Fiona Staples is something of a creative folk hero 'round these parts, a name always on the periphery of your attention in art school and a celebrated...moreFiona Staples is something of a creative folk hero 'round these parts, a name always on the periphery of your attention in art school and a celebrated figure at the local comic convention. That's the only way I can explain why I never picked up anything she'd drawn before. I picked up this book because I felt it was finally time, but I knew very little about it aside from a few one-sentence rave reviews that told me at least the premise would be interesting.
I loved how this whole book was something unexpected. It gave me everything I could want out of a graphic novel--great art, a relationship beyond romance, mystery, social commentary, dark humor, a balance of realism with fantastic, imaginative worlds and creatures, a vague sense of doom and the promise of a sprawling epic.
I mean, how many intense and visceral action adventures start after the star-crossed lovers' baby is born? And how many writers have the guts to permit Really Bad Things to happen to their main characters not just immediately but repeatedly? So many "human" issues are commented on, from the repercussions of violence and moral conundrums to interracial marriage and child trafficking. Add to that the surprising new creatures showing up constantly, and you get a great sense of a real and fleshed-out galaxy far far away. Magic and technology seem to be of equal strength, and exist together in a a way that feels fresh. I definitely feel I can trust this writer to keep surprising the reader and never shy away from testing the protagonists, strengthening their bond with every installment.
The pages feel lush, even if the most desaturated palette is used, and the drawings are loose enough to be full of expression, yet precise enough to carve out tight and well-thought-out human expressions. My favorite thing about the artwork is that our heroine Alana, though a mother and an object of adoration by her husband, is never idealized or exploited to titillate. She's not above making a real grimace under pressure--heck, we meet her in the midst of one of the least attractive and most beautiful moments of her life. ;) We are made to understand their love through story, not the shortcut of the two of them being the best-looking couple in the story. And my hat also has to come off to the confidence and precision of not only the humanoid characters, but all the other races and creatures and vessels and technology that populate the universe.
Just a great book all around, something that really appeals to my personal tastes for both story and art. I can't wait for the next collection.(less)
I was so excited to finally know Book's back story. I should have known that even if the truth surpasses expectation, it would never seem as good as t...moreI was so excited to finally know Book's back story. I should have known that even if the truth surpasses expectation, it would never seem as good as the mystery.
At least the story is actually still pretty vague, focusing on mere moments in Book's past with lots of room in between to imagine whatever I want. But all the same, I'm the kind of person who needs a longer story to be satisfied. This is really just a moody, poetic, segmented epilogue.
The colors are a perfect reflection of each different moment in time, and the brush strokes and blocks of black are beautiful and iconic. My tastes run toward delicate and "pretty" (I'm a girl), so I would never have chosen this book for its art. But I'm a Firefly fan who is unfailingly curious about all the unanswered questions, and this book does its job. And come one, telling a story backwards is always cool.(less)
Back when I reviewed the first Wraeththu trilogy, I mentioned I could accept the ending but didn't find it personally satisfying. Without giving anyth...moreBack when I reviewed the first Wraeththu trilogy, I mentioned I could accept the ending but didn't find it personally satisfying. Without giving anything away, I'll just say that this trilogy gave me what I felt I was missing. It gave it gradually, so that with each book I thought, "Okay, sure, I get that, but how are you gonna explain how it relates to *this* now?" By the end of this book, though, I had no more questions.
I'm glad to have it all explained, and I enjoyed the experience of learning each thing along with the characters even if it wasn't what I personally would have wanted the facts to be. But I kept longing for the first trilogy and all the characters' arrogant assumptions. I missed how desperate and tragic it felt. With the characters understanding the Wraeththu universe completely now, it made it feel like we could leave them at the end of this book and they would be all right. But that peace and maturity replaced the youthful naivete that attracted me to the characters in the first place.
The book totally nods to that, however. Even though my favorites of the first generation are still around, the second-generations are truly taking over by this book. And as Constantine says, it's their time now. It just makes me wistful for the good ol' days when nobody understood anything, especially me. (less)
Beautiful and heartfelt, with an unexpected plot. Easily a 4-5-star rating for sheer enjoyment alone. But my compulsion to keep my ratings consistent...moreBeautiful and heartfelt, with an unexpected plot. Easily a 4-5-star rating for sheer enjoyment alone. But my compulsion to keep my ratings consistent means I have to compare this to books I'd pick up at the store. The only thing lacking was just one more editing read-through for mechanical errors and a bit more revealing of the very intricate fantasy world that is apparent, but only alluded to, in the background of the action. I KNOW the author knows all the details, which makes it so hard to dock a star for this, but if I'd bought this at a bookstore, I'd probably be even more strict about rating it. (less)
This was a toughie. It had all the ingredients it needed to be the kind of graphic novel I would really enjoy: nice art, strong female lead, and the k...moreThis was a toughie. It had all the ingredients it needed to be the kind of graphic novel I would really enjoy: nice art, strong female lead, and the kind of mix of sci-fi and fantasy I am partial to where there is pageantry and mysticism but also aliens and technology. The concepts of the chosen one called to a quest and a pretty girl who is both a courtier and an assassin are familiar but, in my opinion, done well enough that I couldn't be sure where it was all going.
