Showing posts with label graphic novel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label graphic novel. Show all posts

Friday, January 11, 2019

Despicable Deadpool Bucket List by Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli, Christian Dalla Vecchia, Scott Koblish, Ruth Redmond


Rating: WARTY!

I'm a fan of the movie universes created by Marvel and DC - if you can call that latter a universe - so obviously more of a fan of Marvel than DC, but Wonder Woman is still the most kick-ass female hero so far in those movie worlds. Comic books have never been my thing. Even as a kid I was not a great fan, although I read quite a few. Since I left that phase of my life, they've mostly felt too juvenile for me, although I've read a few recently which transcended that problem. Comic books in general still have some big fish to gut before they can fry them, sexualisation of females being the prime one.

But that wasn't the problem here. The thing here is that there's nothing more asinine than two people locked in a supposed life-or-death struggle and exchanging quips throughout the fight. It's utterly ridiculous, but it's de rigueur in comic book hero fights. It occurs twice on the early pages here, once between Deadpool and Rogue, and once between the merc with a smirk and a villain who was too laughable to take seriously. And whose name didn't even register.

Not that there ever is an actual life-or-death struggle in comic books because no matter how "final" a demise is, the character always comes back whether they're good or evil. It doesn't matter, so the story itself didn't matter when you get right down to it. It's a farce and not even amusing in the best tradition of British farce.

Comic books are a Buddhist's worst nightmare - trapped on the eternally cycling wheel of suffering, and while a good Buddhist would never espouse this, the only solution is to kill off the villain! Don't lock them up in the same prison they already escaped from fifty times before. Slay them! Burn their bodies to ash! Seal the ash in lead, put that urn on a rocket, and fire it into the heart of the sun! End of story. Invent a new and different villain for next time instead of resurrecting the zombie villains of yesteryear. Quit taking the lazy way out.

Frankly, it really is boring to have the same hero battle the same villain over and over again, or if not the villain, then the villain's evil daughter - or some other relative. These writers need a new shtick. The Joker is a joke. The Mandarin is as toxic as Agent Orange. Find fresh villains for goodness sake! It's reached a point now where one universe isn't enough for the comic book writers and they have to bring in other universes/parallel worlds for no other reason than that they can lazily repeat the same stories, but with non-different characters.

By that I mean the character is supposedly different, but not really, and so we get the same stories warmed over with a different color palette. Winsome repeat is all they seem to have. This is why I quit watching The Flash TV show because every season was an exact repeat of the previous season: a "new" villain just like the one from last season - evil and faster than The Flash - and Flash had to defeat him, and always did. It was tedious.

The most annoying thing about this particular volume is one that seems to be common in Marvel's arena: writers cannot produce a comic about a super hero these days that doesn't grandfather-in a host of other heroes and villains from the Marvel stable. So we have Deadpool, who I love in the movies, supposedly going through a bucket list of items, each of which is apparently a cameo appearance of other notables from the Marvel world. Although I confess I did find Stevil Rogers amusing.

Deadpool cannot die. This is a given, so at least they're owning that fact of comic book super hero life up front, but why he thinks he's in a position necessitating a bucket list is a mystery. This was volume 2 and I didn't read volume 1 because celestials forbid that a publisher should actually inform the reader right there on the cover of which volume in what series this is! So maybe it was explained, but let's run with it, ready or not.

So anyway Deadpool starts out fighting Rogue, who he evidently had a thing with in a previous volume. Rather than sit down and talk, they start smashing the hell out of each other. That's a great plan for a relationship isn't it? Never once did she consider bringing along a collar from the Ice Box and snapping that on him to take him down. Nope! They smash-up everything around them and take no responsibility for it. It's like Sokovia never happened. And given comic book penchant for redux up the wazoo, maybe it didn't in this particular universe.

So the story is that a male writer has a female hero take the brute force approach rather than an intellectual or cooperative one. You know, someone did a study of comic-book violence in terms of who perpetrates it, and it turns out that the super heroes are more violent than the super villains. How did that come about? It's reported at https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-11/aaop-gi102218.php. But I digress.

Rogue has apparently acquired many powers, including the power to fly and hover, as well as to recover from what would otherwise be debilitating - if not death-dealing - injuries. Good for her. After Deadpool escapes her, he takes on a complete nonentity and has Marvel guest star The Collector pick him (or her) up and cart them away; then it's Marvel Guest Star Captain America putting in an appearance to star in a redux of the Deadpool origin story where he gets pinned to the cement by a large, shaft of steel. Who says male super heroes aren't sexualized?!

