Sunday, February 25, 2018

Pestilence, Volume 1 (Pestilence, #1)

Pestilence, Volume 1 (Pestilence, #1)
author: Frank Tieri
name: Wayne
average rating: 3.37
book published:
rating: 3
read at: 2018/02/25
date added: 2018/02/25
shelves: graphic-novels
review:
'Pestilence, Vol. 1' by Frank Tieri with art by Oleg Okunev is a grim-dark fantasy comic that puts an interesting spin on the Black Death, but is so grim and over the top, that I kept getting pulled away from the story.

In the late 14th Century an ex-crusader named Roderick heads up a motley strike team called Fiat Lux. They are agents of the church. A strange sickness causes those infected to react violently and attack. It is feared that the Pope could be next, so the Fiat Lux team is sent to rescue the Pope and take him to Paris. Everywhere they turn, their are more zombies. The zombies are getting smarter and smarter.

Grim-dark seems to be where fantasy is these days. The stories are dark and violent. They are also full of gratuitous sex and language. I really like the premise of the black death being a zombie plague. I don't mind bad language in the service of a story. I liked the art well enough, especially the covers. The delivery felt a bit over the top, and it ended up not being my sort of thing in the end.

I received a review copy of this graphic novel from AfterShock Comics, Diamond Book Distributors, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.


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Saturday, February 24, 2018

Voracious: Feeding Time

Voracious: Feeding Time
author: Markisan Naso
name: Wayne
average rating: 4.47
book published:
rating: 4
read at: 2018/02/24
date added: 2018/02/24
shelves: graphic-novels
review:
'Voracious: Feeding Time' by Markisan Naso and Jason Muhr was my introduction to this series. When you come across a premise this ludicrous, you just have to roll with it and hope for the best. I'm glad I did.

Chef Nate Willner has a restaurant and the ability to travel back in time, so his restaurant serves dinosaur meat. In an alternate world, dinosaurs have evolved into saurians and actually have better technology than humans. Nate's hunting is causing dinosaurs in this alternate world to disappear. When two detectives investigate the disappearances, they stumble into Nate and they are understandably not happy.

Craziness ensues, and doesn't conclude in this volume, which was fine. I really liked the writing in this and the art wasn't too bad either. There is humor and emotion in the story and characters that I wasn't expecting.

I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Action Lab Entertainment, Diamond Book Distributors, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.


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Captain Canuck Vol. 1: Aleph

Captain Canuck Vol. 1: Aleph
author: Kalman Andrasofszky
name: Wayne
average rating: 2.89
book published:
rating: 1
read at: 2018/02/24
date added: 2018/02/24
shelves: graphic-novels
review:
'Captain Canuck Vol. 1: Aleph' by Kalman Andrasofszky with art by Leonard Kirk and Adam Gorham is a reboot of the 1970s series. It was much anticipated, but it's just a hot mess.

When we meet Captain Canuck and his support team, they are responding to an emergency call in a gold mining operation. When they get there, they find that people have been turned into some sort of gold zombies from touching the gold. Captain Canuck's suit protects him from this somehow. We find out that the villain behind this is Mr. Gold.

We also get flashbacks about Captain Canuck's origins. Sort of. It's all confusing as to what his powers are and what he does. He seems to be a sort of human shield that refuses to shoot anything, which is fine, but he has an ace sniper on his team, so that sends a weird mixed message. I'm hoping volume 2 clears some of this up a bit more.

The art is not impressive. It's blocky and not really fun to look at.

I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Chapterhouse Publishing, Diamond Book Distributors, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.


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Friday, February 23, 2018

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card, Vol. 1

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card, Vol. 1
author: CLAMP
name: Wayne
average rating: 4.35
book published: 2016
rating: 3
read at: 2018/02/23
date added: 2018/02/23
shelves: graphic-novels
review:
'Cardcaptop Sakura: Clear Card, Vol. 1' by CLAMP is a manga that's a bit out of what I would normally read, but I thought I'd give it a try. It's filled with all the bubbliness of high school kids having really great days.

First off, if you aren't familiar with these characters, you might be a bit lost, like I was. There are brief character bios (and there are a LOT of characters), and also a bit of a synopsis that leads up to this point. Beyond that, you are kind of on your own.

Sakura is a middle school student who sees magical cards, except this time around they are clear. Her friend Syaoran is back from China. Her brother is a brat to her, even though he is in college. Her mother is gone, and her dad seems to have single parenting wired with all his domestic talents. He doesn't seem phazed by his daughter's weird talents and friends.

