Graphic Novel Review | The Untamed

The Untamed| Story by Sebastian Jones | Art by Peter Bergting | Publisher: Stranger Comics, 2015 | 248 pages

asunda-untamed-graphicSynopsis:
A cloaked Stranger slips into the rustic Town of Oasis changing things forever. Ten years it had been since he ran this town with malice and harshness. Even then there was hope for his soul. His wife and daughter were on the verge of turning him from wickedness. But they were murdered, and so was he. He is granted seven days to reap seven souls and gain a chance at revenge. Conflict arises as a young girl (Niobe Ayutami) reminds him of his murdered daughter. She acts as his conscience and become his only hope for salvation.

Why I Picked This Up

I grabbed this at the Black Comix Arts Festival that I went to on MLK Day. The author’s table was set up in the middle of the room and had this half-naked beautiful subject of a man standing there which definitely sparked my interest. Legit half-assedly ran over & was just like “I’m buying whatever it is that you’re selling.”

BUT! The author, Sebastian, was also at the table and he gave such an amazing mini-speech of what the series was about, what the characters meant to him, and just what inspired him to write this graphic novel that I couldn’t help but be swayed into buying it (along with two other volumes which I’ll get around to reviewing at a later date).

Review

★★★★
★ Writing Style |★ Plot|★ Art |★ Character Development |✮ Uniqueness
(in case you’re wondering: ✮ = 1/2 star)

I do believe this is my first time actually reviewing a graphic novel so my rating system might change at some point in time when I become more comfortable reviewing this form and genre of literature.

The “OMGOODNESS THIS IS AWESOME” Stuff

★★★★

First off, I absolutely loved Jones’ writing style. I loved how the dialogue between characters felt so incredibly real and I loved how the story unfolded.  The plotline was incredibly well done and I enjoyed that each issue had it’s own climactic point and it’s own falling action point. Along with an excellent plotline, the character development within this graphic novel is something also that I found to be incredibly well done. Each issue features a different aspect of the main character’s past life and smoothly introduces new characters and their role in the overall story.

And oh my goodness, the art. The art in this graphic novel is stunning. The colors and details are absolutely amazing and go so insanely perfect with the story. I found myself just fawning over particular images and pages. One of the great things about this hardcover edition is that there’s a section that talks about the process of making the art match the story; which I absolutely loved. There’s also just a huge chunk of pages that feature different character designs and alternative covers. I’m definitely a Peter Bergting fan now.

The “Dangit We Were Sooooooo Close to 5 Stars” Holdback

The only, and I mean only, downside of this story to me is that I couldn’t shake that it felt slightly similar to the Playstation game “God of War”. Along with that, the whole “main character makes a deal with the devil/evil entity” trope is also something that I feel like I’ve encountered numerous times in numerous stories.

Howeverthe way in which this story is told makes it unique enough to earn half-a-star in my book. Also, there’s a theme song in the beginning of this GN that I asked my Dad to play for me (perks of having a music teacher as a parent) and it matched the tone of the story excellently.  So there were definitely tibits of uniqueness scattered throughout the book.

Final Thoughts & Recommendations

If you do plan on reading this I would recommend reading it in a well-lit room or area so you can really see the detail in the artwork. I made the mistake of trying to read a chapter with just the light from my Himalayan salt lamp (yes, I felt like it was necessary for me to say that) and it was such a different and difficult reading experience.

I would recommend this book to people who;

  • enjoy light fantasy graphic novels
  • enjoy reading revenge sagas (I think that’s a thing right?)
  • enjoy reading medieval era-themed sword / magic works

Let me know if you plan on giving this a read, and if you’ve already read it, let me know what you thought of it!

Also! I’m trying out a new thing on my channel were I vlog my reading experience and then couple it with my actual book review! So, if you’re interested in hearing my “at that very moment” thoughts and catching a snippet of my Dad playing the Strangers Theme check it out!

