start to a book about faeries and it only gets weirder once the faeries start showing up. They range from mean-spirited and mischief-making to violent, kinky, and terrifying. And somehow Kaye gets wrapped up in the middle of a war between faerie factions and falls in love with a hot faerie dude who may be evil, or not, or who knows?
The two worlds of the book- Kaye's home world of trashy underachievement and the faerie world of debauchery, excess, and duplicity- are exquisitely detailed and vivid. The stakes are high and Kaye's seedy upbringing ends up being quite an asset when dealing with murderous, bitchy faerie folk.
"Tithe" is dark and strange. Also, it's kinky and hot- I haven't gotten into the dark faerie knight wearing a cape lined with thorns who seduces Kay's best friend's gay brother and lures him into a world of faerie pain and bondage. Fun! There are also scary consequences, a love story I kind of bought but wasn't completely vested in, and a murderous kelpie horse thing that likes to lure humans to water, then drown and eat them. More fun!
I really liked Black's world building and her alternative anti-hero she structured in Kaye. I'm really interested to see where this series goes next. ...more
I was fascinated by this memoir set during an event I knew absolutely nothing about- the civil war in Lebanon. The book uses a bold and simplistic-looI was fascinated by this memoir set during an event I knew absolutely nothing about- the civil war in Lebanon. The book uses a bold and simplistic-looking artistic style that tells what appears to be a simple story of waiting. Little Zeina and her younger brother wait in their apartment in East Beirut for their parents to return from visiting their grandmother a few blocks away. But "a few blocks away" might as well be miles and miles away, because stepping outside at all near the demarcation line that separated Beirut into two different worlds was taking your life into your own hands. Civilians constantly invented and reinvented clever ways of traveling outside to avoid shelling, bombs, and especially sniper fire. When Zeina's parents don't return, the neighbors in their apartment building stay with them during a night of particularly violent shelling while they wait for their return.
The book lulls you into thinking that nothing much is going on after a while, only to have that sense completely upended in the sudden gut-punch of an ending. "A Game for Swallows" takes the reader right into the lives and the lifestyle of waiting, living, talking, hiding, and reacting quickly to emergencies that civilians in the civil war had to adapt to in order to survive.
The lingering feeling, and the great value of the book is wondering why? Why should any citizen in any neighborhood live like this? Why should people have to come together to rely on each other in the most dire of circumstances? What does a war solve if the everyday citizens of a country must endure loss after loss after loss?
The people in the story matter. And the fact that they do band together to protect a neighbor's children speaks to the human decency so often lost when humans are forced to endure violence and deprivation.
This is a valuable, rich graphic novel. There is a great deal packed into a few pages....more
The senses of summer pulled me in right from the start of this beautiful graphic novel. "This One Summer" builds its world carefully with broad strokeThe senses of summer pulled me in right from the start of this beautiful graphic novel. "This One Summer" builds its world carefully with broad strokes and tiny details. Crunching leaves. Ripples in the ocean. Screen doors. Run-down convenience stores. Flip flops on sand. Corn cobs at dinner. Sights, sounds, and smells are woven together to tell the story of Rose and Windy, two teenage summer friends, who have been coming to the same beach cottage village every summer since they were very young.
Rose's family lives in a tense bubble that could burst at any moment. Her mother is brittle and moody and her father compensates with goofy jokes. There is a history that slowly comes out in the story as Rose spends time with Windy- although this summer things are a bit different. Rose is a year and a half older than Windy and is beginning to see things in different ways than before. Windy, perceptive and alert, notices and is experiencing some changes of her own.
The girls live vicariously through the angsty, destructive, and crass relationship woes of the older teenagers, particularly the cashier guy at the local general store, his stormy girlfriend, his douchebag best friend, and the best friend's girlfriend too. Rose has a crush on Cashier Guy (hopefully not a sign of things to come in her future dating choices) and she and Windy eavesdrop when they can to piece together the overheated drama of his social life.
They also rent gory horror movies (their reactions to watching "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "Friday the 13th" on Windy's mom's laptop are perfect) and try to stay out of Rose's mother's way.
As information is revealed about Rose's family's life over the course of the story, Rose's behavior becomes more understandable and the parallels with Cashier Guy and his girlfriend become more pronounced.
"This One Summer" deals with a lot of issues- struggles with depression, an unhappy marriage, teenagers grasping at whatever they can get to find meaning, and uses all of these issues as pieces of the central coming-of-age story of Rose and Windy. It is life-like, gorgeously illustrated, and often heartbreaking. But there are moments when characters fight through their own inner turmoil to produce moments of real meaning in other people's lives, too.
This is a dream-like, beautiful, painfully realistic visual feast for the senses. It brings summers of years past to life and extols the virtues of memory, simple gestures, and small tokens with powerful meaning. There is a strong spell cast here, delicate and fierce. ...more