Net Galley Wrap Up #3

Friday 9 October 2020

 Hi friends. It's time for another Net Galley wrap up. This one is graphic novels and manga again because, well, they're the easiest thing to read and rate on Net Galley. So sue me! But I digress, here are the next five graphic novels I've read.

Cagaster Vol 1 by Kachou Hashimoto

Manga is funny. Not funny haha, but funny in the sense that 

Cagaster vol 1 is set in the year 2155 after (back in the year 2125) a plague called "cagaster" turns one in a thousand people into man eating bugs which are also called "cagaster." Now a young expert exterminator naked Kidou has been tasked with protecting a helpless girl named Ilie and finding her mother. 

This is a basic action manga. A 17 year old boy is somehow an expert and he meets a helpless girl and the two form an instant and inseparable bond even though Kidou is a huge jerk. In fact, he's really mean to Ilie and gives her no reason to actually like him, but she does because she's an manga heroine and she has to like the main character because of reasons. 

The story is weak and the characters are huge tropes. There is nothing new, challenging, or even remotely interesting about this. I've read so many others that are better. Skip this.

One of it's selling points is that there's an anime on Netflix based on it. But don't waste your time. Watch One Piece or Food Wars or literally anything else.

Cagaster Vol 1 gets a 3 out of 11

The Wizerd! And The Potion of Dreams by Michael Sweater and Rachel Dukes

This is about The Wizerd who's a recluse and is very happy to stay at home not going on adventures. One day the brash and foolhardy Princess Wallace attacks the Wizeard out of nowhere and tries to convince them to help them  make a wishing potion. The Wizeard agrees and the two start an adventure. Along the way they meet an archer who they help get out of a sticky situation and together the group goes on their quest.

This is at least a YA graphic novel if not even a middle grade.  I think it's very important to keep that in mind when you read because it's not a very challenging story. What it is, is cute. It's perfect if you just want a fun and enjoyable story or you want something to read along with your kids.

This is a very positive, very innocent, and very pure story. There may be swords, explosions, and fighting, but never once did I think anyone was actually going to get hurt. So if you're reading this to a very young child, maybe just do the good parent thing of reminding them that hitting their friends with swords is a no no. But other than that, there's no reason that even very young kids could enjoy this.

If you have read any other reviews for this graphic novel, you have have seen others compare the art style to Adventure Time. I too will add that comparison but also add in some inspiration from Dr. Seuss. The art isn't bad or lazy. It's very purposeful in it's whimsical cartoon style.

If you're looking for a quick and fun read. This is your book. If you're looking for something to read with your children or as a gift for a young relative, this is your book. If you're looking for something that's boundary pushing and progressive, then look elsewhere. But for just plain enjoyability, this is for you.

The Wizerd! And The Potion of Dreams gets an 8 out of 11

The Tea Dragon Tapestry by Katie O'Neill

This is the third book in the Tea Dragon series and it's still just as cute and adorable as the first. It still follows Greta and Minette with the Tea Dragons but this time they have different problems. Greta struggles with her future and a potential apprenticeship with a renowned blacksmith. Also, she can't seem to help her Tea Dragon Ginseng deal with its depression because of the loss of its former owner.  All the while, Minette is dealing with problems of her own.  She is suffering from some deep dark homesickness and lack of purpose. Together and with the help of their friends, Greta and Minette can find their way. 

I love the Tea Dragon series and I'm so thankful that my wife discovered this series AND that Net Galley had this ARC. This is a truly wonderful children's book that had some beautiful illustrations and had a very open and positive story.  

This is what a kids book should be. It's beautifully inclusive and makes the inclusivity look like an everyday normal thing which it is and should always be.  There are different races getting along, There are characters of color. There is LGBTQ representation. There's a disabled character and it even deals with mental health. The story normalizes all of it without coming across as preachy.

I plan buying this series for my children because it's the type of book I want them to read. As a bonus, I would love to reread our myself.

The Tea Dragon Tapestry gets an 11 out of 11

Kusama by Elisa Macellari

I was only mildly familiar with Yayoi Kusama before reading this graphic novel. I knew who she was due to taking an art history class as well as my own Grandmother's interest in all things Japanese since she herself was Japanese. 

What I expected going into this was a biographical graphic novel. But what I ended up with was a beautifully illustrated cliffsnotes version of Kusama's story.

Don't misunderstand. I liked this. The art was beautiful and I learned quite a bit more than I knew previously. To be honest my level of knowledge went from almost nothing to a little bit of thanks to this book.

This was pleasant to read thanks to Elisa Macellari's wonderful art. Kusama herself had (has) a life that ranged from sad to somber but the vivid colors and style of Macellari's art was the perfect vessel for Kusama's story.

I would still like to know even more about her life but outside of a full biography, this was a good start. If you buy this, do it for the art. Do it for a taste of a larger story.

Kusama gets a 7 out of 11

Haiku Illustrated translated by Hart Larrabee

I remember this

The counting on my fingers

And making haiku

But all joking aside, this is a well done book. Just like I was taught from Dead Poets Society,  I don't critique poetry. But what I can do is tell you that I did love the Haiku and thought they were quite beautiful. Are they good? Well I liked them and that's as much as I'm going to say about the poems.

There was artwork in this book as well and it ranged from beautiful Japanese woodblocks to a photo of a tree. The pictures were my only issue. The woodblocks were nice and topical but the random other pictures or small drawings felt out of place and it messed with the flow of the theme.  Hopefully in the final product they'll change it.

But a few of the pictures being less than topical was truly my only issue. This was a great book and perfect for a coffee table conversation piece or as a thoughtful gift.

Haiku Illustrated gets a 7.5 out of 11

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