Friday, September 30, 2016

Book Review: Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children Series by Ransom Riggs

When books are adapted into films, I prefer reading the book before I watch the movie. It doesn't always happen, but I try my best to do so because I want to imagine the story before seeing someone else's interpretation.

Thus when I heard Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs was being adapted into a film, I wanted to read the books first. I had heard of the book a while ago (honestly, who couldn't remember that cover and the vintage photos), but I just now got around to reading the whole series. While reviews of the movie had arrived with some mixed results, I still look forward to watching the movie. But for now, here's what I thought of each book.

Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children series follows Jacob, who learns that he is peculiar--a person with a special ability--and that peculiardom is on the brink of destruction due to the hollowgasts and wights. As Jacob and the other peculiar children try to save the peculiar world, they encounter many other peculiar people and animals while being hunted by those who want to destroy them.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Book #1)

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children follows Jacob as he travels to a remote island in Wales to find closure after his grandfather's death. There, he stumbles upon this strange world of peculiar children--children who knew his grandfather--at Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Jacob learns his grandfather was peculiar, and he is peculiar too.

I enjoyed this story. It certainly wasn't perfect. The beginning was a bit slow and not at all what I was expecting. The entire story wasn't at all like I was expecting to be honest. The old photographs were sometimes creepy, sometimes just weird. This book wasn't exactly creepy though. It was more fantasy/super powers than creepy. But overall, the story was easy to follow and the characters were intriguing. It had an interesting twist with the pictures, and it was super creative and unique. I know that the ending left me wanting to continue because my entire Goodreads review is simply: "ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh."

Rating: 5/5 (Mainly because I love Emma.)

The Hollow City (Book #2)

The Hollow City starts right where the second left off. Jacob and the other peculiar children have to escape from the wights that are chasing them and head to the peculiar capital of the world in order to warn others that the wights are closing in. 

When I started this book, I heard from others that it wasn't as good as the first one, but I found myself enjoying it. It's not the same story, so of course it will be different. The story expands into a bigger plot and a bigger scope. Suddenly it's not just one kid trying to figure out the missing pieces of his grandfather's past; now, it's a struggle to save the entire peculiar world. 

I think the bigger scope escalated the excitement factor for this book. Everything expanded. And the pictures were less creepy and more intriguing. This book propelled me to read the third book because I truly felt this story deserved the description of "peculiar."

The Library of Souls (Book #3)

The Library of Souls concludes the trilogy and Jacob's quest to save the peculiar world. And that's about all I can tell you without including spoilers.

For the most part, I enjoyed this book too. It opened up yet another side of the peculiar world, and it brought together a lot of threads from the other two books to be wrapped up in this one. It was a fun, adventurous story with a lot of crazy stuff and interesting aspects. The ending of the book kind of left me a little disappointed because it went in a direction that felt unnecessary and a waste of a few pages. At the same time, it wrapped up too nicely and neatly. I want the characters to get mostly what they want and to end somewhat happy, but it just felt weird and too much. But I guess, it's not my book; I didn't write the ending. And that didn't ruin the whole series. 

Tales of the Peculiar (Book #0.5)

Tales of the Peculiar is mentioned in the main trilogy as a story book about other peculiars from the past. It's a collection of short stories about peculiars. I didn't expect much of it, but it was an interesting addition to the peculiar world. It didn't take long to read at all.

The cover and artwork were the best part--absolutely gorgeous. The stories were bizarre, but none of them were memorable. We did get the full giant tale that's featured in The Hollow City. I think fans of the trilogy will probably want to read this. It was entertaining.

Overall though, these books were fun to read and such, but they didn't leave any lasting impressions in my mind. I'm glad I read them, but I don't think I will ever go back and re-read them. They just aren't the types of books to re-read. I would definitely read more books by Ransom Riggs though.

Have you read any Miss Peregrine books? What are you currently reading now?

Monday, September 26, 2016

Beautiful People: September 2016

As always, I have delayed my participation in Beautiful People until the last week. Someday I will get around to doing Beautiful People earlier in the month, but it is not this day!

