Valor is a comic anthology of re-imaged fairy tales showcasing the talent of some of the top creators in the field of digital comics. The purpose of tValor is a comic anthology of re-imaged fairy tales showcasing the talent of some of the top creators in the field of digital comics. The purpose of this book is to pay homage to the strength, resourcefulness, and cunning of female heroines in fairy tales. Some of these are recreations of time-honored tales. Others are brand new stories, designed to be passed to future generations.
Valor is fun, adventurous, different, wonderful. All the positive adjectives I can think of. Bright, colourful, expressive artwork combined with rich storytelling. Each story is anchored by a heroine who fights monsters, stands up for herself in dangerous times, or rescues loved ones. Because there are 23 stories, comic and prose, it's a bit hard for me to review each one. All are anchored by heroines going off on quests, taking matters into their own hands. There are white, black, Asian, and even metal heroines. There are straight and gay heroines. They can and do rely on others for support, but these are their stories. Their adventures. Their time to kick butt and take names, if the situation calls for it. As always with anthologies, there are some stories I liked more than others.
There's Prunella by Isabella Melançon and Megan Lavey-Heaton, where Prunella's scowl is captured perfectly, where she toils away for a witch that cursed her, where she keeps on working for the witch because she pays well. Prunella is grouchy and stubborn but fiercely loyal.
There's Bride of the Rose Beast by Michelle Krivanek, the story of Kari, forced to marry a monster made from a queen's greediness, and the plan to keep the monster from devouring her on their wedding night.
There's Crane Wife by Alex Singer and Jayd Aït-Kaci (text by Ariana Maher), with soft, gorgeous artwork accompanying a heartbreaking story about an injured crane lost in a snow storm and the gift she gave to the hunter who saved her.
There's The Flower in the Gravel by Angelica Maria Lopez, bright with colour, about an abandoned tower of treasure guarded by a dragon and a young girl who doesn't believe in any of that foolish talk. Instead, she races headfirst into a tower filled with dangerous traps to find the greatest treasure of all.
There's Lady Tilda and the Dragon by Sara Goetter, a wordless, emotional tale of Lady Tilda and the dragon she meets in a dark, creepy cave. The artwork is sweet and expressive. I loved how the characters and the setting told the story, making words useless. The ending always leaves me teary-eyed.
And there's Winter's Gift by Joanne Webster and Isabelle Melançon (letters by Megan Lavey-Heaton), about a rabbit travelling through the seasons, using her clever mind and clever wit to outsmart three of them on her journey to the fourth to ask for the rabbits' gift. Bunny never says no, just talks her way around and out of traps, showing that those who look weak aren't necessarily weak.
If you ever get a chance to read this, read it. It's fun and smart, filled with strong and clever female characters who take matters into their own hands.
(I received an e-book copy of this anthology after backing the project on Kickstarter.)...more
Eleven-year-old Ellie has never liked change. She misses fifth grade. She misses her old best friend. She even misses her dearly departed goldfish. ThEleven-year-old Ellie has never liked change. She misses fifth grade. She misses her old best friend. She even misses her dearly departed goldfish. Then one day a strange boy shows up. He's bossy. He's cranky. And weirdly enough... he looks a lot like Ellie's grandfather, a scientist who's always been slightly obsessed with immortality. Could this pimply boy really be Grandpa Melvin? Has he finally found the secret to eternal youth?
The Fourteenth Goldfish is intriguing and thoughtful, a curious and clever look at change, at science, at family, and at possibility.
Ellie is a bright but somewhat lonely girl. She isn't the biggest fan of change, and change is happening all around her. And then her grandfather appears and looks pointedly younger than the last time she saw him. I like Ellie, she's curious about things. She wants to know reasons behind why things happen and change. And here comes science in the form of her bizarre, intelligent grandfather, opening the doors of possibility.
On the other side, away from science, are the clashes between her mother and her grandfather. Neither takes the other seriously. There's never any talk of compromise. Her grandfather thinks her mother is flighty, he doesn't see any merit or value in the arts, and he thinks she'd be better off as a scientist. Meanwhile, her mother sees a foolish man who's extremely inflexible and doesn't understand how the world works. Each one treats the other like a child. It's hard for Ellie, to be sure. Especially when she starts to show an interest in science. I got the feeling that every time that happened she was worried her mother would hate it. They're both different people, but very similar in the way they're both extremely stubborn.
