Should You Read It?-Honorable Mentions Part 21

Page still in progress 🙂

 

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, Julien Choy, and Crystal S. Chan

Genre: Manga/Classic Literature/Drama

Rating: 4/5

Image result for romeo and juliet manga classicsRomeo and Juliet is the tale of two teenagers who meet and fall in love instantly. The problem is, they are star-crossed lovers. Because their stars are crossed, they are not fated to be together, but continue to fight against fate’s will. Juliet’s house Capulet and Romeo’s house Montague have been warring for ages, and to be seen together would mean trouble. The day of their marriage, fate still aims to intervene in their love. When the friar comes up with a plan for the two to leave Verona forever, a miscommunication becomes the end of both youths.

Not my favorite Shakespeare play, but the art is absolutely gorgeous in this manga edition. One of the things that was a bit tedious with this edition was the fact that they keep the traditional language AND basically have the entire play therein. Therefore, I am basically still reading the whole play, just with illustrations. It’s a love hate, since I love Shakespeare so much but too much text is not what I want when aiming to sit down and read a manga. On another note, the illustrations work very will to demonstrate humor, similes, metaphors, and other literary devices that some readers may have a hard time picking out when just simply reading the play. Still a massive fan of the Manga Classics editions, I am now a bit wary of the Shakespeare, and this time I know more what to expect from the adaptation when Macbeth comes out Fall 2018!

 

Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman

Genre: Fiction/Romance

Rating: 4/5

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Mae Vol. 1 by Gene Ha

Genre: Graphic Novel/Fantasy

Rating: 4/5

Image result for mae vol 1Mae’s sister seems to enjoy running away. Between second and fifth grade, she’d run off all the time, until one day she never comes back. Seven years later Mae gets a call that her sister is being held at the Sheriff’s office. Now Mae feels like she hardly knows her sister, and she seems a bit odd to boot. Mae’s sister claims to have been away in another world, like Neverland or Oz! When a creature from this strange dimension appears, things suddenly look more real than fantasy.

The beginning seemed somewhat oddly paced, but the story picks up quickly in the first chapter, showing some potential. Access to this other dimension seemed too easy, but the concept of the locations, creatures, and the make-up of the society are interesting. The only qualms I really have with this are the names and the main plot. The names of the fantasy world are extremely unpronounceable, like the author just typed random letters and was like “that’s the name I’ll use for this!” The main plot revolves around the two sisters traversing the other world looking for their father. While that aspect in itself is rather dis-interesting, the action sequences are fun and I wonder which enemy characters will make a reappearance or what kinds of alliances will be made. The art is also rather appealing, although the transitions at times seem rough. I really like the ending. It seems that Abbie/Ani knows someone who looks very formidable, and I am curious to see who that character just might be. There is also an extra side story at the end that revolves around Ani’s adventures in the other dimension during the time her sister knows her to be missing.

All-in-all pretty interesting graphic novel with quite a bit of potential. The world is interesting and I am hoping there will be more secondary plot that overshadows the main plot to keep the action sequences tight and flowing. (Received from NetGalley for honest review).

 

Tales of an 8-Bit Kitten: Lost in the Nether by Cube Kid

Genre: Children’s/Video Game Tie-in/Adventure

Rating: 3.5/5

Image result for tales of an 8-bit kitenSet in the world of Minecraft, this unofficial Minecraft novel starts off with Eeebs playing hide-and-seek with two other kittens. One of his friends claims to have the greatest hiding place and will never be found. Eeebs travels farther than he ever has from home in order to find his friends, only to find himself having entered the Nether against his own mother’s warnings of such a place.

