Graphic Novel Review: Captain America: The Chosen by David Morrell

Captain America: The Chosen by David Morrell

Before I get to the Captain America gushing, I need to get this out of the way. I don’t like the setting for this. No, I’m okay with the war environment, but I didn’t like that it specifically had to be Afghanistan and Al Qaeda related with the 9/11 references. That felt, in my opinion, felt like a cheap sympathy grab on Marvel’s part, making it feel more like an US versus THEM problem, which can distract from what I felt was the true message of this story.

This story is mostly told from the POV of James Newman, a young soldier serving in the United States military. He wants to help his country and the country he’s fighting in, but he’s no longer sure how to help when he can’t distinguish those who need help from those he needs to fight. He misses his wife and infant son. And he’s also becoming jaded toward fear because he’s living in a constant state of fear. During a fight, Captain America shows up on the battlefield and “helps” Newman to save some of his squad. The only problem? No one else saw Cap. In fact, he’s many miles away dying.
The super soldier serum has finally “failed” for Captain America. Not only is he losing all the physical conditioning he had, but he’s regressing to a state far more frail than he was even before the serum. He’s initially given 6 months to live, but his health degrades in weeks instead of months. Captain America agrees to submit to one last test, an experiment that allows him to telepathically project himself in any location, but causes him to expend a lot of energy, which speeds up his regression.

He’d been using this ability to find and map out terrorist hideouts, but then he learns that he can project himself into the consciousness of others, making them believe that he was standing right there with them. Not only that, but apparently, this also gives him access to their thoughts, feelings, and memories. He uses this to cause fear at first, but changes his focus to inspire ordinary heroes to be courageous. He says that courage isn’t the absence of fear, but a motivation for it. Fear will make you do things you didn’t think possible, which is true.

I appreciated the idea of Captain America expending himself to help people in any way he can even after his body starts to fail him. Captain America pushes himself so hard and takes it so personally when he feels he failed the people he swore to protect. Despite his rapidly deteriorating state, he still puts everything he’s got into helping others. This does feel like something that Captain America would do—defending others until he just couldn’t any longer.

The idea of the serum finally catching up to him and proving that it wasn’t a complete success was an interesting angle. It’s never fully discussed in the comic how that might’ve happened. If he hadn’t been frozen in ice, would he have burned out a few months later? Had the experiment actually been a complete success and his time in the ice had subtly degraded the effect of the serum? Did he overextend himself? It’s a mystery, but I’m not upset there isn’t some drawn out explanation about why this might’ve happened. It leaves readers to speculate for themselves.

However, I wasn’t too crazy about how that story was told. In some panels, there was too much back and forth going on trying to get Newman to keep it together. I know it was necessary, but it started to feel a bit filler-ish after a while. And I’m not even going to touch that part of the ending where Newman went full Rambo (and this was written by the author of the Rambo books), and it was a bit too hackneyed in some panels.

Many of the lab scenes didn’t really feel necessary, especially since he was basically telling Newman his story from beginning to end at the same time. The lab scenes added too many questions that weren’t addressed like when they wanted to know who he chose. Chose for what? To become the next Captain America? To fetch his dinner? How were they supposed to make a new Captain America, if they were hoping he’d choose an heir, to be able to perform physically on the same level? Or were the hoping for someone to continue this new experiment they started?

The government obviously didn’t care about—or was blind to—the fact that it took more than physical prowess to make Captain America, if that’s what they were going for. But part of, maybe even a large part of, the traits that make Captain America who he is doesn’t have to do with physical conditioning, but his indomitable will and the virtues he holds close to his heart, and this was something he had even before he became Captain America. This is something that anyone can have and extends beyond beliefs, race, citizenship, etc. Captain America knew this and admired the people who didn’t have his conditioning, but performed their duties every day. He questioned if ordinary people could go out there and risk their lives to help others, what made him any different? What made him better? Just because he may be physically superior to them didn’t make him better.

