Rummanah Aasi
 After thoroughly enjoying In the Shadow of Blackbirds and The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters, I was really looking forward to picking up her adult debut novel, The Uninvited. I really wanted to like The Uninvited and though I did enjoy parts of the book, I did have many issues with it.

Description: Twenty-five year old Ivy Rowan rises from her bed after being struck by the flu, only to discover the world has been torn apart in just a few short days. But Ivy s life-long gift or curse remains. For she sees the uninvited ones ghosts of loved ones who appear to her, unasked, unwelcomed, for they always herald impending death. On that October evening in 1918 she sees the spirit of her grandmother, rocking in her mother s chair. An hour later, she learns her younger brother and father have killed a young German out of retaliation for the death of Ivy s older brother Billy in the Great War.
   Horrified, she leaves home, to discover the flu has caused utter panic and the rules governing society have broken down. Ivy is drawn into this new world of jazz, passion, and freedom, where people live for the day, because they could be stricken by nightfall. But as her uninvited guests begin to appear to her more often, she knows her life will be torn apart once more, but Ivy has no inkling of the other-worldly revelations about to unfold.

Review: Cat Winters deftly paints a grotesque picture of 1918 America in The Uninvited. While the World War I is taking place in Europe, it has caused unrest at home. Racism, xenophobia, and hysteria are just some of the illnesses that plague America. Immigrants, especially those originating from Germany, are regarded with suspicion. Prejudice has given way to discrimination and even murder. Making matters worse is the deadly influenza pandemic, which has taken a disproportionate number of young. 
  While I loved the setting of the book, the characters hindered my overall enjoyment. I didn't find Ivy likable at all. I found her voice to be much younger than her actual age. While I understood she sacrificed a lot in her life for the sake of her brothers, I got tired of hearing that before she made horrible choices such as jumping insta-lust with the German, which did not make sense to me at all and I found it distracting to the story since I felt zero chemistry between the two characters. Ivy's decisions, in my opinion, did not match with those of the time period. In addition to Ivy, I also found that the characterizations of the secondary characters were merely sketches, which is a shame because they had the potential to be great characters. 
 The blurb regarding the paranormal element is a bit misleading. Though Ivy and the other female members of her family have an unusual gift of seeing ghosts of the dead, the ghosts don't really appear into the second half of the story. The apparitions are suppose to function as a warning and a harbinger of death, however, their appearance comes across haphazardly. The twist in the story was nicely done, but had I been invested in the characters, it would have packed a more of an emotional punch rather than a clever move. 
  Due to my high expectations, The Uninvited left me unsatisfied. I wanted more out of the characters rather than just a caricature of who they were suppose to be. Though I struck out with this book, I still look forward to reading what Cat Winters has to offer. 

Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: There are sexual situations in the book, but they are not graphic. There is strong violence, which occurs off the page. Recommended for older teens and adults who enjoy historical fiction with light paranormal elements.

If you like this book try: In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters, Gemma Doyle series by Libba Bray, Born of Illusion by Teri Brown
Rummanah Aasi
 My teen book club wanted to read a horror book for the month of October and we collectively decided to read Rin Chupeco's debut novel, The Girl from the Well. None of the teens nor I are big horror fans so I was a little worried that none of us would not like The Girl from the Well, but they proved me wrong. We all loved the book and were very fortune to do a Google hangout with Rin who was so generous to spend her time discussing the book with us.

Description: A dead girl walks the streets. She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.

And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.

Because the boy has a terrifying secret - one that would just kill to get out.

