This may be a graphic novel, but it is also one of the most honest, refreshing, detailed and touching memoirs I have ever read. I have one slight comp
This may be a graphic novel, but it is also one of the most honest, refreshing, detailed and touching memoirs I have ever read. I have one slight complaint and it isn't really a complaint, more of a little suggestion as to how this could have been better - if a couple of the f-bombs had been removed and this became a book we could give to younger kids. Because, damn, in a world of pink glitter for girls and blue guns for boys, younger kids really do need a book like this.
Tomboy is the tale of Liz Prince's childhood and adolescence. She understood from an early age that she didn't like all of the things people consider "girly" and much preferred boys' clothes and toys. As she grew older, she didn't want to dress in pretty skirts or conform to what was expected for her gender, she got crushes on boys but all of them wanted the "normal" girls.
What is most interesting is the underlying discussion going on about what it means to be male or female. The book ultimately challenges the notion that there is only one way to be either and sees Liz going from a child who would rather be mistaken for a boy and claims to "hate girls", to someone who recognises that she is a woman and doesn't have to behave or dress in a certain way to prove that. It looks at conformity and non-conformity, bullying and growing up. It is, essentially, a coming-of-age tale told through the eyes of someone who doesn't want to grow up in the way everyone thinks she should.
I really liked getting this perspective on gender expectations. I wasn't really a "tomboy" myself and the only close experience I have with this is through my brother who always wanted to play with dolls and do ballet dancing. In fact, before reading this, I always focused on the problems gendered clothing/behaviour has for boys. It's commonly known that it's easier for women to wear jeans and baseball caps than it is for a man to wear a dress and make-up... so I didn't fully appreciate the effect being a "tomboy" would have on a girl while growing up. Until now.
Very enjoyable, funny and thought-provoking story.
There's an awful lot of crap in the graphic novel world, but it's strangely wonderful little gems like Saga, Vol. 1 that make rummaging through the reThere's an awful lot of crap in the graphic novel world, but it's strangely wonderful little gems like Saga, Vol. 1 that make rummaging through the rest of it feel completely worth the effort. This first volume is a bizarre, imaginative and very funny beginning to what I'm hoping will be a fantastic series. I've read bits here and there of Vaughan's work in the past but this is the first one to make me need to see what else he has in store for us. I honestly have no idea how he comes up with this stuff: soldiers turned star-crossed lovers from opposing armies are on the run from both sides with their newborn child. Not so crazy... until you add a bunch of ghosts, a huge cat that can tell when someone is lying, a royal family of robots... and somehow, amazingly, it all works.
The main characters - Alana and Marko - make an hilarious and lovable duo that also offer a realistic portrayal of a relationship between two young lovers with a baby they hadn't planned for. They love each other and their baby daughter. They bicker. They support each other. As different as they may first seem from us regular humans, they are also easy to relate to and I was surprised at how quickly I found myself invested in their story. Alana is tough, loves a good dose of sarcasm and snark, and she isn't afraid to say what she thinks or kick some ass if the occasion calls for it. Gentle, well-meaning pacifist Marko is the complete opposite and they balance each other out so well.
It's strange how easily Vaughan managed to juggle several subplots in just 160 pages. The story jumps from scene to scene, introducing new characters at every turn but somehow dealing each one out with enough impact to ensure you don't forget who they are when you're redirected to the next exciting subplot. I, for one, am very excited to see what volume two will bring and I may have to check out some of Vaughan's other series in the meantime or I risk going crazy waiting for more.
p.s. Isn't this one of the most disturbing things ever? 'Cause I think so. ...more
3.5 I admit that for a while I thought this book might be one of those children's picture books whose ratings reflect the artwork and not the story. A
3.5 I admit that for a while I thought this book might be one of those children's picture books whose ratings reflect the artwork and not the story. And yeah, the artwork is pretty nifty:
But as the story began to unfold and became entwined with historical events, I gradually turned my attention from the drawings to Hugo Cabret and co. The book is set in Paris in the 1930s and Hugo is an orphan who only manages to survive each day by clinging to the hope that he will one day fix the automaton his father had been working on... and that it will reveal a hidden message left to him.
I had also originally thought that this book was tagged "historical fiction" because it happens to be set in the 1930s, but no, there is a real story in here that I found both interesting and educational.
Parts of the book managed to achieve that which we all really want from a children's book: magical flair. But other parts fell short of it. I found the ending to be somewhat anticlimatic as well but, on the whole, it was a nice story and I really enjoyed the history lesson behind it. Rounded up to four stars because I'm feeling nice.