The art is pretty cute. I liked the story, even though I was lost through most of it. It's not really my thing, but I'm glad I gave it a shot.

I received a review copy of this manga from Kodansha Comics and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this manga.


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Sakura's Cherry Blossoms

Sakura's Cherry Blossoms
author: Robert Paul Weston
name: Wayne
average rating: 4.18
book published:
rating: 5
read at: 2018/02/23
date added: 2018/02/23
shelves: children-s
review:
'Sakura's Cherry Blossoms' by Robert Paul Weston and Misa Saburi is a really nice picture book about love and friendship and loss.

Sakura lives in Japan and loves spring when she and her grandmother can have lunch beneath the cherry trees as they blossom. Her life changes when her family moves to the United States. She tries to fit in, but everything is so different. She makes a friend with a neighbor boy who likes to look at the stars. Along the way, they teach each other about looking up and enjoying the transience of life and cherry blossoms.

What a beautiful story filled with really cute illustrations. The book is even composed in a series of Tanka verses and this is explained in the back of the book. Between the pictures and the story, I really loved this seemingly simple picture book.

I received a review copy of this ebook from Tundra Books, Penguin Random House Canada, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.


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Aglow: A Christmas Fable

Aglow: A Christmas Fable
author: Bruce Ashkenas
name: Wayne
average rating: 4.00
book published:
rating: 3
read at: 2018/02/23
date added: 2018/02/23
shelves: children-s
review:
'Aglow: A Christmas Fable' by Bruce Ashkenas tells an interfaith story of faith and friendships.

The statue of Mary at St. Dominic's Cathedral in the Bronx is dirty. Friends Adam and Rafe decide to sneak up on the roof of the building and clean it. When the cleaning is seen as a miracle, Adam, who is Jewish, doesn't understand what the big deal is. Rafe is excited by the changes he sees in his crime-ridden neighborhood. Rafe's brother is in a gang and has a miracle of his own happen along the way.

It's a sweet story and parts of it feel like it's from another time. There is gang violence, but it feels like a gang from the 1950s. There is a video game the guys play, but it feels like an old-school console game. Still I liked this story of Christmas miracles and friendship.

I received a review copy of this ebook from Acorn Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.


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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Another Castle: Grimoire

Another Castle: Grimoire
author: Andrew Wheeler
name: Wayne
average rating: 3.82
book published: 2017
rating: 4
read at: 2018/02/19
date added: 2018/02/19
shelves: graphic-novels
review:
'Another Castle: Grimoire' by Andrew Wheeler with art by Paulina Ganucheau collects all 5 issues from the series and tells a great story about a self-rescuing princess.

Princess Misty of Beldora has her life all planned out for her by those around her. When she gets captured by Lord Badlug, he threatens her kingdom unless she marries him. Her own kingdom sends the prince that Misty is supposed to marry after her to rescue her. This is where the story becomes less typical. Misty wants to forge her own path. She wants to get the magical sword and take matters into her own hands. Along the way, she meets a cast of characters who have been stereotyped into their own stories. With Misty's help, they discover new paths of their own.

I liked it. The art and character design feels pretty fresh. The story has an unconventional approach. The characters are all pretty interesting.

I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Oni Press and Diamond Book Distributors in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.


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Mandelbrot the Magnificent

Mandelbrot the Magnificent
author: Liz Ziemska
name: Wayne
average rating: 4.02
book published: 2017
rating: 5
read at: 2018/02/19
date added: 2018/02/19
shelves:
review:
'Mandelbrot the Magnificent' by Liz Ziemska is an imaginary biographical tale of Benoit Mandelbrot and his life during World War II.

Mandelbrot was born in the Warsaw ghetto during a particularly bad time in history. His family fled to France, and, as a young Jew, he wasn't very welcome there either. He escaped into the world of mathematics. There he chased the monstrous equations. He finds a unique ability in them, along with some of the power of magical realism, and he might find a way to escape the horrors of the world around him, but at what cost?

There is truth, there is magic and this a pretty great little story that combines the two. There is the faith and arrogance of youth, and a love of mathematics. Included in the book are some formulae as well as a couple of the fractal designs that Mandelbrot is famous for. I really loved this book.

I received a review copy of this ebook from Macmillan-Tor/Forge, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.


