(The Aviary Series, #1)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: March 5th 2019
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult
I am nobody’s Swan.
Chimera Book One: The Righteous & The Lost
“Haunted by their pasts, a crew of thieves is hired for a covert mission in the midst of a galaxy being ripped apart by an interstellar holy war. If they want to survive – much less succeed – they must navigate hostile worlds, vengeful aliens, a deranged demon, and betrayal from within.”
“‘I’m not saying there’s no god. I just don’t think it’s him.’”
― Tyler Ellis, Chimera
Science fiction on the level of Star Wars, a heist for an artifact that is practically legend, and gods who walk among us. All wrapped up in a beautifully illustrated package.
Chimera was originally a webcomic written and illustrated by Tyler Ellis. Since, it has been published digitally by Amazon and available on Kindle. As of June 20, however, the first six issues will be in print in Chimera Book One: The Righteous & The Lost. This collection is what I had the pleasure to read!
So there’s really five main characters, although only four of them are the mentioned thieves. The other is a priestess of a god who doesn’t really seem to be given a name. She and the other priestesses call him “Father” and he is referenced to as the “one true god”, as the other gods (who are named) are called false and their worshipers called heretics. Unlike the other priestesses, she doubts the holy war and the crusades, yet she is His highest priestess.
Then there’s the band of thieves. One was the god’s “Golden Champion”, who symbolized peace and protection. She also began to question the motives of the crusades and the bloodshed that came with them, but unlike the priestess, she ran away from her place and title. With her is her brother, a man who’d wanted to escape the life he was forced to live, and ended up escaping through unconventional methods. Another member is a translator, and the reason they carry the lusted after Chimera. The final member seems to be a mercenary of sorts, and the reason why the four end up together. He seeks out the translator, who seems to be an old friend, and his introduction is one of my favorite lines:
“There’s a brother who’s balls-deep in killer robots, and a sister who’s the lapdog of god himself. Who do ya wanna rescue first?”
They are searching for a looking glass - only five or six exist, and are hidden in dangerous, practically-suicidal places. The prize for retrieving it is high, and perhaps with it, they can stop being outcasts and escape the war and “god” entirely.
It’s an amazing story, with much more to follow it.
Writing Quality ❤❤❤❤❤
Chimera is written in an interesting manner. It begins with the current point in time, as the band of thieves are working on finding the looking glass. However, much of the story is written through flashbacks. Every few pages, a bit of history is shown, whether it be about the main characters or related to the gods. This style was not distracting from the main story for me, and the connections between present day and the past flowed together really well.
Image/Illustration Quality ❤❤❤❤♡
I personally found the artwork in Chimera to be beautiful. It’s a bit stylized, but I’ve always loved that type of artwork. In addition, the end of the book has a collection of pin-ups of the different characters - a few of them are covers for the digitally published Chimera comics on Amazon. The only thing I really didn’t like about the illustrations were that sometimes the faces seemed drawn very...off. Usually, they are done very well, from all angles, but there are a few panels that seem awkward.
Character Development ❤❤❤❤❤
Because of the way the story is written, the flashbacks provide a lot of backstory to each of the characters. All of the characters are fleshed out well this way, and the reader learns each of their motivations as these glimpses of the past occur. More than motivation, these also give a lot of depth to the characters.
“Couldn’t Put It Down”-ness ❤❤❤❤❤
I literally could not put this down. The copy I received was a little difficult to read because of its size in comparison to the pages in the Kindle Reader. I struggled a bit with that, and had to zoom in quite a bit at times, but I won’t count against this since the official copy is in print, after all. On top of that, the comic is free to read online - I just wish I would have known that sooner. Otherwise, I just kept reading. It’s not an extremely long comic, as the current page count for the webcomic is just under 200 pages. But I did not even think about going to sleep until I was done reading it. It held my interest from beginning to end.
I’ve seen others compare the science fiction of it on the same level of Star Wars, but that doesn’t mean the story is anywhere the same. The characters’ main enemy is a spirit that calls himself the “one true god”, and there are a lot of references, include the crusades and his burning form, that lead to the assumption that he may be somewhat based on the Christian God and the history surrounding Him. History repeats itself, but instead of just Europe, it’s the whole galaxy.
Overall Rating ❤❤❤❤❤
Interested in Chimera?
Check out Tyler Ellis' webcomic, updated Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Preorder the hardcover copy of Chimera Book One: The Righteous & The Lost (Released June 20)
Check out the Kindle editions, $2.99 for each issue, or free if you have a Comixology Unlimited membership.
