Cardcaptor Sakura Omnibus Book 1 – A (Mostly) Spoiler-Free Review

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Gif made by  on Tumblr from the anime version of Cardcaptor Sakura

Book: Cardcaptor Sakura Omnibus Book 1 (containing Volumes 1-3 and additional color artwork)

Author: CLAMP

Artist: CLAMP

Age Group: All Ages

Genre: Graphic Novel, Action, Adventure, Romance, Drama, Fantasy

Rating: 5/5

I’m behind on reviews, I realize this. I actually finished The Miseducation of Cameron Post last Wednesday, but just haven’t had a chance to sit down and really work through it. On the other hand, on Wednesday night I started Cardcaptor Sakura Omnibus Book One which contains the original volumes 1-3 with additional color art pages at the back, as a nice little break and return to some graphic novels, as well as a skip down memory lane for me. This is all to say that a review for Cameron Post will be coming soon, I’ll probably type it up today and publish it Saturday, but for now please enjoy my “mostly” spoiler-free review of Cardcaptor.

“Mostly” spoiler-free? This is a new title indeed. That’s because there is one spoiler I do want to talk about… It honestly involves one of the side characters, but it’s still unsettling to me. But, we shall return to this later, let’s talk about some of the basics.

Cardcaptor Sakura is a graphic novel that follows the adventures a 4th grade girl who discovers a magical book, The Clow, in her father’s personal library. She opens it and summons the Keeper of the Book in the process, Kero-Chan. She makes a contract with Kero, as most magical girl stories happen, and gains additional magical powers in exchange for helping Kero-chan collect the cards that have escaped from the book. These cards are causing chaos and wrecking havoc on the world, mostly in the city surrounding Sakura’s home, and only Sakura has the power to collect them. Once she returns them back to their card form, from their magical form, she can then write her name on them and thus they obey her and become her allies assisting in her future captures.

But this wouldn’t be a magical girl novel without friends, fashion and romance! Well this series indeed has all of that. Tomoyo-chan, Sakura’s best friend who has a crush on her is also a very wealthy girl who has an interest in fashion design and makes very fashionable outfits for Sakura to collect cards in. (See the images at the bottom.) She also video tapes Sakura’s tasks capturing the cards. The second frienemy figure is Syaoran-Li, who has a crush on the same older boy that Sakura has a crush on. He is one of the descendents of Clow himself, the powerful magician who made the clow cards and the original book, and is trying to collect the cards himself. After several attempts to fight against Sakura fail, he begins to work with her instead.

There are quite a large cast of side characters as well including Sakura older brother, his best friend, their father, Tomoyo’s mother, the clow cards, and Sakura’s classmates.

This brings me to that little spoiler, as mentioned the main characters in the graphic novel are all in 4th grade, yet one of the chapters revolves around on the Sakura’s classmates dating an older man. At the end of the chapter you find out that it is their teacher and they are in fact engaged. When I had originally read this series in middle school this probably did not mean very much to me, but as an adult reading back I did in fact have a “wait what?!” moment. Unusual relationships are common with CLAMP. Sakura’s mother was 16 and married her teacher before they had graduated high school, Tomoyo is in love with Sakura, and Sayoran-Li has a crush on an older boy. In addition Sakura’s older brother and his best friend seem to have a thing for each other, but none of these every bugged me at all compared to that age difference.

Minus this small thing that really bugs me, the story itself is fantastic, fun and playful. A great and easy read. I can not wait to read the rest of the series again and am considering cosplaying from it as well.

As always all opinions and views noted above are my own. If you’re thinking about buying the book then check out other reviews.

Thank you for taking the time to read this,

~ Yoku

 

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The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Angel Volume One – A Spoiler Free Review

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Infernal Devices collage (cover and main three characters) thanks to eternally-reading over on Tumblr.

Book: The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Angel Volume One

Author: Cassandra Clare

Artist: Hyekyung Baek

Age Group: Teen

Genre: Graphic Novel, Action, Adventure, Romance, Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5

Keeping with my steampunk theme we jump right into The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Angel Volume One, an adaption of one of my favorite series by Cassandra Clare. Surprised it took me this long to pick up? I was never a fan of the art I’d seen of it around. This series was very close to me and my personal imagery of it. I was honestly worried it would be ruined by this graphic novel adaption. I’m here to say that each depiction might have not been exactly to my own personal image, but it was fun and pretty darn close.

I’m a huge fan of REM’s art style, so moving from that to Hyekyung Baek style was a little hard for me. I’ve also been a huge fan of Cassandra Jean’s art style, check her out, and she’s done multiple fan art pieces, so this new artist was harsh on my eyes. The front cover, I find now though, is a bit deceiving of the styling inside the cover. The actual style is pretty soft and smooth, the era based fashion and architecture is pretty spot on. I also love the way that she depicts Jem and Jessamine. The emotions expressed throughout the graphic novel are spot on, and the monster are just gruesome enough to make you cringe, but keep reading. The Silent Brothers made me shiver, as they should, and I can’t wait to see more of them throughout.

