Nils: The Tree of Life by Jerome Hamon – #eARC #GraphicNovelReview

Goodreads: Nils: The Tree of Life
Publish date: 11 February 2020
Publisher: Magnetic Press/Diamond Book Distributors
Genre: Graphic Novel, Young Adult, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Panda Rating:

A dystopic Nordic fantasy world, where spirits of light are the key to life, but seemingly have abandoned the world. Young Nils and his father set out to discover why the ground has grown infertile, heading north where the drought seems worse to find the cause. Far along the way, they find signs of fresh and vibrant life, caretaken by these little light spirits. But before they know it, a large metal creature arrives and attacks the creatures, apparently hunting and gathering them.

From out of the woods, a woman attacks the creature, bringing it to its knees… apparently the plant was bait for the spirits, which in turn were bait for the metal creature, which serves the high-tech Cyan Nation. This huntress, named Alba, takes Nils and his father into their tribe, where the battle between the shamanistic people and the Cyan Nation is paramount, a battle over the protection vs exploitation of the light spirits power…

Meanwhile, three goddesses watch these events, lamenting the fact that man had abandoned all belief in their power long ago. They watch but do not intervene, despite the fact that the spirits are being harvested en masse by the Cyan Nation, wreaking ruin on the world outside their city. Realizing that this conflict will in one way or another change the very fabric of this world, they slowly begin to intervene…

As they continue their travels, Nils has a dream (seeded by one of the goddesses) about the World Tree, Yggdrasil, which is being consumed by a metal plague. He knows he must now find and save the tree, and in the process, save the world. But the high council of the Cyan Nation would have otherwise…

Having been separated in their quest, Nils’s father finds himself a guest of the Cyan Prince, where he learns that they do indeed understand the power of the spirits, which they call Ethernum, serving as the power source for their technological advancement. More sinister than that, however, is the fact that they’ve used the Ethernum as a means of near-eternal longevity, having wiped out all competitors to their power and resource long ago. And now, they believe they have unlocked the secrets for using the Ethernum to revive the dead…

And for the goddesses, that is a step too far. They intervene, but in the process find one of themselves surprisingly captured by the Cyan royalty… and then killed. The remaining two goddesses are torn by this affront. One vows to wipe mankind off the planet for good, while the other goes to help Nils save the Life Tree.

High fantasy adventure combining science-fiction with pseudo-spiritual magic, posing dramatic examinations of man vs nature, life vs death, fact vs faith, and man’s desire to play god.

This was an interesting graphic novel that had a fascinating mix of Nordic mythology and fantasy elements that shared a story about a dying earth due to corruption, exploitation of resources, and the troubled Goddesses that are affected by the effects of human greed and technological advancement.

I enjoyed how Nils started but as more elements of the story were introduced I became confused with the direction it was going but also the erratic flow of scenes towards the middle and end. There were many scene jumps that made the climax feel disjointed and since there was a lot of action in these parts, it only left me feeling confused with everything that was going on. I did go back to re-read scenes in case I missed anything but I still didn’t get the clarity I was looking for. I had plenty of questions about the whole world and the characters in it — Nils, the goddesses, the Cyan nation and how it came to be, and Alba’s tribe of women hunters and how they survived. I wish that these elements were better explained so that we could have a better understanding of the story. There was also some romantic notions that were hinted at between one of the goddesses towards Nils which seemed unnecessary and didn’t make me feel more sympathetic towards her fight to save him and human kind. It honestly creeped me out a little bit lol…

That said, the artwork is simply stunning and it’s what made me want to continue reading despite not fully understanding what was going on in the storyline. The color palette was well chosen and really reflected the ‘cold tundra’/Nordic feel alongside dying nature and technologically advanced city vibes that the story presented. The details were wonderful and I loved the distinctive look of all the different characters. There were some illustrations, particularly to do with nature and the spirits, that really gave me Princess Mononoke / Miyazaki vibes and I loved it!

While Nils had an interesting and promising premise it unfortunately didn’t follow through for me. The artwork was beautiful and I’d love to see more graphic novels illustrated by this artist however, I wish that the storyline had been more clear and easy to follow/understand!

Thanks to NetGalley and Magnetic Press/Diamond Books Distributor for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. This graphic novel is out 11 February 2020.
Have you read Nils: The Tree of Life or is it on your TBR?

