review: fence volumes 1-3 > I need more.

In March 2019, I saw that 12 issues of the Fence graphic novels written by C.S. Pacat were available on Scribd, and immediately decided to give them a try. I’d heard so many people on BookTube rave about this series! However, I didn’t want the hype to have an impact on my enjoyment of the issues either so I tried to lower my expectations before going in. I needn’t have worried about being let down whatsoever. I ended up binge-reading all 13 issues in one day, and am now desperate for news on the next volumes.

Yes, I am fully aware that Fence volume 3 technically hasn’t been released yet. However, that vol.  includes issues 9 through 12, which I read separately. It was easier to mark the three volumes as read rather than the 13 separate issues.

Fence by C.S. Pacat, Johanna the Mad, Joana LaFuente★★★★★ – a new favorite

Nicholas Cox is determined to prove himself in the world of competitive fencing, and earn his place alongside fencing legends like the dad he never knew, but things get more complicated when he’s up against his golden-boy half-brother, as well as sullen fencing prodigy, Seiji Katayama.

Nicholas, the illegitimate son of a retired fencing champion, is a scrappy fencing wunderkind, and dreams of getting the chance and the training to actually compete. After getting accepted to the prodigious Kings Row private school, Nicholas is thrust into a cut-throat world, and finds himself facing not only his golden-boy half-brother, but the unbeatable, mysterious Seiji Katayama…


I was a bit hesitant to pick this up because I know absolutely nothing about fencing, and was afraid I would miss out on a lot of the story or find it boring.  That definitely wasn’t the case here.

This is the story of Nicholas Cox, who is determined to prove himself as a competitive fencer so he can show everyone he is just as good as his dad. Nicholas grew up quite poor, and his dad was never around. Coming face-to-face with his golden-boy half-brother, the one who does receive all the attention from their father, angers Nicholas to no end, and he is determined to prove to the world he is just as good.

However, fencing is an incredibly competitive and expensive sport. Nicholas is at a clear disadvantage as he has never been able to afford the private tutoring needed to push him to the next level. Until he gets a scholarship to Kings Row private school. In order to keep his scholarship though, he needs to make it on the fencing team.

That’s not the only goal Nicholas has in mind though. He also desperately wants to beat Seiji, who has never lost a match. Their rivalry pushes Nicholas to train more and more, and intrigues Seiji as well.

I can’t tell you how much I love these graphic novels. I couldn’t stop reading them! The entire storyline is so tense, because you can’t help but root for Nicholas, who is definitely the underdog in this scenario. Watching him play match after match, trying to figure out whether he’ll make the team or not is incredibly nerve-wracking. It makes for a very captivating read.

While there’s a tense feeling throughout the volumes, I have to admit that the story itself is quite slow. You don’t progress much through the story or time with each volume. At first, that didn’t really bother me because it allows you to get to know the characters more. It also allows the author to make some space for the development of side characters. However, when you reach the end of volume 3 and still have virtually no answers, it becomes somewhat annoying. Especially since I can’t find any information on issue #13 or volume 4.

I presume that when the graphic novels develop further, there will be an M/M romance at the forefront. There’s plenty of chemistry and tension already, so I can’t wait to watch that happen. Seriously, I can’t wait. When will the next volume be released?? Someone help me!

Here’s what it all comes down to: I love the story, I love all the characters, and I love the artwork. I love every single thing about this series.


I feel like I can’t really say much more about this story without ruining all the fun for you all. At this point, all I can really point out is that if you haven’t read the graphic novels yet, you should pick them up. They’re fun and captivating reads. I promise you won’t regret it. I still have to buy myself some paperback volumes because I read them on Scribd earlier but definitely want to own my own copies. Have you read these graphic novels? What did you think of them? Is there any news on the next volume yet?

Review: Nimona

nimonaNimona by Noelle Stevenson
Published: 12.05.2015 by HarperTeen
Genre: Graphic novel, fantasy
Rating: 4/5 stars – ★★★★
Goodreads

Synopsis: Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.

review

I’ve wanted to read Nimona ever since I read her other graphic novel series, Lumberjanes. I really loved Lumberjanes, because it was all about young girls being themselves and having fun. So when I saw this graphic novel was about a woman who becomes the sidekick of a villain, I knew I had to read it. 