The writing is very simple, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This is cute and accessible for younger readers (perhaps grades 1-4). I personally would line more vocabulary or sentence variety. Not only do children love the Minecraft, but adults too. Also using more sentence variation is a strong sample for younger readers. Writing style aside, the format is very unique. The pages are in color and feature a background of a Minecraft ground cube and various words and phrases are sometimes underlined or appear in different sizes, fonts, and colors to point out various things to the reader. I also really like how there are visuals with this novel. Almost every page (with a few exceptions) has a Minecraft-reminiscent image that shows just what is going on in the world without the author necessarily having to delve into too much imagery. I don’t think I will read other unofficial Minecraft novels, but this was cute nonetheless. (Received from NetGalley for an honest review).

 

The Lion and the Bride Vol. 1 by Mika Sakurano

Genre: Shoujo/Romance Manga

Rating: 4.5/5

Image result for the lion and the bride vol 1Yua is a high school student who is secretly dating her teacher. After the death of her parents, she is taken in by her grandma, but her grandma gets sick, leaving Yua all alone. Her Sensei opts to marry her so that she has a place to stay, but one of her classmates is his son from a previous marriage! Awkward…

From my understanding, this book was originally published by Tokyopop, but after Tokyopop went out, another publisher picked up the series. The art is absolutely gorgeous. While there are some generic aspects to the story (taboo student and teacher relationship), it adds a new and exponentially interesting dynamic to it with having to keep their marriage a secret until Yua graduates, not to mention she now legally has a son the same age as her! This romantic drama has twists and turns around every corner. I have this feeling that Sensei’s son, Subaru, might just find some romantic feelings for his new mom as well. Uh-oh! What a fantastic first volume, and I am eager to read the coming volumes! (Received from NetGalley for an honest review).

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Dragon’s Epitaph: Slayer–Sneak Peek!

syreniaCheck out Mullin Publishing’s Dragon’s Epitaph page to see a first look at upcoming YA fantasy novel Dragon’s Epitaph: Slayer! Learn about one of the perspective characters, Syrenia.

You can also read the prologue of the book as an available PDF excerpt, and look forward to another excerpt from chapter one coming later in the summer! More art coming throughout the summer.

Let us know what you think so far in the comments! Enjoy!

~Mullin Publishing~

Star Wars Highlight: Comics (Part 20)

There are many, many comics in the world of Star Wars. The ones I have here vary in era, art, publication date, publisher, and style, but they are all interesting releases both to the old Expanded Universe as well as the new canon. They are listed in order based on the Battle of Yavin. Just remember, this is a highlight on a small fraction of a larger whole.

 

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Darth Vader Dark Lord of the Sith: Legacy’s End (19 BBY)

Publisher: Marvel (6 Issues)

Writer: Charles Soule

Artist(s): Giuseppe Camuncoli, Daniele Orlandini, David Curiel, et. al.

Legacy’s End picks up right where Imperial Machine left off. The Inquisitor is having a bit of an issue with the way Vader chooses to teach their pupils, considering Vader teaches them loss through limb removal. On top of this, an elderly female Jedi, Jocasta Nu, has been reported as surviving Order 66, and she is a threat to Sidious because she has knowledge great enough to rebuild the Jedi Order. When Vader hunts her down, he finds that Nu had a data chip with knowledge of Force-sensitive children that she was perhaps going to seek out. Oddly enough, when Sidious asks Vader if Nu had any knowledge they could use, Vader crushes the data chip and denies knowing anything. Vader then has a bounty put on his head by an unknown source, and many do not know just what the Sith Lord is capable of. When it seems that the order comes from Sidious, it would appear that someone is trying to set the union of Sith apart from each other.

I really love the art–it’s vivid and detailed as well as smooth. I personally really enjoy this series because it is fun to get a glimpse of Vader’s training with Sidious and some of the missions he does to become stronger. It is a nice back story that falls in the gap between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope.

 

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Star Wars Vol. 7: The Ashes of Jedha (0 ABY)

Publisher: Marvel (6 Issues)

Writer: Kieron Gillen

Artist(s): Salvador Larroca, GURU-eFX, et. al.

