Bookopoly TBR game – December 2020 Experience

Last Bookopoly rolls for December 2020 left me with seven books I got to read along with a whole bunch of books I had left for the last month of the year! Usually I get five rolls and five books but since for December I was especially lucky I got two double rolls and had to add two more books to the pile! As it turned out I managed to read six out of seven books from this pile and barely started the seventh by the last day of the month. On the picture above there are five books I own from my bookshelves and the two missing I have read in digital format. I will not count the book I only started reading as a fail since I am in the middle of reading it and plan to finish it soon. Here is how I did with my December Bookopoly TBR picks!

Prompt: Becca and the Books Recommendation

Book: Howl’s Moving Castle (Howl’s Moving Castle #1) by Diana Wynne Jones ★★★

I got lucky with this one since it was the book I had to read for my book club in December as well! I was very happy to find it as one of the books that Becca recommended in one of her videos. This might be a good time to remind you all how our first Bookopoly TBR game started in September 2020 when Becca and the Books had her Bookopoly TBR game presented as a reading challenge. If you would like to learn more you can check the announcement video HERE and show her channel some love!

Prompt: Fire on the Cover

Book: The Color of Magic (Discworld #1) by Terry Pratchett ★★★

This was the prompt that gave me the most headache since I could not fit any of the books I had on my other lists. I remembered to check with the books I was thinking about suggesting for my book club to read and finally stumbled on this one. I must admit I kinda ran trough the book and the speed might have something to do with my rating of this book. I could not find many thing to keep me emotionally connected with this book and the sharp pace and change of scenery made my reading a blur sometimes. There were moments of the book I really liked but they were few and far between. I will probably stop trying to promote this book for my book club since I could not find enough material for the book club discussion my friends from my reading group are used to. Still I’m glad to have finally read this book.

Prompt: Sad Book

Book: Saga (Collected Editions) #7-9 by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples ★★★★★

This is the prompt that gives me the most grief from all the spaces on the Bookopoly board. This time I managed to pair it with the hardcover collected edition of Saga graphic novel. This ended up being the best reading experience for December 2020! I love the epic and tragic moments of this graphic novel and it’s head spinning story. I will probably have to reread all nine volumes until I get to read next edition since it will be probably around two years at least until it comes out! Awesome story and it made a frustrating prompt a lot easier to endure!

Prompt: Most recent purchase

Book: The Tower of Nero (The Trials of Apollo #5) by Rick Riordan ★★★★★

This book gave me a chance to finish a book series that was a part of one of the favorite book universes in the last couple of years. I got to read two more books for this book series in December and this was a sugar on top of it all. I thought the ending a bit sappy but mostly rewarding and it gave me such nice feel good moments while I was reading. While I was a bit sceptic from the first book I am glad to have read the whole book series because for me it was the well rounded godly but not too godly point of view to the world of Percy Jackson that started a whole fifteen years earlier with The Lightning Thief. Did I mention that I can’t wait to see the new Disney+ TV series?

Prompt: Chance card

Book: The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu ★★★

I have tried reading this book once before and did not manage to get farther than the introduction. To be fair, introduction is rather long and not easy to read trough but still… I did not know what to expect from this book. I even used it for one other reading challenge in December as a “book that intimidates me”. Not surprising the narrative was a bit harder to get used to due to the whole millennium has past since the book was written. What surprised me was the similarities I did not expect to find in everyday life of Japanese nobles from one thousand years ago and lives of the rich and popular which we get to read about in news feeds and watch on modern media outlets. Some of the more intricate details were left to the imagination and of the reader and were they not this would have been to explicit to read. I am still at odds about what to think about this book.

Prompt: E-book or Audio book

Book: Taken by The Hunger (Blood Thirst Affair #1) by Harnet Spade ★

Since I got to read the most enjoyable book for Bookopoly in December it is only fair to get to read the least enjoyable book as well! This book was a mess. The plot was chaotic and it mostly described sex crazed female heroine running from one male character to the next without actually having any real sex. This was the first book in a long time I wanted to DNF. Since it was a rather short Kindle freebie I felt ridiculous to do so. I am not sorry for reading it since it gave me something to think about on the things I can value in the books and I believe that reading bad books is necessary for any reader’s reading experience and growth.