Honestly, this graphic novel is so much fun but at the same time, I loved the themes it included.  I loved Nimona herself, because she was always up for something crazy. Just follow the plan, Nimona! It was just the most interesting plot line, because Nimona is the most interesting character. Always up for some mayhem -and maybe murder too.

I don’t really want to say anything about the plot of the story, because you need to figure that out yourself. Also, it’s only 260 pages, so just jump in knowing as little as possible. I will say though, that I didn’t see the ending coming at all. It was much more heart warming, yet painful than I expected. I felt for these characters, even though I’ve only been with them a short time.

Like I said, I also really enjoyed the themes it included -and Noelle Stevenson didn’t shy away from. Nimona was an orphan, but that’s not all she was. She was so much more than the damaged orphan who doesn’t really trust anyone, that we so often see in (fantasy) stories. There were also a lot of times the author drew right and wrong into question. For example, this is some of the text from a certain panel:

 ‘You wouldn’t.’
‘No, I wouldn’t. And I’m the villain. What do you suppose that says about you?’

I obviously can’t tell you what that scene is about, but it’s interesting to see the morality of the hero and the villain challenged. Lastly, the graphic novel also includes an LGBTQ+ character. I don’t think it’s really said, but it’s quite obvious when you’re reading. I actually quite like that it wasn’t necessarily said, because that makes it seem like any other relationship. (Which of course it is, but you know what I mean) 

While I wasn’t the biggest fan of some of the drawings or illustration style, I did still find it enjoyable.

I’d highly recommend this graphic novel to you. It’s a fun story, with a lot more themes to make you think than I would’ve thought possible for such a short story. It has fun characters, dragons, shapeshifters and EVIL!

Mini reviews | Rat Queens Vol 1 & 2

rat queens vol 1

Rat Queens Vol.1: Sass & Sorcery
Published: March 26th 2014

Genre: Graphic novel, fantasy
Rating: 4/5 stars

Goodreads | Bookdepository

Synopsis: Who are the Rat Queens? A pack of booze-guzzling, death-dealing battle maidens-for-hire, and they’re in the business of killing all god’s creatures for profit. It’s also a darkly comedic sass-and-sorcery series starring Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief. This modern spin on an old school genre is a violent monster-killing epic that is like Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack!

review

I’ve been trying to read more graphic novels in the past few years, and Rat Queens has fascinated me for a while. I have to admit that I didn’t really know anything about it before I started reading. I just read the first two sentences of the synopsis. And it was GLORIOUS. I absolutely loved it. Before the actual story line starts, it has little portraits of each Rat Queen and who they are which is so handy! Each Rat Queen is so different, and I think from a different race (fantasy-wise) and different background. For example, Hannah was raised by 2 necromancers, and she’s an elf. Dee, a human, was raised in a cult that worships a giant octopus? I love the diversity here. 

This was a fun, action-packed graphic novel with beautiful illustrations. I think Dee’s portrait is one of my favorite graphic novel illustrations ever. The Rat Queens are basically mercenaries, taking on a task for payment. This leads to some pretty dangerous (and hilarious) scenes. I loved the interactions between the characters and the overall story line. Plus, their witty banter is genius. I will say that if you are not comfortable with drinking, swearing, violence and/or sex, this graphic novel is not for you. All 4 are present here, so skip on reading this if those topics make you feel uncomfortable. When I finished this one, I couldn’t wait to read the second volume! 


rat queens vol 2

Rat Queens Vol. 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’Rygoth
Published: May 6th 2015

Genre: Graphic novel, fantasy
Rating: 4/5 stars

Goodreads | Bookdepository

Synopsis: This booze-soaked second volume of RAT QUEENS reveals a growing menace within the very walls of Palisade. And while Dee may have run from her past, the bloated, blood-feasting sky god N’rygoth never really lets his children stray too far.

review

As I said, when I finished volume 1, I immediately wanted to read volume 2. So I did. 

What I enjoyed most about this volume, is that we got a lot more backstory on each of the characters. We can see each Rat Queen before they actually became a Rat Queen, and why they left their lives somewhere else. It also shows some background dynamics between certain characters who have known each other for a long time. For example, Hannah and Darius. From the first volume, you can see that they have a history. But you never see what happened, or how it played out. This volume, while being action-packed and fun, still gave us insights in each of the women. 