After that we get a visit from Colossus and Kitty Pryde, which frankly sounds like the name of a cat toilet product. I'm sorry, but there really was no story here. It was all one long and tired cliché, and I refuse to commend something as unimaginative as this.


Battlepug by Mike Norton, Allen Passalaqua


Rating: WARTY!

I may have been unduly precipitous with my declaration that this is the year of the pug and not the year of the pig.

This was a rather bizarre story in which a small amount of entertainment was lost among crimes against women. The story is related by a woman to her two pet dogs, a pug and a small bulldog, both of which constantly argue with each other - yes, they can also talk. Why the woman had to be lying prone on her bed, gratuitously butt-naked in telling the story I do not know, but look at the gender of the creators, and all becomes clear. Y-Chromosome Norton is the writer and also the artist, and Y-Chromosome Passalaqua did the coloring.

As far as the story went, it had interest and humor, and the art was decent, but this was overshadowed. It featured a Tarzan-type character known only as 'The Warrior' and who was purportedly the last surviving member of the Kinmundian Tribe, a claim which I personally did not buy. My guess is there's also a female survivor out there somewhere, but this book was only the collected volume one.

The Tarzan impersonator reluctantly teams-up (which curiously isn't the opposite of teaming down any more than undertaking is the opposite of overtaking) with a giant pug and a wizard, to take on the villain. If it had been just that, all would have been well and good, but the nudity? Not appropriate. The guy wore a loin-cloth, so no real nudity there. What happened to equal time? And why only a loin cloth when he had been raised in the frozen north?

There was no reason at all for why the woman narrator, Moll, was naked. She could just as well have been clothed, but throughout the narration, she lay bare-assed and unembarrassed on her bed. She could have been putting the dogs to bed and telling them a bedtime story over a cup of cocoa while wearing a robe herself. It could have been a naked guy telling the story about a warrior woman, but that would have been considered odd now wouldn't it? And it would have been just as inappropriate.

If there's a valid reason for the nudity, then fine, I have no problem with that, but there usually isn't other than an enduring male writer's need to sexualize their female characters, and there certainly wasn't any reason for it here other than that these guys with the evident mentality of frat boys wanted to see a naked girl on a bed.

The comic was published in print form in 2012 after a life as a web comic, so it's not like it was written with antique sensibilities. I can't commend a comic that has female nudity without any reason other than male comic book writers and artists have evidently still not yet left the stoned age. It's for this reason alone that I rate this as an unworthy read, notwithstanding any other qualities it had.


Friday, January 4, 2019

Cleopatra in Space by Mike Maihack


Rating: WORTHY!

I encountered this in my luscious local library, and I could hardly not pick it up after writing Cleoprankster! I was curious, since both Maihack's Cleo and mine are roughly the same age (middle grade) what he had done with her.

I'm happy to report that this graphic novel is entirely different from my chapter book. Whereas I tried to be historically accurate and make the book educational - both to an extent! - this one went the other way and made a complete fiction of it, but I enjoyed it and consider it a worthy read.

In this introduction story, Cleo is abducted from Egypt and transported to a futuristic school out in interplanetary space, where she learns combat and weapons inter aliens. Fortunately everyone speaks Greek (which was Cleo's native language, although she spoke many others - at least as an adult - including Egyptian, which none of her Ptolemic forebears ever took the trouble to learn) so there are no language difficulties. Or maybe there's a universal translator in the air. I don't know. It's been a while since I read this! Anyway, Cleo goes on a mission and performs exemplary work, and that's about it. But then this is volume 1, so presumably there's more to come. I don't feel any great urge to rush out and get volume 2, but I might at some point, assuming there's one to be had.

As it is, I commend this as a fun and breezy story, although it won't tell you a thing about Cleopatra. She never did, for example, have a Louise Brooks-style 1920's bob. More than likely she was bald! Because of the head lice which were rife in Egypt, everyone shaved their heads, and kids ran around butt-naked. Cleo would have worn, if anything at all at that age, a wig which she could happily take off and have cleaned and maybe a short skirt. But its fiction, so what the hell!


