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Graphic Novelty²

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April 2018

Fables: The Deluxe Edition (Book 13)

Bufkin finds himself the leader of the revolution in Oz to overthrow the Nome King. Fabletown is moving into the ruins of Castle Dark, and they find quite a few surprises. In Haven, Beast is working around the clock to try to get around the deal he made with the Blue Fairy. Snow and Bigby’s children are starting to scatter according to Ozma’s prophecy: Winter at the Palace of the North Wind, Therese gone missing, and pack leader Darien setting out to bring her home. She was last seen carrying the toy boat she got for Christmas into the woods to play with it. It took her to the shores of what they call Toyland, but really is Discardia, a land of broken toys, and they are sure she can restore them…

Make sure you have a warm drink at the ready while reading this one. You’re going to need it when you’re done! It’s great to see the story shift to center a little more on the next generation of Fabletown, but it’s not without a price. The “Cubs in Toyland” arc is truly chilling. It’s amazing how GOOD the writing still is after all this time! The story still keeps you on your toes and keeps you guessing; nothing goes how you expect it to. Very near the end now – oh, how I hate to think of it!!!

– Kathleen

Willingham, Bill, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Shawn McManus, Gene Ha, and Andrew Pepoy. Fables: The Deluxe Edition (Book 13). 2016.

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Runaways: Find Your Way Home

Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka  bring the Runaways back together in this promising re-boot!

When I first read the original Runaways by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona I said, “Geared towards teens, this graphic novel perfectly captures children’s angst towards their parents and their thoughts of how they will be better than them and their wicked ways.” I thought the premise of the story was fun and fresh and would really appeal to the younger reader. While I didn’t read further than the first volume, I know who of the original six was the mole, and what happened to the parents of these youth. Image result for runaways find your way home Continue reading “Runaways: Find Your Way Home”

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery – First Impressions

Hogwarts Mystery, as detailed in my last post, is the new Harry Potter mobile game that was released yesterday. I’ve been grinding hard in PoGo all week in preparation for my first ex raid on Sunday to catch Mewtwo, but of course I had to download Hogwarts Mystery and see if it lived up to the hype 😉

It started out as promised. A cutscene of Professor McGonagall writing your acceptance letter begins the game. Players get to create their own student with a character customization screen. Your character then lands in Diagon Alley to shop for books and school supplies. You meet Rowan, a fellow first-year like yourself, who guides you through the tutorial. Then, it’s off to Hogwarts for the Sorting Ceremony, the start of your first year, and the rest of your journey! Will you live up to your older sibling’s reputation, or create an entirely new one for yourself?

The titular “mystery” revolves around your older sibling, and that’s all I’m going to say about that 😉 Characters perceive you based on the reputation your sibling left behind. You have choices on how to respond when NPCs talk to you. Responding in different ways will level up your Courage, Empathy, or Knowledge scores, which will affect the way your story unfolds. Different spells and potions are unlocked and created by attending class, tapping active objects (those that glow blue), and then tracing a path on the screen to cast the spell or finish the potion. In this regard, the gameplay is simple and intuitive, but doesn’t leave much room for error or experimentation as it would if you were really at school. I don’t think I’ve finished the tutorial yet, but the story so far is also very linear. I haven’t had a chance to explore Hogwarts yet, which is something I had been looking forward to. Perhaps I’ll get a chance to later in the story.

There is a huge let-down right off the bat. I had been assuming that your wand and House assignation would be determined by a quiz, like in Pottermore. I was sooo wrong. You are assigned a wand based on a single dialogue exchange with Ollivander, and you choose your own House. I remember taking the Pottermore quizzes with great care and anticipation, wanting my wand to perfectly reflect my personality and crossing my fingers for Hufflepuff. I remember being elated when my wand came out perfectly, when I was indeed sorted into Hufflepuff. Being assigned one thing and choosing the other felt like being cheated out of that experience. I can see why they did it that way – it moved the beginning along quickly, and some players might have deleted the game had they not gotten the wand/House they wanted. However, they could have made shorter, easier quizzes that players could get through quickly, and made the answers a little more obvious for the Sorting.

Though being cheated out of the experience of assigning my wand/being sorted into my House, I am enjoying the game. It’s not a huge time sink and can be set aside and picked up at the player’s convenience. The graphics are, frankly, stunning. I had no idea that mobile games could look so great! I probably have to progress further to unlock more of the RPG and open-world elements I’m looking for, but for now, I’m just having a ball indulging my inner 11 year old, forever waiting for her Hogwarts acceptance letter.

Kathleen

Green Arrow (Return, Vol. 3): The Archer’s Quest

Oliver Queen died, and then came back. He left behind a lot of people he cared about. He also left behind artifacts – his prized possessions from his time as the Green Arrow. He enlists Roy Harper’s help in retrieving them. It’s just like the old days – Green Arrow and Arsenal, out and around town! The reason why they’re gathering Ollie’s old things is to protect everyone’s identities. Not just Oliver’s, but Dinah’s, Roy’s, and their families. He did it to protect their secrets, but Ollie is still keeping the biggest secret of all…

Man, what a twist at the end. Ollie is a study in duality, even more so than Batman. That’s part of why I continue to read this run; Ollie’s character is so fascinating. Phil Hester’s art is clean and dynamic and is also a huge draw for me. I don’t want to say too much to avoid spoilers – but I can’t wait to see how Ollie’s secrets will come to light, if they do at all.

