Book Review: Saga

The nonprofit that I work for is ramping up for our huge Fall fundraising dinner and as such, I’m swamped. Picture: multiple hour long conference calls, hundred of emails and phone calls, spreadsheets and growing to-do lists. I’ve been on vacation from my nanny job for the past week so I traveled down to Los Angeles to hang out with my family. I thought I’d have more reading time but my internship has been kicking my butt. At least I’ve been able to dedicate way more time and energy into getting a lot checked off my to-do list (energy that would have been drained by my other job). That’s all to day, any free reading time I’ve had has been broken up into small bits and it’s hard for me to read a book 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there. I have a tough time getting into the contemporary novel I’m reading when I can’t devote a larger chunk of time to it.

So instead, I read the first 5 Volumes of Saga this week. And Volume 1 of iZombie. And Volume 1 of Black Science. But let me get into talking about Saga.

Saga by Brian K. Vaughn

5/5 Stars

Yes, yes, yes. This was everything I hoped it would be, and more. I went into reading this series with no plot or character information. I knew that it was critically acclaimed and beloved by many and that’s about it. It did not disappoint! Saga is beautifully illustrated. The cover art gives you a glimpse into the art style, but seeing frame after frame of awesomeness is awe-inspiring. Also, the characters are so diverse and layered.

Saga tells the story of two soldiers from different sides of a never-ending war falling in love. Their child narratives the story and we get to see how they are hunted for their love and what it proves, while also getting glimpses into an expanding universe and the history these two lovers are a part of.

Alana and Marko, the new-parents and symbol of change are far from perfect. They can be needy, jealous, violent, stubborn. They are thrust upon a journey they didn’t plan for and through this journey we are able to unlock the political world Saga. I loved every volume and I can’t wait to get Volume 6.

Okay readers, any favorites from Saga? I LOVE Lying Cat. A cat who is able to say “Lying” whenever someone speaks an untruth is a fucking brilliant opportunity for both kickass badassery and some serious sass.

**Quick update on my summer TBR list** As you may have been able to tell, I’ve deviated a bit with reading a bunch of comics, and The Cursed Child. But, I’m still doing okay. I’m halfway through Mr. Penumbra’s 25-Hour Bookstore and halfway through the audiobook for Wolf by Wolf, which I plan on finishing on my roadtrip back home tomorrow. I’ll post reviews on both sometime next week. That leaves me 10 days to finish 3.5 books and a graphic novel. Woops.

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Book Review: Ms. Marvel 2–4

Ms. Marvel: Generation Why

5/5 stars

I have never read a Marvel comic before starting Ms. Marvel. So. I’m a newbie to this world and medium. I’m continuing to love this series. The second book was really my intro into superhero dynamics and it was a lot of fun. I will be talking about which characters appear in this series but I will avoid other plot spoilers, but if you don’t want to know what other super heroes pop up, don’t keep reading, because SPOILERS:

Okay. So Wolverine and Captain America and Medusa. Exciting stuff. I’m a huge fan of the X-Men films (despite how much they suck at times) and so seeing Wolverine pop up in the second Marvel comic I read was a blast. Also, the comic was really fun because it was Kamala’s origin story. We get to see why she developed superheroes and I love that mythology stuff. Understandably, Kamala isn’t able to absorb a ton of knowledge about her past, so we have that fun dangling hope of more info into her origins to come at a later time.

It was also nice to see Kamala deal with an important aspects of being a hero–dealing with people who don’t want to be saved and learning relying on others. Spoiler: the fact that she turns a crew of would-be teenage victims into a group she relies on is gold.

Ms. Marvel: Crushed

5/5 stars

Ms. Marvel: Last Days

4/5 stars

I’ve decided that I like reading comics. I started reading graphic novels about a year ago and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed them so I figured, why not branch out even further? I didn’t go into a review for the last two because, to be honest, I ran out of time. I’m already two books ahead of this review, and wanted to get this up. I will say that the final comic was good, but my least favorite because it felt like so little got discussed and I wanted more of an ending

So, does anyone have any recommendations for me comic-wise? I love kick-ass female characters, so let me know in the comments!

Book Review: Ms. Marvel — No Normal

I took a break from reading from my list today and spent a few hours in my local library. I couldn’t help but pick up the Ms. Marvel series.

