Lazy Saturday Review: Twisted Dark, Volume 1

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Title: Twisted Dark
Author: Neil Gibson
Series: Twisted Dark #1
Edition: Digital, 196 pages
Publication Details: April 24th 2012 by T Publications
Genre(s): Graphic Novel; Horror
Disclosure? I downloaded a copy for free from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads // Purchase

The first volume in Neil Gibson’s acclaimed series of twisted tales contains 12 individual and unique stories which are all related. The stories vary from 10 year old girls to Colombian drug lords and everything in between. It is left to the reader to find the connections between the stories – some connections are immediately clear whilst other connection only become clear in later volumes. This series is designed for re-reading. The author describes the genre as psychological thriller, but the books contains horror, dark (at times demented) stories incorporating every human emotion, illegal activity, and brutal reality. Using various illustrators allows each story and character to develop their own form. Twisted Dark has been embraced by the comic book world receiving critical acclaim and a cult following. If you haven’t read one yet, you don’t know what you’re missing.

Review


Oh what can I say about this one!?

I was really intrigued by the idea of this as I’m a horror fan and enjoy some pretty twisted shiz on occassion. LOL. But I just wasn’t feeling it unfortunately.

Twisted Dark contains short stories which all have a dark, twisted reveal at the end, and link together in some way. I thought this was a great idea, and liked the look of the artwork, but it didn’t quite pull it off for me.

I think my main problem with it was that it was trying too hard to be shocking, but it just wasn’t. I think maybe I’m just not the target audience. I can imagine that had I read this when I was 15 and all ‘I hate the world, and everyone in it’ then I would have probably loved it. But, without being in that frame of mind, this just seemed a little…lame.

It also didn’t help that the digital version I had wasn’t great quality and the illustrations were a bit blurry, and the text was quite hard to read sometimes. I tried to look past this, and maybe I would have liked it a little better if the artwork was more appealing, but I still doubt I would have loved it.

I’m glad I gave it a go though, and would recommend it to a younger audience who have more patience than me and will reread it to find all the hidden connections – something I just couldn’t be bothered to do I’m afraid.

unicorn rating 2

Lazy Saturday Review: Manga Shakespeare – Hamlet

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Title: Hamlet
Author: Richard Appignanesi (Adaptor), William Shakespeare (Original), Emma Vieceli (Illustrator)
Series: The Managa Shakespeare Collection
Edition: Paperback, 208 pages
Publication Details: April 1st 2007 by Abrams Books for Young Readers
Genre(s): Classics; Graphic Novels
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it!

Goodreads // Purchase

Part of ‘Manga Shakespeare’, a series of graphic novel adaptations of William Shakespeare’s plays. Prince Hamlet is depressed. Having been summoned home to Denmark from school in Germany to attend his father’s funeral, he is shocked to find his mother Gertrude already remarried. The Queen has wed Hamlet’s Uncle Claudius, the dead king’s brother. To Hamlet, the marriage is “foul incest.” Worse still, Claudius has had himself crowned King despite the fact that Hamlet was his father’s heir to the throne. Hamlet suspects foul play.

Review


I love that this series exists! I always enjoyed studying Shakespeare but reading his plays outright can be a bit of a chore, so what better way to combat that than read a short, sharp Manga version instead?

I enjoyed this a lot, but it wasn’t without its flaws. I found the illustrations both beautiful and sinister, and loved the way they included a Sci-Fi, futuristic element, yet stayed true to the text. I felt like I could follow the story relatively easily, but then, Hamlet has always been a favourite of mine so I know the story pretty well anyway.

I did think it was sometimes hard to tell who was who, and who was talking, but maybe that’s just because I’m a Manga-amateur, I don’t know. I think some of the characters looked a little too similar, but Emma Vieceli did a great job (yesIprettymuchfanciedthemallOK), especially with Ophelia who was just as beautiful and haunting as she should be.

