The Son of Neptune (Graphic Novel) by Rick Riordan, Robert Venditi, Antoine Dode, Orpheus Collar
Genre: Young Adult Graphic Novel/Adaptation/Mythology/Fantasy
While the art is decent, but a bit sketchy, the adaptation of the novel is well done. This is the second installment in The Heroes of Olympus series, albeit the graphic novel version. While The Lost Hero introduces Piper, Jason, and Leo, Percy has mysteriously vanished. In The Son of Neptune, we learn that he has been sent to the Roman camp for dami-gods. The reader is introduced to Hazel and Frank, two more demi-gods who join Percy in stopping a giant army from assaulting the Roman camp, all while Percy aims to regain his memories–he’s not a Roman demi-god, he is Greek! In the grand scheme of things, Romans and Greeks are not friends, and Percy will have to reunite the two to fight Gaia for the greater good.
I enjoyed this adaptation and found that it grabbed my attention better than the novel version did. This series, to me, is not quite as good/interesting as the original Percy Jackson series, but the graphic novel adaptations really add to the vividity of the world.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Genre: Young Adult/Fiction/Mystery
Jacob has heard many stories from his grandfather, and has seen many photos to accompany those tales. When his grandfather is hunted down by a strange, somewhat humanoid creature, Jacob scurries to the police, only to find that they do not believe the 16-year-old boy’s tale. Now Jacob is in search of an island with a mysterious old, abandoned orphanage that was spoken of often in his grandfather’s stories. When Jacob finds the island and Miss Peregrine’s old school, after rifting through old rooms and things, he learns the children may have been dangerous in their peculiarities. The isolation of these children might have been done for a good reason. When Jacob discovers that these peculiar children are still alive by repeating through a time loop of the same day every day. Ever hear of wights? They pose a threat to the peculiar, since feasting on a peculiar soul will restore them back to human form.
This book was interesting in that it combined photos that Riggs found at various yard sales and thing, using the photos to compose a narrative. It is fun reading about how the characters are musing over or describing a picture to then turn the page and see the actual image that was being described. While this is a unique and interesting way to share a story, I felt like there wasn’t enough drive for the reader to keep going, aside from the unique use of images. The story itself has a nostalgic feel as though I have read something very similar, or have seen this somewhere before (and I don’t mean X-men). The writing style itself feels very much like James Patterson, which isn’t necessarily a compliment. Overall, something that was enjoyable for a one-time thing, but not something I see myself rereading in the future. I have not yet decided whether or not I will read the second book.
Manga Shakespeare: Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, Richard Appignanesi, and Mustashrik
Genre: Graphic Novel/Classic Literature/Play
This adaptation of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar illustrates the rise and fall of Ceasar, a Roman leader. When fear of Caesar’s misuse of power goes to the heads of Cassius, Brutus, and their following, the group of men aims to murder their new Roman leader, later claiming to the public that it was for the good of Rome. With Caesar’s nephew/adopted son Octavius now heading for Rome, a battle soon follows. Even after death, Caesar has been an imminent influence on the fate and events following in the final acts. Brutus, although he has killed Caesar, is still a noble Roman, in comparison to Cassius and the other men who claimed to have killed Caesar for Rome.
This historical rendition has some interesting facts pulled from the actual history. Of course, Shakespeare has changed many things for the sake of drama, creating dramatic irony and developing phenomenal persuasive speeches using many different forms of rhetoric in this play. In this manga rendition, the art is actually very lackluster, and the context is not as easy to place as other Manga Shakespeare editions (such as warring Japanese Yakuza in their edition of Romeo and Juliet). I think it is meant to be…some war rendition? But there are some interesting steampunk-looking elements to the art as well. While some of the drawn elements add to things like facial expressions during major speeches, the manga edition is not as good as the play itself. Compared to all the other Shakespeare I have experienced (written plays, visual versions [movies and live performance], and illustrated editions), I would have to say that the story of Julius Caesar itself is one of my least favorites (but I love the history plays!).
Darker Than Black by Nokia, BONES, Tensai Okamura, and Saika Hasumi (Arklight)
This omnibus features both volumes of the Darker Than Black manga series. For fans of the show, the manga is much more concise and has some characters that (I don’t remember them, anyway) are not in the show. Something called Hell’s Gate manifested in the middle of Tokyo about ten years prior to the events in this manga. New stars have emerged in the sky, a sky created by Hell’s Gate, and each star seemingly corresponds to a Contractor, a person who has been gifted (or cursed) with some kind of supernatural ability. Although these people have gained these abilities, each Contractor has a different price they must pay every single time they use their power (cutting themselves, giving up something, etc.). Most Contractors are hidden, a secret from society. When Kanna see’s her father after he was supposedly killed, she ends up mixed up in a battle of contractors: those who aim to do right by their powers and those who abuse their powers. Klang, a Contractor, seeks to save Misa, a girl he grew up with who happens to have the power to take other Contractor’s powers away. It is obvious that Misa would have great value to the right people, becoming a possible gateway between Contractors and the normalcy of being human.
Despite it being awhile since I saw the show, this manga was a nice refresher to the characters (although some are quite noticeably absent whoa re in the show). the art is spatious and beutiful, and the story was relatively intriguing. The onyl thing that bothered me, as a reader, was that it was evident that Hei was trying to find his sister, and that ends being pretty much unresolved (unless I missed some subtlety about that plotline), which made one of the major plots feel a bit wasted. Other than that, it was an enjoyable read, nice having the omnibus, not waiting for numerous more volumes to be serialized.
We Can Be Mended by Veronica Roth
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Fiction
SPOILERS if you have not read the Divergent series (and possibly if you have).
In this epilogue to the Divergent series, five years have passed since the final events of Allegiant. Four secretly visits the Dauntless headquarters to explore his fear landscape, not to see Tris, but to one day come to find that he has moved on from her death. Chicago is rebuilt for a fourth time in its history, and the people there are responsible for its upkeep, to avoid the failures of the past. Factions have generally been eradicated, as people come to find that more than one trait makes up a human being. With a museum showing the people the history of the Genetic War, humans are able to understand their mistakes, able to travel and learn as they wish once more. Of course, time move forward and, in essence, heals all wounds. Tobias is young and has experiences similar hardships as his fellow faction members from the past. Together, they can move forward.
While this is a predictable 22 page epilogue, the development of the relationship is rather lacking. The beginning pacing was okay, but the end feels rushed and wasted. While many people do not like this scenario, I am indifferent. Why? Allegiant was not that great. While I enjoyed the scientific bits, the plot was lacking, and I found Tris’s death, of all main character deaths that I have read about, to be anticlimactic and wasted, feeling no remorse for the characters. While this epilogue is okay, it was not executed to its most potential. Also, the writing style doesn’t feel quite as good as some of her other works…