VLOG | REVIEW

 

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Book Review | Decanting a Murder by Nadine Nettmann

Decanting a MurderDecanting a Murder (Sommelier Mystery #1) | by Nadine Nettmann | Publisher: Midnight Ink, 2016 | 230 pages | ISBN  9780738756400

Synopsis:
Katie Stillwell focuses on two things in her life: work and practicing for her Sommelier Certification with her blind tasting group. The exam was supposed to be the hardest part of her week, but that was before a body was found at an exclusive Napa Valley winery party.
When all the evidence points to Katie’s best friend, the outspoken and independent Tessa, Katie drops everything to clear Tessa’s name. Using her deductive wine skills, she tries to track down the real killer. But when repeated attempts are made on her life, Katie discovers that everyone’s secrets must be uncorked—including her own.

Why I Picked This Up

I actually encountered the second book in this series “Uncorking A Lie while at work (basically the story of every book I come across) and once I realized it was part of a series I was slightly hellbent on finding the first one. Needless to say, this was indeed a cover/title grab.

A Bit of a Preface

I shall preface this review by stating that I am not a huge mystery fan so my standards for most mystery books, especially murder mysteries, are rather low. I usually end up guessing “who done it” (correctly more often than not) within the first chunk and after that the whole plot-line just feels pointless and rather meh to me. However, I do find myself enjoying how most mystery authors write since I am a sucker for a well described setting. Now, on to the review!

Review

★★★★☆
★Writing Style |✮Plot | ✮Character Development | ★Setting |★Uniqueness
(in case you’re wondering: ✮ = 1/2 star)

The Good
Even though I did manage to guess who the guilty party was in this murder mystery very early on I didn’t instantly lose interest. Nettmann has a very, very, lovely writing style and I deeply enjoyed her description of settings, aromas, and emotions. I chuckled reading about the Katie’s parking struggle in the Sunset district of San Francisco and could heavily relate to her drive to figure out who was setting up her best friend to take the fall for a murder she potentially did not commit. Even more, I also felt Katie’s pain at failing her Sommelier Certification exam (seriously, this happens in the first few pages so I don’t count it as a spoiler) and how that throws her into a spiral of self-doubt. I’m also incredibly guilty of falling into spirals of self-doubt when I fail at something I’m incredibly passionate about.

I had fun learning about the wine industry and the winemaking process through Katie’s experiences and interactions with the other characters. It was definitely a very unique approach to a subject that I never really gave much thought to beyond tourism (growing up in SF whenever someone mentions wine you instantly think: Napa/wine train/wine tasting/I really should plan a day trip up there). I also found it very unique that each chapter starts off with a wine-pairing. I feel as if the older I get the more I should start investing in fancy, or at least semi-fancy, wine and I did jot down a few of the ones I’d like to try out.

The Meh
Now, this potentially has to do with me guessing who the guilty party was early on in the novel, but I felt as if the plot was just a little bit too cookie-cutter for me. I felt as if the usual “this will throw the reader off the trail” pieces were too apparent and as a result, I started to feel my attention wavering. There were certain events that just felt a little bit out of place or slightly unbelievable – the majority of which involve a certain detective and potential love interest. There was also the big reveal of Katie’s ~huge secret~ which fell incredibly flat and honestly, felt incredibly pointless in comparison with the rest of the story.

I also wish Nettmann had spent a tad bit more time developing some of the supporting characters. I absolutely loved the amount of time Nettmann spent on Katie and Tessa’s friendship and on each of them as individuals. It’s apparent that Tessa is a very pivotal figure in Katie’s life. However, there are other pivotal figures in Katie’s life that I wish had received some more page time; such as the members of her blind tasting group. I’m going to keep my fingers crossed that the reason as to why they didn’t make as many appearances, except for toward the very end, is because they are more prominently featured in the next book in this series. There’s also the mention of a past relationship between Katie and one of her group members that I really wish had either been introduced sooner or not at all. The whole moment felt like it was going to go somewhere and then *bam* book ends. Ugh.

Final Thoughts & Recommendations

Despite the ~meh~ stuff of this book I did find it to be a very cozy/quaint mystery that showcases some rather interesting aspects of the wine industry.

I would definitely recommend this book to people who;

  • are fans of cozy mysteries
  • like fiction books that center around wine
    &
  • are looking to get into lightweight mystery/thriller novels

Let me know if you’ve read this book before and what your thoughts on it where!

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