Sooo… I’ve been unexpectedly MIA this week. I’m sorry about that, I got a little stressed out with the holiday coming up (Thanksgiving) and it triggered a flare up. So I was out of action for part of the week, unfortunately. And the time I did have was spent cleaning and prepping for Thanksgiving or doing family stuff. So yeah, those are my excuses for not posting basically at all this week.
But I’m rectifying it now. This is my Thanksgiving post, Books I’m Thankful For, and it’s something that I started last year. Speaking of which, my BITF post of 2022 was a soliloquy about the series that got me into reading – The Magic Treehouse series. This year I’m gonna do something slightly less impactful but no less thankful for – the Leven Thumps series by Robert Skye.
My journey with this series began in 2006 on my birthday. I got the first book Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo as one of my birthday gifts. (The other one was another book, but I can’t for the life of me remember what it is. I guess that shows which book ended up being more important to me, lol.) I read it, fell in love with the sketch style art within, and was frothing at the mouth for more.
Then, mere weeks later I saw the sequel, Leven Thumps and the Whispered Secret, at Borders and immediately picked it up. And thus, I was hooked on the series. I then waited every year for each release, eagerly anticipating the next three books. And I was never disappointed.
These books were here with their weird plots and great humor whenever I needed to be cheered up, and they fostered a unique brand of creativity within me, encouraging me to think outside the box when coming up with ideas. I read and reread these novels so many times I’ve lost count. I also buddy read them with at least one friend, and we adored them. The story, the world, the characters – all of it.
This is a series that will always be in my heart, and I absolutely have to give a hearty recommendation for. They have weird but unique plots, imaginative rich worlds, and are generally just fun. I’ll always remember Leven and his friends’ adventures very, very fondly. I’m so thankful for this series I don’t have enough words.
(Before I close off, I will say that these books are definitely not perfect. The world building has a ton of issues, but I liked the writing and most of everything else so I was kind of able to turn off my brain and enjoy it. Plus, I was like 10 or 11 when I first read it, and I honestly didn’t care that much about any of that stuff until several years later in college. I just wanted to enjoy the story and characters. I will say, though, that there were some plot points and character motivations that were that were never addressed properly by series end, which I did find a little irritating.)
(This is also definitely geared towards kids and I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed this too much as an adult, had I read it for the first time now. The protagonists aren’t very active in the first book, which is also a problem, but I kind of let the magic and whimsy carry me through that one. (Also, Leven’s powers are poorly defined and never mean or amount to anything in the first couple of books, unless the plot needed something to happen and this has always bothered me.) (Book four is the best, BTW.))
So yeah, I know it’s extraordinarily late, but Happy Thanksgiving 🦃🥧 to everyone and anyone who celebrates it! I hope you all enjoyed good food with the ones you love.
What books are you thankful for? What are your favorite novels?
Thank you for reading. I’m always so thankful that anyone reads or follows my little blog at all. I hope you have a wonderful day/night!
It’s another month, so it’s time for some more Birthstone Book Covers. Since it’s November, that means beautiful golden ones!
Leslie @ Books Are the New Black created a fun monthly post called Birthstone Book Covers. Each month, she features book covers that are either the same color of that month’s birthstone or include the color in the title.
November has two birthstones – Topaz and Citrine.
📚 Mention the creator (Leslie @ Books Are The New Black) and link back to her so she can check out your post. 📚 Pick 5+ book covers that match the current month’s Birthstone. 📚 HAVE FUN! 📚 Nominate people if you want!
What are your favorite books with golden book covers? If you participated in Birthstone Books, which books did you choose this November?
Thanks for reading, and I hope you have the most amazing day/night!
So this time, it’s been four months since I’ve participated in this post. It’s a new record everyone! 😭💀
Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books languishing on our bookshelves created and hosted by Lisa @ Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a whole lotta fun, so if you’re interested in participating yourself, click the backlink above.
This week I’m gonna highlight is one I bought because I bought the first book, and I wanted to have the sequel cued up for when I was done with it. It’s Hexed by Kevin Hearne, the second book in the Iron Druid Chronicles.
In the second novel in the New York Times bestselling Iron Druid Chronicles, two thousand-year-old Druid Atticus O’Sullivan faces off against witches, Bacchants, and a ravenous fallen angel.
