Book Reviews

Orphan Black, Vol. 1 by John Fawcett, Graeme Manson, Jody Houser, Art by Szymon Kudranski, Cat Staggs

Orphan Black, Vol. 1 (Orphan Black #1) by John Fawcett, Graeme Manson, Jody Houser (Goodreads Author), Szymon Kudranski, Cat Staggs (Artist)Rating: 🍁🍁🍁🍁

This volume includes chapters about: Sarah, Helena, Allison, Cosima, and Rachel. Each chapter ends with a slight mention of the next featured clone, and Rachel’s chapter ends with a mention of MK/Mika, so I’m guessing the next chapter/volume will start with her. Every chapter has a slightly different art style to match the personality/mood of each clone.

If you’re a fan of the series, I highly recommend this. but just don’t expect it to be a sequential story.

Each chapter is a self-contained standalone backstory for each character, all with the intention of helping you understand the nurture side of each clone’s life; which is something we don’t get to see a lot of in the show. (Spoilers for the show in each chapter are minimal.)

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Book Reviews

Orphan Black: Deviations by Heli Kennedy, Art by Wayne Nichols

Orphan Black- Deviations by Heli Kennedy, Wayne NicholsRating: 🍁🍁🍁🍁

Orphan Black Deviations is what would have happened if Sarah had prevented Beth from dying in the first episode of Orphan Black.

If you’re a fan of the series, I HIGHLY recommend this comic. BUT it would definitely be advisable to have watched at least some of season 4 before you read this because it contains tons of spoilers for that season.

Basically if Beth hadn’t died, the story would have zoomed by at Mad Max speed, skipping over a lot of the nuance, character and relationship building from seasons 1-3.

The downside is that Beth and Sarah are quite similar characters in that they’re both forceful alpha leaders to the Clone Club. With Beth being in the picture, Sarah (literally) has her hands tied for most of it, and you don’t get to see her shine as a character with her skillfull impersonations of Beth and her improvisation skills.

A couple more clones are added to the team, but they hardly make up for all the soul that Sarah brings to the story.

The other downside is: no Tatiana Maslany. We already know she is a mind-blowingly skilled actress, but it’s even more evident when reading this story through a comic and not having her voices and acting to help distinguish the clones from one another. The text bubbles were confusing to follow at many points and it made me sorely miss the voices that she designed for each character.

But I guess the advantage is they can freely write the story with groups of clones congregating as often as they want?

The comic ends quite tragically and I really hope they follow it up with a second volume rather than keeping this as a one-shot exercise in re-imagination.

Book Reviews

Monstress, Vol. 3: Haven by Marjorie M. Liu, art by Sana Takeda

Monstress, Vol. 3- Haven (Monstress #3) by Marjorie M. Liu (Goodreads Author) (Writer), Sana Takeda (Artist)Rating: 🍁🍁🍁🍁

The art in Montress Vol 3. is as mindblowingly gorgeous as in the previous volumes. I’ll keep coming back if only for the art any day of the year.

As for the story, if I’m being 100% honest, I’m having trouble piecing it all together and I didn’t find this volume as engaging as the previous two. What is it all leading up to? Who are all these new characters? What the actual fuck is happening? 

I’m sure it’ll make sense eventually. 

If you’ve followed Monstress this far, there’s no reason not to continue.

p.s. It ends in a teeny tiny cliffhanger that isn’t terribly frustrating.  

Book Reviews

La mujer que se sabía todos los cuentos by Carlos Rubio

La mujer que se sabía todos los cuentosENGLISH BELOW

Rating: 🍁🍁🍁

La mujer que se sabía todos los cuentos trata sobre una cuenta cuentos que desconoce su propio nombre.

Esta cae dentro de un libro donde aprende historias que desconoce, todas sobre mujeres célebres Latinoamericanas cuyas historias merecen ser contadas y conocidas más ampliamente, así explicando la ironía de porqué la cuenta cuentos nunca ha escuchado sobre ellas. Algunas de ellas son: Alfonsina Storni, Gabriela Mistral, y Carmen Lyra.