Since I'm working on the next chapter for the forthcoming serial story (read: should be writing but currently am not writing), I decided to give my muse a little inspiration by answering these questions about Ryker. You've met him recently, and I guess I can't shake off my newfound love for him yet.

Here are Septembers questions!

1. How did you come up with this character?
A friend invited me to join her in writing a serial story, so I had to come up with a few characters to add to this new world we started building. I've always loved friendships with a large age gap, so I knew I wanted to have that be my focused characters. After a lot of research with names, I narrowed down my choice to Ryker, which incidentally means "rich." As you know, Ryker kind of lives day-to-day; he's poor. So I thought having a "rich" name would be fitting. Pinterest helped me develop the rest, such as what he looked like and what he wore (and how much of a sad, poor baby he is). As we developed the world, more of who he is fell into place.

2. Have they ever been starving? Why? And what did they eat to break the fast?
Yes. He's actually been starving often since he has to fend for himself in an environment that isn't conducive for growing food. Most often he breaks those fasts by eating something of substance, though usually bland in taste--hard bread, porridge (aka "gray slop"), or a cup of bitter coffee.

3. Do they have a talent or skill that they’re proud of?
He can manipulate the elements fairly well. But he's most proud of his ability to retain stories and his story-teller's voice.

4. List 3 things that would make them lose their temper.
Injustice acts--he has a big heart and does not wish to see others mistreated or hurt.
If anybody did anything to Wren--kidnap, hurt her feelings, physically harm her, etc.
Coming face-to-face with the people who ruined his family--he doesn't openly seek out revenge, but if given the opportunity, he'd definitely avenge his family.

5. What is their favorite type of weather? Least favorite?
He likes the days when it's cool in the morning and the evening but pleasantly warm in the afternoon. The ones with bright skies and a fervor to stay outside all day. He hates cold, damp days where the sky is one shade of gray and there is no getting warm.

6. What is their Hogwarts house and/or MBTI personality?
His Hogwarts House would probably be Slytherin, though Hufflepuff might be an option for him as well. I haven't quite figured out his MBTI yet.

7. Are they more likely to worry about present problems, or freak out about the unknown future?
He'll worry about present problems. Tomorrow won't come if he doesn't survive today.

8. What is their favorite thing to drink?
When he lived in Taegan, his home island, he always liked fresh, cold water from natural springs. People on Taegan usually wanted to spice up their drinks with flavor, so they almost never drank just pure water. He always preferred it.
In Blitzkrieg, he'd do almost anything to have a mug of steaming chocolate (aka hot cocoa).

9. What is their favorite color? Least favorite?
His favorite color is purple, which is kind of odd. But it reminds him of his mother's favorite flower on Taegan, the one that she would put in her hair. And it's the color of the fabric Wren wore when he met her.
His least favorite color is probably a shade of gray. It reminds him of Blitzkrieg's dull skies and the featureless faces that haunt his dreams.

10. What is a book that changed their life?
He's never had that many books to read, though he wishes he did. One memorable book is one his mother made for him out of a dried leaf pulp and thread. She would draw pictures of things on the island of Taegan along with how to spell the words, so Ryker could learn to read and identify things when he had been quite young. It still sticks in his memory as the most important book because it's the last thing he has that ties him physically to his mother.

Did you participate in Beautiful People? Join us here!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