Atticus O’Sullivan has had cause to mistrust witches in his storied past, but he’s willing to live and let live with the Sisters of the Three Auroras, a legendary local coven, even going so far as to sign a non-aggression treaty with them. But that treaty is tested immediately when a deadly new coven sweeps into town seeking to take over, along with some Bacchants from Las Vegas and a fallen angel who’s decided to snack on high school students like they were trail mix.
It’s more than Atticus can handle alone and he must enlist the trickster Coyote, the headhopping abilities of the witch Laksha Kulesekaran, and his neighbor’s illegal arsenal if he wants to keep the city safe from diabolical takeover. He must also exchange favors with his vampire attorney, Leif Helgarson, in a deal that might prove to be the worst of his long life–for Leif doesn’t want to be paid by the hour.
To defeat the mortal hexes of this new coven and keep his apprentice–and his city–safe, Atticus must think fast, make promises, keep his sword handy, and hope he’ll survive to fight another day.
Why It Languishes on My Bookshelf
WHEN I GOT IT: October 2023
WHY I WANTED TO READ IT: I bought it preemptively when I bought Hounded, the first book in this series. I wanted to have the sequel ready to go in case I (hopefully) liked it. In fact, I actually kind of expected to like it.
WHY I HAVEN’T READ IT YET: I didn’t like the first book, so I haven’t had any interest in continuing with the series.
WILL I EVER READ IT?: No. I didn’t like the first book, and I really don’t have any interest in reading any of the other Iron Druid Chronicles.
But yeah, thank you for reading and have an awesome day/night!
Bod is an unusual boy who inhabits an unusual place – he’s the only living resident of a graveyard. Raised from infancy by the ghosts, werewolves, and other cemetery denizens, Bod has learned the antiquated customs of his guardians’ time as well as their ghostly teachings–such as the ability to Fade so mere mortals cannot see him.
Can a boy raised by ghosts face the wonders and terrors of the worlds of both the living and the dead?
It’s like the people who believe they’ll be happy if they go and live somewhere else, but who learn it doesn’t work that way. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you. If you see what I mean.
First off, before I start this review, I gotta acknowledge the day, so…
Happy Halloween to everybody!! 🎃👻🐈⬛🕸️💀🦇
This book was a nice little story to read right before Halloween. (Which is what I did.) It’s spooky, yet so very wholesome.
I’ve only read a couple of Neil Gaiman novels, but out of the two I read (this and Neverwhere) I’ve liked. He has such a weird brain and I love the campy ideas in these books.
Without further ado, let’s move on to the review proper.
Bod said, ‘I want to see life. I want to hold it in my hands. I want to leave a footprint on the sand of a desert island. I want to play football with people. I want,’ he said, and then he paused and he thought. ‘I want everything.’
• The characters ▼
I love all the characters. Nobody “Bod” Owens is such a cute little protagonist. I loved reading about all the hijinks and mischief that he got up to throughout the novel. It was great to watch all of his character development as he grew up.
The ghosts in the graveyard were the best part of the novel. I loved all of their weird personalities, and the way they interacted with one another. And they were all super defined as characters.
• The story ▼
This book is heavily inspired by The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, hence the title. So, as a huge fan of The Jungle Book novel and 1967 animated movie, of course I was gonna like the plot here.
I also really like ghost stories, so this was just a recipe for a book I’d enjoy. And I loved the parallels of the themes that the two share. There’s definitely a similarity between the spirit (*cough*) of both books.
We who make stories know that we tell lies for a living. But they are good lies that say true things, and we owe it to our readers to build them as best we can. Because somewhere out there is someone who needs that story. Someone who will grow up with a different landscape, who without that story will be a different person. And who with that story may have hope, or wisdom, or kindness, or comfort. And that is why we write.
• The atmosphere ▼
The atmosphere in The Graveyard Book is impeccable. Regardless of my feelings on the way that Gaiman writes, he skillfully weaves an excellent, mildly spooky ambience.
• The artwork ▼
The pictures within add so much to the story itself. Dave McKean does such a great job. I especially like the sketchy looking aspect to them, and how they set the tone for each of the chapters.
• The writing style ▼
This one is just a personal preference. I’m not the biggest fan of Gaiman’s writing style and prose. It’s not bad, not at all, I’m just don’t really care for the way that he writes.
I do like the way he writes dialogue, however. Gaiman’s dialogue is pretty good.
