March 2, 2015

Recent Reads

16. Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal
Holy smokes Batman, but this sure isn't the superhero graphic novel of old, and I for one love the change. If like me you are rather sick and tired of the trope of old, you'll be delighted with Ms. Marvel. 

Kamala Khan is an ordinary Pakistani Mulism teenager living in Jersey City dealing with all the things that you might imagine that entails, when lo and behold a strange fog covers the landscape. Kamala is granted her wish to be like one of her fave superheroes, Captain Marvel; after all, is it not every girl's deepest wish to be blonde and "wear classic, politically incorrect costumes and kick butt in giant wedge heels?" Be careful what you wish for! Can Kamala come to terms with who she really is without giving up her culture, and disappointing her parents? Also, there are people who need her help, but what is a superhero to do when her parents ground her for a month? 

This volume collects the first five books in the series, and is a fun, feminist take on grappling with growing up without losing yourself, and I for one cannot wait to see what happens to Kamala next. This would be a great series for teens, especially girls of color. Rating: 4 stars.

17. Displacement: A Travelogue
The author is known for her graphic memoirs, and this is the third one of hers I've read. In this installment, the 20-something author decides to accompany her 90-something grandparents on a Caribbean cruise. This memoir recounts those 10 days, the ups and downs of traveling with aging grandparents, and the heartbreak of watching those you love get closer to death.

The art remains true to her style of being light, airy, and fun. What I really liked in this installment is that the author explores her complex emotions better than any of her other works I've read. This story was both funny and sad, and I think if the author allows herself to dig deeper as she ages, she'll be one to watch. Rating: 3 stars.

18. Feed (Newsflesh #1)
This is the first book in a trilogy targeted at an older Young Adult audience, and since the complete set has been published, I figured it would be a good time to try this very highly rated trilogy.

What's this book about? Zombies + Blogging + Politics are the major themes. Toss in some Science + Sabotage + Betrayal for some additional flavor. There are things I loved about this book and things I did not. 

Let's start with what worked:
- The two main characters, Georgia and Shaun, were well developed and the relationship between these siblings was really well done.
- The world creation is great. I loved the science behind what created the zombies in the first place - a classic case of you solve one thing that terrifies humans only to replace it with another.
- I was pleasantly surprised by the political slant of this book, not one usually found in this genre. 
- I've said it before and I'll say it again, humans are way more scary than zombies.

As for what did not work as well:
- The beginning and end of the book are great, but there is a lot of slogging in the middle sections of this book. In my opinion, it did not need 600 pages to tell this story; about 200 pages or so could easily be trimmed without losing anything important.
- While I liked the blogging aspect of this story, there was a bit too much of the technology/blogging/screening stuff which actually bogged down the pace of the story.
- While I'm not a fan of gory zombie stuff, this could have used more zombie scenes.

All in all an interesting read, and I liked it enough that I'll read the next book in the trilogy. Rating: 3 stars.

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