Song of the Sea by Jade Varden

Song of the Sea  : ★★★★☆ (3.8) 

“It’s a liquid land filled with secrets and mysteries, and I wanted to discover them all.”

– Jade Varden, Song of the Sea

Brenna, a fifteen years old girl finds a fairly odd artifact in her attic and decided to use it for her school project. Unusual? Yes, but not useless. She will discover through that action how her world will be changed forever and that her family’s history laid beyond the surface of the Earth. Across the Atlantic Ocean, we will discover another universe with mermaids, selkies and mermen. Honestly, I didn’t know the existence of selkies before reading this. I had to google some pictures and damn, what a fascinating creature it is !

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The Unseen Face by Joannes Rhino

 The Unseen Face : ★★★★★

“I was like a piece of meat, run by machines to keep alive. Everything seemed stagnant and hopeless.”
– The narrator, The unseen face

What cannot be seen, makes us afraid. However, what happens when you can still feel it? Like a shadow haunting us. It makes us fear the depths of our very soul. This is what happens to James, who will discover the hidden side of his life, an Unseen Face. At first, he feels that something is wrong with him. Depression, anxiety, what else could it be? It’s the ultimate quest that James and his psychologist Jonathan will try to demystify.

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Destruction by Eric Mrozek

Destruction :★★★★☆

“Our actions, for good or ill, will cascade through history whether we want them or not.”
– Narrator

It’s like a remix of Game of Throne and Lord of the Rings and I love every single bit of it ! The story is about Helisah, a young elf girl starting her new school year in the kingdom of Callista like any college student. Until one day, her boyfriend Khal betrayed the land and helped out Thrakoth (a Talurian lord) to flip the city upside down and kill everyone. Lost and having nowhere to go, she decides to join a troupe of assassins to begin her journey to the road of revenge.

“What Aegras failed to understand was that it is not the spells that kept him alive. Rather, it was his own mind. Training can push a person so far, but that person must have a certain brilliance to turn their survival into a certainty.”
– Narrator

I think this is the perfect book for any fan of fantasy: it has magic, sword combat, funny lines, and amazing character development. Eric Mrozek has triumphed in shaping a whole new world just with a few typical fantasy elements. Furthermore, the diary style was the ideal set for this story. Not only does it offer us a more intimate angle on what’s going on, mentioning only a few people that are really important for the story, but it also allows us to feel the maturation of Helisah, how her mind and perception of the world evolves.

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Batman: Year One by Frank Miller

                Arguably one of the most essential Batman story in the comic world, Batman: Year One is a must-read. Fan of the dark knight or not, this story arc collecting all four comic issues (#404 to 407 published in 1987) from the comic series Batman tells the tale of Batman’s first attempt at wearing the dark cowl and cape. In fact, this trade paperback gives the readers the chance to live Gotham City through the eyes of Bruce Wayne (almost known as the man behind vigilante Batman) and James Gordon (Gotham City’s Police Department’s detective) as they seek their first baby steps in this city of corruption and evil.

                Personally, I was astonished by the artwork that got me engaged and hooked into the story line (big kudos to David Mazzucchelli’s and Richmond Lewis’s talents). With just a basic color pallet and an artwork typical of newspaper comics, this piece of art sustains greatness throughout all four issues. I’d have to say that the transitions between panels (from one scene to another) were brilliantly done on both an artistic and a storytelling level. SPOILER HERE: Hover over text to read.

                Batman: Year One is gold. It’s mind-baffling-awesomeness does not end there. I’d have to add that the story itself is as fine as wine and only gets better every re-reads. As godlike as Batman is portrayed in our modern society, this story arc shows you just why you always want a Batman in your neighborhood. Bruce Wayne doesn’t go through this adventure as the world’s greatest detective with no flaws. He has to learn the ropes and actually fails multiple times to Gotham’s wrath. He has to climb the ladders and find a way to show everyone he isn’t a villain among the criminals that inhabit the city. He might eat a bullet and still manage to kick down a wall, but even those moments seem completely realistic to the reader’s eyes. And that’s why Frank Miller’s work is praised so much. Although Batman might seem like the center of attention, James Gordon gets just as much attention or, might I add, even more throughout the story arc. In fact, Gordon arrives in Gotham City and has to climb his way to the top just as much as Batman has to, in order to survive and help his city. As a man who respects the law and follows a path exempt of corruption, Gordon has to face his partner detective Flass as well as commissioner Loeb who both take a much more particular path when it comes to justice… a more criminal touch to things. In the end, both Bruce Wayne and James Gordon fight the evil in Gotham, meet their first failures in their attempt to help and learn from their mistakes with open arms. After all, their journey only just begun.

                If there was a common beginning to every comic reader’s legacy, I’d have to say that Batman: Year One is a beautiful place to start at. This flawless masterpiece (at least to my eyes) has one of the most interesting story line, a beautiful narration, an amazing artwork and a captivating and remarkable superhero to follow till the end of time. A very very very big thank you to my girlfriend for giving this trade paperback as a gift on my birthday! I couldn’t be any more grateful for this beautiful gift (among other books that she kindly gave me for my anniversary). She’s definitely the best! What are you waiting for? Go give Year One a try! You can buy yourself a copy of Batman: Year One by clicking on this hyperlink.

My overall rating: ★★★★★/