Monday, December 31, 2018

Newsprints by Ru Xu


Rating: WARTY!

Despite her name, author Ru Xu grew up in Indianapolis. This graphic novel depicts a newsie - a newspaper delivery 'boy' named Blue, who is really a girl in disguise. She dresses as a boy so she can be involved in the preferentially male newspaper industry. As you might guess, this is not a modern tale. These days she would start her own blog. Blue is an orphan, and despite the push to have her, as a girl, do girly things to help the war effort, Blue has managed to escape all that and push equality to the fore, but she pushes a little too hard and a rival newspaper delivery gang resents her poaching on their turf. In process of escaping their pursuit, she discovers an old factory, which has a resident. In the course of interactions with this older man, Blue also meets crow, another person with something to hide, and a friendship develops.

I'd like to be able to commend this in some ways, but it really didn't have much of a story to tell. I wasn't appalled by it, but neither was I enthralled, so I can't say this was a worthy read I'm sorry to report.


For the Love of God, Marie by Jade Sarson


Rating: WARTY!

This novel announces itself as a winner of a graphic novel contest (Myriad First Graphic Novel Competition, 2014), but I couldn't see why. Maybe it was the only entrant? Marie is a good Catholic girl; id est a Catholic girl who is good at making people happy by granting them sexual favors and who sees this as, kind of, doing the work of god. That was it. It was boring, pointless and unentertaining. With a name like Sarson, maybe the writer was stoned when she dreamed this up? Or un-Henge-d? I dunno. Just making wild guesses, but there was no substance to this - 'nothing to see here' kind of thing. It could have been funny, but it wasn't. It could have been deep but it was shallow. It could have been philosophical but it was too sexualized. In the end it was nothing. I can't commend it.


Saturday, December 29, 2018

The Great Pet Escape by Victoria Jamieson


Rating: WORTHY!

OK, so I'm willing to admit that I may have overdone it with the graphic novels lately! Anyway, here’s another one, this time aimed at a younger audience, but which entertained me despite that! It was amusing, decently-written, and contained some fun antics. I think kids will love reading or better yet being read to about the escape plans of these classroom pets, especially if you sit ‘em on your knee and activate the story by jogging the kid around a bit to match the pets’ escape activities. I commend it as a short, but colorful and fun story.


Miss Don't Touch Me by Hubert, Fabien Vehlmann Kerascoët


Rating: WORTHY!

Set in 1930s Paris, this was a fun "naughty" (but not too naughty) novel about a young girl Blanche, who sees her sister Agatha murdered by the 'Butcher of the Dances'. No one will believe her, and Agatha is written-off as a suicide. Losing her job as a maid, Blanche seeks work at the Pompadour, an elite brothel, and the only place which might take her in. She's almost laughed out of even there, but once taken in, quickly establishes herself as a mistress of untouchability and the virgin dominatrix.

But she hasn't forgotten her sister and slowly begins to unravel the brutal crime, while fending off assaults from patrons, unwelcome attempts at relieving her of her prized virginity, and shifting allegiances among the call-girls. This made for a different and fun read and I commend it.


The Song of Aglaia by Anne Simon


Rating: WORTHY!

Based loosely on Greek mythology, this rather crudely-drawn graphic novel was a weird and wonderful exploration of the adventures of Aglaia, a sea nymph who is seduced and abandoned by a merman know as Ethel...no, I made that last bit up. There was a merman though, and the pregnant Aglaia is exiled from Oceanid by her cruel father and finds herself wandering until she's made welcome at Mr Kite's circus (yes, that Mr Kite!) and becomes friends with its star, Henry the waltzing horse. But it doesn't end there. It gets even more bizarre!

This first solo graphic novel by Anne Simon traces Aglaia's fall and rise and was a fun and different read from the usual retelling of myths. I commend it.


The Mental Load: A Feminist Comic by Emma


Rating: WARTY!

Written and illustrated by "Emma" and translated from French by Una Dimitrijevic, this is a book about how women are put upon from birth by gender discrepancies and pigeon-holing in how we're raised, perceived, and employed, but there is nothing new in here. Or at least there wasn't for me, so I found this boring. The author apparently has nothing fresh to say and no new humorous or stinging facet to put on it, and the guys to whom this might be new and fresh (and even instructional) are never going to read a book like this, not even if it's a graphic novel.

