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Mae by Gene Ha {3 Stars}

Mae by Gene Ha {3 Stars}

Mae by Gene Ha (Mae Vol 1)
Published by Dark Horse Comics on Feb. 7th, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Graphic Novel
Page Length: 136 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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When she was just a girl, Abbie discovered a portal to fantasy world and for the last couple of years has been having great adventures there: defeating horrible monsters, power-mad scientists, and evil nobles. But by the time she turned twenty-one it all came apart and she decided to return home. Her sister, Mae, has had no idea what happened to Abbie after all this time. Her tales are too hard to believe--that is, until the monsters and other terrible creatures start to cross over to our world...
Collects the first six issues of the fantastical all-ages series, in the 6- x 9- format!

3 Stars

I grabbed this randomly from the library shelf, as I do with any graphic novels that show up where the art appeals to me and looks like it is vaguely speculative.

Strengths:
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Monstress by Marjorie M. Liu eARC {4.5 Stars}

Monstress by Marjorie M. Liu and illustrated by Sana Takeda is a graphic novel I have wanted to read since I first heard of it over a year ago. I patiently waited for a physical volume to be released because my library didn’t get the electronic releases as they came out and I’m so glad I waited and could binge the whole first volume all at once. This novel is everything I hoped with gorgeous art, a terrifying but amazing world, and dark but strong characters. There are also a few jokes and happy moments to make things better :D.

Note: I received an advanced copy of Monstress from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Monstress by Marjorie M. Liu eARC {4.5 Stars}

Monstress: Awakening by Marjorie M. Liu, Sana Takeda (Monstress Vol #1)
Published by Image Comics on Nov. 4th, 2015
Genres: Adult, Dark Fantasy, Graphic Novel
Page Length: 72 pages
How I got my copy: Edelweiss
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Steampunk meets Kaiju in this original fantasy epic for mature readers, as young Maika risks everything to control her psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, placing her in the center of a devastating war between human and otherworldly forces.

4.5 Stars

Strengths:
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Rat Queens by Kurtis Wiebe and Roc Upchurch {5 Stars}

Rat Queens by Kurtis Wiebe and Roc Upchurch might be my new favorite book ever. I’m not exaggerating. You all know that I don’t reread books pretty much ever since there are so many new ones to discover, but immediately upon finishing the first volume of Rat Queens, I had to reread it. I had to order the second volume, too. This band of four women just make me so darn happy (they are not rats by the way, which I strangely assumed based on the title). Fans of fantasy absolutely need to read this series, even if you’ve never read a graphic novel before.

Rat Queens by Kurtis Wiebe and Roc Upchurch {5 Stars}

Sass and Sorcery by Kurtis Wiebe, Roc Upchurch (Rat Queens #1-5)
Published by Image Comics on April 8th, 2014
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Page Length: 128 pages
How I got my copy: Purchased
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Who are the Rat Queens?

A pack of booze-guzzling, death-dealing battle maidens-for-hire, and they're in the business of killing all god's creatures for profit.

It's also a darkly comedic sass-and-sorcery series starring Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief. This modern spin on an old school genre is a violent monster-killing epic that is like Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack!

5 Stars

Strengths:
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Amulet: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi {4 Stars}

Amulet: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi is a middle grade graphic novel featuring a brother and sister team fighting to rescue their mother in a mysterious world beneath their new house. There are also adorable robots including the pink bunny on the cover and a magical stone that seems to have some sinister purpose with the kids. This is of course one of the graphic novels that was heavily recommended to me as I make my way into sf/f graphic novels and I definitely recommend it for fans of middle grade fantasy!

Amulet: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi {4 Stars}

Amulet: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi (Amulet #1)
Published by Graphix on Jan. 1st, 2008
Genres: Fantasy, Graphic Novel, MG
Page Length: 192 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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There's something strange behind the basement door...

After a family tragedy, Emily, Navin and their mother move to an ancestral home to start a new life. On the family's very first night in the mysterious house, Em and Navin's mom is kidnapped by a tentacled creature. Now it's up to Em and Navin to figure out how to set things right and save their mother's life!

4 Stars

Strengths:
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Saga, Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples {3.5 Stars}

Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and drawn by Fiona Staples is a graphic novel I’ve been hearing about for a long time and comes up pretty much whenever I say that I should really start reading comics, what’s a good speculative fic one to start with? I’m so glad I finally got on this band wagon! In hindsight I should really have requested more from the library all at once, but you know how these things go ;-).

Note: This is my first time reviewing a graphic novel, bear with me!

Saga, Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples {3.5 Stars}

Saga, Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples (Saga #1)
Published by Image Comics on Oct. 23rd, 2012
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Sci-fi
Page Length: 160 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.

From bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan, Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults.