French Fries Are Better Than People

You know that feeling when you're surrounded by tons of people but no matter what you do you still feel like you're saying the wrong thing or acting the wrong way. You're like that one french fry or nacho chip without cheese and bacon and whatever other glorious globs of gloop are scooped perfectly atop the mound of greasy goodness. You're left out no matter how hard you try to fit in. You just don't make the cut. But then you find mutual friends because of randomly, bizarrely, happenstancely you end up in the same college classroom as three people that just happen to have the same interests and sense of humor as your golden self. Because it's not so simple as trying to fit in and making it work. It just happens and suddenly you find yourself in a car with people on a dark, country road laughing about stars and musicals and what it means to grow up and break free from this overbearing shell that says you must fit in and you must make people like you. In the end, you don't make people like you because of trying to say the right thing or make the right action. In the end, you don't always get to choose perfectly how you find friendship. You just dip your hand into the pile of french fries and pull out that shoestring potato covered in sour cream and melted cheese and you hope the gloop is as good as it looks. But what is better than a life full of adventures with people you don't have to impress or worry about all the little tics about you. Because when someone important to you tells you something about yourself you never realized or you didn't actually like, you rethink that part of yourself. You begin anew. You wipe yourself clean of gloop and you look at yourself in a freshly cut way. And maybe instead of peeling away at all your flaws, you start to see them as something more, as something someone loves, as something that makes you "you," and life becomes a little better. Because you don't have to pretend or overthink or rethink or analyze every sentence or hand motion. You can just be your golden self. And all because you decided to enroll at a college in a specific area of study at a certain time when you'd be placed in a course that felt pointless and miserable until you realize without that, you would never have found the best french fries in the whole fryer.

Either way, french friends with friends is better than potatoes with people.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Comic Book Conglomeration #4

Earlier this week, I read three books and three comic books within three days. It was wild and refreshing. I haven't had that much time to read in ages. Thus I have plenty of material for this week's Comic Book Conglomeration.

(I know I skipped a week recently. I had only one completed comic to discuss at the time, and I was busy camping [read: getting rained on] with the girls from my church. So forgive me, please?)

The Star Wars by. J.W. Rinzler
This comic was super interesting. It's basically the rough draft version of George Lucas' Star Wars. Thus, it's crazy. Well-known characters started off differently (like Han Solo is a giant, green alien and the Wookies live like the Ewoks?), the plot is vastly different yet has threads that were kept in the final script (Save the Princess, Save the Galaxy), and there is a lot of concepts and ideas throughout the graphic novel that were definitely used in later movies (Skywalker, Starkiller), even The Force Awakens. Let's just say, this is a pretty cool comic book.

It was fascinating to read all the differences and to be introduced to a unique science-fiction story line. Obviously there are major flaws with the story, the dialogue, everything. It was a rough draft! But it makes me wonder how the story would turn out if some of this was salvaged into an edited version. I wonder how long it'll be until someone decides to fix this up and make it into a movie. I mean, the Wookie does get a medal at the end...

The Immortal Iron Fist: The Complete Collection Vol. 1 by Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker
I read this giant collection on a car ride, so that could have affected my judgment. It wasn't necessarily bad, it was just long and not what I was expecting. The entire collection follows Danny Rand as he juggles being a billionaire (another one?) and the vigilante/superhero Iron Fist. We get a lot of backstory throughout this collection. Like the entire backstory of his father and the entire backstory of the man who raised his father. And like backstory on a few other Iron First incarnations. It was a lot. A lot was packed into this without a whole lot of explanation.

Iron Fist is based on mystical martial arts lore and crazy stuff like K'un-Lun, which is a city that doesn't exist on Earth (or something). And tons of other crazy mystical martial arts masters. Basically, I was confused a lot because I'm not familiar with these topics. (Though, I wish this comic could have introduced me to them. It didn't.) It was long, but it wasn't necessarily bad or good. It was just kind of... okay, what?

This doesn't mean I won't read more Iron Fist comics in the future; I definitely will. It just means I will try my best to look into finding the right comics to read. Something that introduces me to Iron Fist slowly and simply. Even after reading almost 500 pages of the comic, I didn't feel like I had a good grasp on who Danny Rand or Iron Fist was.

Final Crisis by Grant Morrison
So this comic follows the DC heroes as Darkseid (or whatever) tries to take over the world/galaxy/something and... succeeds. What? The Bad Guy wins?! I guess so? You know what, I'm actually not really sure what happened. And I think that's a much bigger crisis.

