Monday, July 24, 2023

The Vampire Slayer, Volumes 1 and 2

I haven't really been keeping track of my graphic novel reading lately, but I really wanted to talk about The Vampire Slayer Volumes 1 and 2 because they were awesome and I really want to remember what happens for when more volumes come out!  So this is going to be super spoilery.

In The Vampire Slayer, Willow and Giles cast a spell in an attempt to heal Buffy from the trauma she is carrying around as the Slayer.  But the spell ends up taking all of Buffy's Slayer powers and memories and transferring them to Willow!  Now Willow is the Slayer, and Buffy is a normal person who remembers nothing of her past.

Willow, Giles, and Xander have been trying to come up with a fix, but nothing is working.  So Willow has to go out and fight evil, even though she's had no training.  All the while she's struggling with her magic, which seems to be getting more and more out of control.  Faith arrives to help train Willow, and Xander ends up making friends with Spike in what started out as a way for Spike to learn about the Slayer, but what seems to be a genuine friendship by volume 2.  But all of this is pushing Buffy away because she knows something is up, but no one is telling her what happened or what is going on (plus her friends are all busy with other people now).

Volume 2
ended with Buffy going missing because Hungrus the Slayer-Eater has captured her.  Her friends didn't notice until 5 days later when they track her down at the park where she was captured.  They're going to go after her and hopefully save her from Hungrus (who still went after her, even though she isn't the Slayer, so Giles took that as good news that the spell can be reversed).

I thought this was a super fun story, and I can't wait for more!  Volume 3 is due out sometime next month and I can't wait!

Friday, July 21, 2023

Give Me a Sign

I saw Anna Sortino's Give Me a Sign at work the other day and was intrigued. Give Me a Sign is about Lilah, a 17 year old girl who suffers from hearing loss. She feels like she's caught in the middle between hearing and Deaf - too hearing for the Deaf community, but too hard of hearing for the hearing community. With summer approaching, she reaches out to a friend she met a few years previously at Gray Wolf, a camp for kids who are Deaf or blind, to see if she can work as a counselor at the camp for the summer. While there, she is immersed in Deaf culture, ASL, and maybe even finds some time for romance with Isaac, the cute Deaf counselor who is helping her learn ASL.

Give Me a Sign is a really charming young adult book. I liked all of the characters - they were a very diverse and fun bunch. I also liked how everyone grew through the story - characters learned from their mistakes and even in some cases changed their views (like Mackenzie, the hearing YouTuber who hadn't really realized that how she branded herself on the channel was hurting people in the Deaf community).

I really liked how Sortino wrote the dialogue, omitting words that Lilah either couldn't hear (orally) or didn't understand (in ASL), and spelling them out when they were finger spelled for her. 

While the plot line about the camp needing money wasn't great, I did like the interaction Lilah had with the potential donors - it was a great way for Sortino to show the kinds of insensitive comments and questions that people with disabilities (in this case, specifically those who are hard of hearing or Deaf) are asked. I hope that hearing people who read Give Me a Sign will at the very least be more aware of 

I also really liked the message that Sortino had in the book: it is okay to be yourself and ask for or use the accommodations that you need. This was best showcased through Lilah's younger brother, who was told by a doctor that he needed a cochlear implant. Lilah says to him that it is okay if he wants one, but he should be the one to make that decision for himself. I think that is a very important message that everyone needs to hear - no one should feel pressured into doing something just to fit into what the world wants you to be.

I also liked how Give Me a Sign showcases the importance of summer camps for children, especially children with disabilities, are. Having a place where other people are like you, and have similar experiences to you, can be a huge help for people who experience the world in different ways from the majority. It can be a really nice bonding experience, having other people your age who can relate to your experiences!

Overall, I really enjoyed Give Me a Sign, and I am looking forward to whatever Sortino is working on next!!!

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Tress of the Emerald Sea


Tress of the Emerald Sea
sounded like such a fun read, that I ended up getting it when I was last out book shopping. 

Tress is a window washer who lives on a tiny island on the verdant spore seas. She has no interest in adventure; all she wants to do is live her life and visit with Charlie. Charlie is the Duke's son, who pretends he is a gardener whenever Tress is around so they can hang out (even though she knows who he really is).  But when the Duke sees them together, he takes Charlie on a tour of the kingdom to find an eligible bride.  But when the Duke returns with his heir and daughter-in-law, Tress is flabbergasted to find that the heir in question is NOT Charlie.  After some prying, she discovers that Charlie was sent to the Sorceress of the midnight sea.  He was captured, but no one seems interested in paying his ransom.  And so Tress, in her methodical way, sets out to rescue him.

Tress of the Emerald Sea was such a delight to read.  The tone of the book is very whimsical (thanks to the narrator, Hoid); it reminded me a lot of Stardust by Neil Gaiman (and the cover of the book compares it to The Princess Bride, which seems apt as well).  Tress is a wonderful character who I really enjoyed spending time with.  She also meets some really interesting characters (Fort, Ann, Salay, and Huck) who I really liked too.  They were all delightful people to spend some time with. :)

The setting of Tress of the Emerald Sea was really interesting as well.  The moons of the planet dump spores onto the planet.  The spores activate with water, and do different things depending on their colour (the green ones, for example, became vines).  Unfortunately the human body is full of water, so if the spores come into contact with you, they can kill you.  But the spores can also be sailed on, so humans have built boats (with silver protections, because silver kills the spores) to sail around the world.  

I've now read a couple of novels and novellas by Sanderson, and haven't been disappointed yet.  Tress of the Emerald Sea was another fantastic story by him, and I am excited to one day read more. :)