Review: Cucumber Quest: The Doughnut Kingdom by Gigi D.G.

cucumber quest 1-- bookspoilsI nearly jumped with joy at the sight of this book on my library shelves, which made quite the show for my little sister accompanying me that day. This is just the perfect read to share with your younger sibling.

What happens when an evil queen gets her hands on an ancient force of destruction?

World domination, obviously.

The seven kingdoms of Dreamside need a legendary hero. Instead, they’ll have to settle for Cucumber, a nerdy magician who just wants to go to school. As destiny would have it, he and his way more heroic sister, Almond, must now seek the Dream Sword, the only weapon powerful enough to defeat Queen Cordelia’s Nightmare Knight.

Can these bunny siblings really save the world in its darkest hour?

Sure, why not?

It didn’t take all too long for this book to impress me at once. Cucumber Quest is the perfect combination of featuring visually stunning art, hilarious one-liners, and fully-fleshed characters.cucumber quest 2-- bookspoils THAT LAST PANEL MADE ME LAUGH OUT LOUD.

I appreciated how this book veered from the usual “heroic” arc and tackles often-used (ridiculous) tropes* from fairytales with creative and playful jabs. Cucumber Quest not taking itself too serious was a highlight, for sure. Also, the self-empowerment in Almond, the little sister, impressed me, as well, because who said little sisters can’t be the hero of the story. Through her character, the idea of a knight in shining armor is spun on its head.

Again, I have to emphasize the rich, dreamy, and vibrant coloring which makes for quite the visual to hold in your hands. I mean:cucumber quest 3-- bookspoils

cucumber quest 6-- bookspoilscucumber quest 7-- bookspoilsAnd:

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*Tackled tropes include:

  • The villain making those long speeches before acting with his fists.cucumber quest 4-- bookspoilsFirst, that “instant replay” is epic. Second, Almond is a hero.
  • Making the mission harder for the sake of Drama.cucumber quest 7-- bookspoils

Her self-confidence is both aspiring and troubling because it costs them dearly.

Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 09.46.55There’s more to the story than meets the eye, and I’m forevermore shocked that it left of such a cliffhanger. Essentially this first volume builds up the ground for the upcoming adventures awaiting this group, and I’m keen on diving in.

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Review: The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

Having to wait on the release for this illustrated collection of original fairy tales since the start of the year was nearly excruciating. I even went ahead and read The Too-Clever Fox by Leigh Bardugo a month after the news to calm my eagerness. But here I am finally ready to dive into my long awaited review for this collection!

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.

“And what lesson am I to learn from this story?” asked the beast when she was done.
“That there are better things than princes.”

#1: “Ayama and the Thorn Wood.”

The Language of Thorns 1-- bookspoils

An original retelling of a forest that demands to hear only the truth and nothing but the truth, which made for a clever, wordy, high-spirited read. It also delivered a compelling mix of Little Red Riding Hood and Snow White, excelling at capturing the chilling and gleaming atmosphere.

“And can this ugly beast not speak for himself?”
The beast looked upon his father and said, “A man like you is owed no words. I trust Ayama to tell my story.”

#2: “The Witch of Duva.”The Language of Thorns 2-- bookspoils

A twistingly clever take on the wicked stepmother trope. Seriously, that ending couldn’t have messed me up more. Leigh Bardugo was making it quite the challenge to move on seamlessly from story to story while delivering such blows at each end.

“Karina who had given herself to a monster, in the hope of saving just one girl.”

Also, coming to the realization that AURORA’s Runaway fit like a glove for this tale was so fulfilling. From the lyrics to the visuals in the video, I was continuously mesmerized.

“I got no other place to go
But now take me home
Take me home where I belong
I can’t take it anymore.”

#3: “Little Knife.”The Language of Thorns 3-- bookspoilsBardugo once again succeeds to bring about an unexpected turn of events. And I have to note that I came to endlessly appreciate her for sharing the message that our heroine’s story doesn’t have to end with finding romantic love (not specifically talking about one tale here), even going so far as to make that the damn point of it all.