You see, I don't like comic books that confuse me. (See Iron Fist above and Fear Itself and The Defenders.) And this one confused me. A lot. I got characters mixed up (Who is narrating this section? Who ????), I didn't know what was happening most of the time (Wait, we're in a state of limbo but not?), and the ending left me thinking "Whaaaaat?" Now, I know I'm not a comic book expert or anything, but I know how to read comic books. I've read tons of comic books in my lifetime. I can read and understand them as long as the plot line makes sense and the characters' actions are clear. Final Crisis? Not so much. It was confusing. I'm still not sure what happened.

Yes, there were good moments. There were heroic moments and memorable moments (like when Batman--ah, spoilers). But a lot of it was crazy and confusing and just... poorly executed. Crisis, indeed.

Lumberjanes Vol. 1 by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, and Shannon Watters
Ah, sweet relief. There are no words to accurately describe my adoration for the Lumberjanes. It was refreshing to read this hilarious, stinking adorable, perfectly written comic after the other disappointments. Lumberjanes follows five butt-kicking pals that get into all sorts of crazy trouble at "Miss Qiunzilla Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet's camp for hard-core lady-types." (I want to go to this camp so badly.) They fight three-eyed foxes, fall down secret caves, meet hipster yetis, and deal with the boys' camp...

Basically, this comic is adorable, hilarious, wonderful, magical, and amazing. 10/10 would recommend, read again, and devour the rest of the series once I can get my hands on them. Each of the five girls are unique and well represented. None are too similar, cliche, or boring. They are all rad and butt-kicking. I love them all. And their wild adventures are fantastic and funny. The layout of the comic is clever and perfect. Basically, there is too much to list everything this comic did right. I love it all. Give me more now.

If you love comics or laughing or fun female characters, you should read this. Also if you ever did anything similar to summer camp or Girl Scouts or whatever, this is too much perfection. Go read it.

What comic books have you been reading lately?

Monday, September 19, 2016

A Novel Idea: 9/13/16

It's been a while since I participated in A Novel Idea. September has been crazy busy lately, though I can't pinpoint why. I've written a lot recently on The Fangirl Initiative instead. But this week, I thought I would try to tackle A Novel Idea because I just can't resist this prompt!
This week, tell us about one of your favorite characters to write. What is your favorite part about writing them? Feel free to share photos and/or snippets.
It took me some time to decide on a favorite character--I love all my characters, even the bad ones! But finally, I narrowed it down to a character I haven't introduced before: Estrid. Well, Estrid and Dar, since they appear in a story together.

Sometime last year, I asked a friend for a writing prompt just to get me going. He simply stated: write about dragons. Now, as you probably know, that's usually what I end up writing about. So I needed something a little more to go on. I began with a sentence, a small inkling of an idea, and suddenly I was off on an adventure that was quite unexpected, extraordinary, and exciting. I wrote an entire short story in the span of a few hours, hardly stopping for a break until I had created this entire world and breathed life into new characters.

Estrid and Dar and the Borrowing Barrows were born. And I adored it.
"In the dusty corner of the market place sat a small shop squashed between the newer, bigger buildings. It was shadowed and quiet, away from the fanfare of the center plaza where shoppers haggled over prices and exchanged gold pennies. The building was compacted, a strange-set up compared to the rest of the shops, which all had ample space and clean-cut, white or gray stones. This shop was made of dark, clay bricks, brittle and molting from age. It sat in the dark eaves of the towering shops like a trampled, withered plant." 
While I have yet to truly mull over and edit it, "Estrid and the Borrowing Barrows" still lingers in my mind as one of my greatest writing feats. I don't normally write short stories, but this one holds a special place in my heart and has inspired an entire collection of short stories centered in this new world. It's lovely.