Manga Classics: The Count of Monte Cristo by Stacy King, Crystal S. Chan – #eARC #GraphicNovelReview

Goodreads: Manga Classics: The Count of Monte Cristo
Publish date: 11 April 2017
Publisher: UDON Entertainment
Genre: Graphic Novel, Classic Literature
Panda Rating:

A Conspiracy and a miscarriage of justice turn the gentle Edmond Dantรจs into an implacable agent of fate: The Count of Monte Cristo . Obsessed by vengeance and empowered by providence, the Count avenges himself on whose who have wronged him – but is this justice, or is this hubris? In the end, does even the Count know? Alexandre Dumas’ skillful narrative combines intrigue, betrayal, and triumphant revenge into a powerful conflict between good and evil. Now this exciting saga, rich and diverse, takes on an entirely new life in this Manga Classics adaptation!

The Count of Monte Cristo is a classic that I’ve been meaning to read but have always been too intimidated to actually pick up, so when I saw this manga I immediately jumped on it! Surprisingly I realised I knew very little of the story when I started reading it and since I haven’t read the novel I also can’t attest to how well the manga actually adopts the classic. I do however know that it’s a fairly chunky text and I have no doubt that it has some very complex plot lines and in-depth character studies. Based on that, I think that the adaptors did an amazing job in condensing everything into a more simplified text. It took me a couple of hours to read this 400 page manga while I’m sure it’d probably take me one month+ to finish the original!

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#TopTenTuesday: Falling in Love with Book Characters

It’s that time of the week again, friends! We’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is: character traits I love to see in book characters/things that make me love a book character (submitted by Hannah @ Books Life and Other Oddities). and the minute I read the prompt, my mind drew a straight blank. Had I actually read any books with numbers in the title? Thankfully I have my awesome buddy that’s known as Goodreads to help me figure this out! I found a few titles but I’m not sure if there are enough to amount to ten, so let’s see how it goes!

Book Lover/Reader. This one doesn’t really need explaining right? I’m a sucker for someone who loves all thing bookish on the page, as much as I love finding them in real life too!

Not afraid to show their nerd. This might sound similar to the bookish trait, but it goes beyond just books. I love when a character isn’t afraid to nerd out about something they’re really passionate about, especially when I least expect it of a character!

Sassy/Sarcastic/Humorous. Give me all the sass, sarcasm and humor. Any character who can make me laugh already has me halfway to rooting for them — whether they’re main characters, side characters or even on the rare occasion, the villain!

Cinnamon rolls. When I think of characters who are cinnamon rolls, I always immediately think of Tanner from Autoboyography first. He’s such a pure sweetheart of a character who deserves so much and I love characters who make me want to scoop them up, hug them forever and keep them in my pocket wherever I go!

Grumpy/gruff exterior but a softy at heart. For the most part I’m thinking about the male leads of my favorite romances for this trait. I’m a total sucker for that grumpy bear of a lead whose walls slowly come down the more we get to know them, and who end up being total softies. Swoon! ๐Ÿ˜

Sticks to their guns. I love a character who will basically stick to their convictions. Practice what they preach. Whatever you wanna call it. Wishy-washy characters give me a headache and drive me absolutely insane!

Acknowledging past mistakes and proving their maturity. I often read about characters who have ‘changed/grown up’ but their actions never speak to that growth. Give me a character who actively acknowledges what a spoiled, immature idiot they’ve been when they were younger, and who actually shows that they’ve matured through their actions!

Loyalty. Maybe it’s a little cliche but it’s such an important trait to me in real life and adds an incredible amount to the respect and attraction I feel for a person, so it obviously makes sense that I’d find this attractive in a fictional character too.

Kind. Plain, simple, kindness. I feel like being kind is underrated in a lot of books but give me a character who shows genuine kindness to others and I’ll be a definite fan.

What are some traits that make you love a character?
If you’ve done a TTT for today, please leave your links in the comments so I can mosey over to your blog and check it out! ๐Ÿ™‚

Friday Favorites: Favorite Characters that Other People Hate!

This week’s answer is gonna be hella short because my Friday at work has been a helluva Friday and I’m not gonna be making it home until much later tonight due to some family stuff (all is fine, just have people visiting). I’ve been so exhausted over the last few days and I think I finally had it today when I basically started crying (literally) over I thought I had lost a design file I’d been working on all day when my application crashed? It was a little embarrassing ๐Ÿ˜…So I’m sorry in advance for the mediocre-ness of my post today!