“It was I who built the tower of trees,” said the river.
“And I who earned the mirror from Baba Anezka. It was I who found the magic coin. And now I say to you, Yeva Luchova: Will you remain here with the father who tried to sell you, or the prince who hoped to buy you, or the man too weak to solve his riddles for himself? Or will you come with me and be bride to nothing but the shore?”

“The river carried her all the way to the seashore, and there she stayed. She said her prayers in a tiny chapel where the waves ran right up to the door, and each day she sat by the ocean’s edge and watched the tides come and go. She lived in happy solitude, and grew old, and never worried when her beauty faded, for in her reflection she always saw a free woman.”

Easily the best ending I’ve read in awhile.


Overall, I was enamoured by this deliciously feminist collection of atmospheric folk tales filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

4.5/5 stars

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Review: The One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg

The One Hundred Nights of Hero 15-- bookspoilsIn the Empire of Migdal Bavel, Cherry is married to Jerome, a wicked man who makes a diabolical wager with his friend Manfred: if Manfred can seduce Cherry in one hundred nights, he can have his castle–and Cherry.
But what Jerome doesn’t know is that Cherry is in love with her maid Hero.The One Hundred Nights of Hero 1-- bookspoils

I genuinely feel like this graphic novel was made just for me. It contains nearly everything I’ve grown to love in books, such as tales of families, Gods, humans and human-ness, love and betrayal, kings, dancing, moons, sisters, empowering women that support one another, a loving f/f ship, dissing disgusting men (I lived for this!!), and so much more.

Also, so many of the tales Hero told to keep Manfred’s dick in his pants were some of my favorites: from the League of Secret Storytellers to the story of falling in love with the moon to a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses. These strange and fanciful tales full of bold, clever and crafty women completely enamoured my heart. It also reminded me a lot of Renée Ahdieh’s The Wrath & the Dawn with that I always wanted more and more of the tales told by the narrator.

The One Hundred Nights of Hero 9-- bookspoils

So without further ado, here are some of my favorite moments:

The One Hundred Nights of Hero 3-- bookspoils

 

The One Hundred Nights of Hero 4-- bookspoilsI was so pleasantly surprised by the subtle humor thrown in here!

The One Hundred Nights of Hero 12-- bookspoils

 

The One Hundred Nights of Hero 5-- bookspoilsThe art in here with its dark lines and colors really managed to enhance the gloomy atmosphere in certain tales.

And on to my favorite story from this graphic novel: the story of the moon and a mortal man falling in love.The One Hundred Nights of Hero 6-- bookspoils

 

The One Hundred Nights of Hero 7-- bookspoils

 

The One Hundred Nights of Hero 8-- bookspoilsThe reason why I cherished this story so much was mainly because of Sokka and Yue from Avatar. I watched their love story years and years ago, but to this day it remains one of the most tragic ones out there for me.

Honestly, my heart breaks a tiny bit every time I recall their adoration and tenderness for one another.

But moving on to the actual story and the love between Cherry and Hero:
The One Hundred Nights of Hero 10-- bookspoilsI was immensely proud of Cherry in this moment. To see her stand up for her love and beliefs was beyond gratifying. Also, A+ for her clapback.

The One Hundred Nights of Hero 11-- bookspoilsYES!

The One Hundred Nights of Hero 13-- bookspoilsTheir ending, however, left me a bit bewildered. I can’t quite gather if it’s a tragic one or not… I mean, they’re still together, but also not really?? To be completely honest, I don’t even know what’s exactly went on, but… the art is beautiful:

The One Hundred Nights of Hero 14-- bookspoils


All in all, I’m beyond grateful to have finally read this epic graphic novel by the immsenly talented Isabel Greenberg. And I’m hopefully onto The Encyclopedia of Early Earth next!

4.5/5 stars

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