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!

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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!

I Was a Child by Bruce Eric Kaplan

I Was a Child by Bruce Eric Kaplan

iwasachildI Was a Child is Bruce Eric Kaplan’s (BEK) memoir and is written in a stream-of-consciousness style with small, hand-drawn cartoons interspersed throughout the text. Each blurb is a recollection of an event, time, television show, piece of furniture in the house, anything and everything from BEK’s childhood.

I’m not familiar with BEK’s work but his bio talks about his cartoons appearing in The New Yorker. I can see why he’s so popular.

The drawings are simple but somehow manage to convey a great depth of emotion and meaning.

They reminded me of the small drawings in Roald Dahl‘s books. I looked up the illustrator for those and Google tells me it’s Quentin Blake.

Both share a sparse, black-line look with no color to bright up the design. However, there’s something very powerful about the pictures… it’s hard to describe.

I Was A Child may be a book that one has to read to really experience what it’s all about.

I’m not as old as the author, but I connected with many of his memories because, despite what other people may tell you, we were all children once.

This memoir is quite unique but if you like it, you may want to try Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life. It is more of a graphic novel than this, but it is also a memoir about growing up and change that is drawn with simplistic black and white panels.

I received a free advanced reader’s copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads. FTC guidelines: check!

Thanks for reading!

Demon, Volume 1 by Jason Shiga

Demon, Volume 1 by Jason Shiga

demonAn edgy, simply-drawn comic about a man who tries to commit suicide, but keeps waking up alive. There’s an unexpected twist and lots of blood.

In the author’s own words: “From the suicide depicted on the first page of the story to the climactic bloodbath three volumes later, Demon is my gleeful homage to the lurid and pulpy entertainment rags that make up the detritus of our childhoods.” From the foreword.

I see what he was trying to do. It just wasn’t for me.

For Jason Shiga, this was a very personal work: “Ultimately, Jimmy is me. When he leaps in front of a semi-trailer, it’s really me who secretly wants to do that. When he acts in a deliberately amoral and antisocial manner, that’s me, too.” From the foreword.

Shiga warns readers from the start that Demon is crass and graphically violent. And, it is.

Oh well. Next book!

Thanks for reading.

Free Country: A Tale of The Children’s Crusade by Neil Gaiman

Free Country: A Tale of The Children’s Crusade by Neil Gaiman

freecountryA fantastic tale about two dead detectives, who are trying to solve a missing person case. It sounds macabre but it’s actually a fairy tale.

Neil Gaiman includes this in his introduction: “I asked Alisa Kwitney, who cowrote much of he second half of The Children’s Crusade, if there was anything she wanted me to point out and she said yes. I should tell people that in the double-page spread with the mermaids and the magic, she had instructed artist Peter Snejbjerg to draw a very young Nail Gaiman reading a book, oblivious to the wonders around him.”

I made sure to check on that page- and there he was. If you read this too, make sure to look for Neil in the full-page spread depicting Free Country.

The premise of this tale is like Peter Pan, but with a twist. There’s a land where children can live in peace and harmony and never grow old… but at what cost.

“Look at them, who call themselves adult- they eat, they work, they sleep. Their pleasures are gross and ugly, their lives are squalid and dark. They no longer feel, or hurt, or dream. And they hurt us. They say every adult has successfully killed at least one child, heh? Free Country is the refuge. In the past, it was the refuge only for the most fortunate of the few. But those days are ending. It will soon be the home of every living child.”

If I had known the catalog of Vertigo comics, I may have enjoyed this more. But, you don’t need to be an aficionado of comics to enjoy Free Country. It can be a stand-alone graphic novel with plenty of chills and thrills along the way.

It was for me.

Recommended for adults to like twisted tales with a fairy-tale flavor or for 16+ because of the potentially disturbing content.

Thanks for reading!

Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore

Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore

killingjokeI’ve decided to explore the world of superhero comics. First on my list, Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore.

The story opens on a dark and stormy night. We’re heading into Arkham Asylum with Batman. After passing a few famous inmates, we’re outside inmate #0801, Name Unknown’s cell.

A shadowy figure is playing solitaire within the barred room. It’s The Joker.

By far, one of the creepiest villains of the Batman pantheon.

“So when you find yourself locked onto an unpleasant train of thought, heading for the places in your past where the screaming is unbearable, remember there’s always madness. Madness is the emergency exit…”

He is mad, yes, but brilliant in his insanity. And, in that, is he so different from the rest of the human race?

“Faced with the inescapable fact that human existence is mad, random and pointless, one in eight of them crack up and go stark slavering buggo! Who can blame them? In a world as psychotic as this… any other response would be crazy!”

Recommended for the more mature graphic novel readers because of some disturbing content and images, Batman: The Killing Joke is no joke and one heck of a ride.

Watchmen, also by Alan Moore, is one of my all time favorite graphic novels, so I was expecting to enjoy this one. If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, it’s another must-read for the graphic novel fan.

Thanks for reading!