Review: I am not a horror reader. I do not seek out horror books, unless it is to get in the mood for Halloween. Despite my reluctance, I was thoroughly enthralled with The Girl from the Well. The book is exceptionally written and draws from a classic Japanese ghost story while wielding an unique story of its own. Though the book gave me goose bumps, I still find myself thinking about the book long after I finished it.
  Okiku was brutally murdered 300 years ago at age 16 and has roamed the world ever since, killing child murderers. These murderers unknowingly carry the ghosts of their victims on their backs, making them easy for Okiku to identify. When she is chasing down a serial killer, she spots a boy with moving tattoos on his body and becomes intrigued by him. She follows and observes the boy, who like her is also isolated and mistreated.
  The boy's name is Tarquin and he is the son of an American man and a Japanese woman. Now institutionalized, Tarquin's mother inscribed strange tattoos on the boy as a toddler, which act as seals to imprison the evil ghost inside him. Only Tarquin and his cousin Callie believe and see the ghost in black that haunts Tarquin. The ghost in black horribly murders Tarquin's mother and Tarquin's health dramatically declines. A trip to Japan is planned to act out Tarquin's mother's last wish of scattering her ashes at a shrine, but also as a last resort to free Tarquin from his spirit tormentor.
  Chupeco infuses her story with an old Japanese folklore about a vengeful spirit named Okiku. She writes from the perspective of Okiku in a distant third person point of view while intercepting it with a first person narrative. This writing style is very tricky and could lose the audience at any given time, but it works very well in the story. As a reader you are trying to figure out what Okiku's back story is and place yourself right in the middle of the action. Information is given to you in bits and pieces while slowly revealing the severity of the danger Tarquin faces, retching up the suspense and horror throughout the story. I also loved the details about the Japanese culture that Chupeco includes in her book and truly appreciated the avoidance of a forced romance and humor in this story.
 The characters of The Girl from the Well are just as strong as the writing. Okiku is a fascinating character who is not purely good nor purely evil, but lives in the ambiguous gray area and owns it. She is never ignorant nor too proud of the fact that she too can be seen as a killer just like those whom she hunts and kills. While Okiku's own story is tragic and in which she plays the victim, as a ghost she is an avenger who holds power. It is through this realization that she finds a kindred spirit in Tarquin, a boy whose childhood was robbed of him because of the choice his mother made.
 The story ends in a nice twist and though there is a companion novel, The Girl from the Well, can read as a standalone. The Girl from the Well is a chilling, bloody ghost story that resonates and would make a terrific Halloween read. I think I will wait until next Halloween to pick up and continue Okiku's story in The Suffering. I just need a whole year to prepare myself for more horror.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong language, violence (most of which takes place off the page), disturbing images, and allusion to sexual assault. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: The Suffering by Rin Chupeco, Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich, Anna Dressed in Blood series by Kendare Blake
Rummanah Aasi
 I've been a fan of Greek Mythology since I was a child and it is very cool to see them now star in their very own graphic novel series. The Olympians graphic novel series are such a delight to read in revisiting the famous Greek myths from a fresh format and point of view. I always learn something new in each volume of the Olympians series. I would highly recommend reading them and the best part is that each volume can be read as a standalone.

Description: Hades: Lord of the Dead tells the story of the great God of the Underworld and one of the most famous of all Greek myths: Hades' abduction of Persephone and her mother's revenge. Be prepared to see a new side of Persephone in this dynamic adaptation of the story of the creation of the seasons.

Review: O'Connor gives a panoramic viewpoint of the Underworld as we see souls tormented for their sins while others wander aimlessly or reside in the Elysian fields. We are also given shades of the gloomy, quiet, and brooding Hades too, however, the graphic novel centers on the retelling of the famous Hades and Persephone myth. I know many readers who love this myth and find it romantic, but this myth has always made me feel uncomfortable.
  In O'Connor's retelling, the tempestuous mother-daughter relationship between Demeter and Kore (translated as "The Maiden") gives us a fresh and funny viewpoint of the famous myth. Demeter is an overbearing mother who smothers her teenage daughter Kore. We watch a screaming fight between these two women that many young readers can relate to with familiar dialogue such as "Butt out of my life!!" and "You ungrateful brat". When Kore does not heed the advice of her mother to be careful, she is captured by Hades, who too pressurizes Kore to become his wife. Kore initially gives her quiet, gloomy captor Hades a hard time too. She also takes advantage of her time alone to give herself a thorough makeover and changing her name to Persephone ("Bringer of Destruction"). We are now seeing Persephone not as a victim but a woman who has taken charge of her life. We daresay that she actually likes being with Hades- when offered the opportunity to return to her remorseful mom, she lies about having eaten those pomegranate seeds so she can spend half of each year as Queen of the Dead.
  I loved how O'Connor has taken note that many of the myth retellings have shown us what happened to Persephone, but many writers and storytellers have never given her a voice. He has also expertly captures both the dramatic action and each character's distinct personality for instance Demeter's wild hair matches to her flammable temper as well as the physical transformation of a waif Kore into a woman with a backbone of steel in Persephone. While the Greek gods hold infinite power, O'Connor never forgets to show their humanity.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There are disturbing images and discussion of the center figures who are tormented in the Underworld. Recommended for Grades 6 and up.

