Review: Resistance: A Graphic Novel

Title: Resistance: A Graphic Novel
Author: Val McDermid, Kathryn Briggs (illustrator)
Genre: Graphic Novel, Science Fiction
Publisher: Grove Atlantic
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 15, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A gritty, dark tale of infectious disease gone wrong – the timely graphic novel from Sunday Times bestselling author Val McDermid

‘A brilliant and timely story, told with McDermid’s verve, style and passion. I couldn’t stop turning the pages, even when I could barely take the tension. Wonderful.’ Denise Mina

It’s the summer solstice weekend, and 150,000 people descend on a farm in the northeast of England for an open-air music festival. At first, a spot of rain seems to be the only thing dampening the fun – until a mystery bug appears. Before long, the illness is spreading at an electrifying speed and seems resistant to all antibiotics. Can journalist Zoe Meadows track the outbreak to its source, and will a cure be found before the disease becomes a pandemic?

A heart-racing thriller, Resistance imagines a nightmare pandemic that seems only too credible in the wake of COVID-19. Number one bestseller and queen of crime Val McDermid has teamed up with illustrator Kathryn Briggs to create a masterful graphic novel.

Review:

Journalist Zoe Meadows went to a music festival in Scotland to report on it. She didn’t expect the festival to be the start of a worldwide pandemic. The first cases can be traced back to Zoe’s friend’s food truck. Since Zoe was at the site of the start of the pandemic, so she wants to investigate it herself. The world is in a race against the disease before it takes over the word.

I believe this story was originally written before the pandemic, but it is so creepy to read now. I’ve learned more about pandemics and viruses in the last year than I ever thought I would know. This story seemed much more plausible than if I had read it years ago.

The disease in this story took over in a different way than Covid-19 did in our world. It was more difficult for the medical experts to treat and figure out the disease in the story. I think we were very lucky to have a vaccine developed so quickly. The characters in the graphic novel weren’t so lucky.

I loved the art in this graphic novel. Each page was a separate piece of art. The images were coloured with shades of black, white, and gray. The backgrounds were often collages of different scenes or newspaper articles, but they related to the subject matter in the story on that particular page. This kind of patchwork art reflected the way the characters had to piece together the disease and how to fight it.

Resistance is an honest graphic novel about a global pandemic.

Thank you Grove Atlantic for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

We All Fall Down by Daniel Kalla

An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim

Have you read Resistance? What did you think of it?

Review: Gamayun Tales II

Title: Gamayun Tales II
Author: Alexander Utkin
Genre: Children’s, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Nobrow
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: February 2, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Enter a world of magic and adventure in this stunning series based on traditional Russian folklore.

Alexander Utkin’s Gamayun Tales are fresh and modern adaptations of familiar Slavic folktales, teamed with bold and beautiful illustrations. Jam-packed with stories of magical quests and talking animals, golden chests that turn into palaces and encounters with terrifying Water Spirits, there’s no end to the adventure in these books! Utkin’s striking art style takes inspiration from classic mid-century Disney animation, drawing readers in for a colorful journey even if they have no familiarty with Russian mythology.

Review:

This graphic novel collection tells stories inspired by Russian folklore. Baba Yaga was featured in some of these stories, making deals with the characters traveling through the woods. This collection is a continuation of Gamayun Tales I.

The longest tale in this book was about a dying King who sent his sons to find a cure for him. The King promised to renounce the crown and pass it on to the son who brought him the cure. Each of the sons had a turn to search for the cure, and they encountered many adventures along the way.

I love how interconnected the tales are in these two collections, Gamayun Tales I and II. The stories aren’t told chronologically but they follow certain themes and characters in a way that makes sense. Some tales from the first collection were explained in this one, so it was nice to see the continuation from the first book.

Gamayun Tales II is a fun and beautiful graphic novel!

