Tag: graphic novels

#TheReadingQuest TBR

Posted August 13, 2017 by Samantha in booktube, readathons, tbr / 0 Comments

I had been keeping my eye out for this readathon ever since it got teased weeks ago, but I still somehow missed it until the DAY it went live! Although it is happening during Tome Topple and BookNet Fest, I couldn’t pass up a readathon based on an RPG. I COULDN’T! So I rushed around today and made my TBR, and now here we are. I will be posting a video about this later on this week, but I wanted this to go up in time for sign up and to give more people a heads up. Since I missed the initial announcement, I know others did as well.

The Reading Quest is an almost month long readathon that is an RPG! You “create” a character a read books centered around that character quest line. There’s more to it, but the host (Aentee from Read at Midnight) has already perfectly laid out all of the information and rules on her announcement post. There are prizes related to this, but I’m doing it for the fun!

There are 4 main character classes to choose from, and I toiled over this a bit. In every RPG ever, I play a Rogue. A dual-wielding rogue to be exact. But I didn’t think that class tree suited my TBR. So.. I went with Mage. More specifically, (and this is bending the rules a bit), I went with Battle Mage. I did this for two reasons: 1. Because I plan to complete both the Mage and Knight quest line during the readathon (but I will be completing them in order as the rules state!) and 2. Because my second favorite class is the battle mage!

So without further ado, here is my TBR.

I have never planned out a month long TBR, because I am very much a mood reader. So, I have a few books in some of the slots because I will end up reaching for whatever I’m in the mood for. Books do not count for more than one part of the quest, so I’m not cheating in that way. I will have one book for each quest in the end. I just will choose what is most calling to me at the time.


Mage Questline:

1. A Book with a One Word Title: Opal by Jennifer L Armentrout
2. A Book that Contains Magic: Clariel by Garth Nix
3. A Book Based on Mythology: The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana*
4. A Book Set in a Different World: Lost Stars by Claudia Gray or The Stars are Legion by Kameron Hurley*
5. The First Book in a Series: The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera*


Knight Questline:

1. Already completed for Mage quest line
2. A Book with a Verb in its Title: And I Darken by Kiersten White or Deadmen Walking by Sherrilyn Kenyon
3. A Book with a Weapon on its Cover: Lost Stars by Claudia Gray or Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins
4. A Book with a Red Cover: Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly or Red Shirts by John Scalzi
5. A Book that Has a TV/Movie Adaptation: The Host by Stephanie Meyer

Some side quests I plan on participating in (hopefully) are:
1. Grind: Read a book with over 500 pages: Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor (I intend to count this for half EXP, as I was halfway through it for Tome Topple when this started.
2. Mini-Game: Read a graphic novel, novella, or poem collection: Buffalo Soldier by Maurice Broaddus* or a volume of The Wicked + The Divine

*Books by marginalized authors have an asterisk, as those give additional EXP

Are you participating in this amazing readathon? Let me know your class!

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Low Vol. 1: The Delirium of Hope | Review

Posted January 7, 2017 by Samantha in reviews / 0 Comments

Low Vol. 1: The Delirium of Hope | ReviewLow, Volume 1: The Delirium of Hope (Low, #1) by Rick Remender, Greg Tocchini
Published by Image Comics on March 28th 2015
Genres: Adult, Adult Science Fiction, Graphic Novel
Pages: 144
Goodreads
dnf

Millennia ago, mankind fled the earth's surface into the bottomless depths of the darkest oceans. Shielded from a merciless sun's scorching radiation, the human race tried to stave off certain extinction by sending robotic probes far into the galaxy to search for a new home among the stars. Generations later, one family is about to be torn apart in a conflict that will usher in the final race to save humanity from a world beyond hope. Dive into an aquatic fantasy like none you've ever seen before, as writer Rick Remender (Fear Agent, Uncanny Avengers) and artist Greg Tocchini (Last Days of American Crime) bring you a tale mankind's final hour in the cold, deathly dark of the sea.
Collects LOW #1-6

Rick Remender is a pretty popular creator in the graphic novel community, so I thought I’d try out Low: The Delirium of Hope to see how I felt about it and if I wanted to try out anything else by him. Unfortunately, it wasn’t for me, and I knew that within a few pages. I maybe made it through one issue before deciding to DNF. In the first few pages, there is so much gratuitous female nudity, with no male nudity to match it. So it felt very “male gaze” to me. Also, I did not like the art style. Couple that with the fact that the series is over the top disturbing for the sake of being gross, and I wanted nothing to do with it. This is not the series for me, and after hearing more about Remender’s other series, I don’t think I’ll be trying out anything else by him either.