Prompt: Chance card

Book: Elminster: The Making of a Mage (Forgotten Realms: Elminster #1) by Ed Greenwood

Last but not least book I got to read and another Chance card prompt – I am running out of these a lot faster than I anticipated! This is the book I have only started on and I am still reading it. So far it is not what I expected it to be. I am enjoying Forgotten Realms related bits and I am interested in how this great mage comes into being because so far his path is much more different than thought it would be. I like not getting what I expected in this case! I hope to finish it soon so I can start on one of the books I got for January 2021.

October Book Wrap Up 2019

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Monthly reading review – October 2019

This October I have read:

Buick Rivera by Miljenko Jergović ★

The Royal Companion (The Companion, #1) by Tanya Bird ★★★

The Emerald Talisman (Talisman #1)  by Brenda Pandos ★★★

Black Butler Vol. 1 (Black Butler, #1) by Yana Toboso ★★★★

Stray (Shifters #1) by Rachel Vincent  ★★★★

Suddenly by Candace Camp ★★★

Shadow and Bone (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1) by Leigh Bardugo ★★★★★

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Graphic Novels #1)
by Rick Riordan, Robert Venditti ★★★

The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Graphic Novels #2)
by Robert Venditti, Rick Riordan ★★★★

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1. How many books you’ve read last month? Are you happy with the amount you read?

Due to the trip I recently made I lost a whole week of reading time so I’m a little grumpy to have gone back to single digits by reading 9 books in October.

2. What was the best of all the books you’ve read in October? Any scenes or characters that made a lasting impression?

I’m very much into the Grishaverse with Shadow and Bone book by Leigh Bardugo. I’m slowly savoring the characters and the story. I’m hoping to have enough time to rad the whole trilogy soon!

3. Were there any not so good books for you last month? What made it hard or not enjoyable to read?

The only book I was really not happy about this October was a book club assignment – Buick Rivera by Miljenko Jergović. The plot was completely lost on me and the characters did not help. The book actually started really good but somewhere along the way all sense of the plot was gone.

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4. How did the books you were reading last month fit in your reading plans if you had any?

I made a list of fifteen books I wish to read by the end of the year and so far I’ve rad three books and started on another two from the list which is cool. You can check out my list HERE. Also I made progress with my TBR Jar Draw reading challenge by reading two picks in one month! You can check both in my posts HERE and HERE.

5. Any updates on the series you are reading or are you starting any new series?

This October I’ve actually started a few new book series! From all the first books of the series I’ve started I will be continuing almost all of them. The two exceptions are Kindle editions that I am not ready to invest in to buy the sequels so I can read them further: The Royal Companion (The Companion, #1) by Tanya Bird and The Emerald Talisman (Talisman #1)  by Brenda Pandos. I guess I was not that impressed with them to really want to spend money to continue reading them.

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6. Would you like to recommend any books or authors you’ve been reading this last month?

Aside from being lost in Grishaverse trilogy I am quite enjoying going back to Rick Riordan’s world of half bloods and Percy Jackson series by reading the graphic novel editions. At first I was not that thrilled with the artwork but the story is still amazing. Sadly I have only first three graphic novels and I don’t know when will I get the other two :/

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Book Reviews in October:

Suddenly by Candace Camp ★★★ – CLICK HERE FOR MY REVIEW

Stray (Shifters #1) by Rachel Vincent  ★★★★ – CLICK HERE FOR MY REVIEW

Currently reading:

Rogue (Shifters #2) by Rachel Vincent

The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Graphic Novels #3) by Robert Venditti, Rick Riordan

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Fringe: Tales from the Fringe – Book Review

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Finished reading

Fringe: Tales from the Fringe

by Various

★★★

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Expectation

This graphic novel was my pick for the TBR Jar Draw in March. It is one of the books I own I am unsure have I read them or not. I remembered reading some of the stories and that they impressed me as dark and intense.  I bought it for my boyfriend who was a fan of the TV show. I watched the TV show only in passing and was never a devoted fan.

Summary

There were altogether twelve stories from different artists and authors. The stories covered a wide range of characters and topics. It was like watching little flashbacks from the episodes. Themes were diverse and I could only recognize a few characters from the show. But this is really due to me not being that familiar to the show.

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Some stories were gritty and dark and showing certain aspects of human nature while others had more supernatural elements to them. The first story in the collection is more about the characterization of the main character than anything else and as such it made me pause right at the start. I expected to be hit with the weird and supernatural cases from the show right away and that was not the case.

Sure there were stories with more lighter outlook to them but it was either creepy or downright weird.

