[Graphic Novel Review] “Chernobyl. The Zone” by Francisco Sánchez (Writer), Natacha Bustos (Illustrator), Ewa Lipińska (Translator)

Texture photos ⓒ Rosebein | Comic Pages ⓒ Natacha Bustos

★★★☆☆ 3/5

This comic was gifted to me by one of my friends! Thank you Fábio!

ART: 3/5
Story: 3/5

Chernobyl is a visual novel that narrates the events surrounded by the nuclear incident from the POV of a fictional family that could easily exist.

The art is expressive and even its coarse features adds a lot the the dramatic display of such a delicated topic. The novel itself, though, lacks focus not only on the main event but also on character development. The tragedy is described briefly, and there’s not enough time to connect with the event or the characters, leaving the novel a bit disjointed IMO.

However by approaching the tragedy objectively, representing it in a realistic way instead of a romanticization of the events, we can look at the development of the situation through the years after the Chernobyl disaster took form and how its aftermath lasts until recent days. Even if we see the narrative through 3 generations of a fictional family, we are not lead to a subjective sense of the event.

[Review] “The Red Queen” (Red Queen Series #1) by Victoria Aveyard (Audiobook)

Texture photos ⓒ Rosebein

★★★✯☆ 3.5/5

It’s been a while, huh?

So, as much I still don’t have time to read as I would like, my desperation forced me into listening to audiobooks again despite my difficulty in doing so (because I have the attention span of a fish).

This review will be about two different things: the book itself as usual, and the narrator.

I will start with the latter. I will be direct: I didn’t like a tiny bit the narration of the book portrayed by Amanda Dolan. I found the narrator to be extremely dry and emontioless, it sounded like a text-to-speech software. Even though she managed to give a bit of personality to each character, it still sounded very unnatural to me.
Her pacing in reading is so constant and very robotic, so much I often lost track of what she was saying and had to go back several times.

Maybe I got too used to the amazing reading of Stephen Fry in the HP books, because even with my difficulty keeping up with audiobooks, his reading engage my brain so much I hardly get lost.

That’s being said, I reached the conclusion that if it weren’t by Dolan’s reading, I would probably enjoy the story much more than I did, since the plot itself was enough to keep me going despite her reading of the book (I usually give up if the narrator fails to entrap my fish brain because it’s too tiring).

So, into the book itself.

It was good, but I would be lying if I didn’t say some of the tropes were more than cliché. Most of the “plot-twists” weren’t even plot-twists at all, because they got easy to foresee. I know a lot of fantasy YA books carry around the same formula, because we are like crows gathering shiny things and we live to reread what we like a lot, but what made me a bit disappointed was that, at least in the first book, there was nothing very unique about it.

I also didn’t like the protagonist, Mare, very much. Although her feelings are genuine and very real, she has a bit of “the power of protagonist” and her mindset changes with it very fast. Despite the author giving her “attempts at self-doubt”, Mare immediately believes her powers to be unbetable, sometimes, in the same train of thought, which made me confused about how she really feels toward herself and others. I really DO love overpowered characters, but they either are displayed already at their peak, or we are shown their progress in a realistic tone over the time. Mare power scale goes from 0 to hero too quick for me (or at least how it was displayed in the book).

But there’s one thing I really REALLY liked about Mare powers: at the beginning of the book, several times we are told she hears the cameras. At the time I didn’t think much about it besides “heh, good hearing”, and later we learn it was her unknown abilities all the time.

A thing about the other important characters is that they are extremely common archetypes. All. of. them. Which is not necessarily bad, but takes part on the easy predictability of the plot. At least some of them don’t stay static all the time and navigates towards other archetypes.
The the Hero (Cal and Mare), the Wise Old man (Julian), the Ruler (Elara and Maven), the Rebel (the red guard, Shade, Farley), The Everyman (Kilorn) etc, although some of them do have traits of other archetypes, which I like a lot like Mare being a Hero, Explorer and Rebel, Cal being a Hero and Caregiver or Maven being the Everyman (how he feels towards his brother and everyone) and a Ruler. 

The romance was kinda awkward since there’s so many distress involving the characters I barely felt anything. I WANT TO FANGIRL OVER CAL AND MARE LIKE EVERYONE ELSE BECAUSE THEY SOUND LIKE THEY ARE HAVING A GOOD TIME!

Last but not least, I couldn’t, for dear life, shake the feeling I have seen the skeleton of the plot somewhere else. Then it hit: Hunger Games and Shadow and Bone. Red Queen is, without any exaggeration, an hibryd between these two stories. The girl and her best friend among the poor, the girl providing for her family through ilicit acts, her finding out she’s part of the elite and have a special ability, the love affair with the elite leader, the fight for equal rights, zones where the poor have to work to provide to the rich, and so on and so on…

I have the strong feeling that if I read the book myself, I will like it way more. Sadly the audiobook didn’t give any good emotions for me, so I got really detached of all characters.

I will be listening to the next books since I’m now curious about at comes next, but I hope the reading improves or else I won’t connect with it.

[ART] COMMISSIONS OPEN!