It’s time for another Friday Favorites hosted by Kibby @ Something of the Book! This weekly meme is where you get to share a list of all your favourites based on the list of prompts on Kibby’s page. Sounds fun, right? This week’s prompt is: favorite characters that other people hate! Wow, I’m blanking really hard on this one. I cannot for the life of me recall one character that I love and other people hate because most of the time I’m in agreement with the people who hate these same characters? And I’m over here hating on the characters that other people love so… ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธI’m going to really try to pick my brain here but I’ll probably only end up with one or two characters. Bear with me! LOL

The first two characters that come to mind after some digging in my brain are Marianne and Connell from Normal People by Sally Rooney. This book isn’t for everyone and I totally get why. Marianne and Connell are so bad at communicating that it sometimes made me want to throw my book at the wall out of frustration with how much they seriously sucked at it. That said, oh man, I totally loved both of their characters and felt so much for them in this story. What they thought, felt and experienced was so relatable to me and made me love their characters all the more. They’re completely imperfect and sometimes there are just no happy endings, but that’s life.

Another character that comes to mind is Penny Lee from Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi. I’ve heard many people say how they found her character annoying and immature, and it lost the book points because they couldn’t get into it because of her. Honestly? I agreed at the start but Penny very quickly grew on me because there was so much more behind her attitude and her actions that really made me feel for her. She’s a complex character, especially because of her upbringing and particularly her mother, and she suffers from a lot of insecurities and anxiety which I can absolutely relate to. I loved Penny by the end of the book!

What character do you love that others hate?
Please come tell me in the comments below and let’s chat!

Friday Favorites: Unfinished Series!

It’s time for another Friday Favorites hosted by Kibby @ Something of the Book! This weekly meme is where you get to share a list of all your favourites based on the list of prompts on Kibby’s page. Sounds fun, right? This week’s prompt is: unfinished series (either you haven’t read all the books or the series is still incomplete)! So after talking about books I’ve been avoiding for this week’s TTT, we’re now going into unfinished series territory, eh? I feel slightly attacked at having to confront the series I’ve left hanging! ๐Ÿ˜… For many of the same reasons I’ve been avoiding books on my shelves, I’ve left these books unfinished not because I don’t want to read them but because I’m scared I won’t be satisfied with the ending or because I don’t want this series to end or because… Well, too many books to read, too little time, right? ๐Ÿ˜ฌI do feel guilty about leaving these series unfinished, especially since I keep starting new ones, but I’m determined to catch up with as many of them as possible for #SequelSeptember!

Villains: Vengeful by V.E. Schwab
I loved Vicious and was so excited to get my hands on Vengeful (so excited in fact that I now have two copies of the book!) but still it sits untouched. I’ve heard that it’s not as amazing as the first, although still good. I haven’t been disappointed by Schwab yet, so I really hope I enjoy it!

The Nevernight Chronicle: Godsgrave and Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff
To be fair, I only started this series two weeks ago. I’m listening to Godsgrave right now and I’m speeding through it like a demon assassin! I’m hoping to read Darkdawn before September ends. Kristoff’s writing style has grown on me and I’m absolutely loving this gorey and humorous series.

Folk of the Air: The Wicked King and Queen of Nothing by Holly Black
The release date for QoN is quickly creeping up (seriously, where does the time fly?!) and I’m kind of tempted to read TWK closer to its release date. I re-read The Cruel Prince just two weeks ago, so it’s still fresh in my mind, but… If TWK ends in a cliffhanger, doesn’t it make sense to wait until I’ve got the QoN in hand so I don’t have to torture myself with waiting? ๐Ÿ™‚

Caraval: Finale by Stephanie Garber
I feel like you either really love or hate Caraval and I fell in love with it. There are tons of negative reviews, but I really enjoyed getting lost in the games and the characters; and actually I liked it much better than the famed Night Circus (don’t come for me)! But I’ve heard so many mixed reviews, even from people who’ve loved the series, about Finale that I’m TORN! I don’t want to hate it because it’s the last book but also, what if I end up loving it? Do I pick it up already?! Torn, I tell you!

Throne of Glass: Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas
I started ToG long before I joined the book community so I really had no idea how popular Maas and her novels were. I LOVED it and it quickly became one of my favorites. When I finished Tower of Dawn I immediately pre-ordered KoA and I even counted down the days until it arrived! But then it came, I put off reading it, and the longer I put it off, the less I remembered about the series. Oops? Now I feel like I need to re-read the whole series before touching this one? Am I crazy? Maybe ๐Ÿ™ƒ

Strange the Dreamer: Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor
I love Strange the Dreamer. Taylor’s prose is a mildly purple but it was beautiful and swept me away! I got lost in Lazlo’s dreams and the City of Weep. As much as I loved Strange, the ending CRUSHED me. I’m pretty sure I howled into my pillow in anger. So I’m kinda scared to read Muse. What happens next? I’m dying to now but also… Call me a coward coz I might let it sit for a while more?

