Zita is too trusting and naive, quick to make rash decisions, but she is also loyal to her friends and runs head first into dangerous situations to rescue those she loves and cares for (or to help those she believes need saving). Unfortunately, once the robot connects with Zita and starts to become her, mimic her, it too takes on these selfless, headstrong, naive traits. Leading to pushing in to Zita's life, forcing Zita into a criminal life, and taking on a dangerous, almost impossible, mission to save a doomed planet. The robot is more childlike than Zita herself, slowly learning and adapting, but at once too idealistic to realize that sometimes there are battles we cannot win, no matter who we are, how strong we are, or what powers we have at our disposal.
All of the characters are quirky and strange. Foreign to Zita, although she is the real foreigner in this large, over-populated galaxy. All are well characterized, with their own specific traits and faults.
The graphics/art pop with colour, and are vibrant throughout. Bright colours often seem to symbolize trouble (the star hearts for example), while dull colours often lead to safety (for example Madrigal, her house ship, and the giant sleeping in the stars). The graphics kept me glued to the page and entrenched in the story. Loved the random broken down robots scattered on planets, within space, hinting at the Great Dismantling. There is so much history interlaced throughout the pages, tugging at the reader, ensuring that you understand the complex nature of this otherwise simple adventure story about a young heroine lost in space.
I will need to go back to the first graphic novel, although I did not need to read it to enjoy this second installment. However, the first novel is sure to have more of Zita's back story, with an explanation of how she became stranded so far from Earth, and about the company she is keeping.
The Circus was my favourite part, with ringmaster Madrigal, a kick-butt female with knowledge and secrets. With no fear for herself, she rescues Zita. She is strong, loyal to her circus friends, and is not afraid of authority. I am excited to see more of her in the next episode of Zita's journey home.
I would recommend this graphic novel to young boys and girls with a thirst for adventure, a love of science fiction, and a fascination with worlds and in depth stories. This is a well thought out, perfectly imagined Galaxy, full of unique and strange aliens, robots and other creatures. It is sure to instill the urge to explore and dream of the stars and what might be lurking deep in space.
This is also a great story about the issue of fame. I had just been talking about this with my sister and friends. The idea that someone is at first drawn in by the glamour of fame, the riches and wealth, the power and spotlight. But the reality is quite different. Once you are famous you become an idealized version of yourself and everything you do then becomes scrutinized ten times more than if you were just 'human', a simple individual living a simple life. That those with fame are put on a pedestal and must at once try to be the best they can, knowing that their actions affect millions, while also trying to be themselves and not a commodity for others. It is a tightrope walk, a very hard place to be, and a life I would never envy, no matter the riches. Because, all of your fans quickly forget that you are just like them, that you too are 'human' and make mistakes.
P.S. Quotes around human, because in this graphic novel all of Zita's fans are aliens or other. Also, in terms of fame, it is often used as a shield to hide horrific and unforgivable acts against others.
All our other favourite and least favourite characters have returned, and some fantastic new characters have been added (love the kids, Scrumpy and Grace). However, I think my favourite parts included the over ambitious Sandy (now a plastic pigeon on level 1 of Hell) and the ever dull and dumb Ian (also a pigeon, also on level 1). Sandy's determination and ambitions do not let hell get him down, the setting only seems to motivate him more. Leading to him bringing together the strangest, most rag-tag group of reincarnated plastic animals, housing human souls, that I have ever read about. Everything that went on with them had me in stitches, especially the sloth, could not stop laughing whenever he finally showed up.
Outside of hell we have several other stories falling in to place, waiting to catch up with each other in a mind blowing grand finale. Emorfed is still on the loose, being sold by former Agent 15 to the rich. This leads him right in to the path of the Devil himself, soon enough entwining them to each other as boss and money hungry human. Lucifer also comes in to contact with God, or Baltazaar; and all of their meetings with each other cause strange and dangerous weather phenomenon. They also bicker like an old married couple, over their 'children'.
This book is about the war for the human soul. Between Gods and finally between humanity and the Gods (who are desperate to stop a third, neutral Heaven from being created). If you want a great, mind shattering, religious satire, than you need to pick up this series. Full of unforgettable characters, surprising twists, and moments that make you think and question what it is you believe in or want to believe. From free will, God, the Devil, humanity, goodness and the nature of the human soul; this book touches on all of these topics with new interpretations. Cannot wait for book 3!!!!
The author, Tony Moyle, sent me this book in exchange for an honest review.
My heart could hardly take the torment of Belle's life. However, as Belle grows and learns, so does the reader. Belle is understandably a damaged soul; her first moments of life were filled with a mother who neglected her, then flat out wished she never existed. From then on, she had one hardship after another, from finding and losing her only best friend, to losing children she fosters and loves. Belle seems to take everything in stride, until one moment causes all those previous heartaches to culminate into tragedy.
The novel begins with Belle reuniting with her best friend Jim, and him proposing to her. These two have undeniable electricity and chemistry. They love each other, faults and all. They make each other better people, build each other up, and heal the broken pieces. I love their love story, as cheesy as that may sound.
Tess is another beautiful character, large and full of life and love to give these fragile children she fosters. She takes this broken Belle and mends her heart. She gives her a home, a family, a mother to love. She is funny, kind, and ready at the drop of a hat to soothe with a box of chocolates, cookies and tea. She might just have been my favourite character.
With all the hardships and heartache that Belle faces in her life, you can feel the push to be away from the pain, to escape her life, to give her loved ones a life without her. While it may seem selfish, years of her mother's hate and contempt have invaded her heart and mind. This makes Belle believe that her grief, loss and pain are her own fault, instead of just sad circumstances of everyday life.
