Reviews

Book reviews and other fun for kids and caregivers, by Library Staff

Monstress Vol. 1: Awakening

A dark fantasy that heralds the start of a thrilling new series, Monstress Vol. 1: Awakening by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda is a stunningly beautiful graphic novel that tells a heartrending and epic story. The story utilizes a mix of Asian mythologies and ancient Egyptian motifs to create a rich and layered world that Takeda’s art brings to beautiful life. The world is matriarchal and the bulk of the characters, heroes, villians, and those in between, are powerful and deadly women, often with rich and layered backstories. Monstress imagines a world that is at once completely different from our own, yet still hauntingly familiar. The power of this graphic novel is difficult to convey as both the story and artwork contain multitudes of layers that enrich the story and add complexity. Monstress is a tale of vengeance, redemption, horror, tragedy, friendship, shattered gods, magic, myth, and monsters all braided together into an exquisite graphic novel.

Britt-Marie Was Here

Confession: I’m not much of an audio book junkie. In fact, I seldom listen to one unless it is the only copy of a book available, but Joan Walker’s funny and poignant rendition of this Scandinavian novel entranced me.

I couldn’t wait to get back to the poor, out of the way Swedish town of Borg--football crazy and poor--where most of the inhabitants were racing to sell their homes and leave after the 2008 financial crises.

How did a middle-aged wife who had not worked outside the home or travelled anywhere end up in Borg?

Well, first her husband of four decades began an affair with a much younger woman. So Britt-Marie decided to leave him. When she went to the employment agency, there were no jobs, so she returned the next day and cooked for the young lady who worked there a lovely salmon dinner. Britt was nothing if not persistent.

Paper Girls by Brian Vaughan

If you liked Stranger Things, read Paper Girls by Brian Vaughan. Vaughan, author of Saga, utilizes many of the same elements as Stranger Things: independent children, other worlds, absent parents (seriously, where are the parents?), and otherworldly monsters. The story begins as several twelve year-old paper girls bike their evening route on Halloween, 1988. What starts as a normal shift grows stranger and more supernatural by the hour. The main character, Erin, is delivering papers, when she is accosted by strange boys in Halloween costumes. Another group of paper girls rescues her and they agree to travel together for safety, but along the way they realize that people in town have started to disappear.

Darth Vader Vol. 1 by Kieron Gillen

Star Wars Darth Vader: Vol. 1 by Kieron Gillen fills in a necessary gap in the Star Wars canon, and could help fill the time before Star Wars: Rogue One arrives in theaters. Gillen’s Vader is trying to learn the identity of the young pilot who destroyed the Death Star, as well as regain the favor of Emperor Palpatine after failing to stop the Rebel Alliance. As Vader goes on these dual missions, he is forced to hire agents who can act as his public face. Navigating all of these situations and relationships, as well as his personal quest for vengeance against the Rebellion and suspicions about secrets in the Empire, create a world of intrigue and violence for this story to play out. Gillen balances all of these elements superbly and also unleashes Vader, using battle sequences and displays of the Force to remind readers why Vader is one of the most feared individuals in the galaxy.

The Six: the Lives of the Mitford Sisters

Having grown up in a family of six sisters (and two brothers), I understand the influences, cooperation and competition that six sisters often have for each other. The similar interests, wildly divergent ones, pet names shared, and shifting alliances.

The Mitford sisters:  Nancy, Pamela, Diana, Unity, Jessica, and Deborah were born between 1904 and 1920, so their youth encompassed the roaring and irreverent 1920s as well as the anxious, and violent pre-war period before WW II. The last of the Mitford sisters, Deborah, died only two years ago.

They had an idyllic childhood on a country estate, and were left mainly to themselves, a nanny and a tutor. They were almost totally home-schooled. They read deeply books from their parent’s library and were fascinated by the world of ideas. All except Pamela, who loved farming and developed close connections with animals and the land. Just before dying she sighed and said she wished only for one more hunt.

Heartless, Marissa Meyer

Heartless is set before the events of Alice in Wonderland and tells the story of Cath, daughter of a Marquess who has caught the eye of the King of Hearts, but really just wants to open a bakery. Cath is an unconventional lady already, but when the new Joker catches her eye and her heart, she finds herself moving away from quirky and unconventional to all out rebel. She is determined to make her own way in the world, but her need to please her parents and her King may hold her back.

Many characters and places throughout this story will be familiar to fans of Alice in Wonderland. However, since Alice is an outsider who finds herself falling into Wonderland and Cath is a member of the gentry who has always lived there readers are given a more inside view of this topsy turvey world. Nothing is as it seems in Wonderland and now that the legendary jabberwocky is roaming the land again, no one is safe.

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