In July, one of favorite authors, Rainbow Rowell announced her next project would be writing a new series of Marvel’s Runaways, we were intrigued. True I was hoping she would be releasing a new novel. It’s been over a year since Carry On came out. I wasn’t all that familiar with Runaways. I knew of them from all the years shelving graphic novels while working at Barnes and Noble but never really paid much attention. Well, the Runaways are having a moment. Not only are they being revived by Rowell but next year Hulu is premiering a TV show based on them. I’m a big fan of Rowell’s. I enjoy her writing so for the first time I’m going to read issue by issue instead of waiting for Trades to come out because let’s be honest, even with a star writer and an only cult following there is no guarantee that they will come out in trade. I didn’t even know you could pre-order comic books like you can book books! It’s a whole new world for me people. I’ve decided that even though Rowell’s Runaways is a reboot so I don’t need to be a fan to runaway, I would go ahead and read the previous stories. So far, I’ve made it through the original series by Brian K. Vaughn and artist Adrian Alphona (2003-2004) and they are delightful. I can see why so many people latched on to them. It follows a group of teenagers with seemingly nothing in common except for once a year they are forced together as their parents get together to catch up and fund raise for charities. Alex, Nico, Karolina, Gert, Chase and Molly discover that their parents are not who they think they are. They are in fact super-villains and they call themselves the Pride. They runaway as they try to figure out what to do next. They also discover that some of them have powers of their own. Molly is mutant with super strength. Karolina is actually from another planet and has the ability to fly and glow. Nico is a kind of a sorceress who can cast spells. Gert has a psychic connection to a dinosaur. That’s right a dinosaur! Being a teenager is hard enough but being a teenager on the run from your evil parents while trying to figure out how to use your powers is down right stressful! It’s a full cast of diverse characters with different backgrounds and different personalities. I’m quite enjoying them. Now on to the next series.
I knew I was going to like this book when it was revealed that Alex and her family of Brujas live in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. I may be a little bias but Sunset Park is the best neighborhood in Brooklyn. Anyway, Alex is from a long line of Brujas or as we say in english, Witches. While her family sees their powers as gift sees them as only curses. Her Deathday is coming and Alex will do anything to get rid of her powers. She blames them for the misfortune of her family. She believes they made her father leave when she was a child. When she accidentally banishes her family to Los Lagos, she must venture there herself with a mysterious but handsome Brujo Nova to guide her. This is a story about acceptance. Alex for so long was afraid of herself, believing that her powers were the source of her families troubles and that if she only got rid of them then they would be okay. Over time she realizes that her powers are part of her and ridding them would only getting rid a part of her. For too long she tried to hide who she was that she didn’t even know who she was. The only person she felt she could be herself around was with her friend, Rishi but even there she had to keep herself a secret. As Alex, Nova and Rishi navigate the dangers of Los Lagos, she becomes more at home with her powers but things are not as they seem. For one Nova is not who she thinks he is. It bothered me that she never really questioned why he knew so much about Los Lagos. He is quite knowledgeable about the place that only existed in myths and legends before. The best surprise was who Alex’s love interest ended up being. It was all set up to be Nova when it ended up being Rishi. How refreshing to see Queer representation of Latina and Guyanese girls. Their relationship starts as a sweet friendship. Accepting each other for who they are and not caring that one is a little odd to seeing each other for who they truly are. Alex and Nova shippers have some hope but I do hope that Alex and Rishi are the endgame. As for the rest of the story, it wasn’t perfect but it was entertainment. It’s great to have a strong Latina lead character and being kickass. Now that Alex has come into her powers, it’ll be interesting to see what comes next for her and her family.
Final book in the Reawakened Series.
**There maybe a few minor spoilers in this review**
First of all, our Cousin Sarah has good taste in books because I really enjoyed this series. So thank you Sarah for the suggestion. I’m sorry that I waited so long to read it.
One of the themes I got from this series is how past shapes our present and our future. As someone who has a degree in history I really appreciate that. The saying of “those who don’t learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them” maybe cliche but it’s also true. History is littered with examples of forgetting or ignoring the past and then surprised when the results are the same. Look about what is going on today. Many of the same rhetoric that is being said on both side of the aisle have all been said before. There have been so many correlation between what is currently going in the United States with what lead to other Countries descent into authoritarian regimes. Agree or disagree that is the direction the US is going, one must be a little nervous with what they are seeing happening around our country. Right now is the perfect time to look back at our past and see what we can learn.