Belle and Jim are champions of goodness. Taking in foster children, creating a youth centre, helping out in their community. Belle's reach is so great, it would affect so many people if she simply "poof" was gone. A wonderful lesson on the impact we all make, whether we realize it or not. We must remember, even in our darkest moments, that there may be someone out there that needs us, our love, our generosity. We are all connected, all important, and we must learn to accept our grief, loss and pain and slowly begin to heal with love. We are the masters of our own fate.
Why did I not give it a full 5 stars? Due to a few inconsistencies that pulled me right out of the novel. One example, Jim has two brothers and one sister; however, Belle tells Jim, in the world without her, that he has one brother and one sister in her world. I am anal that way, and need the book to be consistent with the information that I am being given about a character (editing should have caught this error).
Postscript: let's talk about the cover below for a moment (nothing to do with book itself or my rating); I like it, it is beautiful, but who the heck is the woman on the front of it and how does it pertain to the book? Belle is a caramel skinned, dark haired woman; why not feature her on the cover? I mean, the book even talks about how the colour of Belle's skin effects her life, with her feeling like an outsider, different, that her mother did not want her because of this...and then the cover of the book features a white woman. I am confused...did the person who made the cover not know anything about the book? There is another cover (maybe the U.K. version?) which seems to accurately portray Belle on it, on the Ha'Penny...plus it is a cute illustration (think I missed out on not getting that one). Maybe this is being tedious, but I like when covers tie in with the book.
Defaid may be a haven from the horrors of the fforest, but it soon becomes a prison for Alys and the other Gwenith orphans, forced into night watch duty, on patrol in pastures and on the treacherous gate for 'soul eaters', living a continuous half life. This hard life breeds pain, anger, hate, and death. A haven and a torture chamber. These orphans are a fixture in the village, but are never really accepted as whole members of the community. They are not Defaiders, they are other. The children become ghost like, lost between their previous happy life and this life of just existing. Some wander off at the age of 16, to the calls that come from the fforest and the soul eaters, others diminish in the town and fade away.
Alys is fostered by 'Mother' and 'Father', a shrewd woman with secrets of her own, and a quiet man. While Alys feels isolation and sadness, she grows fond of her foster parents, grows to understand them, and to love them. Alys knows love, but the more she stays in Defaid, the more she feels the villagers fear, resentment and anger; causing her to lean heavily toward the darkness lurking inside of her own soul.
The novel perfectly captures the claustrophobia of fear. The gate acts as a barrier, a jail cell, where there is a wall keeping dangers out, but also no escape for those inside, who feel they have no resort but to stay. The soul eaters are scary, horrific, threaten to take your soul and turn you into a shell, into nothing. However, the Defaiders are not much better, so awful in their own right. They create their own tragedy by using these children seeking asylum and shelter as bait and guards. This causes the children to become weary, tired, and all they do is dream of rest and a life outside of their plight, which leads to temptation from singing soul eaters. But the Defaiders care little for the fates of the Gwenith children, and often blame them for their own hardships. I have never disliked an entire village so much, feeling very little pity when finding out their fate.
When you try to defeat evil by crushing others, by restricting, by fearing those who are different, you in turn become the very thing you fear (draining the life from those you mean to protect). The Beast they fear seems tame and kind compared to the Brothers and Sisters with their starched white collars and unforgiving nature. Alys's hard life breeds the darkness within her, and it is only the few moments of kindness and the little love she is shown that save her from the fate of the twin soul eaters.
I could not put this book down, feeling the fforest encroaching on me, pulling me deep into the darkness, towards a creature looming between goodness and badness. A creature of horror, an ugly beast, but with the essence of rain and wind, wild and free, nature wrapped up in black wings. Freedom from the all too real and terrible life humanity sometimes thrusts on others.
A good book for learning that giving too much in to fear can often cause more hardship, as opposed to facing your fear head on and trusting in others. If we close ourselves off, lock our gates up tight, than we breed hate and we learn nothing of the beautiful, fragile world around us, and all the colourful and wonderful souls that inhabit it peacefully.
The Telemachus family definitely has their fair share of miscommunication. From the father Teddy, a card shark/magician who pretended to be psychic and ignores his children; to the eldest, Irene, who can detect lies and therefore closes herself off from love; to Frankie, who used to be able to move small objects with his mind until he lost his confidence, but still yearns for fame and greatness (leading to more trouble); to Buddy, who is silent, but knows the future and works to push it slightly, without letting anyone else know; to Matty, Irene's son, who is just coming in to his own power (more powerful than his Grandmother, a Government spy), but is too afraid to tell anyone.
The parts with the Government and spies were intriguing, and I would have loved to read more about Maureen and all of her powers. It seemed more interesting to me than the mob and Teddy, with all of his faults and having learned nothing new by the end of the novel.
The children in the novel were more adult than the adults, often understanding things before their parents, being direct and fixing problems the adults create for themselves. Matty and Malice become the glue that held the family together, often interceding and saving the day. Again, the lack of communication between adults leads to the children needing to take some of the control. The main malfunction within the family is that each adult thinks they are the ones caring for the others, without ever discussing their own issues. So, their "burdens" cause anxiety and resentment. Irene resents her absentee father and her power, Frankie resents their lost fame and his failed powers, Teddy resents being the only "parent", Buddy resents living throughout time, without a life of his own.
The beginning of the novel was very slow paced, which again made it hard to keep interest. However, the end the novel became a roller coaster ride, really picking up in the last 70 pages or so, and I could not seem to put down the book. I finally found I was invested in the outcome of this troubled psychic family. I was glad I stuck it out, as there were moments of laughter, redemption and sadness. I would have missed out on some eye opening realizations. I recommend this book for fans of crime/spy drama, with a dash of maladjusted family and a touch of magic.