This 7th volume of the new line of Star Wars comics contains issues 38-43, or “The Ashes of Jedha” Parts 1-6. In this story arc, the Empire returns to Jedha aiming to collect any more kyber crystals that may have survived the test run of the Death Star blast. The Rebel Alliance aims to prevent any more harvesting of the crystal, but when Trios appears, a character you might remember from the Su-Torun War, she knows what mining is about. With her hidden agenda, she takes both sides unbeknownst to each, because ultimately she needs to protect her own people. When Luke and Leia see that some people still live on Jedha, they want to help, but some cannot leave the only place they know as home, despite there being little to no trade on the blasted moon.

Aside from the beautiful art, as usual, there was a aspect of this particular arc that I greatly enjoyed. We see references to Rogue One as Luke questions the lives of those who stole the Death Star plans to save the galaxy. He thinks of their once-trek to Jedha, as well as the live lost with a huge chunk of the moon. I was surprised that the moon was still partially intact and able to orbit and contain habitable life still, but that was also part of the appeal. We also get a bit of insight to those who once followed or still follow Saw Gererra’s ways. A very subtle, but nice way to connect the main story to Rogue One.

 

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Star Wars Adventures: Destroyer Down (Pre-The Force Awakens)

Publisher: IDW (1 Issue as TPB, 60 pages)

Writer: Scott Beatty

Artist(s): Derek Charm, Sean Parsons, Matt Herms

Long after the Battle of Jakku, a long-lost Star Destroyer appears out of the sand after being buried for years. Rey, scavenger that she is and a born survivor, aims to claim the best prizes from the ghost ship before someone else does, but she’s definitely the only one with an eye on the prize. It is a race to get the best items from the ship. An old droid makes its presence known and its logs reveal the one responsible for bringing the destroyer down on Jakku. But another active Imperial droid, among other scavengers, test Rey to the limits of her scavenging and survival skills.

This was a neat find because it is a December 2017 Loot Crate exclusive comic. While I am not a huge fan of the new Star Wars Adventures comics, they still add a bit of fun to various character’s stories. It was interesting to see Rey go on a scavenging adventure and really seeing what she had to do to survive on Jakku before finding the Falcon. The art isn’t my favorite, and it definitely feels geared more toward younger readers, but it’s still relatively fun to read and own for any Star Wars fan.

 

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Poe Dameron Volume 3: Legend Lost (30-34 ABY)

Publisher: Marvel (7 Issues)

Writer: Charles Soule

Artist(s): Angel Unzueta, Frank D’armata, Arif Prianto, et. al.

This third volume of the Poe Dameron collection consists of issues 7 and 14-19. #7 has more of a side story feel to it where Poe is on leave and meets up with an old friend who happens to be a journalist. Of course, being a journalist, she is always fishing for information and a big story, whether the First order or the Resistance is the source. When a sneaky journalism mission ends up showing the darker side of news media, the Resistance gains a new member. While this issue doesn’t really fit with the earlier volumes, it works in this volume since Suralinda Javos becomes a highlighted secondary character in the forthcoming issues. Issues 14-19 deal with Poe and Black Squadrons quest to find Oddy Muva, a once member of Black Squadron who betrayed his men to keep his wife safe. Now Black Squadron aims to find him before the First Order does. Meanwhile, Terex has been taken by Phasma who implants a mind control device on his head to have him obey any orders and skiff through any information he has learned that he can share about the Resistance to the First Order. While half of Black Squadron aims to find Oddy, the other half, taking Suralinda the journalist along, aim to get footage on how the First Order treats the beings of new planets they aim to conquer. With such footage, the Resistance can spark a new hope (eyyy) in the citizens of the galaxy.

Once again, beautiful art, as always. I felt that the story was crafted even better than the first two volumes. The story was more centered on the needs of the Resistance, through the eyes of Poe and Black Squadron of course, which was an interesting diversion from the first two story arcs. We get to know a bit more about the individuals of Black Squadron, adding more depth to the characters, as well as being introduced to Suralinda, a prospective potential secondary character of some import in the future. Overall, an excellent edition to the Poe Dameron comics.