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A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel

A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel
author: Hope Larson
name: Wayne
average rating: 3.94
book published: 2012
rating: 3
read at: 2018/02/19
date added: 2018/02/19
shelves: children-s, graphic-novels
review:
My online book club is reading this novel for the month of February, and since I've read the book before, I thought I would read the graphic novel version.

It's a pretty decent adaptation. The art could use a bit more color, in my opinion. Everything is in a 2-tone ink style, and it would have been a bit nicer with some more color, or even some color accents.

The characters and dialogue stay true to the original source. The book is always better, and that is true here too.


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Sunday, February 18, 2018

BLAME! Vol. 1

BLAME! Vol. 1
author: Tsutomu Nihei
name: Wayne
average rating: 4.32
book published: 2015
rating: 3
read at: 2018/02/18
date added: 2018/02/18
shelves: graphic-novels
review:
'Blame! Vol. 1' by Tsutomu Nihei is a massive 408 page story of a man trapped in a huge city, and this is only volume 1!

In a book that has more visual than narrative, we meet a man named Kyrii that is travelling through a strange environment. We eventually learn that he is living in a huge city that seems to have grown out of machines. No one knows what land is. Kyrii has a gun called a Graviton Beam Emitter that can take out the threats to him. He is looking for the Net Terminal Gene, though I never felt like I knew why.

It's a vast sprawling city, but after 400 pages, I felt a bit weary of it all. Sure the main character is interesting, and the environment and cybercreatures are horrific and strange, but I felt like there was just a lot of the same. I did like the art quite a bit. I'd also like to find out what happens to Kyrii.

I received a review copy of this manga from Vertical Comics, Kodansha Comics, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this manga.


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Clandestino, Volume 1

Clandestino, Volume 1
author: Amancay Nahuelpan
name: Wayne
average rating: 3.00
book published:
rating: 3
read at: 2018/02/18
date added: 2018/02/18
shelves: graphic-novels
review:
'Clandestino Complete Collection' by Amancay Nahuelpan tells the story of a fictional country run by a dictator, and the one man that might be able to change things.

The South American country of Tairona has been overrun by a cruel dictator willing to torture and kill to maintain his version of order. When the coup happened in 1973, a young boy escaped with his life. He changed his name to Clandestino and taught himself the kind of violence he needed to survive. When we meet him, he is taking on thugs robbing a convenience store. Throughout the story, we get his life in flashbacks: the girl he grew up with, the boy who he left behind and now holds a grudge. It all builds to a final chance to overthrow the dictator, but Clandestino is feared dead. Can the people rise to overcome this hated leader?

I felt like the story lost something in translation. There were things I really liked, like the art. The problem is that the story goes from hyper-grotesque violence on the part of the protagonists, to a condemnation of violence on behalf of the villains. I felt like this diluted the message a bit, but perhaps extreme violence can only be fought with extreme violence. Also, this book feels like it's taking place in the 1980s, even though it takes the story up to 2016. There is a deus ex machina in the final chapter that is straight out of science fiction, that I found completely unbelievable. It's there to make the final fight more bombastic, but it adds an unrealistic element to a story that wasn't told that way up to this point. High marks for art, but the story had things that bothered me.

I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Black Mask Studios, Diamond Book Distributors, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.


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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Petra

Petra
author: Marianna Coppo
name: Wayne
average rating: 4.32
book published:
rating: 4
read at: 2018/02/10
date added: 2018/02/10
shelves: children-s
review:
'Petra' by Marianna Coppo is a book filled with imagination and a main character that is a rock. In spite of this, the character has appeal.

When we meet Petra, she is a mighty, immovable mountain. Nothing can shake her. Or can it?

Things are not what they seem, and Petra has to learn that life can change things up on you. Petra imagines herself as an egg and an island. With her imagination and good attitude, she really won't be shaken.

Petra is a good lesson for anyone experiencing change. What you thought could be, suddenly isn't, so you adapt. The illustrations are pretty cute too. I liked Petra's facial expressions, and I really loved the amount of imagination that this book had.

I received a review copy of this ebook from Penguin Random House Canada, Tundra Books, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.


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Erik the Lone Wolf

Erik the Lone Wolf
author: Sarah Finan
name: Wayne
average rating: 4.25
book published:
rating: 4
read at: 2018/02/10
date added: 2018/02/10
shelves: children-s
review:
'Erik the Lone Wolf' by Sarah Finan is about a feisty wolf cub who wants to leave the pack behind.