Arc of a Scythe: The Toll by Neal Shusterman
THE TOLL IS COMING but not nearly soon enough! I’m aching to get my hands on the third book of this series. I didn’t expect to love this dystopian series as much as I did but wow, it was intense and so, so good. I love the Thunderhead and I can’t wait to find out what happens next. Will we pick up where we left off? Will years have passed by? What is going to happen!? Eeee… I hope I don’t put off reading this once it comes out. I’ll kick myself if I do ๐Ÿ˜‚

The Kingkiller Chronicle: The Wise Man’s Fear, The Slow Regard of Silent Things and Doors of Stone by Patrick Rothfuss
Doors of Stone still has no release date. I raced through The Name of the Wind and tale as old as time, I couldn’t wait to read Wise Man’s Fear but it’s been sitting, waiting for me. I started a re-read of TNotW last week, in prep to reading TWMF but I’ve put it on hold since WHO KNOWS WHEN book three will come out. Rothfuss, how long are you gonna keep your fans waiting, mate?

The Dark Artifices: Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare
I hadn’t read any of the Shadowhunter books and hardly knew anything about this world that Clare built before picking up The Dark Artifices. Honestly, the cover drew me in and continues to draw me in! I surprised myself by how much I’ve really enjoyed this series. It’s full of teenage angst but I’m still hooked on the mystery. I haven’t picked it up yet because have you seen it? It’s chunky AF. Is scared.

The Oremere Chronicles: Heart of Mist, Reign of Mist and War of Mist by Helen Scheuerer
I actually can’t remember when I read the Oremere Chronicles. It must have been soon after the first book came out, so probably 2017? But I remember loving it, though this was before I started writing reviews, so with my memory as bad as it is, I actually can’t remember any of it ๐Ÿ˜… Yet I continued to buy the two other books in the series because of the covers, but also because I want to see this series through. So, I’ll start from the top again!

And that’s it friends! There are 10 unfinished series on my list today, but there’s probably more that I can’t actually remember. Hah. Do you have any unfinished series to get to? What are your favorites?
Leave me a comment below and let’s chat!

Friday Favorites: Side Characters!

It has been a helluva Friday. It’s late, I’m completely exhausted and I still need to pack for my trip up to my parent’s home town tomorrow, and we leave at the ass crack of dawn! Not at all keen for the early wake up call, but we’re going to stay at nice villa with a lovely pool, so I’m hoping to spend some time next to it! That said, sorry if I ramble even more than usual in those post, and if what I say doesn’t make sense LOL! I can barely keep my eyes open and my head is spinning, so without further ado… Here we go!

It’s time for another Friday Favorites hosted by Kibby @ Something of the Book! This weekly meme is where you get to share a list of all your favorites based on the list of prompts on Kibby’s page. Sounds fun, right? This week’s prompt is: side characters! Who doesn’t love a good side character?! I love what they can add to a story and especially to the main characters! It’s even better when I love so much that I wish they had their own separate stories (a novella at the very least)! Off the top of my head, these are some of my favorite side characters.

Mister Kindly from Nevernight. I mean, how can Mister Kindly not be on my list?! HE’S THE BEST NOT-CAT SHADOW ‘PET’ EVER. I kind of wish that I had my own shadow animal that followed me around everywhere, made hilariously dry quips at my actions and drank in all my fear!

Grey from A Curse So Dark and Lonely. I don’t know if I consider him a side character. I mean, he’s still very much one beside Harper and Ren’s character in ACSDAL but I know that his character will get attention he so very much deserves in the sequel, A Heart So Fierce and Broken. If there were ‘teams’, I’d very much be team Grey. He’s such a steadfast and loyal companion to Rhen, and eventually a friend to Harper. I can’t wait to learn more about him!

Katrien from Sorcery of Thorns. Although she’s a fairly minor character, appearing only at the start and towards the end of the story, she’s one of Elisabeth’s only friends and a very loyal one at that. I loved her quirks, her awesome experiments and how she 100% supported Elisabeth in figuring out the mystery even from so far away.

Agnes from The Simple Wild. Although Agnes was the one who got Calla to Alaska, she was a minor character next to Wren and Jonah. She’s such a sweet and soft spoken, hardworking and loyal friend. She was always there to provide wisdom when Calla needed it and I wish we saw more of her in this story!

Large Marge from The Great Alone. Large Marge was an amazing side character and whenever she made an appearance in Lenny’s story, I just wanted to know more about her history and what brought her to the last frontier. She was such an empowering woman who gave Lenny and her mother much needed strength, safety and comfort. Everyone deserves to have a Large Marge in their life!