I can’t even imagine how difficult it must be to edit such a huge play- Shakespeare’s longest no less- down to so little text, and so I was really impressed. I’d love to collect the whole series, and see if I can follow one of the ones I’m not so familiar with.

unicorn rating 4

Lazy Saturday Review: Dark Satanic Mills by Marcus & Julian Sedgwick

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Title: Dark Satanic Mills
Authors: Marcus Sedgwick & Julian Sedgwick
Illustrators: John Higgins & Marc Olivent
Series: N/A
Edition: Paperback, 176 pages
Publication Details: November 2013 by Walker Books
Genre(s): Graphic Novel; Dystopia
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it.

Goodreads
Purchase

Set in a near-future Britain, Dark Satanic Mills tracks a young girl’s journey from the flooded landmarks of London to the vast, scorched and abandoned hills of the north. Framed for a murder she did not commit, the innocent and beautiful Christie has no other choice but to run for her life. Both a cautionary tale and a rip-roaring road trip, Dark Satanic Mills is altogether an intelligent, captivating and thrilling ride – The Wizard of Oz for a new generation, told in exhilarating shades of light and dark.

I’m not a regular graphic novel reader, but I’m a huge fan of Marcus Sedgwick so I was intrigued to see his work in this format.

Dark Satanic Mills is set in future Britain and whilst on the run, protagonist Christie happens upon a document that could unravel the hold the True Church – a kind of religious fascist dictatorship – has over the entire nation.

With the help of do-gooder Thomas, Christie heads to the north, through dark, desolate streets and violent gangs, to spread the truth about the True Church.

I loved almost everything about Dark Satanic Mills. The story was dark and full of action, and I loved that I knew all of the locations in the book, being a northerner myself. The artwork was gloriously grim, and I loved the William Blake references (it’s based on his poem Jerusalem).

The only thing that I didn’t like was that I was left wanting more. Much more! It didn’t feel like a complete ending, which is fine if they continue with the story but I don’t know if that’s on the cards.

This graphic novel will take you on a journey through a scary, broken Britain. A journey to discover the truth. Don’t forget your helmet!

unicorn rating

Dark Satanic Mills is available from Waterstones now.

YALC UK 2014 – Day One

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At the weekend my friend Dora and I attended the UK’s first ever Young Adult Literature Convention which took place as part of London’s Film & TV Comic Con at Earl’s Court (more details here). It was amazing and manic and painful all at the same time. But totally worth it.

Here’s my run-down of day one:

I had been a bad friend and hadn’t booked the advanced tickets in time so we had to go and queue to buy tickets on Saturday morning. We got there at about 9am, slightly hungover and very tired from a late-night outdoor Labyrinth screening the night before.

When we saw the queue we wanted to cry. It was so busy, and unorganised, and the closer we got to the door, the more people were trying to push in. The Rage set in. But we amused ourselves by admiring all of the costumes, and there was a nice man and his seven year old Spiderman son in front of us who were lovely.

There were also some guys promoting the new book by Joe Abercrombie, ( which is on my wishlist) by giving people rides on their Viking Wheelbarrow which was amusing.

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After just over 2 1/2 hours, a lot of standing, and some sunburn later, we made it inside. And oh holy hell, it was not a good place to be with a hangover. People EVERYWHERE. Hot, sticky and no air. But luckily we had the forefront to ask the guy on box office where the YALC area was so we knew where to aim for – otherwise we may never have found it. It was worse than trying to get to the barrier at a festival.

The good news is that we made it, and there was a bit more breathing space that end. The bad news was that we’d missed the first talk were hoping to attend, The On-going Appeal of Dystopia. Instead we collected tickets for the other talks that were available and checked out all the book swag, and the publisher’s area including the Hot Key Books’ book swap which was a genius idea.

Going Graphic: From Novels to Graphic Novels

With Ian Edgington, Marcus Sedgwick, Emma Vieceli and Sarah McIntyre

 
The first talk we attended was one that we actually weren’t too bothered about initially, we just wanted to sit down to be honest but I’m so glad we went, it was great. Sarah McIntyre chaired the event in an awesome cosplay and discussed the process of adapting a novel into a graphic novel.

