Review: Kill Shakespeare: A Sea of Troubles
Kill Shakespeare: A Sea of Troubles by Conor McCreery and Anthony Del Col
May's Review: The premise of this graphic novel is simple. Hamlet is banished from Denmark and while traveling to England, he ends up shipwrecked. He is promptly rescued and recruited by Richard III to kill the evil wizard, Shakespeare. But nothing is what it seems. Richard III is actually intent on building his own empire and with the aid of the lovely but dangerous Lady MacBeth and the traitor Iago, he is determined to win at all costs. Hamlet, on the other hand, is at a loss at who to trust especially when he is forced to join the "rebels", namely Juliet, Falstaff and Othello.
This novel is certainly a dark tale with some witty dialogue thrown in. The artwork was solid although I had to re-read some of the panels a few times because the direction changed from a one page to a two page spread that was a bit unexpected in some places. If I have one complaint, it is that I think the characterizations need to be a bit more developed especially with Juliet and Othello who seem somewhat dull in comparison to the villains.
Although I liked this graphic novel, I was not totally in love with it. Still, I will recommend it to anyone who is a fan of Willingham's Fables series and want to try something in the same vein.
Review: Out of the Deep Woods
Out of the Deep Woods by Jeff Lemire
May's Review: Yes I know. Based on the cover, you can definitely tell that I found and read a graphic novel that did not include zombies or vampires. Like most post-apocalyptic graphic novels, this story begins with the aftermath of an unexplained pandemic that nearly destroyed the whole planet. Pockets of humanity still exists but instead of hideous mutinous creatures roaming the countryside gradually picking off these survivors, you find half-human/animal creatures. One of these hybrids is Gus, a sweet naive child who is left to fend for himself after the death of his father. After Gus nearly gets himself killed and he is rescued by a drifter named Jepperd, he abandons his home to search for "The Preserve", is a refuge for hybrids. Luckily for him, he is accompanied by Jepperd as they embark on a journey that explores this devastated new world.
I personally liked this graphic novel and I can't wait to read the next volume in the Sweet Tooth series. It's a good action-packed story with a very likable lead character. A recommended read for anyone who enjoys the Walking Dead or Y: The Last Man series.
Stephen King's fantasy opus now a graphic novel
The Talisman Volume I: The Road of Trials (2010)
The spellbinding saga of The Talisman is now a stunning graphic novel, vividly illustrated by artist Tony Shasteen. Here's a bold new look at the classic tale of treachery and betrayal that could only have sprung from the imaginations of master storytellers Stephen King and Peter Straub.
In a run-down amusement park on a desolate beach in New Hampshire, thirteen-year-old Jack Sawyer is about to learn some hard truths - about his father's death, about why he and his mother are on the run from his sinister uncle Morgan, and about the real nature of the mysterious realm Jack once called the Daydreams. Now, with help from his newfound friend Speedy Parker, this young man will reclaim his identity as Travellin Jack and make his first foray back into the Territories to retrieve the magical Talisman, an object of immense cosmic significance.
Yet even more important to Jack, the Talisman holds the key to saving his mother's life. In the Terrorities, where monsters lurk, evil watches, and an unbelievably precious prize awaits, Jack embarks upon a desperate quest to fulfill a destiny he never sought but cannot escape.
Many of Stephen King's classic horror and fantasy novels have been reimagined in graphic novel format. Look for available titles from the library!
Review: The Night Bookmobile
The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger
May's Review: I suppose that I really should like this graphic novel given its premise. A young woman encounters a mysterious bookmobile filled with every book she has ever read. Seeing her personal history reflected on the shelves stirs something within her. As the years go by, she becomes obsessed with locating the bookmobile again. To help pass the time, she reads more books and eventually becomes a librarian. However, her reunion with the bookmobile and her personal collection of memories is bittersweet.
I would love to say that it was the bittersweet ending that ruined the book for me. I won't spoil it for the rest of you but let's just say, it's not a "happy ever after" kind of ending. Also, I wasn't too impressed by how the story was laid out and how it was illustrated. It just seemed "clunky" for a lack of a better description. It's an okay read but I think the author could have spent more time developing a better and certainly a more uplifting story. At least then I wouldn't be left with a slightly bitter taste in the month after reading this graphic novel.
Review: The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel
The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel by Diana Gabaldon
May's Review: So the growing trend these days is to take a highly popular work of literature and adapt to the graphic novel/manga format. We have already seen a number of this year with Sherrilyn Kenyon's urban fantasy/romance novels, Patterson's Maximum Ride books, and Meyer's Twilight series. I suppose these graphic novels/manga are done to appeal mainly to the author's fans because in some cases, I don't necessarily find the new adaptions to be as interesting as the original.
