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Graphic Novel Twofer: Rat Queens, Vol. 1 / Amulet Vol. 6

June 5, 2015

11. Rat Queens, Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch (2014)
Rat Queens, Volume 1

Length: 128 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Graphic Novel

Started / Finished: 03 March 2015

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? A friend who is also an avid graphic novel reader recommended it.

Summary: The Rat Queens are a band of adventuring mercenaries – Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarf Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric, and Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief. They fight hard, and party harder. After one too many bar brawls with other bands of fighters, though, the Mayor of Palisade sends each of the town’s bands on a separate quest to get them out of the city and keep them out of trouble. But the quests turn out to be death traps, which only the Queens and a few others survive. Now they must figure out who’s ordered their deaths and why… and kick some ass along the way.

Review: I enjoyed the heck out of this one. I enjoyed it so much that I bought myself a copy (!) after initially checking it out from the library, and I bought myself a copy of the second volume, sight unseen (!!). (It should be arriving today; hooray!) This book is clearly based on a role-playing game campaign (or at least operating in that universe), but it works almost as well if, like me, you’re not a gamer but just want a good fantasy story about a band of women who kick ass. And they do kick some serious ass. (Some with stand-and-point powers, but there’s a fair bit of actual physical fighting going on, too.) But my favorite thing about it is that it takes something that is still (sadly) unusual and worth of comment in our society – women characters of diverse backgrounds and body types, who party as hard as they fight, use bad words in mixed company, enjoy having sex, and enjoy each other’s company without trying to cut each other down – and treats it as something expected and un-note-worthy. And it’s funny. Funny always helps. This volume has a clear story arc that wraps up nicely, but simultaneously sets up future installments, as it’s clear that there are plenty of things we don’t know yet… and I can’t wait to find out. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Definitely worth reading if you like fantasy graphic novels.

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12. Amulet, Volume 6: Escape from Lucien by Kazu Kibuishi (2014)
Amulet, Volume 6

Read my review of volume:
1. The Stonekeeper
2. The Stonekeeper’s Curse
3. The Cloud Searchers
4. The Last Council
5. Prince of the Elves

Length: 256 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Graphic Novels

Started / Finished: 08 March 2015

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? I’ve read the series this far, so I figured I may as well keep going.

Summary: As the war with the elves continues on, Navin and his classmates head for the city of Lucien, whose people are plagued by a terrible enemy, but which contains an item that will be essential to winning the war. Emily, meanwhile, enters the void with Max to confront the Voice that has been controlling him, but Max gets more than he bargained for, and Emily learns things that she cannot unlearn.

Review: Eh. Kibuishi’s art is totally gorgeous, as always, but the story doesn’t feel very cohesive, which is at least partly – but I don’t think entirely – due to the fact that I read the first five volumes all in a rush, then let two years elapse without re-reading before picking up this one. Even discounting for my terrible memory, though, as the war picks up steam, the storyline is following different groups fighting on different fronts, so it inevitably feels a little fragmented compared to those volumes that follow more of a single cohesive story (or a main plot and a subplot, at most). Likewise, it felt like not enough time was spent with each character for this story to have the emotional impact that I think it probably should have. 3 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: These books are fast reads and absolutely beautiful, but the plot is not everything I could have hoped for. Maybe best for younger or reluctant readers (which is the target audience, after all.)

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 5, 2015 8:26 pm

    I might have to pick this up! Especially to get me out of a reading slump haha.

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