Should You Read It?-Honorable Mentions Part 20

Seconds by Bryan Lee O’malley

Genre: Graphic Novel/New Adult

Rating: 4/5

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Done by the same author/artist as Scott Pilgrim, Seconds follows Katie, one of the founders of the restaurant Seconds. Now that she’s an established cook with her own brilliant recipes, she wants to open a second restaurant and call it Katie’s. When a co-worker talks about the house spirit, Katie is skeptical about how often said co-worker cleans the fire place  or leaves out clothes and bread. Katie comes face-to-face with this spirit and recognizes her from her co-worker’s drawings. But Katie is the only one who can see her! Then Katie finds some mushrooms that the house spirit claims as hers. With special instructions, Katie learns she can use the mushrooms to rewind time, changing her mistakes for the batter, but when she tries to change too many things and abuses the power, a creature of shadow appears and Katie must figure out the right think to do to fix her mistakes once and for all.

At first I didn’t like the art in this one as much as Scott Pilgrim, but it’s in color and it definitely grew on me. Katie is a girl in her early 20’s who is learning what it means to be a responsible adult, it just takes some extra tries to learn and get things right. It was a cute new adult journey that sends the message to think before we act, because you don’t always get a second chance.

 

your name. (Light Novel) by Makoto Shinkai

Genre: Young Adult/Japanese Light Novel/Anime

Rating: 4/5

Written as a novel before the final version of the animated film came out, your name. follows two young people, Mitsuha and Taki. Mitsuha live in the countryside by a lake in the mountains where her family still practices traditional shrine ceremonies. All she dreams of is living in Tokyo and being a boy instead of a girl. After screaming this out loud, Mitsuha dreams that she is a boy named Taki living in Tokyo. When things feel too real and gaps appear in her memory and her friends note all the strange things she did, Mitsuha learns that she and Taki are actually switching places and living each others lives for three or four days a week. At first, it’s annoying and they make a bunch of rules for each other to follow to keep their lives in line when they are themselves again, but when a beautiful comet passes over Earth, the two never switch again, and Taki aims to find out why.

Makoto Shinkai is an amazing storyteller, and out of his many films and books, this one is the best by far. It’s a coming of age story with romance and a quest to save hundreds of people. It’s heartwarming and full of mystery and allure from start to finish, the ending bringing me chills every time I read or watch it. This is a great read whether you have seen the film or not. I actually liked reading this first because it’s not only absolutely amazing, but having read it made the film easier to follow as well, considering it was a bit convoluted at first as to what was happening. An all-around amazing read that I recommend for any Shinkai fan as well as anyone looking for a well-written story. Not familiar with Shinkai’s works? This is definitely the one to read.

 

Behind the Scenes!! Vol. 1 by Bisco Hatori

Genre: Manga/Shoujo

Rating: 4/5

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New to college, Ranmaru is trying to find his place in things. When he is accidentally caught up in a zombie film shoot, Ryuji draws him in to become a part of the Art Squad. Ryuji recognizes Ranmaru’s craft, a great do-it-yourself type with a creative minds, and that’s just what the Art Squad needs. The Art Squad caters to the various film departments on campus, making costumes and sets that look amazing and can be shot well, but are actually cheap and don’t look like quality pieces off camera. Now Ranmaru must find out if this is what is right for him.

Plot-wise, much better than Bisco Hatori’s other work, Ouran High School Host Club, although I do love that series too. This has a new adult feel to it and features two male leads. Of course, some people don’t like certain members of the Art Squad and are trying to sabotage their sets. It turns out that even in college you sometimes can’t escape the high school drama! Bisco Hatori has a great, iconic art style and it’s neat to see another series by her that has potential. She also wrote Millennium Snow, a vampire series of three volumes, which the third was on hiatus for years, so we’ll see what happens with this series. I actually don’t know who I would recommend this manga to, though, because it doesn’t have a specific feel to it. It feels very generic, but open-ended enough to become something more unique. Also, it is in Viz’s Shojo category, which is more geared toward girls, and the recommended age group is teen.

