Mini Reviews: Stories in Graphic Format

Hello! Didn’t have enough to fill up full posts with these so I thought I’d do a mini review post for them. Huzzah!

Yona of the Dawn Vol. 21 by Mizuho Kusanagi

yotd21

Princess Yona lives an ideal life as the only princess of her kingdom. Doted on by her father, the king, and protected by her faithful guard Hak, she cherishes the time spent with the man she loves, Su-won. But everything changes on her 16th birthday when tragedy strikes her family!

When Su-won hears of Riri’s abduction, he launches surprise attacks on Sei fortresses in an attempt to save her. Meanwhile, Riri leaves Yona in a forest in order to lure Sei troops away from her. Will Riri escape capture and execution?

Oh my gosh, I love this manga so much! It’s been a while since I’ve become so obsessed with a manga (years….and years….). But this is such a great fantasy story! At its heart are the characters, of course, and they all have such wonderfully fleshed out stories. But the world building is fantastic too and the series really wrestles with some great questions regarding ethics and morality while giving readers some first rate action to boot. It really hits all the notes for me. Now, on to this specific volume.

Zeno continues to be one of my favorite characters, especially since his backstory was revealed not too long ago. All appearances of being happy go lucky but secretely a badass with a tragic past. We see that badass side emerge again here, woot! And then there’s Jaeha with his feelings for Yona…ah, my heart is so full for these characters! This volume has lots of great action. We pick up in the midst of Yona and others trying to rescue Riri from the Sei Empire army. There’s a fantastic bit where everyone converges in the midst of Riri’s would-be execution and stuff goes down. Everyone is doing what they do best here, and some enemies are forced to work together again to accomplish the deed. Very exciting! One of the things I love most about this series is that there are clear ‘bad guys’ and clear ‘good guys’ but also there are a lot of people that are in between, doing bad things for the greater good and it makes you think about the ethics of it all. Are these people really enemies because at the end of the day they want the same things? But how you go about accomplishing that end seems equally as important as the goal. Anyway, big reunions in this volume! My feelings! There’s some humor woven in as usual but the bonus chapter here is especially funny. Looking forward to the next volume! 5/5 stars.

 

Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe

Witness what the gods do after dark. The friendships and the lies, the gossip and the wild parties, and of course, forbidden love. Because it turns out, the gods arent so different from us after all, especially when it comes to their problems. Stylish and immersive, this is one of mythologys greatest stories — The taking of Persephone — as its never been told before.

Lore Olympus is a web comic that retells the story of Persephone and Hades. It mixes the ancient mythological roots with modern day sensibilities. Hades the king of the underworld, runs the underworld like he’s the CEO of a giant business. It’s…kind of funny actually. There’s a lot of humor in this comic and it’s one of my favorite things about it. It also addresses some really tough issues (like sexual assault and trauma) in a great way. Watching the way the romance plays out between Hades and Persephone has been one of my favorite things…they’re both made into pretty amazing characters here with lots of depth. I also appreciate how some of the other gods’ behavior is called out as problematic (anyone familiar with Greek Mythology….well…you know.) There’s a lot of great stories going on with some of the other characters as well–although I love the main characters I’m happy to read about some of the other deities too! The artwork in this is really unique and I’ll admit it took me a few panels to get used to it but I’ve come to love the style, especially the coloring. I also love how the artist uses the vertical scroll of a screen to create interesting transitions between scenes. Lore Olympus is still ongoing but I can’t recommend it enough. 5/5 stars (through ep 114).

 

Mooncakes by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker

mooncakes cover

A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft.

Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town.

One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home.

Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.

This was sooooo cute! It’s such a lovely story filled with positvity and hopefulness. The characters are all so wonderful and genuine with how they care for one another. Nova lives with her grandmothers and I love the relationship she has with them–it’s clear they dote on her a bit but they also trust her to be able to handle certain things and to make her own decisions in life. Everyone is so accepting of each other in this story and I really appreciated that about it. Somehow, based on the cover and title, I guess I thought there would be more cute baking scenes but there were not, but I wasn’t disappointed by that as there were plenty of other cute moments. And there was a cat! I loved the art style too. Pretty much loved everything about this book. There are definite character arcs for both of the main characters and they’re easy to connect with as well. If I do have one criticism it’s that Tam and Nova haven’t seen each other in years and it’s like there was no ‘getting to know you again’ period, but other and that it was pretty much perfect. 4.5/5 stars.

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