Thank you Nobrow for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

How to Survive in the North by Luke Healy

Other books in the series:

Have you read Gamayun Tales II? What did you think of it?

Review: Pantomime

Title: Pantomime
Author: Christopher Sebela
Genre: Young Adult, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Mad Cave Studios
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: July 20, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Haley and her brother, Max, are alone after their mother’s death and are sent to Wayfair Academy, a special needs boarding school. Eventually, they find family amongst other deaf children. One night the group decides to dip their toes into crime… the thrill is too much to leave behind. They soon find out that stealing from the wrong person, has its consequences. With no one to turn to but each other, they must make a choice, one where no one comes out the same.

Review:

After Haley and Max’s mother died, they were sent to Wayfair Academy, a boarding school for deaf students. One night, after Max’s devices are taken by a teacher, they decide to steal everything the teacher has taken from students. Since that crime was a success, they decide to do some more thefts with their friends. However, they soon rob the wrong man, and end up spending years paying back for those crimes.

I love boarding school stories. This was a special boarding school for deaf children. It was the perfect setting for these kids to plan their crimes, since they all lived together without parental supervision.

This is the first book I’ve read where all of the characters are deaf. It worked well in graphic novel format because the movement of their hands was illustrated. Their speech bubbles led away from their hands, instead of their mouths. The children were underestimated because of their deafness. They were able to use the perception that others had of them being weak to their advantage.

Pantomime is a great crime graphic novel!

Thank you Mad Cave Studios for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Crowded by Christopher Sebela

Stargazer by Anthony Cleveland

Have you read Pantomime? What did you think of it?

Review: Pizazz

Title: Pizazz
Author: Sophy Henn
Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel, Science Fiction
Publisher: Aladdin
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback arc
Release Date: June 1, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Discover the annoying side of being a superhero from snarky, reluctant hero Pizazz in this hilarious and highly illustrated new series for young middle graders—perfect for fans of Dog Man and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Most people think superhero work is awesome and fulfilling. Pizazz knows better. Whenever she’s in the middle of a movie or having fun with her friends, she has to dash off the save the world. And she’s always in the same outfit, including an embarrassing glittery cape, and the wedgies are unreal. Plus, being the good guy all the time is so not easy. Superheroes have bad days like everybody else, but Pizazz always has to be cheerful and noble and brave. More than anything, she just wants to be normal.

Review:

Pizazz is a superhero, but it isn’t easy. She has to dash off to fight villains while she’s with friends or even while she’s sleeping. And she always has to go to school the next day. Pizazz has to put on a happy face, because she’s a superhero who saves the world, even if she’s having a bad day. Plus, she thinks she has the worst superpower ever, but she has to use it sometimes to defeat villains. Even though Pizazz doesn’t like being a superhero, she’s always there to help her superhero family.

This was a fun superhero story. Pizazz feels like a lot of middle graders, which is uncomfortable with herself. She doesn’t like her place in her family because everyone else has a better superpower than her, even her little sister. She had to start at a new school so she didn’t feel included by the kids in her new class. Pizazz wanted to fit in with the popular kids, like her sister did, but she didn’t. Though most middle graders aren’t superheroes, I think a lot of them can relate to feeling out of place during that time in their life.

There were a few funny moments in this book. Pizazz and her family had a dog that would report to them on what villain they had to go fight. They had to fight unusual villains. There was Twerknado, who would twerk and destroy the city. There was also Goo Go, who was a giant baby fighting with baby toys. Pizazz’s secret superpower was saved and only revealed at the end of the book, so that was a funny part since she hated it so much but always ended up using it.

Pizazz is a fun start to a new series!

Thank you Simon Kids for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

How to Be a Supervillain by Michael Fry

Have you read Pizazz? What did you think of it?

Review: The Tea Dragon Tapestry (Tea Dragon #3)

Title: The Tea Dragon Tapestry (Tea Dragon #3)
Author: Kay O’Neill
Genre: Children’s, Graphic Novel, Fantasy, LGBT
Publisher: Oni Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 1, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Join Greta and Minette once more for the heartwarming conclusion of the award-winning Tea Dragon series!

