Monday, August 8, 2016

Really Short Reviews: White Sand and Monstress

White Sand, Volume 1
(White Sand #1)
Brandon Sanderson
Release: June 21, 2016
Goodreads Amazon
A brand new saga of magic and adventure by #1 New York Times best-selling author Brandon Sanderson. On the planet of Taldain, the legendary Sand Masters harness arcane powers to manipulate sand in spectacular ways. But when they are slaughtered in a sinister conspiracy, the weakest of their number, Kenton, believes himself to be the only survivor. With enemies closing in on all sides, Kenton forges an unlikely partnership with Khriss -- a mysterious Darksider who hides secrets of her own. White Sand brings to life a crucial, unpublished part of Brandon Sanderson's sprawling Cosmere universe. The story has been adapted by Rik Hoskin (Mercy Thompson), with art by Julius Gopez and colors by Ross Campbell. Employing powerful imagery and Sanderson's celebrated approach to magical systems, White Sand is a spectacular new saga for lovers of fantasy and adventure.

For me, I really enjoyed this first volume in the White Sand graphic novel series. I've been a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson from the beginning and I've not read a Cosmere novel I haven't enjoyed. This graphic novel was no exception. I think it was very successful for Sanderson's first foray into graphic novels.

As I said, I enjoyed it but I not much happened aside from the battle in the beginning. I was really confused at first because we were just thrown into the world. Personally, I feel like it would have been a better story as a novel where we could have gotten more details and some background information that would ease us into the world.

There are definitely limitations to writing graphic novels that you don't find when working with other forms of literature. It's harder to express the characters emotions and thoughts so the readers will not feel as much of a connection with the characters. The main one for me that makes or breaks a graphic novel for me is how the culture/world is portrayed because you don't have the page space to explain as much of the culture as you normally would in a full-length novel. And yet even with all those limitations, the story was able to be adapted into an entertaining read.

That said, the artwork was incredible and I really enjoyed the world that Sanderson gave us this time. The different kinds of magic systems that he gives us in every book he writes is so uniquely brilliant and is one of my favorite things about his work.

Overall, I thought White Sand was good but I would have preferred to have the story as a novel so we could have had more detail and more of an introduction to the world. I really want to get my hands on the next volume so I can see where the story is going.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley

  4 /5 Stars

Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening
(Monstress #1-6)
Marjorie Liu
Release: July 19, 2016
Goodreads Amazon
Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steampunk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both. Entertainment Weekly praised MONSTRESS as “one of Image Comics’ most imaginative and daring new series” and dubbed it the “Best New Original Series” in their year-end “Best Comics of 2015” list.

Collects MONSTRESS #1-6

I have several friends who are big comics enthusiasts who have been just raving about the art and story of this comics. The pictures are absolutely beautiful! They were the first thing that grabbed my attention. The detail in almost all of the pictures was astonishing. That level of detail shocked me even when I read it through a second time. I immediately ordered a physical copy of this volume after finishing the eARC because I need to have it in my collection.

The story so far is more world-building and personal background, but I can feel it rapidly moving in the direction of having an epic story line. The characters are delightfully complex where the antagonists get as much attention as the protagonist and crew. I really appreciated that.

My absolute favorite thing about this comic though is the large female cast it has. Each lady kicks ass in their own way. And I appreciated that there were both female protagonists AND antagonists. There are too few female antagonists in comics in my opinion. I also like the representation of both the women and the men in this comic. There were no bumbling idiots or stereotypical filler characters. Each character pulls their own weight and I loved that!

All in all, the story contains several familiar tropes in it but none of the story feels forced or like it has been done before. It feels unique. In my opinion, this comic is the pinnacle of what comics should be. It wins hands down over the famous and more traditional superhero comics. I can't wait to get my hands on the next issues! You all need to start this comic series ASAP!

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley

  5 / 5 Stars!

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