Thus, Estrid and Dar are two of my favorite characters (along with Jett the Dragon). Estrid is a newly eleven-year-old girl, who visits the Borrowing Barrows for the first time on her birthday. The Borrowing Barrows is an old shop full of mystery, marvel, and magic. Dar, a man with fire for hair and a dragon for a friend, runs the shop. (Or something. He's kind of mysterious that way.) The story itself has been described as Alice in Wonderland meets Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium in Diagon Alley, which is absolutely delightful.
“Hello,” Estrid said again. She waved her hand, which made her scarf quiver as her fingers still had hold of the material.
The fire-headed man nodded and grinned. “Hullo, welcome to Here.”
“Where is Here?” Estrid asked.
“Here? What’s here? I said ‘Welcome to Here,’ which is everywhere.”
 Estrid laughed through her nose. “What is this place?”
“This is This Place. The place where Things Happen,” the man said. He rubbed his chin and patted the dragon on the head. “My name is Dar, and this is my good ole pal, Jett. He’s a dragon.”
Estrid nodded, which made Dar smile. He had two sharp teeth at the front of his mouth that glinted.
“Today is my birthday, and I have exactly eleven pennies. What can I buy here?” Estrid asked.
Dar frowned. He reach up and whipped his mirrored glasses off his face. Then he leaned in closer to Estrid and looked around wildly before whispering, “There isn’t anything to
buy here, just to borrow. This is the Borrowing Barrows after all.”
I think my favorite part about writing them is that they were so unexpected. Everything that I wrote came on a whim, which was fun and also adventurous. It wasn't anything I had written before. Estrid is adorable and also similar both to Alice (in Wonderland) and Lucy Pevensie (Narnia); she's quite smart for an eleven-year-old, but she still has this sense of wonder and belief in the mythical as well.

Dar was also delightful to write because he was just so odd. He literally has fire for hair. He's also quirky, talks in riddles, uses big words, and may or may not be a vampire (or some other mythical entity). His best friend is a dragon, and he also has this mysterious and dramatic flair to him. (Basically, picture Howl from Howl's Moving Castle mixed with Sebastian Stan's Mad Hatter but with Robbie Kay's eyebrows.) It was so fun to create an adult character that 1. doesn't treat the child like she was stupid 2. can be eccentric without coming across childish and 3. believes in magic when most other people do not.
"The wall of books parted in a flash, gone off the middle of the desk and pushed to the edges. She saw a young man with fire for hair staring at her from behind mirrored glasses. Sitting on the desk next to him was a dragon no bigger than one of the tabby cats Estrid had at home." 
"He lifted his pointer finger in the air—which suddenly turned dark black again—and made a wild expression with his face. A half grin with only part of his teeth sticking out and his right eyebrow twitch crazily above his hairline." 
Basically, these two characters inspired me to step out of my comfort zone of writing and to try something new. It worked, and I fell in love with a new kind of story craft. At some point, I'd love to develop this idea further and add more to the story.

Do you participate in A Novel Idea? Join us! Which characters do you love to write?

Friday, September 16, 2016

Audiobook Review: Doll Bones by Holly Black

Earlier this year, starting listening to audiobooks for the first time. For a while, I thought I wouldn't like audiobooks because I wouldn't be able to pay attention or I would miss parts of the story. (I'm a very visual person.) But I have a 20+ minute drive to work and back, so I thought maybe I would see if listening to a story would make my mornings and evenings more enjoyable. Surprisingly, it worked. In such a short span of time, I've grown to love audiobooks, not just for the easiness of interacting with a story but also for the varied voice-acting and other sounds that might come with the audiobook.

I've mainly listened to the Divergent series by Veronica Roth and most of A Series of Unforunate Events by Lemony Snicket. But in between, I've listened to a few other audiobooks. One of those was Doll Bones by Holly Black. 

Doll Bones was recommended to me by my mom as a light, fun adventure story for middle school readers. She was exactly right. The story follows three middle school kids--Zach, Poppy, and Alice--as they embark on an adventure across state lines to bury a creepy doll that may have been made from the bones of a dead girl. I know, a little spooky, right? As these three go about their adventure, they get themselves into all kinds of trouble and weird situations. Despite not being a huge fan of creepy/spooky stories, I adored this book.