After Captain America did his final heroic deed in the book, the first question posed was, “What will we do without him?” But I can see this question being the opening for them to start relying on their own strengths, a wakeup call to the fact that you can’t always rely on a superhero to save the day. Quite often, you can only rely on yourself, and you have the necessary “powers” to do so.

I thought this was a good story, but it could’ve been better. Some of the ideas behind it were magnificent in theory, but were not executed to their full potential.

In the end, I felt like the story’s main goal was to show how there are ordinary people doing extraordinary things every day. Even though we only see him with Newman, he is actually inspiring many others at the same time, encouraging them to use their strengths to help their fellow man. You don’t have be Captain America to embody the virtues of courage, honor, sacrifice, and loyalty. You can find these same “hero” traits in doctors, teachers, farmers, any average person in the world. Everyone has the potential to be a Captain America. It’s not always the strength of body that makes a hero.

Final Verdict:
3 of 5 stars

Book Review: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

It took me a while to finish this book. Two months to be precise. It wasn’t because I disliked the book. I loved it from the beginning, but I could tell it might make a little more emotional than I wanted at the time, so I set it aside for a bit.

We follow the adventures of “R,” a zombie who isn’t decayed nearly as bad as some of the other zombies. He’s described as being tall and dressed in business casual. Zombies can’t remember their life before dying, but they take on the first letter of names that the might’ve had, names that are just beyond the reach of their thoughts. Communication is limited and very simple between zombies. They struggle with words to adequately express themselves and are often distracted away from their thoughts when speaking aloud, but “R” shows a crude complexity in his thinking, which is hinted at possibly being abnormal for a zombie.

The zombies spend much of their time performing a poor emulation of human behavior. “R” lives at an airport with a hive of zombies. They use escalators, have church, even get “married” and take care of children (young zombies given to newly married zombies). They attempt to do things like have sex, but their bodies aren’t able to perform the act. “R” mentions it’s like watching a pathetic imitation of bodies bumping against each other. There’s also “school” where mostly children are taught to hunt by using live human prey. They also have a rough set of laws in place that they follow enforced by a group called the Boneys.

This book is unique because it tells the story from the point of view of a zombie instead of a human trying to survive in this world. It reimagines zombies as more than just mindless creatures. The need for flesh isn’t as simple as a driving, animalistic hunger for it, but part of a craving for something lost, something they can no longer remember. I never thought I’d read a zombie book and use words like “heartbreaking” and “tender.” But those are just two of the words that aptly describes this story.

R is presented in a self-deprecating, humorous way, but he’s easy to connect to. However, this story is touched with a tinge of sadness that made my heart ache. He wonders about his former life and struggles with not being able to express his thoughts in more than a rudimentary fashion. He is already beginning to want something he can’t quite grasp at first, but when he saves a living woman named Julie, things begin to fall into place.

It’s never mentioned what caused the zombie epidemic, but personally, I was fine with that. I didn’t need another rehash of a virus, God’s wrath, or government experiments popping up. That would’ve taken up precious space in the book. R wouldn’t know what caused it anyway, and even if he did, he might not have been able to really explain what happened to them. R is smart, but his thought process has its limits. But the cause is unknown to both human and zombie alike anyway.

One complaint I had was Nora. She just felt so out of place in the story. I liked the character, but it just seemed like she was in the wrong book. I was also a little surprised with her accepting attitude toward R all things considered, but that may apply to Julie as well. I’d read there was a novella out there about Nora, so maybe I can fill in the gaps with that and get to know her character a little more. She seems to be very optimistic despite their situation. She’s very loyal to Julie, but that’s explained in this book. And admittedly maybe the end wrapped up a little more hopeful than it should have, but I loved it. There’s nothing “usual” about this book, so I don’t necessarily see the ending being a problem.

Overall, I really loved this book. Marion took a genre that’s so rife with clichés and tropes (as with most supernatural/paranormal things these days) and found a way to make it his own. Even if I hadn’t loved it so, I would’ve still applauded his effort to be different. Also, Muse provided the perfect musical backdrop for me while I was reading this. Uprising even started playing during the ending, and it was so perfect.