Worse than that, I also found it to be rather offensive in the implicit assumptions employed by the author that men are all alike and all are unilaterally abusive to and of women, even if only passively. I'm not like that and I do not enjoy being lectured to, that I am. I don't claim to be perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but neither am I the cartoonish, stereotypical, club-wielding Neanderthal that seems to be the author's opinion. I do not imagine for a minute that I'm alone in these sentiments, either.

The author is a computer technician living in Paris and I felt sorry that she has evidently been hanging out with entirely the wrong people if this narrow window she exhibits is her honest perception of life. I agree with her insofar as I would say there are still people who need to learn these lessons, and most if not all of us still have learning to do, both male and female, but this was published in 2018 as though it were 1958, without any acknowledgement that things have changed. Not enough, by any means, but certainly further than this book seems to be willing to allow.

People who write like this used to be part of the solution, but now, in continuing to write like this in 2018, they are part of the problem. You cannot fix a pendulum that has swung too far in one direction by swinging it equally far in the other. You fix a problem like that by nailing it in down the middle and never letting it swing again.

By writing as though nothing has changed in the better part of a century, this author merely demonstrates that she hasn't learned this important lesson, and that she needs to find better people to associate with if she truly is experiencing problems like this as we move into the finale of the second decade of the twenty-first century. At the very least, she desperately needs a more nuanced shtick to purvey if she wants to really make an impact and thereby a difference. I cannot commend a biased, blinkered, and insulting book like this.


Nancy Drew Girl Detective #14 Sleight of Dan by Stefan Petrucha, Sarah Kinney, Sho Murase, Carlos Jose Guzman


Rating: WARTY!

This was one of three Nancy Drew graphic novels I'm reviewing today. It's also the last Nancy Sue I'll ever read. I never read any of the original novels, and prior to these three graphic versions, I'd seen her in only two movies, once an older 'original' and the other a 2007 knock-off starring Emma Roberts who is evidently a lot more charming and mature in her movies than in real life as judged by her 2013 Montreal fight.

None of these graphic novels were particularly interesting to me, although younger readers might enjoy them. Again, this particular one was nothing to write home about. The color by Guzman, the art by Murase, and the writing by Petrucha and Kinney were all workman-like and nothing special, and the story was quite predictable.

Nancy-Sue, nuttily-named Ned, and some dude named George go to see Dan Devil's magic show. His assistant vanishes - and doesn't reappear. Of course Nancy can't not get involved. An encounter with a hungry anaconda somehow persuades her to become his new assistant. Ri-ight!

Isn't it weird how, in these stories, predators are always, but always, hungry? Judged by its ferocious and unnaturally lively pursuit of Nancy, the reptile evidently hadn't eaten in months. Boring. The largest anaconda is the green anaconda and it is not known to eat people or even large prey save for rare occasions. After a meal, an anaconda can go for six weeks before needing to eat again, so this story is not remotely realistic and is downright misleading, in fact. Shame on the authors. Inventive they may have been, clueless they definitely were. No commendo!


Nancy Drew Girl Detective #13 Doggone Town by Stefan Petrucha, Sarah Kinney, Sho Murase, Carlos Jose Guzman


Rating: WARTY!

I can only give pretty much the same review for this one that I did for the previous volume out of three I read recently. I never read any of the original Nancy Drews (and I'm starting to be glad about that!) although in July of 2017, I did positively review a book which told the interesting story of how the Nancy Drew books came about.

My only experience of her prior to these graphic novels was via two widely disparate movies, one an old one, and one a much more recent version which actually wasn't too bad. None of the three graphic novels were particularly interesting to me, although younger readers might enjoy them. This particular one was nothing to write home about. The color by Guzman, the art by Murase, and the writing by Petrucha and Kinney were all workman-like and nothing special, and the story was unsurprisingly predictable.

Nancy Sue and the absurdly-named Ned Nickerson, who sounds like a character out of the Monty Python sketch 'Election Night Special' are out and about when they encounter an apparently lost dog. They drive out to a remote village and return it to its owner only to discover the entire village is deserted except for the owner, who is absurdly mean. Of course, she did it! Boring.

These books never explain why it is that Nancy doesn't simply call the police. You'd think the writer would at least offer a token explanation for why she cannot, but no - that's too much to ask for. And what? And entire village goes missing and no one notices? Not the police, not relatives, not delivery people? No one?


