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review 2018-04-13 18:55
Mary: The Summoning Review
MARY: The Summoning - Hillary Monahan

Source: Library

 

Mary: The Summoning does the Bloody Mary legend good. Hillary Monahan moves the story along with a purpose, and by the time you’re done with the first book, you need the second one on-hand immediately. (I’ve already reserved the second book at the library.) We do get a complete story arc in Mary: The Summoning, so it’s more of a gleeful “Must read book 2!” than a frustrated cry. I want to know more about the revelation of the connection to Bloody Mary, and I want a certain someone to get their comeuppance. (And also, why did Mary orient on Shauna to begin with? What made her choose her? Inquiring minds need to know!)

 

I felt like the interactions between the four friends was very real feeling in Mary: The Summoning. And, by the end of it, I was cheering a few of them on when they finally did what needed to be done. Things were frequently very tense between them, but they also demonstrated a certain maturity when push came to shove and they needed to overcome their differences. Also, it was nice that the parents of some of the kids felt a bit more present in this book. Even though there were still some of the usual tropes like the MC being in a one parent household, the mom was still there. Even if she wasn’t always physically present, she was always texting her kid, checking up on her, letting her know that she was loved and such. It was a nice, positive reinforcement of how a parent can stay in touch with their child in today’s world.

 

The scenes where Mary was on the other side of the window, trying to get through always creeped me out. I don’t think I’ll be looking in my mirrors any time soon for longer than I absolutely have to. There were elements incorporated that I had never of before in conjunction with Bloody Mary. (However, seeing as how I never actually did Bloody Mary when I was little, I don’t know if they were new elements or what.) The salt on tape thing was definitely a neat trick, though, that you can see a crafty teenager coming up with. Mary: The Summoning has lots of deliciously creepy scenes to keep perpetually tense. 

 

Of course, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. One of the biggest faults to Mary: The Summoning is that Mary herself is too Samara-esque. The author does a great job of reminding you exactly how creepy that demon/dead girl movement is from the movies. Which is a problem considering Mary is supposed to be her own freaky character. It’s an awesome thing to be able to remind readers of something that utterly freaked them out, but you don’t want to go too far and make it into a clone, which is kind of what happened here.

 

Also, and this is something I seem to have run into a few times lately, but the main character Shauna, is just so… blank. Is this a thing in YA books that  I’m just now noticing? Do they now try to keep the main characters as blank as possible so that the reader can insert themselves in the story? If so, it sucks. Give us characters who are feisty or quiet. That like loud music, or don’t like music at all. Give us sarcasm, wit, or even timidity. Just don’t give us a character so bland that you can’t remember her bloody name halfway through the book!

 

Overall, while Mary: The Summoning could be a bit better, I was very pleased with what I read. I can’t wait to get my hands on book 2. Hillary Monahan is a solid writer, and this is a great book in the YA Horror category. And there wasn’t even a love triangle in it, imagine that! 

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review 2018-03-17 08:00
Bloody Mary
Bloody Mary - Garth Ennis,Carlos Ezquerra

Bloody Mary is a reprint of an original series from 1997. So, I assumed that at least some people thought it had stand up to time and was worthy of a new edition.

However, not often I've been able to say that I didn't like a book more convincingly than with Bloody Mary. It really wasn't for me. Neither style, story or art could bother me. A struggle to finish.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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review 2017-06-14 05:10
Living through footnotes...
Queen of Martyrs - Samantha Wilcoxson

Bloody Mary... First Queen of England... Daughter of Henry VIII... Disinherited... Unloved and Alone.. These are just a few of the thoughts that come to mind when one thinks of Mary Tudor..

 

Mary Tudor has long been vilified in the eyes of history. Condemned for her harsh treatment of perceived heretics in her kingdom, the first queen of England was hiding the longing that was inside of her.
As a child, she was the apple of her father's eye, loved and cherished. Then came the nasty business of the "other woman" and the loss of Mary's mother. With queen Catherine removed from court, and the process of a divorce moving forward, Mary became lost in limbo. Losing her status as princess, and forced to serve in the household of her new half-sister, she throws herself deeper into her faith. All she wanted was her fathers affection, but that was only given sparingly. As she matured into adulthood, she began to hope for love and a family of her own. Her hopes her dashed as time keeps moving forward and no move is made to procure a marriage for her. When her father finally dies, and her brother comes to the throne, she does her best to be there for him, but the changing climate in religion forces her to move away from court.
Throughout her brothers reign, the warnings about her faith are given, but she continues regardless of what they say. But when her brother finally puts his food down, she realizes that he is growing up, and will soon be his own counselor. But the foundation of her faith is the only thing that keeps her going. Her house continues to practice Catholicism, regardless of the tenor from the courts. But after her brothers death and the young Lady Jane is proclaimed queen, Mary moves forward with her own claim for the throne. With the country behind her, she is swept into London, and proclaimed queen. Her countrymen have become her children, and she pours her love into her kingdom. With marriage coming into the picture, she can hope for happiness, but again she is disappointed. Philip fulfills what he must for the marriage, but no more. Mary pours herself into her marriage, only to have her heart broken continually. With the support of her cousin, the Cardinal Pole, she pushes forward with her reforms and her punishments, but slowly she is losing the love of her land. With no heir, she is forced to name her sister, who has not converted to the Catholic faith.
With the death of Mary comes the death of the hopes of returning England to the fold of the church of Rome, and ushers in a new era.