5 of 5 stars

Book Review: Tankborn by Karen Sandler

TankbornTankborn by Karen Sandler

Genre: Science Fiction, Biopunk, Young Adult

Series: Book 1 of the Tankborn Trilogy

Publisher: Tu Books (October 11, 2011)

Author Information: Twitter | Website

Tiara’s Rating: 3.5 out 5 stars

Kayla is a GEN, a tankborn person whose purpose is to serve others. While in the tank, their DNA is sliced with DNA from animals granting a skill set (known as sket) that will prove useful once they hit sixteen and are given their permanent work assignment. They have no parents and are placed in homes with “nurture mothers/fathers” who are GENs who have been programmed to have parental instincts.

GENs are treated worse than animals and subject to the whims of the trueborns (high status humans) and the brigade that serves as law enforcement. They have few rights and tolerate aggression and violence from humans, making them live in a constant state of fear. After turning sixteen and receiving her assignment, Kayla is thrust into a world where she learns that not all things are as they seem, and she soon finds herself involved in something much bigger that herself. Read More

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Tiger LilyTiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Genre: Fantasy, Magical Realism

Publisher: HarperCollins

Author Information: Twitter

Tiara’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

First, I should say if you want a sweet, innocent Peter Pan story, this story isn’t for you. This is nowhere near as dark as Brom’s The Child Thief, but while Brom’s book focuses on presenting Neverland as a very gray place where all sides do their evil in the name of some “greater good,” this is a story about first loves, betrayal, yearning, and heartache mixed in with a bit of action. I think this book and The Child Thief are the only two Peter Pan retellings that have elicited such a strong emotional response from me. I wouldn’t even try to write this review before I could stop tearing up about this story.

This story toes the thin line between magic and magic realism. While there are magical things in the stories like mermaids and fairies, many other “magical elements” have more practical reasoning behind them. One example being the belief that the lost boys fly being attributed to an elaborate rope system they’ve made in the treetops.

Neverland turns out to be an island nestled away in the Atlantic, protected by a treacherous sea that sinks many of the ships that dare to tread too close to Neverland, reminding me a little of the Tristanian Islanders. However, a few stragglers make it to shore from time to time. Most of them die of exposure or by some terror that lives in the forest. Other Englishmen that make it to shore are often cut down by Captain Hook and his ragtag group of pirates who hate their fellow countrymen. But even though most of the inhabitants there have a peaceful existence together on that island (however, peace between the pirates and natives is tenuous at best), they all fear the lost boys who most people never see. They only whisper about their evil deeds, but Tiger Lily learns better.

It is true that people on Neverland didn’t age, but it seems that it seems mostly something that happens to the native people and beings on Neverland. It was never fully explained why it happened, but the people on the island aged until a monumental event happened in their life and caused their bodies to stop aging beyond that point and they never moved beyond that physically and perhaps even a bit mentally if we’re to judge by Tiger Lily’s actions even some 80 years after the events that changed her. And sometimes that meant children out-aged their parents and grandparents. It seemed like the island granted this “gift” to the natives, but not to the outsiders such as Captain Hook. The natives fear catching the “aging disease” from them. However, this could be indicative that nothing of extreme importance has happened to them or if it has, it happened in their lives before Neverland.

I’ll be honest, while I did like the idea of a life changing event causing people to stop aging in response, as if this exact moment was the moment they were to remember forever, I don’t know if I think it was well executed in the story. It came off a little dubious at best to me. Fortunately, it wasn’t something that was talked about much in the story after the initial explanation. There was also bits of the storytelling that seemed a little out of place, and there were a few other places where something should’ve been explored a little more or explained a little better. But that didn’t detract from the story for me.