Over a year since being entrusted with Ginseng’s care, Greta still can’t chase away the cloud of mourning that hangs over the timid Tea Dragon. As she struggles to create something spectacular enough to impress a master blacksmith in search of an apprentice, she questions the true meaning of crafting, and the true meaning of caring for someone in grief. Meanwhile, Minette receives a surprise package from the monastery where she was once training to be a prophetess. Thrown into confusion about her path in life, the shy and reserved Minette finds that the more she opens her heart to others, the more clearly she can see what was always inside.

Told with the same care and charm as the previous installments of the Tea Dragon series, The Tea Dragon Tapestry welcomes old friends and new into a heartfelt story of purpose, love, and growth.

Review:

Greta’s Tea Dragon, Ginseng, is having trouble adjusting to life without her former owner. Greta tries to help Ginseng while also figuring out how to impress a master blacksmith enough to take her on as an apprentice. Her friend, Minette, receives a gift from the monastery where she used to live, which brings back some old memories of her ancestors. Greta, Minette, and their friends and family have to learn how to adjust to the changes in their lives.

This is the final book in the Tea Dragon series. This is a great series because it has so much diversity. Some characters are non-binary. Most of the characters are like humans in behavior, but some have animal-like features. This gives them a diverse variety of appearances.

An important theme in this story was adjusting to life changes. Greta had to figure out how to make her Tea Dragon feel comfortable enough with her. Minette was adjusting to her new place with this group of friends. She had to learn to accept her history to be able to move on with her future.

The Tea Dragon Tapestry is a great conclusion to this graphic novel series.

Thank you Oni Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Princess Princess Every After by Kay O’Neill

Dewdrop by Kay O’Neill

Other books in the series:

Have you read The Tea Dragon Tapestry? What did you think of it?

Review: Savage Beard of She Dwarf

Title: Savage Beard of She Dwarf
Author: Kyle Latino
Genre: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, Fantasy
Publisher: Oni Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 16, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A heartwarming graphic novel that tells the story of a lonely dwarf searching for her place in the world. 

She Dwarf believes herself to be the last dwarf in existence. Hoping to find evidence to the contrary, She Dwarf sets out on a mission to find the lost dwarven city of Dammerung. But Dammerung isn’t on any map and will not be easily found. Strong forces stand in She Dwarf’s way. Begrudgingly forced to take on a partner to aid in her mission, She Dwarf is joined by war barbarian, Hack Battler. Together, the pair will face vengeful shorcs, sludge demons, mutant bear monsters, and more. When warned by an elf named Drift of the dangers of searching for the lost city, She Dwarf will come face to face with the consequences of her quest. Driven by memories of her mother, She Dwarf is more determined than ever to unearth the truth of the dwarves.

Savage Beard of She Dwarf is a fantasy webcomic seen in book form for the first time. From comic writer and artist Kyle Latino, this YA graphic novel packs all the epic adventure and delightful humor with a heartwarming story of a lonely dwarf searching for her place in the world.

Review:

She Dwarf believes she is the last dwarf in existence, but she wants to travel to the dwarf kingdom of Dammerung to see if there are any others still alive. She Dwarf is joined by a fighter, named Hack Battler, who she defeated in a beard battle. They are warned along the way to Dammerung of how dangerous this quest is, but She Dwarf is determined to make it to the dwarf homeland.

This graphic novel was so funny. It had some clever twists on the classic fantasy journey tale. She Dwarf is a female dwarf with a long beard. She is able to use the beard for fighting as well as style. She traveled with Hack, who was clueless most of the time. There were a few laugh out loud moments that I really enjoyed.