The story of Mary is one that is both heartbreaking and horrifying. All she wanted was love, the love of a father figure who was never there for her. The upheavals of her life must have seriously marked the young lady. Six queens, six mother figures, only two that were ever really there for her. Friendships which were lost through deaths, and the sad life of a woman who only wanted someone to confide in. With her husband not really caring for her and anxiously looking for any reason to leave, the queen is left with no one to really turn to for support. Her loyal ladies and the few supporters she has, are not ones that can be trusted with the pains of her heart.
I loved this story, and the breath of fresh air that has turned a history deemed monster back into a human being. Mary Tudor has become one of the most underrated and misunderstood women in royal England. The sad life of this woman has been summed up in very few books, very little has been kind to her. In a life that was never bright to a wearied woman, history was not compassionate in remembering her either. I do not think she was innocent in everything, I regard her as responsible for the deaths of those who were burned for their faith, but I also believe that she was zealous in her beliefs, and could not understand why everyone else could not entrench themselves in their religion as she did. Samantha Wilcoxson has done a wonderful job of bringing this sad queen back from the depths of history, and pushing her once more into the limelight. This books brings some well deserved justice for the queen who only wanted prosperity and happiness for her realm, not dejection and rejection at every turn in life.

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review 2016-03-27 15:46
[Book Review] Bloody Mary
Bloody Mary - Garth Ennis,Carlos Ezquerra

Bloody Mary / Garth Ennis & Carlos Ezquerra

Bloody Mary was first published almost 20 years ago, with a trade edition 10 years after.  It has just been republished under the Image imprint, with Bloody Mary and Bloody Mary: Lady Liberty together in the same volume.

Now, as is generally the case with a future story who's date has since past, the story does show it's age.  The art style has a sort of... crowding I associate with comics from the 90's and earlier, as well as a limited color palate.

It's best to take the story as an alt-history, taking place in 2012, during another Great War in Europe.  Mary Malone, AKA Bloody Mary is a top specialist agent and assassin.  She's known for getting in and out of situations no one else can, and in this war not all of the players are simply human.

Out of the two stories, I far preferred that of Lady Liberty, though the backstory of Bloody Mary is definitely a major factor in establishing elements of Lady Liberty.  The battle is more than just armies pitted against each other, but powerful players moving their own pieces around the board.  Lady Liberty has the stronger plot, action, and better connection with the characters.

The cover of the volume makes me expect more gun-toting nun than was delivered.  Story-wise, I get why this is the case, but... I still ended up disappointed.  Bloody Mary is a full story arc, present, past, and conclusion.

Lady Liberty takes place in the US, dealing with a sex-addict cult leader instituting a totalitarian regime of racial and ideological supremacy.  It connects surprisingly to the original story arc, bringing our protagonist back into conflict with a free agent.

I will say, that I was probably too amused by the references to Kurt Cobain...  They were darkly fitting.

Advance Reader Copy courtesy of Image Comics in exchange for an honest review; changes may exist between galley and the final edition.

Source: libromancersapprentice.blogspot.com/2016/03/book-review-bloody-mary.html
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review 2016-03-27 10:33
Special ops action in imaginary war
Bloody Mary - Garth Ennis,Carlos Ezquerra

 

 

Bloody Mary is a Special Ops operative working for the US/UK alliance in a war against the rest of Europe (this should stoke the Brexit tribe!). In the first story, the enemy get a new super-weapon which can transform soldiers into fighting machines and violent carnage ensures until Bloody Mary resolves the issue. In the second story, she returns to the US to find a religious fanatic who wants to sire an entire generation to save America.

 

Engaging story but pretty bloody at times: a lot of killing. Also it’s as one-off which is great as some series just seem to go on forever.

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