Graphic Novel Review: Miranda in the Maelstrom

Miranda in the Maelstrom, Vol. 1 by Riley Dashiell Biehl

Miranda in the Maelstrom, Vol. 1: Enter the Maelstrom
by Riley Dashiell Biehl

4 out of 5 stars

Miranda was caught in an interdimensional storm and separated from her parents. She learned to survive all alone on a barren planet, until another storm lifted her onto the decks of a pirate ship. She travels to different worlds, looking for her parents and having adventures with her trusty dog, Noodles. Sometimes, she makes friends, but Miranda has learned to be wary of who she can really trust.

I loved this exciting plot! There are so many imaginative worlds and dimensions with crazy stuff happening. The characters are all so different and weird-looking. It’s really imaginative and fun!

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Graphic Novel Review: Inkblot

Inkblot, Vol. 1 by Emma Kubert

Inkblot, Vol. 1
by Emma KubertRusty Gladd
4 out of 5 stars

A librarian sorceress knocks over some bottles of ink and accidentally creates a powerful cat that has magical properties. Like all cats, this inky feline does whatever it wants whenever it wants, and it seems unbound by the laws of time and space. The sorceress begins to realize that the cat could cause the unravelling of the universe, or could save her family and bring the realms together.

The plot is excellent, full of adventure and magic! I really loved the mixture of action and funny scenes. The writing is so clever and hilarious, but also touches on some more somber and serious subjects.

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Book Review: The Voyage of Barracks

The Voyage of Barracks by Stuart Petrie

The Voyage of Barracks
by Stuart Petrie
5 out of 5 stars
The Gunn family love their beautiful country home, but when a nasty factory is built across the road, they decide to attach a balloon to their house and float around the world looking for a new peaceful place to live.

I adore this book. I’ve read it several times now, and it is delightful every time!

I love all the different places that they visit; a desert oasis, the top of the Acropolis, an island with cannibals, a small village in the Alps, and the beautiful beaches of the French Riviera.

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Book Review: Bilbo’s Last Song

Bilbo's Last Song by J.R.R. Tolkien

Bilbo’s Last Song
by J.R.R. TolkienPauline Baynes (Illustrator)
4 out of 5 stars

As Bilbo sets off on his last journey from Rivendell to the shores of the sea, he sings this last poem as his farewell to MiddleEarth before boarding a ship that will take him to Valinor with Gandalf, Frodo, and Elrond. The poem itself is not very long, with one stanza on each page.

This book is beautifully illustrated with gorgeous settings that show Bilbo on his way to Valinor. The illustrations begin with Bilbo at Rivendell. He talks with Elrond about making the last trip, and they make plans for travelling. Bilbo and the company of Elves pass through the Shire, where Frodo and Sam join them. They reach the harbor where Cirdan the shipwright is waiting to greet them. They say goodbye to Sam, Merry, and Pippin. The final illustration shows Bilbo reaching the shores of Valinor.

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Book Review: The Frenzied Prince

The Frenzied Prince by Padraic Colum

The Frenzied Prince: Heroic Stories of Ancient Ireland
by Padraic Colum
4 out of 5 stars

Prince Suivne has gone mad after the battle of Moy Rah, and he wanders the wilderness running from all men. King Donald sends his best scholars to find Suivne and restore him to sanity through their art of storytelling. The storytellers find Suivne and use the stories and legends of Ireland to remind him of his lineage and obligations in the royal court.

I loved the way that each of these legends were bookended with the continuing story of Prince Suivne, and how each story had an effect on him to remind him of his heritage and to inspire him to courage and kindness. It’s a clever and effective story structure and lends an extra meaning to each of the tales.

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Book Review: Eulalia!

Eulalia! by Brian Jacques

Eulalia! (Redwall, #19)
by Brian JacquesDavid Elliot (Illustrator)
5 out of 5 stars

Gorath the badger is captured by evil pirates, his farm and home burned to the ground and all his kin slain. Maudie the hare maid has been sent from Salamandastron on a dangerous mission to find Gorath and bring him safely back to the Lord of the Badgers. Orkwil is a mischievous young hedgehog who has been cast out of Redwall for stealing. These three unlikely heroes team up to battle off a vermin horde and save Redwall Abbey!

I just adore all the Redwall books! What an absolute delight! This book has everything that I love about Redwall books. Ravenous hares, wise old badgers, adorable moles, fierce shrews, and of course brave warriors ready to defend all good beasts.

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Fantasy Book Review: Summers at Castle Auburn

Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn

Summers at Castle Auburn
by Sharon Shinn
5 out of 5 stars

Corie is the illegitimate daughter of a nobleman, who visits the royal court every summer to be groomed and trained for life among the nobility. The rest of the year she lives with her peasant grandmother in a small village learning to be an herbalist healer. As Corie grows into a young woman, she begins to realize the depth of the court intrigue that surrounds her half-sister, Elisandra. She determines to do everything she can to help her sister. She soon discovers that there are others who need her help too; the magical elven people who are held as slaves in the castle.

I loved everything about this book! The magic, the world-building, the exciting plot, the writing style, the complex characters: everything is golden!

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Book Review: War of Kings and Monsters

War of Kings and Monsters by Christopher Keene

War of Kings and Monsters
by Christopher Keene (Goodreads Author)
3 out of 5 stars

Nathan has no idea who he is. He is an apprentice Caller in the king’s home and best friends with Prince Michael, but he has no memory of his family and assumes he is an orphan. He studies under the Master Callers to summon Melkai monsters from another world. Some of the monsters are massive, and others are miniscule, like Nathan’s own little Melkai, a small lizard. The barrier between the world of humans and the world of the Melkai is weakening. Nathan is sent on a quest to find the other half of the magical key that can seal the barriers between worlds before the destructive Melkai are unleashed to roam freely across the land.

I enjoyed the plot of this book, because there are some clever twists and turns. There are several times when some particular character or object or connection is revealed and it was just so satisfying. The plot is full of fantasy tropes, but I didn’t really mind that because I like tropes. Some of the plot devices were obvious, but again, I don’t mind that as long as it is set up in an interesting way.

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