If you like this book try: Percy Jackson the Olympians graphic novel adaptations by Robert Venditti, Hades Speaks! by Vicky Shecter
Rummanah Aasi
   I had high expectations for the Glass series after falling in love with the Study series. I wanted to read this series before reading Shadow Study in case I missed any important details. While the Glass and Study series can be read independently, a lot the characters do cross-over and important events are mentioned without much explanation. Though I did enjoy reading the Glass series, I did have quite a few issues with it.

Description: As a glassmaker and a magician-in-training, Opal Cowen understands trial by fire. Now it's time to test her mettle. Someone has sabotaged the Stormdancer clan's glass orbs, killing their most powerful magicians. The Stormdancers—particularly the mysterious and mercurial Kade—require Opal's unique talents to prevent it happening again. But when the mission goes awry, Opal must tap in to a new kind of magic as stunningly potent as it is frightening. And the further she delves into the intrigue behind the glass and magic, the more distorted things appear. With lives hanging in the balance—including her own—Opal must control powers she hadn't known she possessed… - powers that might lead to disaster beyond anything she's ever known.

Review: Storm Glass was a slow read for me, which is highly unusual since I tend to burn through Snyder's books quickly. I think part of my problem with this book is that I didn't warm up to Opal until quite over half of the story. While she is in her twenties, Opal felt very young to me and I found her insistent whining and complaining annoying. Though she did save the day in helping Yelena in Sitia, she is seen as the social pariah in her glass making school. Her journey, thankfully, is much more interesting as she faced threats and discoveries that could kill her. This is one of those rare cases in which I liked the secondary characters much more than the main character because they had a lot more depth.
  The structure of Storm Glass is very episodic. We follow Opal from one small adventure that leads to the next. There was really no flow to the story, however, I did love learning about weather with the clan of Stormdancers and glass making as Opal explained how her powers worked.
  I also didn't care for the romance in this book. Instead of a love triangle, it is more like a square. Ulrick is the hot, glass maker who has an inferiority complex. Kade the brooding Stormdancer didn't leave an impression on me because he wasn't present for majority of the book and another character that I won't spoil who made me scratch my head. Overall this was an okay start to a new series, but it left me wanting more.

Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language and implied sexual content. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: Healing Wars by Janice Hardy, Fire by Kristen Cashore

Description: Like the colorful pieces of sea glass washed up on shore, Opal has weathered rough waters and twisting currents. But instead of finding a tranquil eddy, Opal is caught in a riptide. Her unique glass messengers which allow instant communication over vast distances have become a vital part of Sitian society. Once used solely by the Councilors and magicians, other powerful factions are now vying for control. Control of the messengers equals control of Sitia. Unfortunately that also means control of Opal. If that isn’t enough of a problem, Opal’s determination to prove blood magic is still being used is met with strong resistance. The Council doubts her, her mentor doubts her, and even her family is concerned. When her world is turned upside down, she begins to doubt herself. In the end, Opal must decide who to believe, who to trust, and who has control—otherwise she will shatter into a million pieces and be swept out by the tide.

Review: I liked Sea Glass a little more than Storm Glass, but not a whole lot. I appreciated Opal coming into her own and trying to figure out who she is without her magic. She stopped whining and decided to take charge of her own destiny by learning how to defend herself. Opal is much darker and jaded in this book than the previous book, but she is still naive and falls into traps quite easily. Once again I felt the secondary characters such as Lief, Janco, and Ari stole the show and I kept reading the book because of them. The love square has now shrunk to a love triangle, though I'm curious about one of the suitors. I am also interested in seeing what becomes of Opal with her magical abilities changed. 

Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language, scenes of torture and violence, and implied sexual content. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: Healing Wars series by Janice Hardy, Snow Like Ashes series by Sara Raasch

Description: After siphoning her own blood magic in the showdown at Hubal, Opal Cowan has lost her powers. She can no longer create glass magic. More, she's immune to the effects of magic. Opal is now an outsider looking in, spying through the glass on those with the powers she once had, powers that make a difference in the world. Until spying through the glass becomes her new power. Suddenly, the beautiful pieces she makes flash in the presence of magic. And then she discovers that someone has stolen some of her blood - and that finding it might let her regain her powers. Or know it could be they are lost forever.