Al finalizar sus historias, cada mujer le entrega a la contadora una de las letras de su nombre, y al conseguirlas todas, ella debe juntarlas para descubrir la respuesta.

La revelación del nombre es conmovedora y siento que vale la pena, especialmente para los chiquitos. Sería buenísimo que lo leyeran con alguien mayor que los pueda guiar con preguntas, porque el librito da muchas ironías sobre las cuales pensar.

Al final del libro hay una mini biografía para cada una de las mujeres en el libro y así no hay que estar Googleando.

Este libro está bonito para leerlo antes de dormir, porque es muy muy lento y tranquilo y cada capítulo es cortito y no hay que ponerle demasiada atención para seguir el hilo de la historia.

Las ilustraciones son lindísimas, todas en escala de grises, con gradientes suaves y líneas ondulantes que se prestan para la abstracción y un poco de surrealismo.

El texto sí me disgustó bastante en dos ocasiones donde el autor usa un lenguaje anticuado y dañino.

Primero habla de una ‘niña inválida’ en vez de ‘una niña con discapacidad’. En ese sí podría más o menos darle el beneficio de la duda porque no recuerdo que en el 2006 ya el lenguaje hubiera evolucionado (por favor alguien dígame si estoy equivocada). Pero igualmente, ahora sabemos que está mal.

Y segundo, habla de una canción y un baile que provocan la paz mundial, de tal manera que toda la gente del mundo se da de las manos y en eso dice: ‘manos negras, amarillas, rojas, blancas…’

Por dios, literalmente con un imbécil que se inventó esos colores ES QUE EMPEZÓ EL RACISMO como lo conocemos hoy en día. Y eso no hay excusa para no haberlo sabido en el 2006. Y en una historia sobre LA PAZ MUNDIAL. Fatal, fatal, fatal.

Yo este libro no se lo daría a una niña o a un niño sin antes tachar esas dos líneas con corrector porque es inadmisible perpetuar ese tipo de lenguaje a estas alturas. No suelo rayar mis libros pero en este lo hice.

Le recomendaría este libro a: niñas y niños pequeños, o a adultos que quieren leer algo tranquilo antes de irse a dormir.

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ENGLISH:

The Woman Who Knew Every Tale is about a storyteller who doesn’t know her own name.

She falls into a book where she learns stories that she’s never heard before, each one starring a celebrated Latin American woman whose story deserves to be told and more widely known, therefore explaining the irony about why the storyteller has never heard of them before. Some of the women are: Alfonsina Storni, Gabriela Mistral, and Carmen Lyra.

At the end of their stories, each woman hands her a letter from her name, which she must put together to discover the answer.

The final reveal is quite moving and I found it worthwhile, especially for children. It would be great for them to read it with an adult who can guide them through, because there’s a lot of food for thought with the many ironies it contains.

At the end of the book there’s a mini biography for every woman in the book, so there’s no need to Google them as you read.

This is a nice book for reading at bedtime because it’s very very slow and calming and each chapter is super short and you don’t have to pay much attention to keep track of the story.

The illustrations are quite pretty; all rendered in gray tones, with soft gradients and wavy lines that lend themselves to abstraction with a dash of surrealism.

However, the text itself pissed me off quite a lot in two occasions where the author uses harmful, antiquated language.

First he mentions an “invalid girl” instead of “a girl with disabilities”. With this one I can maybe kind of sort of give him the benefit of the doubt because I can’t recall if this language had evolved by 2006 (please let me know if I’m mistaken). But regardless, now we know that it is wrong.

And secondly, he talks about a song and dance that produces world peace because everyone in the world is holding hands, and then he has the gall to say: “black hands, yellow ones, red ones, white ones…”

My god, racism as we know it today LITERALLY began when some asshole just casually decided to assign those colors to people. And there is NO excuse to have been ignorant about that in 2006. And in a story about WORLD PEACE of all things. Awful, awful, awful.

I would not give this book to a child without first covering those two lines with whiteout. It’s inadmissible to perpetuate that type of language in this day and age. I generally don’t write in my books, but in this one I did.

I would recommend this book to: young children, or adults who want to read something chill before bedtime.