Nancy Drew Girl Detective #11 Monkey Wrench Blues by Stefan Petrucha, Sarah Kinney, Sho Murase, Carlos Jose Guzman


Rating: WARTY!

This was one of three Nancy Drew graphic novels which I decided to take a look at, having never read any of the original Nancy Drews and having seen her in only two widely disparate movies. None were particularly interesting to me, although younger readers might enjoy them. This particular one was nothing to write home about. The color by Guzman, the art by Murase, and the writing by Petrucha and Kinney were all workman-like and nothing special, and the story was quite predictable.

Nancy and her mechanic, Bess, drive a car in a race of supposedly environmentally-friendly vehicles. Naturally someone is trying to run Nancy off the road and naturally Mary Drew (or is it Nancy-Sue?) escapes scot-free and solves the 'puzzle'. Boring. Can't commend this one.


Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge


Rating: WARTY!

This was a graphic novel that was too cute for its own good, so I have little to say about it. The main character with the ridiculous name of Paige Turner, newly arrived in New York City, experiences trouble adjusting and takes a rather cowardly retreat into her sketching, but in the end her retreat changes into an advance. The story was trite, predictable, and offered nothing new. I can't commend it.


About Betty's Boob by Vero Cazot, Julie Rocheleau


Rating: WARTY!

Translated by Edward Gauvin, this graphic novel tells of betty's cancer and left radical mastectomy, and of her losing her job and her boyfriend. The blurb suggests that this is the best day of her life though she doesn't know it right away, but I have to add that it was not a good day of my life when I read this because I didn't feel it was bringing anything new to the table despite it's almost dedicated pursuit of different story-telling methods, including cartoonish exaggeration (crabs invading her body seemed a bit gauche) and even surrealism, such as her boss growing to a larger than life proportion as he fires her for being lop-sided. That's a thing?

It's one thing to inject humor into a sad story, but it's another entirely to demean and ridicule the import of a story by larding it with farce. I couldn't get with this and cannot commend it as a worthy read.


Troublemaker by Janet Evanovich, Alex Evanvovich, Joelle Jones


Rating: WARTY!

Illustrated by Joelle Jones, this is a classic example of it's not what you can write, but who you know. The blurb doesn't even pretend that daughter Alexandra Evanovich (or Evanvovich as idiot Amazon, known for screwing-up of author's names, has it!) had any writing involvement at all although she's credited with it, so maybe she did contribute. We'll never know. But what a great way to get your foot in the door, huh, on the fly leaves of your mom?

I thought I could kill two birds with one stone here, reading an Evanovich, which I'd really had no interest in because her titles are far too gimmicky, and seeing what her daughter might have contributed, and all in a short graphic format, but it was a complete fail! I should have paid closer attention to the blurb: "Alex Barnaby and Sam Hooker are back together and fighting crime the only way they know how - by leaving a trail of chaos, panic, and disorder." Yep, that's how to successfully fight crime all right! Not! In the end it was nothing worth my time.

The first problem I had was with how the two main characters are set up. Masculine Sam is the leading man - the daring racecar driver. Alexandra Barnaby is his lackey. No surprises there. It's about what I'd expect from someone of Evanovich's generation, where playing it safe and by the numbers is an unwritten rule. So, a man has gone missing and since all police are pretty much universally useless in these interfering meddler stories, twin clowns Barnaby and Hooker evidently have to go deep into the "underbelly of Miami" (which in this era of climate change is actually underwater), delving int "Voodoo, explosions, gift-wrapped body parts, and a deadly swamp chase." Yawn. This novel sucked, period. That's all it merits as a review. I'm done with these two authors. Nothing to see here. Moving along.


Sky Doll by Alessandro Barbucci, Barbara Canepa


Rating: WARTY!

Written and illustrated by both Barbucci and Canepa, this story tells of Noa, a life-like female android, otherwise known as a sky doll, and as such, having no rights. She serves the state, but gets other ideas after encountering two people who aid in her escape after which she begins to learn that there is more to her than meets the thigh.

I was unimpressed by this story and I believe (it was a while back since I read it), that I ditched it DNF. I can't commend it. It had so much potential, but that seemed to be lost under cheap genderist superficiality. You'd think the female contributor would have done a better job.


Spit and Passion by Cristy C Road


Rating: WARTY!