She Dwarf and Hack met different fantasy creatures along the way. There was an elf who helped them after proving their strength in a battle. There were goblins and a dragon. There was even a creature with real bears in place of arms. These fantastical characters made the story unpredictable and exciting.

Savage Beard of She Dwarf is a fun fantasy graphic novel.

Thank you Oni Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Girl Haven by Lilah Sturges

Dark One, Vol. 1 by Brandon Sanderson, Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly

Have you read Savage Beard of She Dwarf? What did you think of it?

Review: Shark Summer

Title: Shark Summer
Author: Ira Marcks
Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 25, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

When a Hollywood film crew arrives on Martha’s Vineyard with a mechanical shark and a youth film contest boasting a huge cash prize, disgraced pitcher Gayle “Blue Streak” Briar sees a chance to turn a bad season into the best summer ever.

After recruiting aspiring cinematographer Elijah Jones and moody director Maddie Grey, Gayle and her crew set out to uncover the truth of the island’s own phantom shark and win the prize money. But these unlikely friends are about to discover what happens when you turn your camera toward the bad things lurking below the surface.

Review:

Gayle Briar was the pitcher on her softball team until she broke her arm. Now, her mother has moved them to Martha’s Vineyard because her mom has fond memories of spending the summers there when she was a kid. Their plan to open an ice cream stand is put on hold when her mom has to get a higher paying job to pay for Gayle’s hospital bills. Gayle explores the island and watches the filming of a shark movie. Gayle ends up finding Elijah, a young eager filmmaker, and Maddie, a local girl with a ghost story. The three of them make a shark film to enter into a film competition, but they end up uncovering an ancient island secret.

This is the perfect summer read. Gayle had moved to Martha’s Vineyard, but since it was her first time spending the summer there, it was like she was on a vacation and learning about the island for the first time. Elijah was just in town for the season and Maddie had lived there all her life, but she was bullied by the local children. They were each outsiders in some way. The three of them made a good group to discover the island secrets.

I love it when characters explore an ancient ghost story! Those stores about ghosts and hidden histories fascinated me as a kid. Maddie knew a ghost story and they used it as inspiration to make their film. What Gayle and Elijah didn’t know was that the ghost story was part of a deeper secret on the island. This secret reveal at the end of the story tied everything in together, and made the story feel complete.

Shark Summer is a fun middle grade graphic novel for the summer!

Thank you Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Just Pretend by Tori Sharp

Secrets of Camp Whatever, Vol. 1 by Chris Grine

Have you read Shark Summer? What did you think of it?

Review: Just Pretend

Title: Just Pretend
Author: Tori Sharp
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 18, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A graphic memoir, in which a young girl uses her active imagination to navigate middle school as well as the fallout from her parents’ divorce. 

Tori has never lived in just one world.

Since her parents’ divorce, she’s lived in both her mom’s house and her dad’s new apartment. And in both places, no matter how hard she tries, her family still treats her like a little kid. Then there’s school, where friendships old and new are starting to feel more and more out of her hands.

Thankfully, she has books-and writing. And now the stories she makes up in her head just might save her when everything else around her—friendships, school, family—is falling apart.

Review:

Seventh grader Tori lives with her mom and her older twin siblings, and she visits her dad on weekends. Her parents treat her as a little kid, even though she’s growing up. At school, she struggles with making new friends and keeping her old ones. When they begin to bond over their love of writing or their friendships, something comes between them. Tori continues to write her own story while she tries to cope with the rest of her life.

In this graphic novel, Tori has to deal with many issues of growing up. She had problems at home, with juggling the two homes of her parents, as well as older siblings who liked to tease and bully her. She also had problems at school with her friends and her school work. The middle school years are filled with emotional relationships. Between her family and friends, Tori had to figure out many relationship dynamics that come with growing up.

I could relate to Tori in this story. Tori tried to write a story with her best friend, and I did the same thing in middle school. My friends got bored with writing after a while, like Tori’s did, but writing is still my passion. I could relate to the way Tori got lost in her fantasy world. I think other young artists will be able to relate to Tori as well.

