Category: book review

Graphic Novel Review: Lightfall Book One: The Girl & The Galdurian by Tim Probert

Lightfall Book One: The Girl & The Galdurian by Tim Probert. HarperAlley, 2020. 9780062990464. 248pp. Beatrice, a human girl, lives with her gramps, Alfirid the Pig Wizard. He sends Bea out into the woods to look for ingredients for an elixir, and when she needs help she meets Cad, who is looking for her uncle. Cad is a Galdurian, one of the people who constructed the lights that illuminate their world after the sun was destroyed — he’s looking for his people, and he needs the help of the Pig Wizard to translate some papers. But the forgetful Alfirid has left to take care of something important that he suddenly remembered, the Seal of the Restless Sleeper. Bea and Cad follow, which becomes the adventure that takes up the rest of the book (and leads into the next). The entire landscape is magical, with evidence of past civilizations. Their journey involves a rat thief, giant crabs, a cursed temple, hungry […]

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Great Picture Books!

My Cat Looks Like My Dad by Thao Lam. Owlkids, 2019. 9781771473514. The cat not only looks like the dad, they have much more in common including morning yoga and a love of boxes. Lam’s beautiful papercut illustrations are silly and very textured. If you haven’t seen her book Wallpaper, you should check that out too.     Dragon Was Terrible by Kelli DiPucchio, pictures by Greg Pizzoli. FSG Books for Young Readers, 2016. 9780374300494. A dragon scribbles in books and takes candy from baby unicorns and does other rotten things. The king has had enough, but not even the knights (or anyone else) can tame him. But maybe a great story can…     Supertato by Sue Hendra & Paul Linnet. Aladdin, 2020. 9781481490375. An evil pea escapes from the freezer, and the masked Supertato is the other fruits’ and veggies’ only hope. Can it defeat its tiny green nemesis, or will it get mashed?     Unicorns Are […]

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Book Review: Return of the King by Megan Whalen Turner.

Return of the King (A Queen’s Thief Novel) by Megan Whalen Turner. Greenwillow, 2020. 9780062874474. This is the conclusion to a six book series that I started reading way back in library school. Every book in the series is great, though this, along with The Thief, is tied for my favorite. Without giving anything away, these are historical fiction set in a post mythological era version of a country like Greece where gods still have great sway, and sometimes exert great influence. The Thief of Eddis, Eugenedies (Gen) is favored by his god, and he’s at the center of the books — an adventurous, boyish man who lives for perfect moments, of which there are many. (He also settles, somewhat reluctantly, into responsibility and love, and it’s amazing to go along for the ride.) This book is narrated by the sickly, mute son of a noble family sent to court as an insult. As he comes to love Gen and […]

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Graphic Nonfiction Review: Paying the Land by Joe Sacco

Paying the Land by Joe Sacco. Metropolitan Books, 2020. 9781627799034. 272pp. Sacco (Footnotes in Gaza, Palestine, Safe Are Gorazde) heads north from Yellow Knife into Canada’s Northwest Territories in a borrowed truck with his guide, Shauna. They travel to places that can only be accessed on winter roads when the ground is frozen. There Sacco meets and interviews many of the Dene. “”Dene means ‘the People’ and in Canada’s North the term refers to the related group of First Nations whose culture is rooted in the land.” In Tulit’a, they find a small town of 600 where the oil boom is on pause. Unemployment is high. It’s clear there are folks on all sides of the resource extraction issue, and that this community (and others he visits) are dealing with the history of the territory and what was done to their people, from the Catholic Church to the residential schools and the abuse (substance, physical, sexual) that is still rampant. […]

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Book Review: The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab. Tor, 2020. 9780765387561. 448pp. Adeline LaRue, born at the end of the 17th Century in Villon-sur-Sarthe, France, is not content with the village life ahead of her. She wants to travel and discover new things. She’s given some great advice: “Never pray to the gods who answer after dark.” Of course she doesn’t take it. The darkness comes to her in the form of a handsome man she once drew, Luc, and they strike a bargain: when she’s done with her life, he can have her soul. She’s made a mistake; she’s immortal, but also erased from everyone’s memories as soon as she’s out of their sight. Her eternal life is lonely. No one remembers her, but she’s finally free to wander the world. Her curse means she can’t put down roots or have a place of her own or really anything at all. She can’t leave a mark on the […]

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Graphic Novel Review: Shirley & Jamila Save Their Summer by Gillian Goerz

