Showing posts with label superhero. Show all posts
Showing posts with label superhero. Show all posts

Thursday, August 11, 2016

[Review] The Darkest Minds (#1) - Alexandra Bracken: Dystopian Concentration Camps and Road Trips

In THE DARKEST MINDS an illness epidemic is causing children to either die or develop supernatural abilities. The government's reaction to that is to stick all survivors into correctional facilities. After five years, Ruby Daly manages to escape.
What intrigued me: Recommended by a friend. I had no idea what this is about.

Concentration camps in dystopian YA? Yikes.

THE DARKEST MINDS starts off with pages and pages of backstory from the protagonist Ruby's childhood to establish the world. 
The concept is nothing that I haven't seen before (similar to SHATTER ME or THE PROGRAM), and it just didn't knock my socks off. Thurmond, the facility that Ruby is imprisoned in for the first 100 or so pages, is a very sloppy and uncanny version of this world's concentration camps. It's there for nothing but shock value and it doesn't even do a great job at that. 

I was simply bored and contemplated quitting multiple times because there was just nothing interesting about this because Bracken does her best to withhold as much information as she can get away with. Ruby's experiences at Thurmond are nothing but a plot device, and this book would do so much better if it had just started right at Ruby's escape instead of torturing the reader with a whopping 80 pages of info dump world building backstory that's absolutely unnecessary to understand what's going on.

Your average road trip story

I didn't find the world of THE DARKEST MINDS extensive enough to really get to me - superhero-like abilities in dystopia are very difficult to pull off and require a lot of world building to get me really into it. I crave explanations, especially in dystopian novels and the lack thereof didn't really make this more enjoyable for me. 

Essentially this is a "rebels on the road" kind of story. It really reads like an elongated road trip, and as charming as the characters are, the weak premise just can't carry this. It reminds me a lot of UNDER THE NEVER SKY, which in my opinion had the same problem - too much pointless running around instead of actual story. I found it really boring and not really living up to the promising start at Thurmond. 




Overall: Do I Recommend?

You aren't really missing out if you skip this one. I did like the characters, but found the whole concept not groundbreaking enough to want to read the sequels.

Additional Info

Published: December 18th 2012
Pages: 488
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Genre: YA / Dystopia
ISBN: 9781423157373

"When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.' to
 "(Source: Goodreads)

What's your favorite Dystopian read?

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

[Review] Faith, Vol. 1: Hollywood and Vine - Jody Houser: Fat Superhero to the Rescue!

In FAITH, somebody is hunting down future superheroes and Faith, telekinetic fat superhero at your service, is determined to find out what's going on.

What intrigued me: I've seen FAITH around on tumblr and have been excited to read this for a while.

Original, full of representation, and fun

This is such a wonderful feel-good read. It's about time that we get a fat superhero whose story isn't about their weight, but about being just as awesome as all other superheroes out there! FAITH does exactly that, tells the story of "psiot" superhero Faith (or her alter ego Zephyr) who works part-time in journalism and part time solves crime. What initially doesn't sound that innovative is absolutely compensated by the storyline, art work, and insanely fun protagonist.

What makes FAITH stand out isn't necessarily the looks of the heroine, but more what's inside. I'd even go as far as to say that you don't even need to like superheros to enjoy FAITH. There is little fighting and solving crime in this, but lots of little pop culture references and fun design choices. And Faith herself is desperately loveable. Aside from Faith, the side characters are ethnically diverse, and just giving this overall a very realistic feel that always enriches every comic book.

I thoroughly enjoyed Faith's super funny, poignant, and absolutely spot-on narration that just spices everything up immensely. I love how smartly her thoughts are integrated into the story to introduce characters and give background information, so that I hardly had problems understanding what was going on, which is so often by biggest criticism with graphic novels and comics. 

Alternate drawing styles and fun daydream sequences

The absolute highlight of this comic collection are the fun design choices. 
 FAITH sometimes takes a break from the undoubtedly very heavy and depressing main story line about psiots getting abducted, and it just works. From alternate day dream worlds doodled in candy pastel colors to the dark green-tinted and shadowed side plot featuring imprisoned psiots, it never gets boring.

It's never cheesy or inappropriate, it's funny every time to read about Faith's daydreams involving her favorite celebrity falling in love with her.

You won't find any repetitive panels in this, FAITH absolutely convinced with originality in plot, design, and message. 




Overall: Do I Recommend?

Absolutely. I will definitely recommend this and be on the look out for future issues, because I cannot wait to read more about Faith and the psiots! Zephyr is truly the original, fun, and body-positive superhero that was missing in the genre.

Additional Info

Published: July 26th 2016
Pages: 112
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment LLC
Genre: Adult / Paranormal / Superheroes
ISBN: 9781682151211

Orphaned at a young age, Faith Herbert - a psionically gifted "psiot" discovered by the Harbinger Foundation - has always aspired to greatness. But now this once ordinary teenager is taking control of her destiny and becoming the hard-hitting hero she's always known she can be - complete with a mild-mannered secret identity, unsuspecting colleagues, and a day job as a reporter that routinely throws into her harms way! Well, at least she thought it would When she's not typing up listicles about cat videos, Faith makes a secret transformation to patrol the night as the City of Angels' own leading superhero - the sky-soaring Zephyr! 
But flying solo is going to be tougher than she ever thought when Zephyr uncovers a deep-rooted alien conspiracy. Two-bit burglars and car thieves are one thing, but when the world needs a hero to stave off an full-blown extraterrestrial invasion, will Faith find herself in over her head or ready for her biggest challenge yet? "(Source: Goodreads)

Do you like superheroes?

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