The Tearling was founded by William Tear and his followers by leaving the United States that had fallen into Martial Law and extreme poverty. They crossed the Atlantic and through a mysterious portal to land in the “New World” to start an utopian society where everyone was equal. No one was more important then another but this was never truly the truth in practice, even from the beginning of their new colony. William Tear always stood higher then everyone else even though he tried not too. His opinion was enough to sway an issue to right or the left. He was the King without the title. You add the people’s unwillingness to talk about their pre-crossing life led to the downfall of the society after only one generation. They failed to learn from their own past. They felt that had moved beyond the troubles of their past but when things fell apart they resorted back into the old habits and fear that lead the downfall of the past and again fell part again. Three hundred years later, Kelsea inherits a country with very little assets and has the traffic it’s own people to a neighboring country to survive. The people are mostly illiterate and live in poverty. The ideals of William Tear have long been forgotten. Kelsea with the help of the Mace, try their best to right the wrongs of their past but with little army and even less of a treasury she is fighting an uphill battle. Kelsea is not perfect herself. She is young and inexperienced. She has a temper on her that makes to make rash decisions. She was also left in the dark about her own countries history, particularly the resent history that she has to learn about her people as she rules them. She makes some great decisions but she also makes some terrible mistakes. Which is important because it is sometimes to easy to make the protagonist to perfect. It would be very easy to make Kelsea a saint, bringing her country back to it’s former glory but Erika Johansen doesn’t do that. Nor does she give us the perfect happy ending either but I’ll get to that later.
The Tearling is a curious place. It takes place in the future but is clearly a Medieval society. They lost most of their medical supplies and doctors in the crossing and 300 later they still haven’t developed any technology. They don’t even have a working printing press. The Horror! They do have a little bit of magic. Kelsea also inherits two sapphires that give her abilities to see into the past and powers. The ability to see into the past and the future help her but also make things a bit tense. She starts to have visions of the past through two women who helped shape the early Tearling. She sees how life was before the crossing and how the Tearling fell. She struggles to figure out how the past is supposed to help her but she knows it’s important. As her kingdom starts to fall apart and those who are most loyal are starting to question. When she finally figures out what to do it’s ruthless and brave that runs head on into doing not knowing what the outcome will be. In the end *spoiler* she does bring back William Tear’s vision for the New World even though it’s not how she imagined it. It’s very bittersweet that accomplished what she set out to do, she righted all the inequality the country had suffered through but it left her a little alone in her victory. Then again, who knows what the future will bring for Kelsea. Maybe all we have to do is gleam into her past to see where Kelsea will go next.
I bought this at BookCon in June. Excited to finally getting to it.
Update: Already in love now that I know they Brujas live in Sunset Park!
I raced through The Invasion of the Tearling and now on to the final book in the trilogy.
*** This review may contain Spoilers ***
I confess, I’m not all that familiar with the store of Swan Lake so I can’t say if this is a good retelling or not. What I can say it was just meh. I wanted really into it but I also wasn’t bored with it either. Evelayn is the crown Princess of the light side of the Kingdom. Long time ago, a curse fell on the Kingdom years ago and took away their immortality and separated them into two Kingdoms of Light and Dark. For centuries the two sides lived in peace and keeping balance of the magic until 10 years before when the King of the Dark magic started a war to grasp both sides. Evelayn is thrust into the conflict when her Mother is killed by the King making her Queen. Now Evelayn is a fine character. She’s smart and brave and willing to do anything for country. She does what she needs to be done. She’s a fast learner. She is just coming into her powers and is able to master all of them except for the power to transform into her Swan. Only those with royal blood can transfigure. Her love interest is Tanvir is kind of bland. Several times there are hints of him not being worthy, that he has a secret, or that there is something is past that could come back to haunt him. I was starting to think that he was a spy for the Dark Kingdom and he was forced to be a spy to save his sister who isn’t dead just being held captive by the King. That would have made him more interesting at least but no. The Dark Prince, Lorcan is far more interesting to me then either Evelayn and Tanvir and I sort of started rooting for him. I know he’s technically the real big bad of the story but I was left for interested in what he was going to do then the others. I also felt how Evelayn reacted at the end was a little out of character. She never sought out violence before. She had to do what she had to do for the safety of her Kingdom and keeping balance so for her to threaten the Dark Queen like she did seemed a strange move. True she is young and obviously scared and desperate but this wasn’t the first time she felt that way and handled things better. So yeah, it was meh but I’m going to read the second book because I do want to see what Lorcan does next.
Recommended by our Cousin.
The month of May has a lot of great new books coming out and of course I’m already behind in my to-read list. Sigh. Anyway, here’s a list a few books that I’m definitely going to try to get to in May. Let’s see how I’ll do.
Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan
Seeker by Veronica Rossi
Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare
Dark Breaks the Dawn by Sara B. Larson