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I appreciated the trial and error of human condition stories presented. There were lots of moral ambiguity written into each story. Many consider the graphic novel as a form to be lighter and easier for readers as a medium. The sheer amount of difficult choices and topics that can be presented in this way might be a testament to the opposite.

Conclusion

None of the stories were light and each has left an impression. I was taken back with the heavy themes and intensity. I like the stories and how they made me think upon characters choices and morality. While I liked the collection overall I was not blown away by the experience. What did surprised me is the lack of “Mature audiences only” categorization on the cover.
I am sure that for some other true fan of the show reading this graphic novel collection would have been a much more engaging experience.

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Wayward Vol 1-3 – Book Review

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Finished reading

String Theory (Wayward volume 1)  ★★★★

Ties That Bind (Wayward volume 2) ★★★★

Out From the Shadows (Wayward volume 3) ★★★★

by Jim Zub; Steve Cummings et all

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Expectation

Almost three years ago I’ve read the first volume of Wayward graphic novel series String Theory. I enjoyed it quite a bit. Last year I had the opportunity to buy first volume and I went for it. As it goes with book series I managed to get next two earlier this year and decided to binge on reading all three volumes. I am not that familiar with Japanese mythology and liked how it was portrayed in the first volume. You can read my impressions from few years back HERE.

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Summary

I am so glad I went and read the String Theory again since it ended on a cliffhanger and it was fun to get back into the suspense. As it turned out each new chapter of the Ties That Bind and Out From the Shadows brought out new twists to the story and introduced exciting new characters. Since I have read it first few years ago I had most of the characters from String Theory in fond memory. This proved to be an issue with the influx of many new characters and some terrible decisions on the part of my fond characters. Plot moved on rapidly and I had to adapt to the pace it set. This had me in a spin for a while.

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What I loved the most in all of these were essays at the end of each volume. They were very informative on the traditions and mythology of historical Japan. They explained a lot on the origin of different Yokai – fantastic creatures from Japan. They also provided for a context and information on some of the sites and areas the plot of the story is revolving around.

I was displeased with some issues being jumped over and then being bombarded with some new plot twists. It all kinda felt chaotic and only trough some hints in Out From the Shadows I started to notice a pattern and connect some things together.

I kept admiring the artwork and design of the books. I really enjoyed the bright coloring and the art style from the cover of each chapter to the TP covers of the paperback editions I have. I can see how much care was put into making these and I can appreciate that as well.

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Conclusion

Story is for mature audiences because of violence and debatable moral issues. There is no character that can claim moral high ground and after reading all three volumes I still have trouble with picking a character to root for. I will have to find time and see if the author has a blog where I can read more of the essays that came with each volume since I enjoyed them quite a bit.

The reason I decided to make a review on all three volumes together is that my reading experience with them was connected to the fast pace with which I read all three together and since I already did a review on the first one few years ago.

 

Neglected May update

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This May my reading and posting has been severely neglected. As it happens lots of things did not go as planned this May. What I did managed to do is read last month’s TBR Jar Draw.

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The Undead Pool (The Hollows #12) by Kim Harrison ★★

I had such high hopes from this book and series in general. For some reason I had trouble keeping up with the plot and characters. While it started out awesome for some reason my inability to focus on the book and the long time it took me to read it trough made me not enjoy the book as much as I thought I would. The characters are still there and I like them. The romantic involvement of two main characters have had the desired squee effect on me. I’m honestly not sure what went wrong with the process of reading…

 

As soon as I finished The Undead Pool I jumped at the Devil in Spring (The Ravenels #3) by Lisa Kleypas. This historical romance proved to be funny and delight to read. I liked the quirky heroine but had to avoid any deeper contemplation upon reading the book. While parts of this book were unbelievably cliche, reading it have replenished some of my energy and I had a great time with this book. I’m very glad I’ve bought it and reading about older versions of Sebastian and Evie was nice.

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Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3) by Lisa Kleypas ★★

For my TBR Jar Draw I picked out Spike: The Complete Series (Angel: After the Fall) by Brian Lynch, Nicola Zanni. For a while it was a close choice between it and the Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Vol. 1 (Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 1 #2-3) by John Vornholt, Arthur Byron Cover, Alice Henderson, Joss Whedon (Creator).

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I’m still adjusting to wearing glasses. My eyes feel quite tired most of the time. The artwork in this graphic novel is proving to be a bit of a strain on my eyes and I’m forced to read  it during the day. Also I did not expect for it to be chunky and quite a bit heavy to hold while reading. I’m still intrigued by the cover and hope to get sucked into the story soon.

