I have been on a kick lately of reading a lot of graphic novels, comics, and even a bit of manga, and I have more on my TBR for the next month, so I decided I would start a new series. Every week, I’ll be posting a small batch of mini-reviews for graphic novels and the like! I’ll also include poetry collections, as I’ve read a little poetry lately.
This week, I’ll be reviewing two graphic novels, a manga, and a memoir!
The Little Red Wolf – Amelie Flechais
I’m not sure that I would call this a graphic novel so much as a morbidly adorable children’s book! The Little Red Wolf is, as you may have guessed from the cover, a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood – except, in this story, the little wolf is visiting his grandmother, when a wicked little girl tricks him!
This book was precious, and I loved the artwork so much. It was incredibly unique and would make a great “coffee table book” – you know, the sorts of books that are so pretty you just leave them out to look at them? (No? Just me? Hm…) I would totally buy a hard copy of this to read to my son as a bedtime story, honestly, because even though it does have a little morbidity to it, it isn’t scary at all and I think most kids would really enjoy it!
Thank you to NetGalley and Diamond Book Distributors for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Uzumaki: Spiral Into Horror (Deluxe Edition) – Junji Ito
If you’ve been following my reviews for a while, you may remember that, a few months back, I accidentally got Volume 2 instead of Volume 1 from the library and decided to read it, anyways. I was less than impressed (and incredibly confused) and chalked it halfway up to not having read the beginning of the story (my mistake) and halfway up to this manga just not being my cup of tea. I decided recently that I wanted to give it another try by reading the entire story, since I know this is a very popular horror manga, so I managed to get my hands on a copy of the deluxe edition version, which has all of the volumes in one hardback.
Having learned the beginning of the story now, I’ll say that Uzumaki is a very intriguing concept. The book takes place in a city that has been overtaken by spiral designs which are slowly causing the city’s inhabitants to go entirely mad. It causes mutations and illnesses in people, and nobody who enters the city is able to leave. Random whirlwinds appear from time to time, destroying houses and sucking people up to never be seen again.
The artwork in this book is probably capable of being pasted beside the dictionary definition of the word “grotesque”. There is so much grossimagery (like people slowly turning into massive snails), and while gore doesn’t bother me, this is just beyond my comfort level of “ick factor”. If you enjoy stuff that makes you squirm and go “ewww”, though, this is probably perfect for you.
As far as the plot itself goes, it’s bizarre but kind of like a train wreck: it’s so god-awful you just can’t stop looking. Would I ever read this manga again? Highly doubtful. Did I enjoy it, though? In a weird way… yes.
Fables, Vol 1 – Bill Willingham
I positively love fairytale retellings, so friends have been recommending this series of graphic novels to me for quite a while, and I finally decided to pick up the first two volumes from the library. I wasn’t sure at first how much I would enjoy it, as it’s drawn in a very “comic”-esque art style, which I’m usually not a big fan of (I typically prefer more artsy styles, circa the Saga or Monstress series). That said, this was a really fun read, and I loved how many classic characters were represented.
Volume 1 follows Wolf, who is a detective investigating the case of Rose Red’s apparent death, as her sister, Snow White, tags along. None of the details really match up, so Wolf and Snow are forced to investigate everyone they can as they seek out the truth behind her sudden disappearance. I normally am not big on whodunits because too many years of watching CSI, Law & Order, NCIS, etc. has brought me to a point in my life where I’m rarely surprised, and it tends to put a damper on things, but I actually didn’t peg the ending of this one! I was pleasantly surprised and now I’m looking forward to continuing the series soon.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
What can I even say? Maya Angelou was an incredible woman and this was such a poignant and moving window into the world of the difficulties that come with growing up as a black woman in the south. Maya underwent unspeakable horrors, yet found the strength she needed to overcome each and every one of them. <3 There were a few little essays here and there that I wasn’t entirely sure “fit” the memoir as a whole, but for the most part, I was completely enraptured by her words.