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review 2020-03-25 21:13
Mooncakes - Suzanne Walker,Wendy Xu

[I got a copy of this book through Edelweiss.]

Thoroughly enjoyable story, featuring witches, a teenage werewolf trying to kill a demon, protagonists who're in general not the average white protagonist, and LGBTQ relationships.

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review 2019-06-12 21:39
Lifeformed: Cleo Makes Contact
Lifeformed: Cleo Makes Contact - Matt Mair Lowery,Cassie Anderson

[I received a copy of this book through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.]

This comic reads quickly: the story flows from page to page, and there's no lagging behind. After the first few pages of Cleo’s life at school and with her father, with a short insight of what’s been happening behind the scenes, Invasion Day is here, and they both have to run for their lives. All the while, they to maintain a semblance of normalcy, such as when they find shelter at abandoned houses, living in the remnants of another family now gone or dead, or meet other survivors and have to make a quick choice between driving them away or being simply human and welcoming them.

The relationship between Cleo and Alex was a touching one. Very early on, it is obvious that her father won’t be who we met in the first chapter, and Cleo has to fight her distrust while not really having many other choices than either going with him or being all alone. Gradually, she learns to accept this new balance in her life, learn to follow at first, then fight a little, then fight more. And while she is obviously sad and has her small breaking points, she also keeps her smile and courage up, and doesn’t give up.

The downside of this fast pace is that it goes a little too quickly at times—especially when there are several panels without dialogues—and as a result, there isn’t that much room for character development. The latter is partly left to the reader to imagine, by filling in the blanks, but this is a somewhat uneventful process, and leaves a slight feeling of blankness at times.

Nevertheless, I did like this first volume, as well as its ending (both positive and at the same time highlighting the protagonists’ fight as “one against the world”, so to speak). 3 to 3.5 stars.

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review 2019-06-01 21:56
Seeking the Truth (Through Lya's Eyes - 1)
Through Lya's Eyes (Seeking the Truth Vol 1) - Elisa Carbone,Justine Cunha

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

A fairly good story about Lya, a young woman who’s been left a paraplegic after a hit-and-run when she was 17. Four years have passed, and she’s as decided as ever to find out what really happened: the person who hit her left her for dead and never alerted anyone, which meant she was discovered only hours later… a few hours that made all the difference between her getting her ability to walk back and remaining in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. So, her investigation and her motives are definitely understandable, and something that made me root for her.

I found the drawing style really beautiful, all in softness and subtlety (the black/dark line-art that’s very typical of comics is absent here), while also deftly making use of different colour palettes depending on the atmosphere it depicts, especially reds and blues.

The characters, in general, are engaging, even though they’re not necessarily very deep: Lya is brave and determined (not only to discover the truth, but also simply to live her life without letting her disability get in the way). Her best friend, Antoine, supports her all the way in both these endeavours, and helps her as best as he can. Adèle, the receptionist, is a bubbly young woman who immediately helps Lya get her marks at the practice. De Villegan, the lawyer, is antipathic and yells at his own intern, and looks like the perfect villain. There is room for more surprises in that regard, but their roles are quickly and easily defined, with the clichés this implies.

The investigation itself is not complex, as mostly what Lya needs it to read a file kept at the practice, but the story doesn’t shy away from limitations that an able-bodied person wouldn’t mean: the archives are only accessible by stairs, and so Lya has to be creative as to how she’s going to access them—getting discouraged and giving up is never an option for her. The downside for me was that while she encountered setbacks, I thought they were (too) easily circumvented, so there wasn’t so much tension to speak of here.

This first volume ends on a strong cliffhanger, and I guess this will be a make-it-or-break-it-deal for more than one person. This said, I did find it quite appropriate: if you’re going to have a cliffhanger, might as well have this one (and not one based on something else in the story).

Conclusion: 3 stars because all in all, I liked the story and the art, and want to read volume 2, but the pacing and tension could’ve been handled better.

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review 2018-05-06 20:52
A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns
A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns - Archie Bongiovanni,Tristan Jimerson

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

This is a very short book in the shape of a graphic novel/comics, so there’s no excuse not to read it. ;)

While I’m not particularly vocal about it when I write book reviews, and while the name I use is ‘feminine’, I don’t identify as a woman—my sex is female, but my gender is non-binary (more specifically, agender). So, it’s always mildly annoying at best when people keep referring to me as ‘she’. Sometimes they just don’t know, and of course, if I don’t tell them, they won’t know… therefore I tell them. Sometimes, too, other people just don’t care, or it forces them to reevaluate their paradigm, and, well, things don’t go so well in such cases.

Therefore I truly appreciate such books as this one—short and to the point, again: no excuse—that explain what it’s all about, and why it matters. Because being called ‘she’ is as much incomfortable for me as it is for a man who identifies as a man to be called ‘she’, for instance. (Also, for the grammar purists who say that ‘there’s only he and she pronouns, and they as a singular isn’t right’: singular they has been in use since the 14th century or so. Just saying.)

To be honest, I’m not entirely fan of the graphic style here; however, it is cute, with fun moments, and the art IMHO isn’t what matters the most in this book.

Except for a couple of things I wasn’t too sure about, mostly the two characters (Archie and Tristan) run you through a quick explanation of non-binary vs. cisgender (‘quick’, because the whole thing detailed would take a book of its own), situations about how to use they/them pronouns, and examples of misgendering and how to react to it tastefully, whether you’re the one being misgendered or an ally. Among such situations, when loved ones misgender you, but you know they’re supportive in plenty of other ways, ranting is not useful. But sometimes, too, when people deliberately refuse to acknowledge you (binary or non-binary, this is part of your identity, after all), and make fun of you and/or are deliberately hurtful, it’s also good to be reminded that it’s OK to let go of what is, all in all, abusive. It’s not easy to accept… but it’s true.

This book is a good introduction to the matter, easy to follow and understand, and one that you can also apply to other pronouns like ze/hir (yes, there are more than just the few mentioned here). Even though it’s not exhaustive, it paves the way for further reading for anyone who’s interested.

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review 2018-04-02 19:58
Wild Card
Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files: Wild Card - Mark Powers,Jim Butcher

[I received a copy of this book through Netgalley.]

I put up reading that one, thinking it’d spoil me too much about some of the Dreaden Files books I haven’t read yet, but, uhm, turned out it didn’t. Or maybe I’ve ‘forgotten’ just enough details from the books that whatever may have been a spoiler, I just didn’t realise it? Oh well. Good thing in any case.

Globally an entertaining story, with high stakes of the kind you’d find in one of the novels, and a plan coming from a devious enemy who’s clearly understood how to pit people against each other. Because, as silly as it may sound, sometimes the people in charge do act in what appears to be the non-smart way just not to lose face—as much as I find it non-rational, previous plots in the Dresden Files have seen the tension mount enough for this to be believable. This was helped by pretty dynamic fight/action scenes. Also, bonus point for little Karrin and her dad.

On the downside:
- As usual with a lot of comics, I could do without the sexualised-woman-poses, many of which looked definitely weird (you know, those ‘let’s strike a sexy pose while wielding heavy weapons, it’s not as if I need my balance for that’ poses). Just like that scene in the hospital, where a character’s wounds are listed, but when you see said character in bed, well… That didn’t look like such a beaten up and bruised body to me.
- That ending. WTF? In a way, it made sense, but it was so totally anti-climatic that I kept looking to see if I hadn’t missed a few more pages in the book.

So, yes… Something like 2.5 stars, because mostly it kept me entertained, right until that odd ending?

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