‘You’re alive, Bod. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you can change the world, the world will change. Potential. Once you’re dead, it’s gone. Over. You’ve made what you’ve made, dreamed your dream, written your name. You may be buried here, you may even walk. But that potential is finished.’
All in all, I really enjoyed The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. It’s a quick and easy, mildly spooky read that’s great for all ages. It’s a nice and wholesome little ghost story with a bit of mystery plot floating in the background.
I definitely recommend this to fans of Gaiman’s other works, as well as those who enjoy a nice ghost story that isn’t really that scary. I think fans of The Jungle Book will also really like it. It’s a perfect read for the Halloween season.
Thank you so much for reading, and have a spooktackular day/night!
I actually can’t believe it – I’ve never, ever, read this amount of books in a year. Within a year, seeing as 2023 isn’t quite over yet.
But somehow, whether it be interest or willpower or something else, I’ve managed to find time to read this many books. I’m so happy!
And seeing as there’s still like 9 weeks left, here’s hoping that I’ll read a bunch more! Maybe not 52 novels… but a sizable amount! 🥂🍻
I know this is a weird post, and that it’s entirely out of the blue, but I’m just so excited. And I’ve been this excited since I noticed the numbers a couple of days ago. Like I may have mentioned: This has never happened for me before.
So yeah, apologies for the short and weird blog post, but I just had to share the news! (And I wanted to do something a little different today/this Friday and I couldn’t really think of anything else, lol.)
Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you have an awesome day/night! 🌞🌜
Two villains, one girl, and a deadly battle for happily ever after…
Evangeline Fox ventured to the Magnificent North in search of her happy ending, and it seems as if she has it. She’s married to a handsome prince and lives in a legendary castle.
But Evangeline has no idea of the devastating price she’s paid for this fairytale. She doesn’t know what she has lost, and her husband is determined to make sure she never finds out.
But first he must kill Jacks, the Prince of Hearts. Blood will be shed, hearts will be stolen, and true love will be put to the test.
The air crackled with something that made Evangeline think of little sparks. Then she felt a tingling on her wrist in the shape of her broken heart scar.
Jacks had arrived.
A Curse for True Love was… okay. I don’t know, maybe I’ve just kind of gotten tired of this trilogy, but it didn’t do too much for me.
Then again, I’ve had a lot of time to ruminate on the first two books. And I gotta say – I think a few of my opinions have shifted a little. That, and I just can’t with the stuff about this series that has been annoying me, anymore.
I honestly don’t have a lot to say here. Let’s get on with this review.
“This is a very bad idea,” Jacks murmured.
“I would have thought you liked bad ideas.”
“Only when they’re mine.”
• The setting ▼
The thing that I’ve always enjoyed the most about OUABH and its sequels has definitely been the setting. I love the way that Garber describes the world that she’s created. It just sounds so beautiful and mystical. Like a fairytale (which is almost certainly what she was going for, judging by her main character).
I still love the Magnificent North. It’s still one of my favorite new worlds that I’ve read about in the last few years. I love how it just reeks of magic, and I feel like we’ve only scratched the surface with this mystical land in this trilogy.
• The pacing ▼
The pacing of A Curse for True Love and its predecessors has always been nice and brisk, which has always been one of my favorite things about them. I love a good fast-paced book. It’s just so… fast. Which makes it a pretty quick read – I’ve never taken more than like three hours to read any of the OUABH novels.
She needed to back away, to call her for guards, to tell him to leave. Her heart pounded impossibly fast.
But she found herself saying, “You’re not here to hurt me.” “You don’t know that.” A muscle ticked in his jaw. “This morning I nearly tossed you over the side of a bridge.”
“You also just killed someone to save my life.”
“Maybe I just enjoy killing people.”
• The characters ▼
Even though I enjoyed a few of the characters a lot in the first book, and even a little bit in the second, I’m kind of just done with them now. My irritation has reached a crescendo.
Evangeline Fox has always annoyed me somewhat, but I’m just tired of her. She was essentially reset at the end of the last book (spoilers?) and I hate that trope. Ironically enough though, she actually seemed to be more proactive than she’s ever been before, which is something that I found hilarious. But yeah, she’s probably in the bottom half of my protagonist rankings.
Jacks was interesting to me at first, and I still find him to be entertaining at times. But even his character has worn me down. I also don’t really understand why Evangeline is so into him – he’s such an ass. Like, he’s flirty and a douchy kind of charming to read about, but if he was a real life romantic prospect… ugh. No thank you.