But the pacing of the panels, the moments the artist chose to capture, and the dialog itself made the story difficult to follow. Even the facial expressions didn't always match the mood I would have anticipated from the words itself. At times I wondered if the word balloons were in fact pointed at the wrong character. And I think that's because everything had to be crammed into five issues. There wasn't time for half the panels it needed to build the story like it deserved. And that's a shame. The world could have been so much more lush and the possibility of unifying it could have seemed even more insurmountable and imperative, the descent into madness could have been so much more concerning, wondering who was the traitor in their midst could have been so much more suspenseful, the romance could have been so much more poignant. And the reading would have been smoother, too.(less)
Jumping onto the Fables bandwagon a little late, I didn't know much about this series except that it brought fairytale characters into modern society....moreJumping onto the Fables bandwagon a little late, I didn't know much about this series except that it brought fairytale characters into modern society. That was more than enough to interest me, but I didn't expect to encounter the logistics of trying to keep their magical nature quiet, or maintaining order in a community where so many were main characters in their own stories, including kings, princes and lords. I love the amount of thought put into running such an outfit, and the way it's completely overtaken the life of one Snow White. She's not the damsel in distress we remember!
This book collects the first ten "chapters" in the series, and so far the story is very plot driven. But even so, it doesn't totally overlook the relationships, and there are some great character interactions (which is what I personally look for in a graphic novel). It seems to me these relationships are going to take their time to develop, which only gains more points from me! The emotional challenges they have to work through are all very human and relatable, despite each character's "fantastic" background.
And I never know what to expect. The first story arc is a murder mystery, and I had no idea where that was heading until the end. And the writer has no fear of letting the worst happen to the protagonists, as you'll find out in the second story arc.
The art is beautiful, always carefully rendered without becoming distracting. The deluxe edition includes the lovely James Jean covers used for the original ten comics, as well as a few pages of concept art at the end. I would have liked to see a little more of that, personally, in a deluxe edition.
Overall, if you like some good old fashioned storytelling and you like your fairytales with a sordid twist, this is definitely for you. Late or not, I'm glad I decided to give this one a look. I can't wait to get my hands on the next book.(less)
I read Volume 1 three years ago, but cracking open this book, it immediately felt as though I'd never left. I continue to be enraptured by all the cha...moreI read Volume 1 three years ago, but cracking open this book, it immediately felt as though I'd never left. I continue to be enraptured by all the characters, old and new, as well as the leisurely, meandering plot--and that's not to say the chapters are not eventful, but they're full of everyday events, the strain of different personalities cohabiting together, domestic disturbances, all the things that makes our own lives rich. I really enjoy watching the fantastical characters meet with the kind of stuff we have to deal with from day to day, and slowly getting to know them by how they react. And all the time I can sense Linda Medley building up to something big... but I'll be happy to simply exist and experience the characters and setting for as many hardcover volumes as it takes.(less)
I never find it easy to rate a book that is a collection of images and quotes. I love that the contents are from varied time periods (mostly late 19th...moreI never find it easy to rate a book that is a collection of images and quotes. I love that the contents are from varied time periods (mostly late 19th early 20th century) and give a nice taste of mermaid lore (mostly Western). It's a beautiful book, which is why I bought it, and my only wish is that the book itself was BIGGER. When you're ogling something this pretty, you always wish it were bigger. ;)(less)
When I first read The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit a few years ago, I enjoyed it moderately at best. Rereading it now, and then reading the rest o...moreWhen I first read The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit a few years ago, I enjoyed it moderately at best. Rereading it now, and then reading the rest of the Wraeththu trilogy right on its heels, was a very different experience. I figure back then, I was not in a time and place to really "get" it.
It's the kind of story for which I could never properly articulate a review, so I'm not even going to try. It's a story that made me cry, made me furious, made me anxious, made me uncomfortable, and made me smile. It's a story that I would often stop mid-paragraph and re-read the same sentence over and over to relive its beauty and poignancy. It's one of those stories that I started to devour quickly, then deliberately took my time as I got closer to the end as I was loathe to leave it behind. There are certainly things about the ending that I personally might not have found totally satisfying, but they seemed true to the world and so I can forgive the book for that. And I can't wait to read it again, knowing what I know from the end of the trilogy and see how it all ties together.
But first, I believe there's a second Wraeththu trilogy on my shelf waiting to be read...(less)
Genuinely fun read. Deborah does a wonderful job of building both romance and sexual tension. She writes strong women I can like and men that are hero...moreGenuinely fun read. Deborah does a wonderful job of building both romance and sexual tension. She writes strong women I can like and men that are heroic but vulnerable at just the right times. The fact that she applied fairy lore to that foundation was very charming to me.
The book goes quickly. The pacing was so well done I could hardly put it down. Just boom-boom-boom from New York City to enchanted forests to dark dungeons and back. I thought at first that the ending might have been a little rushed, as far as resolving Star's problems was concerned, but considering how fast the book moved, I'm not sure that I wasn't just surprised and a little sad to have reached the end. (less)
(Just a note, I read the comic books, not the graphic novel.) Being a fan of the web series, I was curious to know the story behind "Codex," and the c...more(Just a note, I read the comic books, not the graphic novel.) Being a fan of the web series, I was curious to know the story behind "Codex," and the comic doesn't disappoint! Codex's retreat (or advance, depending on your point of view) into the world of The Game is so human, and unique in that it's told from a girl's perspective. Even the art reflects a drab reality contrasted with a lush, bright virtual world. Great intro into the web series, or great way to flesh out the story if you're already familiar with it. (less)
Just so incredibly cute. A short wordless story that can engage both child and adult minds. The artist has captured everything that is charming about...moreJust so incredibly cute. A short wordless story that can engage both child and adult minds. The artist has captured everything that is charming about corgis and put it into a fantasy setting. And every panel is so well executed from a technical standpoint; all black linework and hatching with marvelous tonal control. It's just a real treat for the eyes.
You have to take it for what it is, though. It's a little simplistic, and difficult to get attached to the characters, but man... it's just... so... cute! (less)