Posts Tagged ‘Graphic Novel’
Has Miki fallen too hard? It’s summer, and Miki Yoshida is learning all about love. Her senior year has blossomed with promise ever since she gained Hiro Sakurai’s confidence. Now, she’s resolved to keep his trust as he reveals more about his secret mission and warns: “Don’t get involved!”"But Miki fears his work might do more harm than good, and she takes control—with disastrous results. How can trying to make things right turn out so dangerously wrong?
Review: I’m really enjoying the Miki Falls series! Summer takes place a few months after the first volume, Spring, but readers new to this series don’t necessarily need to read the first book in order to enjoy this latest installment. Crilley provides enough recap to not drag the story down and continues at a good pace to keep the story moving forward. Miki has been successful in gaining Hiro’s confidence and discovered his big secret. Now the two have formed a strong friendship as Miki learns about what exactly Hiro’s special mission entails. As Miki learns more about Hiro and his past, she begins to realize that her place next to Hiro is impossible yet she can’t help but feel close to him and she thinks Hiro feels the same.
In Summer, we see Miki and Hiro become more dimensional characters. While Hiro tries to back away from Miki and conceal his feelings for her, Miki pushes forward and dares to ask why. She refuses to take no as an answer and doesn’t dissolve into a pool of tears, which is one of the reasons why I like her so much. Similarly Hiro struggles with his choice of doing his duty or listening to his heart. More information about Hiro’s job is provided in the book, which is really unique and interesting. We also see a female acquaintance of Hiro’s past that adds more tension to this sweet love story.
Miki Falls is an OEL, original English language manga-style graphic novel series. It is perfect for those readers who are hesitate about reading Japanese manga yet curious about the stories they contain. The soft black and white illustrations perfectly complement this gentle story about first love. I especially love the set up of separate panels that express the emotions that run across the character’s faces making them real. I hope that you pick up Miki Falls and I look forward to reading Autumn, the third volume of the series.
Readalikes: Miki Falls Volume 3: Autumn by Mark Crilley
Description: Miki is ready for adventure and romance. She is tired of being a pushover and vows that her senior year of high school will be different. She will be confident and in charge. Her senior resolution is called into question when Miki sets her sights on Hiro, a tall, handsome new boy at school who is determined to be antisocial. Miki thinks Hiro is putting on a show and hiding a dangerous secret, but what is it? Miki is determined to find out.
Review: Miki Falls is exactly what I needed at the moment. After reading a few titles that left me in a “blah” mood, Miki Falls is a fresh of breath air for me and I’m so glad that I picked it up. As the story begins, Miki is both literally and figuratively falling out of a window and possibly in love too. We learn that Miki threw herself outside of a third story window. The reason is not given, however, we think it has to do something with Hiro, the mysterious and distant new boy that enrolled in Miki’s high school as Miki beings to explain on how everything happened.
Miki is a extremely likable teen. She is trying to confront her insecurities and no longer wants to be passive. She wants to take charge of her life, which at times makes her impulsive and stubborn especially when she refuses to be avoided by Hiro. She goes out of her way to be nice to him and to speak to him even though he has continually expressed his disinterest in anyone yet Miki sees a vulnerability in Hiro, a person who is much like herself- a rule follower and not living life.
Hiro is your typical brooding love interest who is hiding a secret. I liked how his revelation is an odd twist and something that I didn’t guess. Crilley does a great job in building suspense and mystery surrounding Hiro’s past and his mood swings. I can’t wait to see how the supernatural aspect of the book develops in the next three series.
I really enjoyed Crilley’s manga-like format. Unlike manga’s the book does not read from right to left nor are the illustrations squeezed into panels. A lot of the illustrations are crisscrossing sequential panels that emphasize art as well as furthering the plot, which allows the story’s emotion, humor, and drama unfold in front of the readers. My favorite part of the illustrations are the focus on the eyes of the characters that are cut in between dialogue to heighten the characters’ sense of vulnerability, confusion, and shock. Crillye’s light shading and unique facial features give the book a softer and romantic feel.
If you are curious about manga but a bit afraid of it’s format, I would highly suggest to pick up the Miki Falls series not only to read a great story but also to experience what reading a manga might feel like. Even though the characters are in their teens, I think this series has a wide age appeal very much similar to the Twilight Saga due to a chaste yet passionate love story. It’s definitely worth checking it out.
