Comics Roundup #27: Kazu Kibuishi’s Amulet, bks. 1-4

I tried Kazu Kibuishi’s Amulet series for the first time back in 2015. I was introduced to him through the Harry Potter books because he’s the illustrator of my favorite editions — the 15th anniversary editions. I love the illustrations, the scenes Kibuishi chose to highlight, and his use of color to tap into the emotion and tone of a scene or to highlight certain things. This made me want to sample more of his work, so I tried The Stonekeeper, the first book in his popular middle-grade fantasy graphic novel series.

I wasn’t blown away by The Stonekeeper, but I was interested enough to want to return to the story and, finally, I have. Recently, I reread the first book and read books two, three, and four — The Stonekeeper’s Curse, The Cloud Searchers, and The Last Council, respectively. With each installment, my interest in the story grew until I read book four and was left wanting more since I don’t have the fifth book.


Amulet, bks. 1-4 by Kazu Kibuishi (illus.)

Genre:

Middle-grade fantasy

Pubbed:

2008-2011

Series:

Amulet

The Stonekeeper (book 1)

The Stonekeeper’s Curse (book 2)

The Cloud Searchers (book 3)

The Last Council (book 4)

Quick summary:

Emily and her brother Navin move to their old family home with their mom after their father died in a car crash. While fixing up the house, which is in dire need of repair, Emily and Navin find a peculiar necklace that Emily takes a liking to. One night while sleeping, the family is woken by a noise that the kids’ mom investigates. She’s kidnapped and taken to a different world where Emily and Navin encounter queer creatures such as monsters, robots, and talking animals. There, the kids learn more about their family, Emily learns about the necklace she inherited, and they make new friends who help them to rescue their mother.

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“The Invisible Man” by H.G. Wells

I decided to revisit The Invisible Man a few weeks ago when I saw it on a feature shelf at my library.

I’d first read it when I was in high school and was so hooked on the story back then that I completed the book in a day. I wanted to know if my experience with the story would be the same or if the intervening years had dried the story for me and made it a bore, so I gave it another read.

Genre:

Sci-fi; Classic

Pubbed:

1897

Goodreads summary:

This masterpiece of science fiction is the fascinating story of Griffin, a scientist who creates a serum to render himself invisible, and his descent into madness that follows. (Goodreads)

My thoughts: (spoilers)

In short, I enjoyed the story. Again I was hooked just as I was when I first read it. But unlike my high school years, I now have responsibilities that claim my time, so it took a few days to complete the story, which is quite short at under 200 pages.

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Comics Roundup #26: Free Comic Book Day Samples

In an attempt to clean up my bookshelves, I decided to spend a day reading and reviewing all the comic book samples I got on this year’s Free Comic Book Day back in May. Here are my thoughts on the samples. Some of them I’ll certainly get when my piggybank is once again full.


The Metabaron, Book 3: The Meta-Guardianess & the Techno-Baron by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Jerry Frissen, illus. Valentin Secher

Genre: Sci-fi

Pubbed: September 2018

What it’s about:

The bit I read is about an android who visits a planet in a parallel universe to learn more about Epyphite, a substance that is used as fuel and seems to have many other properties. The story is narrated by the consciousness, or rather the robotic memory, of the protagonist’s apprentice (well, the narrator refers to the protagonist (the Metabaron) as “master,” so I assume the narrator is the apprentice).

My thoughts:

This is a fail for me and I knew it would be when I picked it up because a) it’s not a genre I usually go for (I don’t mind sci-fi stories sometimes but I can’t do this hardcore sci-fi with all the robots and bots and parallel universes and things) and b) this is the third volume, so I’ve missed much of the story.

I was confused when I started reading this. On the plus side, I slowly began to understand what’s going on because the narrator spends a lot of time catching up the reader on where the story is now, but because I don’t know what happened before this volume, certain things didn’t have an impact on me, so I lost interest.

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Two Audiobooks: “The Girl with All the Gifts” by M.R. Carey & “The Two Towers” by J.R.R. Tolkien

My reading experience with these audiobooks were vastly different. As I mentioned in my recent Weekend Reads post, I loved one but hated the other; however, both were a struggle to read since it’s hard to keep a rein on my mind to prevent it from wandering while listening to the story.

I guess my ratings of these books are questionable. I rate books based on how much I enjoyed them and what they made me feel, not necessarily if they are composed well, though I do consider that but not as highly as the enjoyment factor. With audiobooks, I also consider the narrator’s contribution to the work, and my rating reflects that, which is seen in my rating of The Two Towers. If I’d read the physical/e- book, I’d have given it a half star more.


The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey, narr. by Finty Williams

Genre:

Horror; sci-fi: dystopian

Goodreads summary:

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her “our little genius.”

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

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“Above the Timberline” by Gregory Manchess

I was beyond excited when I was contacted to receive a copy of this book to review. I learned of the book through one of Mogsy’s Stacking the Shelves posts and immediately added it to my TBR because it’s described as a “painted novel,” which I interpreted as “this is a book Zezee MUST read!”

I was sent a free completed copy of the book from Wunderkind PR, which I am grateful for (Thanks y’all!!!), but (of course) I’ll be totally honest in my review.

Goodreads summary:

From renowned artist Gregory Manchess comes a lavishly painted novel about the son of a famed polar explorer searching for his stranded father, and a lost city buried under snow in an alternate future.

When it started to snow, it didn’t stop for 1,500 years. The Pole Shift that ancient climatologists talked about finally came, the topography was ripped apart and the weather of the world was changed—forever. Now the Earth is covered in snow, and to unknown depths in some places.

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Tough Travels #5: Strongholds

Tough Travels is a monthly meme that recommends fantasy books based on tropes, themes, and clichés cited in Diana Wynne Jones’s The Tough Guide to Fantasyland. The meme was created by Nathan at Fantasy Review Barn and is now hosted by Fantasy Faction.

Since I haven’t read many fantasy books, I instead create my list at the end of the month, after reading everyone else’s, and include recommendations from them that are interesting to me.

August’s theme (I’m late, again):

Strongholds

The Tough Guide offers information on various kinds of fantasy strongholds. For example, you might be looking for castles, complete with ‘frowning battlements, slit windows and multiple defensible spiral stairways inside’ and which ‘occasionally adorn the heights for pictorial effect’.

Or perhaps towers, which ‘stand alone in waste areas and almost always belong to wizards.’ Towers are often ‘several stories high, round, doorless, virtually windowless, and composed of smooth blocks of masonry that make them very hard to climb. The Rule is that there is also a strong no-entry spell, often backed up by a guardian demon.

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“Normal” by Warren Ellis

The cover made me to pick this up.

I’d seen it on a previous visit to the library. Thinking it to be a horror novel, I avoided it. On another visit, the cover again caught my interest and curious, I read the synopsis on the back. “Sci-fi,” I thought. “Pweh!” I don’t like sci-fi and sometimes the concepts discussed scare me more than the horror novels. Again, I didn’t bother to check out the book.

But the third time I saw it on the shelf, I was again curious, sci-fi or not, and decided to just read the first sentence:

“Hand over the entire internet now and nobody gets hurt,” she said, aiming the toothbrush at the nurse like an evil magic wand.

Since then I was hooked and hardly put the book down until I was done.

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