I really enjoyed these two volumes, and I can’t wait for the release of the 3rd. Even though I have no clue when that will actually happen

Mini Reviews | Graphic Novel Edition

Hi everyone! I’ve been reading some graphic novels this year but I never really made a review on them -and exception goes for Lumberjanes. So today, I’m combining mini reviews on some of the graphic novels I’ve read this year. Let’s do this!


#1: Chew Vol. 1-4

chew vol 1

Graphic Novels: Chew Vol. 1-4 by John Layman & Rob Guillory
Genre: Crime, Fantasy
Rating (average): 4/5 stars

Goodreads | Bookdepository (Vol. 1)

This graphic novel series centers around Tony Chu, who is a cibopath. What is that, you ask? Well, when Tony bites into something he can tell certain things about it. Like the origin, what happened to it and so on. Now, Tony Chu is a detective, which means he sometimes has to bite a victim to know what happened. 

I quite liked these volumes! It was definitely a fun and quick read, because Tony’s stories are hilarious. Plus, it’s really unique. I can’t say I’ve ever read anything like it. Also in this world, chicken is illegal due to a disease that came from consuming it. So selling and buying chicken is illegal. How genius is that? I mean, I’d be a criminal because I often eat chicken. So somehow this centers around crime, and chicken. There’s really no other way to describe it. While I enjoyed the volumes as I was reading them, I don’t have the compulsion of “I have to read the rest now”. So I enjoyed them, but wasn’t completely captivated either. However, I would recommend them if the story seems like fun to you

★★★★


#2: Ms. Marvel Vol. 1

ms marvel vol 1

Graphic Novel: Ms Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson
Published: October 15th, 2014 by Marvel 
Genre: Superhero comics
Rating: 4/5 stars

Goodreads | Bookdepository

Synopsis: Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she’s suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them, as well.

Okay, so I had high expectations for this one. Not really sure why because it’s not like I’ve read a lot of Marvel before but it just looked so amazing? Plus, I was happy that they were bringing some diversity to the superhero party. I did enjoy the first volume, although I find it hard to truly form an opinion on just one volume. But I liked the story-line and am definitely thinking of continuing on. The only problem I had with this was the diversity -I know, contradicting myself here. But I felt like it was very stereotypical? Kamala is a muslim girl, and I felt like the way her religion and family was portrayed was very stereotypical. I mean, I’m sure this happens, but not every muslim family is extremely strict like that. I don’t know, I just felt like they were confirming a stereotype… 

★★★★


#3: Daredevil Vol. 1

daredevil vol 1

Graphic Novel: Daredevil Vol. 1 (Hardcover) by Kevin Smith
Published: April 8th, 2003 by Marvel Comics
Genre: Superhero comics
DNF

Goodreads

Synopsis: A tragic accident took his sight-but in return, enhanced Matt Murdock’s remaining senses far beyond human limits. An accomplished attorney by day, by night Murdock seeks justice outside the law as Daredevil, The Man Without Fear.

Obviously, I didn’t enjoy this -obvious because I DNF’ed it… The art-work was good but not my favorite but it really was the story I couldn’t get along with. It was just so… WEIRD. Everyone was crazy! They were trying to convince Matt Murdock that this baby would grow up to be like the devil. And trying to convince him to kill the baby. And then they blackmailed others to kill the baby? WHAT? IT’S A BABY? And then a nun died and I was just freaking lost. Yeah, wouldn’t recommend this really.

DNF


#4: Saga Vol. 4

Saga vol 4

Graphic Novel: Saga Vol. 4 by Brian K. Vaughan
Published: November 25th, 2014 by Image Comics
Genre: Scifi, Adult
Rating: 4/5 stars

Goodreads | Bookdepository 

I really enjoy this graphic novel series. I think this was one of the first graphic novel series that I ever read! I can’t really say all that much about the plot because that would majorly spoil you for the previous books… But anyway, here are my thoughts on this volume! 

