July 18, 2016

Recent Reads

96. Princeless, Vol. 1: Save Yourself
One of the things that really annoyed me as a kid, and does to this day, are stories about women who wait to be saved or rescued. All those princess stories did absolutely nothing for me. So dang boring. Girls locked up in castles, or in a coma, just waiting for a prince to show up. Who cares?

This is a fantastic graphic novel series that challenges those boring stories. Princess Adrienne is tired of waiting to be rescued, and decides to take matters into her own hands. Also, if you know what's good for you, don't you dare call her "fair" - an adjective still lobbed about in people of color communities to this dang day. Don't get me started.

This is a really fun and feminist take on the princess story targeted at middle grade readers. I was delighted by our plucky heroine, and immediately called my nieces and nephews to recommend they pick it up too. Rating: 4 stars.

97. Princeless, Vol. 2: Get Over Yourself
This second volume finds the runaway Princess Adrienne and her sidekicks on a mission to save the most beautiful princess in the world, who also happens to be Adrienne's older sister. Meanwhile Daddy (the King) has hired a band of mercenaries. High jinx ensue.

This continues to be a fun graphic novel series for middle grade readers, but it is clear that there was a bigger budget for this volume. I continue to enjoy this series, but this installment was less pointed than the first one, and what's with everyone looking like a Playboy bunny suddenly? Sigh.

I've got the rest of the series on request, and am keeping my fingers crossed that the story gets back to what makes it awesome in the first place. Rating: 3 stars.

98. Mara
Book blurb: A gifted athlete and a mega-celebrity, Mara Prince is a global brand and the most famous girl alive. But when she starts to manifest superhuman traits, her world starts to crumble around her.

See that premise? That's what sucked me in. I'm disappointed with how this turned out. That Mara is an athlete, of color, and non-heterosexual are all pluses. The world building is interesting, but overall I was bored with this story. Mara suddenly realizes that she has super powers, and seems to take it all in stride. The text would suggest otherwise, but nothing about what the character says or does seems to suggest much angst about this turn of events. There is zero character development, and while the art is good, it is not good enough for me to continue with this graphic novel series. Rating: 2 stars.

99. Nanjing: The Burning City
This graphic novel tells the tale of two Chinese soldiers trapped in Nanjng after the bombing and invasion of Japanese troops.

War is hell, atrocities are committed by all sides, and everyone suffers. I liked the art in this book, and while I liked the creative way the author shows the destruction of the city and its people, there was not much new here for me. I wonder if this was targeted at a young adult audience who might have not been exposed to this story before. If that is the case, it is a good introduction to this historical event, and would also be good for readers who like learning history via comics. Rating: 2 stars.

100. Patience
The basic premise should have resulted in a story that worked. I cannot really say too much about the premise as it gives away the plot, but the main story revolves around this dude who I could care less about. It is a love story of sorts with time travel. People always seem to think that if we go back in time we would do better. I'm not so sure. There are some interesting plot points to the time travel thread, but I was not hooked into this story at any point in the reading. I did like the art, and I much preferred the scenes that did not have this mopey dude in them. Don't take my word for it however, as based on all the rave reviews it might just be me. Rating: 2 stars.

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