Batman: The Killing Joke – Book Review

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Batman: The Killing Joke is an excellent graphic novel following two of comics leading stars: Batman and the Joker.

Introduction: I have always loved superheroes – Adam West’s Batman was a key staple of my childhood. Slowly as I got older and Marvel and DC were the beckoning lights at the movie theaters, I became totally obsessed with everything superheroes, super villains and comic books. I began collecting them, reading them, and trying to get my hands on every adaption possible. So, I decided to watch The Killing Joke animated movie. I was so enchanted and enthralled with the film that I had to see the famous comic/graphic novel it was based on. It was a short search – a local store had it in stock the first time I went to look for it, and the rest is history.

Review:

This comic is so simple in theory, but so complex in art. A joker origin (of sorts), a splash of James and Barbara Gordon, some tragic ultimatums, Batman, and beautiful art.

The introduction to the Joker’s “back story” is so interesting. The Joker has always been this mysterious character, and the reader is welcomed into one theory of how the joker came to be. But the joker says it himself – he prefers his past as multiple choice. So is anything he tells us actually true? That’s up to you to decide.

The Joker is cunning and intelligent, as well as insane and wild. The reader gets to see his thought pattern and how truly manipulative he is when he takes control of the plot and causes his destruction. But then, he makes it worse by not only physically torturing his victim, but try to mentally destroy him as well. How can someone be to cruel yet so smart? It’s an incredible reading experience for fans of the Joker.

The ending leaves viewers with many questions – one that we may never know the true answer to. This cliff hanger wasn’t as troubling as other cliffhangers have been for me in the past. It leaves it off at the perfect ending – the reader questioning the events that happened. This leaves the reader to interpret the ending in their own way. What truly happened and what are we to believe?

Brutal is one word to describe this novel – there are graphic scenes, ones that changed DC comics dramatically – and it’s not for the lighthearted.

Overall, I really enjoyed this graphic novel. It changed my views on the Joker and Batman, and I really appreciated the little splash of Barbara Gordon (one of my personal favourite characters DC has ever created).

For those who are fans of the film / want to watch The Killing Joke animated film: The plot is very similar, but there are a few changes. These changes don’t impact the end of the story, but it may change some of your personal feelings/understandings of the characters.

Five out of five stars.

Quick Book Review: Winning! A Guide to Games That Never Were by Brandon Barrows

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Photo via Goodreads.

This novel was a short, funny twist on gaming guides.

Every game in this book does not exist, which makes this book quite amusing. It is explaining cheats and how to progress through these games that were never made. Clearly some of these stories were parodying certain games on the market today, and that made it so much better. I have a few times where I wanted to chuckle at the stories and how they explained their games.

I definitely enjoyed this book! It’s a short, cute read and it is definitely more of a comedy book. People who are fans of video games would appreciate this book a lot more than the average reader!

Four out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

April Anthology Book Review: A Cup of Roses, Stories by 8 Writers by Fiona Gold Kroll

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review
Book Title: A Cup of Roses, Stories by 8 Writers
Book Author: Fiona Gold Kroll, Ruth Frankel-Graner, Gerda Frieberg, Carol Green, Sam Hoffer, Raizie Jacobson, David Rapoport, Jenny Roger.

Introduction: I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. As per usual, I was having a particular type of book craving – today it was anthology, and an overall short read. A Cup of Roses filled the bill, so I decided to pick it up and got so hooked I finished it in one sitting.

Review:

This anthology holds many different types of stories – humor, religion, drama, romance, food, history, joy, poetry, tragedy and so much more. For being so little, you wouldn’t expect much of an impact, but this book really had me interested and wanting more.

The book is incredibly easy to read, and each story is not to short but also not to long. The individual stories each have their own focus, none of which really seem connected. This helped me out when I began to get bored with a few of the short stories – each one had it’s own plot it centered around and did not depend on the others. These standalone stories are all well written, and are all written in different writing styles (since there are many authors that created this anthology).

Was this book my top, all time favourite anthology? No. Did it rank high? Yes. While it doesn’t get the gold, it definitely gets second place in my books. While the book didn’t wow my socks off, it did give me an interesting perspective into many different aspects of the writers lives/imagination. I wasn’t expecting to have to think or have my opinions rattled with this book, but it does just that. And as a reader and reviewer, I love a book that makes me think and form different opinions – or just gives me insight into something I haven’t thought about before.

I don’t have any recommendations for how to make this little series of stories better. It’s perfect in it’s own little way. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone and everyone who wants to read an anthology that doesn’t have one clear focus (and doesn’t have a connection between all of them). It’s great for a rainy day, a small lunch break, a school project, or just as a different type of read.

Would I want more from these authors? Absolutely. I enjoyed each story – while not all of them had my hooked to every word, they were all beautifully written and well thought out. I didn’t want to put the book down, I had to keep going (which is rare. Often I can set a book down and forget about it for a while, but I didn’t want to leave this book behind. I had to finish it).

Overall, this was an incredible read. I enjoyed each story, I felt educated, and the book made me think.

Four out of five stars.

Book Review: Destinare by Matt Micros

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review:
Book Title: Destinare
Book Author: Matt Micros

Introduction: I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. I decided to read this book since I was craving some quick, short reads and this book fit the bill!