If you like this book try: Miki Falls Volume 2: Summer by Mark Crilley
Description: Aliera Carstairs doesn’t fit in any of the cliques in her high school. The only place that makes her feel special and important is her fencing class, however, she seems to be in the spotlight for the handsome, new student Avery Castle. Aliera knows something is not right. Her ordinary and used fencing foil with a large ruby on the hilt that her mother found at a sale is trying to tell her something about Avery and the world around her. What is Aliera’s weapon trying to tell her? Who is Avery and why is he so interested in Aliera?
Review: In Foiled, Yolen has fabulously blended the trivial times of high school with fantasy. Aliera is a strong heroine who minds her own business. She sticks to her routine of fencing practice, homework, and role-playing games. Her main goal is working her way to the National Fencing Championship as she wins her way at defeating those in her class. Aliera seems to be safe in her own skin until she is sidetracked by the cute, new boy at school named Avery Castle. Avery takes interest in Aliera which immediately makes our heroine suspicious because she’s not the type guys fall for. Initially she keeps her distance from Avery and abides her fencing coach’s rule, “Protect your heart”, but Avery’s charms slowly holds her interest.
I kept flipping the pages as Yolen keeps us in suspense about Avery and the uniqueness of Aliera’s weapon. We are given little hints that are sprinkled in the graphic novel. Before reading this graphic novel, I knew next to nothing about fencing and found myself intrigued with learning about the sport, which complimented the banter between Avery and Aliera.
Cavallaro’s artwork demonstrates Aliera’s monochrome existence, both literally and metaphorically. I was pleasantly surprised when the graphic novel bursts to life in color when she finally sees the hidden faerie world. The explanation and importance of Aliera’s status of the faerie world isn’t defined, but it sets up wonderfully for the next installments of future volumes. I can’t wait to find out more! Foiled is a must read for fantasy lovers and those who are big fans of Tamora Pierce’s works.
If you like this book try: Fray or Buffy the Vampire Slayer series by Joss Whedon, Cold Fire by Tamora Pierce
Description: When Garth Hale is accidentally zapped into the ghost world by Frank Gallows, an underachieving ghost wrangler. Frank Gallows, he finds out that he has some awesome super powers. When the evil ruler of Ghostopolis discovers Garth in his kingdom, he desperately searches for the young boy who will allow him to keep a tighter grip in his afterlife world. Will Garth be able to survive and make his way back home? Will Frank Gallows come to Ghostopolis to have save Garth or will it be too late?
Review: Ghostopolis is an enjoyable read. The story is unique and filled with humor as well as heart. The world building of the Ghostopolis is quite good, however, I would have liked a little more of an explanation of how it came to be than what was provided in the graphic novel. There is a balance between narrative panels and wordless passages such as two mummified squirrels fighting for the same acorn that keep readers interested and stay on task with the plot.
While there is a diverse cast of characters, whom I’m sure many readers will like and feel invested in their adventures, I thought they were a bit flat and lacked character development. The book takes its time establishing Ghostopolis and Garth’s plight in finding a way to get back home, however, I thought the ending was very rushed in the end. Even though some loose ties are tied up, I thought some important themes were glossed over and I still had some questions that were unanswered. It’s also hard not to notice the strong religious overtones in the story, however, I enjoyed the dry humor of the book. I think Ghostopolis might be a good step for readers who aren’t ready to tackle the frightening and weird tales of Neil Gaiman. Young readers should dig the graphic novel’s creep factor, adventure, and humor.
Readalikes: Coraline by Neil Gaiman or Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi
Posted February 24, 2011on:
In 1986, Afghanistan was torn apart by a war with the Soviet Union. This graphic novel/photo-journal is a record of one reporter’s arduous and dangerous journey through Afghanistan accompanying the Doctors Without Borders. Didier Lefèvre’s photography, paired with the art of Emmanuel Guibert, tells the powerful story of a mission undertaken by men and women dedicated to mending the wounds of war.
The Photographer is not just a photography book nor a graphic novel. It is a marriage between these two genres that tell a powerful and inspiring story in the similar vein that text and illustrations do in a picture book. This documentary graphic novel brings together vivid, beautiful, and striking black and white photographs taken by Lefèvre, intimate drawings by Guibert, an organized and clear layout, and easy to read translation and introduction by Siegel.