Apollo also had a very interesting character assassination at the end of TBONA (book two). And now he was a total piece of work here – an even bigger a-hole than Jacks. But he was entirely devoid of personality, and frankly, a actual character the first two books, so it didn’t feel like I got ripped off or anything.
• The plot ▼
The plot has always been a little bit nonsensical and convoluted, but I found it to be the most noticable here. It also brought more attention to the storytelling flaws retroactively in the books one and two.
Even though the novels in this trilogy are very fast-paced, the plot ebbs and flows strangely. So there are parts where nothing happens, and then suddenly too many things are happening too fast. And nothing really has time to breathe.
Also, the OUABH books have a problem with major plot threads being ultimately pointless. For example, many of the events of book two. These problems continue in A Curse for True Love.
• The romance ▼
The romance in this trilogy has always been slightly ick to me. Jacks has never read like a healthy romantic partner, and there has never been any chemistry between Evangeline and Apollo.
And that has not changed in book three, believe me. If anything, the relationships are even more toxic. Jacks seems excessively unhealthy at a few points here, and Apollo is straight up Tamlin on steroids. Seriously, if you thought Tamlin from ACOTAR was bad and you hated him, you will absolutely despise Apollo here.
She remembered telling herself that night not to turn around. Not to look. And when she had looked at him, she’d tried to glance for only a second.
But it had been impossible. Jacks had been the moon and she’d been the tide, controlled by his impossible force. That much had not changed.
Even though the list of stuff I didn’t like is longer than the things I did like, I still found myself rating this kinda high. I think it’s because I loved the Stuff I Liked, combined with some nostalgia. All in all, A Curse for True Love by Stephanie Garber is an okay book.
If you liked the Caraval trilogy and the first two books in the Once Upon a Broken Heart trilogy, you’ll probably enjoy this one. Also, if you like whimsical, mystical fairytale-like stories, you might like this too.
Have you read A Curse for True Love yet? What did you think of it? Have you read any of Stephanie Garber’s other novels? What did you think of them?
Thanks again for reading, and I hope you have a whimsical day/night!
I suppose if this were a proper book I’d begin it something like, “Miss Lydia Bennet, youngest of five daughters to a father hopelessly entailed, had few advantages in life, but not too few to squander.”
A sparkling, witchy reimagining of Pride and Prejudice, told from the perspective of the troublesome and – according to her – much-maligned youngest Bennet sister, Lydia.
In this exuberant retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Lydia Bennet puts pen to paper to relate the real events and aftermath of the classic story. Some facts are well known: Mrs. Bennet suffers from her nerves; Mr. Bennet suffers from Mrs. Bennet, and all five daughters suffer from an estate that is entailed only to male heirs.
But Lydia also suffers from entirely different concerns: her best-loved sister Kitty is really a barn cat; Wickham is every bit as wicked as the world believes him to be, but what else would one expect from a demon? And if Mr. Darcy is uptight about etiquette, that’s nothing compared to his feelings about magic. Most of all, Lydia has yet to learn that for a witch, promises have power…
Full of enchantment, intrigue, and boundless magic, The Scandalous Confessions of Lydia Bennet, Witch, has all the irreverent wit, strength, and romance of Pride and Prejudice–while offering a highly unexpected redemption for the wildest Bennet sister.
This was my first spell. I thought nothing of it at the time. All small children think they can control the world around them.
Before I start, I myself have a bit of a confession to make: I’ve never read Pride and Prejudice. In fact, I’m not much interested in Jane Austen at all. The only book of hers I’ve read was Sense and Sensibility, and I didn’t much care for it. So, I’ve not read much of her work, and I honestly have little interest in it due to that which I have not really being my kind of book.
So why did I decide to pick this one up and give it a shot? you might ask. The answer is simply: Magic and witches and retellings. I love all three very much, and especially retellings. Usually I go for classic fairytale ones, but I’m always up for a classic anything retelling.
So, I decided to try The Scandalous Confessions of Lydia Bennet, Witch out. I gave it a shot. And I really enjoyed it. Of course, it was written in such a way to mimic the writing and prose of the time, which is something that I’m normally unsure about, but I was determined to read it so I’d psyched myself out about it. And yeah, as I just mentioned, I liked it quite a bit.
But I’ll stop rambling on about this and get into the review proper. I’ve gone on long enough, after all.