dnf

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Rat Queens Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery | Review

Posted January 6, 2017 by Samantha in reviews / 0 Comments

Rat Queens Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery | ReviewRat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe, Roc Upchurch
Published by Image Comics on April 8th 2014
Genres: Adult Fantasy, Graphic Novel
Pages: 128
Goodreads
five-stars

Who are the Rat Queens?
A pack of booze-guzzling, death-dealing battle maidens-for-hire, and they're in the business of killing all god's creatures for profit.
It's also a darkly comedic sass-and-sorcery series starring Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief. This modern spin on an old school genre is a violent monster-killing epic that is like Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack!
Collecting Rat Queens #1-5!

This is such a fun graphic novel series! Rat Queens follows a band of all lady Dungeons and Dragons-type adventurers who fight monsters, make trouble, and frequent the pub. This is going to be a great series for fans of RPGs, as there are so many references to video game and D&D mechanics. It’s as if the series is winking and nodding to RPG fans. Even if you aren’t an RPG player, this series has so much for everyone. The Rat Queens are a varied band, with women of all sizes, races, and sexualities. They are all quick witted, funny, and unique. I was so excited to learn more of their backstories and see what else this series has to offer.

Unfortunately, I will not be continuing this series after Volume 3 due to choices made by the creative team to welcome back the co-creator (who was arrested for domestic violence), after they had told the female artist that he would not be coming back and that she would be the artist moving forward. It was a shitty mess. If you want to know more about this in detail, this article goes into all of it. Now, as of late 2016, the series is going on a print hiatus and will only be a webcomic for a while. I’m wondering if the backlash caused this series to flounder. Which is such a shame, as it had so much promise and I would have gladly continued if the co-creator did not return.

So while I adore this series, and plan to read those first few volumes, I ultimately know I will not be continuing and can’t really recommend it to others based on that. Unless you, like me, go into it knowing the experience is going to end earlier than it should.

five-stars

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The Fade Out: Act One | Review

Posted January 5, 2017 by Samantha in reviews / 0 Comments

The Fade Out: Act One | ReviewThe Fade Out: Act One by Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, Elizabeth Breitweiser
Published by Image Comics on February 25th 2015
Genres: Adult, Graphic Novel
Pages: 120
Goodreads
two-stars

Brubaker and Phillips' newest hit series, The Fade Out, is an epic noir set in the world of noir itself, the backlots and bars of Hollywood at the end of its Golden Era. A movie stuck in endless reshoots, a writer damaged from the war and lost in the bottle, a dead movie star and the lookalike hired to replace her. Nothing is what it seems in the place where only lies are true. The Fade Out is Brubaker and Phillips' most ambitious project yet!
Collecting: The Fade Out 1-4

The Fade Out is the first installment in a graphic novels series set in the Film Noir era, revolving around the murder of an up and coming film star. I was originally interested in it because, who doesn’t love film noir, and because I’d never read a graphic novel set in the real world instead of a fantasy setting. Unfortunately, I found this volume pretty disappointing.

The art very much fits the film noir aesthetic, but that was the only positive to me. There is a plethora of mostly white, male characters, and they look so similar that it is incredibly hard to tell them apart. I also found I didn’t care about any of their struggles. The most interesting character was the woman who had been murdered, and she is only shown through the lens of the male characters and isn’t actually a character moving forward.

I was pretty bored by this installment and don’t plan on continuing with this series.

two-stars

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Black Widow Vol. 1: The Finely Woven Thread | REVIEW

Posted January 3, 2017 by Samantha in reviews / 0 Comments

Black Widow Vol. 1: The Finely Woven Thread | REVIEWBlack Widow, Volume 1: The Finely Woven Thread by Nathan Edmondson, Phil Noto, Clayton Cowles
Published by Marvel on August 5th 2014
Genres: Graphic Novel
Pages: 144
Goodreads
two-stars

Home is where the hurt is!
And the Black Widow has plenty of that. She may be an Avenger and an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., but the Widow has her own mission: to atone for her past as a KGB assassin. Her methods are dirty. Her heart is cold. But her work is flawless. On an undercover assignment in Russia, she finds that the Hand of God is reaching for her--and it's as merciless as its name. Outmatched by the brute force of this powerful new villain, Natasha discovers a deadly globe-spanning plot. It's a race against time, and the Widow has nowhere to turn for answers. The trail of blood and destruction will test her strength and cunning--but it may also test her faith.
Collecting: Black Widow 1-6 & material from All-New Marvel Now!.Point One

Black Widow is my favorite character in the Avengers and in the MCU right now, so I wanted to venture into the comics and learn more about her. She has a long and rich history, so I figured I’d jump into a more recent run. Sadly, I was disappointed with this volume.