Keep on reading,
So my original TBR for this month was:
I am here to say that I haven't read a single one of them!
I finished Heartless at the very beginning of the month, and immediately began reading Furthermore. Which, so far, is definitely interesting. About the same time, a publisher accepted my request to read The Girl Who Thought Her Mother Was a Mermaid by Tania Unsworth. Since I was reading Middle Grade anyway, I figured I'd give it a shot while I was sitting in the car. And enjoyed it so much, I ended up just focusing on it. On the bright side, I have a review of The Girl Who Thought Her Mother Was a Mermaid upcoming, as well as an interview with the author!
On the down side, I keep getting distracted and ended up reading Chimera by Tyler Ellis as well, rather than go back to Furthermore. Which was also a great read, but a bit sad because I ended up buying Whichwood, Furthermore's sequel, and just haven't touched them since!
I did get my secret book exchange in the mail today, so keep an eye out for the reveal in two weeks. I just did the minimum this month, so it's just a book and nothing more, but I'm pretty excited about it. Next month, I'll probably do the box exchange again. Owlcrate should be shipping out soon, and I'm super excited for it! Unfortunately, they also sent out the hints for next month's... And I'm not interested at all. So, I'm skipping June, but if there's another subscription box anyone wants to suggest for June for me, I'm open to ideas!
Keep on reading,
I thought I could get away with reviews that avoided spoilers, and that I could be content. I was wrong. I’m so excited about it, I might end up having to write another review without having to avoid spoilers.
I’m also trying a new structure for my reviews, so this may look a bit different than normal. Anyway, here is:
"Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.
Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.
At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king’s marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.
Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans."
“Her mother sneered. ‘Then you are a fool.’”
“‘Good. I’ve become rather fond of fools.’”
― Marissa Meyer, Heartless
From the synopsis, I expected Heartless to be a love story. I’m not a fan of love stories. But, I am a huge fan of anything Wonderland, so I still decided to give it a try. After reading it, I don’t think I would even call it a love story, although a lot of the story is based around Catherine’s relationships with both the King of Hearts and Jest.
The novel starts with Cath baking lemon tarts, very fitting for an introduction to the Queen of Hearts. That’s Cath’s passion - not only does she love to bake, but her dream is to open up a bakery that would serve only the best treats in all of Hearts. Baking and business ownership, however, is not something that is fitting for the daughter of a Marquess. Nor for the future Queen of Hearts, although Cath is the only one who doesn’t seem to realize that’s what her future holds.
The lemon tarts are important for more than just her baking, though. Dreams in Hearts, it seems, give birth to things in reality, and as such, dreams are rare occurrences. Cath has several dreams throughout the book, and each time, she wakes up to a plant growing around her bed. The first is after her dream about a boy with lemon-colored eyes, and she wakes to find a lemon tree.
She brings these tarts to the King - it seems she often brings her treats to him. It might possibly be part of the reason why he’s so taken with her, as he’s always asking what kind of delicacy she’s bringing to him next. Cath also isn’t expecting that the King is wanting to propose to her, and when the realization finally hits her, it’s too late to do anything but hope for a distraction.
Right into the new court joker’s arms.
The court joker who has the same yellow eyes she saw in her dream.
And so begins the story of the girl who doesn’t want to marry the King, but doesn’t want to disappoint her parents either. The girl who wants to open a bakery, but knows she wouldn’t have the funds without her parents’ approval. The girl who’s fallen in love, but knows announcing it would break the King’s heart.
It’s not a love story. It’s the story of a passionate young girl who becomes the Queen of Hearts we all know and fear. And it’s heartbreaking.
Because no matter how much I sympathized with and love Cath, there’s no avoiding that she becomes the “infamous Queen of Hearts”, just as the summary claims. Throughout most of the book, I think it’s easy to forget. As the end draws closer, I begun to believe Cath wouldn’t really become the Queen of Hearts.
Writing Quality ❤❤❤❤♡
I had read Marissa Meyer’s other books, or at least I started to. I’d begun The Lunar Chronicles, and enjoyed Cinder, but just couldn’t get through Scarlet and never finished the rest of the series. They’re not bad, but you can see so much improvement between The Lunar Chronicles and Heartless. I wouldn’t say that Meyer’s style has changed, but her writing is so much more refined.