Synopsis: Everyone’s lives are interconnected in some way. If we didn’t make certain decisions in our past, how would the future turn out? This book has everyone connected (and it gave me a short but sweet, with less themes Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell feel) and it’s very clear and obvious why they are.

Review: Dear readers, this book is FICTIONAL. It even states in the opening lines that it is FICTIONAL. I’ve read other reviews where people were upset about the twist ending in this book, but the book is FICTIONAL and, therefore, can have any ending it wants to be and does not need to be realistic. Did I like this book having an unrealistic ending? No. But did it fit with the novel? Yes. This book has a big plot twist at the end that shows how lives can be connected, and makes it clear that anyone’s decision will have a big impact on other people (whether you realize it or not). So, since I have mentioned the word FICTIONAL four times now, I feel like whoever reads this review should get the point.

This book is an easy, quick read that I managed to finish in one go. I sat down for an hour and took my time through it, and I really enjoyed it! It definitely didn’t blow me out of the water and want to scream at everyone to read this book, but I really liked it. The theme of everyone being connected in some way and how our decisions affect others was a great plot driver for this story. There were times where I felt like the book was a little cheesey, but it worked within the context.

If anything, I would have liked some of the stories to be extended. I really liked reading about each individual character, but some of their chapters were just to short! You’d move onto the next chapter and it felt like fifty years had passed in those few lines!!

Overall, I really like this novel. I’m impressed and I would definitely recommend people who want a fictional but short read to pick it up! Matt Micros did a fantastic job and I want to read more by him. The characters were relatable, the story hit home quite a few times, and the themes were realistic (minus the final plot twist, but hey, it’s literature! Everything does not have to be super realistic!).

Four out of five stars.

Manga March Book Review: Hamlet (No Fear Shakespeare Graphic Novel) by Neil Babra

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review
Book Title: Hamlet
Book Author: William Shakespeare
Adapter/Illustrator: Neil Babra

Introduction: I love Shakespeare, and Hamlet has always been my favourite of all of his plays and sonnets so when I saw this little manga on sale at a location book shop I had to pick it up and read it. I read it about 3  years ago, but I finally found it again on my bookshelf and decided to read it again and review it.

Review:

This adaption is truly an adaption – it’s not identical to the original, but it’s great for younger readers wanting to get into Shakespeare. The typical Shakespeare form is not used, but that makes it easier for read for those not fluent in his verses.

This task of adapting the famous Hamlet into a shorter, simpler work would have been hard but Neil Babra makes it look so easy. The story is shortened into a perfect, young reader-friendly adaption. The famous lines are still in there, but they are so much easier to understand and read. The book is not dumbed down by any means, so readers do not have to worry – this book is a timeless, incredible adaption that should definitely be introduced to young readers.

The artwork is fantastic and matches perfectly with the story. The wordplay that Shakespeare uses is often seen within the pages of this book in illustrated form, which can make any true Shakespeare fan get a true chuckle out of this work.

Overall, this book was fantastic. The facial expressions, the artwork, the rewording, and the narrative are all fantastic.

Five out of five stars.

March Manga Book Review: The Infernal Devices Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review
Book Title: Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, Manga #2)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Illustrator: HyeKyung Baek

Review:
This manga does a great job of sticking close to the source material. I often find that rehashes of books/movies/television series often stray and try to do their own thing, but this adaption is pretty spot on.

This adaption also does a good job of developing characters in the picture print setting. I liked seeing the characters alongside the words that went with them. It added a bonus to the original source material. I would suggest that readers go for the original source material before this adaption, since it does not do perfect justice to the Clockwork Prince novel.

This was basically a shorter version of the books. There isn’t as much development and plot, but when you can only use pictures and have so many pages, there will be limitations. Don’t expect every aspect of the book to be in this manga, but do expect it to be an incredible adaption. Were there parts missing that I would have liked to see? Yes. Would I have gotten rid of anything that was put in this manga? No. It’s perfect the way it is.

I highly recommend this manga, even if you haven’t read the book. The artwork is great, the character development and plot is beautiful, and as far as adaptions go it has won my heart over.

Five out of five stars.

Manga March Book Review: Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Volume 7 by Naoko Takeuchi

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review:
Book Title: Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Volume 7
Book Author: Naoko Takeuchi

Introduction: I have always loved Sailor Moon, so when my local bookstore got a majority of the Pretty Guardian manga series I had to pick it up and read it! This is a great throw back to my childhood!

Review:

Number seven in this series slows down a little in pace until the Sailor Moon power-up. While it is a slower volume, the artwork is still fantastic, and the manga is still cute, fun and fabulous! I definitely would not consider putting this series down even though the pace is slower.

This part of the arc is still a great continuation. The characters are still being built upon, the action is still interesting and the covers are absolutely gorgeous.

If anything, I am excited to see more of the characters be introduced in this series. I can’t exactly find anything wrong to force me to put these down and start another manga. This author knows what the readers want, and that makes this manga so much better than expected.

This series focuses on friendships, magic, teamwork and family. While there are some darker elements to the story (such as Sailor Saturn’s personality) it helps make the story not to light. It’s a great series of opposite elements. The love and compassion in this story mixed with the evil and death make it a great story full of thought and problem solving.

Overall, I loved it. I can’t wait to pick up the next in this series! The battling elements and steady paces make the readers gravitate towards this story continuously, and that makes it an excellent series of manga.

Five out of five stars.