With a big name like Margaret Atwood, I was expecting something a bit more profound from ANGEL CATBIRD, evReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy:
With a big name like Margaret Atwood, I was expecting something a bit more profound from ANGEL CATBIRD, even with the ridiculous title and premise. Unfortunately, I was left incredibly disappointed in what was a predictable, preachy book that although marketed to adults, I wouldn’t recommend to anyone over 13.
If you’ve never read any Margaret Atwood, she’s known for her social commentary, her depictions/discussion of women and being really literary. Most of her books are so in-your-face feminist they can be overwhelming. I would recommend reading ORYX AND CRAKE - and to a lesser extent THE HANDMAID'S TALE - if you like speculative fiction. They both bring up interesting points, and I enjoyed ORYX AND CRAKE.
ANGEL CATBIRD does the opposite of bringing up new and interesting points. There’s a narrow line behind paying homage to a genre and just copying something on every page. Mad scientist with bumbling assistant who gets himself accidentally mutated into a half-animal (well, quarter, but whatever) shifter? Check. Cute babe who knows about the world he’s in and happens to work in his office? Check. A nightclub for shifters hiding in plain sight? Check. It’s all stuff I’ve seen before.
Very little actually happens in the book, apart from Strig trying to get into Cate’s pants and the evil scientist plotting and cackling to his rat minions like a more manic version of WILLARD without any of the heart or acting chops of the movie. Beyond his shift and finding out who the villain is, the plot barely advances.
The most annoying part of this comic has to be the weird “educational” paragraphs at the bottom of many of the pages. “Don’t let your cats outside.” “Spay and neuter your cats.” “Here are some stats about how many birds cats kill in the US, Canada and UK.” These factoids were preachy and felt like they belonged in a book for ten year olds, not the adults the book is marketed towards. I’m not reading a graphic novel to be educated about the number of kittens a female cat can have, Margaret. I want escapism and drama I want adventure and humour. ANGEL CATBIRD delivers none of that.
The art and the colours are great, and I love the art notes at the back of the book. It’s the concept that is childish and doesn’t actually lead to anything. Margaret Atwood said in an interview that she “came up with it around the age of six, when I was drawing flying cats with wings.” It kinda shows. Freaks of nature have such an awesome power to portray human existence in graphic novels, but all this comic does is regurgitate tropes and preach.
The only reason I didn’t give this book a single bat review is the cat to half-cat shifters. Some of the half-cat shifters who hang out at the Cat-astrophe nightclub (really?) are cats first. They cannot become fully human. Likewise, the humans who can become half-cat cannot go full cat. It’s pretty cool, although it raises weird questions about these natural half-cats, who are genetically born and aren’t created by science. There is zero insight into the mythology or history of these shifters, and I have zero interest in finding out more.
There are two other volumes of this graphic novel planned, but I won’t even be glancing at them. I'm just glad I got this title at the library and didn't waste money on it.
A Field Guide to Fantastical Beasts: An Atlas of Fabulous Creatures, Enchanted Beings, and Magical Monsters is a wonderfully iAll Things Urban Fantasy
A Field Guide to Fantastical Beasts: An Atlas of Fabulous Creatures, Enchanted Beings, and Magical Monsters is a wonderfully illustrated book filled with descriptions of mostly familiar mythical creatures. Most of creatures are Northern and Western European save for a small handful of monsters. I would have preferred a bit more variety from other areas like Africa, Asia, and even Eastern Europe since most of the creatures in this book are so very familiar in literature and pop culture already.
As I continued reading the descriptions I came to the realization that this book might be for a younger audience not as familiar with these creatures which would fit with the slightly short descriptions [a page or two per creature]. Being nerdy about mythology and folklore, I wanted a deeper analysis. While slightly disappointing the descriptions were a nice refresher with some interesting facts I didn't know before and the illustrations were pretty adorable too.
I think it is a great book for young school aged kids to get them interested in myths and folklore. The writing is pretty simple and in no way talks down to the reader....more