**spoiler alert** I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of Clariel. I've been waiting... and waiting... and waiting(!) for this book, as much as an**spoiler alert** I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of Clariel. I've been waiting... and waiting... and waiting(!) for this book, as much as any other fan of the Abhorsen series. It was worth the wait. This prequel, set several hundred years before the birth of Sabriel, explores the history of another member of the Abhorsen line, Clariel. For those of us that have read the Abhorsen series, we know her better as Chlorr of the Mask. And while this wasn't the story I was expecting, it was still incredibly enjoyable and fits well into the world of the Old Kingdom.
Clariel is not the most likable of characters, but I sympathized with her and was surprised at how much I cared about her as the story progressed. In a way, she reminded me of Katsa in Graceling, by Kristin Cashore. Clariel isn't like Sabriel or Lirael... she's not comfortable with Charter magic and really doesn't care to learn about it Nor is she a noble figure. She has an exceptional temper and a strong will that will play a part in her undoing. She's been recently uprooted from her home in Estwael and wants nothing more than to leave the city of Belisaere and return to the Great Forest, where she feels most at ease. As her story unfolds, she becomes more desperate to leave Belisaere, making choices that lead her further down a path that will end... well, it'll end with Chlorr.
I enjoyed seeing the Old Kingdom during a more orderly time, though we're also seeing what complacency does to the Kingdom. You get a good does of politics, free magic creatures, and leaders who are content to let their responsibilities slip. We see Belisaere in detail and explore the Abhorsen's house. Mogget plays a pivotal role in Clariel's story, and I enjoyed seeing one of my favorite characters at his worst.
We see Clariel really struggle with her desires and her anger throughout the book. It's so rare, I think, to find a book that has a strong female character who isn't sacrificing herself for others and has this incredible flaw. And by the end, the problem isn't solved or controlled. If you've read the other books in the series, you know that things will, in fact, get much, much worse. And I liked (and hated) seeing an Abhorsen who was wretched at his work. Things are so turned on their head in this book compared to the figures we see in the rest of the series; while this was a bit disorienting at first, I enjoyed the change and grew to appreciate that not every person is cut out to be an Abhorsen, a Charter Mage, or a hero. I think that Nix did an excellent job, particularly with Mogget and Aziminil, at making you realize that these are not sympathetic characters. Or that the act of revenge lives up to the idea.
I was a bit surprised by the ending. That direct connection to Chlorr is not there, but rather hinted at. We know what is to come, but this story really shows you where Clariel starts down that path, not how she gets there. And while I had a problem with that as I finished the book, the more I thought about it, the less I minded it. ...more
I really loved the Scott Pilgrim series and I wanted to see what BLoM did next, particularly as a standalone piece. Katie's story is all about doing tI really loved the Scott Pilgrim series and I wanted to see what BLoM did next, particularly as a standalone piece. Katie's story is all about doing things over and trying to right what we consider to be wrong... except Katie's not perfect. In fact, she's pretty shallow, selfish, and mean. She's retreated into her own little world at the start of the book, with a focus just on getting away from her old life. I really enjoyed her as a character - she's flawed and she wants the world to change around her. Until, of course, it does start changing around her, and not for the best.
O'Malley's writing style continues to be amazing... if you like that sort of thing. There are many instances where the wall between narrator and characters is broken. The little asides are funny,and the dialogue is excellent.
The art was one of the few things in this story that tripped me up, and it was really just Max's character that bugged me... he looked too different from everyone else. Katie also stood out, in that she seemed a little less realistic, but I can give that a pass because she's the main character. The layout to me was cleaner and less cluttered than Scott Pilgrim was, and I liked the way the pages were paced. The hardcover is beautiful - great colors, clean pages, and a great use of the architecture in the restaurants. ...more
I was first introduced to The Last Unicorn through the movie. I think my sister and I watched the VHS until is was ragged. And then in high school I fI was first introduced to The Last Unicorn through the movie. I think my sister and I watched the VHS until is was ragged. And then in high school I found out that the movie was based off of a book. I have bought multiple editions of this book because I love it so much. I found out about the comic adaptation a little more than year ago when one of the teens at my library very sweetly bought a copy of the first volume for me. All that is to say that I went into this book pretty much prepared to love it. And I do.
The story sticks close to the novel, not the movie, which I appreciated. I love the movie, but I also know that it's cheesy and has some grimace-inducing scenes - oh, the singing! The singing. So instead we get more of Schmendrick's history, the story of Hagsgate, and Lir is a little more fleshed out. Dialogue is often taken straight out of the novel.
