The Lost Hero (Graphic Novel Adaptation) by Rick Riordan and Nate Powell, et. al.
Genre: Children’s/Young Adult/Mythology/Graphic Novel
This adaptation features three new characters in the world of Percy Jackson: Piper, Leo, and Jason. When Jason appears at Camp Half-blood with no memories, it is soon evident that Jason is a son of Zeus. The trio are sent on a quest by Hera to prevent Gaea from awakening, which partially involves defeating the giants who counterpart each of the gods. (For more detail on the story, see my review on the full novel using the titled link above).
Overall, this adaptation was done well. Of course, some parts need to be ordered in a slightly different way to ensure the visual version flows well, ending issues or chapters with a relatively strong cliffhanger, as that is what comics are meant to do. I enjoyed the art and the graphic novel version really added to my own reading of the original novel, giving me some elaborate visuals on the setting as well as the characters, since my own mental images are not necessarily set in stone. It was fun to compare my own visual representation to the artist rendition of all the different characters, and the graphic novel is, overall, presented in a way that is clear, flows, and adds aesthetic value to the story.
It by Stephen King
Derry, Maine, 1957. Six year old Georgie goes out in the rain to play with his wax boat, only to find himself killed by a clown. It, renown for it’s clown monster, is Stephen King’s 22nd novel. The clown is actually a creature with a true form that is not known until nearly the end of the novel. It takes the forms of various fears and makes an occurrence every 27 years in the small town to feed on its victims. Bill, Georgie’s older brother, seeks to destroy the monster with the help of his friends. When they seemingly destroy it, the group of children make a pact to return to Derry if the monster ever comes back. In 1984, the monster has returned, and Mike contacts the gang to return to Derry to exact vengeance against the creature only they know know how to extract from their hometown.
This book is super popular because 1) Stephen King, and 2) both the old and new movie adaptations. Despite this, the book is long and tedious, yet it has an interesting layout. This book goes back and forth between the character’s experiences in 1957-1958 and 1984-1985 and has a number of interesting literary aspects, such as dialogue, longer prose, news articles, and other elements that bring Derry’s history to life in the novel. While this book is vastly popular, it is hard to read in that the action is lacking in many areas, with more exposition than anything. The historical elements are interesting and often add to the tale being told, but are also often a bit lengthy, making this book drag out as a slower read. It is not a book that I would want to read again (albeit it is my husband’s favorite book ever), but the new movie was done well and was presented in a more enjoyable way than the book, even though some of the elements and defeating the monster is different in the two mediums.
Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Retelling
Heartless tells the story of Cath, the young woman who is to become known as the Queen of Hearts. She wasn’t always such a menacing and terrible person, but the events in her life bring her to become the heartless queen. Cath loves baking, and her dream is to open her own bakery, even though this means she will not be among the gentle class any longer. When the King of Hearts takes interest in her, she does not want to marry or give up on her dream. Instead, she meets Jest, a court joker sent to take the heart of a queen, but alas, the two fall in love. A monster takes rise in the realm, a jabberwok (check out the original poem, “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll), Cath finds that she might be responsible for the creation of the beast. As events unfold, Cath slowly begins to change, to become a heartless person with no mercy as she takes the stand as Queen of Hearts.
What I liked about this book: It is a stand-alone, so there won’t be any waiting for a sequel (aside from reading Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland). It was an interesting idea to make a prequel to develop Lewis’s character, The Queen of Hearts, because she has to have some back story, right? And it is a story of romance and dreams. The baking aspect was a nice character trait.
What I did not like about this book: The writing style itself did not feel like Marissa Meyer. While I haven’t read The Lunar Chronicles yet, I have heard great things about it and own them all. On the other hand, I did read Renegades, and it was well-written and the pacing was just right. The pacing of this novel was a bit slow in terms of events, but I feel like the writing itself contributed to the feeling of slowness with this book. While the setup with Cath in the beginning of the novel was interesting, the middle was bogged down with very little character development, but picks up again at the end, the most interesting part of the novel. All in all, the book was a decent read, but not something I would read again.
High School DxD (Vol. 1) by Hiro Mishima, Ichiei Ishibumi, and Zero Miyama
Vastly popular, this manga is about Issei Hyoudou, his dream in high school to eventually form his own harem. When he finds out he was killed by a demon, he is claimed by another and made a demon himself. Learning about the demon hierarchy, Issei wants to climb the ladder and become a great demon who is able to take on his own slaves, but first he must do a bunch of menial tasks or he will never be able to make his dream come true. When he meets a priest that aims to kill demons, things escalate quickly, and he is surprised to find that a girl he previously met is a holy woman, their friendship an impossibility!
This was okay, and that’s it. This anime/manga is very hyped up, and I am going to assume it is from all the boobs and fan service for the male audience. I did not find the story very riveting or drawing, but the art is done very well and is aesthetically pleasing. The one hitch that might keep me going at a reader is a potential romance between the Bishop girl and Issei, a demon, for angelic and demonic are mortal enemies. Other than that, there is no draw in this series and it seems like it is trying to hard in a negative way compared to other manga that contain explicit content geared toward older readers.
Dreamin’ Sun by Ichigo Takano
Shimana Kameko has a new step-mother and a new baby brother as well. When attention falls to him, she feels unwanted and unneeded in her house. Aiming to run away, she comes across Fujiwara Taiga, who offers her a room in the house he is renting out with two other friends, but Kameko has a few conditions to meet before she is welcome to stay. First, Kameko must tell Taiga why she ran away, and it better be a good reason (although he really just wants the truth). Second, she must retrieve the missing house key from one of his roommates, and third, Kameko must have some kind of dream and fall in love, two things she has never done before! With all members having some kind of dream, they are a very goal-oriented bunch, but falling in love can be tough, especially when she falls for the pretty boy that all the other girls at school like too!
By the same artist and author that brought us Orange comes this well-drawn, cute story. The art in this manga is very cute and the facial expressions are captured extremely well to give the reader the desired tone of panic, loneliness, or humor. This manga seems like a decent start to a series that has potential. The protagonist relates to readers who may have or have had similar experiences with not feeling wanted by family, making a strong connection with the narrator from the beginning. The characters are well-balances too, with smart, serious, quirky, and average people all coming to live together in the same house. The dynamic in characters makes the manga fun to read and wanting to know more about all of the characters, rather than just the shoujo heroine.