Review: Spy Glass is much stronger than the previous two books. The tone is much more serious and the characters have finally reached their maturation. Opal is on assignment: retrieving her magic. She is caught between several court conspiracies and the court intrigue held my attention throughout the story. I was also interested in the villain of the story and wondered if there is such a thing as redemption and being reformed. The romance was solved unusually, but I can't fully support it. 

Rating: 3.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language, scenes of torture and violence, and implied sexual content. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: Healing Wars series by Janice Hardy, Snow Like Ashes series by Sara Raasch, Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore, Grave Mercy by Robin Lafevers
Rummanah Aasi

Description: Searching for their literary hero, new parents Marko and Alana travel to a cosmic lighthouse on the planet Quietus, while the couple's multiple pursuers finally close in on their targets.

Review: The third volume of Saga has less action than the previous volumes, however, there is more emphasis on the several relationships of various characters. 
Marko and Alana remain the central couple of this volume and we watch them meet D. Oswald Heist, the romance writer who wrote the book that inspired them to move beyond their individual prejudices and be a couple. I felt that the secondary characters, however, stole the show. I loved the fact that this volume focuses even more on The Will’s growing relationship with Gwendolyn and towards Sophie, the little girl whom they saved. The Will is less robotic and this volume highlighted his humanity as he struggles with his conflicting emotions of mourning his lost love and his growing attraction to Gwendolyn. Gwendolyn also proves to be a stronger character and much more than Marko's scorned ex-fiance. 
 Vaughan also introduces a same-sex male reporters who are investigating Alana's past. I liked finding out more information of Alana, however, I wished the reporters had more depth but I'm guessing they will be developed in the next volume of this series. Staples' artwork is stunning and captures the expressions and body language of the characters so well. I do hope Volume 4 picks up the action again and I'm curious to see where Vaughan takes his space opera next.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: This volume contains strong language, bloody violence, nudity, and some images of sexual situations. Recommended for adults only.

If you like this book try: Saga Volume 4 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, Alex + Ada Vol 1 by Jonathan Luna
Rummanah Aasi
  Today I would like to welcome author Kai Strand to the blog to answer some questions about her book, King of Bad. If you are a fan of superheroes and can't get enough of them do check out King of Bad!

I really like that the King of Bad gives us the villain's point of view, which is rare in books that feature superheroes. Which villain, from print, TV or movie, would perfectly embody the SV Academy's motto? 

I think Joss Whedon’s Loki is the perfect embodiment of “Where you learn to be good at being bad.” We know Loki – by nature – is a trickster, but he does some downright despicable things and counters it with acts of heroism, verging on selflessness – or is the apparent selflessness really a means to a self-serving end? Tom Hiddleston’s interpretation of Joss’ Loki keeps you intrigued, beguiled, and guessing. I hope my series keeps readers guessing and wondering too.

  Jeff's perception of the SV Academy changes throughout the book, what is the one thing he would say the school has taught him about himself? 

Jeff has always been the bad boy. An emerging pyromaniac who has a way with the ladies. But nothing highlights how NOT bad you are like attending a school filled with super villains. Villains are selfish, self-centered. They plot and plan, use and abuse. They don’t have friends so much as useful acquaintances. They never consider how their actions impact anyone else. So the biggest thing Jeff wonders is if he’s bad enough for SVA?

 Jeff seems to be attracted to Oceanus and Mystic for different reasons. If he were to take them each on a date, what would they do? 

   First, he would be nervous before each date, but for two entirely different reasons. He’d want to impress Oceanus. He wouldn’t want to make Mystic mad. So the dates he’d plan – if he were to date both girls:

  Oceanus has water related superpowers so ideally, he’d like to take her to dinner at a restaurant with a patio overlooking an ocean, so she’d feel empowered, strong and in control. But they live in landlocked Idaho, so instead he’d try to recreate an ocean-side experience. Find a nice deserted lake. Maybe an old rock quarry. He’d surround it with sea lavender and somehow introduce the scent of sea salt to make her feel at home. He’d use his own ice superpower as often as possible, because she swoons every time she sees him make something with water from inside his own body. It would just be the two of them so that he could get to know everything about her.

   Mystic’s powers scare him to death. First of all her powers are psychic, which he has no defenses for. It’s a huge weakness of his. Second, her forte? Psychic sex. Ugh! Someone who can make you think you’ve already been with her and liked it! How is he supposed to know what memories to trust? So he’d want their date to be as busy and distracting as possible. Hopefully a loud rock concert or a busy play-off game of some sort would distract her from suaving him. If not, when he was caught drooling over her, at least he’d have the extra excuse that he’d been distracted.

