Tag Archives: books

June Bonus Review: Princess Princess Ever After

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Princess Princess  is a family friendly graphic novel written and illustrated by Katie O’Neill. It was published in 2016 by Oni Press. It started as a web comic before that.

Story:

Princess Amira is riding her unicorn through the forest when she hears a maiden crying in a tower. Princess Sadie’s response to this is less than enthusiastic since many princes have tried. She asks what’s different this time. To which Amira responds “I am no prince and I have a grappling hook.” Thus their adventures begin.

The biggest issue with the book is probably just that everything is too easy. These ladies will encounter something that will seem like a possible threat for three panels and then resolve it with ease. Like the question of how to get down from the tower or the giant ogre. I get that this is a child friendly romp, but at the same time, children can handle some tension.

I will say, I appreciate the overall theme of moving beyond the role society’s chosen for you and finding your own place. We see all of  our major characters rejecting the boxes they’ve been put into in favour of their own paths. I also like the humour throughout. There are some delightfully funny bits of dialogue.

Characters:

The characters are a bit simplistic but they’re also more than passable considering the target audience. The short arcs of rejecting the roles that were chosen for them adds some depth to their characters. Amira and Sadie have a cute dynamic. Maybe a little under-developed but it’s about the best you can expect given how short the story is.

Art: 

The art is very cutesy. I’m not saying that as a bad thing. Truthfully, the aesthetic is quite nice. The character designs are pretty strong. The panel layouts are well thought out. The action flows quite well. About the worst I can say is that the backgrounds are a bit plain.

Areas of Improvement:

  1. Have the characters take a bit more effort to resolve issues. The book could benefit from having them put more effort into resolving their problems.
  2. Flesh out some background details. I get that the foreground is more important but having more detailed backgrounds would be nice.
  3. A little more time to flesh out the main dynamic. As nice and cute as it is, it could benefit from another page or two to help flesh it out.

Final Thoughts:

In terms of works for a younger audience, this one is pretty great. Clever dialogue, a positive theme, and endearing characters combine to make for an entertaining and very quick read. Which is why I’m going to give it a very solid 8/10. If you have a youngster in your life who could use a good story or you just enjoy reading simplistic stories, I can recommend it.

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December Bonus Review #4: Stories of Ibis

The Stories of Ibis is a novel from 2006 written by Yamamoto Hiroshi. Although I’ll be reading from the 2010 English version since, in spite of being a massive weeb, I don’t speak Japanese. In any case, it’s been quite a while since my last book review. So, I’m excited to get on with this one.

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Story:

We open with a wandering storyteller being confronted by an android. She says she just wants to talk, but he doesn’t believe her and proves no match for her and injures himself trying to bust her systems. She calls for help and he wakes up in hospital, a prisoner of the robots.

Our heroine introduces herself as Ibis and she entertains the story teller during his convalescence by telling him some stories. But can he overcome his deep-rooted mistrust of machines and actually listen?

The story is based around bibliotherapy and is reminiscent of 1001 Nights in that regard. The main narrative features Ibis telling stories to our protagonist while the stories she tells are feature a few thematic similarities. Namely that they’re about artificial intelligence and a positive attitude towards it. This eventually culminates in Ibis telling the non-fictional story about how mankind has reached its current state.

My first minor criticism of the narrative is that the Black Hole Diver story isn’t that great. It’s good, but not on par with the rest. My second is that it feels like it goes a bit far with how divorced humanity has become from its past. I understand why a lot of our history has to have been lost but the degree seems a tad excessive.

That being said, these stories are, generally, excellent. Even the worst of them is still good. They have a good variety in terms of content, but they all tie in together pretty well. Which is impressive considering that most of them were initially published as short stories by themselves. And the interactions with Ibis and the story teller are really interesting. It keeps you interested in how things got to this point. The pay off is well worth it too.

Characters:

The major characters are Ibis and the story teller. We get his point of view which gives us some insight into how humans of the age think as well as how he specifically differs from the norm. Which combines to give him a strong sense of personality. Ibis is quite compelling too. She has a sense of complexity but there’s enough that’s odd about it to give the impression that she’s not quite human.

The characters you see in the short stories are really well defined too. Yamamoto does a great job of giving you stories with a lot of nice background details and interesting technology but also making them very character focused.

Final Thoughts:

This book is fantastic. If you’re a fan of science fiction and you want to see how to handle the general concept of sapient AI really well and not like a bumbling man child, David Cage, I highly recommend it. I’ll give this one an enthusiastic 9/10.