Hey, You Got a Second?: A Series of Random Chats – New Year’s Readings

Hey there, it’s nice to chat at ya again! How’re ya now? Has the new year been well so far? Things for me have been alright as of now. I’ve made some notes for myself about last year and believe to have come up with a new set of obtainable goals. I won’t share them all, but there is one that I don’t mind sharing. It’s simple: read a book a day. Since the vast majority of my reading material is comprised of comics and a book can be as short as a five minute romp for a single issue floppy or as long as about two hours for a collected edition, surely this is doable. Since the year has started I’ve read four different books as of the creation of this post so that goal is actually not as simple as I originally thought. So how about I modify it? Read for the majority of any given week. Yea, that’s a lot better. What do you think? Did you set any goals for yourself for the new year? You don’t have to tell me, I didn’t share all of mine anyhow. Just as long as you set something to work towards for yourself, it’s important to have something like that, ya know? Moving on, what am I going to be randomly chatting about today? Well I thought I’d chat at ya about the books I have read so far. Maybe make a reoccurring segment about it? That’d be fun, at least I think so. So if you have a second, why don’t you take a look at what I’ve been able to read so far this year? Let’s get into it.

What I’ve read recently

Since I support the right for people to enjoy media with as fresh of senses as possible, all talks of books read will be light and spoiler-lite if not free. Enjoy!

Shuna’s Journey, published by First Second Books

Synopsis: Shuna, the prince of a poor land, watches in despair as his people work themselves to death harvesting the little grain that grows there. And so, when a traveler presents him with a sample of seeds from a mysterious western land, he sets out to find the source of the golden grain, dreaming of a better life for his subjects. It is not long before he meets a proud girl named Thea. After freeing her from captivity, he is pursued by her enemies, and while Thea escapes north, Shuna continues toward the west, finally reaching the Land of the God-Folk. Will Shuna ever see Thea again? And will he make it back home from his quest for the golden grain?

I bet most of the people who enjoy Studio Ghibli’s films don’t know that its esteemed studio head, Hayao Miyazaki, dabbled in comics too. It makes sense since both animation and comics are visual storytelling mediums. Shuna’s Journey was created in 1983, not even a year after he started one of my favorite works of his, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. There’s a lot of early ideas within Shuna’s Journey that appear within not only the Nausicaä manga, but his filmography as well such as in the 1997 film, Princess Mononoke. This book was treat for not only that, but the gorgeous watercolor and line art that Miyazaki used to render the story of Shuna’s journey to obtain a ‘golden grain’ that has the ability to save his people from starvation. If you’re curious about this book and want to read it, as of the creation of this post you can grab a physical copy for about $20 online. It’s a lovely addition to my library and was a wonderful gift to receive during this recent holiday season.

Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince, Vol. 1, published by Titan Books

Synopsis: The youthful Maresh is sent to a violent and unmanageable port city on the Blood Coast of Verose, on strict orders from his father, King Nokil Maresh, to cut his military teeth in this lawless landscape. There, he encounters an unruly band of soldiers, a lawless landscape, and the intoxicatingly deadly presence of the newly returned pirate queen, Arisa…

So I looked into this book a little before reading it. It’s classified as ‘Gaslamp Fantasy’ and I certainly didn’t know what that was. For those who still don’t know: Gaslamp fantasy is a subgenre of both fantasy and historical fiction. Generally speaking, this particular realm of fantasy employs either a Victorian or Edwardian setting. That’s straight from googling it too. It’s like ‘Steam Punk’ but with more magic and that’s all pretty fun. The world that this first trade paperback builds is pretty interesting. It also happens to be a prequel to an already well-enjoyed trilogy of books which is a great thing to know since it’s my first time learning about the world and characters. Am I open to continuing? Of course, but it’s on the short list. Overall a solid book, albeit with some visually unclear moments of action.

Iscariot, published by Archaia, an imprint of BOOM! Studios

Synopsis: When Carson, a young girl living with cancer, is bestowed with age-old magic by a rebellious sorcerer named Iscariot, she must navigate her new powers, face the life she had thought she left behind forever, and take on the order of magicians who want to control her destiny. Carson discovers that Iscariot’s intentions might not have been as altruistic as it first appeared, and learns the hard way that magic comes at a cost.

So I came across this book while searching through the comic database over on the League of Comic Geeks and was pretty sold on it thanks to its cover and site synopsis. It felt oddly like a dude pitchin’ it to me, which is what you get sometimes on a community curated database. Anyhow, this book was like the synopsis said, it’s ‘watercolor stylings’ were noteworthy and really settled in as the story went along. The book was was solid as well and best of all, it was a ‘one and done’ read. Gotta take those were I can in my library and wallet. Recommended for those who’d enjoy a fun short read!

Brindille, published by MAGNETIC PRESS

Synopsis: A young woman wakes up in a tiny village in the woods with no memory. Is she a fairy? A witch? Or just an ordinary young girl lost in the woods? The answers to these questions lie in the mysterious forest surrounding the village. Will she find the courage to go where no one is allowed to go?

This was one of the several books I helped fund through Kickstarter over 2020 and 2021 and because of that the physical copy of the book is really nice looking and well designed! Plus my copy has a variant cover which is pretty darn cool. This is definitely my favorite of the four books in today’s post. Very nice artwork and an alright story. I’d recommend this mostly to those who want to look at a beautifully illustrated story inspired by Tolkien and Carroll (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland). Since this ended up being a successful campaign on Kickstarter, you can now grab yourself a copy of the book over on MAGNETIC PRESS’s site. Ya know, if you’re interested. Let’s wrap things up.

So long and until next time

What’d ya think of the books? Anything stand out to ya or just have a favorite cover? Let me know down in the comments and/or on our socials. Until then, be well and be safe, I’ll be back to chat at ya soon enough!

from the album, Schvitz (2022)

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