If each of the main characters had the chance to date a person from the DC or Marvel Universe who would they pick and why?

As soon as Source met Jeff’s sister, Sandra, his world was complete. You could throw Wonder Woman at him and he’d never even notice.

If you can get Mystic’s focus (more like obsession) off of Jeff, I think she’d be intrigued by Marvel’s Magneto. He claims to be able to control minds – well, she’d love to show him how that’s really done. Beyond that, she’d appreciate his ability to manipulate the physical source of magnetism. It would complement her ability to manipulate emotional magnetism. Magneto would provide almost as much allure as Jeff and his place in the villain hierarchy. Almost.

I imagine that Oceanus would take the obvious route and fall for DC’s Aquaman. All things water turns her head and Aquaman has command of the ocean and its occupants. Eventually his goodness would likely bore her, but she’d learn a heck of a lot in the process.

Jeff is a work-in-progress. He likes all girls and is stupid enough to proceed without caution. He’d chase after (DC’s) Wonder Woman if someone carelessly threw her at his best friend, Source – only to be pummeled by her. Being conscious of his own appearance, he’d appreciate (Marvel’s) Medusa’s fabulous hair. He’s naturally attracted to girls on the edge of crazy, so (Marvel’s) Scarlet Witch would probably attract his attention, especially if he could steal her from that jerk of a super villain, Set. Being a girl of two worlds, (DC’s) Amethyst might draw his attention, though he’d have some trouble with the princess side of her – the girl equivalent to a pretty boy, which Jeff really despises. But Set might take a shine to her later and that alone – providing a cast-off for Set, for a change – would make Jeff happy.

Let say you were given the opportunity to shadow a student from the SV Academy, who would you select and why? 

If I were thinking logically, it would be Jeff’s best friend, Source. His superpower is to sense the powers in other Supers and help them develop them. He knows more about superpowers and how to ratchet them up than anybody else.

But the teenage girl inside me would follow Jeff’s rival, Set, around. I have such a crush on him! He’s drop dead good-looking, and knows it. He’s got total control over his weather powers, which is sexy as all get out. And he’s a bad boy. So, yeah, I’d probably shadow him everywhere, but not for the right reasons.

Thanks so much for answering my questions, Kai!

About the Book

 Jeff Mean would rather set fires than follow rules or observe curfew. He wears his bad boy image like a favorite old hoodie; that is until he learns he has superpowers and is recruited by Super Villain Academy – where you learn to be good at being bad. In a school where one kid can evaporate all the water from your body and the girl you hang around with can perform psychic sex in your head, bad takes on a whole new meaning. Jeff wonders if he’s bad enough for SVA.

He may never find out. Classmates vilify him when he develops good manners. Then he’s kidnapped by those closest to him and left to wonder who is good and who is bad. His rescue is the climactic episode that balances good and evil in the super world. The catalyst – the girl he’s crushing on. A girlfriend and balancing the Supers is good, right? Or is it…bad?

King of Bad, the Amazon bestseller is now in it’s 2nd edition with bonus material! Buy it in electronic or print format from.
Buy it: Whiskey Creek Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble or get the SVA Box Set: Whiskey CreekPress, Amazon, Barnes and Noble

About the Author

When her children were young and the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died. The end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers and a short story blog, Lightning Quick Reads, Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults. Learn more about Kai and her books on her website,

Mailing List| Facebook| Twitter| Instagram| Goodreads

Rummanah Aasi
I know many of us have limited reading time and we all want to fill it with quality books. If your reading schedule allows for a graphic novel, be sure to squeeze in Cece Bell's fabulous memoir El Deafo. The graphic novel has won awards and received critical acclaim. I absolutely loved it and it will definitely go on my favorite books of 2015 list.

Description: Starting at a new school is scary, even more so with a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest! At her old school, everyone in Cece's class was deaf. Here she is different. She is sure the kids are staring at the Phonic Ear, the powerful aid that will help her hear her teacher. Too bad it also seems certain to repel potential friends.
  Then Cece makes a startling discovery. With the Phonic Ear she can hear her teacher not just in the classroom, but anywhere her teacher is in school--in the the teacher's the bathroom! This is power. Maybe even superpower! Cece is on her way to becoming El Deafo, Listener for All. But the funny thing about being a superhero is that it's just another way of feeling different... and lonely. Can Cece channel her powers into finding the thing she wants most, a true friend?

