Lughnasadh Giveaway

Congratulations to Julie, the Litha Giveaway winner! :)

For Lughnasadh I'm giving away a copy of Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol. You can read my review here. Giveaway is international and it ends on August 1. Please read the rules before entering. Good luck everyone! :)

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Graphic Novels Reviews: Anya's Ghost and The Fade Out

Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol

Anya could really use a friend. But her new BFF isn't kidding about the "Forever" part.
Of all the things Anya expected to find at the bottom of an old well, a new friend was not one of them. Especially not a new friend who’s been dead for a century.
Falling down a well is bad enough, but Anya's normal life might actually be worse. She's embarrassed by her family, self-conscious about her body, and she's pretty much given up on fitting in at school. A new friend—even a ghost—is just what she needs.
Or so she thinks.
This one seems to be a cute graphic novel, but it's so much more.
Anya, as any teenager, struggles with everything. She wants to fit in, but the fact she's a daughter of Russian emigrants doesn't help. She tries to act tough and cool, but it's more than obvious that she is a kind girl who is so confused by everything. One day, when she skips school, she ends up in an old well and meets "her ghost". It was amazing to follow Anya's story and the way she dealt with everything that was expected from her (family, school, friends, society etc.) and how in the end she had to face and fight her ghost in order to "survive". Anya's a very well fleshed out and believable character.
At first I wasn't super excited about the art, but now I actually love it. I especially enjoy what the author/artist does with eyes and how it can change the expression on one's face so completely.

This was a very enjoyable read dealing with some big things. I'm definitely going to read more things by Brosgol.


The Fade Out, Vol. 1 by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips


Brubaker and Phillips' newest hit series, The Fade Out, is an epic noir set in the world of noir itself, the backlots and bars of Hollywood at the end of its Golden Era. A movie stuck in endless reshoots, a writer damaged from the war and lost in the bottle, a dead movie star and the lookalike hired to replace her. Nothing is what it seems in the place where only lies are true. The Fade Out is Brubaker and Phillips' most ambitious project yet!

I'm still not sure what to think about this one. I was so excited when I requested this on NetGalley, so much actually that I had to buy it before my request was approved.
It's very dark in all ways: the story, the art, everything is perfectly noir. The main character is a perfect noir anti-hero. He's clever and has got some talent. There are moments when you like him, but there are moments when you really despise him.
I know this is only the first volume, yet I couldn't help it, at times it felt like the story was inconsistent.
As I said, I'm still not sure about this one. I will probably read the next volume though.



Poetry Time

Midsummer is here! :)

More pictures on my Instagram.

From Childe Harold's Pilgrimage by George Gordon Byron

“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal”

Review: Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski

Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski

Watch for the signs! What signs these shall be, I say unto you: first the earth will flow with the blood of Aen Seidhe, the Blood of Elves...

For over a century, humans, dwarves, gnomes, and elves have lived together in relative peace. But times have changed, the uneasy peace is over, and now the races are fighting once again. The only good elf, it seems, is a dead elf.
I've read this in Czech translation and if you are from a Slavic country and there's a translation available, I suggest you read that rather than the English one. Also, this is the first novel in the series, but there are two other books of short stories. As far as I know only one has been translated into English. It's The Last Wish and one of the stories there is a kind of a prologue to the novels.

“To be neutral does not mean to be indifferent or insensitive. You don’t have to kill your feelings. It’s enough to kill hatred within yourself.” 

It might sound like any other high fantasy with all those elves, dwarves, prophecies, chosen children and with the medieval setting. But don't be fooled, this is an exceptional novel!

First of all, I think the whole series has a very different tone than any fantasy by an English speaking author. I can't help it, but it's just different. Obviously, Sapkowski works with Slavic folklore and mythology, but it's not just that. It's the characters and the mood. And of course the names of places and people. It's a nice change.

The most enjoyable thing about this book for me are the characters. Not only how wonderfully fleshed out they are, but also the fact that there are many believable female characters. The two main characters are Ciri, the child of prophecy, and Geralt of Rivia, the unusual witcher, who hunts monsters in order to protect people (but who are the real monsters?). But every character mentioned in the book is very real and moves the story along. It's a real joy to follow thoughts of different people as the story progresses. There are some people that could be labelled as villains, but even those have some ambiguity. Most of the characters are very complex and it underlines the fact that this book is not the typical good versus evil story.
The characters are the most important thing, even though the worldbuilding is great, it doesn't overpower the characters, and I believe that's how it should be.

Another great thing is the way Sapkowski explores human nature and shows us both good and bad side of what it means to be human.
What I really appreciate is that it does not present a view/philosophy/attitude as the (only) right one and as the ultimate answer to all the problems in the book. It has many interesting thoughts and suggestions. It shows, suggests, explores through the eyes of different characters, but it never comes up with an ultimate solution. It leaves the conclusion to the reader.

I loved this so much, I can't even tell you. You must read it! :)


Here's a video from the third game based on these stories. I think it captures some of the things I mentioned in my review pretty well!