Review: Teen Titans: Raven

42788199★★★★

It is finally here! The first installment of DC Ink’s new Teen Titans series. As a die-hard Marvel fan for most of my life, this isn’t a franchise that I’m familiar with beyond cartoons here and there as a kid. I was turned on to this new series because one of my favorite artists, Gabriel Picolo, illustrated Raven’s story.

Teen Titans: Raven takes place before the Teen Titans have formed, instead focusing on Raven’s life after the accident that taken the life of her mother. Suffering from memory loss, she starts a new life in New Orleans under the care of her aunt.

Garcia’s clear enthusiasm for this character coupled with Picolo’s gorgeous artwork have come together perfectly to produce a strong introduction to carry this series forward. All is introduced at the perfect pace, but long-time Teen Titans fans will still be thrilled with the appearance of some infamous foes. Perhaps my favorite part of this was the new family that takes Raven in and helps her grow. Though she struggles greatly with remembering who she is and rediscovering the truth of her powers, her aunt and sister support her through a transition into a new life. I would highly recommend this to both new and old fans of the Teen Titans franchise, the vision of Raven that Garcia and Picolo have brought to life is my favorite that I’ve ever seen and I’m eagerly awaiting the next installment.

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Advance Review: Nancy Drew: The Palace of Wisdom

★★★☆☆43837351

Kelly Thompson has brought new life to this well-loved character with her quick, witty graphic novel. I was an occasional mystery lover growing up and though I was never an avid fan, I fondly recall the Nancy Drew books I took from my elementary school library. I enjoyed the reintroduction to familiar characters (including The Hardy Boys!) and how Thompson portrays them in their late teen years.

The story begins with the midst of her hi-jinks, finishing up a mystery involving the disappearance of her school’s mascot. As Nancy begins searching for her next case, she is suddenly drawn back to her hometown by a mysterious letter relating to the death of her mother. Back in Bayport, Nancy reunites with her old friends and rallies the group to aid her investigation.

The artwork throughout the entire graphic novel is gorgeous, I’m a huge fan of Jess St. Onge’s style. The story is filled with interesting twists and a diverse cast of characters. Though the plot didn’t completely thrill me, I was definitely hooked by the cliffhanger and I will be looking forward to the next installment. Continue reading “Advance Review: Nancy Drew: The Palace of Wisdom”

Review: Crow Flight

★★☆☆☆

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m usually one of the last people to pick up YA novels, but the premise of Crow Flight caught my attention. The story follows the hyper-logical, highly intelligent programmer Regina “Gin” Hartson. Crow Flight begins as Gin starts her senior year of high school, gunning for Harvard and unwilling to let anything get in her way. In her exclusive computer modeling class, she is partnered with the new kid at school, Felix Gartner. Gin’s logic-based approach to life begins to falter as her relationship with Felix begins to flourish, until it all comes crashing down with a dark secret hiding in their data.

I enjoyed the third act of this book, but I made it there by sheer will alone. The characters initially felt like caricatures of teen stereotypes that have been played out in this genre. Relationships and conflicts in this book flow with ease at some points and seem forced and wedged in at others (e.g. Gin’s best friend is largely left out of the latter half of Crow Flight, as a result of a spat that hardly seemed large enough to cause a schism between two long time friends). I struggled with the pacing of this book as well. Much of the book passes slowly, uneventfully, with the final act jammed full of action I wish had been expanded upon or at least kicked off earlier in the book.

The saving grace of Crow Flight, for me, was Gin and Felix’s relationship. Despite the clichés, their friendship and the relationship that bloomed from it had a depth and genuine quality that is hard to capture. Overall, a solid YA read, but not for me. Continue reading “Review: Crow Flight”