Some Graphic Novel Reviews

In case you’ve forgotten already, last week was the Bout of Books readathon, and I read a LOT of graphic novels. Well, 5 seems like a lot in one week. Anyways, I decided to throw them all in one mega review post, because I didn’t have a whole ton of stuff to say about a lot of these.

Enjoy!

Boxers and Saints

Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang –  These books have been praised ALL over the internet lately, so I was really excited to get into them. They’re two companion graphic novels revolving around the Boxer Rebellion. Boxers is about Bao, a boy who becomes a leader of the Boxer Rebellion. Saints is about Vibiana, a girl neglected by her family who discovers Christianity and hopes to be like Joan of Arc. I think that the idea of these books – creating companion books about characters on completely opposite sides of a conflict, and making them both sympathetic, is really awesome and I would enjoy seeing it done for other conflicts or wars that have occurred. And while I enjoyed the kind of “there are two sides to every story” lesson, it also seemed like a good argument against religion, which I’m okay with but I’m fairly certain wasn’t the author’s intention. The art was bold and simple, but striking. Overall, I didn’t completely love the characters and I think that’s what tampers my own praise a bit.

 

Sarah Says: 3 stars to both

 

Chew Volume 1

Chew: Volume 1 by John Layman and Rob Guillory –  Cheewwww, I can’t wait to read more of youuuuuu. Chew is a graphic novel series about Tony Chu, a man who gets psychic impressions from the things he eats – including people. He’s kind of forced into using his skill to work as an FDA agent, solving crimes and murders along the way. This was SUPER AWESOME. It’s a weird, cool premise for a comic book series, but I totally love it. Chu is a good guy (not a cannibal, by the way… at least, not by choice), and there were some parts that just completely made me laugh out loud. And the ending of this one was a shocker, an “oh shit” kind of revelation, and I cannot wait to grab Chew: Volume 2.

 

Sarah Says: 4.5 stars

 

A Matter of Life

 

A Matter of Life by Jeffrey Brown – Jeffrey was raised in a religious household – his dad was a minister. But at some point, he realized that he didn’t believe in God, and wasn’t sure if he ever really had. While Jeffrey’s recollections were a little jumbled for my taste, I did enjoy his exploration of faith, or the lack thereof. And when he drew himself getting more into science and reading about physics (including books by Carl Sagan and Richard Feynman), the geek in me smiled. But overall, I love that he actually explored his faith instead of following, or not following, it blindly. It was easily relatable, for me. Definitely worth the quick read.

 

Sarah Says: 3.5 stars

Anya's Ghost

Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol – Anya is a Russian girl just trying to blend in at an American high school. She feels too chubby, she has a crush on the typical high school jock, and she hardly has any friends. And on top of all that, she falls in a well. When she’s down there, she meets a ghost who follows her back up into the world. At first the lonely ghost is annoying, but soon Anya learns that having a ghost as your best friend comes with a lot of perks. Until, of course, she realizes that the ghost is more than she seems. This was a really quick read, but I enjoyed it a lot. I REALLY liked the art – it was cartoonish, but cool and pretty. Anya is a likable girl, who reminds you just a bit what it’s like to be a teenager. And somehow, the storyline with the ghost caught me by surprise. I’d be interested in checking out more of Vera Brosgol’s work.

Sarah Says: 3.5 stars

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26 comments

  1. Chew sounds so good! I just finished Boxers & Saints, too. I think what I love most about Lang’s characters is how difficult they can be to love. And I can see how these could be read as an argument against religion, but also as an argument for the freedom of religion so that no one felt the need to go and slaughter each other over ideology. Anya’s Ghost was adorable. I need to read more Brosgol as well!

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    1. Chew IS really good! I mean, I’ve only read the first book, but it really got me excited to read the whole series.

      Freedom of religion is a good topic for Boxers & Saints too. His main “two sides to every story” point was a really good one though. I felt bad for Bao AND Vibiana.

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  2. I loved the “both sides of the story” in Boxers and Saints. I can definitely feel ya about not loving either of the characters a ton on their own. I loved them more as a set. I enjoyed Anya’s Ghost for it’s fun’ness. And I TOTALLY want to read Chew! Good stuff!

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    1. Yeah, the characters of Boxers & Saints are definitely stronger together, I think. I liked most that it wasn’t a love story, because that’s kind of what I was expecting… I don’t know why, lol.

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  3. Chew seems very interesting!

    Even with my total disinterest towards graphic novels so far, if I see the covers being laid out like that, they are kinda inviting. Maybe I should actually hold one in my hands some time and then the fear of graphic novels will disappear.

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  4. I’ve had the Boxers/Saints pairing on my radar for a while but you’re the first blogger I really follow who has reviewed them (that I’m aware of, anyway). I really dig them conceptually, and now I’ll modify my expectations a little so that when I finally get to them, they won’t disappoint.

    Thanks for keeping graphic novels on my radar!

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    1. The concept of Boxers and Saints is actually really cool, so def check them out. It would be really neat to see the author do dual-story graphic novels about other major conflicts. And at the very least, now I know a tiny bit about the Boxer Rebellion.

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  5. The ghost in Anya’s Ghost was so creepy at the end! My daughter loved the book. I just checked out Boxers and Saints and can’t wait to start reading. Since you enjoyed A Matter of Life, I’m adding it to my holds list.

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    1. You might 🙂 It’s a bit graphic (haha) in some parts, cause you know… he does have to take a bite out of bodies sometimes. But you barely notice that because the plot is so off-the-wall and fun.

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  6. I’m reading Boxers & Saints right now and I have to agree with you. I really like the point of the books and the story, but I’m having a hard time feeling attached to the characters. I’m still maulling it over in my head.
    Chew is on my list of things to read ASAP! I really need to get to it.
    Anya’s Ghost sounds adorable too.
    Love these!

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    1. How did you end up liking Boxers & Saints? It’s not instantly likable, right? I really enjoyed the concept and the art, but as books they kind of fell short for me. I don’t have as much enthusiasm for them as I’ve seen around the blogosphere.

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      1. I liked them, but I didn’t love them :(. I really expected to. I still appreciate them for the concept and the art, like you said, but I didn’t bond with the characters in the same way I thought I would.

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  7. I have the whole Chew series, LOVE IT. I’m tempted to say more, but I don’t want to spoil anything for you. I recently crushed the Scott Pilgrim series (way better than the movie, very video game-y and Canadian though, which I like- but may not be your jam) I KILL GIANTS, the Underwater Welder, and Daytripper.

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