I felt like this was the most realistic of them all. Which is ridiculous, because it involves different species and a space war. But I mean, the relationship between the main characters was very realistic. They are going through a rough time at the moment, and are both seeking solace in different -and the wrong- places. So that was really an interesting twist on the story! I do want to continue on with this series, even though the female MC kind of got on my nerves. You’ve got a baby, WHY ARE YOU BEING SO IRRESPONSIBLE? That’s not a spoiler by the way… I would really recommend this series if you’re interested, and can read adult content. Because this series has a lot of it!

★★★★


So those are my mini reviews on some of the graphic novels I’ve read this year! Have you read any of these? What did you think of them? Do you have any other graphic novels to recommend?

Review: Lumberjanes Single Issues #1-18

lumberjanes #1Graphic novels: Lumberjanes Single Issues #1-18 by Noelle Stevenson
Published: April 9th, 2014 – …
Genre: Graphic novel, YA
Rating (average): 4/5 stars

Goodreads | Bookdepository (Vol. 1) 

Synopsis: Jo, April, Mal, Molly and Ripley are five best pals determined to have an awesome summer together… and they’re not gonna let any insane quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way!

Review

As you may have seen in the title, I am making a review of all of the single issues I’ve read in one. Each issue is only like 24 pages, so I don’t see the point in making a separate review for each. 

I think it’s safe to say that I have fallen in love with these graphic novels. I think they are the cutest, plus they send some great messages along. So, they are essentially about these girls on a summer camp. All of these lumberjanes -which is the name of the summer camp- live together in the Roanoke cabin. And surprise, weird things always seem to happen to them! 

What I love the most is that the central theme of this series is friendship. These best friends all love each other, even though they are all massively different. They take care of each other, and are always there when one of them is in need. Isn’t that a great message? These days, too many books, movies and so on center around love and romance. And while I do think love is an important part of life, so is friendship. I feel like media takes friendship for granted sometimes, and it’s not written about enough. Okay, I’m going to stop my rant now. All I want to say is that their friendship is beautiful!

They go on all these crazy adventures, and as you go along you get to know the characters better. It’s also quite easy to tell them apart because they all look different. No “perfect-tall-blond-skinny” beauty standards here -and I thank you for it. I really like how each of the girls is so different! 

I can’t really talk about the adventures they go on because they change as the series continues, but I have to say that they were really cool. I was definitely surprised at times by the reveals and twists! (And I don’t know whether I would survive being a lumberjane because let’s be real, monsters). But they solve problems through physics, and math and SMART STUFF PEOPLE. These aren’t supernatural girls with special abilities. NO! They are just normal girls solving problems because they are awesome and smart. 

I also really like that every issue shows the badges the girls have earned so far -plus, they all have great names. So during each adventure, they do certain things that will earn them a badge!  Like a cake-decorating contest where they could win “absence makes the heart grow fondant”. I know, I just love silly puns like that. 

The only downside to them is issue #18, in my opinion. Suddenly, the art style changed completely. The characters were drawn differently! I much preferred the previous one! The first 17 issues have amazing artwork. I think that’s even my preferred style for graphic novels -if you’re curious, you can already see it on the cover. So I was SO disappointed and confused in issue 18… I hope they’ll change it back, even though I doubt they will. 


This review in a nutshell: I love all of these graphic novels, and if you haven’t read them yet you need to do so right now! It’s an amazing series about friendship -and let’s be real, celebrating smart girls and women! 

Review: The Cartoon Introduction To Climate Change by Yoram Bauman & Grady Klein

cartoon introduction

Title: The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change
Authors: Yoram Bauman & Grady Klein
Standalone
Published: June 5th, 2014 by Island Press
Pages: 216
Genres: Non-fiction, graphic novel, science
Rating: ★★★★ – 4/5 stars

Goodreads | Bookdepository

Synopsis: Climate change is no laughing matter, but maybe it should be. The topic is so critical that everyone, from students to policy-makers to voters, needs a quick and easy guide to the basics. The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change entertains as it educates, delivering a unique and enjoyable presentation of mind-blowing facts and critical concepts. “Stand-up economist” Yoram Bauman and award-winning illustrator Grady Klein have created the funniest overview of climate science, predictions, and policy that you’ll ever read. You’ll giggle, but you’ll also learn, about everything from Milankovitch cycles to carbon taxes. If those subjects sound daunting, consider that Bauman and Klein have already written two enormously successful cartoon guides to economics, making the notoriously dismal science accessible to countless readers.

