The Autumnlands, Vol. 2: Woodland Creatures (The Autumnlands #2) by Kurt Busiek

The Autumnlands, Vol. 2: Woodland Creatures (The Autumnlands #2) by Kurt Busiek

autumnlands2The curious fantasy/science fiction graphic novel series The Autumnlands continues in volume two: Woodland Creatures.

In the last book, the chosen one, “Learoyd”, a violent and profanity-laden human from the future or, perhaps, the distant past, was summoned by a group of magic-wielding, sentient animals to save their world from the disappearance of magic.

But the effort of summoning Learoyd was so great, that it caused one of their sky-roving cities to crash to the earth. On the earth, there were tribes of violent and power-hungry creatures waiting for their chance to plunder the riches of the sky.

That entry ended with an epic explosion and fight with a bison tribe.

In this book, Learoyd and Dusty, a magic-wielding pit bull who recently lost his father, venture into the wilds of earth to discover who is poisoning the animals and continue searching for a way to bring back the magic that continues to disappear from the world.

Dusty, though young, is no dummy and Learoyd isn’t quite what the animals were hoping he would be.

The great champion of legend- the hero we’d thought him to be- would have sallied forth just because it was the right thing to do. But this champion… I was learning that legends were a poor guide. He had reasons for all he did. His own reasons. Whether I understood or not…”

This graphic novel is surprising in its treatment of the themes of power, magic and betrayal. I like how the animals tell the story about how everything that happens one way, but the reality of what happens seems to be something else.

It is an interesting examination of the power of storytelling and the construction of legends. What is truth? How much is magic simply technology that isn’t understood yet?

“This f-ing world. I thought it was a dream, at first. It comes off goofy, all badgers and warthogs in fancy robes and sh*t. Like a kids’ story. But there’s just as much sh*t here as there is anywhere, isn’t there?”

I didn’t particularly like how much Learoyd uses profanity, but it certainly gives him character.

This series is for adults. It contains adult themes, nudity, profanity and violence. And yet, I think it is worth the reading.

It asks big questions. It uses fantasy to explore strange worlds and the human condition. Recommended.

Thanks for reading!

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I Hate Fairyland, Vol. 3: Good Girl (I Hate Fairyland #3) by Skottie Young

I Hate Fairyland, Vol. 3: Good Girl (I Hate Fairyland #3) by Skottie Young

fairylandSkottie Young’s gorgeously-drawn and cleverly-written comic series I Hate Fairyland continues in Volume 3: Good Girl.

Gertie is still desperately trying to get home and kill as many cute and fuzzy things as possible while she does so.

But first, she wants to meet her favorite marauding hero, Gwag, a hard-core barbarian at Dungeon Festexpocon!

“This line is ridiculous. Why in the world would anyone want to spend all their time, energy, and money to attend Dungeon Festexpocon just to wait in lines the whole time?” “Says the girl about to stand in that line.”

Gert is so relatable. She’s the unfiltered impulses that run through your mind. Difference is, we quash those ideas and she lives them.

“Lesson one: the lifeblood of any good quest is alcohol!” True.

After some hijinks, Gert does some soul searching and decides she has to change her ways… again. You’d think that premise would get old after awhile, but Young manages to keep it fresh and his readers guessing.

As I mentioned earlier, the art continues to be a delight. No one does adorable, gore-covered critters and fantasy scenes quite like Young.

Added bonus, everybody’s favorite long-suffering guide through Fairyland, Larry, gets his own backstory in this book.

“Sorry, I must have dozed off. What were you talking about?” “I was talking about how terrible your life would be if you never met me.” “Yeah, you’re probably right.”

Highly recommended for graphic novel fans. Reminder, this series is for adults only. Don’t be fooled by the pastels. It can be crass, violent, gross, or a mix of all three of those things. It also has plenty of heart.

Thanks for reading!

 

The Books of Magic by Neil Gaiman

The Books of Magic by Neil Gaiman

booksofmagicTim Hunter is destined to become a great magician… isn’t he? Four magical beings take him on realms other than his own, to educate and warn Tim about the path he is about to embark upon.

It is up to Tim to choose his destiny. Great power comes at great cost and it may be more than he is willing to pay.

“Child, magic exists. There are powers, and forces, and realms beyond the fields you know.”

The worlds Neil Gaiman has created in The Books of Magic are haunting and layered and will stick with you after you’ve finished the story and closed the book.

So… typical Gaiman then.

“The true Atlantis is inside you, just as it’s inside all of us. The sunken land is lost beneath the dark sea, lost beneath the waves of wet, black stories and myths that break upon the shores of our minds.”

Beyond the story, the artwork is beautiful in each volume, but different from artist to artist. Not in a jarring way, just noticeably different.

“It’s like there’s a whole other world, that I never knew existed, side by side with the old one.”

Recommended for adults or mature teenagers. There are some scares and thrills on this fantasy journey through other worlds.

Thanks for reading!

Kind (The Good Neighbors, #3) by Holly Black

Kind (The Good Neighbors, #3) by Holly Black

kindRue’s grandfather put his nefarious plan to merge the faerie world with the normal one in motion at the end of the last book. Now, everyone in Rue’s town is going bonkers. Faeries are roaming the streets, eating and manipulating humans. The more organized groups of people are fighting back. It’s a mess.

“What do you do after the end of the world?”