• The characters ▼
I spent the evening on my mother’s lap, being squeezed and kissed and lamented over, while my sisters petted and caressed me and brought me sweets and bits of ribbon.
The next day, I threw myself in the creek again. Well, what did they expect? A good thing witches float.
Even though she irritated me quite a few times, I really enjoyed Lydia Bennet and her narration. Sure she was incredibly naive and made many irritatingly stupid decisions, but as this book is technically an epistolary novel (actually it definitely is, fight me) it had a present Lydia looking back at the past, particularly her past actions. A character looking back at herself, and calling out the same decisions and actions that I found to be stupid and naive and irritating, was incredibly refreshing, even if Lydia was being far too hard on herself about it all.
“As if you could,” she said scornfully. “I’m in this shape because I choose to be.” But I saw a flash of doubt pass over her face. We had never met another witch before.
My aunt laughed. “Isn’t that just like a cat. Everything has to be your own idea.”
I also really liked Kitty Bennet, and Taub’s interpretation of her as Lydia’s cat familiar. And maybe it was because she was a cat that I liked her so much – I am very fond of kitties after all. (Mine is on my lap, right at this moment as I write this review, haha.) I also enjoyed how she still had the attitude of a cat even in human form. The author understands cats well – they’re all a little bit arrogant, they like to imagine that everything is their own idea, and yet they can be incredibly loving and loyal. And incredibly weak to pets. Lydia and Kitty’s relationship as sisters was also very sweet, and I was always rooting for their sisterhood.
Her eyes widened. “My God, I think you’re right. How did I not see it before? Someday you’ll have to teach me how you do that.”
“Do what? Observe things and think them through?”
“Yes, that thing.” She frowned. “Well. Let us go ahead with it then.”
Miss Maria Lambe was also a favorite character of mine. I really enjoyed her determination, as well as her incredibly kind heart that she nearly constantly hud behind a cold veneer. She was such a strong person, perhaps the strongest in the book, which is strange to see as that is usually the protagonist in several female led tales. Miss Lambe is also not originally from Pride and Prejudice, but from another of Austen’s works, one that was never completed. But Taub write her in in such a way that she fit perfectly into the story. I loved that she was added.
I really enjoyed her slow-burn friendship with Lydia. Despite the constant denials from both characters, they were most definitely friends, and their growing bond was one of the things that kept me reading during the book’s slowest parts. I wanted to know more about Maria’s secrets just as Lydia did. I wanted to see the moment Lydia and Miss Lambe accepted their friendship.
• The setting ▼
You walk on the earth every day, taking it for granted. You never think that one day it may shake beneath your feet.
Something is beginning. The thought came to me unbidden.
I really enjoyed all the witchiness and the magic. It felt a natural and organic part of the story, despite its inherent unnaturalness. Much of the story took place in autumn as well, and made it feel even more perfect to read for the season. Plus, I really just like books set in fall – it’s my favorite season.
The setting itself felt extremely authentic as well, which is something that I always enjoy in historical fiction, especially if done right like it is here. Sure, all the tangents about gossip and dresses got annoying every once in a while (I like stories to just go), but that just made the Authenticity Meter go up higher, as that was what some lives were like back then. I also just really liked the descriptions of the balls and outfits.
• The romance and relationships ▼
I really liked the romance here. Primarily Kitty and Denny’s. I don’t know how theirs went in the original P&P, or if it was even present at all, but they were so cuuuute together here. I was always rooting for them from the first second. And theirs was the only one I cried about (and multiple times at that) – it just hit me so hard for whatever reason.
“You do not believe me,” Wickham said. “That is no matter. You will.” And he cupped my cheek in his hand, and kissed me.
Lydia and Wickham’s was sweet too, in it’s own way. Since I’ve never read P&P, I don’t know anything about what their original relationship was like, or how exactly Wickham was presented there. But I really liked how their relationship was built up here, and how Wickham was a literal demon. It just made their dynamic incredibly interesting.
• The pettiness ▼
The pettiness got old really fast. It was something that almost constantly irritated me whilst reading Lydia Bennet, Witch. Every time someone started to be petty, I wanted to scream.
It’s also the reason I didn’t like any of the antagonists and several of the other characters. They were always being petty and nasty about nearly everything! They were so annoying.