Monthly Reading Review – February 2016

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Monthly Reading Review – February 2016

This February I have read:

Animal Farm (Fables, Vol. 2) by Bill Willingham ★★★★

Moja Ti by Jasna Jasna Žmak ★★★

The Death and Life of Bobby Z by Don Winslow ★★★★

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1. How many books you’ve read last month? Are you happy with the amount you read?

This February I’ve finished only three books. This continues my slow reading at the start of each year. Maybe it has something to do with everything else around me making progress – like kicking on with some New Year resolutions, strangely big amount of projects that are work related.

2. What was the best of all the books you’ve read in February? Any scenes or characters that made a lasting impression?

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3. Were there any not so good books for you last month? What made it hard or not enjoyable to read?

There is not much to choose from this month so I’ll reflect on both questions at the same time: 

The Death and Life of Bobby Z was a nice reading surprise. It is definitely a book for reading on a beach during the summer heat. The whole story is action packed and fun read. 

Animal Farm (Fables, Vol. 2) was a second volume of a graphic novel series I’ve been meaning to read for a while. Like most serial graphic novel it has it’s perks in reading more volumes in a row. For this reason I’ve already borrowed next three volumes!

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Moja ti  was a work related reading I was supposed to make a review on. It is a compilation of short stories in the life of one couple. It was not my usual type of reading and I had some issues with it. The stories were actually very intuitive and emotional. It was not something that can be read fast and I think it made me reflect more and take a slower approach to reading in February. 

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4. How did the books you were reading last month fit in your reading plans if you had any?

Lately all I do is plan my reading but never seem to stick with it. I planned to read more but then again I have a tendency to enjoy my reading in the moment better. This February the plan was to read what I felt like so I can’t really complain about fitting these three books in my plans.

5. Any updates on the series you are reading or are you starting any new series?

I made progress with Fables series and now that I’ve broken the ice after a long break from volume one I think I will catch up with this series a bit more soon. Dark Skye from IAD book series is still reading in progress. 

6. Would you like to recommend any books or authors you’ve been reading this last month?

As a recommendation from February I have The Death and Life of Bobby Z for a fast action read and any Fables themed graphic novel you can find.

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Final thoughts on February

I would compare my February reading with a granny but I think grannies read faster than I did in February.  I still have some overdue reading in progress books. 

Dark Skye (Immortals After Dark, #15) by Kresley Cole

Moć albiura (Saga Albiurana, #1) by Daria Keršić

I kinda missed out on the romance reading in the month of love – must fix that soon…

Am I happy with how things are going slow – NO

Do I acknowledge that I’m in a transitioning period – YES

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String Theory – Book Reveiw

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Finished reading:

String Theory (Wayward volume 1) by Jim Zub; Steve Cummings ★★★★

Expectation

First of all I really like the creepy cats on the cover.  This is one of the newer titles from Image comics and it came out this year. I heard some positive reviews and decided to give it a go.

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Summary

After I read the introduction I liked this graphic novel even more. It is a story about a girl moving to Japan to live with her mother who is Japanese. Shes never been there and the readers can see much of it trough her eyes. New and intriguing country, people and culture.

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We come across a lot of creatures from Japanese mythology. The group of heroes starts forming and what I really like about the story is a the part where it woke up some Buffy feels. Monsters and dangers are many. There are even more questions and mysteries including the main characters themselves. But the ease at which they are all put together reminded me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series.

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At first I was rethinking doing the review but when I saw how little is known about it I decided it needs some attention. The lack of images online almost made me want to snap some pictures from the copy I was reading.

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Conclusion

I would like to continue reading Wayward graphic novel. It is cool and story wise intriguing. The Japanese letters trough the artwork made me regret not finishing lessons in Japanese I used to learn. Who knows I might still make it one day!

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Artwork is cool and I like the additions at the end of the volume 1. Monster explanation and extra graphics. What irked me is the fact that it ended all too soon and ended at a major cliffhanger. It made me mad and in want of a next volume!

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One Weird Trick – Book Review

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Finished reading:

One Weird Trick (Sex Criminals vol 1) by Matt Fraction, Chip Zdrasky ★★★

Expectation

I have heard this graphic novel praised when it first came out. The title and the idea as it was presented to me was kinda weird and slightly unfathomable.

A mature readers warning is a must here!

