For some reason, I felt like I hadn’t read a lot this week, but my Goodreads account assures me that I read 3 books and 4 graphic novels. And I’m 412 pages into To Hold the Bridge by Garth Nix. So it looks like I can’t be trusted to self-assess my reading achievements at all…
I came across this on Instagram and it sounded like a modern Gothic horror, which I was all for. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work for me. Kate is invited to an isolated house/castle by the most popular (and rich) boy at her school (is this really a British thing? It seems so much more American to have a character who’s the most popular boy at school. I went to an all-girls school though, so what do I know?). In tandem with her story, we read the story of Elinor, the original mistress of Darkmere. Kate’s story is… well, it wasn’t for me. It’s boring, is my biggest problem with it, and cliched. The rich kids at school love to party, and Kate is desperate to fit in. You see pretty much every plot point coming from a mile away. Elinor’s story is much more interesting, and is pretty much the only part of the book that manages to achieve anything approaching a Gothic horror feel. I would have much preferred an expanded version of Elinor’s story, with the modern elements ditched altogether.
TIM-21 is taken to the secret base of the surviving robots, and gets to know TIM-22, and we get to meet Andy, TIM-21’s ‘brother’. I am loving this title and strongly recommend it to pretty much everyone. The sci-fi element is solid, the story is complex and touching, and the artwork is absolutely beautiful. Read it, read it now!
Hazel attends school in her refugee/prison camp, and is generally awesome, and her parents take steps to get her back. So much goodness in this volume. There’s even another lying cat – yay! Saga is such a clever look at families, friendships and the things that make us different, and the character list continues to expand in unexpected and wonderful ways. I’m so pleased there are so many excellent sci-fi comics out at the moment!
I have mixed feelings about this, to be honest. On the one hand, I love the matriarchal society, the artwork and Little Fox (so much love for Little Fox!). On the other hand, I feel that we didn’t quite get enough information in the first few issues, which made things a bit hard to follow, and I take issue with the amount of boobs on show. Look, I get that some women love to wear low-cut tops, and that that is their absolute right, but the sheer amount of characters wandering around this with massive parts of their boobs uncovered just didn’t feel right to me. It felt like catering to the male gaze in a comic that has been marketed as a feminist read. Exposed boobs don’t mean you can’t be feminist, but there was so much of it that it just made me feel… uncomfortable, I guess? The boob issue aside, this is a comic that I feel will improve hugely in the next volume, now that it has more or less established the world it’s set in.
A girl is found in the basement of a burnt out house where she has been bound for ten years. This unsettling opening sets the tone for the rest of the book which is a story of magic, uncertainties and hatred. Clementine doesn’t know why she ended up in that basement, but she also doesn’t know if she ever should have been rescued. This is not a book about a special girl, rescued by a special boy and falling in love with him. It’s much more complicated than that. Nothing is easy in Clementine’s world, or particularly nice, and triumphing over evil is far from straightforward because we can never be sure which side is the bad one. Does any of that make sense? An interesting read, definitely, with a beautifully sparse cover, and one worth giving a shot, but it’s not my favourite Brenna Yovanoff book.
Gus lives in an isolated cabin with his father, the only person he can ever remember talking to. His father teaches him how to survive in the wild, and to never leave the woods, and that if he sees another person, he should run. But then Gus’ father dies, leaving him all alone, and Gus breaks all the rules, thinking he’s doing the right thing. I loved this. It’s gentle, and slow-moving, and yet it packs a punch. It’s set post-apocalypse, with children being born half human, half animal for no reason that anyone can discern, but it’s not about the strangeness of that, it’s about human nature and how far people will go to protect themselves.
I picked this up because I thought Lisa O’Donnell was an Irish author. Turns out she’s Scottish, and the book is set in the part of Glasgow I work in, which was unexpectedly cool. This is a wonderful book. It’s dark and gritty and messy and hopeful, and opens with the lines “Today is Christmas Eve. Today is my birthday. Today I am fifteen. Today I buried my parents in the backyard. Neither of them were beloved.” To tell you more would be to spoil it, I think, but I really can’t recommend this highly enough. Prepare yourself for quite a bit of Glasgow slang if you do pick it up though 😀