The artwork does seem inspired by the movie, but cleaned up and less ridiculous. Parts are absolutely gorgeous - check out the Midnight Carnival and the cover for that issue with the creatures tangled in Mommy Fortuna's hair. I got choked up during the final battle with the Red Bull - the art just has an excellent sense of pacing. When I got to the guest art featured at the end, I couldn't imagine the book looking any other way than it does with Rene De Liz illustrating.
If there's anything I missed in this book, it was the way that the story is told in King Haggard's castle. I feel like that part of the story is glossed over in both the comic and the movie. Haggard is a fascinating but unexplored character, Amalthea is losing herself and falling in love at the same time, and Schmendrick and Molly are both trying to solve the mystery of the Bull's location. But this section of the tale gets rushed to the moment of finding the clock and the passageway and the final confrontation. I don't know if that's to be helped, but that's my complaint.
This is definitely on my wish list - time to try collection more of the individual issues!...more
So I looked at my review of the first volume, which I'm shocked was all the way back in 2008... can that be right? I was kind of harsh. Having watchedSo I looked at my review of the first volume, which I'm shocked was all the way back in 2008... can that be right? I was kind of harsh. Having watched the anime, I have fallen in love with Ouran High School Host Club, so I decided I needed to go back and read the manga. And now I love it. Maybe it's being more aware of the different manga genres that they joke about. Or maybe I have an easier time following the story, now that I've seen it played out on TV. I don't know, but whatever it is, I adore it.
Stories in this volume include the club trying to keep Haruhi's gender a secret during the school's physical exams (a favorite of mine!), the twins fighting, the club accepts a new member - Shiro - as Tamaki's apprentice, and the club vacations at the Ohtori Aqua Garden - with disastrous results. We learn a little about the twins' history and see a few touching moments mixed in with the chaos.
Bisco Hatori's asides are funny and let you know you shouldn't take anything too seriously. If you want a fun, light read in manga, this is great!...more
Gene Luen Yanga brings us three stories about fantasy, reality, and the way we think and dream about both. The first story looks at a young man namedGene Luen Yanga brings us three stories about fantasy, reality, and the way we think and dream about both. The first story looks at a young man named Duncan, serving in a medieval court and trying to win the heart of the princess. When he sets out to fight the Frog King, he discovers a mysterious bottle labeled Snappy Cola, and suddenly everything in the kingdom seems out of place.
Then there's Gran'pa Greenbax, a greedy frog with an insatiable desire for a bottomless pool of gold (sounds like a certain old duck, hmmm?). His latest profitable adventure has led him, his assistance, and his twin nieces, to the Eternal Smile, a grin that's always hovering in the sky.
And finally there's Janet, a woman that no one ever notices. She's been working the same nine-to-five job for seven years. When things are at their most dreary, she gets an email from a Nigerian prince who needs her help saving his family fortune... if only she'll give him her bank account information, she'll be rewarded beyond her wildest dreams.
These stories may appear to be fluffy and aimed at younger readers, but each deals with heavy issues (abuse, self-confidence, greed, and faith). The Gran'pa Greenbax story may be the most disturbing of them - though besides borrowing from Uncle Scrooge, it made me think of those Looney Tunes cartoons where the animator is able to reach into the animation cell and mess with things. Overall, these are uplifting stories about how we reconcile our fantasies with our real lives. ...more
**spoiler alert** So... I love the Twilight series. And like every other fan of that series, I got all excited when this book came out. It took me a m**spoiler alert** So... I love the Twilight series. And like every other fan of that series, I got all excited when this book came out. It took me a massive amount of time to get through it, partly because of work-related interruptions, and partly because this book dragged for me. Seriously.
Wanderer and Melanie's relationship was the most interesting part of the book to me. Lots of inner conflict between the body and the soul (literally and figuratively), each learning about different cultures and histories, and eventually coming to trust each other. And this relationship took a backseat to Wanderer (which is such a better name than Wanda!) fitting in with human beings and constantly being in love with Jared and getting knocked around and feeling confused about Ian. There were way too many characters to keep track of in the caves. Basically, what I'm trying to say in a muddled way (ha!), is that this book lacks focus. It felt more like a serial, something I'd pick up every few weeks, than a cohesive novel. The pace is slow, and I found myself reading large chunks without really feeling any sense of development in the plot. There's just too much going on here!
So, while the book had an interesting premise, and Melanie and Wanderer really grew on me (Ian eventually did as well), this just wasn't what I was expecting. With some editing, or maybe by separating this story into a collection, I think the overall story would improve.
I will say that these books do make me want to go live in a cave, eat tough bread rolls, and visit a hot springs. But I want nothing to do with cactus soap. ...more