This week’s One Word review will be Lost in the Moment and Found by Seanan McGuire.
And the award for the book that offered the most beautiful and grotesque visuals in the series so far goes to…
Monstress Volume 7 by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda
Reading Challenge: Be Sure Athon
Format: Physical book
I had received this as a Christmas present and, since it would be easier to name a character that isn’t at least a bit wicked (spoiler alert: her name is Kippa), I decided to make this part of my Be Sure Athon challenge. Following on from the events of the previous volume (spoilers incoming), Maika has been poisoned and spirited away to the Dusk Court. Kippa and Corvus travel with her, trying to figure out a way to break her out and cure her before the Dusk Court and all the other warring factions try to use her powers for strange and nefarious purposes. In the meantime, the war is still waging and Tuya is fighting her own battle. Only, this one is not for a kingdom but for her soul.
This one includes another location. This time, it’s a city in the sky but it’s certainly not the serene Ghibli kind. This world still manages to surprise us with more original and strange new races, including giant sentient snakes with more than two eyes. This volume provides more full-page spreads, mostly of Maika drifting in a void and seeing flashbacks provided by Zinn. All of them are lovely, strange and sometimes terrifying, just as you would expect. Some of the big questions hanging over the series since the first volume finally get answers. Unlike a lot of the volumes, there isn’t so much skipping around locations and the volume mostly focusses on two main plotlines with a few little hints at things going on in the background. We have both what Kippa is trying to do to help Maika and Tuya’s internal battle. Tuya gets much more character development in this one as we find out a great personal struggle we haven’t yet been introduced to. It served as a good B story to Maika and co’s plotline. I think this volume may have been the most tightly focussed in terms of story telling. This volume provides plenty of action too and plenty of graphic violence, of course, along with a fair amount of body horror so be warned. The graphic violence mostly takes place near the end and I must say it might be some of the most shocking stuff yet. It’s amazing that it managed not to end on an utterly hopeless note. Once again, this volume has left the world expanded, my mind blown, my emotions pulled in all directions and with an ending that’s making me desperate for the next issue but I think this might be my favourite so far.
And the award for the book …
Suki, Alone by Faith Erin Hicks, Peter Wartman and Adele Matera
Reading Challenge: Beat the Backlist Reading Challenge
Format: Physical book
This is the first book from my Backlist and one I bought on a whim simply because I had a book token and the bookshop had a decent stock of Avatar graphic novels. This standalone book tells the story of how Suki spent her time at the Boiling Rock prison. She is determined to defy the odds and break out of the prison but she knows she can’t do it alone. To be a Kyoshi warrior is to be part of a team and a community. So, she tries to find a way to build herself a new team from the other inmates. If she can win their trust and find a way to make them strong enough to fight, she is sure that she can beat the odds.
The main fault of this book is that it doesn’t feel complete. It relies on the main show to finish Suki’s story but I feel it could have added an ending to Biyu’s story. At least, we should have had an epilogue, showing Suki seeing Biyu one last time and (spoiler alert) Biyu realising she may have made a mistake. Nevertheless, this was a good story that kept me interested all the way through. The backstory elements were nice additions to what Suki did in the Boiling Rock too. Always good to see a world that moves without the main character present. I liked the way the running theme of independence vs interdepence was presented with Suki fixed on building herself a team even when surrounded by strangers while others want to go their own way. Not necessarily for bad reasons but that’s just because that’s what they want and it never feels like the story is arguing in favour of one side or the other. The exploration of themes never gets too heavy and there’s plenty of good Avatar-ish humour to balance it out. You will definitely need to have watched the whole TV series before reading this but that goes without saying (and why haven’t you watched it anyway if you haven’t?!). While this book doesn’t reveal anything earth-shattering, it does offer a nice light side story for fans of the series and fans of Suki. It might have been nice to get a bit more world building on Kyoshi Island or Kyoshi herself but I suppose that’s saved for the novels.
I hope to see you again very soon.