• The pacing ▼
The pacing in this novel was also a nightmare for me. I don’t care what the consensus on The StoryGraph is – this book was slow as hell. One of the slowest of burns of slow-burns for me. There’s a reason that I don’t normally read slow-paced books; I don’t typically have the patience for them.
Love your best friends. Forgive your worst friends. Remember, always, not to judge people too hastily, for everyone is living out a story of their own, and you only get to read the pages you appear on.
The Scandalous Confessions of Lydia Bennet Witch by Melinda Taub was a wonderful witchy retelling of a classic novel. It also paints Lydia, a character that many people don’t care for, in a different and more likable light. The novel also keeps up the vibes of 19th century England that make it feel very authentic. It may not have been on my fourth Most Anticipated Reads of 2023 list, but that’s only because I discovered it too late.
I think that Jane Austen fans will probably enjoy it, though I can’t really speak about it as I’m not an Austen fan personally. I also think that those who like retellings and historical fantasy will like it as well. This book is also perfect to read during the fall and October in particular, with a pumpkin spice candle burning in the background if you have one.
Have you read any of Jane Austen’s work? What did you think of it? Have you read Lydia Bennet, Witch? What do you think of it?
Thank you so much for reading, and have a beautiful day/night!
Check it out! It’s Friday the 13th – and it’s in October to boot! 🎃👻🐈⬛💀🕸️🦇
First Line Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers (formerly) hosted by Wandering Words, but I saw it over at One Book More.
What if instead of judging a book by the cover, author or most everything else, we judged it by its content? Its first lines?
If you want to join in, all you gotta do is:
📚 Take a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open it to the first page 📝 Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first 📙 Finally… reveal the book!
Here are the first lines:
It came in handy, being small.
People talked of growing up like it was some grand accomplishment, but small bodies could slip through narrow gaps, and hide in tight cor- ners, and get in and out of places other bodies wouldn’t fit.
Like a chimney.
Still can’t figure it out? Here’s another hint or two…
Do you know which book it is now? If you don’t, here’s some lovely images of books to admire while you think about it some more.
Annnd the book is 🥁🥁… The Fragile Threads of Power by V.E. Schwab!!
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, and set in the world of A Darker Shade of Magic, V. E. Schwab opens a new door into perilous adventure and tangled schemes with The Fragile Threads of Power.
Once, there were four worlds, nestled like pages in a book, each pulsing with fantastical power, and connected by a single city: London. Until the magic grew too fast and forced the worlds to seal the doors between them in a desperate gamble to protect their own. The few magicians who could still open the doors grew more rare as time passed, and now only three Antari are known in recent memory – Kell Maresh of Red London, Delilah Bard of Grey London, and Holland Vosijk of White London.
But barely a glimpse of them have been seen in the last seven years—and a new Antari named Kosika has appeared in White London, taking the throne in Holland’s absence. The young queen is willing to feed her city with blood, including her own – but her growing religious fervor has the potential to drown them instead.
And back in Red London, King Rhy Maresh is threatened by a rising rebellion, one determined to correct the balance of power by razing the throne entirely.
Amidst this tapestry of old friends and new enemies, a girl with an unusual magical ability comes into possession of a device that could change the fate of all four worlds.
Her name is Tes, and she’s the only one who can bring them together – or unravel it all.
What books have you been reading lately? What’s on your TBR that you’re most excited about?
As always, thank you for reading, and I hope you have an excellent day/night!
Elliot Torres is kind of in a rough patch. With no career, a seemingly useless chemistry degree, and a near pathological addiction to online gaming, Elly needs something in her life to go right especially when her family asks her to start pitching in with the rent.
Enter Doctor Vlad Stein. After a series of failed part time jobs, Elly desperately answers Dr. Stein’s ancient classified ad: ASSISTANT NEEDED. But when the doctor ~who, according to rumor, is the creepiest mad scientist in human history demands an in-person job trial at his spooky lab, making ends meet might be the least of Elly’s worries. Or maybe she’s been playing too much survival horror.
Originally published on DeviantArt as a bit webcomic, and even adapted by fans into a YouTube audio drama, this is the first print collection of the hilarious series from rising star writer/artist LINDA SEJIC (Tales of Honor, Wildfire).
“I heard from a friend of a friend… that that guy… is a mad scientist!”
I’ve been kind of getting into graphic novels and webcomics recently, so when this came up on my feed it looked right up my alley. Dark, mad scientist aesthetic? Comedy-horror? Yes, please!