Hello everyone! As most of you probably know by now I’m an illustrator/2d animator. I’m currently finishing my Master Degree.
I opened this urgent commissions despite being flooded with college work because my 12 year old PC is starting to give signals it won’t last much longer, and besides being very slow and incovenient, it is everything I have (and it’s not even mine, it’s from my childhood friend) and my main working tool.
Recently I had to use my savings due health concerns and had to update my glasses since my vision got way worse.

Here is where I offer my services in case any of you guys are interested: If there’s a book character you like and want to bring them to life, you want a portrait of a person or pet you cherish or just want more drawings of your OC, I’m your girl! Commission me your wildest dreams!
Just read the Commission Sheet and TOS and slide into my DM’s (facebook – prefferably – or insta) in case you’re interested.

PS: For book characters with no official art, I open exeptions to the “I do not draw with descriptions only”. As long you send me details of the character (and possible fanart/edit you find fitting to see if I go in the right track). I will be trusting you to correctly describe me your fave character and I will do my best to bring it to life!

In case you can’t commission me but still want to support me anyway, any shares, likes, retweets (I will leave the links of the commission posts below) are highly appreciated! Or buy me a ko-fi if you want to donate something. Every thing helps!

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Thanks so much for reading until here, and worry not! I will be back at reviweing stuff once I finish this nightmare of project! It’s kinda ironic that I’m reading so many books for this darn thing but I can not review them since they bring me so much pain.

I’m not dead! – An (embarrassing) update

Hello! I know it’s been a while since I last updated the blog (not counting the 2021 creative resolutions).

2020 was for me, as it was to many people, very difficult. I’m in my last year of master degree, I had some very complicated personal matters in the mingle and I lost myself over the months. Which led me to both be extremely busy and I also lowkey neglected any hobby activities I had, including reading for fun and the blog. I wasn’t able to finish any reading request I had (and I feel very guilty for that), I wasn’t able to finish my reading goal for the year (by one book, but I usually I read twice as much so I feel like I failed myself), I wasn’t able to review all the books I have read, I wasn’t able to draw anything all year nor I was able to finish my masters on time and now I will have to ask for a extension.

Basically, 2020 was, in resume, a total failure for me, and it’s been really hard to deal with it. I was not in a good place, and I’m aware it has weight on the play of life, but I can’t shake the feeling that I could have done better if I was just… stronger.

I’m still not well. Things didn’t magically got better just because it’s a new year, but I hope, I hope… to be able to do better. To be better.

What I’m trying to say is… I didn’t abandon the blog and I don’t pretend to. Tough it’s small, it helped me immensely in my communication skills and to vocalize my honest opinions on things instead of just being a people-pleaser. I had genuine fun talking about things when usually I have no confidence to talk about my likes and dislikes to people by fear of their reaction. Here I was never afraid of not sounding intelectual enough or being too casual, too detached, too unpassionate, too loud or too eccentric. I’m not the best at expressing myself, when I do I often put the mask of the clown or of the recluse, but here it didn’t really matter.

That’s being said, as soon I finish my grad project for my master degree (that’s my top priority right now) I will do my best to update the books I didn’t review, finish the requested books I didn’t finish and review them as well.
In the end of the year I also created an art account on twitter to force me at least look at my old art to motivate myself, so here it is in case you are interested, along with my other sns.
After that, I will try to focus on my creative resolutions, as I pointed out on my previous post.

Thanks so much to everyone who takes a tad of their time to read the things I write or to see the art I make. It really means a lot to me. And if you’re here even after my “disappearance”, thank you.
I wish you all the best year!

Sincerely,
Anna.

Creative Plans For 2021? Sure, why not?

This is actually a post from my ko-fi, but I thought I might as well post it here.

Some of you may already know if you follow me long enough that I’m an illustrator/2D animator so my life revolves around art.
Well… the last #KofiChallenge of the year is about our creative goals and/or resolutions for the upcoming year, so I decided to jump on the bandwagon and verbalize some stuff I’m thinking of doing next year.

★ First things first, I really want to finish the pilot chapter of the comic I’m doing for my master’s degree! During the year I also want to review and improve the worldbuilding of said comic, since I did it kinda in a rush.

★ Definitely looking forward to make more commissions! The commissions I did this year really helped me a lot. I also enjoyed doing them.
You can find info about my commissions >> here <<.

★ If everything goes well, I hope to find a job in the field, even if it is an small one. Or even a project to join. 

★ Absolutely drawing more to myself. I have some ideas for years that never pull out due lack of time or insecurity. Let’s try bringing some of them to life.

★ As soon I have access to a better PC, I would really like to get back at 2D animation, since I miss being able to do it. I also want to make a proper demo reel at once!

★ I’m currently editing a “big” zine (a revamp of an older issue) with various character designs and some illustrations to put on digital sale. If enough people show interest in a physhical copy of the zine, I might try to print some paperback copies!

★ I really want to go back to giving attention to my sketchbooks! I felt really happy and at ease every time I finished a drawing.

As you see, nothing fancy or extraordinary… I’ll try to do my best since this year I didn’t do so well since, well… *gestures at the current state of the world* and also because of a lot of personal troubles in the middle. This wasn’t an easy year, but I hope the next goes a bit better, at least in the personal matters (STAY HOME YOU PEOPLE).
I think I’m not asking for much, but I hope to be capable of doing something good for the next year. At least one good thing. 

Well I think it settles it for now. Let’s go to the next level of Jumanji xD