So, I got married Saturday! We've been gone since early last week and are so happy to be back... no wedding photos yet, but we are LONG overdue for our monthly bookworm post and thought it would be a nice way to ease ourselves back into things. This month, we thought we'd pull from our college course backlog, Amelia and I both have deep literary roots, so all our "fun" classes were mostly... well... literature related: I took a Tolkien + Rowling class that touched on C.S. Lewis, so I'm ALWAYS in search for well written books about magic (and "monsters"); Amelia took a Graphic Novels class and is the first person I text for recommendations when I'm standing in the comic book store.
The Magicians by Lev Grossman... I feel emotional typing the title. I've been floundering around looking for a book that will stay with me since I finished The Night Circus (review here) and this was it. Quentin Coldwater is an intelligent, certifiable genius... but like a lot of teenagers is mopey, dissatisfied and insecure. He's also secretly obsessed with a series of fantasy novels he read as a kid, about the adventures of five children in a magical land called Fillory (I related to this so much it's ridiculous). While Quentin is on his way to be interviewed for Princeton, a turn of events leads to an opportunity to test into Brakebills School of Magic.... which as you can imagine, for him, is a dream come true. But, this is no Hogwarts... it's much more what you'd expect from an ACTUAL school of gifted college students, it's very realistic in that sense.
Quentin soon finds out that learning Magic isn't the cure-all for his dissatisfaction with life. He and his friends graduate from Brakebills to find out that they have ABSOLUTELY no idea what they're going to do with themselves... and then... an old classmate shows up and guess what.... FILLORY. IS. REAL.
I seriously don't have the words to explain the love I have for this trilogy. A little bit of Narnia, a little bit of Harry Potter and even The Neverending Story all rolled into one... there were even a few Doctor Who references sprinkled in. A LOT of people will tell you it's the "grown up Harry Potter" but don't go into it with that thought in mind... be open minded. Either way, you'll see the parallels and you'll LOVE IT. I found out Lev Grossman (the author) will be in Nashville for the Southern Festival of Books next Sunday October 12th and I'm pretty sure I'm going to go and try to contain myself.
Feed by Mira Grant is one of those books that I admittedly picked up and put down a couple of times; however, I honestly can't remember what deterred me from continuing initially, because it has some of my favorite things: smartass protagonists and zombies. Cancer and the common cold have been cured but in their place we now have the Kellis-Amberlee virus... guess what it does?
The book is about a "crew" of young, traveling bloggers in a post-zombie apocalypse world where mass media has given way to internet journalism. Georgia and Shaun Mason, along with their friend Georgette "Buffy" Meissonier (tip of the hat for the choice of this character name) are invited to cover Senator Ryman's presidential campaign and of course, like all the best stories, they uncover a conspiracy and the roots are INCREDIBLY deep.
This book follows absolutely ZERO of the "rules". People live. People die. The good guys don't always win. The bad guys sometimes get away. You will shut the cover and think "WHAT THE ACTUAL F*CK", but I don't think that's a bad thing, I loved it. It did, however, cause me to run out and buy the other two books in the trilogy, Deadline and Blackout, immediately. I will admit, the second book, Deadline, is a bit slow... but Blackout brings it all home and I really ended up enjoying the series.
Kellis-Amberlee is a fact of existence. You live, you die, and then you come back to life, get up, and shamble around trying to eat your former friends and loved ones. That's the way it is for everyone.
Mercury by Hope Larson tells a fantastic story that involves history, romance AND magic, which in my eyes is a powerful trifecta. When I read Mercury I instantly fell in love with it, and since it's a graphic novel and it's fairly short I re-read it about 3 times in the first week that I owned it. It tells the story of two girls and their families both in French Hill, Nova Scotia. The only difference is that Tara's story is set during the present day, and Josey's story is set in 1859. The graphic novel reads as a Young Adult novel so if you're not interested in YA then I wouldn't recommend Mercury.
Tara is living with her aunt and uncle because her farm home burned down, and her mom can't seem to hold down a permanent job. Tara's aunt gives her some of her mother's jewelry, which includes a necklace that can detect metal. This may seem like a small detail, but it ends up being very important. The author, Hope Larson, provides normal information about Tara's life, like conversations with boys and her friends, while still keeping your attention.
At the same time the novel switches from Tara's point of view to Josey's point of view. Josey is the fairly-sheltered daughter of a farmer. Of course a handsome 'gentleman' partakes in a business deal with her father searching for gold. The two girls stories intertwine with one another and in the end Josey's past greatly affects Tara's future.
Aside from the plot the black and white art is extremely powerful and simplistic.
Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 1: Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O'Malley okay y'all. I have to admit that I am a Scott Pilgrim fan girl. I read all of the graphic novels, and when the movie was announced I was SO excited. I love the movie, but the graphic novels will always be number one in my heart. If you've seen the movie then you're familiar with our title character, Scott Pilgrim.
Scott is your average slacker/band guy and he plays bass in the band Sex Bob-Omb. This first graphic novel basically just lays the plot line for the subsequent six. The novel introduces the rest of Sex Bob-Omb including Stephen Stills and Kim Pine (who is my spirit animal). Scott has recently started dating a 17 year old girl named Knives Chau, which is a running joke to all of his friends. Although, Knives is freakin' adorable, Scott has a dream about a girl on rollerblades.
Later when Scott meets Ramona (the girl on the rollerblades) he pretty instantly falls in love with her (even though he is still dating Knives). Scott gets an email from Matthew Patel who is Ramona's 'first evil ex'...and he has demon hipster chicks to help him. After defeating Matthew, Scott finds out that he has six other evil exes to defeat before they can be together.
I love to talk about these two novels together for a few reasons, they both use black and white art, both are about love and magical-esque elements, and Bryan Lee O'Malley and Hope Larson are married!