Tuesday, August 9, 2016

#CBR8 Review #22: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, vol. 1 “BFF” by Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare, and Natacha Bustos

Situated within the Marvel comics universe, comes a new young hero by the name of Lunella, or “Moon Girl”. And boy, is she cool in the nerdiest way possible. At least, I think so, despite the fact that all her classmates think she is a bit of a weirdo. Lunella is a young, genius inventor (not unlike Peter Parker in the “Amazing Spiderman”), but Lunella is terrified that one day she is going to become a mutant like the X-Men, which would make her a monster. You see, she carries a particular marker in her DNA that may later transform into a mutation, and she really really does not want that to happen. But how does she stop this? By harnessing the power from an ancient device that used to be owned by a group of Neanderthal-type creatures in the past. One of which owned a dinosaur that they called the Devil Dinosaur.

In any case, Lunella is on a mission to get this device and use it’s power to help herself stop from changing form, and this involves locating the “nightstone” as it’s called, and involving some travelling through time for the devil dinosaur and the “killer folk” who possessed the stone in the past. The Devil Dinosaur causes panic in the city, of course, yet it looks like he really just wants to help Lunella. The two form an unlikely bond as she continues with her goal, and the Hulk even gets entwined in things for a little bit (though he came across as a bit cocky in this? Maybe that’s just me, I haven't read a lot of comicbooks wherein the Hulk is featured).

All in all, Lunella’s adventure in this volume is a fun one that leaves you with a bit of a cliffhanger before the next installment of the story. It was enjoyable to see her relationship with the Devil Dinosaur develop, and she really is an adorable and spunky kid who you can totally get behind and support. She feels like nobody understands her, and you just want to root for her in her mission, though to be honest I’m also curious as to what her mutation would be should this occur. Also, the drawing and illustration by Natacha Bustos in this book is really fun and has a lot of expression to it, which I love! Maybe not the most serious or “dark and gritty” comic book you’ll find, but definitely something light and fun that a lot of younger readers will definitely enjoy. And I enjoyed it too, and want to see what happens next for this awesome young girl!

[Be sure to visit the Cannonball Read main site!]

Monday, August 8, 2016

#CBR8 Review #21: More Than This by Patrick Ness

Well, that certainly was not what I expected. And not in a good way, to be honest. This YA novel begins in a slow-burning fashion, focusing largely on the main character, Seth, and his memories: very character-driven. Yet about a third of the way in, there is quite a twist, that changes the whole tone of the novel, and ultimately leaves more questions and confusion at the end of everything. There is the sense that Patrick Ness is trying to create an ambiguous ending for the reader to fill in the gaps with whatever explanation and reality they desire, but I don’t feel like it was all that successful in the end. Sometimes uncertainty works, but here I feel like there were just too many questions and things that couldn’t be fully explained, and that leaving things ambiguous just felt like a bit of a cop out in some ways? That sounds harsh, but I was pretty disappointed by the ending, after some really solid emotional moments were created throughout the book that drew me in initially. It was just a really strange book at the end of the day, that almost felt like two completely different novels pasted together.

Now, I don’t want to give too much away about the book, given that the twist is quite surprising and makes you want to know more and keep reading, despite the fact that it maybe doesn’t make complete sense at the end of all things. But I’ll lay down a bit of a synopsis here, though I do warn about some mild spoilers ahead:
What we see first is a young boy named Seth, moments before he dies by drowning. Yet despite the fact that he has died, he soon awakes in a strange, deserted world, set up exactly like the town he lived in a child before his family experienced a traumatic event. With no people and little to explain what has happened, Seth just starts trying to survive, yet every time he sleeps, his head is filled with memories that begin to explain how and why he died, as well as some other events of Seth’s life that defined his relationship with his family.  But then, everything switches gears when some new characters are introduced. And by switches gears, I mean everything suddenly feels like the “Matrix”, which I did not see coming whatsoever. But the way this online/offline consciousness thing that develops just leaves a lot of holes and things unexplained as to what exactly happened and how it all works. Also what’s going to happen next. Will Seth and his new friends save everyone? Leave everyone? Can things be sustained for longer periods of time in the new world? I just don’t know. I also had a bit of an issue with how Seth’s story in his memories played out in terms of his sexuality (I’m just tired of sad stories like that, I don’t want to hear about nothing but how my sexuality is going to make me suffer in my life, bye!), but that might just be a bit of a personal thing.

In any case, it was quite a good concept that just needed a bit of finessing. But you know… it wasn’t terrible. I just wasn’t feeling it at the end of the day (hhmmm, which is also what I said about a guy I just met recently. Interesting).. Maybe I’ll give another one of Patrick Ness’ works a shot at another time. But maybe not. Only time will tell.

[Be sure to visit the Cannonball Read main site!]