Updated: Aug 8, 2020
There's something special about fall and winter. Sure the weather sucks and it's dark all the time, but cozy blankets, scented candles, and the fantastic reads make this time of year particularly appealing if looked at in the right light.
This January, I seemed to read far more books than usual! I began my winter holiday with a goal of purposely spending my time in a valuable way, by doing activities that fill my soul. This mainly includes reading, writing, drawing, and yoga! Getting into this habit during the break helped me to keep up the momentum once January's New Year's resolutions hit and back to school time came along. Plus, our school district had three snow days in one week, helping along this large stack of books.
Below are my reviews of the various series. Be sure to check GoodReads for more reviews on them as well. I've included a link to each book's GoodReads page for your convenience.
Scott Pilgrim - Bryan Lee O'Malley
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys comics, video games, comedy, or love stories. O'Malley tells the story of a young adult without a job who freeloads from his friends and is part of a rock band. He meets a mysterious girl who he becomes infatuated with, and he must defeat her seven evil ex's in order to continue dating her. This style of the comic is written like a retro video game crossed with classic comic book battles. There is some mature content, so I would definitely recommend it to teens and older.
Anyone who has seen the movie starring Michael Cera will love this read. The first book starts off almost word-for-word the same as the movie. I really didn't mind this because I could hear the actor's voices as I read along, and I must say they did a fantastic job of casting actors to portray these characters! The other five books in this series follow the same plot as the movie, but are more in depth including additional characters and the main characters' backgrounds are revealed through flashbacks and conversations. Considering it is illustrated in black-and-white, it is impressive how easily O'Malley conveys past and present in his story.
The whole style of this comic is unique and classic-comic all at the same time. O'Malley is a creative individual who pays attention to detail! He makes his story interactive by adding unique features like chords and lyrics to play along with the band, and real places in Toronto including Casa Loma, Dundas Square, and Sneaky Dees. He provides information on key features of the location, hours and an address. Before moving to Vancouver Island, I lived in Toronto for a few years, and just loved how he brought me back to popular places from my memories.
Book Link (GoodReads) - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29800.Scott_Pilgrim_Volume_1
Movie Trailer - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wd5KEaOtm4
Saga - Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples
Popular comic writer Brian K. Vaughan tells the story of two soldiers from enemy territories who, against all odds, fall in love and have a child together. Caught in the middle of an intergalactic battle, they must protect themselves and their new born from their armies who have sent multiple people after them. This series captivates the audience through its unique setting, characters, and artwork. You travel the galaxy with the characters to various planets where you meet different species of people, all of which are out of this world! Some of the characters and plot elements get quite gruesome, so this is a series recommended for an adult audience.
Illustrator Bio - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/304633.Fiona_Staples
Monstress - Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda
From page one, this story is unlike any other. The artwork is dark, fantastic, and inexplicably detailed. The story itself is captivating and has a depth as deep as the core of our Earth.
Regardless of how many times I read it, I learn more and more about the world and characters. There is so much detail to it, that each time a new volume is released, I find the need to reread from the beginning in order to fully follow along. The fourth volume was released a few months ago and a friend of mine has my copies of volume one and two, so I ordered another copy of the first two books so that I can reread them before the fourth one. This probably makes it sound super complicated and confusing, but it's moreso just so deep and detailed that I want to be completely immersed in it!
Monstress is by far my favourite graphic novel series I've read. Anytime someone mentions that they're just getting into graphic novels, I always recommend this one to them. It is absolutely for an adult audience - the first page features the main character naked, being sold to slavery. It tells the story of a teenager recovering from the trauma of war, being orphaned, and fighting a constant battle with a hungry monster who lives inside her and craves human flesh. As the story progresses, readers learn that she is part of something much bigger and that her story is just getting started.
Illustrator Bio - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/377312.Sana_Takeda
Book Link (GoodReads) - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29396738-monstress-vol-1