WWW Wednesday -17 April 2019

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

What have you recently finished reading?

I finished A Million Worlds With You by Claudia Gray. This was a great end to the series. I wasn’t sure how Claudia Gray was  possibly going to wrap everything up but she managed it, and it worked really well! Here are my reviews of the second and third books in the series.

I also read The Steam Engines  of Oz by Sean Patrick O’Reilly and Erik Hendrix with illustrations by Yannis Roumboulias. This was at the behest of my partner, who has started a YouTube channel talking about various Oz adaptations and how they relate to the original books. I didn’t love this. It didn’t have a whole lot of depth and while I’m not completely up on my Oz lore, even I spotted deviations from the original stories which didn’t really seem to add anything.

I also finished Wolfhunter River by Rachel Caine and enjoyed it despite it really only getting going in the suspense department in the last third. But it had a lot of really strong character stuff, and a pretty strong crime story, so still plenty going nfor it.

What are you currently reading?

I literally finished Wolfhunter River an hour ago, so I am something like 1% into Romanov  by Nadine Brandes.  I have really high hopes for this book, and I really hope it doesn’t disappoint. I had tickets to see Anastasia on Broadway later this year and then it closed in March so this book is all my Romanov-inspired fantasy for this year.

I have also started listening to Enchantee by Gita Trelease. I’m glad I’ve found an historical fantasy set in France that I am enjoying more than I enjoyed The Gilded Wolves. Though I think it is going to be a bit on the long side. We shall see.

On that note, thanks for your audio book recommendations last week! I appreciate it, and I’ve added a few to my wish list.

What do you think you will read next?

I’ve been saying this for weeks, but this week it really will be Changing Gear by Scot Gardner, another #LoveOzYA that is on the Children’s Book Council of Australia 2019 Notables list.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

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“All that stuff about the pleasures and dangers of fantasy, and what are stories for?” // Review of “Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen” by Dylan Horrocks

Title: Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen
Author: Dylan Horrocks
Genre: Graphic novel/fantasy/sci-fi
Date Read: 25/11/2016 – 26/11/2016
Rating: ★★

Review:

This was an interesting book and I admire it for what it’s trying to do and the messages it is trying to convey, but I felt it got a little too bogged down in that and forgot to tell and interesting story at the same time.

Sam Zabel is an aspiring cartoonist, carving out a living writing bad superhero scripts that he hates, all the while trying to find the inspiration to write something truly incredible. Then one day, he comes across an issue of an old New Zealand comic from the 50s, and when he sneezes, finds himself transported to the world inside its pages. What follows are a whole lot of questions Sam is not sure he knows the answer to.

The themes of this book are ones worth considering. It touches on the objectification of women in comics, and how far can we allow the “it’s just fantasy” argument to go before fantasies that are presented in and absorbed through comics and other mass popular culture media become problematic. These are important things to consider, and I appreicated Horrocks bringing them up.

Unfortunately, I found the storytelling a bit bland. Particularly at the start, there’s a lot of telling rather than showing. You’d expect a graphic novel to manage that better than a novel written in prose! The characters were all fairly two-dimensional character archetypes, and I didn’t feel that they each had their own unique voice. While obiously the artwork made them easy to tell apart, if I had been reading this in prose, it would have been one of those cases where I could barely distinguish them.

While this was a good idea, there was too much emphasis on the ~point, and not enough on storytelling to hold my interest for too long. I would recommend this if you are interested in the themes, but not so much if you’re just interested in reading some more graphic novels.


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“UNHAND THAT SCIENCE!” // Review of “Nimona” by Noelle Stevenson

Title: Nimona
Author: Noelle Stevenson
Genre: Graphic novel/fantasy
Date Read:
22/06/2016- 23/06/2016
Rating: ★★★

Review:

This book is very adorable. I am definitely glad I read it, even if I did have to wait six months to get to the top of the queue for it at the library, and I can definitely understand the slew of 5 star ratings. For me, I felt the story was not quite original enough for that, but it was still a good story, and clearly told with a lot of love.

Sir Ballister Blackheart is surprised one day when a young girl, Nimona, who is also a shapeshifter, turns up on his doorstep, determined to be his new sidekick. He reluctantly takes her in, and together they learn of some deep secrets at the heart of the Institution, the, er, institution that controls science, knowledge and government in their world. In trying to go public with what they know, they end up becoming the most wanted criminals in the Kingdom, and it turns out that there’s much more to Nimona than Ballister first thought.

The plot of Nimona embodies, and to some extent, I think, parodies a lot of fantasy tropes. It’s aware that it is doing this, and the subtle references to these tropes create a lot of the humour in the book.The characters are definitely what make this story unique; their banter is terribly enjoyable to read, and watching the relationships between the characters develop (or learning more about previous relationships) was delightful.The world-building is deliberately vague, with a combination of both common medieval fantasy and dystopian settings, which was also humorous.

I think my rating may to some extent be a result of a lot of hype surrounding the book that it didn’t quite live up to for me, personally, but if you would like a cute graphic novel to read, perhaps as a break after some darker books, this is definitely one to consider.


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