Black Widow in this run is struggling with a lot. She feels depressed, and unlike the character I was used to from the MCU. One of the things I love about Black Widow is that she embraces the darker sides of her past, and is a survivor above all else. I really didn’t get that from the Natasha in this book. So while I wanted to love it, I had a very hard time connecting to it.

The art was pretty, but it wasn’t enough to motivate me to continue with this series. I found the story pretty slow, and not compelling.

I do want to continue on my quest to get to know Black Widow in the comic universe, so if anyone has recommendations for an easy place to jump in with her, let me know!

two-stars

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Nimona by Noelle Stevenson | REVIEW

Posted July 15, 2016 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson | REVIEWNimona by Noelle Stevenson
Published by HarperTeen on May 12th 2015
Genres: Graphic Novel
Pages: 266
Goodreads
three-stars

The graphic novel debut from rising star Noelle Stevenson, based on her beloved and critically acclaimed web comic, which Slate awarded its Cartoonist Studio Prize, calling it "a deadpan epic."
Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel is perfect for the legions of fans of the web comic and is sure to win Noelle many new ones.
Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren't the heroes everyone thinks they are.
But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona's powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.

I originally didn’t plan on reading Nimona. I did not know about its history as a webcomic before sitting down to read it, and didn’t know what to expect beyond the hype. But when I got it in a subscription box, I thought I’d give it a go. Ultimately, as per usual, the hype did the story a disservice.

I was actually surprised by how “meh” I felt about this story. First of all, I don’t care for Noelle Stevenson’s art style. Although I don’t judge a graphic novel completely on its art style, it does have a slight impact on my enjoyment. Secondly, I found the characters to be mostly flat. Judging from the title, I thought this story was going to be about Nimona first and foremost, so I expected to feel some level of attachment to her. This story ended up focusing more on Ballister Blackheart, which in and of itself was my preference. I enjoy him as a character the most. But that also left Nimona to feel very one note. Also, I found the plot to be fairly predictable in a lot of ways.

Lastly, I found myself annoyed with how Blackheart and Goldenloin weren’t depicted in a way that blatantly showed they were gay. While, yes, it is obvious to most people, I have seen plenty of people say they are just “best friends.” Fans of the webcomic may not have picked up on this, as I know that Noelle has since come out and said she is regretful for not making it blatant and does frequently show fanart or even her own art of them looking couple-y on her blog. Their romance (and friendship) was the heart of the story, and I felt it didn’t quite achieve what it could because it held back.

Overall, I found Nimona to be a cute story, but it did not live up to the overwhelming amount of hype and I’ve found it to be forgettable since I’ve read it. I’m more likely to recommend other graphic novels, even to new graphic novel readers.

three-stars

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Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh | REVIEW

Posted May 7, 2016 by Samantha in reviews / 0 Comments

Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh | REVIEWBlue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh, Ivanka Hahnenberger
Published by Arsenal Pulp Press on September 3rd 2013
Genres: Graphic Novel
Pages: 156
Goodreads
five-stars

Originally published in French as Le bleu est une couleur chaude, Blue is the Warmest Color is a graphic novel about growing up, falling in love, and coming out. Clementine is a junior in high school who seems average enough: she has friends, family, and the romantic attention of the boys in her school. When her openly gay best friend takes her out on the town, she wanders into a lesbian bar where she encounters Emma: a punkish, confident girl with blue hair. Their attraction is instant and electric, and Clementine find herself in a relationship that will test her friends, parents, and her own ideas about herself and her identity.
First published in French by Belgium's Glénat, the book has won several awards, including the Audience Prize at the Angoulême International Comics Festival, Europe's largest. The film Blue Is the Warmest Color won the Palme d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
Julie Maroh is an author and illustrator originally from northern France.

Blue is the Warmest Color was one of my favorite graphic novels of last year. It was a quiet story that crept up on me. It doesn’t use a lot of words or flash to get the message across. What starts out as a coming of age story centered around a young girl finding herself and falling in love, turns into a realistic and at times heartbreaking story of love and hardship. I really enjoyed this story, and it is one of the only graphic novels that brought me to tears. This story is best when it’s gone into blind. I can completely understand all of the acclaim and praise that it gets.

five-stars

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The Wicked + The Divine Vol. 2: Fandemonium by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson | Waiting on Wednesday

Posted July 1, 2015 by Samantha in waiting on wednesday / 6 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday bannerWaiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine in which we discuss our most anticipated upcoming releases.

thewickedandthedivine2Stats:

Title: The Wicked + The Divine Vol. 2: Fandemonium
Author: Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson
Publisher: Image Comincs
Genre: Graphic Novel – Urban Fantasy
Release Date: July 21, 2015

synopsis (From goodreads)

SPOILER WARNING! THIS IS VOLUME 2, SO IT MAY HAVE SPOILERS FOR PREVIOUS VOLUMES!