Erik lives in a pack of wolves, and that's a problem for him. He wants to do his own thing and only answer to himself. So, one day, he decides to do just that. He loves his new freedom, but will he learn that he needs the pack or will his newfound independence be his new normal.

This is a very cute story with a good message about relying on others. The illustrations are also really wonderful. I liked the fuzzy look to the wolves, and the way the ice and snow looked. It's a very nice picture book to read to young ones.

I received a review copy of this ebook from Quarto Publishing Group and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.


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Battle Angel Alita, Volume 01: Rusty Angel

Battle Angel Alita, Volume 01: Rusty Angel
author: Yukito Kishiro
name: Wayne
average rating: 4.19
book published: 1991
rating: 5
read at: 2018/02/10
date added: 2018/02/10
shelves: graphic-novels
review:
'Battle Angel Alita, Volume 1: Rusty Angel' by Yukito Kishiro seems like a timely release with an upcoming movie coming out. It's also a really good read.

Daisuke Ido likes looking for cyborg parts in the junk heaps. When he finds the head of a cyborg, he rebuilds her into Alita. Alita has little memory of who she was before, but she knows she must fight. After a crushing defeat, she is rebuilt into an even fiercer weapon and goes out to get revenge on the scary Makaku.

It's definitely a classic series with a deep dystopian SF feel. The world is populated, but it seems as if most people have been turned into partial cyborgs.

The art is some of the best I've seen in manga and I loved the detail. Many of the chapters also included a few introductory color pages, and these were really well done. I'm glad I finally got to read a chapter in this classic series.

I received a review copy of this manga from Kodansha Comics and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this manga.


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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Frankenstein: Annotated for Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of All Kinds

Frankenstein: Annotated for Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of All Kinds
author: Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
name: Wayne
average rating: 4.05
book published: 1818
rating: 5
read at:
date added: 2018/02/06
shelves: sword-and-laser
review:



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Sunday, February 4, 2018

Random Illustrated Facts: A Collection of Curious, Weird, and Totally Not Boring Things to Know

Random Illustrated Facts: A Collection of Curious, Weird, and Totally Not Boring Things to Know
author: Mike Lowery
name: Wayne
average rating: 4.16
book published:
rating: 4
read at: 2018/02/04
date added: 2018/02/04
shelves:
review:
'Random Illustrated Facts: A Collection of Curious, Weird, and Totally Not Boring Things to Know' by Mike Lowery is a 208 page book stuffed with facts.

In a brief forward, the author talks about creating a journal with illustrations of different facts. He talks about how his art improved over time. The book is divided into facts about history, animals, food, science, and everyday things. I learned about the patch of velcro inside an astronaut's helmet so they can scratch their nose. I learned that there is a museum in Osaka dedicated to ramen. There are lots of wacky facts in this collection.

The art is fun, and the facts are interesting. It's a pretty fast read, so it might be better as a gift book for a friend. As a kid, I loved reading Ripley's Believe It Or Not paperbacks, and this probably falls into the kind of thing I would have liked as a young reader curious about the world around me.

I received a review copy of this ebook from Workman Publishing Company and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.


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Saturday, February 3, 2018

Theatrics

Theatrics
author: Neil Gibson
name: Wayne
average rating: 3.85
book published:
rating: 4
read at: 2018/02/03
date added: 2018/02/03
shelves: graphic-novels
review:
'Theatrics' by Neil Gibson with art by Leonardo Gonzalez was a different type of story than I've read before from Neil Gibson, but I liked it. Just to let you know this volume does not complete the story.

The story takes place in 1920s New York. Rudy Burns is a handsome leading man on Broadway, until the night he gets too drunk, and then robbed and beaten. His good looks are gone and he finds that even though he is a talented actor, the life he has is over. He deals with all the usual feelings of despair, then an unusual opportunity presents itself for him to have a different kind of acting career.

I've preferred the darker things that this studio has put out, and perhaps this story will have more of that. Rudy is certainly a bit monstrous in appearance. The art is on par with other books by TPub, which is to say workable, but not amazing.

I received a review copy of this graphic novel from TPub, Diamond Book Distributors, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.


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Superman, Volume 4: Black Dawn

Superman, Volume 4: Black Dawn
author: Peter J. Tomasi
name: Wayne
average rating: 3.63
book published: 2017
rating: 4
read at: 2018/02/03
date added: 2018/02/03
shelves: graphic-novels
review:
With 'Superman, Volume 4: Black Dawn,' Peter J. Tomasi continues a really great run on this title. It's one I always look forward to reading.

