Publisher: HarperCollins


Nimona by Noelle Stevenson | Mini Book Review

July 3, 2017 Book Review, Graphic Novel, Young Adult 1 ★★★★★

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson | Mini Book ReviewNimona by Noelle Stevenson
Published by HarperCollins on May 12, 2015
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Graphic Novel
Pages: 272
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gift from Secret Sister
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5 Stars
Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel is perfect for the legions of fans of the web comic and is sure to win Noelle many new ones.

Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren't the heroes everyone thinks they are.

But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona's powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.

I’d never ever been interested in graphic novels. Sadly, I fell prey to the assumptions that come with the word “graphic”. Instead of pictorial representations of stories, I was thinking “graphic” in the negative context, so I never felt inclined to pick one up. I was also convinced that there was no way I’d be reading an actual story with any depth to it. I’ve always assumed that stories took back seats to the illustrations as far as graphic novels are concerned. I’d been seeing so many friends fall in love with spunky heroine Nimona, however, that I decided I’d trust them and give it a go!  Nimona may have been my first graphic novel, but it certainly will not be my last!

Nimona was a fast and entertaining read. I really liked the illustrations for the most part, and Nimona’s snarky, take-no-crap attitude was very refreshing and also hilarious. I liked her a lot. The story, which centers on villainous shenanigans, was deep enough that I felt like it was an actual story and not a series of pow!s, bam!s, and zap!s, but not so deep that it was too complicated to illustrate. You can’t expect the amount of depth from a graphic novel that you can from a 500-page fantasy, but I did feel like this story had enough meat to it that it will stick with me.

I’m so glad I gave Nimona a try! I can tell that I will never prefer graphic novels to traditional novels, but it’s so nice to add some variety to my to-be-read list. Sometimes I like something a little fluffier or something that can distract me for a day, and that’s why I’ve come to appreciate graphic novels. It also helps that I’m artsy. lol. I think Nimona was a great gateway graphic novel for me. I enjoyed the characters, the story, the storytelling, the illustrations, and the kind of book I could read very quickly and enjoy over the course of a few hours. It reminded me of watching a movie, and that was very fun for me.


The Dragon Prince: A Chinese Beauty & the Beast Tale by Laurence Yep | Children’s Book Review

March 16, 2017 Children's Book Review, Inner Child 5 ★★★★★

The Dragon Prince: A Chinese Beauty & the Beast Tale by Laurence Yep | Children’s Book ReviewThe Dragon Prince: A Chinese Beauty & the Beast Tale by Laurence Yep
Published by HarperCollins on January 9, 1999
Genres: Classic, Fairy Tale, Retelling
Pages: 32
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed from Library
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5 Stars
When a poor farmer falls into the clutches of a dragon, only Seven, his youngest daughter, will save him—by marrying the beast.

Publishers Weekly praised "Yep's elegant, carefully crafted storytelling" and Mak's "skillfully and radiantly rendered illustrations" in this captivating and luminous Chinese variation of the beauty and the beast tale.

The Dragon Prince by Laurence Yep is the Chinese version of Beauty and the Beast, and is so rich in culture. Inside the book the author includes his source notes, explaining that this tale is a Southern Chinese version of the classic. He also thanks Truly Shay for helping him translate several tales for him. Immediately, I felt confident that this book would be of very high quality because of the proof of research.

This tale is written in a way that sounds natural when read aloud, and the text is very traditional and stylistically magical. The story includes cultural elements that seem true to the area in which it takes place, including the fact that it’s about a rice farmer and his daughters, a serpent for a beast (that becomes a dragon), the term bride prince is used, and the palace is located in an underwater garden under the ocean’s surface. The story takes an interesting spin, and Seven’s (the Beauty equivalent) sister attempts to drown her and take her place. The prince can tell, though, and searches to find his lost Seven. They live happily ever after.

Elegant silk robes, jade cups, and gold plates are illustrated. The illustrations themselves are reminiscent of Chinese style, with bright colors, Chinese architecture and clothing, and a stylized dragon. The prince speaks of the traditional Chinese custom of brides visiting their families after their wedding.

 

Oh my goodness, I love this version of Beauty and the Beast so much. The Chinese culture, colors, and design influences make it not only entertaining, but a rich, educational, vibrant tale that anyone would love. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves China, Beauty and the Beast, beautiful illustrations, and learning about other cultures!


Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little | Book Review

November 17, 2014 Book Review, Young Adult 0 ★★★

Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little | Book ReviewForbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little
Series: Forbidden #1
Published by HarperCollins on November 4, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Romance
Pages: 397
Format: eBook
Source: From the publisher through Edelweiss
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3 Stars
In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart.

Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying.

With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family’s survival on the line, Jayden must embark on a deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find a true love for herself.

Set against the brilliant backdrop of the sprawling desert, the story of Jayden and Kadesh will leave readers absolutely breathless as they defy the odds and risk it all to be together.

As soon as I saw “Mesopotamian desert” I was sold. I have never read a book that takes place there, and I was super excited about it! Tribes and a shadowy boy and a forbidden romance were just icing on the cake! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Things started out a little slow for me, and I actually almost quit about a quarter of the way through. I’m really glad I hung in there, though, because I actually enjoyed this book more than I thought I would.

2. Forbidden love stories are pretty common in YA literature, considering the fact that young people usually have a lot pulling them away from romance altogether. It’s easy to read the same story over and over again, but the additions of tribal life, arranged marriages, and cultural divides made this one unique and interesting to read about.

3. Griffiths Little did a great job of writing about the desert. Deserts are not the most gloriously beautiful landscapes. There’s sand and dunes and the occasional camel. The author much to work with, but she brought life to the desert and painted a lovely picture in my mind.

4. The world is very intriguing and exciting to read about. I liked reading about the tribal customs, rituals, and culture. They have legends and a kind of religious connection with life. At the same time, the world is brutal and dark and dangerous. People murder to get ahead, they take freedoms away from others to show dominance, and they belittle the less fortunate. I would hate living in this time and in this place.

5. Jayden’s life is pretty much the worst! She’s being forced to marry a man she does not love, the man she does love is in danger of losing his life for loving her, she is never safe, nobody believes a lowly woman, and she holds her family’s lives in her hands. I felt horrible for her!

6. Kadesh, the shadowy boy, is mysterious and very interesting. We do not learn much about him, but I’m assuming we will as the series progresses. He seems very honorable and protective, though, not to mention respectful of women. His views of life are more modern than the men of Jayden’s tribe, so he was a breath of fresh air. I’m eager to see what happens between these two.

7. Horeb, Jayden’s betrothed, is your typical historical villain. He has no regard for what Jayden wants or how she feels, and he has a handle on her that is dangerous and hard to escape. Plus, women are pretty much useless to him. He’s evil, evil, evil. I don’t like him at all, and feel like he does not really stand out from other evil characters.

8. My main complaint is that this book was LONG. It started out slow for me, and it dragged in other places. I feel like it took a long time for things to happen, and if things weren’t happening then we were following the tribe’s migration through the desert. I would have really liked more action or fewer pages.

All in all, this book was ok for me. I’m intrigued enough to read book 2, but I’m not dying for it. I’d like to see how things turn out for Jayden and Kadesh, and I’m interested in reading more about this world. I hope book 2 contains more substance, though, and holds my attention more.