I love how this book talks about science in terms of possibility. That anything is possible. That idea transcends science, art, math, geography, plumbing. But in terms of this book, in terms of science, it's great. It makes it seem so much more accessible. Away with the complicated formulas and tedious experiments. All you need to do is wonder, is observe, is question if it is possible, and go from there. Don't be afraid. Believe that it's possible and the world will open up in front of you.
I found this book fun and interesting and I had a hard time putting it down. It's a fun story, an honest story, and one that I would definitely recommend to anyone young or old....more
Rhys is determined to reunite with Sloane until he discovers people who might need him more--people who offer him the closest he'll get to everythingRhys is determined to reunite with Sloane until he discovers people who might need him more--people who offer him the closest he'll get to everything he's lost, if they can just hold on long enough. Rhys thinks he has what it takes to survive and find Sloane, but in a world overrun by the dead, there are no guarantees and the next leg of his journey will test him in unimaginable ways.
Please Remain Calm is a number of things. It's bleak and tense, harsh and brutal. It's an attempt at survival, a constant race against time and zombies. It's an exploration of how far we go and how ruined we become when we're pushed to the brink. It's primal and emotional and frightening.
Rhys wants to survive, it pushes him, it drives him. He has to get away. He doesn't want to die. And he wants Sloane to want to stay alive. But she's already part of the way there, ruined and depressed. Can he keep her alive? Can he make her want to stay alive, stay with him? But the running, the death and destruction, the zombies. It never ends. And in the end, will Rhys still have the strength to continue?
Death follows them, nipping at their heels, breathing down their necks. It is the new constant in their lives, no longer is it clean drinking water or a soft, warm bed to sleep on at night.
I'm okay with how This is Not a Test ended, even though I wasn't at the time. I can see now that it was up to Sloane to make the decision, live or die. Here, it's all up to Rhys.
After being entrusted with her brother's Los Angeles apartment for the summer as a graduation gift, Emi Price isn't sure how to fulfill his one conditAfter being entrusted with her brother's Los Angeles apartment for the summer as a graduation gift, Emi Price isn't sure how to fulfill his one condition: that something great take place there while he's gone. Emi may be a talented young production designer, already beginning to thrive in the competitive film industry, but she still feels like an average teen, floundering when it comes to romance. But when she and best friend Charlotte discover a mysterious letter at the estate sale of a Hollywood film legend, Emi must move beyond the walls of her carefully crafted world to chase down the loose ends of a movie icon's hidden life, leading her to uncover a decades' old secret and the potential for something truly epic: love.
Everything Leads to You is sweet and fun, an unexpected adventure into the behind the scenes world of movie-making and young love.
Emi is intelligent, a creative young woman with a lot going for her in terms of a career in film. She has supportive parents, an awesome brother, and a wonderful best friend. But when it comes to girlfriends? Not so much. Which is fine, in theory, but not when her on-again/off-again girlfriend can't make up her mind. Then comes Ava, gorgeous and broken Ava, and Emi's heart lights up. As she's working on the film that could give her young career a massive boost, she's drawn in more and move by Ava. At times it feels like Emi romanticizes Ava a bit too much, making her seem larger than life when she's just as young and struggling as Emi is. But all of this is a learning experience for Emi, so she's bound to learn something along the way.
I found the production design aspect rather interesting. It's creating but in a different way. Not creating the story but still bringing it to life. The actual tables and chairs that will make up a character's kitchen. The contents of the shelves in a bathroom. But what an assistant pictures might not be what their boss or the director pictures. They're creating the world, yes, but it's someone else's world. Emi gets a bit of tunnel vision when she puts together some rooms and sets. She pictures what would be perfect, but perfect for her interpretation, and that differs from what her boss is going for. It's okay that she doesn't see that at the beginning. She's already passionate about her work, but she's young. She has her whole career in front of her. She can take this time to learn.
What's refreshing about this book is it isn't a coming out story. It isn't even the main part, and so it just appears, effortlessly. This is a finding yourself story for Emi, and she already knows who she is when it comes to being a lesbian. It's just the rest of her life she's trying to sort out.
This book was an unexpected discovery. I wasn't sure if I'd like it when it started, but it didn't take long to join Emi and Charlotte on their summer adventure. Designing sets, uncovering Holloywood mysteries, discovering new people and places. A definite must-read for fans of contemporary YA, behind the scenes movie secrets, and sweet love stories.