The Kents have had a pretty idyllic existence in the farm town of Hamilton, but that is about to end. It's been hinted at in other story lines. It comes to a head here. Something is not right with how Jon's powers are developing and Batman shows up with Robin to investigate. What they uncover unleashes a secret that the town holds. When one of Superman's old enemies shows up, he tries to turn Superboy toward the darkness. Will a dark Superboy find new powers or will he be able to fight it off?

It was only inevitable, I guess, that this perfect town would be hiding some secret. Part of me wishes that it hadn't been so, and there is a change to a couple characters that I wish hadn't been part of the conspiracy.

Overall, I did enjoy the story, and, especially, the back up story that Clark teaching Jon about decisions and responsibility while having a flashback to an episode with his own father Jonathan.

I received a review copy of this graphic novel from DC Entertainment and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.


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Clara (Clara, #1)

Clara (Clara, #1)
author: Christophe Lemoine
name: Wayne
average rating: 3.77
book published: 2012
rating: 4
read at: 2018/02/03
date added: 2018/02/03
shelves: graphic-novels
review:
'Clara' by Christophe Lemoine with art by C├ęcile is the story of a little girl and her mother and a doll. It's sad and moving.

Clara loves her mother and their routine. She is picked up from school, she gets candy and she and her mother play games. One day, that changes when Clara is forgotten. It's her birthday and her parents forget. They especially forget the special gift she was hoping for. They are preoccupied with some news about Clara's mother. Clara's mother gives her a doll she had when she was a little girl, but Clara doesn't really like the doll. In the days ahead when Clara's mother goes to the hospital, then doesn't come home, the doll takes on a different meaning for Clara.

The story is sweet and sad and mostly told from Clara's perspective. The stages of grief are experienced by the character in a natural way. This might not be appropriate for a child who hasn't gone through the loss of a parent, but it might be just what a grieving child might need to help process their feelings.

The art is perfect for the tone of the book. The subject is deep, but there are moments of beauty and a little magic along the way. I really liked this one.

I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Europe Comics and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.


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La Casati: La musa egoista

La Casati: La musa egoista
author: Vanna Vinci
name: Wayne
average rating: 3.76
book published: 2013
rating: 4
read at: 2018/02/03
date added: 2018/02/03
shelves: graphic-novels
review:
'La Casati: The Selfish Muse' with story and art by Vanna Vinci is a graphic novel based on the life of Luisa Casati Amman, otherwise known as "The Marchesa." I wasn't familiar with who she was, but her face was immediately familiar to me.

Luisa Casati spent her life and fortune trying to transform herself into art. She is known for her pale features and overly made up dark eyes. She was the subject of numerous paintings and photographs in the 20th century, many of which are recreated in these pages. Her obsession with the strange ended up bankrupting her and alienating her from friends and most of her family.

The story is told by a series of the real life people who show up in the book, including La Casati herself. I found this a good way to tell the story and keep the narrative balanced. I really liked the art in this book. The style matches the flamboyance of the subject.

I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Europe Comics and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.


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Cosmonauts of the Future - Volume 1 (Cosmonautes du futur (Les))

Cosmonauts of the Future - Volume 1 (Cosmonautes du futur (Les))
author: Lewis Trondheim
name: Wayne
average rating: 3.60
book published:
rating: 3
read at: 2018/02/03
date added: 2018/02/03
shelves: graphic-novels
review:
'Cosmonauts of the Future Vol. 1' by Lewis Trondheim with art by Manu Larcenet is a funny and strange graphic novel with art that reminded me of some of my favorite comic strips.

Gildas and Martina meet at school and they immediately dislike each other. One believes everyone is an alien. The other believes everyone is a robot. Soon their shared loved of wacky theories and their overactive imagination sends them on adventures to try and prove that all is not as it seems. Accompanied by Martina's dog and Gildas' little sister, they soon find that the world is even stranger than they believe.

This was a fun story. I loved the crankiness of the characters and their weird imaginations that kept them distant from those around them. I loved Gildas' little sister Gaelle, who just seemed to go along with the craziness. The art is fun and colorful. The charcters have oval shaped heads, and there is a lot going on in the background of the panels.

I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Europe Comics and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.


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