Review: Opal by Maggie Stiefvater

If you’ve previously read my reviews* for any of the books in the Raven Cycle, you probably know by now that I’m a huge fan of Ronan Lynch. So finding out about this short story dedicated to Opal, aka Ronan’s dream girl, had me beyond keen on returning to their world.

“She was to remember that she was a secret.”

Set after the events of The Raven King, this story, like all the best things, starts with a dream. And just like that, upon opening the first page, I felt like I had never left this world, even though it’s been nearly two years since I first read the books. It’s even more magical than I could have envisioned. And I have so much to discuss, so let’s start at the very beginning:

(Spoilers from here.)

  •  We’re back at the loyal Barns, featuring Opal, Ronan, and Adam, and thanks to Opal’s excellent eavesdropping, we get an insider’s scoop into their lives that just hits the mark of satisfied:

“She had to content herself with stolen glimpses through cracked doors, slender one-inch views of duvet and sheets piled like thunderheads, Adam and sometimes Ronan pillowed among them.”

I missed my sleepy boys…

  • Good: Ronan’s intent of dreaming up a better and safer Cabeswater. Watching him dream is always one of my favorite bits because that’s Ronan at his most vulnerable. Speaking of which, this delicate shared moment made my heart flip:

“The only thing that had ever made her blink away was when Adam had once encountered Ronan in the second-floor hallway. Ronan had been standing outside of his parents’ old room, one hand holding a cassette tape and the other clenched into a fist, and he’d been there for quite a few minutes by the time Adam climbed the stairs. Adam had taken the cassette from Ronan’s hand, working Ronan’s fingers loose and putting his own fingers between them. For a moment Opal, hidden, had thought they were going to kiss. But instead, Ronan pressed his face against Adam’s neck and Adam quietly put his head on top of Ronan’s head and they did not move for a long time. Something about this made Opal burn so furiously that she could not stand to look a second longer.”

As I read, all I could think of was this fanart:

  • Ronan cares so much for Adam, and you can feel it oozing off the page through the tiniest of moments:

“Ronan was less thrilled to discover Adam’s inventive way of travel. “What the hell, Parrish? I was just about to leave to get you. Who dropped you off?”
“I walked.”
“Ha ha.” Ronan’s real laugh did not sound like ha ha, but this was not Ronan’s real laugh. When Adam didn’t explain the joke, he said, “Walked. From where?”
“Work.” Adam had ceased frolicking and instead removed his shoes and then his socks before sitting at the round table in the kitchen.
“Work. What. The. Hell. I told you I was going to pick you up.”
“I needed to walk.” Adam put his head on the table.”

  • Bad: We were saved from seeing the raven gang disperse in The Raven King, but it’s pretty much unavoidable here… and I wasn’t ready.

“I’m coming back,” he said.
She tore up some more grass, but she felt a little less wobbly having heard him say it.
“I don’t want to go, but I do — does that make sense?” he asked her. It did, especially if she thought about how some of her dreamthing’s happy-sadness might have rubbed off on him because they were sitting so close. “It’s just that it’s finally starting. You know. Life.”

You deserve so much, Adam.

  • Good: Seeing things captured through Opal’s eyes was a curious experiment that I find this passage conveys best:

“Ronan was not there to tell Opal it was all right for this visitor to see her, so Opal hid herself and watched the lady stalk through the mist to the back door. The lady tried the doorknob and the doorknob shook its head no, but then she opened her purse and did something else to the doorknob and the door said yes and opened for her.”

To capture the otherworldliness of Opal I simply had to listen to this equally mesmerizing song:

If anything, this swift read prepared me for any and all future events set to occur next. I just hope the wait for the following book won’t be too long.

“There were no rules in dreams so you could try anything.”

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Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Opal, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

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Review: Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

Ghosts 1-- bookspoilsThis was the perfect heartfelt, quick, and light graphic novel to pick up after feeling emotionally exhausted by my first read of the year.

Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn’t happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in Bahía de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister’s sake – and her own.Ghosts 4-- bookspoilsFirst and foremost, I have to mention that my little sister is a huge fan of Raina Telgemeier’s work, particularly the graphic novel Sisters, so I can’t wait to share this one with her. The author excels once again at featuring that special bond created between sisters. Like, seeing Cat care and worry for her little sister Maya, who’s born with cystic fibrosis which affects her breathing and digestion.

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Secondly, the color palette is refreshingly vibrant in Ghosts. And so were the aspects of the author being willing to explore happiness as much as she was willing to explore pain, grief, and unhappiness.

Which then leads me to feature how utterly spellbinding and visually stunning the celebration scene was:

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Last but not least, this graphic novel made me feel excited to go and check out the Disney film Coco, also centered around Día de Muertos, as soon as possible.

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Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Ghosts, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

Review: Spell on Wheels, Vol. 1 by Kate Leth

Spell on Wheels, Vol. 1 9-- bookspoilsThis graphic novel follows three young witches – Jolene, Claire and Andy, respectively – heading out on an East Coast road trip to retrieve their stolen belongings and track down the mysterious thief before he can do any damage to—or with—their magical possessions.

And this is now my second (favorite) read where the main character overthrows her jerk of an abusive ex boyfriend, who’s also coincidently called Nathan. I love it. Speaking of which, Spell on Wheels throws in so many of my favorite elements together:

  • diversity.
  • the occult.
  • witches.
  • f/f ships.
  • supportive and positive friendships between girls.
  • road trips.
  • notable humor.
  • feminism and calling out men on their sexism (!!!)
  • vibrant and colorful art. #aesthetic
  • JUST SO MUCH GOOD STUFF.

So I’m beyond excited to next share those cherished moments I mentioned above:
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Spell on Wheels, Vol. 1 5-- bookspoilsClaire is #goals.
Spell on Wheels, Vol. 1 6-- bookspoilsI included the above simply for the “H… Hi?” because it reminded me of that noteworthy Skam moment between Noora and Eva:

Which reminds me that there was another Skam moment in here that I absolutely adored: the usage of the ouija board.
Spell on Wheels, Vol. 1 8-- bookspoilsIconic:

But circling back to the lively characters in this graphic novel, my favorite one remains to be Jolene Nguyen with her gorgeous name and tattoos:Spell on Wheels, Vol. 1 7-- bookspoilsShe had some of the best scenes!!! Between handling her technopathic abilities, kissing girls and producing striking one-liners, it was hard not to get swept up in my love for her.

Plus, as I mentioned before, the art in here is just… so enthralling and fitting to the atmosphere. And I’m forevermore grateful that the style didn’t change throughout this volume.

Spell on Wheels, Vol. 1 10-- bookspoilsThese two eye-catching panels remain to be my favorite.

Spell on Wheels, Vol. 1 14-- bookspoilsThey showed that bastard Nathan exactly what they’re made of, just like they’d promised.

And last but not least, Claire hitting it off with a certain someone made me giddy with excitement when I realized just how much their budding romance reminded me of Scarlet and Wolf from TLC.Spell on Wheels, Vol. 1 11-- bookspoils

 

Spell on Wheels, Vol. 1 12-- bookspoilsDiscussions on Beauty and the Beast is something I’m always up for.


All in all: Though it took me a bit time to get into the story because of some info-dumps at the start, I’m more than glad I stuck with it. Spell on Wheels is guaranteed to stay with me for awhile to come.

Also, I loved listening to this enthralling song while flipping from page to page:

Expected publication: June 20th, 2017 

4.5/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Spell on Wheels, Vol. 1, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!