I'd been wondering why lately I've had such bad luck with books. Almost everything I picked up went back down again and more than half of what I readI'd been wondering why lately I've had such bad luck with books. Almost everything I picked up went back down again and more than half of what I read through and reviewed was a disappointment. After reading this first volume of the Fables series, it hit me all of a sudden - Tatiana. Or lack of Tatiana and her excellent book-recommending skills. Thanks for the rec, T, I knew you'd get it right ^_^
The Fables series has been one I've wanted to start since I first heard of it. Adult retellings of classic fairytales with a few touches of sex, violence and humour? SOLD! However, I talked myself out of it about a year ago when I foolishly picked up a random volume - nine, I believe - and didn't get it at all. Perhaps volume nine happens to be a bad apple in an otherwise excellent bunch, or perhaps that particular volume wasn't made to be read as a standalone (IMO, the first three can be enjoyed individually), whatever the reason, I found myself putting off a series which I'd previously been certain I'd love. I've learned my lesson and am now breezing through these fantastic volumes (I'll be starting number four soon) and becoming more and more addicted to the characters, the world and the humour.
Will you enjoy this? Personally, I think it depends on whether the humour is your cup of tea. I also don't believe it would be fair to sell this series as merely a comedy; each volume is very different, some are darker and gorier than others, some are primarily mysteries, others not so much. But the humour is behind it all and is what, for me, turns this into something more than a regular urban fantasy, fairytale retelling. It's what makes these characters memorable and there's not much I like more than a funny villain - everyone has a sense of humour here. I, for one, am finding it more and more funny with every installment I read.
Another thing is the artwork, which I like a lot in this series. The art has to receive a mention when you're reading a graphic novel because it inevitably affects how you read the story and how you view the characters. I tend to prefer realistic drawings, as opposed to arty, scrawly messes that are supposed to set some kind of tone. Give me this instead any day:
This first volume opens with the discovery of Rose Red's destroyed apartment. The place has been turned on its head and blood is splattered on every surface. Bigby Wolf and Snow White must investigate... can all that blood really be Rose Red's? Is she dead? Who would have a reason to hurt her? This first story is enjoyable and, in my opinion, they just keep getting better.
I just want to take this opportunity to also recommend the TV show Once Upon A Time. Originally, they were planning to make a show out of Fables but they modified it a bit and Once Upon A Time came out the other end. And it's a favourite of mine - you should check it out!...more
4.5 When I wrote in my review of Battle Royale that there were only two manga series I would recommend, it made me realise just how much in need of a r4.5 When I wrote in my review of Battle Royale that there were only two manga series I would recommend, it made me realise just how much in need of a review this was. I am not a manga fan, I know some people love it like crazy, but I've tried starting the most commonly loved - Naruto, InuYasha, Fullmetal Alchemist, etc. - and been left believing that I would never appreciate these Japanese graphic novels. Death Note was a complete accident which I found one day whilst browsing youtube. I ran into the first episode and watched out of curiosity, then I watched the next and the next until I'd seen the whole thing and knew I had to read the novels too. Both are brilliant. The whole series has only one flaw for me, though quite a big one, and that's why I deducted half a star from the rating. I will talk about this issue later on.
Just so you know, this is going to be a review of the series as a whole because I'm not going to review every single volume, but I promise to leave out any spoilers.
Here goes: Death Note is brilliant. It's incredibly clever and will challenge your views on justice and power, but the challenges it puts your way are far from simple. I guarantee that you will change your mind multiple times during each volume, you will switch sides constantly, you will one minute think Light Yagami is evil and the next you'll think him a hero. This is a very complex moral story about right and wrong, about how power corrupts, and about what is a just punishment for the wicked.
Light Yagami is an over-achieving student who is fed up with the world around him, day by day he hears the news report listing murders and rapes and other atrocities committed by human scum. When one day a Shinigami (Japanese death god) drops his death note into the human realm, Light Yagami picks it up and holds in his hands the power to kill people just by writing their names and picturing their faces whilst doing so. He starts out with the most noble intentions - rid the earth of the foulest criminals - but there's a price to pay for playing god. As people start to realise that somehow someone is murdering criminals and disregarding Japan's law methods, questions about justice begin to arise - is the killer doing the world a favour, or is he showing a complete lack of respect for human rights?
When more people begin to stand in Light's way, he is forced to write the names of more and more individuals - some criminals, some not. The power granted to him begins to change him, force him deeper into his obsession with this god-like role. All the while, Ohba maintains a brilliant pace and throws up many obstacles and challenges. This story will really appeal to people who want something to think about and are sick of reading novels with the same old pattern.
