Yes, I know it is literally ancient history. But when it’s got badass warrior queens, outlandishly clever thieves, awesome naval battles, super cool mummies, and prophecies about mighty kings, who cares if its ancient history? Side note: the reader may want to venture into the notes section, which can get quite cheeky!
Nasty, brutish, and short, in the best way possible. This is not your grandpa’s exorcist. There are snarky demons, infernal plots, a philosopher king, and a 1,000-foot-tall bronze horse. That Parker was able to distill this massive world into a devilishly potent 100 pages is a small literary miracle.
To say that these are “retellings” of Ovid’s Metamorphosis is to do them a disservice. Mason takes the tiny jewel at the center of each story and refracts its light into something entirely new and wholly beautiful. He captures the mythic past almost as well as Homer, and reminds the reader just why we continue to tell ourselves these stories again and again.
If you ever want to inject pure, uncut joy straight into your heart, this is the best way. This series is gentle, thoughtful, and kind in a way that makes you melt like ice cream. The simple, expressive art perfectly captures adolescent angst, friendship, and the complications of first love.
While the cool kids were reading Saga, the even cooler kids were reading Monstress. Carnage has never been so beautiful. It can be dark, and even disturbing, but Monstress is ultimately about how we meet those forces of darkness, and how we fight them. (And if anything happens to Kippa in volume 5, we fight at dawn!)
Maybe it was just Jenny Slate’s magical voice on the audiobook, but I fell hard for Little Weirds. It’s not really essays, and not really stories. It’s more like tiny spoonfuls of creativity and oddity, as nourishing to the soul as a scoop of sweet jam, straight out of the jar.
Russell has a way of dipping her pen into the world beneath our world, and the stories she writes feel truer than the truth. Reading her stories is like walking through the woods at night, when the lull of crickets makes you wonder what unseen magic nips at your heels.
A quiet rebellion against authoritarianism, a clever epistolary novel, a trick of diction, a narrative of a land that doesn’t exist. Ella Minnow Pea is a lot of things, but above all it’s a true delight.