Sunday, April 13, 2014

Mercury


Today I will be telling you about a great book, Mercury, by Hope Larson. The plot of Mercury is extremely complicated. It's about a 15-year-old girl named Tara whose house burned down so she goes to live with her aunt, uncle and cousin. She meets a boy she likes and joins a cross-country running team. Something that kept me interested in the story is how every now and then, the setting will change to the house that burned down, but in 1859. When this happens, the main focus is on an ancestor of Tara's named Josephine who is also 15 at the time. Toward the middle of the book, Tara finds out that there is gold on her family's land that was left by Josephine.

This book had a lot of really good gripping scenes. One of them is a scene where Tara finds the gold. She and her friends are digging for the treasure when they find a small tunnel filled with snakes. She goes down into the tunnel using her phone as a flashlight to find a skeleton with a bag of gold in its ribcage. I really like this scene because it turns the plain, small town story into an epic treasure hunting story.

The drawing style in this book is very soft. It uses very thick wavy lines and I'm pretty sure that it was drawn with a paintbrush or a marker or something like that. The way the eyes are drawn is very pretty. They're big and shiny. I also like how Tara looks like a short-haired version of Josephine. It makes their bloodline connection seem even stronger.

I think that Mercury is appropriate for all ages, but I also think that less mature audiences might not enjoy it because the storyline is a little complicated. If you can take a complex story, you will love Mercury. I would give mercury 8 bags of gold out of 10.  

Monday, March 24, 2014

Andre The Giant

 I'm sure you've all heard of the famous pro wrestler Andre The Giant, he was a pro wrestler back in the 80's with giantism for those of you who don't. But did you know that there's a new graphic novel called Andre The Giant by Box Brown? It's a complete biography of Andre The Giant's life from age 12 to age dead. It even incorporates the time he spent working as a cast member on The Princess Bride.


One of the best scenes in the book is when Andre is twelve and a friend of his father's is driving him to school. The friend obviously thinks Andre is a lot older than he is. Since the friend doesn't realize that Andre is only twelve, he asks Andre if he wants a cigarette. This is the first time I've ever read about a twelve year old being mistaken for an adult. I really understood the comedic direction the book was going after this scene.

I don't think that the Andre The Giant in the book looks like the real Andre The Giant, but it's ok because I think he's supposed to look cartoonish. I really like the cartoony style. It's simple yet pleasing to the eye. When he's holding bottles that are dwarfed in comparison to his hand it shows you what everyday life is like for him. The simple art helps you concentrate on the main focus of the picture, unlike a picture that shows every detail of a setting. 

I think this book is appropriate for all ages, but I think only ages 12 and above would enjoy or
understand what's going on. I enjoyed reading this book immensely. I think it was fun, interesting and educational ;). I would give Andre The Giant 7 pro wrestlers out of 1

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

War Brothers

Today I'm going to be reviewing a very sad book about the child soldiers in Uganda. The name of this book is War Brothers by Sharon E. McKay and Daniel Lafrance. It's about a Ugandan boy named Jacob who is abducted by the LRA, aka the Lord's Resistance Army, and forced to become a child soldier. The rest of the book is about the horrors that he sees and how he escapes. There are very depressing parts as well as very touching parts. It's one of those books that makes you feel really grateful that you live where you live.

The art in this book looks something like the art style in The Walking Dead but with color. Whenever Jacob is at home, the pages around the panels are white. Whenever Jacob is in the LRA camp, the pages around the panels are black. This really helps to convey the level of danger the characters are in. When they're at home they're relatively safe, but when they're with the LRA they have so many dangers to face. I also really like how well the art conveys emotion. When characters are scared, they're really scared, when characters are happy, they're really happy, and when they're guilty, you can feel their regret.

A scene I really like is a scene where Jacob is at his home talking to his friend, Tony, about how their boarding school is getting a lot more guards because the school board had heard that the LRA had been abducting children and turning them into soldiers. It's clear that Jacob and Tony don't know the full story, but also that they know more than the adults tell them. It really explains how dire the situation is and how much fear it brings them. What really makes this scene work is how the previous scene takes place with the LRA attacking a truck full of schoolchildren.