First, the characters were distinct and realistic. Each one is going through a "coming of age" time in life, whether it's learning to put away childish things, developing first crushes, or trying to hold on to the innocence and imagination of childhood. They all had their own personality, their own ups and downs of life, and their own desires and dreams. It was refreshing to see so much detail poured into characters for a middle school book. A lot of middle school reads can fall flat or are only "so-so" developed because people think kids that age don't need stories with rich details and full development. (Hint: every book should be developed fully, even books for children.)

Second, the story was interesting. The details surrounding the mystery of the doll were definitely gripping. I can easily see this being something a middle school kid would be drawn to. But at the same time, it's much more than just a spooky story for kids. It's a story about adventure and friendship and finding a way to cope with growing up. At the beginning of the story, Zach--despite being a 12-year-old boy--loves to play with action figures to make up stories. Due to some incidents, he starts to realize the... implications of playing with "dolls" and with girls. But throughout the story, it's the art of story-making and utilizing the imagination that makes their adventure work. And I love that idea. Because the heart of this story isn't about a creepy doll; it's about a group of kids that love to make up stories and trying to find a way to hold on to that while the world is telling them to grow up and get over themselves.

As a writer--and the kid who wanted to play with dolls forever--I wish this story was marketed more than just "creepy doll! scary story! murder! aaah!" I wish it was marketed as a story about kids learning to continue their "play" and their "imaginations" and their "story-telling" even when they grow out of playing with dolls. That's what it's about: three kids who like to make up stories, to make up worlds and characters, trying to find how they can continue even when they get older. 

The only big problem I had with the story is that the kids don't get punished in the end for running away or stealing things or breaking into the library. I think they needed to get punished, but they didn't. Instead they finished their quest and things seemed to be working out pretty great for them. But that's now always how life works. And as a story that hinges on the subject of a "coming-of-age" story arc, making it realistic is important.

In addition, I thought the narrator of the audiobook--Nick Podehl--did a splendid job of narrating. He did well with the different characters, the internal thoughts of Zach, and the overall story. While the story is told in limited third-person perspective, it still felt as if Zach might have been telling the story in some manner, which makes, once more, the heart of the story that much more significant.

Overall, Doll Bones was different yet entertaining. I will definitely recommend this book to pre-teens and early teens. It was fun, full of adventure with a slight creepy factor with a resounding message for all kids--not just story-tellers or writers--to understand.

Have you read Doll Bones? What's your favorite Middle School level read?

Monday, September 5, 2016

Fair Food

The aura of hay and animal sweat mingles with the bloated, mouth-watering stench of deep fryers and grease, rising to the cloudless blue skies overwhelmed with the suffocating rays of sunlight. You know that moment when Anne Shirley meets someone and immediately knows if he or she will be a kindred spirit? Well, I know. And after spending time mooning over the biggest moo-ers in the county and counting chicks after they've hatched, I can tell this scruffy goat is going to be a kindred spirit. It's not just because his barnyard shenanigans fit with the frenzy of fair food and floppy-eared friends. But the manner of joining a family is like auctioning off a piece of yourself. And I think there is a piece worth giving the galloping Galapagos goat because friendships are formed over fair fries and milkshakes swirled with syrupy strains, not over chat messages or photogenic photos plastered across social media where life can't truly be lived behind a screen. Yet the happiness of horses are heffalumped with the hays and neighs of shared experience, and this is one experience I don't want to forget. Because loneliness still crops and threatens to gnaw on me like the way the cow chews the cud over and over in a dazed state as its eyes fall half-asleep or like the way floppy-eared rabbits nibble their noses at nothing. I don't want to feel alone when I'm surrounded by the whole farm making a rooster of a ruckus at every turn. I want to experience fair food and friendship with fresh hay and run as fast as those piggies in the race trying to find a treat. Basically: I think you're all swell.

My day at the fair: September 3, 2016

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Comic Book Conglomeration #3

The amount of comic books I still need to read is pretty ridiculous. I've had two stashed in my room for almost a month and have yet to crack open the pages. I just ordered another through the library, and more are being released that I want to read right now! It's a problem, I know.

Here's what I've read most recently.

