Friday, September 19, 2014

REVIEW: "Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Dover Graphic Novel Classics)

Disclaimer: I received a free, advance e-galley from  in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Release Date: November 19, 2014

Type: Dover Graphic Novel Classics, Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction, Classics, Fast Reads, Black and White, Mystery, Adventure

About the Book: The intrepid detective and his faithful assistant take on a supernatural challenge in one of Arthur Conan Doyle's most popular mysteries. This graphic novel's original illustrations accompany an easy-to-read account of Holmes and Watson's investigation of a family curse. Readers will be irresistibly drawn into the search for a giant spectral hound that haunts the fog-shrouded moors.
This Dover Graphic Novel Classic offers readers ages 8 and up an exciting introduction to a time-honored tale. Expertly abridged and packed with dramatic illustrations, this version offers a streamlined narrative that retains all of the storytelling essentials.
My Review: As this was a quick book to read (50 pages, if you include the cover), this will be a quick review.

The art was well done. The clothing was authentic, and facial features were done well enough to tell the difference between the several characters in the story. What pleased me the most about this graphic novel interpretation was how true it stayed to the classic story. Short and sweet, this is a great graphic novel to give to a reluctant reader that might enjoy mysteries or adventure. While some may disagree, I think these graphic novel versions of classics are a great way to introduce new or struggling readers to some of the best books in reading history.

Cover Lovin': This cover is short and sweet. I do like the splash of red near the bottom, really makes the title and publisher information pop out.

Recommendation: For fans of Sherlock Holmes. I also love this trend of releasing classics as graphic novels - bringing the greats to a whole new group of readers.

Final Rating: FOUR out of FIVE stars (4/5). Great representation of a classic. Fast paced, with simple but elegant art.

Happy Reading!
~!~ Manda at Novel Addiction ~!~

REVIEW: "In Real Life" by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang

Disclaimer: I received a free, advance e-galley from  in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Book Release Date: October 14, 2014

Type: Graphic Novel, Young Adult Fiction, Teen Fiction, MMORPGs, Video Games, Social Issues,

About the Book: Anda loves Coarsegold Online, the massively-multiplayer role playing game that she spends most of her free time on. It's a place where she can be a leader, a fighter, a hero. It's a place where she can meet people from all over the world, and make friends. Gaming is, for Anda, entirely a good thing. 

But things become a lot more complicated when Anda befriends a gold farmer - a poor Chinese kid whose avatar in the game illegally collects valuable objects and then sells them to players from developed countries with money to burn. This behavior is strictly against the rules in Coarsegold, but Anda soon comes to realize that questions of right and wrong are a lot less straightforward when a real person's real livelihood is at stake. 

From acclaimed teen author and digerati bigwig Cory Doctorow and rising star cartoonist Jen Wang, In Real Life is a sensitive, thoughtful look at adolescence, gaming, poverty, and culture-clash.
My Review: I will start by saying what I loved about this book - the art. I greatly enjoyed the subtle, but well-done differences between the real world and the in-game world. I also loved the act of signing into the game, where Anda becomes her character. Expertly done. Over all, the art is very appealing in this graphic novel.

And now to the story, which was what didn't impress me as much. It's a good story, and the author showcases plenty of growth when it comes to Anda. And I would have liked to see more of Anda offline, out of the game. We do get this, of course. But I want to see how her self-confidence in the game world affects her self-confidence in the real world. If she feels braver at school since she is so well-respected online.

Despite the great intentions, for me.. the story just fell flat. I don't really care too much about Anda, and her interests, which is unfortunate considering she is the main character. I know Anda's actions come from a good heart and the want to do good, but I got the feeling the story is more along the lines of "the good American coming in to fix other cultures." I'm sure this isn't what the author is going for - Cory Doctorow is very well respected in the writing world - but this situation and story just left a bad taste in my mouth.

Cover Lovin': Great cover. Really showcases the art, which as I stated, was my favorite part about this book. And audiences can see the differences between real life, and Anda's online character.

Recommendation: For fans of Cory Doctorow, obviously. If you like your manga with some social issues and social change added in, definitely check this book out.

Final Rating: THREE out of FIVE stars (3/5). My 3.0 rating is for the good intentions the author had while writing this story. But mostly for the art, which I loved.

Happy Reading!
~!~ Manda at Novel Addiction ~!~