– Kathleen

Meltzer, Brad, Phil Hester, and Ande Parks. Green Arrow (Return, Vol. 3): The Archer’s Quest. 2003.

Northlanders: Sven The Returned

Who knew Vikings were so emo?

As a huge fan of Brian Wood’s Brigg’s Land and Rebels series, I wanted to check out his earlier work and picked up this Viking saga set in a A.D. 980 on the Orkney Islands of Scotland. Norseman Sven, who has been banished from his ancestral home, returns home after his father’s death to claim his inheritance.  Continue reading “Northlanders: Sven The Returned”

Drama

Last Friday, I skipped writing a book review and instead wrote the definitive answer to who is the best cinematic Chris (Chris Pine of course), so this week my reading public has the pleasure of two book reviews from me!

As a teen librarian, I am in charge of leading two graphic novel book clubs- one for middle school youth, and the other for high school and early college teens. This month we read Drama by Raina Telgemeier, who is a favorite of the middle school set, and this particular story was requested after we read Ghosts a few months back. As coincidence would have it, the 2017 Top 10 Challenged Book list came out the week before we read it, and Drama is on it again! Continue reading “Drama”

The Prince and the Dressmaker

Frances is a tailor in a dressmaker’s shop, but she dreams of more. She wants to design her own dresses one day, and become famous. They’re in Paris after all, and anything can happen. Through a series of (un)fortunate events, she ends up at the royal palace, making clothes for the royal family! She works closest with Prince Sebastian, who is guarding a secret. Frances makes dresses for him, because he loves to dress in them and go out at night as the Lady Crystallia, the famed beauty and fashion icon. Sebastian is less interested in the hunt for a bride and more interested in helping Frances with her designs. Frances is fond of Sebastian, but keeping his secret means keeping herself a secret, too. She’ll never be able to make a name for herself, because if she does, Sebastian’s secret will be revealed. Will she find contentment in anonymity, or will she find a way to reach her dreams without revealing Sebastian’s secret?

After all the publisher’s glowing reviews, I found this one less charming than it was made out to be. Everything happened too neatly, and the happy ending was less than believable. It is for middle-grade readers though, who will absolutely adore it. It’s easy to read, with wider spaces between panels and easily digestible chapters. The art is also easy to move through: the characters are rounded, the backgrounds uncluttered, and emphasis is on expression and, of course, movement of dresses. I can definitely see how it can be used to explain to kids the idea of gender-fluidity – Sebastian is male, yet is interested in feminine things, and young readers may see this quality in themselves or their friends. As a jumping point for this discussion, it’s wonderful; on it’s own literary quality, I was left wanting.

– Kathleen

Wang, Jen. The Prince and the Dressmaker. 2018.

The Great Chris Debate of 2018

We thought The Great Chris Debate was over…but no! The Green Onion and Rob of My Side of the Laundry Room chimed in with their opinions on our choices. Read on to find who they would choose to win The Great Chris Debate of 2018!

The Green Onion Blog

image.jpegThis is a joint release from Green Onion of The Green Onion Blog and Rob Wantz of My Side of the Laundry Room.

Recently, Rob and I have been sitting on the sidelines as our blogging family has been debating over which Chris is the greatest Chris in Hollywood.  With four individual posts and a heated Twitter argument it has been the biggest crossover event of our little blogging group since the Great Twitter Dance-Off of 2017, or Just Dread-full’s What Scares Us series.  Rob and I were left out of this massive event, but we’re not hurt, not really.

Over the following week, we have been enjoying each of our friend’s arguments for each of their favourite Chrises.  Part one involved Michael J. Miller of My Comic Reliefdefending Chris Pratt’s newly found status as an A-list Chris.  Kathleen of Graphic Novelty2 answered back with her own…

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The Great Chris Debate! Part 4: Chris Pine

This week, Michael of My Comic Relief, Kalie of Just Dread-full, Kathleen, and I went head to head – trying to decide which cinematic superhero Chris is best! Michael supported Chris Pratt, Kalie choose Chris Hemsworth and Kathleen went with Chris Evans. All three shared heartfelt but misguided treatises as to the superiority of their Chris. While all three are excellent writers, they all fell short (and they secretly know it). Clearly the best was saved for last, which quite obviously is Chris Pine.

To say that the public is blessed with such four outstanding Chrises is an understatement. People come in with their own preconceived notions of what they find attractive, sexy and funny. All of the Chrises fit into those categories, but it takes a truly superior Chris to rise above the rest. So let’s wrap this up for once and for all, as I prove my Chris is best.

As if we needed an introduction to the best of the Chrises, but here it is, announcing it himself:

Continue reading “The Great Chris Debate! Part 4: Chris Pine”

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