 

That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime Vol. 1 by Fuse, Taiki Kawakami, Mitz Vah

Genre: Manga/Fantasy

Rating: 4/5

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This book begins instantly with a business man names Satoru Mikami who dies defending a coworker. He is then reincarnated on another world as a slime monster, hence the title. As he beginning to learn more and more about his new body and its abilities, he learns that he can be quite the powerful creature. After befriending a dragon and ultimately absorbing the dragon, balance in the world shifts. With goblins, wolves, dwarves, and humans, Satoru–now Rimuru Tempest–helps those he can and is seen as a god through the abilities he gains that help others. But ultimately, he just wants to find the girl of his dreams. Would a human girl ever date a slime?

My friend ordered this by mistake, thinking it was the light novel, and gifted it to me instead of returning it since I tend to like monster fantasy types of manga. This was a funny read. I would recommend it to whose who enjoy both comedy and fantasy. It has some dark humor to it, but the humor is well-placed and it is overall a pretty silly and fun story. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I dove in and I’m not sure I will continue it, but this is something I would recommend to older teens, especially if they just need a bit of a pick-me-up in their day.

 

Le Chevalier d’Eon Vol. 1 by Tou Ubukata and Kiriko Yumeji

Genre: Historical Horror/Action

Rating: 4/5

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d’Eon de Beaumont appears to be a slacker to the regular police force, but he secretly works for the king of France himself. Why is d’Eon so viable to the king? Murder seems to be happening across France, and it has to do with poets using the blood of virgins, because virgin blood brings out true poetry. d’Eon’s sister was one of the victims, and now whenever one of these “poets” appears, his sister emerges through his body, a physical transformation, to take vengeance for her own murder as well as to save or redeem the next victims.

I used to have the anime and after reading the manga, the anime is very bland. The manga is set up ell and the story is also nicely written. The art is nice and there are good action scenes and gore. It also has its moments of humor to ease the tensions of the seriousness of events in the story. While I read the first three volumes and liked them, I don’t think it was good enough to be invested for the rest of the story. Maybe if I find a good deal in price somewhere, I will continue, but this particular series doesn’t fit in well with my “quality” collection.

Star Wars Highlight: The Legends of Luke Skywalker

Image result for the legends of luke skywalkerGenre: Young Adult Science Fiction

Rating: 3/5

The Legends of Luke Skywalker features six short stories that follow some of the legends of Luke Skywalker. Whether they are true stories or not depends on both who is telling the story and who is listening, changing the perspective of truth.

The different stories are told from various crew members (and stowaways) of the Wayward Current, a ship on its way to Canto Bight with shipments of goods and livestock.

The first story, “The Myth Buster,” sort of sets up the feel of this book. Dwoogan, a cook aboard the ship, tells about the time that she was at a bar and overheard some various tales about Luke Skywalker. A man with a hood occasionally chuckles and listens (assumed that this man is Luke) and brushes of the silly stories that are definitely not from his own experiences. He doesn’t get mad about the misinformation, just allows people to believe what they want to believe.

The second story, “The Starship Graveyard,” shows some of the aftermath of the Battle of Jakku. An injured Imperial is saved by a man, presumably Luke Skywalker, and questions the motives of the Rebel. While the Imperial worries over being taken as a war prisoner, all Luke aims to do is be a good person and save a life.

