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From the Space Battle Lunchtime series , Vol. 2

A genre-buster, for sure, and a delightful mashup at that.

In this graphic-novel sequel, a human chef must battle her way out of a murderous intergalactic cooking show.

Diving right in where predecessor Lights, Camera, Snacktion! (2016) left off, this sequel finds Peony, an aspiring white earthling chef, double-crossed and kidnapped from the cooking show Space Battle Lunchtime. She’s dropped onto the set of their sinister competitor, Cannibal Coliseum, where the contestants could literally become lunch. On the set, Peony meets one of her challengers, the very pink, wide-eyed, manga-styled, and adorably vicious unicorn Ariella Magicorn. As Peony tries to stay alive in the cutthroat kitchen, her friends from Space Battle Lunchtime—including the quietly intense, blue-skinned Neptunia, whose affections for Peony have now blossomed into a relationship—must save her before it’s too late. Riess’ candy-hued charmer is like a recipe that incorporates myriad ingredients: there’s sci-fi elements, comedic action, a tentative and sweet queer intergalactic romance, and, of course, the culinary aspect. In less deft hands, this seemingly arbitrary assemblage could fall as flat as a dropped soufflé, but Riess’ offbeat sensibility and inventiveness shine. Heavily awash in a spectrum of bubble-gum pinks, this is a fun, fierce, and inventive tale that will appeal to those seeking read-alikes for Noelle Stevenson’s fan-favorites Nimona (2015) and Lumberjanes.

A genre-buster, for sure, and a delightful mashup at that. (Graphic science fiction. 12-adult)

Pub Date: June 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62010-404-0

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Oni Press

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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A fast-paced dip into the possibility of a world without human emotions.

A teenage girl refuses a medical procedure to remove her heart and her emotions.

June lives in a future in which a reclusive Scientist has pioneered a procedure to remove hearts, thus eliminating all “sadness, anxiety, and anger.” The downside is that it numbs pleasurable feelings, too. Most people around June have had the procedure done; for young people, in part because doing so helps them become more focused and successful. Before long, June is the only one among her peers who still has her heart. When her parents decide it’s time for her to have the procedure so she can become more focused in school, June hatches a plan to pretend to go through with it. She also investigates a way to restore her beloved sister’s heart, joining forces with Max, a classmate who’s also researching the Scientist because he has started to feel again despite having had his heart removed. The pair’s journey is somewhat rushed and improbable, as is the resolution they achieve. However, the story’s message feels relevant and relatable to teens, and the artwork effectively sets the scene, with bursts of color popping throughout an otherwise black-and-white landscape, reflecting the monochromatic, heartless reality of June’s world. There are no ethnic or cultural markers in the text; June has paper-white skin and dark hair, and Max has dark skin and curly black hair.

A fast-paced dip into the possibility of a world without human emotions. (Graphic speculative fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 13, 2023

ISBN: 9780063116214

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2023

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From the Wordplay Shakespeare series

Even so, this remains Macbeth, arguably the Bard of Avon’s most durable and multilayered tragedy, and overall, this enhanced...

A pairing of the text of the Scottish Play with a filmed performance, designed with the Shakespeare novice in mind.

The left side of the screen of this enhanced e-book contains a full version of Macbeth, while the right side includes a performance of the dialogue shown (approximately 20 lines’ worth per page). This granular focus allows newcomers to experience the nuances of the play, which is rich in irony, hidden intentions and sudden shifts in emotional temperature. The set and costuming are deliberately simple: The background is white, and Macbeth’s “armor” is a leather jacket. But nobody’s dumbing down their performances. Francesca Faridany is particularly good as a tightly coiled Lady Macbeth; Raphael Nash-Thompson gives his roles as the drunken porter and a witch a garrulousness that carries an entertainingly sinister edge. The presentation is not without its hiccups. Matching the video on the right with the text on the left means routinely cutting off dramatic moments; at one point, users have to swipe to see and read the second half of a scene’s closing couplet—presumably an easy fix. A “tap to translate” button on each page puts the text into plain English, but the pop-up text covers up Shakespeare’s original, denying any attempts at comparison; moreover, the translation mainly redefines more obscure words, suggesting that smaller pop-ups for individual terms might be more meaningful.

Even so, this remains Macbeth, arguably the Bard of Avon’s most durable and multilayered tragedy, and overall, this enhanced e-book makes the play appealing and graspable to students . (Enhanced e-book. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2013


Page Count: -

Publisher: The New Book Press LLC

Review Posted Online: Nov. 6, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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