The story is told through Tink’s eyes. Fairies have evolved to be mute, but they learn to observe and listen to the feelings of others, giving them the uncanny ability to be able to look inside others and see all their innermost workings. Unlike her incarntations in other works, Tink is seldom acknowledged by humans, but still she clings to Tiger Lily, hitching rides in her hair or on her clothes as she watches a bittersweet love story unfold between Peter and Tiger Lily, a story that is set into motion when Tiger Lily begins to care for a shipwrecked Englishman who made it to their shores, an event that not only changes her, but her whole village. Tink falls in love with Peter herself, but knowing he can never be hers, she roots for Tiger Lily’s love to flourish with Peter because she cares about them both.

Their love does and it doesn’t flourish like most first loves. Lack of understanding what the other needs, the newness of a new love, works for and against Tiger Lily and Peter. Tiger Lily, who is an outsider in her own tribe rather than a princess (but still someone of status since the shaman is her adoptive father), has a hard time showing strong emotion even if she feels it intensely. She feels that she has to be as good as Peter, as fast as Peter, as strong as Peter, or he’ll outrun her grasp and leave her because she’s not his equal. Peter is a swell of emotions and inconsistencies who needs reassurance, who needs to know that she can love all of him, assurances Tiger Lily is unable to give due to not understanding the new feelings she’s having, assurances that are given easily by Wendy when she arrives on the island.

As the story wears on it seems as if some of the magic begins to fade. More and more, wondrous creatures and things begin to retreat to safety. The mermaids swim deep within the ocean where they can’t be found. Tink’s own people move deep in the swamps where men fear to tread. Even people’s perception of Tink, and even her perception of herself starts to relegate her to nothing more than a mere bug. All these things are responses to a changing world that magic no longer plays a part in. The world has been conquered, all except Neverland.

Tink warns in the beginning that the tale would not end happily ever after, so I expected something completely heartbreaking. However, I think the story ended in a way that was best for both Peter and Tiger Lily. What happened between Peter and Tiger Lily is painful yes, but what their lives become after that shows they both needed something different as much as they needed each other. Peter’s decision also seemed to be a mix of sacrifice as well. He loved the lost boys. He worried about them, even though Tiger Lily was the only person to ever know that. He made a point earlier in the story that he wasn’t a good role model, but that he tried to shield them by being carefree. So, I do believe part of his decision was for them to have something better as well. Despite it all, it doesn’t mean that Tiger Lily and Peter stopped loving each other. They see each other in everything and will love each other forever, but every love is different. Every love fulfills a person in different ways. Love makes you do things you’d never expect.

ab28c-new4stars

Graphic Novel Review: Princeless Book One: Save Yourself by Jeremy Whitley

PrincelessPrinceless Book One: Save Yourself by Jeremy Whitley

Genre: Leading Ladies, Fantasy

Publisher: Action Lab (May 23, 2012)

Author Information: Twitter

Princeless follows the quest of Princess Adrienne to free herself and her sisters from their fate of waiting for a prince to save them from their towers. From the beginning Adrienne has rebelled against the idea of princesses being passively saved by princes, asking her mother, “Who has the kind of grudge against this beautiful princess that they would lock her in a tower?”

Adrienne decides, after finding a sword after another failed rescue attempt by a prince (one who didn’t even know the definition of fair, at that), that she is going to save herself. She doesn’t need a prince to save her–no princess does. She decides that not only will she save herself, but her sisters as well.

This is a cute story, for sure, but it’s so much more than that. Adrienne questions a world where women are expected to be second class citizen. They’re not expected to rule or hold jobs that traditionally are for men (such as Bedelia secretly smithing in her father’s place). They’re expected to wait for their prince and depend on men to take care of them. A very touching moment came at the end when Adrienne’s mother confides in the prince that she’s treated her own daughter like currency rather than the child she loved. She’s been groomed to behave this way.