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Marcus Sedgwick was the only one on the panel whose work I was familiar with, and I’d been wanting to get a hold of his graphic novel Dark Satanic Mills for ages, so it was lovely to hear him discuss his experience of writing it, compared to writing a novel.

Emma Vieceli, was full of enthusiasm for her work on illustrating The Vampire Academy graphic novels (which I really, really want now!) and talked about her new web-comic Brakes which she has written as well as illustrated.

It was really interesting to hear the panel talk about how to turn classics such as Pride and Prejudice and War and Peace into a graphic novel.

After the talk I wanted to buy a copy of Emma’s Vampire Academy but they didn’t have it, however both Dora and I bought one of her Manga Shakespeare books (we’re easily converted) and headed over to Emma’s signing table to get them signed. She was so lovely. I couldn’t resist telling her what a good job she’d done with Dimitri – Manga Dimitri is so hot, you guys.

We also headed to Marcus Sedgwick’s signing, and he was the nicest man ever. He chatted away to Dora about Poland (where she’s from) as he’d lived there for a while, and was planning on taking his partner there this summer. I got my favourite book by him signed, and he drew a coffin in it – he knows me so well already!

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Bring me my Dragons: Writing Fantasy Today

With Frances Hardinge, Amy McCulloch, Jonathan Stroud and Ruth Warburton, chaired by Marc Aplin

 
We didn’t actually have tickets for this talk but we got back just as they were finishing the introductions and there were still some spare seats so we sat down. After that I’m not really sure what happened to be honest. There seemed to be a lot tangents going on, and definitely no talk of dragons. The early start and sunburn perhaps got the better of me.

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Heroes of Horror

With Charlie Higson, Will Hill, Derek Landy and Darren Shan, chaired by Rosie Fletcher

 
Thankfully we managed to perk up for the final talk, because two of my favourite British writers were on the panel – Darren Shan and Derek Landy, and it was hilarious as well as interesting!

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A lot of the discussion revolved around how much is too much in YA Horror. And the answer? You can get away with anything, apart from decapitating mothers! Both Landy and Shan also discussed the beauty of publishing long series and how you grow as a writer, alongside your characters, from book 1 to book 12.

Random Happenings:

  • I knew Rainbow Rowell was popular but woah! Her signing queue was INSANE. They were everywhere, and most people had like four books to sign. Crazy!
  • I really wanted to go and talk to Lucy Saxon who didn’t have anyone in her signing queue when we got there, but I couldn’t justify buying another book. I really enjoyed her book Take Back the Skies, despite the ending, and she looked awesome, but it’s not really the done thing is it…just walking up for a chat with nothing to get signed!?
  • I was proper fangirling over the fact that Juliet Landau (Drusilla from Buffy) was there, and half way through the day they set up a place for Anthony Head (GILES) next to her but he was never there 😦 I was totally willing to spend £20 to talk to him. GILES!!
  • While we were waiting for the first talk, Stan Lee walked past us to get to his Photo Shoot area. It was pretty cool.

Don’t worry if you missed YALC, look out for my post of Day 2, and I’ll also be posting a gallery and links to the best news coverage of the event – you’ll feel like you were there by the end of it.

December & January finds

This is a monthly post where I share some of the books that I’ve found through fellow bloggers that I just HAD to add to my wishlist immediately. I’m hoping I’ll look back on these posts and remember to buy/request the books (wishful thinking!). I totally forgot to do a December post so I’ve just chosen my top three from Dec & Jan.

Click on the links to go to the original posts.

snow

Found on: Chrissi Reads
Why: Crime + Snow White = Winner. Plus the cover, obvs!

such-sweet-sorrow-cover

Found on: Wingedcreature Reads
Why: Err Romeo & Juliet, The Prince of Denmark, Immortality and Norse Mythology. Woah. Yes.

dark

Found on: A Case of Books
Why: I love Marcus Sedgwick…and well just look how badass it is!