Book Reviews

The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy #1) by S.A. Chakraborty

The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy #1) by S.A. ChakrabortyRating: 🍁🍁🍁🍁

The City of Brass is an adult fantasy set in the Middle East. (Specifying it falls under adult since this is one of those books that might be mistaken for YA just because of the cover and because the author and the main character are female.) 

Nahri, the main character, is a human (???) girl who has mysterious healing powers and has been able to understand a bunch of different languages since birth. She eventually befriends Dara, a magical being, who takes her to Daevabad, the hidden city where the daeva/djinn reside. 

Daevabad is a strict monarchic patriarchy where a large part of the population is discriminated against through: language, blood color, tribe, vocabulary and anything else the ruling class can concoct. The story constantly explores these themes of prejudice, marginalization and competing versions of history (depending on who you ask).  It’s as disorienting for the reader as I imagine it is for Nahri, who is brand new in the city, and it’s very dramatic to see her navigate through this political intrigue. 

There’s also a small bit of romance, in the form of a love triangle. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book but it took me a while to read because I lost interest after the middle when it switched from “dangerous epic journey across the land!” to “let’s suddenly be trapped in a snooty place with static upper class drama”. But that’s just me. 

The ending is very dramatic and it only sort of leaves you in a cliffhanger. It gives you enough information that you don’t feel cheated out of a good ending, yet it’s shocking enough to make you want to read the sequel ASAP. 

There’s a glossary in the back with all the Arabic words used throughout the book; and sadly it doesn’t include a map, but the publisher’s website has one. 

the city of brass

I would recommend this to: people who like strong female characters, and someone who would like to read fantasy that isn’t Middle Earthy for once. 

Book Reviews

Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha #1) by Tomi Adeyemi

 Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha #1) by Tomi AdeyemiRating: 🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁

Children of Blood and Bone is a hard book to write a review about because there’s nothing I can add that the book didn’t already say, you really should just be reading it right now instead of reading this.

It is a Very Important book, and if you read only one thing this year, read this.

In short: It’s a fantasy set in a country known as Orïsha, which was influenced by West African culture and mythology (the author is Nigerian-American). Magicians known as maji used to exist in this world, but they were all murdered during a genocide mandated by the king. who was afraid of them and their power. As a result, the now magic-less children of these maji have become second-class citizens and are openly discriminated against, slurs included. They are distinguishable by their white hair but are unable to perform magic anymore.

The daughter of one of these maji goes on a mission to restore magic to the world, and they won’t have another chance to do this for another 100 years. (This gave me a strong Avatar: The Last Airbender feel, which was also one of the author’s influences.)

But the importance of Children of Blood and Bone lies in its explicit parallels to real world events. By presenting these issues in a fantasy format, this can (ironically) help a lot of people to see reality more clearly by stepping away from it.

The Epilogue explains a lot more on that and it nearly brought me to tears because Tomi Adeyemi is quite successful at communicating all of that pain throughout the book.

Highly recommended.

Book Reviews

Aquicorn Cove by Katie O’Neill

AQUICORN COVERating: 🍁🍁🍁🍁

I received an advance reader’s copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I was familiar with Katie O’Neill’s art through The Tea Dragon Society, a book that I haven’t read yet, but with a cover so beautiful that I just want to see what’s inside.

So I jumped at the opportunity to read Aquicorn Cove, recognizing the same art style immediately.

At 96 pages long, Aquicorn Cove is sadly very brief, but it doesn’t need any more pages to have you experience a variety of feelings, including: tenderness, nostalgia, and remorse.

The story revolves around Lana, a young girl who hast lost her mother, and with her, her sense of self and meaning in this world. When she finds a sick aquicorn in a shallow pool, this sets off a chain of events where she and many others begin to heal and move forward.

The art is so sweet and peaceful, delivering a seaside town with cheery peach-toned clouds, fields of yellow flowers, and waves that you can almost hear; plus a very diverse cast of characters.

I would recommend this to young children (or the young at heart), people who care about the environment, and someone who needs a pacifying mental break.

Comes out on October 16th!