.Orphaned as a child, Octavia Leander was doomed to grow up on the streets until Miss Percival saved her and taught her to become a medician. Gifted with incredible powers, the young healer is about to embark on her first mission, visiting suffering cities in the far reaches of the war-scarred realm. But the airship on which she is traveling is plagued by a series of strange and disturbing occurrences, including murder, and Octavia herself is threatened.Suddenly, she is caught up in a flurry of intrigue: the dashingly attractive steward may be one of the infamous Clockwork Daggers—the Queen’s spies and assassins—and her cabin-mate harbors disturbing secrets. But the danger is only beginning, for Octavia discovers that the deadly conspiracy aboard the airship may reach the crown itself.
I bought this mostly because of the cover (also, it was on sale). It’s a steampunkish fantasy set in an alternate world, where people can do magic but also there are airships. All things I enjoy, plus The Clockwork Dagger has spies and political intrigue and a missing princess and assassination attempts and multiple chase scenes and a very dashing/protective steward and a kind protagonist who was betrayed by those she loves and it’s great!
There’s even a little bit of romance, which is super adorable. Bonus: this is a duology and the second book was JUST released on June 9th! Yay, duologies! So much easier to finish a series when there’s only two books in it (plus short stories).
Read: April 25-26, 2015
The spirited and independent Miss Annis Wychwood is twenty-nine and well past the age for falling in love. But when Annis embroils herself in the affairs of a pretty runaway heiress, Miss Lucilla Carleton, she is destined to see a great deal of her fugitive's uncivil and high-handed guardian, Mr. Oliver Carleton. Befriending the wayward girl brings unexpected consequences, among them the conflicting emotions aroused by her guardian, who is quite the rudest man Annis has ever met...
This was fun! But not really anything new, unfortunately. It felt very much like I’d read this book before. A lot of GH’s usual story beats are here, including a runaway heiress (who has a gruff and overbearing guardian), a headstrong spinster heroine, a beta sub-hero and lots of misunderstandings complicating things that should be simple. GH did reuse tropes a lot, but her characters are so silly and enjoyable that I usually end up liking the book anyway, and Lady of Quality is no exception. It’s not her most innovative book, but it’s comfy, like a warm blanket.
Read: May 4-8, 2015
Originally published in French as Le bleu est une couleur chaude, Blue is the Warmest Color is a graphic novel about growing up, falling in love, and coming out. Clementine is a junior in high school who seems average enough: she has friends, family, and the romantic attention of the boys in her school. When her openly gay best friend takes her out on the town, she wanders into a lesbian bar where she encounters Emma: a punkish, confident girl with blue hair. Their attraction is instant and electric, and Clementine find herself in a relationship that will test her friends, parents, and her own ideas about herself and her identity.First published in French by Belgium's Glénat, the book has won several awards, including the Audience Prize at the Angoulême International Comics Festival, Europe's largest. The film Blue Is the Warmest Color won the Palme d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.Julie Maroh is an author and illustrator originally from northern France.
I love love LOVED the art! It’s black and white with small splashes of blue; it’s very striking, and works wonderfully with the emotional tone of the story. It’s SUCH a sad story, though! It’s about finding love, yeah, but there’s no happy ending. Actually, the majority of the story is unhappy. It starts off dreamy but veers sharply from that after the first few pages. Depressing love stories are NOT my thing, actually, so even though I adored the look of the book, I didn’t much enjoy the story itself. Betrayal, death, insufficient character development: all things that upset me. (Plus I was a little skeeved out by a college student dating a 16-year old. I’m not sure how far apart they were in age, but it had to have been at least two or three years. Adults dating teenagers– ehhhh.)
Also, this is mostly a sidenote, but the story felt weirdly dated? As if it was entirely built from 1990s lesbian movie tropes? They fall in love instantly, move into together very quickly, cheat on each other, lots of self-hate because of being gay, their families hate them, homophobic friends (plus one token gay friend), etc. It’s like every typical coming out story except with no joy/freedom/building of community to balance out the sadness.
Read: May 12-13, 2015