My biggest faults with the depiction is the over simplification. The Steles, Angel Blades, and tattoos are all super simplified and I feel like the artist cut corners here. This is also for not with the automans. This actually disappointed me quite a bit as some of my favorite artistic pieces from the series have extreme depictions of the tattoos, muscle definition, clothing, and so much more. I’d link one of my favorite ones at the bottom, but it is a tad risque for polite company. Instead I’ll link a couple other samples. Saying this though, the actual graphic novel has some spectacular splashes such as this one:

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I’ve come to conclude that I believe what turns me off is Baek’s use of color because the black and white splashes are quite stunning.

The dialogue and progression of action is spot-on with the novel and I believe that it stops at a perfectly ominous place. Overall, I highly recommend that fans check this adaption out. I’d love to see this as a TV series, mini-series, or maybe a movie adaption eventually.

As always all opinions and views noted above are my own. If you’re thinking about buying the book then check out other reviews.

Thank you for taking the time to read this,

~ Yoku

PS. One of the following pieces is in fact by Cassandra Jean, can you pick it out?

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Soulless Volume Two – A Spoiler Free Review

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Parasol Protactorate by *poisonmilow on dA.

Book: Soulless vol. Two

Author: Gail Carriger

Artist: REM

Age Group: Older Teen

Genre: Graphic Novel, Action, Adventure, Romance, Supernatural

Rating: 4/5

I’m back with another review of Soulless, the graphic novel version, which is hand-in-hand with Changeless, which I just posted a review about. Keeping in mind all my points from my Changeless review, I wanted to state that I loved the REM’s interpretation of Madame Lefoux and Lady Kingair. I felt that they were both extremely fitting for their images. Also, the heartbreaking scene at the end of the novel was, heartbreaking, yet again, in the graphic novel. REM has a strong hold over use of emotions and expressions.

Things I wasn’t super fond of in this, was some of the cutting out of certain scenes. I do realize that they are trying to fit each novel into a single graphic novel, but I did find myself missing some selective scenes and extra bits of information that the novel supplied us.

Her depiction of scene, the castle in the Scotts and the dirigible were fun and authentic to both era and the novel’s descriptions.

Once again a fun and stunning installment of Soulless.

I also wanted to share with you guys this little article I ran across. Gail Carriger went ahead and told people who she thought, as actors and actresses, her characters were modeled after. This influenced not only the picture at the top, but also the graphic novel version. So check it out if you’re interested.

As always all opinions and views noted above are my own. If you’re thinking about buying the book then check out other reviews.

Thank you for taking the time to read this,

~ Yoku

Ps. I plan to finish up Blameless and review it, but then I’ll try to break and review something else for a bit before going back to not overload you guys too much.

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Soulless Volume One – A Spoiler Free Review

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Soulless front cover published by Yen Press and art by REM.

Book: Soulless

Author: Gail Carriger

Artist: REM

Age Group: Older Teen

Genre: Graphic Novel, Action, Adventure, Romance, Supernatural

Rating: 5/5

Having returned from the beach for a small vacation with the family I have three reviews to grace you all with over the next three days! The first being Soulless Volume One. I’ll then switch off and review Changeless and then will switch back to Soulless Volume Two. Now, onto the review!

As I was reading Soulless (the novel) I sent off a message to one of my favorite artists, Cassandra Jean, informing her that her art style matched the scenes and characters I imagined in Carriger’s Soulless. She messaged me back, via tumblr, to inform me that a good friend of hers in fact does do the art, and that would be REM. I’m astounded by REM’s adaption for the series. The expressions and portrayals of the characters are humorous and hit close to home with my own personal images. I enjoyed seeing the characters playing out their scenes extremely well portrayed upon the pages of this graphic novel.

Not only did I find the characters well portrayed, but the era based clothing and backgrounds was well researched and fitting. (I even added Alexia’s rose dress to my “wanting to cosplay” list — although I can’t seem to find a good reference for it. If you guys have one let me know!) Her portrayal of the romance is subtle and sexy, but not too over the top to push the graphic novel to mature. I also wish to note that REM’s style of wolves is easy on the eyes and matches her humanoid style quite nicely.

I borrowed the first two volumes from the library, but I plan to purchase them both next time I’m in Powell’s. I applaud Yen Press for their lovely choice in artists to portray this fabulous series which I highly recommend to steampunk fans, supernatural fans, and of course graphic novel lovers of high wit and stunning artwork.

Finally, attached at the end of this review is a little bit of preview from the first volume to give you guys a taste for more!

As always all opinions and views noted above are my own. If you’re thinking about buying the book then check out other reviews.

Thank you for taking the time to read this,

~ Yoku

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