This book is most certainly not appropriate for all ages. It is extremely violent. It has scenes of soldiers killing children and parents. The violence is more implied than explicit but it is is still very much there. If it was a movie it would definitely get a PG-13  rating, maybe even an R. I would suggest this book for ages 13 and up. Even though it is very violent, it's also very good and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I would give War Brothers 8 stars out of 10. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Monster on The Hill


Today I'm going to review a book called Monster on the Hill by Rob Harrell. It takes place in a world where all the towns have monsters that attack regularly. Instead of the monsters being a bad thing, they're more like tourist attractions, but in one town the monster hasn't attacked in seven years. So the town sends a professor named Dr. Wilkie to "fix" the monster. It turns out that the monster, Rayburn, is severely depressed and unconfident. Rayburn says that he used to know a monster named Tentaculor who might be able to help him with his self esteem. They travel to the town that Tentaculor has terrorized for years. Rayburn tells him how long it's been since he attacked. Tentacular explains to them that there is a monster called The Murk who destroys towns without a monster, and since Rayburn hasn't terrorized his town, The Murk will think the town has no monster. So the race is on to get Rayburn's confidence back so that he can save the town.

I really like a scene where Dr. Wilkie first finds Rayburn. You're expecting
a horrible monster to come out of the cave and attack the professor, but what does come out is this puny, skinny, sleepy, pathetic excuse for a monster. I really like how this scene really establishes the main character in such a simple way. You know what they say, one picture tells a thousand words.

The art in this book is phenomenal. It looks like a modern adaptation of Dr. Seuss. It's very colorful and inventive. I love how Tentaculor looks. Half the time I don't even know if his eyes are eyes. Sometimes I think they're his nostrils. I don't know if this was deliberate or not, but I love it. The humans really look like Dr. Seuss characters, with big eyes and no lips.

Monster on the Hill feels like a children's book to me. Monster on the Hill is perfectly appropriate for all audiences. There are no really controversial scenes in it and I think it can be enjoyed by all. If you feel too mature to read a little kiddie's book every once in a while, then this one's not for you. But if you're actually mature and you know a good book when you see one, then this is definitely for you. I would give Monster on the Hill four and a half monster souvenirs out of five.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Hyperbole and a Half


I cheated a bit for this blog post. As you know, I usually only review graphic novels. This time I'm reviewing a graphic novel that you may be familiar with as a web series, Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh. It collects some of the best stories from her autobiographical web series. The way she draws is utterly hilarious. It's a crazy style I'm sure you can't find anywhere else. Her art style and writing style can even make serious things funny. Her longest story is all about depression and it's still a little funny.

I really like the story called "God of Cake" about her 4-year-old self trying to steal and eat the cake her mother made for her grandpa's birthday. She really depicts a child's mindset, like when she imagined herself dead because she didn't get the cake and it was all her Mom's fault. That is a hyperbole. It's perfectly realistic behavior for a child who didn't get what they wanted. Link to story.

Another story I like, unfortunately, isn't in the book. It's about a dinosaur costume that
Allie wore for her second Halloween that she could dress up for. When she put on the costume she felt like she was the dinosaur, and dinosaurs cause chaos. She constantly feels a need to put on the costume and cause more chaos. link to story.

The art in this series is freaking hilarious. All of the people look completely insane. They all look like funny faced memes on legs. The other creatures look somewhat realistic. One of Allie's dogs, Simple Dog, moves in a very realistic fashion. When you see what Simple Dog is
thinking, it's like a completely different language from what the people are saying. Whenever Allie is talking or thinking, its just plain text, but when Simple Dog thinks, there are colors and shapes everywhere. The art in this series doesn't need words to be funny. You could look at three wordless panels and burst into laughter.

This book has a little bit of bad language. I think that if you're able to handle the F word, then you can handle this. The art work is really really funny, the stories are even more funny, and it's free to read online! Just like my blog! You may be thinking, "why would I buy a book that is just a collection of things I could read for free online?" Well, because you need Internet to read online, and that mean that you can't read her blog outside of the comfort of your own home. You can read the book if your Internet is out, you can read the book on the train and you can support Allie Brosh with your purchase. I would give Hyperbole and a Half 5 pointy pony tails out of five.