Character Development ❤❤❤❤❤
This is one of the biggest reasons I find Heartless so compelling. From beginning to end, Cath is changing. She becomes more passionate (about more than just her hobby) and learns to stand up for herself more and more. The transformation from her character at the beginning and her character at the end is not just ever-evolving, this evolution is based on the circumstances and events surrounding her. Every change in her personality and goals has a reason. The main character isn’t the only one with good character development, however. Many of them change as the story progresses. Hatta, for example, starts as whimsical and mysterious - the host of the Mad Tea Party. As the story progresses, Cath sees more of Hatta, and his background unfolds to reveal more. But the circumstances also change who he is from there on out, ever-changing until the end.
“Couldn’t Put It Down”-ness ❤❤❤❤♡
Read dates: April 27 to May 1.
Heartless quickly drew me in, and it was really hard to put it down to take care of normal life. I was constantly reading, because I wanted to know what would happen to Cath and how she was going to achieve her dream of owning a bakery and how she was going to find a way to end up with Jest instead of the King. There were a few slow moments for me - where I skimmed pages to get back to what I wanted to read. These were far and few between, though they were there.
As it’s a spin-off story, Heartless isn’t completely original. However, I highly respect Meyer’s references and usage of the original Wonderland characters. The White Rabbit and his service to the King. Hatta and his mess of tea party guests, including the March Hare and the Dormouse. Even the Red Queen and White Queen and their war are mentioned, even though it’s in a world away from Hearts. But what I love best about Heartless being a Wonderland book is that it’s not just an origin story of the Queen of Hearts. It’s a girl who you would have never picked out of the crowd to become the cruel and heartless Queen. I’d read Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes, and while a good book, the main character is a bit of what you’d expect from the future Queen. Cruel. Cold. Uncaring for anyone but herself. While there’s nothing wrong with that, Meyer’s take on the character is very different from what you would expect, and it gives Heartless it’s own charm.
Overall Rating ❤❤❤❤♡
Keep on reading,
Interested in Heartless? Buy it at Amazon!
Oh boy... What are we going to try to read this month? That's always the question. Usually I try to let my imagination pick (and usually my imagination chooses my Wonderland-themed books), but this month is going to be a little different.
I joined a Book Battle!
The Book Battle!
So, for those who don't know about Book Battle, you can find them @bookbattle on Instagram. The concept of the...game...is for all the participants to be split up into groups, and each group competes for the highest number of points. For every book each member reads (among a few other things, like participating in IG prompts), the group earns points. And, of course, there are different themes and select picks each month that give you a few more points than other books.
So, for example, the group I'm in is the Winter Court. So any book I read that has a cover that includes winter elements will gain more points than any other book I could read. There are also special picks, including Six of Crows, and the April Owlcrate book, Ace of Shades. Which means my TBR this month is about knocking out some of my unread books...but also earning points!
Oh...look...a Wonderland book... Wonder how that got there....? It's not like you get bonus points for retellings or anything this month...
As a side note, though, my cats like my tapestry. Enough to lounge and fight on it. Most of my pictures went about like this:
Keep on reading,
It's that time of month again! I can finally show off my beautiful Owlcrate goodies without spoiling it for other subscribers <3 Without further ado, the Shadows & Secrets box!
I got another sticker to add to the collection on my laptop! Yay! The sticker is based off The Young Elites, which I hadn't yet heard of, but this actually got me pretty interested. The pencil set (sorry about the glare) are Harry-Potter inspired, with the green one stating "Property of the Half-Blood Prince". To the right is a bag of Bones Coffee Company's Deadly Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt. I've only made a single cup of it since I've gotten it, mixed with a bit of milk and vanilla syrup, but it was delicious. Granted, I'm also a sucker for both dark chocolate and chocolate with sea salt! And then there's the true reason I get Owlcrate...
Okay, but I have to admit that this Crooked Kingdom themed pillowcase is pretty cool. I love it, and I'm sure my previously naked pillow agrees with me.
I suppose it's this signed copy of Ace of Shades that's supposed to be the centerpiece of this Owlcrate box. And yet somehow that fancy little pillowcase still snuck into the picture? That sneaky thing...
Okay so, Ace of Shades is another Owlcrate book that I hadn't previously heard of, though I did notice a lot of hype right around when it was released. It does sound quite promising, however, with a fantasy Las Vegas-style setting and a similar character motivation as The Hazel Wood - a girl searching after her mother who's gone missing, sending her to places that she should never be.
It's actually landed a spot on this month's TBR list, although I'll be explaining why here in a few days!
And of course, as I'd avoided mentioning earlier, there's cool swag based off the book. Four Ace of Shades postcards, and one even includes a map! I've yet to figure out if I want to keep them as decoration, or send them out :(
Keep on reading,
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