Just Pretend is a great middle grade graphic novel!

Thank you Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Invisible Emmie by Terri Libenson

Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

Have you read Just Pretend? What did you think of it?

Review: Brontë

Title: Brontë
Author: Manuela Santoni
Genre: Graphic Novel, Biography
Publisher: Graphic Universe
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 4, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë–faced with an ailing father and an alcoholic brother–pursue independence through art in this graphic vision of the lives of three legendary writers.

Despite their family’s stormy fortunes, the Brontë sisters resolved to write. To thwart the nineteenth century’s double standards, they took the names of men, becoming the Bell brothers. Their works incited controversy and speculation, while at home, the sisters contended with the rages of Branwell Brontë, their self-destructive sibling. Manuela Santoni presents a time before Jane EyreWuthering Heights, and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall were known as literary masterpieces, when winds shook the Brontë house and determination held it together.

Review:

Emily, Anne, and Charlotte Brontë are three famous sisters who wrote in the 1800s. They had to look after their aging father and their alcoholic brother, while trying to make a name for themselves. The sisters ended up publishing under male pen names before revealing their identities.

The Brontës had tragic lives. They lost their two oldest sisters and their mother before they were ten years old. All of the siblings died as young adults, under the age of forty. Their brother, Branwell, was addicted to drugs and alcohol, so his sisters had to look after him as well as their father. I read a few reviews of this book and many people criticized it saying that it was so tragic and inaccurate. Some of the timelines may have been changed to fit into the story, but the Brontës did lead lives full of tragedy, which was reflected in their gothic novels.

The illustrations in this graphic novel were in black and white. The images were simply drawn without a lot of detail. I would have liked to see more detailed drawings. However, the simplicity and harsh black lines reflected the dark nature of the lives of the Brontë family.

I enjoyed this graphic novel biography of the Brontë sisters.

Thank you Graphic Universe for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Jane Austen: Her Heart Did Whisper by Manuela Santoni

Why She Wrote by Lauren Burke, Hannah K. Chapman, and Kaley Bales (illustrator)

Have you read Brontë? What did you think of it?

Review: Gamayun Tales I

Title: Gamayun Tales I
Author: Alexander Utkin
Genre: Children’s, Graphic Novel, Fantasy
Publisher: Nobrow
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: March 10, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Enter a world of magic and adventure in this stunning series based on traditional Russian folklore. Collected into a beautiful new paperback edition for the first time!

Alexander Utkin’s Gamayun Tales are fresh and modern adaptations of familiar Russian folktales, teamed with bold and beautiful illustrations. Jam-packed with stories of magical quests and talking animals, golden chests that turn into palaces and encounters with terrifying Water Spirits, there’s no end to the adventure in these books!

Series Overview: The Gamayun Tales are colorful stories based on Slavic mythology.

Review:

This graphic novel is a collection of stories told by Gamayun, a bird in Russian folklore who can see the future. The tales begin with talking animals, then they tell the story of a merchant and his family and the deals he makes with kings without understanding the consequences.

Each of the tales in this book were connected but they could be read on their own as well. Sometimes folktales with a moral or a lesson can have a tragic outcomes. I found that these stories had positive endings, even if they didn’t seem so at first. Everything worked out in the end, which makes it a fun, positive story for kids.

This was a beautiful book. It is printed on thick paper, which makes it feel like an art book. The illustrations had vibrant colours that made the story a fun read. The beautiful illustrations matched the tone of the folktales perfectly.

This is such a beautiful graphic novel of Russian folktales. The story continues in Gamayun Tales II, so I’m excited to read it soon!

Thank you Nobrow for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Gamayun Tales II by Alexander Utkin

How to Survive in the North by Luke Healy

Other books in the series:

  • Gamayun Tales II

Have you read Gamayun Tales I? What did you think of it?