3.5 Stars

Strengths:
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Four Stars: Mercy Thompson: Homecoming by Patricia Briggs

Mercy Thompson: Homecoming is a graphic novel about when Mercy is first visiting the Tri-Cities area. This just happens to be at the same time that the Marrok (head of North American werewolves) has sent Adam Hauptman (Alpha werewolf) and his pack to deal with a rogue pack in the area that has been bad. Between vampires acting out, the werewolf gang war and some really bad luck on the employment front, Mercy just isn’t having a good week…. Makes perfect sense to move-in!

Patricia Briggs is proving just how versatile of an author she is with her foray into graphic novels. She’s doing such a wonderful job building up the world that Mercy Thompson and the companion series, Alpha and Omega, take place in, and it rocks! When I saw Homecoming available for $6 at the local Meijer, I had to grab it for the pretty pictures alone :D. Better yet, it’s an original (short) story that tells of how Mercy and Adam actually came to live in the Tri-Cities area. Fun fact: Mercy wanted to be a history teacher! Look how that turned out, haha!

Mercy Thompson: Homecoming by Patricia Briggs

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Title:
Mercy Thompson: Homecoming
Author: Patricia Briggs, David Lawrence
Illustrator: Francis Tsai, Amelia Woo
Pages: 168
Genre-ish: Urban Fantasy graphic novel!
Rating: ★★★★☆– Really fun, minor turn-offs
Setting: All of the Mercy Thompson series, including Mercy Thompson: Homecoming, are set in an alternate US where werewolves, fae, vampires and coyote shifters all exist. The fae came out of hiding several years ago and the humans have mostly dealt with that shock, and everyone in the supernatural community knows that vampires and werewolves exist. Shifters, however, are thought to be extinct, making Mercy a bit of a spectacle even for a supe.
Premise: A gang of rogue werewolves has been attacking humans in the area that Mercy Thompson also happens to be interviewing for a teaching position. When she’s just out for a nice run (in coyote form) this rogue pack just has to come looking for a snack. Fortunately, a much more responsible pack has been sent over to take care of the situation, and they are able to save Mercy. This convinces the Marrok who also happens to be Mercy’s foster father, however, that she should not be in the area which causes Mercy to respond by getting a job as a mechanic instead. Now if only this gang war would leave her along, everything would be peachy.

 

Strengths:

  • Mercy has always been a really strong and fun character and Mercy Thompson: Homecoming is no exception. She has a tendency to pick fights she has no hope of winning due to her honor, standing up to the most powerful werewolf in North America simply because his orders annoy her, and going out to dinner with vampires.
  • Generally I am a big fan of the artwork of the various characters. Zee, Mercy’s fae boss, wasn’t how I had pictured him; he was better. Stefan, the vampire who is a huge Scooby Do fan, had a wonderfully painted VW bus and Adam had some pretty fine moments ;-).
  • Prequel stories are always so much fun when you know what ends up happening with the characters and get to giggle at their interactions. It was an awesome moment when Adam realized he had bought a house next door to Mercy. Also, Mercy’s desire to teach history explains her various book researching adventures in the series very well.

Weaknesses:

  • Apparently they switched artists part way through the development, which is clear looking at some of the pages, but didn’t really bother me. What did both me is that the second artist drew Mercy much more sexually and I just didn’t like those panels as much. Mercy isn’t supposed to be that sexual; she’s covered in motor oil half the time!
  • Shape-shifting tends to leave people without their clothes on, which is fine in a novel since you don’t really picture that detail much (or at least I don’t, haha), and Briggs made a great decision to keep that realism element in Mercy Thompson: Homecoming. This does mean, however, that there is a fair amount of female skin showing throughout the novel. No actual full frontal nudity, but plenty of scenes with conveniently positioned arms and legs with everything else showing. Just a warning not to let small children read it and to be careful who can peek over your shoulder.
  • The first two chapters have a really weird transition that heavily confused me until Briggs resolved it with a memory scene. Basically, they jump forward in time and skip a significant encounter and then go back to describe it. I really didn’t like it; it seemed unnecessarily confusing, but I’m hoping that by telling you, you will be less confused.

Summary:
Graphic novels are a really fun edition to a novel series and Mercy Thompson: Homecoming is no exception. You get a combination of a new prequel storyline and really pretty art! What could be better? It’s obviously a very fast read because it’s so short, but you should definitely be prepared for PG-13 artwork and bad guys. Anyone who has been enjoying the Mercy Thompson series so far should definitely pick it up or borrow Mercy Thompson: Homecoming.

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-A
Anya from About The StorySimilar Stories Reviewed:
Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs – If you haven’t read the series, you should, it rocks.
Fair Game by Patricia Briggs – I also highly recommend the spin-off series: Alpha and Omega, of which Fair Game s the latest

Mercy Thompson: Homecoming by Patricia Briggs