December 17, 2010
The Night Owls by Peter and Bobby Timony was released March 30, 2010 by Zuda Comics (softcover, black and white, $14.99, 192 pages).
A nerdy supernatural detective, a flapper with a mean right hook, and an ever-hungry gargoyle? Yes, please! The Night Owls combines the tried-and-true aspects of the detective genre with Prohibition-era America, flirty comedy, and light-but-satisfying violence (great taste, less filling!). Add simple, elegant grayscale art and an original cast of baddies and you end up with a great read for middle-grades and up. The book ends on a rather sizable cliffhanger, and I’m praying for a second volume.
March 8, 2010
Grace, 17, loves the peace and tranquility of the woods behind her home. It is here during the cold winter months that she gets to see her wolf—the one with the yellow eyes. Grace is sure that he saved her from an attack by other wolves when she was nine. Over the ensuing years he has returned each season, watching her with those haunting eyes as if longing for something to happen. When a teen is killed by wolves, a hunting party decides to retaliate. Grace races through the woods and discovers a wounded boy shivering on her back porch. One look at his yellow eyes and she knows that this is her wolf in human form. Fate has finally brought Sam and Grace together, and as their love grows and intensifies, so does the reality of what awaits them. It is only a matter of time before the winter cold changes him back into a wolf, and this time he might stay that way forever. (synopsis from School Library Journal)
As a huge fan of all things werewolf… I honestly avoided Shiver for a long time. The strong romantic rather than adventurous thread and highly unorthodox approach to how werewolves work (winter as a wolf, summer as a human) were offputting to me. When I did eventually pick it up, though, I was sucked in almost immediately.
I’m failing as a reviewer here, but I honestly couldn’t tell you what makes Shiver so good. A good part of it is that Maggie Stiefvater is such an amazingly lyrical writer, but there’s something beyond that, just a magic to the whole book that helps you fall in love with it. There are a couple of flaws- I never really got what happened with the one female werewolf, for example, but overall it’s compelling and deeply moving; not at all what I had expected, which was basically Romeo & Juliet but with werewolves and a faint aftertaste of Twilight. Don’t make the same mistake I did and try to steer clear of it.
February 19, 2010
Fun fact: Mercy's tattoos change on every cover.
I have read the first four Mercy Thompson books and loved each of them, but Iron Kissed is by far the best, though, due to a graphic rape scene, it is not for everyone. Wow, you’re saying, she’s sick: her favorite book in the series is the one with the rape? However, part of what attracts me to this book is how Patricia Briggs portrays the psychological impact it has on the victim; to me, at least, it seems very accurate. Though she’s no sniveling coward, it is, perhaps more often than we would like for a character we love, overpowering in its horror. Briggs doesn’t downplay this, nor does she overstate it.
Apart from the rape, the mystery of the book, a grisly string of murders on the fae reservation, for which Mercy’s friend Zee is being blamed, keeps you guessing, or at least it did for me. The world is as rich and real as ever, and of course there’s the ever-present tension with Mercy’s relationship problems.
All in all, Briggs has crafted a lovable character who can stand up for herself without being an unrealistic Superwoman, and who lives in a richly layered world of that includes romance and intrigue as well as broken-down cars and homemade brownies.
New Readers: The first book in the series is called Moon Kissed, if you want to find it. There is also a rather excellent graphic novel prequel called Homecoming.
This book contains explicit sexual content and scenes of graphic rape which may offend some readers.