But this story doesn’t just point out the pressures that females are expected to adhere to. The male perspective is shown through the prince, Wilcome, who tried to save Adrienne. There’s a brief look at how he went to Prince Charming school when he really just wanted be a kid. He was ripped away from that to become a Prince Charming and shown how prince’s act–only to find out that being a prince was harder than it was made out to be, especially when he still felt like a kid. He says no one comes to save a prince when he’s locked up.

Adrienne’s brother Devin presents another view. His father pretty much says that Devin isn’t fit to rule his kingdom because he’s soft. He expects one of his daughters to marry a strong prince who will take over. He laughs away any talk of one of his daughters ruling because that isn’t their place. Devin isn’t good at sword fighting, preferring poetry to fighting. And he’s never allowed to forget how much of an heir he’s not by his father. And I appreciate this balance being added to the story.

Yes, this is a story about gender binary, but it’s not preachy. It’s a cute story whose moral simply is girls can be strong and boys don’t always have to tough, that boys and girls aren’t boxed in by their gender. This is exactly the kind of story I want to read to my daughter. I love comics, but it’s often hard to find something age appropriate. And if it is age appropriate, it’s very hard to find one where the lead is a female character of color.

I posted a couple of the panels on Tumblr where I had a brief exchange with the author who expressed excitement that I was reading this with a friend and because I wanted to share it with my daughter. I mentioned that she was one-part princess and one-part tomboy, and I see my daughter in this story. I did a Google search on him after that and read an interview where he said he wrote this comic for the exact same reasons that I expressed in my post (he wrote it for his daughter when she gets older). I can’t wait to read more of this story.

Book Review: Black Feathers by Joseph D’Lacey

Black FeathersBlack Feathers by Joseph D’Lacey

Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Post-Apocalyptic, Supernatural

Series: Book 1 of Black Dawn

Publisher: Angry Robot (March 26, 2013)

Author’s Information: Twitter | Webpage

Tiara’s Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

 

This is an advance reader copy that I snagged from Netgalley. I think the book will be released sometime in March/April 2013. From this point on, there will be spoilers.

Gordon Black’s birth signals the beginning of the end for the world. As each year passes, the world falls further into economic and environmental upheaval. Tired of the abuses committed against her Mother Earth rebels and begins to purge her lands of the people who harm her, leaving only those who give back as much as they take. In 2014, a few months before his 14th birthday, Gordon begins a journey to find the Crowman who he hopes can set everything right.

Megan Maurice is a young girl who lives quite some time after the collapse of everything. People are living in simpler times, reminiscent of life before technology and materialism had a firm grip on humanity. Megan is on the cusp of womanhood when she’s called to become a keeper, someone who keeps the story of the Crowman alive. She is the first and only female keeper, and her teacher, a man known only as Mr. Keeper, says that she will either bring them total salvation or total destruction. He can’t be completely sure of her part yet, though he knows everything will change for better or worse because of her.

No adventure is without its foes, and the foes in this story are called The Ward. They’re a group of people who believe that the earth is only there to be exploited by man, despite all the environmental warnings taking place. Their goal is to unite all the nations under one rule. In the chaos and calamity, they introduce strict laws (such as making migrant workers return to their own countries) which are lauded by the people whose fear makes them blind to what The Ward is truly trying to achieve. However, The Ward knows about Gordon, and their main goal is to stop him from meeting the Crowman, an event that will prevent them from reaching their full power.

This book entwined two stories from different points in time, the past and the future, but neither story could be told without the other. Read More

Book Review: The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold

The Curse of ChalionThe Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Book 1 of Chalion

Publisher: Voyager (December 1, 2000)

Author’s Information: Website

Tiara’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars

First, I should say that if you enjoy a fantasy story full of action, then, this may not be the story for you. There’s more talk of battle and war than actual battle. This book relies more on political intrigue, dark family histories, and betrayals. And these are things I enjoyed about the story, especially toward the end of this book.