The idea where main characters have a supernatural ability to stop time when they have sex. But wait it gets weirder…

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Summary

It starts out as a coming of age story only much more directed to sexual awakening. Main female character discovers the joy of her big O and her ability to stop time while she reaches an orgasm. Self loving aside imagine how boring and silly your sex partner must be for someone like that. Everything changes when she meets Jon who is like her.

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This graphic novel is filled with extremely funny and witty details I really liked. It speaks about sex and all things related in a very non-judgemental and liberating way. I found it very refreshing. It is clear that the authors had much fun creating it.

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The details on the drawings range from hilarious to satire. The artwork is simple and easy to follow. I liked how the characters were presented and the fact that the main heroine is a hardcore librarian struck a nerve with me.

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Conclusion

The sheer amount of sexual freedom in this book is liberating and noteworthy. I like the weird and crazy ways the authors presented two people falling in love. These are just the characters, but explaining plot-twist would be just revealing too much.

 

Sass & Sorcery – Book Review

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Finished reading:

Sass & Sorcery (Rat Queens vol 1) by Kurtis J. Wiebe and illustrator Roc Upchurch ★★★★★

Expectation:

This graphic novel has been on my reading list since Easter. A friend read it in chapters as it came out and she was very positive about it. It has been a while since I read a good graphic novel and I was really looking forward to this one. I haven’t played DnD for a while now and I’m really interested in this story of all female DnD butt kicking party!

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Summary

Here we’ve got four quirky women who have banded together and make a living by supporting local city and get things done accepting quests from locals. They call themselves The Rat Queens. The story is set in a classic DnD manner. Local city captain passes out quests to questing groups willing to work as mercenaries. They are almost like police units only a lot more colorful and wild.

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One of the authors has explained the story as: Lord of the Rings meets Bridesmaids. The heroines of the story each have a intriguing background: Betty is a halfling rogue who considers packing drugs and candy as food on a quest nutrient sufficient; Dee is a human cleric of a giant floating squid deity in search for her own self; Hannah is an elf wizard with an attitude and a black arts dabbling family; Violet is a dwarf fighter that stopped shaving her beard long before it was a thing with the young today.

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What I love about these characters is their energy. They are living in an imagined world but their lives, their troubles and hurts are unbelievably real and urban. They are no damsels that need rescuing – they do their own battles and will not shy from a good bar fight. They will probably be the ones starting it…

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The first volume has been nominated for a prestigious Eisner award – which is like an Oscar for graphic novels and comics. It has been nominated for a Hugo this year as well.

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This graphic novel has recieved GLAAD Media Award and many praises by the LGBT community for a positive portrayal of characters.

Before it was going to be launched as a Kickstarter project editor for Image Comics picked it up and decided to start with publishing a chapter per month which makes two volumes a year.

Last year Heavy Metal Magazine and Pukeko Pictures have announced an animated series to be made based on the story.

Conclusion

I loved the story and the characters. They make for some good cosplay material already. I recommend you to read this graphic novel and get on the fan bandwagon before this stuff gets more popular!

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I’m looking forward to read the next volume and I’m very eager to see how the animated series turn out!

 

 

Legends in exile – Book Review

legends in exileFinished reading:

Legends in Exile (Fables: Book 1) by Bill Willingham (Author), Lan Medina (Illustrator), Steve Leialoha (Artist), Craig Hamilton (Artist)

Expectation:

I have been planing to read this graphic novel for a long time now. I have liked every Bill Willingham work I have ever read so far. I am a great fan of fairy tale retelling and this was something I was sizing it up for reading on more than one occasion. I have read Fairest the spin-off graphic novel series that came out after Fables were already worldwide accepted as a work of art. Fairest centered on female characters in fairytales and made them look really badass.

Fairest_Vol_1_33Summary

The story was an excellent introduction in to the Fable backstory. I liked how characters interacted and the idea that every character no matter how big or small once had its own kingdom, title and story. Snow White is the executive major of Fabletown – a place for Legends in exile. Her sister, Rose Red is missing and presumed dead. Snow White’s ex husband Prince Charming is back in town as well. The only one who can solve the mystery might be the Big Bad Wolf.

fables_1This graphic novel now counts 20+ volumes, some stand alone editions and even an encyclopedia edition!

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There were some laughs and some deep thoughts on the pages of this graphic novel.

“…you know what they say. The only easy day was yesterday.”

Bigby Wolf: Fabletown’s Sheriff in Legends in Exile (Fables: Book 1)