Showing posts with label conspiracy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label conspiracy. Show all posts

Sunday, October 23, 2016

[Review] The Olive Conspiracy - Shira Glassman: Jewish Fantasy and Queerness

In THE OLIVE CONSPIRACY, Chef Yael is blackmailed because she is transgender and Queen Shualmit is not having any of that.

What intrigued me: Jewish fantasy! Who'd say no to that. I love high fantasy in diverse settings so much.

Extremely Diverse 

Even though THE OLIVE CONSPIRACY technically belongs to Glassman's Mangoverse series, you do not have to have read the other books to read this one. There are a lot of established character relationships that you will have no problem understanding if this is your first Mangoverse read. Quite on the contrary actually, I found myself growing very interested in her characters and am even more intrigued to read the rest of the series because THE OLIVE CONSPIRACY hints at all the interesting things happening before.

THE OLIVE CONSPIRACY is so diverse - it's fantastic. There are transgender, sapphic, and POC characters whom you'll all grow to love. The Mangoverse is inhabited by different peoples who all have their unique customs and Glassman cleverly uses this to establish Jewish customs and familiarize the reader with the setting. THE OLIVE CONSPIRACY is a very easy and educational read that absolutely managed to fascinate.

Charming and Educational

THE OLIVE CONSPIRACY reads quite like a cozy mystery in a diverse high fantasy setting. Though I hoped to see the story anchored to a specific character, which ultimately made it a little more difficult for me to follow the plot. Glassman narrates for the most part from an omniscient perspective that sometimes focuses on shape-shifting wizard Isaac, whom I absolutely grew to adore. 

I wish the story would've been told from a different perspective, maybe first-person. Especially for first-time readers of the Mangoverse it does irritate a little and did make it a bit harder for me to truly get invested. THE OLIVE CONSPIRACY does work as a stand-alone and is an absolute must-read if you're looking to diversify yours(h)elf. I found myself learning a lot about Jewish culture that I didn't know before and found it quite charming how effortlessly Glassman incorporates this into the setting. 




Overall: Do I Recommend?

THE OLIVE CONSPIRACY is a unique and original delight. Jewish queer fantasy at its best and if you want to learn more about Jewish culture, I absolutely recommend this novel considering that it's written by a Jewish writer.

Additional Info

Published: July 20th 2016
Pages: 229
Genre: Adult / High Fantasy
ISBN: 9781944449780

"When Ezra tries to blackmail Chef Yael about her being trans, she throws him out of her restaurant and immediately reports him to the queen. When police find Ezra stabbed to death, Queen Shulamit realizes he may have also tried to extort someone more dangerous than a feisty old lady.

The royal investigation leads straight to an international terrorist plot to destroy her country’s economy—and worse, her first love, Crown Princess Carolina of Imbrio, may be involved. Since she’s got a dragon-shifting wizard at her disposal, contacts with friendly foreign witches, and the support of her partner Aviva, Shulamit has hope. What she doesn’t have is time.

A love story between women, between queen and country, and between farmers and their crops."(Source: Goodreads)

Have you ever read Jewish fantasy?

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Saturday, November 1, 2014

[Review] Golem - Lorenzo Ceccotti: Italy, Miyazaki, and Conspiracies

In GOLEM, Steno accidentally gets involved in a political uprising in a futuristic Italy.

What intrigued me: The description mostly, though the cover promises a unique art style, which I'm always a fan of!

Miyazaki meets Dystopia

GOLEM is a brick of a comic book. With a whopping 280 pages, I had high expectations, was hoping for a complicated plot with strong world building and great characters. Well. I only got one of these. The world of GOLEM is surely interesting, it looks like a mix between something out of a Miyazaki movie mixed with neon colors and your typical dystopian dark atmosphere. 

GOLEM tries really hard to be different, which is sadly only reflected in the art style and not really in the originality of the story. It tries very hard to be an edgy story that conveys social critique, but really can't deliver. It's just awkward to read because the basics of storytelling, the frame, is missing.

The world that GOLEM presents mainly consists of every dystopia stereotype ever, mixed with complicated names for everything to pose for further world building. The action scenes are downright horrendous to make sense of. 

More art than comic?

Sometimes the panels shift to other charcters' perspectives that don't even get introduced. Random people that just enter the story and it's just a confusing mix of arms and legs and faces. 
Sure, it's art, it's pretty to look at, but GOLEM really would have benefited from trying to stop being a piece of art and really going more intro the storytelling direction. 

Because like this, I didn't care about the protagonist Steno, without any narration from him, why would I want to read a 300 page comic? There are so many full-page illustrations that are absolutely redundant to the story, almost blacked out pages that would maybe look great as a painting on a wall, but absolutely don't work in the comic. 

The whole look of the comic is very experimental, from the traditional paneled look to overlapping images, whole-page illustrations that look like they've been painted with a chunky brush. GOLEM is surely more art than novel and I had the feeling that it didn't really try to tell a coherent story. The basis is there, we have a somewhat intriguing world with an average conspiracy plot and there weren't too many characters to confuse them all. Sometimes it didn't even need words to help you understand what was going on, but I never really had the impression that I was reading a coherent story. 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

GOLEM just isn't for me. It needed about 120 pages for me to even have the world established enough to get anything was happening and after that it almost became a chore to finish this. GOLEM is more art than novel, and it definitely reads like this. Have you ever tried to read a painting?

Additional Info

Published: July 12th 2016
Pages: 280
Publisher: Magnetic Press
Genre: YA / Dystopian

"Set in a future, post-Eurozone Italy, entrenched in a culture of hyper-capitalism, GOLEM follows young Steno Critone as he is kidnapped during a political protest gone sour. Taken in by the band of labeled “terrorists,” he learns that things are not as they seem in society, and that he has the power to not only change the city, but reality itself.

This intensely imaginative political-sci-fi graphic novel is a visual tour de force, created by contemporary design icon Lorenzo Ceccotti, better known as LRNZ, whose design-influenced illustration provides a lush, fluid backdrop of manga-like dynamism with the cinematic scope of western comics, creating a style that is wholly unique and absolutely breathtaking."(Source: Goodreads)

What's your favorite dystopian comic?

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