I think I appreciated the characters before I really started getting into the story itself. I didn’t think the story was bad, but it seemed to move along slowly at first. I blame those feelings on my recent GRRM bender where there is something always happening page after page. You can’t start his books without someone dying or someone planning to kill someone. However, I really loved the characters Bujold gave us in this story. Many of them captured my attention the moment they were introduced. Read More

Book Review: The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin

The Killing Moon (Dreamblood, #1)The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin

Wendy’s rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a good but disappointing book. I blame my likely unfair review on N.K. Jemisin for writing The Inheritance Trilogy first. Comparisons inevitable happened, mainly over the way The Killing Moon was crafted and presented. Where The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms – a book I have now read twice and loved all the more the second time – focused deeply on the main character and her emotions and relationships, with the politics being a secondary issue, this book focused more on the politics and religion, as viewed through its main characters. The problem, I think, is that it really only skimmed the surface layers of these politics, as well as the characters. As a result, while I liked the both characters and the world, I did not fall in love with them because I was not able to get to know them well enough.

The Killing Moon takes place in an Egypt-based realm where dreams hold magic and those who wield the magic are, of course, the ones in power. At the beginning, Jemisin apologizes to Egyptologists for anything she may have gotten wrong, though she did not intend this fantasy world to be exactly like the real Egypt. At the end of the book in an amusing interview with herself, she commented that basing the world on reality was difficult and that she’d rather create her own worlds. I’d have to agree. There wasn’t an overindulgence in making everything like Egypt (but not like Egypt), but perhaps it became too much of a focus along the way.

One thing that disappointed me was the need to discriminate based on colour. The third major player in the book is introduced so:

“The black ropes of his hair had been threaded with cylinders of gold and strings of minute pearls, and this mane surrounded a face that was fine-planed and flawless, apart from the misfortune of his coloring.”

I had to reread that a few times to make sure I’d understood it correctly, and as the book proceeded, such discrimination over skin tone occurred several times more. As there were many other ways that the various peoples were categorized (ie castes, religious beliefs, location, occupation), I was surprised that Jemisin would choose to make this such a prominent issue. I am not familiar enough with Egypt and the surrounding area to know if this discrimination is common in reality, but in a fantasy setting, I wish Jemisin had chosen not to make discrimination by skin tone such a prominent factor in her story telling. Especially since one of the reasons why I fell in love with her works initially was because of her views on race and culture in fantasy. While she enjoys the fantasy books that have come well before her, she has, as I have, grown tired of the Euro-centric stories and characters. My friend and I are currently reading A Song of Ice and Fire and are amused by George R. R. Martin’s constant need to review his thesaurus in order to describe people of various colours from the lands outside of his main realm of Westeros. In Jemisin’s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, I was so pleased to find a world filled with people of all different colours and cultures yet, save for one or two moments, descriptions of skin colour served only to identify characters – not to discriminate against them.

None of this disappointment is enough to prevent me from reading the second book in the Dreamblood series. As I said, this was a good book and Jemisin has already proven herself to me through her first book and through her blogged thoughts. The characters and plot were interesting enough to keep me reading and enjoying. But I will do The Shadowed Sun a favour and read it before I continue on with the Inheritance Trilogy.
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Book Review: The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis

The Magician's Nephew (Chronicles of Narnia, #6)The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis
Tiara’s rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe has for, quite some time, been a movie that I’ve enjoyed, and I’ve enjoyed in just about every incarnation of it. I first remember seeing the movie as a young girl on PBS. I had to be around 6 or 7 at the time, and I was completely enamored with the movie. Now, at that time, I was also already a pretty avid reader, but it wasn’t until some years later that I realized that movie was based on a book–a book that was part of a series. You’d think as much as I love the movie(s) that I would’ve started reading the books well before now, and honestly, I did have all intentions of reading the series before becoming a grown woman with two children of my own. However, it didn’t quite work out that way. Better late than never, though, right?

I’m reading these books chronologically, even though this book and one other book in the series came a little later than some of the other books in the series. Luckily, Goodreads does have an option to see these books in chronological order, which is a very good thing because I wasn’t even aware there was technically a book before The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. And I guess I could’ve started there and read them in their publishing order since the other two books only really add a little history to the story, but I’m glad that I started it reading it like this.

