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: Coady and The Creepies by Liz Prince

Coady and The Creepies 3-- bookspoilsI got hooked on Coady and The Creepies as soon as I reached the ending of the 1st issue, simply because it went down such an unexpected road that I was quite literally left dumbfounded. Had I read the blurb the surprise would have been 100% ruined, but I thankfully went into this not knowing what the expect and it payed off so much in the end.
And I’m just now laughing at myself for thinking this would be just anther contemporary graphic novel like Giant Days and the like.

So this comic is essentially centered around sisters and bandmates Coady, Corey, and Criss as The Creepies, a trio of punk rockers determined to become the greatest band that’s ever lived. But that’s kinda tough when one of them is technically dead. As The Creepies, they’re heading out on their first tour since a freak accident left Coady eerily unscathed…fighting their way through blood-sucking promoters, fanboy zombies and ghoulish rival bands to achieve their dream. There’s only one problem…it’s hard to be the greatest band that ever lived when your drummer is…a ghost?

Coady and The Creepies 2-- bookspoilsTalk about unexpected…

Their horror pop punk band “The Creepies” includes:Coady and The Creepies 5-- bookspoils

Corey as the bassist and lead singer: she was left with a huge scar across her face during the van accident, and she hates when people make Harry Potter references at her.

Criss is the guitarist, who totally shreds despite being in a wheelchair after the accident: she is obsessed with ghost stories, urban legends, and local lore, and often bores the rest of the band to death by reading from a giant tome of the history of the supernatural.

That is to say: She’s my favorite. And I appreciate her love for the supernatural non-creepy ghosts in here.

And Coady is the drummer of the Creepies: she experienced unwanted fame from the outcome of the accident, which left her seemingly unscathed, and she often runs from the spotlight (there’s a reason why she’s behind a drum kit!) Her sisters are a little bit jealous that she was the only one who didn’t get seriously injured when their van crashed, but that’s only because they don’t know that she’s actually dead.

So I was over the moon to discover one of their songs brought to life:

But what I cherished most about the band was how both Corey and Coady reminded me immensely of the dynamic duo in The Raven Cycle: Ronan Lynch and Noah Czerny, respectively.

Corey is gay, cynical, and angry, just like Ronan. And they both enjoy shoving people off high spaces:Coady and The Creepies 7-- bookspoils

While Coady has Noah’s signature “I’m dead” reminders that this next post perfectly captured:

Examples:

Coady and The Creepies 8-- bookspoils

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Like her sister said, she’s totally punk, even if she is super emo most of the time.

Plus, the unexpected humor in here was another pleasant surprise, which is why I have to feature another round of excerpts:

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Moving on to the star of this comic, Criss whose obsession with ghosts is all too relatable for me.

Coady and The Creepies 1-- bookspoilsNot only that but seeing this graphic novel include an important section where Criss addresses and voices her rights made my heart soar. Coady and The Creepies 10-- bookspoils

Coady and The Creepies 11-- bookspoils

Overall, Coady and The Creepies wasn’t without flaws, but it got a lot of important things right for which I’m more than grateful. It’s for sure a treasure not to be missed.

4/5 stars

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