Mind you, I have to have read the original which brings up the whole Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Romance blog readers will know that I am largely a historical romance reader while some of my close friends, like JC, also know that I also happen to like my romances set in Scotland. But for some unexplainable reason, I have never managed to read Outlander, the first book in Gabaldon's hugely popular romance series. The book which won the 1991 RITA award for Best Romance novel, centers on a nurse, Claire Randall, who is vacationing with her husband in Scotland sometime in 1940s. While exploring, Claire inadvertently is transported back in time to 18th century Scotland where she meets our red-headed hero, Jamie Fraser, a fugitive with a complicated past. The rest of the story basically involves Claire trying to get back to her own time while trying to fight her immense physical attraction to Jamie.
The graphic novel picks up this complicated storyline by telling it from Jamie's prospective. I suppose that this was a new way to retell the familiar story but I admit that I wished it had told it from Claire's point of view instead. I felt Jamie's characterization wasn't quite as well developed and had difficulty following the rather convoluted plot at times. I assume that Claire develops very strong feelings for Jamie prior to being forced to marry him in the book because in the graphic novel, she just grudgingly seems to "go along" with everything and as a result, I don't find her all that compelling at times. It probably doesn't help that the illustrator likes to focus on Claire's buxom figure especially in the later half the of the novel making Claire more of a 1950s pin-up model rather than the intelligent and highly-compassionate heroine she is suppose to be portraying.
Fans of the series will likely flock to this graphic novel and fall in love with the series again. As for me, I just thought this novelization ranked a "Meh". Kinda mediocre as far as I'm concerned.
Foiled by Jane Yolen
Summary: Aliera Carstairs just doesn’t fit in. She’s always front and center at the fencing studio, but at school she’s invisible. And she’s fine with that . . . until Avery Castle walks into her first period biology class. Avery may seem perfect now, but will he end up becoming her Prince Charming or just a toad?
May's Review: When asked by a staff member if I liked this graphic novel, all I could say was "Meh." I liked the concept and the artwork but for some reason, I just couldn't connect to the story. I think part of the problem maybe lies in the fact I might enjoyed the realistic elements--e.g. Aliera being a fencer and dealing with adolescence. Throw in this fantasy element with attacking flying pigs and ogre-troll/Prince Charming and the story just gets bogged down. The story's ending seems somewhat incomplete making me wonder if there is a sequel planned. Hopefully so or else readers are going to be left scratching their heads for quite awhile.
Calling All Percy Jackson Fans
This should not come as a huge surprise but the hugely popular Percy Jackson series has now been adapted into a graphic novel and the library has the first volume!
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan and Robert Venditti (adapter)
Summary: Mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking out of the pages of twelve-year-old Percy Jackson's textbooks and into his life. And worse, he's angered a few of them. Zeus's master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect. Now, he and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus's stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus.
Review: Legends: The Enchanted
Legends: the Enchanted by Nick Percival
May's Review: Wow! If you prefer your fairy tales extremely dark mixed with steampunk elements, then this graphic novel is for you!
A band of supernatural but very familiar fairy tale characters including as Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks, and the giant-killer Jack have been charged with the protecting the lands from the never-ending horde of nightmarish creatures. Unfortunately, this supernatural band of heroes' greatest weapon--their immortality spell--has been broken and now they must race against time to identify and stop their mysterious nemesis before it's too late.
This is an incredibly dark and gritty story with multiple references to torture and sexual violence that may cause some to be slightly squeamish. This is certainly not the "happily ever after" type of graphic novel. The artwork is gorgeous but slightly twisted in a surreal kind of way. Definitely a recommended read for the Fables fan who is looking for a more adult graphic novel series.
Review: Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians
Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
May's Review: Don't let the fact that this graphic novel is shelved in the children's collection scare you off. This is a terrific and quite humorous graphic novel introducing a new superhero, the Lunch Lady. Armed with Taco-vision Night Goggles, Hover Pizzas and Sonic Boom Juice Boxes, Lunch Lady and her sidekick Betty battle the evil school librarians who are plotting to take over the world by stopping a shipment of a very popular video games. Although there are plenty of over-hyped stereotypes of cafeteria workers and librarians, the silliness of this absurd story somehow just makes this story rather more endearing to me. A terrific read on a rainy day when you have a coffee break and you need a quick-pick-me up but there is no chocolate cake lying around for you to eat.
Review: Mouse Guard: Winter 1152
Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 by David Petersen
May's Review: Thanks to
JC's earlier review, I totally fell in love with Mouse Guard: Fall 1152. I recently had the opportunity to read its sequel, Mouse Guard: Winter 1152, which was equally enthralling as its predecessor. What's not to love? Heroic mice battling overwhelming odds--harsh winter elements, food and medicine shortages, and scary 'monsters' in the form of an owl and vengeful bats--to save family and friends as well as their kingdom. Terrific artwork. Action-packed storyline. Complex character development. Highly recommended to those who enjoy historical fiction set in a fantasy world.
:: Next Page >>