The third story, “Fishing in the Deluge,” is by far my favorite. Luke finds himself on a planet with people who call the Force the Tide, and practice similar use to the Jedi, but are very cautious in their sharing of knowledge when it comes to the Tide. Seeking information, the elder will not tell Luke a thing about the Tide unless he can pass a number of tests. Luke uses the Force to his advantage, but this is not what the planet natives want to see, because it leads to corruption of power. Luke respects their wish to keep the knowledge, but still takes his experiences with him when he leaves. Image result for star wars luke skywalker the myth buster

The fourth story, “I, Droid,” is told from the perspective of a droid that gets taken as a slave for the Empire. Since droids can last much longer than humans in extreme heat, they are used for mining certain hard to obtain resources. This droid observes R2-D2 and C-3PO as they hope to be saved by Luke. Eventually, Luke makes his way to the planet where the droids are all being kept and not only saves his own droids, but is able to liberate numerous other droids taken by the Empire as well.

The fifth story was cute, but felt a bit over-done with some of what we get from Tales From Jabba’s Palace. “The Tale of Lugubrious Mote” features a tiny creature that is able to manipulate other lifeforms, a parasite if you will. His previous hose was Salacious Crumb, an easily controllable creature with very little thoughts of his own to begin with. When he finds his way onto Luke Skywalker’s scalp, he aims to control Luke for his own benefit. Luke, hearing the thoughts/intentions of the creature, believes he is hearing the Force speaking directly to him–except Obi-wan’s teachings never made his scalp itch so much! Taking place in Jabba’s palace, this was a silly story that adds depth to both Luke’s and Crumb’s actions during that time.

The sixth and final tale, “Big Inside,” Luke ends up inside of an exogorth (basically a giant space slug). G’kolu, an Anlari, is on an expedition with Luke. Inside the exogorth, the two find a whole ecosystem of its own, as if the inside of the space slug were its own planet. While Luke believes in the Force, G’kolu thinks scientifically, with no room for “magic.” Science or the Force will iwin out, when the two try to find an escape.

Overall, the stories in this collection are a bit bland, and some can be seen at possibly being true, while others may not have actually happened. But that’s a legend, I suppose, a story passed down from one person to the next, potentially changing over time. the stories don’t add much to Luke’s story and feel rather unnecessary. It would have been a better investment to make a novel that delved into Luke’s childhood or even what he did, story-wise, after the fall of the Empire. Perhaps something about his Jedi Academy? The one that Kylo Ren destroyed? That would have been a better lead-up to The Last Jedi. A novel that shows Kylo’s training and Luke’s teaching, as well as their relationship, would be vastly more interesting. While this book had a fun quality to it, it’s not really worth the read as being a part of the “Journey to The Last Jedi” series of books.

Comics Highlight: Alex and Ada

Genre: Graphic Novel/Contemporary Science Fiction

Rating (whole series): 4.5/5

Image result for alex and ada 1There is just something so special about this series that I needed to do a spotlight review for the whole thing. I found the first volume of Alex and Ada for $3 at my local comic book store, marked down, on sale. At first I was unsure about it; the art wasn’t my style and the story sounded like a few books I have already read before. Boy was I blown away! The art grew on my and I find the style unique and beautiful, and the colors are amazing. And yes, the story is similar to things like Skinned by Robin Wasserman and Absolute Boyfriend by Yuu Watase, but it still had its bit of uniqueness to it.

This series is about a 27-year-old business man named Alex who lives in a world similar to what we know today, except people have robots and androids to help them out around the house, run errands, or use for companionship. When a massacre happens in a factory where an android that gains sentience kills thirty people, the world looks down on those who own androids, especially the ones that look more and more human.

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Alex’s loving and doting grandmother, owner of her own X5 android (that she obviously used as a lover companion as well as to do work around the house), gifts Alex an android for his birthday, he is disinterested, wary from the media and the massacre. After trying the android out for a day, rather than sending it back, he calls her Ada and tries to make things work. Alex realizes that he wants more than an android can give and seeks out an android rights forum where he finds a hacker who can give Ada sentience. There are risks of unlocking an androids sentience, including destroying the android’s hard drive completely. When it works, Ada wakes up frightened by the sensations of the world that she can actually feel, smell, and taste.

