Reviews: 3/1-3/4

Goldie Vance Vol. 1
Hope Larson

This comic is so cute! Goldie is adorably chipper and determined, and her detective skills are sharp as a knife. In this first volume, we meet our cast of characters, each one clearly fleshed out. There’s secret espionage, car races, flirting (such cute flirting), and mystery solving. The art is just adorable and bright as anything. The writing is solid and made me want more instantly.

I definitely recommend this if you like mysteries, ’50s era style, strong and smart WOC, or just a good comic series overall.

Hammers on Bone
by Cassandra Khaw

It all starts when a boy comes to private detective Persons asking him to kill his stepfather. And so begins a mystery of monstrous (literally) proportions. John Persons isn’t human, not really, but he’s holding onto this body for a while and he’s not too keen on losing it anytime soon.

The book is written in classic noir first person, and a somewhat untrustworthy first person at that. There’s more than one monster roaming around London, and the descriptions of it are borderline disgusting, but appropriate. There’s a darkness surrounding everything in this book, which works well for the tone, a grimy sort of filth that layers over the setting and the words. It’s very well written and although there are some phrases I wish weren’t used, they’re in keeping with the overall voice of the character. I definitely recommend this for those who like their horror to be a little different.

The Prince and the Dressmaker
by Jen Wang

This was just adorable, and sad, and then happy again (which is typical for any queer story, I’ve noticed). The prince has a secret he hides from the world and that is that sometimes, he likes to wear dresses. They make him feel powerful and self-assured. He hires a girl to be his private seamstress and she makes him a very stunning collection of dresses. Their relationship is so cute, first being friends building to an eventual kiss.

The story is equally about the prince as it is the seamstress, whose work gets her recognized by a budding department store fashion manager and the most famous designer in the city. When it all comes to a head, it does so dramatically, making everything seem lost in that moment. But the story ends happy, which is the greatest way a story like this can end.

I definitely recommend it for the story, but the art is also amazing. The dress designs are stunning, and the little bonus in the end of the book that shows the behind-the-scenes work is delightful. If you’re looking for a happy queer story, this is the one.

Texts from Jane Eyre
by Mallory Ortberg

Oh my god, I’ve never laughed this hard at a book. Mallory takes us from Medea through Fight Club in text messages between the main characters of each story. One of my favorites (because I’m lowkey obsessed with this play right now) was the continuing saga of Hamlet, the dramatic “STAY OUT OF MY ROOM, MOM” of Shakespeare’s canon.

Mallory not only brings us fictional characters, but also creates texts for some famous literary figures, including Thoreau, Shelley, William Carlos Williams, and Lord Byron. The great thing about this book is that, even if you don’t really know the story you’re reading, you can still appreciate the texts as they are. But for the ones you do know, they’re a laugh riot.

I definitely recommend this book for anyone looking for a literary laugh, and especially to read now before her upcoming book, The Merry Spinster, comes out on the 13th.

Mary’s Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein
by Lita Judge

This is an interesting book, as it’s mostly told in a kind of free verse set against some very stirring paintings. It tells the story of Mary Shelley, starting from her at fourteen and going until Frankenstein’s creation and commercial success. It shows Mary as a girl adrift from the world, longing for a connection with her mother, which eventually leads to her love for Percy Shelley. It doesn’t shy away from his awfulness in the least, for which I was truly glad (Percy Shelley: kind of a dick). The art on each page is very striking, a great counterpoint to the words on the pages. When things are going well, the art is sharp and luscious. When things get tragic, the art blurs and darkens with the mood.

The book is about three hundred pages, but it’s a very fast read. I’d definitely recommend it for those who like art and biographies. This may not be the most detailed, but it’s well researched and is certainly an experience worth having.

About Fleet Sparrow

Writer, Reader, Critic, Bear.
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