On top of all this, Death Note has possibly my favourite detective of all time. When the Japanese police force realise that they are unqualified to catch the killer, they appeal to L Lawliet for help. Now, I don't want to say too much about L because I could spoil it, but he's intelligent, lovable, brilliant... even if the rest of the story doesn't work for you, I doubt you'll be able to resist loving L Lawliet. And this is one of the things I love most about the series: there's no clear line between good and bad. The novel pits Light and L against one another, they have very different ideas about justice and right and wrong, but the brilliance of it is that you can see it from both points of view, in a way you find yourself on both of their sides. Just amazing.
So why did I knock off half a star? Because of the portrayal of women in Death Note. At the end of the day, this series was made to mainly appeal to young adult males. There's no kickass heroine, very few main female characters appear throughout the whole thing. Plus, the biggest female character is Misa Amane, she is beautiful but useless a lot of the time. She is silly and fickle, and she is mostly regarded with contempt from the other characters. This would probably annoy me more if the rest of the story wasn't so excellent, but it is, it really is.
This review contains some spoilers for the Fever series
If you haven't already read the Fever series - perhaps you are thinking of trying this out as
This review contains some spoilers for the Fever series
If you haven't already read the Fever series - perhaps you are thinking of trying this out as a sample before reading - I would highly doubt you'll get much from this apart from a bunch of series spoilers. This could work as a standalone story but I think part of it's charm and part of the reader's ability to care is based on the assumption that you already know and love these characters. Seeing as this describes me perfectly, I enjoyed this little mini addition to the story a lot.
It took me a while to be certain exactly when this is set but it turns out it's somewhere in the middle of Shadowfever. I'd actually forgotten about this but Mac has already met the Fear Dorcha in Ryodan's bar, he was the strange Unseelie creature without a face who made Mac feel like her mind was being drained before he was told to leave her alone. He's a creepy little bugger, that's for sure, and he brings with him some interesting new Seelie mythology to add to the mix.
You know, I used to think that comics/graphic novels were so breasty because they were mostly read by teenage boys, but seeing as this is predominantly one for the ladies and Mac is still like a walking mammary gland, I can only assume that there is some rule in the graphic novel publishing world that prohibits normal-looking boobs. Strange. At least they got the t-shirt spot on:
Even though Mac and Barrons weren't quite how I pictured them, it was great to see two of my favourite characters again. Plus, one thing they did do completely right was the loaded banter between the two of them. This story is set after the Unseelie rape and Barrons has, ahem, come to the rescue, but it's also set before the end of Shadowfever so the tension between them is still running high and Barrons doesn't miss the opportunity to extract Velvet's name from Mac's tongue his own way:
I keep promising to write a full review for this but never get around to it. Basically, I read Persepolis for my Gendered Communities course and I thiI keep promising to write a full review for this but never get around to it. Basically, I read Persepolis for my Gendered Communities course and I think it's one of those rare reads that actually gets better when you study it for the historical, cultural and political context. There are depressingly few Middle Eastern women whose books are read on a large scale so the insight which Persepolis offers into this part of Iran's history is very important. It offers a perspective we don't get to see too often....more
This was a somewhat disappointing graphic novel from Joe Hill that relied too much on empty shock tactics and gory images. It's a quick read and compeThis was a somewhat disappointing graphic novel from Joe Hill that relied too much on empty shock tactics and gory images. It's a quick read and compelling enough that readers will likely find themselves finishing it in one sitting, but the story lacks any real substance. The element of the story that had the most potential, in my opinion, was the exploration of the protagonist's state of mind after she was responsible for horrific acts in Abu Ghraib. It could have been a far more fascinating read if the psychological aspect had been better examined. Unfortunately, though, this story felt like one torture scene after another.
Once the original shock and horror wore off, there was nothing left to interest me....more
Reading this comic series is my excuse not to put myself through any lengthy Charlaine Harris disappointments again. I've repeatedly thought about rea Reading this comic series is my excuse not to put myself through any lengthy Charlaine Harris disappointments again. I've repeatedly thought about reading her Harper Conolly series, but everyone says it's not as good as the Sookie novels and even those have gone massively downhill. So the easy way out is to read the graphic novels - you get the general gist of what's happpening without spending hours on a series that is just going to sputter out and die towards the end.
As it happens, I thought this was a decent opening and I look forward to reading further installments condensed into graphic novel format. Harper Conolly was struck by lightning as a child and has gained the strange ability to locate dead people and sense how they died, sounds interesting enough and so far it is. Harper Conolly, as much as I can tell from a graphic novel, seems a very different character from Sookie Stackhouse. Physically, she reminds me of Lisbeth from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, no blonde-haired, big-boobed girly-girl here it seems - but then it's hard to get a huge grasp on the characters when reading a graphic novel (one of the downsides). She also seems a lot more of a detached and "I take shit from no one" kind of heroine, which is fine by me.