Alex and Ada risk their lives with her sentience. When they go out, Ada must pretend to be a regular android so no one will rip her apart, like other sentient androids that have popped up on the news. When a new law is passed, hacking androids and opening sentience is a crime that with bring about prison time, if caught.

The two struggle to remain hidden, but it is inevitable that others notice things are a bit different with Ada. Ada researches love and finds herself wanting to be more than a companion to Alex, but something in him is saying an android and a human together just isn’t right. When Ada leaves, Alex is distraught. While Ada is out, she meets with other sentient androids who are willing to take her to a safe place to live, but a public encounter that turns violent ends up with Ada on the news, her identity and Alex’s safety are put at risk.

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In a world of humans and androids with issues that reflect certain elements in today’s society, this series has a great deal to share about what it means to have humanity and to be a good person, as well as what it means to love. After reading the first volume, I instantly bought the second and third ones, and they were even more entertaining that the first! Alex and Ada is a riveting story that has the reader’s heart pounding with intensity the whole time. I would recommend this for a somewhat older audience, late teens or twenties. It has quite a bit of political value to it, along with some major takeaways in terms of themes that we can apply to our own lives. It’s not everyday that I find a series as well drawn and well written as Alex and Ada.

Replica-Should You Read It?

Image result for replica lauren oliverGenre: Young Adult Fiction

Rating: 4/5

Replica is a unique book by Lauren Oliver in that it is two books in one. It’s really all one story, but the reader gets the perspective story of Gemma and Lyra. There are a few different ways to read this book, and there’s really no wrong way to read it (see chart below).

How I read the book was Lyra first, just because her story is on the front cover of my edition, then Gemma, whose story is on the back. You can also read Gemma and then Lyra, or if you want, the book is uniquely set up that you can go back and forth between characters after each chapter, so Gemma Chapter One, then Lyra Chapter One, then Gemma Chapter Two, and so on, for an interesting blend of the two stories. Any way works. While I did Lyra and then Gemma, I find for the second book, Ringer, I will try out the alternating chapters for the experience of constantly flipping the book back and forth.

I’ll start with a brief summary of Lyra’s story, since I read hers first. She is a girl in a facility who doesn’t know much about the world. She only knows what the doctors tell her, and they want it that way. She is a replica, basically a word they use for clones. There are different generations of clones, some constantly sick and not what the facility aims for, and others pristine specimens. Some people do not approve of what this secret facility is doing with genetics, not to mention stealing other people’s babies.

When the facility is under attack, Lyra is outside speaking with a male replica, planning an escape. After an explosion, Lyra and the boy–72–look for survivors. There are gunshots and men who don’t belong, bringing Lyra to hide until another girl and her friend find them, and Lyra notices that the girl looks like a replica, but she has hair and her own clothes.

Gemma thinks she is an alien. She doesn’t really fit in with the other kids at school. When a threatening message comes for her, she flees. She runs into a strange man she doesn’t know, yet he seems to recognize her. Strange things are going on with her family, and she aims to get to the bottom of it, her first step heading to the Haven institute, a secret lab in Florida.

What Gemma ultimately finds astounds her. A boy and girl who seem to know nothing of the world, the girl–Lyra–holding the file of someone from the destroyed lab. Now on a quest to find out who they both are, Gemma seeks the truth and Lyra aims to find out what it’s like to be human, all while avoiding those who do not want such secrets to be revealed.

This book is, once again, unique in its craft of two stories in one, being able to alternate, and the quest for identity is exciting and fast paced. There is thrill to the novel in that the two girls know certain things that those working for Haven do not want to be revealed, and death is just around the corner. The end feels slightly abrupt, definitely open-ended, and rightly so, given that the second novel came out in October 2017.

I highly recommend this read to female teens especially, considering the two perspective characters are female teens trying to find their place in the world. I would also recommend it to those interested in genetics and clone studies because there are some political aspects that relate to this idea of genetic engineering that we see developing in the world today, showing how this novel touches upon contemporary issues.