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Ms. Marvel written by G. Willow Wilson, drawn by: Adrian Alphona

5/5 stars

No regrets. I am in love with Kamala Khan, the new Ms. Marvel and protagonist of this comic. It only took me reading the first two pages to know that I was a goner. Quickly, we learn that Kamala and her family are Muslim. Kamala exists in a weird space; she is an American teenager, a nerdy fan girl who wrote a freakin’ Avengers fanfic, but her peers see her family and her skin and her “strange” food rules and they mark her as other.

The fact that Kamala is an outsider to both her Pakistani family and her American peers makes her crave normalcy. So when Captain Marvel seemingly grants Kamala what she wants, to be able to look like whomever Kamala desires, it’s perfect symbol of Kamala’s desires and the issues that go with them. First, she appears as a blonde, white attractive copy of Captain America. Spoiler: But by the end we have our brown skinned Muslim superhero.

Kamala’s father is a really great, nuanced character. He is Muslim but not as strictly religious as his own son. He doesn’t like that his son’s religion gets in the way of him being productive and finding a job. At the same time, he is really controlling of Kamala and does not allow her much freedom because she is a girl. He tells Kamala that she is “perfect just the way she is” but this rings false because he is so preoccupied with maintaining her chastity that he can’t possibly see her as a person.

I have an other hour off of work right now and I’m gonna power through the next installment. I will post a review by Wednesday of the remaining three. This installment got me really excited about Ms. Marvel and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

 

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Jack Thorne

2/5 stars

I did not plan on reading this any time soon. As you may know, it was not on my scheduled Summer Reading List and all the negative and positive hype around the play had me worried and ready to wait until the noise had died down. But. It is Harry Potter and the idea of new information on these fictional characters I love so much was powerful and I found myself a hundred pages in the night of the book’s release.

This is a hard review to write. I loved reading the play, because of the excitement of learning more about Harry, Hermione, Ron, and co. But, the play was not good and that was really sad.

Part of me thinks that this story was doomed from inception, that it would inevitably read as fan fiction, and possibly bad fan fiction. I mean, first we have a new writer (which is pretty much the definition of fan fic). Second, we have a new medium. I love plays. I love seeing plays and I also enjoy reading them. But Harry Potter has never been written as a play before and the way the play was written (visions of the past, clips of old moments, time travel and rewriting previous scenes), coupled with the fact that as a play, we lost a narrative voice and an insight into the story that goes past character’s lines and brief actions, lead to me feeling as if this play was the most basic form of gratuitous fan fiction coupled with a bad storyline.

Spoilers will follow:

I love Severus Snape for his flaws and his sacrifice and Cedric Diggory for his bravery. I love James and Lily Potter for their love and perpetual youth. That being said, the time travel in this play felt like a cheap plot device used so that the fans could see their fan favorites again and this smorgasbord of pandering would have been so much better off it had instead focused on developing new characters, enriching old characters, and remaining routed in the present and the issues that the son of Harry Potter.

The characters were also something I had an issue with. Ginny has basically no personality. We’re told that she’s a mother and a wife and she worries about Albus. Hermione has lost her depth. Ron is a caricature of his movie-self (and this play is so focused on best friend brotherhood, so where is the depth to Ron and Harry’s friendship?). And I’m sorry, but I do not believe this characterization of Harry Potter as a father who has failed his son. Harry Potter was an outcast and even when he had a hero’s life and responsibilities thrust upon him, he was an outsider with the weight of the world on his shoulder. I do not believe that he would have not put a 100% into developing relationships with his children, especially when Albus was viewed as the outsider of his family. All Harry wanted was a family and to belong, and I cannot believe in a Harry who would not understand Albus’ pain (the fact that Harry recognizes this at the end of Albus’ school days is too damn late for me to believe). Dumbledore breaking down in tears as a portrait was also a strange thing for me to picture.

I’m going to have trouble viewing this storyline as canon. I guess because of all the time rewriting, I just have to know that: Super Spoilers: Harry’s second son was different, a Slytherin, and he had a bad relationship with Harry up until his last few years of school, and that Bellatrix had sex with Voldemort (What?!) and their daughter is now locked up. Also, Albus is besties with Draco’s nice son. The rest I’m going to just let fade away. Except for Snape. It was fan junk but Snape allowing himself to not exist again in order to right his mistakes was the only part I loved.