Mitchell Turner from Vicious (Villains #1). I know he’s an escaped convict together with Victor, but I have such a soft spot for him. He’s massively built, covered in tattoos, an insanely smart hacker, is superstitious, and has a thing for chocolate milk? I love his quiet character, his smarts, and his loyalty. He was dealt a bad hand in life and my heart feels for him. I just want more Mitch!

Harry Cameron from The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I loved Harry’s character so much. He was an amazing pillar of support for Evelyn, never steering her wrong throughout her career, and their life together was the most wonderful period of the story. The reveal in his storyline had me shook and what happened at the end absolutely shattered my feels!

Roarke Richards from The Book of Essie. Oh, Roarke. He was such a sweetheart of a character and I loved how his relationship with Essie grew to something so strong in this story. He deserved so much happiness! I just wanted to give him all the hugs and support and never let go!

Who are some of your favourite side characters?
Leave me a comment below and let’s chat!

#TopTenTuesday: Bookish Characters I’d Like to Befriend!

It’s that time of the week again, friends! We’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week is a Character Freebie and since I’ve just finished reading a book that reminded me why I love reading about books in books and characters who are passionate about books, I thought I’d do my post today on bookish characters that I’d like to befriend. Most of these characters might be from my more recent reads, since they’re fresher in my mind. Either way, I’d love to be friends with these fellow book lovers–I think we’d have so much fun reading?! Without further ado, here we go!

Elisabeth Scrivener from Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson. This book and this lady is my inspo for choosing today’s topic. I would probably feel safe being Elisabeth’s friend in a library because I know she’s bad ass enough to protect me, if I can’t protect myself ๐Ÿ™ƒ She just seems like a really cool girl. Also, Sorcery has fast become one of my favorite reads this year so all I’m going to say is (please) READ IT!

Kya Clark aka Marsh Girl from Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Kya is… one of the strongest characters I’ve read in recent years. Her development and growth blew me away and I would love to hang with her in the marsh, exploring the beauty of nature that she captures through her books. I think she’d be an amazing friend to have, which is one of the reasons my heart broke so much when reading this book.

Tanner Scott from Autoboyography by Christina Lauren. It’s pretty obvious Tanner is a bookish character, especially since the book revolves around him writing a book within four months. Tanner sounds like he’d be so much fun to hang out with and his heart is so pure, I’d love to have him as a friend (so we can talk about books, boys and everything else).

Cath from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I think the title of this book pretty much sums it up. Cath is a super relatable character (book nerd and fangirl) and I’d love to have met someone like her at uni (or even now, really). I feel your thoughts, girl.

Elizabeth Bennet from Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. Although this book appears so often on my blog, I would be remiss to not include both the character and book in this list because Elizabeth is a classic bookworm. I love this book, and her character and I love that she values books and reading so much! I don’t know what it’d be like to befriend her, but I really want to be ๐Ÿ˜‚

Penny Lee from Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi. She’s awkward, full of anxiety and totally absorbed in her make believe worlds, but I’d absolutely love to be Penny’s friend. I think she’d definitely make you work to be her friend, but it would be 100% rewarding. Buried deep under all that outer awkwardness, I think she just wants to be a cinnamon roll.

Matilda Wormwood from Matilda by Roald Dahl. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be friends with this adorable, witchy little bookworm? It’d be so much fun! Would avoid diabolical Trunchbull and her weirdo “parents” at all costs though!

Belle from In Bed with the Beast (Naughty Princess Club #2) by Tara Sivec. If you can’t tell, this is a retelling of Beauty & the Beast. This Belle works at a library and as the title suggests, gets to share a bed with a very sexy beast. I loved Belle’s nerdiness and all the facts she would spew at very inappropriate moments! If we were friends, I reckon I’d be laughing and reading 24/7, not to mention I’d learn so much!

Lazlo Strange from Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini Taylor. So at the end of this book, Lazlo becomes something more than just a Junior Librarian, so it’d be amazing to have a friend with such powers. But on the real, Lazlo is such a genuinely sweet, good guy who loves books and the stories as much as all of us book lovers (if not more)!

Honorary Mentions:
(The OG) Belle and Hermione Granger
. Obviously these two have to make it onto this list because they’re classics just as much as Elizabeth Bennett is and I’d love to be both their friends. Hermione would teach me so much magic (and just knowledge in general lol) and I would get lost in Belle’s (and Beast’s) library and basically end up living in that grand place.

Would you want to befriend any of these bookish characters?
What character freebie have you done for today’s Top Ten Tuesday? Leave your link in the comments and let’s chat characters!