Alas, it just… didn’t live up to my expectations. A huge part of said anticipating was, of course, my fault, but I still had a different idea as to what kind of graphic novel Blood Stain was, as opposed to what it ended up being.
But let’s start off with what I liked about it…
The characters ▼
The characters were the star of the show here. (As they should – they’re characters! – but whatever.) Out of everything in these graphic novels, the cast was what shone the brightest. Particularly our leading lady, Elliot Torres.
Elliot Torres is a recent chemistry graduate who’s currently experiencing the first big hurdle of a young adult – finding and keeping down a job. As someone who’s been in her situation before (rather recently, in fact) she was extremely relatable. She’s also a spunky nerd who loves video games, which also helped me like her – as I too am a spunky nerd who loves video games. I also loved how her family (aka: her motivation) is always first in her mind, and how much she throws herself into everything she does, so as to help them out.
Vlad Stein – accidently christened “Blood Stain” by Elliot, hence the title – is our protagonist’s new workaholic, socially awkward boss. And no, sorry to burst everyone’s bubble, but despite his name, he isn’t a vampire. He’s a bit of a mad scientist though… At least, he has the aesthetic for it. I know, I know, I was a little disappointed as well (particularly since the covers and synopsis seem to imply supernatural connotations that don’t seem to exist). He was an okay character, one that I neither like nor dislike.
I really liked Serge though. He seems a bit out of place at first – like seriously, why is he here? But he’s a difficult character not to like, and I fell hard and fast. His purpose also becomes clear somewhat quickly in the story, which also helps. He worked as an excellent straight man to balance out Vlad’s and Elliot’s different kinds of weirdness.
The art ▼
The art is so good, guys. And the character designs were awesome. I also really liked the way that Sejic draws environments and backgrounds.
I also really liked how the panels would sometimes just change fantastically for seemingly no reason (at first). Elliot’s hyperactive imagination and weird dreams were always hilarious to witness.
I didn’t really like the dialogue at first. It felt very clunky to me. The conversations between characters didn’t always come off as natural, or how people talk at all. It did improve a little bit as the story went on, though.
The genre ▼
As for the genre… Contemporary fiction isn’t bad or anything like that, it’s just not my preference. But the covers of these graphic novels kind of like to you, and the summary is vague enough that certain things… might be inferred.
For example, I was sure Vlad was gonna be a vampire or something, and that there’d be other subtle supernatural stuff hanging around in the background. But. No dice. This is simply a very non-supernatural, slice-of-life comedy.
Blood Stain by Linda Sejic is pretty fun so far, if you like contemporary, dark comedy. Its illustrations are also beautiful – Sejic is really a talented artist.
This might also be a good comic to curl up on the couch with during October. Though it’s not supernatural, and not quite a horror, it still has a dark aesthetic perfect for spooky season.
As always, thank you so much for reading, and have an excellent day/night!
Good morning/afternoon/any other time of day everyone! It’s been a… month, I think, since the last time I did a Can’t-Wait Wednesday? Yeah. And there’s a couple of books releasing in the coming weeks, so I thought it was time to do it again.
Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa @ Wishful Endings (and was previously hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine where it was known as Waiting on Wednesday) to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. They’re usually books that have not yet been released.
This week’s book is:
Godkiller by Hannah Kaner!
I’ve had my eye on this one for a couple of months, ever since I saw the cover like in… April? May? Yeah. It’s so good. And the premise sounds fantastic. How could I not be interested in it?
Gods are forbidden in the kingdom of Middren. Formed by human desires and fed by their worship, there are countless gods in the world—but after a great war, the new king outlawed them and now pays “godkillers” to destroy any who try to rise from the shadows.
As a child, Kissen saw her family murdered by a fire god. Now, she makes a living killing them and enjoys it. But all this changes when Kissen is tasked with helping a young noble girl with a god problem. The child’s soul is bonded to a tiny god of white lies, and Kissen can’t kill it without ending the girl’s life too.
Joined by a disillusioned knight on a secret quest, the unlikely group must travel to the ruined city of Blenraden, where the last of the wild gods reside, to each beg a favor. Pursued by assassins and demons, and in the midst of burgeoning civil war, they will all face a reckoning. Something is rotting at the heart of their world, and they are the only ones who can stop it.
Are you looking forward to Godkiller? What books are you excited for coming out in the near future?
As always, thank you all so much for reading, and I really hope that you have a awesome day/night!