Thursday, May 15, 2014

Book Review: The Invention of Hugo Cabret

May is graphic novel month. Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of graphic novels - I'd much rather read straight print, but I have really enjoyed a few out of the many I've read in the past. I also really love the Fables comic series, so even though it's not my favourite genre, I was looking forward to reading a few this month.

After taking recommendations on social media and from goodreads, I settled on not one, but three graphic novels! Here's the third and last of the bunch...

May 2014: Graphic Novels

The Invention of Hugo Cabret
By Brian Selznick
2007
544 pages

Hugo Cabret is an orphan clock keeper who lives in the walls of a Paris train station. He's also a thief, but hey, it's post World War I and he's got to eat to survive. He gets caught stealing small mechanical parts for a secret project by the old man who runs a toy shop. Here the mystery begins: What is Hugo's secret project? Who is the old man and how is he connected? What part does his goddaughter Isabelle have to play? What happened to Hugo's family? Will he stay out of trouble and the Station Inspector's jail? Will Hugo ever find all the answers to his questions?

I'm not going to give away more, because the story is a treat to read and you're going to go get it out of the library now and find the answers yourselves. It's a bit different from a "normal" comic style graphic novel in that there are pages of text like a "regular" novel, mixed in with gorgeous full page black and white pencil sketches. The sweet story is brilliantly portrayed, and you'll learn about the first moving picture films ever made as well.

I almost didn't read this book because it is really thick and I'm lazy, but a colleague insisted it was excellent and wouldn't take much time to read at all. And she was right. It was an excellent story, by far the best of the three I read this month. The illustrations were beautiful and completely integral to the pages of text. It was just a beautiful story told in a beautiful way. Just beautiful. Read it.

I also watched the film based on the book, and though it's a bit different, it's also very touching. I didn't find the variation from the book annoying, as it's a good story in it's own right, and definitely a good companion to the book.

Just read it. You're welcome.

Book Review: The Property

May is graphic novel month. Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of graphic novels - I'd much rather read straight print, but I have really enjoyed a few out of the many I've read in the past. I also really love the Fables comic series, so even though it's not my favourite genre, I was looking forward to reading a few this month.

After taking recommendations on social media and from goodreads, I settled on not one, but three graphic novels! Here's the second of the bunch...

May 2014: Graphic Novels

The Property
By Rutu Modan
2013
232 pages

Mica and her Grandmother are travelling from Israel to Poland to reclaim some property taken from Grandmother during World War II - and yes they are Jewish.It soon becomes clear that Grandmother has gone to Poland for a different reason, and that a family friend is trying to thwart their attempts at reclaiming their property. Mica meets a boy. Grandmother meets a man. Much is revealed about the aftermath of the devastation of World War II and it all ends satisfactorily on the airplane home. Full circle and all that.

I thought this was a great story. The colour images are not super attractive but do an excellent job at imparting meaning into the characters' dialogue. The author deals with complex issues and effectively crisscrossed a number of subplots. In the end I learned something and felt reading it was an hour well spent.

I'd highly recommend this book for those looking for a graphic novel that deals with adult themes, and those who are interested in history or the war. It's definitely worth your time!

Book Review: Anya's Ghost

May is graphic novel month. Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of graphic novels - I'd much rather read straight print, but I have really enjoyed a few out of the many I've read in the past. I also really love the Fables comic series, so even though it's not my favourite genre, I was looking forward to reading a few this month.

After taking recommendations on social media and from goodreads, I settled on not one, but three graphic novels! Here's the first of the bunch...

May 2014: Graphic Novels


Anya's Ghost
By Vera Brosgol
2011
224 pages

Anya is a not-overly-happy Russian girl going to high school in the US. As a teenager, she's full of all the usual teenage angsty problems: boys, smoking, body image, grades, friends, peer pressure, gym class. One day she falls down a well and meets a ghost! Emily the ghost follows Anya around, helping her cheat on tests and meet boys until her helping becomes hurting and [redacted climax]. Then it's over and some of Anya's problems are solved, or at least she's grown enough to face the challenges of her world.

And that is why I don't read YA.

Not like I didn't enjoy the book. The story was good, the images simple and effective, it was good. But just good. Sure I related to the character a wee bit, even as an adult, and yes I was concerned about what was going to happen but then it was over and I moved on. The end.

Out of the three graphic novels I picked up, I thought this was the weakest. But it's definitely worth a read if you like YA books and/or graphic novels!