The second volume of the award-winning urban fantasy series where gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. Following the tragic and unjust death of Lucifer, it takes a revelation from Inanna to draw Laura back into the worlds of Gods and Superstardom to try and discover the truth behind a conspiracy to subvert divinity.

My thoughts

I loved the first volume, and this graphic novel series instantly became one of my favorites. This series is very hit or miss with people but I adored the art, the eclectic characters, the inclusion of LGBTQ+ characters, and the premise that involves gods from all different religions and mythologies. I cannot wait to see where this series goes.

Samantha Signature

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The Wicked + The Divine Vol. 1: The Faust Act by Kieron Gillen | REVIEW

Posted May 9, 2015 by Samantha in reviews / 3 Comments

The Wicked + The Divine Vol. 1: The Faust Act by Kieron Gillen | REVIEWThe Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson, Clayton Cowles
Published by Image Comics on November 12th 2014
Genres: Graphic Novel
Pages: 144
Goodreads
five-stars

Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. The team behind critical tongue-attractors like Young Avengers and PHONOGRAM reunite to create a world where gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. But remember: just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever. Collects THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #1-5

I LOVED THIS! I haven’t instantly loved a series like this since I started Saga by Brian K. Vaughn. Firstly, the art is stunning. I have never seen more beautiful art in a graphic novel. It is bright, but clear. Realistic, but fantastical. It appeals to me on so many levels. More importantly though, the storyline instantly had me hooked. I love anything having to do with mythology of any kind, so the synopsis had me hooked before I even dived in. I was surprised and excited about the amount of gods represented in this story. It is not just the typical gods we see in a lot of fiction, such as the Greek pantheon, but many other ‘lesser known’ gods from other cultures were also represented. Surprising no one, my favorites were the cthonic gods, of which there are a plethora to choose from in this world.

Many people have said they found this first volume confusing, but I disagree. It’s the beginning of a series and it’s intentionally vague. This volume sets up a lot of things going on in this world and with the dynamics between the gods, and I am so ready for the next volume. Most mythology depicts the gods as a dramatic bunch, and this is no exception. There are so many rich, diverse, complex characters and I cannot wait to see more of them. If you enjoy Saga or other Image productions, you will most likely enjoy this. I cannot recommend it enough.

five-stars

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Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona | REVIEW

Posted April 15, 2015 by Samantha in reviews / 2 Comments

Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona | REVIEWMs. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona
Published by Marvel on October 30th 2014
Genres: Graphic Novel
Pages: 120
Goodreads
three-stars

Marvel Comics presents the new Ms. Marvel, the groundbreaking heroine that has become an international sensation!
Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she's suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them, as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to bear? Kamala has no idea, either. But she's comin' for you, Jersey!
It's history in the making from acclaimed writer G. Willow Wilson (Air, Cairo) and beloved artist Adrian Alphona (RUNAWAYS)! Collecting MS. MARVEL (2014) #1-5 and material from ALL-NEW MARVEL NOW! POINT ONE #1.

I know absolutely nothing about Ms. Marvel, so being able to jump into a reboot with a new origin story was really great for me. I typically find Marvel comics very hard to break into, because they are so interconnected and I don’t know what to start with. So an origin story was an easy way to get into the universe.

I loved being introduced to all of the new characters. While Kamala’s family felt a little one-dimensional and stereotypical, I hope those characters are developed more in future volumes and venture away from the tropes. Kamala as a character is very relatable and it is a fun, coming-of-age story. Kamala is someone a lot of us can relate to in that she is part of fandom (she writes Avengers fanfiction!) I also really enjoyed the different side characters of her friends that we are introduced to and I’m looking forward to more of their interactions.

Being unfamiliar with Ms. Marvel, I found her powers and the way she got them to be a little confusing. This volume did make me want to go back and find out more about previous incarnations of Ms. Marvel as well as the current Captain Marvel.

Overall, I found the story a lot of fun and I loved the art style. I’m looking forward to seeing this character develop more in future volumes.

three-stars

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