I will definitely look out for more, there wasn't enough here to really rate successfully so I might re-think the 3 stars as the series progresses....more
Ok, I'm not a massive manga fan and I bought this on a really random whim to find out what the fuss was about... and wow. Seriously, this is not a nicOk, I'm not a massive manga fan and I bought this on a really random whim to find out what the fuss was about... and wow. Seriously, this is not a nice book by any means but it is incredible in a must-know-what-happens-next way. It's full of very graphic (well, it is manga) sex and violence, disturbing scenes of mental illness and a horrifying look at the depths of human depravity. But it also has hope against the odds, and friendship, and love. This is a series that spans many issues and will take the reader on a journey both around the island, but also deep inside the human mind. I can understand why some people wouldn't like this book, I find it hard to apply the word 'like' to it myself without sounding like a psychopath, but it's gripping and intriguing... you are never bored. Trust me, you should read it. But make sure you come prepared with a strong stomach....more
**spoiler alert** Shinji Mimura is so cool. Seriously, I love this guy even though he seems tougher than he is on the outside. It's all an act, of cou**spoiler alert** Shinji Mimura is so cool. Seriously, I love this guy even though he seems tougher than he is on the outside. It's all an act, of course. Shinji has his own issues like everyone in the Battle Royale series, and I love him for it!
My favourite part of this volume was with the gay cross-dresser, Sho Tsukioka, first with his colourful back story and then for his obsession with Kiriyama. I love characters who are different and stand out for being so, and Sho is so lovable... even if he is a bit weird and slightly insane (who isn't?).
I actually had trouble getting this volume, I read 1-4 and then read 6-11 before I could get hold of it. I was glad I did, I constantly wondered what had happened to the guy with the huge dimple in his chin. I find his death quite sad, and almost funny if you're a bit psychotic, his story was short, sweet and very colourful....more
Wow. What a surprise this graphic novel was! The Crow is gritty, sad and completely unforgettable. The story is about a Detroit police officer - Joe SWow. What a surprise this graphic novel was! The Crow is gritty, sad and completely unforgettable. The story is about a Detroit police officer - Joe Salk - that, like many others, becomes obsessed with his job and one case in particular. The rest of his life and his sanity begin to unravel with every moment he dedicates to finding the man who raped and murdered a young girl. There's a possibly paranormal twist to this mystery that leaves us guessing whether Joe is visited by the ghost of the dead girl or whether he has become so far gone that he imagines her talking to him and encouraging him on his search for the culprit.
It's a brutal and hard-hitting read that quickly introduces the reader to a complex protagonist they can love and continues to develop his character throughout. A very pleasant surprise....more
This volume of the awesome and terrible series focused on some of my favourite characters. The delightful Shinji Mimura, who struggled to accept loveThis volume of the awesome and terrible series focused on some of my favourite characters. The delightful Shinji Mimura, who struggled to accept love and put up an act of bravado to cover it; Shogo Kawada, the seemingly tough warrior with a heart of gold; and Kiriyama, the guy you can't say you like without sounding like a sociopath too but who is oddly intriguing - you feel the need to discover what it is that has made him such a cold, calculating killer.
Kiriyama is an important character in many ways, but he is most important for exploring how a person can become someone who kills without thought, without regret and without remorse. Are some people just born with it in them or did something so bad happen that it messed Kiriyama up for life? That is the question that this book provides and you find yourself desperately needing to read on further to discover the answer....more
Delivers a punch just as great as the first and even more shocking. The story begins to develop further in volume 2 and we are given a closer look atDelivers a punch just as great as the first and even more shocking. The story begins to develop further in volume 2 and we are given a closer look at our lead characters. The true triumph of the Battle Royale series is that nearly every person is explored intimately until no death (even those of sociopaths) can be taken lightly, it is unique in its startling ability to attach the reader to every character. The girl who one day is killing people mercilessly, is then shown to be nothing but a scared child the next day by showing her life, her parents, her loves and anxieties. For a book all about mass killing and the cold way the announcer declares the names of the dead, it is actually very personal and no death is merely a statistic. I think that's the true beauty of this series amid all the horror....more
Takako's story is further explored in this installment. I found myself increasingly warming to her character, I was just hoping that her survival woulTakako's story is further explored in this installment. I found myself increasingly warming to her character, I was just hoping that her survival would have lasted longer, I felt she had more to give and it was upsetting that her life was cut short so soon. I did love the story with her and Sugimura, though, it was sad but heartwarming in a way as well. This book is just as good as all the other volumes, the usual deep psychological analysis of school children under the worst kind of pressure - the pressure to survive. It keeps you gripped throughout, something that can be easily said about all 15 volumes. Definitely worth the read and the five stars!...more