As life has taken some rather intense (and, in some cases, exciting!) turns, I simply haven’t had the time to write the book reviews I really want to. I considered trying to cram some reviews together anyway, but even those efforts never came to fruition. So, I decided to do something a little weird (which my friends would say is very me).
WELCOME TO MY 2022 Book mini-Review MEGA-Thread!
Now, what exactly is a Book mini-Review MEGA-thread? Throughout 2022, whenever I read a book I’d like to write a review for, I will put together a very brief (1-3 sentence) review and add it to this megathread! Hopefully, this will give you an idea of what I thought of each book and give me the sense of accomplishment that will allow me to cross this off my list (heh)!
TL;DR – This will be a thread of TL;DR book reviews for books I read in 2022.
With that covered, let’s get started!
- The Menagerie by Tui T. and Kari Sutherland – An enjoyable Middle Grade urban fantasy stuffed with fantastical creatures (which happen to be a favorite thing of mine). Nothing especially surprising here, but good fun. That said, it’s a big offender of one of my pet peeves: the story isn’t complete (or even close). You just get a “THE END” and “Read the next book in the series if you want to have ANY idea of what’s going on!” Honestly, I felt like I got 50% of a full plot here, which was a bummer because I was having fun.
- The Dracopedia by William O’Connor – I love bestiaries (compendiums/encyclopedias of fantastical or mythical creatures). In fact, I collect them. This…isn’t really one. Theoretically, this book says it will teach you how to draw dragons. That isn’t quite true. It’s more interested in teaching VERY ADVANCED dragon artists how to best employ digital tools to better finish their drawings. It includes some lore, but none of it really makes any sense. That said, the art is generally gorgeous, which is probably what this should be most judged on.
- Fablehaven by Brandon Mull – Oh Fablehaven. I really want to like you. There’s some very cool and unique stuff in here. Neat magic systems. Cool interactions of mythical creatures. But then you have moments that I–as an adult–found deeply unsettling. And even worse, a lore drop at the end of the book that describes Native people as helpless and doomed until “Europeans” came to save them. Literally. Why?
- Imbehlni’s Bestiary by Caleb McEntire and Flying Nightbear Games – As I said, I love bestiaries, and this is one of the coolest ones I own. It’s gorgeous with excellent art. And even better, it’s written from cover to cover IN CHARACTER. The entire text is an annotated version of a great scientist and explorer’s (the titular Imbehlni) research into the amazing creatures in his world. Very fun read. Very unique creatures.
- Avatar: the Last Airbender: The Rift – I adore Avatar: the Last Airbender. I really, really do. I could go on about it forever. So does my wife. And thus, when we heard about these comic series that continued the story, we had to read them. The Search was terrific. The Rift? Not so much. Most of this story felt like an entirely unbelievable excuse to pit Aang and Toph against each other because reasons. The Avatar feels depowered and somehow less wise than he was at the end of the show. But at least it’s not…
- Avatar: the Last Airbender: Smoke and Shadow – Somehow I enjoyed this one even less??? At least The Rift had a cool spirit with interesting lore. Smoke and Shadow changes characters and relationships entirely off screen in ways that, to me, were wholly unsatisfying. And the plot… I get what they were going for here. I just don’t think it works as executed. Such a shame.
- Gravity Falls: Lost Legends by Alex Hirsch – Gravity Falls is one of my favorite shows of all time (much like A:tLA). So, like Avatar, when I heard that a graphic novel would have a few more stories in that world, I jumped on it. And IT’S SO GOOD. Alex Hirsch delivers four truly wonderful stories that capture the joy and weirdness of the world he created. The characters feel right on and we even get some justice for old bugaboos from the show (e.g., Mabel’s selfishness). Truly a delight.
- The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien – I tried to read this SO MANY TIMES but always bounced off. At last, I finally made it all the way through. And honestly? There’s some really beautiful storytelling in here. There’s wonder and joy, creation and betrayal. The second half is generally way stronger than the first. And if Amazon isn’t giving us the story of Beren and Luthien at some point, I’ll be shocked. That said, this book is a SLOG to get through.
- Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray – A Young Adult fantasy novel and Gray’s debut, Beasts was a largely enjoyable ride for me. Though I suspected the twist, the exact nature of it got a gasp out of me, which I always enjoy. The world she’s created is dense and fascinating. That said, I did struggle at times with the main characters who often felt less like believable people (especially upper teens). And, of course, there’s also the matter of my pet peeve (see The Menagerie) appearing here as well.
- Snug & Little Moments of Love by Catana Comics – These collections of Catana Comics are sweet and adorable and remind me so much of my wife and I. Any time I’m feeling down, a single page of these always brings a smile back to my face.
- The Adventurer’s Guide to Successful Escapes by Wade Albert White – This MG fantasy (?) has a way of subverting your expectations. At first, it was entirely in good ways. The narrative voice is clever. The jokes are a good mix of silly kid stuff and solid sarcastic winks. The world White has created is truly unique and I loved considering all the bizarre and fascinating interactions such a world would create. However… there’s a twist about 3/4 of the way through the book that simply didn’t work for me. And some of the climactic action feels rather like a montage in a hurry to get somewhere else. Still a fun one at the end of the day.
That’s all for now, but more will be coming soon ™! Thanks for stopping by and indulging in my ravenous effort to cross one thing off my person to-do list. As always, if you’d like to discuss any of these titles, hit me up in the comments here or on Twitter (@Dreamertide). I’d love to hear your thoughts!