Tag Archives: Graphic Novel

Mini Reviews: Full Metal Alchemist (#1-3)

Full Metal Alchemist (Volumes #1-3) by Hiromu Arakawa

full metal alchemist 1This is definitely something that I’ve been wanting to read for quite some time now and I am glad that I finally got around to it! 🙂 I will also definitely be continuing on with this series – pretty excited for it!

Now, quick synopsis: these two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, are alchemists who attempted to bring their mother back from the dead using alchemy, which is seen as the ultimate misuse of the science of alchemy. In the process, Edward lost an arm and a leg and Alphonse lost his entire body, so Edward had to bind his soul into a body of living iron. They now both work for the government as state alchemists. There are other alchemists who would rather use their abilities for evil, however. Ultimately, all alchemists are in pursuit of the most epic of treasures, the Philosopher’s Stone, which would give eternal life.

Overall, I had a super fun time reading this first group of stories. The artwork is wonderful and it was such an easy story to fall into. It was action-packed, full of some deeper themes around religion, life and death, which definitely made it a more surprisingly impactful read. It feels weird to break each volume down in order to do mini-reviews, as it really does all make up one bigger story. I will say, each volume definitely felt an episode of a TV show which made them super fun to read. I am going to attempt to break down each volume and give you some of my highlights from those volumes.

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tl;dr pretty short;did read

Spill Zone by Scott Westerfield

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When the spill happened, people turned into meatbags floating in space, objects started floating on their own, and everyone else was evacuated. On a quest to photograph the new dimension, and provide for her little sister, Addison risks her life to put the zone behind her.

I love Scott Westerfield, but I wasn’t prepared for this to be a graphic novel. It is definitely part one, and I am really excited for the next parts!

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The Imaginary F(r)iend of your Dreams (Nightmares)

Panther by Brecht Evens

panthercoverThis is one of those books that is so incredibly hard to rate. It has so many things going for it, but the story. Oh, the story. Those that have a difficult time with with trauma, particularly when linked with children, may have to avoid this one altogether. Learning more about the book may help soften the blow, but from personal experience I can tell you it’s not by much. I’m not going to give any more details about it because, like I said, this book can produce quite the emotional reaction that I don’t want to alter by giving my summary.

I’ll just give you my reaction to it: staying up at night, tossing and turning. The feel of it lingering for a few days. Haunting could be one way to describe it. And even though it wasn’t a positive emotional reaction, I think you have to give credit where credit is due when a short little story can produce so much of it.

pantherinterior_21A lot of that emotion comes from the way this story is presented. The title of this post should hint to the subtle (then increasingly overt) malice found in this book. Don’t let the bright and colorful cover resembling a children’s book fool you. If anything, it only adds to your feelings of unease. I typically don’t go for graphic novels, but these images add so much depth to the story (and your feelings of unease). The panther himself is the perfect example of Evens ability. In one spread alone, Panther is drawn in a completely different way each time, hinting at the feline’s chameleon-like nature, and you start to worry about what that may mean.

It’s certainly not a book to leave you with a warm, fuzzy feeling. But does such a good job in not doing that. Consider this both a recommendation and a warning.

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BookTube-A-Thon 2016 Wrap Up!!


BookTube-A-Thon Wrap Up Stats:

Day 1: 42 pages – “The BFG” by Roald Dahl
Day 2: 0 pages – womp womp…
Day 3: 166 pages – finished “The BFG” by Roald Dahl
Day 4: 233 pages – started & finished “American Born Chinese” by Gene Luen Yang and started “The Raven Boys” by Maggie Stiefvater
Day 5: 21 pages – “The Raven Boys” by Maggie Stiefvater
Day 6: 0 pages – womp womp…
Day 7: 197 pages – started & finished “The Cloud Searchers” by Kazu Kibuishi

In total, I finished 3 books and started 1 book. I definitely was hoping to get through a few more of my reads, but all in all, I am impressed with my first read-a-thon!! 🙂 It was a lot of fun and it definitely got my reading stride back!

With that, I am going to do mini-reviews of the books that I finished reading.

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The A.B.C. of Identity

I told myself I wasn’t going to read another graphic novel for a while, and here I am.

A Review of American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang — 3 out of 5

On the outside I look the part: nice and white, just how America likes ’em. Growing up, though, I didn’t have the easiest time fitting in. Both of my parents are from Eastern Europe, and though I was born here, I didn’t learn English until I went off to Kindergarten. As the years past I acclimated, but culturally I still felt like quite the outsider. My family, my friends, my church community…all Romanian.

All that to say, I sympathized with Jin’s story, one of leaving your cultural safe zone and trying to fit. I remember kids making fun of my lunches or how I pronounced things. Yang does great job of using three different stories to help readers remember the importance of staying true to who you are, or you’ll end up losing yourself trying to fight it.

I feel like I enjoyed this graphic novel more than most. The illustrations added to the story without completely taking it over. There was a good balance of sweet and serious. Unfortunately, things went sour towards the end. Since that’s all spoiler-y, read more under the cut.  Continue reading

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Don’t Judge a Book by its Many Covers

A Review of Building Stories by Chris Ware

I wanted to get my hands on this book ever since I first heard about it. House of Leaves was the first book that piqued my interest in stories with innovative design and structure and I would say this “graphic novel” definitely falls into that category.

Can you call it a book if it’s a 14 piece collection that’s stored in a box the size of a board game? There’s no instruction manual, by the way. Just dive right in, in whatever order you see fit. I did my best to ignore the structure-loving part of my brain and finished this in an afternoon.

So, in the spirit of the book, I broke up my review into 14 points. Read them in whatever order you see fit.

1. I loved the dual meaning of the title. The reader is essentially building the story based on the order he or she reads it. It is also a story surrounding the buildings the characters occupy, making the buildings themselves characters in the tale. Continue reading

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A Spooky & Touching Ghost Story

Anya’s Ghost – 4/5

I picked this one up for my February #AYEARATHON and the theme was “Diversity”. This was a recommended reading for this month and I was pretty excited to book it up. I haven’t read a graphic novel in a very long time, so I was excited to try another medium of book especially since I have been in quite the reading slump.

anyas ghostQuick synopsis: Anya is an outsider at her upscale private school, coming from a Russian family. You can see right off the bat that her family embarrasses her and all she desires is to fit in at school. One day while talking a walk, Anya falls down a hole where she meets the ghost of a young girl named Emily Reilly. After getting out of the hole, Anya and Emily become good friends – but of course, being friends with a ghost can’t lost too long, can it? 😉

Overall, I really enjoyed this read. It was a super quick read that I read in less than an hour, which made for a delightful evening. However, due to the speed of which I was reading, I did keep missing small details that I would have to double-back for which is something that I would warn readers to watch for as you read graphic novels. Definitely a very different medium.

So to start with the things that I really enjoyed: I very much enjoyed the drawing style of the graphic novel. I thought it was quirky, I loved the consistency and I loved the purple hue that was present throughout the entire book. Made it very easy to get quickly absorbed into the story and sprint right through this read. And…cute to boot! 🙂 Continue reading

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