Disclaimer

I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley, in return for an honest review, which does not affect my opinion. I am a Bookdepository affiliate. If you do not wish to, you don’t have to use the link I provided.

Review

One of my challenges for this year was to read more books from genres I’ve been neglecting. I’m so happy, I think I’ve been doing really well on this challenge. I don’t read non-fiction often. Why, you ask? Well, I go to class at university. Pretty much the last thing I feel like doing when I get back home is learning more. Plus, non-fiction books are often quite hard to get through and can seem a bit heavy. This definitely wasn’t!

It’s aimed to younger readers who know -next to- nothing about climate change, but would like to learn. And while I thought that I had at least some knowledge about it, I think this book proved me wrong. I learned SO MUCH from it. And because it is a graphic novel too, you get to see examples or most often, it helps you understand the scientific explanations. Often, people that are expert in a certain field find it hard to teach beginners about it. Knowledge that seems so logic to them -like everyone should know it- may not like that for the rest of us. This definitely wasn’t the case here. A TOTAL beginner or really young kid could understand -most- of this book. 

It’s divided into different parts and every part into chapters. It slowly introduces you to what climate change is, how it came to be, predictions for the future and at the end, possible solutions. To be honest, this book kind of scared me. I feel like after reading this I’m ready to start an entire organization just to let people know we’re killing ourselves by not limiting this problem. And I am not a protest/rally kind of person. Yet now, I am kind of afraid for the future. 

I would definitely recommend this book! Even if you don’t really read non-fiction, which I don’t, I’d recommend this. I feel like everyone should educate themselves about the subject and the graphic novel part is just an added bonus.

Top Ten Tuesday: Anticipated 2015 Debut Novels

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week, you make a list of ten books surrounding a certain topic.This week is all about 2015 debuts! I’ll be showing 10 of the debut novels of 2015 that I can’t wait to read.

Side note: because I found this such an inspiring topic, I’ll follow this Top 10 post up with another one about anticipated debut novels. I know, that’s cheating. Sorry!

the boy next door the last leaves falling playlist for the dead an ember in the ashes unspeakable

  1. The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark
    In this intensely romantic novel from Swoon Reads, Maddy falls in love with her skating partner—who is also the boy next door.
  2. The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell
    Japanese teenager, Sora, is diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Lonely and isolated, Sora turns to the ancient wisdom of the samurai for guidance and comfort.
  3. Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff
    A teenage boy tries to understand his best friend’s suicide by listening to the playlist of songs he left behind in this smart, voice-driven debut novel.
  4. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
    Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told.
  5. Unspeakable by Abbie Rushton
    Megan doesn’t speak. She hasn’t spoken in months. Pushing away the people she cares about is just a small price to pay. Because there are things locked inside Megan’s head – things that are screaming to be heard – that she cannot, must not, let out.

waiting for unicorns because you'll never meet me 7 days we all looked up red queen

  1. Waiting for Unicorns by Beth Hautala
    “After her mother dies, twelve-year-old Talia McQuinn goes to the Arctic with her father, a whale researcher. Over the course of one summer, and through several unlikely friendships, Talia learns that stories have the power to connect us, to provide hope, and to pull us out of the darkness”
  2. Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas
    Ollie and Moritz are best friends, but they can never meet. Ollie is allergic to electricity. Contact with it causes debilitating seizures. Moritz’s weak heart is kept pumping by an electronic pacemaker. If they ever did meet, Ollie would seize. But Moritz would die without his pacemaker.
  3. Seven Days by Eve Ainsworth
    Jess’s life is difficult enough without Kez picking on her – it’s turning school from a safe place into a nightmare. Kez has plenty of problems too but she finds comfort in knowing she is better off than Jess – or so she thinks. A hard-hitting and even-handed look at bullying and the issues facing teenagers today.
  4. We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach
    Four high school seniors put their hopes, hearts, and humanity on the line as an asteroid hurtles toward Earth in this contemporary novel.
  5. Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard
    The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers. To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change. Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

This is my Top 10 list for this week. As I mentioned before, I’m going to put up another post soon with more 2015 debuts I want to read. As always, if you’ve made a list, I’d love to see it!

P.S. I love that -aside from 1- these are all standalone novels. I have way too many series I haven’t finished already!