Meanwhile, Rue has a love triangle going. Her boyfriend Dale has taken up with some bloodthirsty bog faeries and she needs to save him. But, she can’t seem to forget Tam, a young man who has a special talent for speaking the truth and was stolen away from the real world by faeries.

What’s a girl to do?

“When people tell you to forget things, they really just mean that you should pretend to forget. No one actually forgets.” “You are as heartless as any faerie girl, Rue, yet I want you to look at me and to see me. To see me like I see you.” pg 25

And who is going to save the town?

“There is a reason why mystics are mad, Rue. We- people, humans- cannot sustain exposure to the supernatural. That’s why we’re not meant to live like this. Already, people’s minds can’t handle it.” pg 55

The artwork in this series reminded me of The Walking Deadgraphic novel franchise. Sometimes, it’s good, but then in other panels, you can’t tell one character from another.

There are some truly beautiful and grotesque faeries. I think the artist, Ted Naifeh, was at his best with the supernatural creatures.

The ending to this series was a little too predictable for my taste. But, it is good enough for what it sets out to do- entertain young adults with a slightly darker fairy tale.

Thanks for reading!

Kith (The Good Neighbors, #2) by Holly Black

Kith (The Good Neighbors, #2) by Holly Black

kithRue’s world is getting darker. In the last volume of The Good Neighbors, she discovered that faeries are real and not harmless, glitter-sparkled fantasies like fairy tales have described them.

In this installment, Rue learns about the perils of faerie enchantments and intricate faerie plans. Mixing magic with the every day world, human and faerie, is downright dangerous.

Rue also discovers more about her mother’s (Nia’s) family and not everything she learns is comforting.

“You can’t keep mom here against her will.” “Oh, can’t I?” “Give me a test then. A test like you gave my dad. I’ll win her from you.” “Don’t be silly. Nia, do you want to leave my hill? Does the moral world hold anymore allure for you?” pg 49. Yeah, does it?

Rue’s parents didn’t have a traditional first date. It’s awfully sad just how their two worlds came together.

Rue spends much of this volume trying to walk the line between the faerie and human worlds and feeling guilty about loving and belonging to both.

“Let me propose a toast. To love. In what we love best, our worst selves are revealed.” pg 52.

Love and jealousy play a large part in this story as does control and betrayal.

Sometimes, we ruin the relationships that mean the most to us because we’re careless or confused or bored. Other times, we may not be completely honest with ourselves about whether two people, or in this case human and faerie, even belonged together in the first place.

Rue stumbles her way through these questions in a teenage, angsty sort of way. She’s a flawed heroine, but I rather like her.

I’m looking forward to the last entry in the series.

See my review of the first book in the series: HERE.

Thanks for reading!

Kin (The Good Neighbors, #1) by Holly Black

Kin (The Good Neighbors, #1) by Holly Black

goodneighborsRue’s mother has always been a little different. She talks to plants, hangs out naked in the yard and seems ageless. Rue knows her mother is not like other parents. But then, one day when her mom disappears, Rue begins to see strange things- creatures with horns in the coffee shop, a winged girl hanging out in the high school hallway- and she realizes that she’s different too.

Where has her mother gone and is Rue going crazy?

“You know how sometimes, when you glance at something out of the corner of your eye, it looks different for a moment? Well, sometimes when I look straight at a thing, it looks weird too. And those moments are stretching wider and wider.” pg 5.

I enjoyed the faerie lore in this graphic novel: “If an older mortal is beautiful or good at riddles, we might take them, but we always leave something behind in exchange. Sometimes we glamour wood to take on their appearance or we abandon a faerie in their place.” pg 36.

This book deals with surprisingly dark themes so I wouldn’t let my tween read it. The story contains (non-explicit) drug use, rape and kidnapping. It should be ok for most mature teens.

The artwork is pretty. The people aren’t depicted like normal every day people (especially the faeries) but, for the most part, I don’t think the artist over-sexualized the women. That’s one of my pet peeves with graphic novels: when they depict females as ridiculously proportioned pin ups. But, like I said, this one isn’t over-the-top.

The faeries are quite creepy too: “Let me tell you a story. … Long ago, mortals called us the fair folk, the people of peace, the good neighbors. They called us these things not because we were fair or peaceful or good, but because they feared us. As they should. As they will again.” pg 77

Recommended for readers who like dark fairy tales and fans of Holly Black.

M.F.K.: Book One by Nilah Magruder

M.F.K.: Book One by Nilah Magruder

mfkM.F.K. is an enigmatic, fantasy graphic novel about a girl from the desert, a boy from a beleaguered town and a journey to deliver an urn filled with ashes.

The Goodreads description of this book gave far more plot line than the book itself managed to deliver.

But, I feel this read was elevated by the beautiful, full-page, colorful artwork and the promise of a better storyline to come.

Jaime’s parents left him with relatives when he was only a child. But don’t pity him: “Sometimes I dream about seeing them again… and punching them in their faces.”

The desert town, where Jaime and his remaining family stay, is occasionally threatened by beings from the deeper desert. Their abilities seem to be a gift from desert gods.

“The devas gave us this strength to create and destroy to lead and conquer.”

In some ways, this book is like a fantasy western. You’ve got the obvious good guys, the obvious bad guys and the unlikely hero or heroine who saves the day.

I’m intrigued.

Recommended for readers who enjoy pretty graphic novels. Also recommended for young adults and reluctant readers.

This book has an interesting story and the women are drawn like people, not pin ups. I’m looking forward to the next installation.

Thanks for reading!