Shirley & Jamila Save Their Summer by Gillian Goerz. Dial, 2020. 9780525552864. 224pp. Jamila’s mom wants to send her to science camp, but Jamila wants to spend the summer playing basketball at the court five blocks away. Her mom thinks that’s too far for her to go alone. Shirley’s mom wants to send her daughter to dance camp. Shirley tells her she just wants to be able to go out in the daylight in their neighborhood. The two ten-year-olds meet at a garage sale, and soon they come to an agreement with their moms: they can hang out at the basketball court together all summer. Shirley’s mom is delighted — her daughter has a hard time making friends. And it’s not hard to see why: she’s brilliant but uncommunicative. She’s also Sherlockian in her observations, which helps her solve kids’ problems and mysteries adults can’t or won’t help with. Then a “big” case comes up. Someone stole Oliver’s lizard, Enoch, […]

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Graphic Novel Review: The Oracle Code by Merieke Nijkamp, illustrated by Manuel Preitano

The Oracle Code by Merieke Nijkamp, illustrated by Manuel Preitano. DC Comics (DC Graphic Novels for Young Adults), 2020. 9781401290665. 208pp. Another great re-imagining of a DC superhero for younger audiences, this original graphic novel focuses on Barbara Gordon (Oracle). She’s an injured teenage hacker trying to adapt to life in a wheelchair. Her father, Gotham City’s Commissioner Gordon, takes her to The Arkham Center for Independence. Dr. Maxell wants her to think of the mansion as her home away from home, so that the ACI can help her advance her rehabilitation. Barbara would rather be home. Her instincts are telling her that staying there is a terrible idea. But after some initial difficult adjusting she makes a few friends and some progress. And then she has to figure out what’s happened to the kids who are missing from the ACI, and what part Dr. Maxwell may have played in whatever happened to them.

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Graphic Novel Review: Lunch Quest by Chris Kuzma

Lunch Quest by Chris Kuzma. Koyama, 2019. 9781927668658. 82pp. A hungry rabbit arrives home in his carrotmobile and starts looking for lettuce. He sticks his head in the lettuce cubby (and another world?) where he sees two young skaters, Greta and Sully, whose amazing kickflips produce hot dogs and black holes. They meet a gremlin that’s even more amazing, and whom they follow to the forest. They have quite an adventure. A deer farts on Greta. There’s a dragon, and a giant skate ramp. The rabbit just watches this. Then he heads to the basement because he hears music. There are rainbow bricks and his giant friend named Ethel, who has a piano. He asks her about his lettuce, and then looks into her piano (and another world again) and watches as students from Buena Vista Elementary have a dance battle with students from the nearby boys academy. Weird? Yeah! And it’s sweet with moments of silliness and joy.

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Graphic Novel Review: Reckless by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips.

Reckless by Ed Brubaker (writer), Sean Phillips (artist), and Jacob Phillips (color). Image, 2020. 9781534318519. 144pp. Publisher’s Rating: M / Mature. Ethan Reckless helps people who need it. And he operates out of a classic movie theater — how cool is that? He solves problems big and small, and sometimes he even makes money doing it. Years ago Reckless was a student informant for the FBI, undercover in a radical group. He almost died in an explosion that ended his “career,” and he can’t remember the events of that day. Back then he was in love with Rainy, who is still on the run, and who just made contact with him. She needs his help to get some money she’s owed; it will allow her to get out of the country and start over. Reckless remembers how he felt for her, but since the explosion his emotions, even in his memories, are flat. The only emotion he can feel anymore […]

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Graphic Novel Review: The Seeds by Ann Nocenti and David Aja

The Seeds by Ann Nocenti and David Aja. Dark Horse / Berger Books, 2020. 9781506705897. Collects The Seeds # 1 – 4. 128pp. This graphic novel takes place in a toxic future where it’s safer than not to wear a gas mask everywhere. The planet is dying but who cares because it’s a crappy place. There’s a walled zone where neo luddites have gone to start an anti-tech revolution: no internet, no phones, anarchy. A few aliens live there (and cross to the other side of the wall, too), lurking about, sampling seeds from our world (that’s genetic material, I think). Things are not better inside the zone. Maybe, somehow, mankind is not quite doomed, in which case seeds the aliens have collected will be worthless. Hope exists in the form of a love story between one of the aliens, Race, and his human lover, Lola, who may be pregnant. A reporter, Astra, is on their trail, trying to write […]

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