February 8, 2016

Recent Reads

179. American Vampire, Vol. 2
Book blurb: It’s Las Vegas circa 1935, and Skinner Sweet and our gal Pearl are about to learn the hard way that the bloodsuckers in Hollywood were nothing compared to what awaits them in Sin City. This volume collects issues #6-11.

I really like how this vampire story almost reads like historical fiction. A vampire nest in Vegas? Sure explains much no? I liked this one better than the first volume, though am still not enamored with the art style. We spend time with some new characters, and I really like the way actual historical events are woven into the plot. A fun and bloody read. Rating: 3 stars.

180. Exit Wounds
Book blurb: Set in modern-day Tel Aviv, a young man, Koby Franco, receives an urgent phone call from a female soldier. Learning that his estranged father may have been a victim of a suicide bombing in Hadera, Koby reluctantly joins the soldier in searching for clues.

The blurb above is what attracted me to this graphic novel, but unfortunately it did not really work for me. I'm not a fan of the art, and while I found the setting of Israel interesting, the story itself did not pull me in. There is no real emotional depth or pacing to this story, and the characters all seemed like cardboard cutouts who moved about the scenery. My fave parts were actually ones that showcased Koby's uncle and aunt, who are members of the supporting cast. Rating: 2 stars.

181. The Marvels
Book blurb: Two seemingly unrelated stories - one in words, the other in pictures - come together. The illustrated story begins in 1766 with Billy Marvel, the lone survivor of a shipwreck, and charts the adventures of his family of actors over five generations. The prose story opens in 1990 and follows Joseph, who has run away from school to an estranged uncle's puzzling house in London, where he, along with the reader, must piece together many mysteries.

Don't let the almost 700 page count scare you away, as you can finish this book in one or two sittings. The first more than half of the book is like a picture book, no text, just wonderfully detailed black and white drawings. The story unfolds, ebbs and flows, and slowly, deliciously, a story forms in your head. The next section/story is all text, and while I liked it, I did not love it as much, though it is a really fast read, and important puzzle pieces fall into place. In the final section, we are back to the black and white drawings, and seriously people, if you find yourself not moved, you are probably one of those living dead.

These books are targeted at a tween/teen audience, and while this is the first book I've read by the author, it will not be the last. Rating: 4 stars.

182. Trillium
This graphic novel has some of everything: science fiction, romance, first contact, dystopia, and mythology. Our main characters are Nika Temsith, a botanist in the year 3797, and William Pike, an explorer in the year 1921. Oh, then there is the lost Lost Temple of the Incas. And a blue Goddess. Their paths will cross and they will affect each other in unimaginable ways. OK, I just realized that I cannot explain this one adequately, so you'll just have to read it.

One of the really wonderful things about the formatting of this graphic novel, is that sometimes you read the normal way, sometimes you have to read backwards, and other times you have to hold the book upside down. The story is a little on the weak side, and the Lemire draws his characters so they all look the same to me - thank goodness for differently colored hair, and clothing! Still, there is a wonderful freshness and poignancy to this one, and I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. Rating: 4 stars.

No comments: