Review: An Ember in the Ashes (#1) by Sabaa Tahir

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Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy. 
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

I’ve been hearing so much about this series recently and after finding out how much my lovely friend Charlotte enjoyed it, I knew I wanted to read this series. I’ve been buddy-reading this series with Alex and I’m so glad we’re reading it together! This felt like YA fantasy with a slight twist, and I really enjoyed it. I also loved the two points of view, which I was hesitant about going into the story as I sometimes find multiple POV mean you want to skip one and go to the next. However, I enjoyed these two equally and for different reasons, and felt like they worked well together.

These two points of view include Laia, who ends up as a slave for the somewhat evil commandant of the Blackcliff Academy, who she is also spying on. The commandant also happens to be the mother of our second character, Elias, who is a soldier at the academy. Both of these characters are questioning authority for different reasons, and are brought together by the decisions they make along the way.

You are an ember in the ashes, Elias Veturius.

This story is definitely a more of a character and plot driven story than a location heavy one, which let me down slightly. I personally love setting heavy stories and a lot of world building, and I did struggle to vividly picture the world throughout the story. Some scenes were better than others, and I’m hoping as the series goes on we learn more about the world and surroundings. I also really liked the characters and felt a lot of sympathy for them – both me and Alex were getting emotional towards the end! I found myself thinking about these characters even when I wasn’t reading (or had picked up something else when I finished my pages for the day), which proves how much I was drawn to their stories.

The plot definitely drove the story which was perfect for reading it over a 4 day readathon. The writing was so easy to read and I didn’t want to put the book down, which bodes well for the rest of the series! But despite it being super compelling, Sabaa Tahir didn’t steer away from difficult topics. The beautiful writing occasionally gave way to brutality and violence, which neither me or Alex quite expected so much of. This is definitely not one for the fainthearted, and has a lot of mentions/scenes of killing, rape and torture.

You will spark and burn, ravage and destroy. You cannot change it. You cannot stop it.

I’m holding out my 5 stars for now as I feel like this has got more to give and I’m really looking forward to seeing where this series goes. However, this was a really enjoyable, fast-paced fantasy read with likable characters and an unpredictable plot that made me want to keep on reading!

CW: sexual assault, torture, violence, death, imprisonment

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Review: The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth

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Saoirse doesn’t believe in love at first sight or happy endings. If they were real, her mother would still be able to remember her name and not in a care home with early onset dementia. A condition that Saoirse may one day turn out to have inherited. So she’s not looking for a relationship. She doesn’t see the point in igniting any romantic sparks if she’s bound to burn out.
But after a chance encounter at an end-of-term house party, Saoirse is about to break her own rules. For a girl with one blue freckle, an irresistible sense of mischief, and a passion for rom-coms.
Unbothered by Saoirse’s no-relationships rulebook, Ruby proposes a loophole: They don’t need true love to have one summer of fun, complete with every cliché, rom-com montage-worthy date they can dream up—and a binding agreement to end their romance come fall. It would be the perfect plan, if they weren’t forgetting one thing about the Falling in Love Montage: when it’s over, the characters actually fall in love… for real.

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while, and it really didn’t let me down. This book had a similar trope to fake-dating but with a twist, and I loved it. It was witty, clever and laugh-out-loud funny, but with deeper, dark moments too. It was fun, but also so much more emotional than I expected.

As someone who is moving slowly and cautiously away from YA fiction, especially contemporary YA fiction, I definitely need something with a twist to keep me interested and on my toes, which is exactly what The Falling in Love Montage did. This book was about that part of the rom-com film where the couple goes on dates and have a cute montage of them, well, falling in love. It’s the bit after the meet-cute and before the devastation, and it is exactly what the main characters of this book had planned for the summer.

“See, the thing about the falling in love montage,” she said, her voice hoarse,

What I expected from this story was a cute, summer romance. And I’m not saying it didn’t provide that, because it did, but it became so much more. I had tears in my eyes from reading about Saoirse’s story, which was a lot darker than I expected. Not only did she have a messy relationship and friendship history, she also had a mum with dementia who was only in her 50s. This really hit me harder than expected, and although I have no experience in the subject, I felt like it was written very well. I connected to Saorise a lot throughout this story, and the situation with her mum brought me close to tears at various points.

Saorise is a bit of an arrogant, stroppy teenager throughout this book, but I kind of loved it. Her witty comebacks were so funny, and her sarky attitude to life was highly entertaining. Even when you wanted to throw the book across the room at her decisions, she was completely self aware at how she was acting, which made it work. Also, she kind of has enough justification for being angry about a lot of the crap she has gone through. Her voice was unique and so was the writing style, which showed her thought processes really well.

“is that when it’s over, the characters have fallen in love.”

It was also lovely to see a YA book set in Ireland and with so many mentions of Irish culture. It is definitely something we don’t see a lot of in YA and really made this book stand out – it was such a joy to read about!

Overall, this was a really lovely story with a fun summer romance and also some emotional discussions. It was incredibly well written and unputdownable, and was a lovely journey to go on even if it was a little predictable in places.

CW: Dementia

★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Review: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

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Mary Lennox was horrid. Selfish and spoilt, she was sent to stay with her hunchback uncle in Yorkshire. She hated it.
But when she finds the way into a secret garden and begins to tend to it, a change comes over her and her life. She meets and befriends a local boy, the talented Dickon, and comes across her sickly cousin Colin who had been kept hidden from her. Between them, the three children work astonishing magic in themselves and those around them.

I’m so glad I finally picked up this book as recommended to me by Alex, as it is her favourite book! Thank you Alex for all of your encouragement when it came to finally getting me to pick this one up, I really enjoyed it.

As you’ve probably picked up by now, I didn’t read many children’s classics when I was an actual child, and I’m only getting around to reading them now. I find this to be hit and miss, but The Secret Garden has been one of my favourites so far in this little experiment. I really enjoyed so much about this book! All I knew is that there was a garden (I wonder how I figured that out?) and that this book followed a little girl. Who knew how much more this book had to offer?

It made her think that it was curious how much nicer a person looked when he smiled.

Firstly, I loved the character of Mary. She moves to Yorkshire from India at the start of this story to live in her Uncle’s house. She is rude to everyone, very spoilt and arrogant to all those she meets. However, she learns so much about people and herself throughout this story, which I loved. She has a genuine redemption arc which was a joy to read about, and she’s not the only character who does. Many of the characters throughout this story grew and learned about how to treat other people. It was beautiful, and I loved their friendships with each other and the adults around them.

The garden itself was also a delight, and I could visualise the beautiful plants and flowers. I loved the symbolisation of the growth of the garden reflected in the characters, and watching the garden grow with them was so lovely. I read this book over a few days, and I read 300 pages of it in a day as part of a readathon. I actually found my enjoyment of the book grew the longer I was reading it, as it just felt like the perfect amount of time to immerse myself in the story. It was so easy to carry on reading as there was so many hints and mysteries dropped throughout the book, and I just wanted to find out what was going to be revealed next.

She had not thought of it before.

Although this book wasn’t perfect, and I sadly felt a little disconnected in the last few pages, there is so much to love about this book. It had the most beautiful, immersive surroundings and lovable characters. I think I would have really loved it as a child!

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Review: Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

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The magical Peter Pan comes to the night nursery of the Darling children, Wendy, John and Michael. He teaches them to fly, then takes them through the sky to Never-Never Land, where they find Red Indians, Wolves, Mermaids and… Pirates.
The leader of the pirates is the sinister Captain Hook. His hand was bitten off by a crocodile, who, as Captain Hook explains ‘liked me arm so much that he has followed me ever since, licking his lips for the rest of me’. After lots of adventures, the story reaches its exciting climax as Peter, Wendy and the children do battle with Captain Hook and his band.

This was so much weirder than I expected. I’ve only ever seen the Disney animation of this story and it’s been a long time since I last watched it – I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen the whole thing all the way through. I also saw a pantomime version years ago, which I barely remember. But I’m glad I went into this story with some knowledge, even if it was such a little bit. I found going into this story was like jumping into the deep end of a pool, because I felt so confused.

I just felt like there was absolutely no introduction to any of the characters or the story, and I found it difficult to follow what was happening. I was relying so much on my previous knowledge of the story from other mediums, which also felt like a very odd experience. I’m not exactly sure why I felt like this was not explained at all, but it disappointed me a lot and wasn’t a great start to the story.

Dreams do come true, if only we wish hard enough.

I also felt like this story was like reading a hallucination. It reminded me a lot more of Alice in Wonderland than I expected in the reading style, because nothing felt real or tangible. It all felt a bit like reading a really wacky dream, and I found it hard to connect to the story because of it. My favourite part of this story was the setting of Never-Never Land, which definitely portrayed a mystical landscape with a lot of intricate detail. I also loved the whole concept of the book itself, and the discussions of childhood/adulthood.

I liked the characters in some ways, but there was so many of them and I quickly lost track. Tinkerbell was one of my favourites, with her cheeky sassiness. I also liked and related to Wendy and her mothering instincts towards the other characters, and the scenes in their house were some of my favourites in the book. The sense of adventure is clear throughout the book and I can see how this book is brilliant for children, who are more likely to be able to visualise this story and have a more vivid imagination than me!

You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it.

Overall, I can see the enjoyment in this story and I feel like I might reread it in the future and see if I can find a stronger connection to it. I’m also definitely tempted to re-watch the Disney animation now I’ve read the original story. It’s just a shame that I felt such a disconnect to the story and it did hinder my enjoyment of it a lot.

★★★
2.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Review: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

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The Carls just appeared. Coming home from work at three a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship – like a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armour – April and her friend Andy make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. News quickly spreads that there are Carls in dozens of cities around the world, and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the centre of an intense international media spotlight. 
Now April has to deal with the pressure on her relationships, her identity and her safety that this new position brings, all while being on the front lines of the quest to find out not just what the Carls are, but what they want from us.

This is the kind of book you have to take a deep breath after you finish it and try and pause for a while, just to make sure your brain can soak in all of that information. Honestly, it was just complete and utter genius. I had no idea what I would make of this book or even what it was really about. I did not expect the rollercoaster of a journey this book took me on at all, but I really, really loved it.

April is a bisexual twenty three year old art school graduate in an unsatisfactory job that means she works all hours of the day and night. One night, walking through New York City at 3am, she comes across a giant sculpture. After phoning her friend, they make a YouTube video about the sculpture, who they name Carl. The video goes viral and quickly makes April and Andy famous. April then has to navigate the world of fame, and is still caught up in the mystery of the Carls, after finding out there are 64 of them all over the world, and have been placed in very mysterious circumstances.

Just because someone has power over you doesn’t mean they’re going to use it to hurt you.

Just wow. I have no idea how to begin how to describe this wild ride of a book, but it is the kind of story that will blow your mind and make you see the world at just a slightly different angle. I’m so glad I picked it up as part of the 48 hour readathon I was taking part in, because it was very hard to put down. I was constantly craving the next part, and I needed to know the rest of the story. It’s not often I finish a book and feel like I immediately need the next one, but I really do want the next book in the series right now.

I also ended up really liking the character of April. This was another unexpected factor, as April’s character is written to be unlikable. She makes so many questionable decisions and mistakes. But she is human, and she is real, and I kind of loved her. The way this narrative is written is so unique, and I think it’s what made me appreciate April for who she was. I also really appreciated the cast of characters that surrounded April, who were diverse and great in their own rights.

Hank Green really opens up so, so many conversations with this book. Topics on and off the world we know, about fame and social media, but also about control and human nature. It made the story so compelling, interesting and truly like nothing else I have ever read. It was super nerdy but also so amazingly clever.

People who believe that tend to either be: People who have been victims of that sort of behavior, or . . .People who, if given power, will use it to hurt you.

This was so witty, fun, entertaining but also had heavy topics interwoven throughout. It was such an entertaining and riveting read and I’ll be recommending it to many people!

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Review: Pride by Ibi Zoboi

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Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.
When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.
But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

This was an absolutely wonderful, diverse retelling of Pride and Prejudice. I haven’t actually read Pride and Prejudice yet, although it’s on the cards for this year! So this is a little bit of a strange one to review as a retelling, and I am tempted to re-read it after I’ve read the original story.

I love the whole idea of this book, taking the themes of Austen (female strength and class in particular) and bringing them into a Black neighbourhood in Brooklyn. This book is written from the point of view of Zuri, who has 5 sisters and lives in a one bedroom apartment with her family. The neighbourhood she loves so much is changing, and this is especially highlighted when the Darcy’s move in opposite, a wealthy family new to the neighbourhood.

We’re not gonna throw away the past as if it meant nothing. See?

I loved how rich the culture was in this book. Zuri feels like such a genuine character who has so many layers to her, and I really liked her as a strong, kick-ass female main character. We need more female role models like her in YA who are definitely not scared to stand up for themselves!

Zuri’s growth throughout this book may have been my favourite part. I really enjoyed reading about her thoughts, feelings and pride for her neighbourhood and her family. The group of sisters were a joy to read about and I loved how strong they were as a family unit. There was an interesting – although not particularly memorable – cast of side characters, who did make me smile along the way.

I liked the romance and felt like it was really well written and genuine. I really enjoyed how the characters got to know each other over the course of a few dates and had some difficult situations which they overcame together. Some aspects didn’t feel quite as fleshed out as I wanted, but for a short contemporary they were enjoyable enough to read about!

That’s what happens to whole neighborhoods. We built something, it was messy, but we’re not gonna throw it away.

I loved how much Zuri talked about her culture, family and pride for the neighbourhood. She also stood completely on her own as a strong, independent women and the romance didn’t feel necessary to her life, which I really liked. Overall, this was a great, very diverse contemporary which I really enjoyed!

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Review: Wilder Girls by Rory Power

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It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.
It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.
But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

I’ve been really wanting to read this for a while, but felt like it wasn’t the right time with the current state of the world. However, after falling into a bit of a reading hangover after taking part in a 48 hour readathon last weekend, I was craving a horror book. I’m not sure why, as I tend to not read much horror, and this was the only one on my shelf that could be classed as such. I was hesitant picking this up due to the whole virus theme, but I’m glad I did.

This book was perfect to get me out of my hangover, because it sucked me in and didn’t let me go. I just really wanted to carry on reading as this was so easy to get through over a couple of days. The plot is so compelling and I couldn’t help but carry on reading to see what was going to happen next. I read 220 pages of it in one day, and it felt like I was reading nothing at all because it was so quick to read! However, even though this writing is easy to read, the topics are unbearably heavy, and I will be leaving a lot of content warnings at the bottom of this review.

I think I’d been looking for it all my life

I really enjoyed the characters in this book, and the whole concept of feminist horror draws me in, and I loved that this was set around female friendships and a f/f romance. Although the characters are quite disturbed and in some ways, unlikable, I actually really liked reading about them. Because of the setting of this book, the girls are bound to make decisions that are questionable and that is exactly what happens in this book. But they are going through so much, I couldn’t not feel sympathetic towards them. I also loved the strong, sisterly bonds between the girls and the female strength portrayed throughout this story was brilliant to read.

The horror elements are utterly disturbing, I wouldn’t say this book is necessarily ‘creepy’ or has any jump scares as such, but some of the parts of it are so visceral they are bound to make your skin crawl. I wasn’t sure how I would get on with this, but I did really enjoy the story despite the difficult elements! I also really enjoyed the fact this book is set on an island, and I found it so consuming to read about.

a storm in my body to match the one in my head.

Overall, this wasn’t quite a 5 star read for me but was still super enjoyable and I’m really looking forward to reading Burn Our Bodies Down!

CW (taken from Rory Power’s webiste) Graphic violence and body horror, gore, on the page character death, parental death, and animal death (the animals are not pets), behavior and descriptive language akin to self harm, and references to such, food scarcity and starvation, emesis, scene depicting chemical gassing, suicide and suicidal ideation, non-consensual medical treatment.

I also think it’s worth just re-noting that this book does focus predominately on a virus, which is a whole other trigger warning and issue as we live in a Covid world!

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Review: King’s Cage (#3) by Victoria Aveyard

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Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven continues weaving his web in an attempt to maintain control over his country – and his prisoner. As Mare remains trapped in the palace, the remnants of the Red Rebellion continue organizing and expanding. As they prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows, Cal – the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart – will stop at nothing to bring her back. In this breathless new novel from the bestselling author of the RED QUEEN series, blood will turn on blood and allegiances will be tested on every side. If the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

I’m so happy to say that we have passed the 2nd book mark and this series has definitely picked up again. We join this book immediately after Glass Sword, where Mare is trapped back in the palace she knows well as Maven’s prisoner. I felt like this part could have been slow and boring, but I actually quite enjoyed it. It gave way to character development and I liked having the opportunity to get to know Mare and her pain felt tangible.

Where the previous two books felt like a build up, this one is the start of the game. And the game is a political chessboard of kings and queens. I love how political this book is getting with the houses and the royalty – but it still comes across as quite accessible for readers who might not be used to political fantasy (*cough* me *cough*).

Now I’m in a king’s cage. But so is he. 

I also really love these characters. All of the characters in this book have so many layers. I have been shocked so many times by their decisions. Nobody is good or evil, everyone has times where they are either one or the other, which I loved. It makes the characters feel so real and have a lot of depth, and also kept me on my toes as a reader. I could never predict how anybody would act, because everything could so easily go so many different ways, which I kind of love.

I was also shocked to find we have more points of view in this book, including Evangaline. We have Cameron’s chapters interspersed throughout, which gave much needed insight to what was happening with the Scarlet Guard while Mare was entrapped in Maven’s palace. Then, later in the book, there are a few chapters from Evangaline’s point of view. I was hesitant throughout about these chapters, but I feel like they did add a lot to the story and I actually found it easy to sympathise with the other characters shown in these POV.

My chains are Silent Stone. His is the crown.