Up to this point, the only thing I’d read by Lewis was The Screwtape Letters, which I did enjoy for its humorous way of dealing with Christianity, even though I know there was a stern message about being one of those self-righteous Christians whose “concerns” for other really point to a selfishness in their own hearts, who twist religion to better fall in line with their personal biases. I also like that the story came from the POV of the demon and not the sanctified.

This book chronicles the creation of Narnia and its first inhabitants including how the White Witch came to be and the creation of the wardrobe. The creation of Narnia in many ways parallels the creation as written in the bible right down to having a tree of life and a Adam (Digory) and Eve (Polly). Aslan even sang/spoke things into existence. However, Lewis added a creative flair to the old story and made it a really beautiful read as he described Narnia being born from nothing. I love stories that mark the creation of a new world. I enjoy seeing how different writers think a new world and its inhabitants would be created whether it’s from chaos or being called into being.

The queen was an evil accidentally introduced into Narnia during its creation, and I would’ve liked more backstory on the queen. We’re given just enough of her history to know what she was capable of and the hubris she dressed in, just enough to make her terrifying in the way that evil witch queens, such as Maleficent, are. She came from a dying world where she’d used the “deplorable word” rather than to lose to her sister, but we don’t know exactly what started this fight or if the sister was more evil than Jadis or if she were good. We only get to learn about how little regard Jadis has for life and how she would rather burn a world to the ground than give up her power.

She’s in a state of stasis when the children find her in her world, and she eventually ends up following them back to present day England and on to Narnia. As her world went to nothing, Narnia came from nothing. However, her magic wasn’t strong in Narnia, not like it’d been in her homeworld, at this point. So, she’s forced to bide her time, and Aslan takes precautions to protect Narnia from her influence, though he knows a battle will come.

This was a very quick read. The story is easy to get caught up in. I joked that the title of this book should’ve been Uncle Andrew, No because his playing at magic, with disregard to anyone but himself, is what opened up this new world to Digory and Polly. Which brings to one thing I noticed about the story. Maybe it’s just the way the book is written, since it is a young adult/children’s book (and I am an adult), but there was just something a little too plain cut about this story. There’s not much room for gray. Things are just inexplicably good or evil without much reason why. They just are.

For sure, this book suggests that even “bad” characters aren’t beyond redemption, but it just feels more like they’re “bad” because they just don’t know any better or they don’t know any other way to be, not because they have decided it’s better to be “evil” than “good.” And I’m bit surprised how much more complex these issues seem in the movies when compared to this book. Now, I know I am extremely early and should hold my judgment because I may end up having to eat crow for that statement.

I think this book has something to say about creativity and imagination, and how we can stifle ourselves by not believing in the magic of such things as shown through Uncle Andrew who denied the magic even though he felt it. In the end, he was unable to appreciate the true beauty of Narnia. We purposely silence the creative side of us in favor of being “practical” when those things are very important to who we are and how we view life.

I will definitely continue the series.

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Book Review: Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

Girl of NightmaresGirl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Supernatural

Series: Book 2 of Anna

Author Information: Twitter | Website

Tiara’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve just finished reading this book. It’s 3:30 in the morning, and my Nexus 7 is on its last leg because I was too enthralled to plug it up. When I bookmarked the last page I’d read in GRRM’s 4th book, I told myself that I’d read a few pages of this to catch up and call it a night. I didn’t expect to fall so quickly.

In a matter of a few pages, the story started going many interesting places with a battle-weary Carmel breaking up with the gang (and by extension Thomas) because she no longer thinks she can handle the supernatural part of her life and the normal part of her life clashing any longer. We witness Thomas come into his own as a black witch and become much more confident with his powers, and, in his search to free Anna from hell, Can learns a few more secrets about his father and his blade, how it can aid him in saving Anna, and the price you sometimes have to pay for those you love. Read More