Fear Itself by Matt Fraction

I'll admit I picked up this comic because it was by Matt Fraction. I wanted to read more of his writing beyond Hawkeye and The Defenders. This comic book was crazy. There was a lot packed into the eight issues that make up this arc. A lot of sad events happened. The premise revolves around Sin, the new Red Skull, who finds the Hammer of Skadi, lifts it, and becomes Skadi, Herald of the Serpent. (I know, I'm confused too.) Basically, she unleashes a lot of stuff that devastates the world and the heroes, some of them turning into rampaging, powerful war generals that feed off fear.

The thing with this comic is that there are a lot of characters from across Marvel comics that come together. There's a lot of mythology spread throughout the comic as well. In addition, this is only the main story of the Fear Itself arc. There are more in-depth comics related through the heroes' own comic issues. I wouldn't recommend this to comic newbies for those reasons. It's hard to keep track of all the characters and events.

However, I think if you're a seasoned Marvel comics reader, this is probably a story you wouldn't want to miss out on. And it might be worth looking into reading the other volumes that go with it. It's pretty devastating and sad, but I think it's also powerful and incredible. Take this one slow. Read it so you understand; don't rush. Let yourself have time to process the entire story. Also, Marvel? Please don't ever make this into a movie adaptation.


Attack on Titan Vol. 18-19 by Hajime Isayama

I've been a fan of Attack on Titan for over two years now. Isn't that crazy? While I watched season one of the anime first (the only season we have *shakes fist*), I wanted to read the manga to find out what's in the dang basement. Nineteen volumes in, I still don't know what's in the basement. But I've been enlightened about other things from this world that aren't revealed in the anime (yet).

Attack on Titan is a story about the survival of humanity. The last of the humans live within walled cities, hiding from Titans: giant, humanoid creatures that feed off humans with no significant reason. Soldiers are trained to fight the Titans to protect the walled cities, but there is much more going on than anybody seems to realize...

Volume 18 and 19 in particular were just as exciting as ever. Previously the story had diverged a little from Eren Jaeger, which was okay but not my favorite. But now we're back on track with Eren and the rest of the Scouting Legion as they try to make their next move against the Titans. Let's just say, it was very exciting and scary and exhilarating. Volume 18 made progress toward recovering the basement and amplified my adoration for Eren and Armin's friendship. (I'm not crying; I'm definitely crying). Volume 19, however, was insane. I have no words for the ending except: "LEAVE ME TO DIE. WHAT IN THE WORLD JUST HAPPENED."

Basically: I need Volume 20 right now!! Curse you English translations!

Injustice: Gods Among Us, Year 4: Vol. 2 by Brian Buccellato

Injustice: Gods Among Us is a DC comics series that prequels the video game. After Superman, drugged by Joker, kills Lois Lane and his unborn child, he snaps. He becomes a dictator-like guardian of Earth, interfering with anything and everything in order to make "peace." However, this peace is fragile, and he ends up taking more lives as the Justice League splits in half and some heroes--like Batman--try to stop his reign. Overall, it's an intriguing, yet devastating, story arc, and it's not finished yet.

I've read up to year four of the Injustice comics so far. And I've liked what I've read. The concept of Superman essentially turning morally gray in order to keep peace is interesting and unique. Throughout the four years so far, there have been a lot of characters to come in and out, assisting the two sides of heroes in this fight. We've seen magicians like Constantine, Greek Gods like Poseidon, and the entirety of the Green Lanterns. There are a lot of characters and a lot of events.

Which is why Year Four Volume 2 started to feel like it was dragging. I understand they planned to do five years worth of Team Batman trying to stop Team Superman, but at this point, nothing has changed. Neither side has gained over the other, and it's becoming... tiring. I want something exciting to happen that gives hope that Batman's side can win. Because right now it seems pretty hopeless. I'm also tired of Superman being evil and stupid. I understand he lost Lois, but I just don't want my precious alien cinnamon roll to hurt himself or others anymore.

Great concept, but it needs more drive now. Plus, this is the only time I will ever side with Batman over Superman. (I can't even believe I'm saying this!)

What comic books have you read recently?