Overall, I did enjoy this one more than Glass Sword and feel like the story has developed in pace and character. I love the banter between the friends in the Scarlet Guard and Mare’s family, who I like more which each book. I’m looking forward to diving into War Storm very soon!

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Review: Runaways Vol 1: Find Your Way Home by Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka

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The “IT” book of the early 2000s with the original cast is back–Nico! Karolina! Molly! Chase! Old Lace! And, could it be…GERT?!
The heart of the Runaways died years ago, but you won’t believe how she returns! Superstar author Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor & Park, Carry On) makes her Marvel debut with fan-favorite artist Kris Anka (ALL-NEW X-MEN, CAPTAIN MARVEL) in the series that will shock you and break your heart! Did Chase and Gert’s love survive their time apart? Have Karolina and Nico’s feelings made their friendship impossible? What emotional landmines lie in wait to DESTROY the Runaways?!

Watch me take a side step into the word of Marvel, maybe ever so slightly encouraged by my boyfriend and the fact that Rainbow Rowell wrote these comics? I stumbled across this collection sometime last year, and became really intrigued by it. A comic by Rainbow Rowell? Count me in. After talking about it to my boyfriend Mark, and having a conversation about Rainbow’s slightly surprising pairing with Kris Anka for this collection, he decided to buy me the first two volumes for my birthday last year.

I must start by saying I absolutely adored the idea of this. A found family, who all seem completely wacky, are drawn together after years of being apart. Honestly, this cast of characters felt really reminiscent of the Scooby Doo gang for me and I’m not entirely sure why. I just feel like I can picture them all riding about in the Mystery Machine.

I also fell in love with the art style, which is so visually appealing – the colours are vibrant and really beautiful. The story itself is fast paced and entertaining, and I feel like that, along with the dialog, paints a good introductory picture of the runaways gang. I definitely think you can jump into this story as I did, with no prior knowledge of Runaways, or even Marvel at large.

There's No Place Like Home (Runaways vol. 5 #05 Review) - Comic Watch
Copyright Marvel 2018

The only qualm I had with this story is I found I didn’t feel quite as close to the characters as I’d have wanted to, and almost like I was missing something from the story itself. I’m not sure how much of this is because I was aware of this being a lets-get-the-band-back-together style sequel, or if some of it is Rowell’s writing. I’d be interested to see how differently I felt about this if I read the original series first. I would like to point out again, however, that I didn’t feel lost in the story in any way and felt like I Rowell did a really good job of rounding up the original series for us. I just felt like I couldn’t quite sympathise with the characters as much as I hoped I would.

That being said, this did include a couple of emotive scenes that melted my heart, and the whole collection made me really excited to carry on with these and find out where the Runaways story goes.

★★
3.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Review: Fangirl Vol. 1: The Manga by Sam Maggs, Rainbow Rowell + Gabi Nam

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Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, everybody is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life. Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath just can’t let go…
Cath doesn’t need friends IRL. She has her twin sister, Wren, and she’s a popular fanfic writer in the Simon Snow community with thousands of fans online. But now that she’s in college, Cath is completely outside of her comfort zone. There are suddenly all these new people in her life. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming boyfriend, a writing professor who thinks fanfiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome new writing partner…

As soon as I found out there was a Fangirl manga coming out, I knew I wanted to read it. I haven’t read Fangirl in a really long time, but I really enjoyed it and thought this would be a great way to revisit the story. However, I’m finding it so hard to discuss or rate this book because it felt like an odd re-read of the first part of the Fangirl book.

The manga stays very faithful to the original story, and I couldn’t pick anything up that felt different (although it has been a long time since I read it). I did enjoy the art style and I felt like the story fit the art style well. It was very expressive and the characters looked exactly how I pictured them – especially Cath. I really liked seeing Cath in picture format and I could really feel her emotions leap off the page. I also feel like this can really stand alone as a manga without knowing the original story at all.

Check out the first 20 pages of the FANGIRL Manga! | The Fandom
Copyright Viz Media (2020)

I also really enjoyed seeing Snowbaz in this format and I felt like it fit them well. However, I did feel like the way Simon Snow’s story was blended into Cath’s story felt a little jumpy and didn’t always fit too well. I liked each in their own right a lot, but they didn’t quite work as well as the prose version in my opinion.

I’m both excited and apprehensive to see where this series goes as a manga, as I feel like there are parts of the Fangirl original story that I will find questionable as a reader now and would have turned a blind eye to when I read the story before. However, I do want to see where this manga goes and I am enjoying the style of it!

★★
3.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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