The Complete Maus – Art Spiegleman

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SYNOPSIS 

Combined for the first time here are Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale and Maus II – the complete story of Vladek Spiegelman and his wife, living and surviving in Hitler’s Europe. By addressing the horror of the Holocaust through cartoons, the author captures the everyday reality of fear and is able to explore the guilt, relief and extraordinary sensation of survival – and how the children of survivors are in their own way affected by the trials of their parents. A contemporary classic of immeasurable significance.

GOODREADS RATING – 4.55/5 STARS 

REVIEW 

This is a must-read for everyone! Spiegelman approaches themes of memory, genocide, war, relationships, ethics and identity with a lot of respect and in a truly beautiful way. 

Individuals are represented as either mice or cats (or dogs and pigs) through the masks they wear. By representing humans as animals, it strips everyone’s humanity to a certain degree and reminds us as readers that people’s actions were not always their own choice due to the inherent need to survive. Identity is a construct and can be manipulated. The concept is brilliant, but in terms of the graphics, it sometimes became confusing or fuzzy because of the number of graphics on each page.  

Spiegelman’s graphic novel depicts both the hardships of the Holocaust that his father (Vladek) has experience alongside his own guilt as a second-generation survivor. Art tries to understand his father and respect his past. This is shown through a few real photographs. This hit me hard as it reminded me that although the graphics are beautiful, this story tells the life of real people and a real family. 

RATING – 5/5 STARS!

INSTAGRAM – GLOBALBOOKMANIA

GOODREADS -KATERINA TURNER 

Song for Night – Chris Abani

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SYNOPSIS 

“Not since Jerzy Kosinski’s The Painted Bird or Agota Kristof’s Notebook Trilogy has there been such a harrowing novel about what it’s like to be a young person in a war. That Chris Abani is able to find humanity, mercy, and even, yes, forgiveness, amid such devastation is something of a miracle.”—Rebecca Brown, author of The End of Youth

“The moment you enter these pages, you step into a beautiful and terrifying dream. You are in the hands of a master, a literary shaman. Abani casts his spell so completely—so devastatingly—you emerge cleansed, redeemed, and utterly haunted.”—Brad Kessler, author of Birds in Fall

Part Inferno, part Paradise Lost, and part Sunjiata epic, Song for Night is the story of a West African boy soldier’s lyrical, terrifying, yet beautiful journey through the nightmare landscape of a brutal war in search of his lost platoon. The reader is led by the voiceless protagonist who, as part of a land mine-clearing platoon, had his vocal chords cut, a move to keep these children from screaming when blown up and thereby distracting the other minesweepers. The book is written in a ghostly voice, with each chapter headed by a line of the unique sign language these children invented. This book is unlike anything else ever written about an African war.

Chris Abani is a Nigerian poet and novelist and the author of The Virgin of FlamesBecoming Abigail (a New York Times Editor’s Choice), and GraceLand (a selection of the Today Show Book Club and winner of the 2005 PEN/Hemingway Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award). His other prizes include a PEN Freedom to Write Award, a Prince Claus Award, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship. He lives and teaches in California.

GOODREADS RATING – 3.98/5 STARS

REVIEW 

This book broke me! Abani’s writing is so beautiful and haunting that once you pick this book up you won’t be able to put it back down. Chris Abani presents a very realistic depiction of a young man named My Luck, who is a mine diffuser and a child soldier. Straight off the bat, Abani describes the physical mutilation that child soldiers experienced wherein their vocal cords were cut so that they could not scream and alert the enemy of their presence. The rest of the book follows My Luck as he tracks down his platoon and remembers how he got to where he is now. The horrors Abani describes are hard to read about and yet, you can’t help but read them. I would recommend this to everyone but perhaps aged 18+. This book covers a lot of heavy and adult themes that may be unsuitable for a younger audience.

Rating 5/5 STARS!

INSTAGRAM – GLOBALBOOKMANIA

GOODREADS – KATERINA TURNER

 

 

The Iron Trial – Holly Black & Cassandra Clare

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Goodreads Synopsis –

Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial.

Not Callum Hunt. He wants to fail.

All his life, Call has been warned by his father to stay away from magic. If he succeeds at the Iron Trial and is admitted into the Magisterium, he is sure it can only mean bad things for him.

So he tries his best to do his worst – and fails at failing.

Now the Magisterium awaits him. It’s a place that’s both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.

The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come . . .

Goodreads Rating – 3,93/5 stars

My Review –

I must admit that I went into this book thinking that it would be childish and boring, however I was pleasantly surprised. In my opinion the cover isn’t great and makes the book seem very juvenile, however upon reading it I believe that it is a good YA novel. Cassandra Clare and Holly Black are yet to disappoint me.

Call, the main character was unique which made him interesting and likeable, which seems rare nowadays with YA as the male protagonist are always “perfect” and frankly quite annoying, but our protagonist is complex and weird which makes him intriguing.

The book was fast paced and contrary to what some may say I was surprised by the ending and the little twist in the plot. Some may say that the entire book was very predictable, however I didn’t see it that way and really enjoyed it.

In terms of friendships, I was pleased that there were no love triangles (yay!), and that romance wasn’t a key part of the book at all, but it looked more at friendship and how characters with very different personalities were able to put their differences and parents beliefs aside and become friends. It some small way the book did remind me of the Percy Jackson series, just because of the awesome friendships within that series and the well paced character development throughout the series.

My Rating – 4/5 Stars

Gooreads – Katerina Turner 

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