Review: El Deafo is a humorous and touching graphic memoir about growing up deaf, finding friendship, and self acceptance. When Cece is 4 years old, she becomes deaf after contracting meningitis. She begins to realize that her world is changing when she is fitted with a hearing aid and learns to read lips. Cece is even enrolled in a school for deaf children in order to equip her with new resources and skills such as teaching her how to lip read. Cece finds the new adjustments to her lifestyle frustrating and challenging.
  After her family moves to a new town, Cece begins first grade at a school that doesn't have separate classes for the deaf. Like many children of her age, she is anxious and scared to start a new school with new kids. She is constantly worried what her peers reaction will be to her new hearing aid, called the Phonic Ear, which allows her to hear her teacher clearly, even when her teacher is in another part of the school. The Phonic Ear is bulky, hard to hide, and uncomfortable to wear. Cece can't help but feel different and alone much like her favorite superheroes. It dawns on Cece that like her idols, she too has a special ability and in her fantasies she becomes the superhero "El Deafo", who is her subconscious and fights against her fears and self doubt.
 What I loved about this graphic novel is warmth and sensitivity Bell brings to her story. The word clouds of fading words or squiggly lines indicate misheard speech. All the human characters are anthropomorphic rabbits coupled with humor and relatable problems such as finding real friends and dealing with a school crush, makes the story more accessible and takes it a few steps above a "disability book". I empathized with Cece as she struggled to find friends who weren't bossy or inconsiderate. I also appreciated Cece's honesty in not wanting to learn ASL at first, but most of all I  loved her epiphany that hearing disability doesn't define her as a person and her journey of self acceptance, which is what makes her worthy of a superhero.

Rating: 5 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 2 and up. I have this graphic novel in my high school collection and it has been circulating quite often.

If you like this book try: Smile by Raina Telgemeier, Stitches by David Small
Rummanah Aasi
 Princeless grabbed my attention when I heard the creator, Jeremy Whitley, talked about the lack of diversity in comics in a Graphic Novel panel at the ALA Annual Conference this summer. He explained that his own daughter inspired him to write a comic in which she can see and identify herself in the story.

Description: Adrienne Ashe never wanted to be a princess. She hates fancy dinners, is uncomfortable in lavish dresses, and has never wanted to wait on someone else to save her. However, on the night of her 16th-birthday, her parents, the King and Queen, locked her away in a tower guarded by a dragon to await the rescue of some handsome prince. Now Adrienne has decided to take matters into her own hands!

Review: Princeless is a great, fun graphic novel that will appeal to both boys and girls as well as young readers and adults alike. The graphic novel stands out for many reasons: an African American family are the main characters, the plot subverts typical fairy tale and comic cliches as well as gender roles and expectations. The graphic novel opens as Princess Adrienne questions why princesses are always the damsel in distress in stories and a hero is always needed to help rescue the princess, a question I'm sure many of us have asked ourselves. Soon Princess Adrienne is tricked into becoming a damsel in distress despite her disgust. She watches helplessly as her pet dragon scares the pants off of her "rescuers". In an impulsive moment, Princess Adrienne decides to rescue herself as well as freeing her other sisters who are also trapped in castles.
  With interesting characters, funny and snappy dialogue, the graphic novel moves quickly and there is not a dull moment. One of my favorite parts of this volume is when Adrienne befriends a female blacksmith named Bedelia who Adrienne recruits to help design her warrior outfit. The two female characters debate the various female outfits such as the chainmail bikini armor and other variations found in popular comics and TV shows as they brainstorm designs for Adrienne's outfit. Young readers will enjoy an action heroine who takes her destiny into her own hands and stumbles over obstacles along the way, but never gives up. The artwork is beautiful with vibrant colors and careful, clear illustrations that perfectly capture the physical expressions written in the dialogue.
  With the positive message of female empowerment and smart female characters, Princeless is a very appealing comic and it stands out for all the right reasons. I definitely look forward to reading more from this series. I hope more graphic novels also follow its path.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 3 and up.

If you like this book try: Princeless Vol 2: Get Over Yourself by Jeremy Whitley, Cleopatra in Space series by Mike Maihack, Zita the Space Girl series by Ben Hatke, Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson
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