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Search tags: female-protagonists
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review 2017-03-25 22:23
Princeless Volume 2
Princeless Volume 2 #1 (Princeless Volume 2: 1) - Jeremy Whitley,Emily Martin
Princeless Volume 2 #2 - Jeremy Whitley,... Princeless Volume 2 #2 - Jeremy Whitley,Emily Martin
Princeless Volume 2 #3 - Jeremy Whitley,... Princeless Volume 2 #3 - Jeremy Whitley,Emily Martin
Princeless Volume 2 #4 - Jeremy Whitley,Emily Martin

I fell in love with this series back in December when I read Volume 1, Save Yourself, and had been looking forward to this volume ever since. It did not disappoint. I loved the title for this one and the way it plays into the plot.

First of all, I totally love the theme of the series in general. We have a WOC protagonist who has decided that she has had enough with the status quo and the waiting around and takes matters into her own hands. She even uses the dragon that guarded her castle in place of a mighty stead. I mean, how could I not love it?

So here we catch up with Adrienne and Bedelia, who is her personal blacksmith and sidekick. They are going to save Angelica! Or are they? Is Adrienne the only one to take matters into her own hands? Does Angelica even want saving? Adrienne has many sisters and while it should be easy to expect that they all be different from each other and nuanced and have different points of view, I also know that expectations like that usually end in disappointment.

Not this time. Whitley has created this amazing world for us and gives us sisters who neither think the same nor act the same. The outlooks that Angelica and Adrienne have on their like situations are not at all the same and serve to manifest very different outcomes for themselves and those who come to find them.

Personally, I loved Angelica. I loved getting another view on the subject of being so admired. I loved that the writers decided to just jump right into the alternative point of view and that none of it went in the direction that I expected. I also loved the rest of the family situation and the foreshadowing of the mysterious Black Knight that I have my suspicions about.

As before, the art is wonderful. The way that Angelica is obviously a little older and is more beautiful and even a little sexy without being overdone or exposing anything was impressive. The rest of the art is fun and colorful and keep it obvious that it's an all ages comic. If you haven't jumped in on this series, I suggest you do. I've already started the third volume and plan to post it soon!

 

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review 2017-03-08 00:32
The Girl Who Drank the Moon
The Girl Who Drank the Moon - Kelly Barnhill

Never have I read a book that so succinctly turns every trope on it's head. I absolutely loved it!

The story is put together fantastically. Each character is amazing in their own right. No one does quite what I expect, even when I thought I had a handle on the way the story was breaking the rules. The family that Luna, Xan, Glerk, and Fyrian make is just adorable. All the people in the Protectorate are dealing with their own issues and making their way through life in ways that are not entirely opposite the norm that I would expectn or entirely the norm either. There's a part of me that feels like it's the way all the old stories should have been written, so that everyone has a little agenda and not all converge nor diverge. History isn't that neat and stories shouldn't be either. At the same time, it was loads of fun to watch the way these characters were like characters we were already a bit familiar with.

Basically, Barnhill did a fantastic job of "making familiar things new and new things familiar" as are the two great powers of a writer according to William Makepeace Thackery or Samuel Johnson. It's been attributed to both on different sites, not sure which is accurate. I listened to it on Audible, read by Christina Moore, who was great. I loved her voices for everyone, especially Fyrian.

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review 2017-02-25 09:00
So much more than I expected!
Binti - Nnedi Okorafor

I expected this to be rather near-future SF about a Himba girl, a girl from the Namib Desert, going to a university in space and all the cultural differences and difficulties she would experience there. Instead, this was far-future SF with a culture clash of a different kind. Also, the Himba have developed into mathematical geniuses and can perform a mathematical meditation called ‘treeing’, through which they are able to steer ‘mathematical currents’ in order to make certain devices work and to analyze the world around them. Fascinating!

 

And that’s where my scientific interest kicks in: If I get presented with such a unique concept, I want to know more about it. Much more. Unfortunately, as the story develops, we only get a few glimpses at this astonishing ability. It is as if we were peeking through a hole in a fence, allowing us to see a certain section of a beautiful garden. But we want to see more of it, want to know which other flowers and trees are there, where the gravel path leads to, and if there is a pond or a greenhouse or a pavilion.

 

I really hope that the second part of the series, Binti:Home, will allow us to sneak a peek through further holes in that fence, and thus give us a wider view of the garden. That’s why I will start to read it immediately.

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review 2017-01-04 14:09
The Darkest Part of the Forest
The Darkest Part of the Forest - Holly Black

This was great fun! I loved the way Black plays with some of the more common tropes in YA.

