4 out of 5 stars. I picked this up on a whim, scrolling through short story collections available on Libby that I might be interested in reading. Earlier in 2018, I listened to Gay’s Not That Bad essay collection on audiobook (that review went up last Friday as part of my catch-up!), and I liked how she put that together. I’ve heard a lot about her, mostly because of her run on the comic World of Wakanda, and have been meaning to read more of her work, so this was my first jump into her fiction.
4 out of 5 stars. The most recent in my V.E. Schwab reading obsession, Vicious is a dark comic book-esque story of ordinary people who, through extreme trauma, become ExtraOrdinary. Victor Vale is out for revenge. Eli Ever thinks he’s doing God’s work. And caught up between their single-minded pursuits to stab the hell out of each other are a cast of interesting and complex side characters.
Read on November 9, 2018. 5 out of 5 stars. I listened to this on audiobook and it gave me chills. It’s almost impossibly difficult to talk about the types of things the individuals in this collection talk about. Listening to their essays and recounts of their experiences was enthralling, horrifying, and gut-wrenching. I have to echo what other reviewers have said: I can’t properly review this book because I can’t assign a rating to someone’s life experiences like this.
It’s beyond commendable that these people contributed their experiences. There’s a powerful message here for men and women alike, and both should add Not That Bad to their reading list. There’s constant reinforcement: it was that bad. It wasn’t your fault. You did nothing wrong. For the people who’ve never had to worry about rape culture, there’s a dose of reality. This happens every day. This happens to men and women. It is a problem that no one is trying to solve.
All of the essays in this collection are valid. It’s impossible for me to talk about any one as “better” than the others, because that’s not the point. Instead, think about how many essays there are in the collection – over 30. Think about how many lives were effected by rape and rape culture. Think about how this is a collection that people would say is a warning to women, rather than a lesson for men.
Know that this is real.
3 out of 5 stars. Alice Proserpine and her mother, Ella, have been running from bad luck for as long as she can remember. It follows them like a curse, dogging their heels wherever they go, chasing them from one stable (or not so stable) living situation to the next. Finally it catches up to them, and The Hazel Wood picks up just as things fall apart for our heroine.
2 stars out of 5. What if, instead of being a man in a mask at the end of the episode, Scooby Doo & co unmasked an eldritch horror?
3 out of 5 stars. I wish I liked this more than I did, but I sat down the second Volume halfway through and have had 0 interest in picking it back up again. Sana Takeda’s painting-like artwork is gorgeous and vivid, bringing the world of Monstress to life in exquisite detail, but that’s where my interest in this both begins and ends. The gorgeous artwork carried me through this, but I feel as if I was dropped into the middle of the story with this volume–so much so that the “twist” at the end simply left me feeling confused. Why should I care exactly? What could the character motivations here possibly be? I’m not invested enough in the characters by this point to legitimately want the answers to this question, which is why I’m struggling so hard to finish the second volume, I think.
The art really is beautiful, though. I’m not “good” at reading comics (I normally catch myself focusing only on the text bubbles), but Takeda’s work is so compelling that I would’ve gladly flipped through only for the wonderful details. I’ll wrap up the second volume soon, I think, but given how much praise this comic has received I was quite surprised to see that I wasn’t more invested. Probably just not my cup of tea!
5 out of 5 stars. City of Ghosts is a cute, quick little read that I really enjoyed my time with, despite its simplicity. Very obviously targeted at a much younger age group, Schwab’s vivid attention to detail still shines through, creating an enchanting little ghost world for Cassidy and Jacob to explore. This world coupled with the usual charming characters and Schwab’s solid skill with writing make this worth reading even as an adult. It will take you about an hour or two to get through, so why not! Read it. Admire how cute Cassidy and Jacob are. Buy a few copies for the adventure-loving kids in your life who are more interested in the morbid side (as a pre-teen, I’m certain I would’ve just devoured this book. It is exactly my style).