The year is 1986 and Afghanistan is at war with the Soviet Union. Photographer Lefèvre had volunteered to join the Médecins sans Frontières (MSF; Doctors Without Borders), to document a mission: to build a medical facility into northern Afghanistan. Along the way, he and the team of doctors, guides, and interpreters endured a physically exhausting, arduous journey, and witnessed the effects of war. The humanitarian and altruistic spirit of the doctors and the resilience of the Afghanis is what keeps this graphic novel from being so depressing. Readers find out that for Afghanis, war is unfortunately nothing new to them and has become a part of their lifestyle. They take their wounds in stride and keep on living. It is heartbreaking to see how easily weapons are acquired while schools are considered a luxury and are scarce.
By reading and experiencing The Photographer, we finally get a glimpse into this mysterious war-torn country that hasn’t been in a severe limelight since the atrocious 9/11 attacks and try to wrap our heads around what American troops are facing in the current Afghan war.
Read-alikes: Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, Waltz with Bashir by Ari Folman, or Sarajevo by Joe Kubert
This English-translated graphic novel presents a serene and spiritual view of the life of young Ehwa. Over the course of three novels, Ehwa grows from a small child to an adult woman in early 20th century Korea. The first book focuses on her childhood, her development, and her relationship with her mother. On a side note, the story of Ehwa is based on the life of the author’s mother growing up in Korea.
Ehwa is a well-developed character, and readers will appreciate her innocence and confusion at many things that are widely-known and taught nowadays. Perhaps the most endearing aspect of the novel is Ehwa’s relationship with her mother, a widow. Her mother guides her and helps her when she has trouble or confusion.
The book is beautifully illustrated, with many panels having a softness often lost in graphic novels. The balance between the story and the illustrations is skillfully done.
All in all, this graphic novel provides an interesting perspective of a lost time. Readers that enjoy this book should read the sequels, The Color of Water and The Color of Heaven. Also, try American Born Chinese and Maus: A Survivor’s Tale.
For something different, try:
Feed by M.T. Anderson
Review by Carlen
The Professor’s Daughter is a French graphic novel depicting the Victorian romance of Egyptologist’s daughter Lillian and Imhotep IV, former pharaoh of Egypt and living mummy. Humorously, Imhotep IV becomes inebriated from tea he drinks while out with Lillian and inadvertently injures a man in the restaurant. While resting at home, Imhotep IV’s children come to him in a vision, explaining that Imhotep IV’s wife closely resembles Lillian. When the injured man from the restaurant shows up with a police officer trying to press charges, Lillian mistakenly poisons and kills the men. Following this tragedy, Lillian and Imhotep IV embark on a humorous escapade to exonerate themselves.
The novel, written by Sfar and illustrated by Guibert, skillfully balances the absurdity of the plot with the faded, delicate illustrations. Guibert effectively uses subtle changes in color to switch both scenes and moods from the story.
The book takes place over a short period of time, only a matter of days. Pacing in the plot is well done and lacks lulls. However, the traditional panel layout prevents any extensive use of perspective or creative action sequences. Character development is minimal, but this is largely due to the fact that the novel is only sixty-four pages in length.
Imhotep IV and his father Imhotep III have bizarre personalities, but these do not evolve much throughout. Lillian is likeable, but at times her character is overshadowed by the presence of others. Still, Guibert’s illustrations successfully portray Lillian’s despair throughout the novel, which brings her emotional side to life. All in all, the quirky plot, absurd characters, and engaging artwork produce a respectful graphic novel.
Review by Carlen
Library Wars by Hiro Arikawa [Teen Fiction]
Illustrated by Kiiro Yumi
Hold onto your seats! The world of libraries is about to get very exciting! Join Iku Kasahara, a member of the Library Forces, as she and her classmates fight the oppressive government and strive for literary and intellectual freedom!
Iku Kasahara, along with her classmate Asako and the short but talented Dojo, goes on a whirlwind ride of adventures to take down the oppressive Media Betterment Act, issued by the government. From such activities as acquiring books on request for patrons to military training, this graphic novel will entice both library patrons and librarians alike!
Description: Fast-Paced, Energetic, Graphic Novel
If you liked Library Wars, try:
Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O’Malley
Vampire Knight by Matsuri Hino
Twilight: the Graphic Novel by Stephenie Meyer (adapted by Young Kim)
For something a LITTLE different, try:
Loveless by Yun Koga
For something REALLY different, try:
Watchmen by Alan Moore
Review by Carlen