This is yet another LGBTQIA coming of age graphic novel and while I'm pretty sure I;m not the audience the author was seeking to impress, I'm sorry to have to report that I was not, in fact, impressed by it.

I've read many of this kind of autobiography, and they've all had a story to tell, but whereas some are outgoing and relatable even for a cis male(!), others are more a personal or even self-centered odyssey which don't seem interested in opening up or being inclusive in any way. These may well play to a segment of the population, and if they do, that's fine, but if they do, I'm not a part of it, not even indirectly, so I can't speak to it. All I can relate is what it said to me and in this case, it said very little of interest, nothing that was new or engaging.

I hate to be negative about a book like this, but I guess you can't love 'em all, especially not if the author doesn't seem interested in being loved as a writer or artist and who, instead of bringing an audience in to share her story with her, seems more interested in what's almost an internal monolog, rattling on without caring if there's an audience tuning in or not which to me, frankly, seems a bit creepy. i mean, whatever trips your ship is fine, but I've never seen the point of writing any story, fiction or no, if all you're going to do is tell the same story that's already been told and add nothing new or particularly interesting, so against my ordinarily natural inclination, and while I wish the author all the best in her endeavors, I can't rate this as a worthy read.


Rohan at the Louvre by Hirohiko Araki


Rating: WORTHY!

Also known as Toshiyuki Araki, this author's oddball graphic novel tells of a young man's arrival at a boarding house where he encounters a mysterious divorcée, with whom he has an oddball but platonic relationship. Rohan himself wants to be a manganeer of course, dreaming of creating his own comic book. It is this, rather than Rohan himself which attracts the attention of the divorcée, despite her violent treatment of his first effort - because he drew her as a part of it. In a moment they have together, she reveals to him the story of the most evil painting ever put on canvas, and which is kept locked-away in the darkest corner of the Louvre.

A decade later, Rohan discovers that the painting this woman told him of actually exists, and is everything she claimed for it! Beautifully illustrated and artfully told, this was an enjoyable and wistful fantasy tale in more than one way. I commend it as a worthy read.


Becoming Unbecoming by Una


Rating: WORTHY!

Most people outside of Britain have never heard of the Yorkshire Ripper aka Peter Sutcliffe, who attacked women over the decade from 1969 to 1980. He was stopped only when arrested for using false license plates on his car. The entire inquiry was a farce of incompetent British policing. Sutcliffe had been interviewed some nine times during the lengthy inquiry and not once actually suspected of being the perp. Even after his arrest, he was able to slip away from police and hide incriminating evidence under pretence of having to take a leak!

The fact that many of his victims were prostitutes meant that police did not give this murderer the attention required to catch him. This is all disturbing, but not nearly as disturbing as the fact that he somehow got to be that way in the first place. Unfortunately, that critical factor is not explored in this story - not for him, nor for the perps who assaulted the author.

This autobiographic novel is set in 1977 after Sutcliffe had assaulted several women and murdered at least two, and yet was still several years away from being caught. The author was twelve and became herself the victim of assaults. Though fortunately not fatal, they nevertheless left an indelible mark. These parallel stories build slowly, and sometimes the reading was frankly boring. Other times it was highly disturbing in a way that complacent people need to be disturbed if this continuing abuse of women is to be stopped, so this is an uncomfortable read, as it ought to be, but one that also ought to be required reading. I commend it.


Saturday, December 22, 2018

Watersnakes by Tony Sandoval


Rating: WORTHY!

This is from an advance review copy for which I thank the publisher.

This was an entertaining fantasy story - which had a hint of gothic horror to it - and the irresistible call of the sea. I really enjoyed it.

Mila is out swimming one day when she hears someone call out a warning, "Water snakes!" and realizes that this new girl, Agnes, has played a joke on her. The two are immediately attracted to one another despite Mila's slight shyness and Agnes's definite weirdness. She claims her teeth - the selfsame teeth which completely fascinate Mila - are really ghosts that go out on adventures every night.

The two begin spending time together and Mila has an odd feeling of repulsion and attraction at the same time. It does not help to stabilize things when she discovers that Agnes is a soldier trying to protect her king, and that there is an army of Angnes-like soldiers and an opposing army they must fight.

I though this was fresh, original, engaging, well illustrated by the author, and entertaining, and I commend it as a worthy read.