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Book Review: Heathen, by Natasha Alterici

I accepted a review copy of The Complete Series Omnibus Edition of Heathen by Natasha Alterici (author/artist/colorist), Ashley A. Woods (Illustrations), Rachel Deering (Letterer) and Morgan Martinez (designer). The graphic novel was also featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight. So, you can hop over there for author/artist information and Rockstar Book Tours‘ tour schedule.

WOMAN. WARRIOR. VIKING. HEATHEN. OUTCAST. 

THE GODS MUST PAY…

Born into a time of warfare, suffering, and subjugation of women, and exiled from her village for kissing another woman, the lesbian Viking warrior, Aydis, sets out to destroy the god-king Odin and end his oppressive reign. She is a friend to many as she is joined by mermaids, immortals, Valkyries, and the talking horse, Saga. But she is also a fearsome enemy to the demons and fantastic monsters that populate the land.

my review

I enjoyed the heck out of this and, my goodness, could it be any more timely, with it’s ‘throwing off the oppressive yoke of the patriarchy’ theme? At one point, a character even explicitly says, “Each one of us is the person she is because we reject the authority of men.” And let me tell you Odin (the representation of male authority here) does not give that oppressive authority up easily, nor the insistence that it’s actually benevolence.

I also loved the art style. I’m admittedly picky about what I like and don’t like in the graphic part of a graphic novel, but I like this a lot. I did find all the female flesh on display an odd choice. I’m not necessarily bothered by it—and sure woman can enjoy it too—but all the…I’m gonna call it fan-service…has always seemed very male-gazey to me. And that just felt out of place in a graphic novel that so explicitly was addressing female liberation (sexual and otherwise) from male dictatorship and control.

I also thought the last volume felt far more rushed that the previous ones and therefore the ending was a little anti-climactic. All in all, however, this was a winner for me.

heathen photo


Giveaway Details:

2 winners will receive a finished copy of HEATHEN, US Only.

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Book Review: Witchblood, by Matthew Erman

I accepted a copy of Witchblood for review. The graphic novel was also featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight. So, you can hop over there for the tour schedule and for information on the author Matthew Erman, artist Lisa Sterle, colorist Gab Contreras, and letterers Jim Campbell and Andworld.
witchblood cover

A modern, Wild West road trip about a witch named Yonna cruising the Southwest as a band of bloodthirsty biker vampires, The Hounds of Love, hunt her scattered coven for the source of all magic: witch blood. From the critically acclaimed creators of The Modern Witch Tarot Deck and Long Lost comes Witchblood, a blend of action, lore, and Americana—perfect for fans of Buffy and American Gods.

my review

I liked the art a lot. And, while I know it’s an itty-bitty little thing, I cannot tell you how much I loved that Yonna had armpit hair! I liked some of the way the world is changed. Women in the confessionals and Mother Superiors giving orders, for example. It also blends humor and horror, with a punk-ish dystopian Wild West vibe. If I say it felt super Tank Girl-like, will I be showing my age too much? Actually, now that I’ve said that, Lori Petty would make a great Yonna, IMO.

But the whole things sags on story. I wouldn’t say I disliked it. But I wasn’t blown away by it for a few reasons. For one, the pacing is off. It meanders through the first half and then rushes through the second, where arguably the more important action happens.

But the real issue for me is that here you have a story full of powerful women— a female deity, all of her female witch descendants, some female hex hunters, and a female vampire with important knowledge. But the story hinges on a man. The vampire with knowledge doesn’t use it herself. Noooo, she gives it to a man. And he becomes the cliched villain while she clings wordlessly to his back through out the story. Where this graphic novel had an open opportunity to do something interesting, it instead trod the dull, well-worn path. It just felt cheap and unoriginal.

All in all, I’d call this a middle of the road read. I merely enjoyed the graphic part more than the novel part.


Other Reviews:

 


Giveaway:

2 winners will receive a finished copy of WITCHBLOOD, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book Review: Wake of the Phoenix, by Chelsea Harper

I accepted a copy of Chelsea Harper‘s Wake of the Phoenix for review, as part of it’s tour with R&R Book Tours. It’s also over on Sadie’s Spotlight. You can hop over there for author info and contact information, as well as an excerpt.

wakeofthephoenix_ebook

War Hero. Thiefmaster’s apprentice. Traitors. Every title comes with a price.

Arkaen is a gods-damned saint. He sacrificed his childhood innocence fighting for the beleaguered rebellion in a civil war and relinquished a comfortable life with the man he loves to reclaim his place as high lord from corrupt nobles. Now, a hidden enemy is manipulating his lower lords into talk of rebellion, including the powerful Rogue Baron who is slowly swaying the city into questioning every move Arkaen makes.

With the help of his near-omniscient lover’s gift of foresight, Arkaen finds a potential ally in Niamsha, a reluctant thief trying to pay for her brother’s education. But Niamsha owes an insurmountable debt to the mysterious leader of her thieves guild and failing to pay means death—for her entire family. When her guild leader demands she join forces with the Rogue Baron himself, she finds herself caught in a political battle beyond her skills. Torn between protecting her family and following her conscience, Niamsha doesn’t know who to trust.

If Arkaen can win Niamsha’s loyalty, he might just prevent a second civil war and the destruction of everything he fought to protect. Or he might get them all killed.

my review

I really enjoyed this. It took me a little while to get into it. Or rather to figure out what was what, with the fantasy land and a few fantasy words. But I caught on pretty quickly and even more quickly came to adore the characters. Each was trying desperately to do the right thing in difficult situations, with the information available to them at the time. All of which often set them against one another and, at times, their own interests.

I’d probably have given this a 5-star rating right up until the end. The writing/editing is clear and easy to read. As I said, I liked the characters. And the plot kept me gripped. There is a lot of history hinted at, which felt a bit like there should be a previous book. But even still, I think I’d have given it 5 stars, except for two things. Even if shocked, I couldn’t buy Niamsha believing as she did at the end and not seeing through the ploy. She’d been too savvy up to that point. And I was ready for the story to wrap up and it didn’t. It came to an acceptable place to pause, true, but I was ready for an ending. I felt denied by the lack.

All in all, however, I was really pleased with the story.

wake of the phoenix photo


Giveaway:

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Other Reviews:

Eye-Rolling Demigod: ARC review – Wake of the Phoenix

Review: ‘Wake of the Phoenix’ Has Incredible Worldbuilding, But Not Much Else