To begin with, this is a standalone. That almost never happens in YA anymore and I appreciate that it's a whole story even though I do love the world building. Then it's also about faeries. I'm not one for faeries most of the time, but something had made me put this book on my wish list at the library and it was the first audiobook I had come to on the day I downloaded it to my app. I just figured past-me had decided it was going to be interesting and went with it. The audiobook is narrated by Lauren Fortgang.
 
The story predominantly surrounds Hazel and Ben and their decisions, but these characters don't exactly follow gender role while not residing completely on the opposing sides of the spectrum when it comes to their genders either. To be more specific, Hazel isn't girly, but she's still feminine and Ben is neither macho nor effeminate. Ben is also gay, which makes his standing in the middle of what is expected for a male character all the better for me. While I do understand that there are effeminate gay men, I feel like fiction would have you believe that it is the only way to be gay sometimes. Maybe it's just tv and movies, though since First Kisses and Other Misfortunes by Kimberly Karalius had the same dynamic with the gay characters being not strictly effeminate.
 
 Having Ben as a gay character, also allows Black to another fun thing. She combines some of the brother-sister struggles with some struggles that are typically reserved for sisters, like having a crush on or having romantic associations with the same boy. I don't know how true to life that is, but they tend to lean more on confused boys who aren't sure if they are also gay and those who aren't ready to be out right at the beginning. Ben is sure of himself, others are not, and this creates confusion and tension for our siblings as sometimes both have feelings for the boy. I hope that wasn't confusing but I don't want to give away any big reveals either.
 
I truly enjoyed reading a book about a brother and sister who actually like each other too. They aren't besties and definitely have their own separate personalities and preferences in life but they look out for each other. They care about each other. And they mess it up sometimes too but never getting so angsty and dramatic that it seems more like someone's ridiculous version of what teenagers are like. Families are complicated and this book does a great job with a brother-sister dynamic. There is some teenage drama but it's not all angst and ridiculousness like some books may want people to believe all teens are like. They're capable of assessing dangerous situations and making some adult decisions and dealing with consequences. They do have reason and accountability and are not completely ruled by hormones, just partially, sometimes.  They are gaining experience to deal with situations better but aren't complete idiots in the mean time.
 
There are other great things in the book, but I feel like those would spoil it. Suffice it to say that while many typically YA behaviors/tropes are present, I didn't feel like they were rooted in the same places that I've grown tired of them, like villain motivations. Everything is just similar enough to be familiar but then changed ever so slightly that I wasn't sure until it happened. The book's sole claim to diversity is the LGBT characters. I felt like it dealt well with the LGBT aspect of those characters, but I am completely aware that I could be wrong due to the fact that I am not LGBT nor do I know many people who are. If you disagree, share it and I can amend. I'd hate for misinformation to set people up for disappointment. Until then, great book! I loved what she did to all the characters and taking them outside my expectations!
 
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review 2016-12-12 19:26
Labyrinth Lost
Labyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas) - Zoraida Córdova

I'm not normally one for witch stories, but these are brujas. I have to admit that I don't see a lot out there that mix magical realism with Latinx characters, so I just had to give this one a shot and I'm so glad that I did. The reviews of several other book bloggers, particularly diverse book bloggers may have helped too.

That blurb doesn't really begin to tell the reader the half of it. Don't get me wrong,  I don't expect spoilers in the blurb, but simply saying that she hates magic is a little off, in my opinion. She hates magic in that Elsa from Frozen kind of way. She's not ridding herself of a measly amount of power that isn't all that useful anyway or some part of herself that she doesn't feel like she identifies with. She's ridding herself of the dangerous power that she feels overwhelming her ability to control it and out of fear of what might happen were she to lose control. Sure, there are some other reasons in there and they are perfectly understandable 'I wanna be a normal girl' reasons, but I feel like those would have been manageable if not under the colossal weight of her power.

The setup is done well and I felt like I had a good grasp of the characters and where everyone stood when the plot took off. Then there's Los Lagos and the insanity ensues. I enjoyed the darkness of it. Rather than Wonderland, which is what the back cover uses, I found Los Lagos reminded me of Oz. There is an order to things, no matter how unsettling they are and the inhabitants know what that order is. Moreover, each one is just trying to do the best they can within their circumstances in much the same way as the inhabitants of Oz. they have their own motivations that are not tied to our protagonist which makes them a bit unpredictable to her and to the reader.

The worlds that stories take place in are one of my favorite parts of reading, it's why I tend to lean toward paranormal and science fiction and one of the things that's been a new joy to historical fiction. I loved the world building of this book. It's not just Los Lagos but also the world building to create this community of brujas and integrate them into Brooklyn. It's beautifully done.

I look forward to the next installment!

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