Miraculum
February 7th, 2019 by diane92345

Miraculum is a carnival with a big top, a midway, and freak show in 1922. It is also the setting for a battle of good against evil.

After the suicide of the carnival’s chicken biting geek, a mysterious well-dressed man applies for the job. Despite a lack of experience, he is hired for the job. Ruby, the daughter of the owner of the Miraculum, is a heavily tattooed snake charmer. As soon as she sees the new geek, Daniel, she feels something is off about him. As more tragedy befalls the troupe, Ruby tries to discover if Daniel is behind them.

Miraculum is a great gothic tale of good fighting evil in the picturesque 1920s carnival setting. There is a substantial paranormal aspect to the tale and it isn’t really a mystery or thriller. However, I enjoy magical realism so I relished it. It appears to be a beginning of a series so I am looking forward to another installment of Ruby and Daniel’s story.

This book is an excellent choice for fans of Neil Gaiman. 4 stars!

Thanks to Polis Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Literary Fiction, New Books, Paranormal Tagged with: ,

His Name Was Ptirou
May 26th, 2018 by diane92345

In 1929 France, an orphaned acrobat becomes a cabin boy in His Name was Ptirou.

Slice of 1929 cruise ship life, this comic provides a fictional backstory to the creator and main character of Spirou Comics. Spirou et Fantasio is a famous Franco-Belgian comic begun in 1938 and still in print today.

The comic includes the entertainment on a luxury ship in 1929 including movies, balls and boxing. A seaplane is also featured. His Name Was Ptirou includes romance, tragedy, acrobats, intrigue, union drama, sabotage and a mystery. There is truly something in here for most readers (sorry horror/paranormal/fantasy fans). 4 stars!

Thanks to Europe Comics and NetGalley for a copy.

Posted in Graphic Novel Tagged with: , ,

Spectacle Vol 1
May 23rd, 2018 by diane92345

Unusual artwork is used effectively in a murder mystery set in a traveling circus. Spectacle Vol 1 is good until the unsatisfactory conclusion.

Twins Anna and Kat are members of a traveling circus. Anna is the fortune teller. Kat is a knife thrower. When Kat is murdered with her own knives, she appears as a ghost only to Anna. Anna investigates the crime.

The artwork within Spectacle Vol 1 promises to be controversial. It is in the style of Picasso’s blue period but uses mainly dusky reds, lavenders and chartreuse. The faces are almost cubist in their non-linear perspective so noses sometimes appear on the sides of faces.

I liked the mystery at the heart of the plot. I would have liked to see more backstories of the other circus performers. Many seemed like only a stereotype like the conjoined twins and the bearded lady. It took me about a third of the book to get used to the art style. Once I did, I enjoyed its uniqueness.

Spectacle Vol 1 collects issues #1 through 5. My problem with the collection is the abrupt ending. There is no resolution to the mystery here—only an inexplicable transformation that could mean anything. I actually purchased issue #4 because I thought that the last few pages of my Advanced Review Copy were missing. $1.99 later, I realized that issue #4 ended as suddenly as Vol 1. However, issue #4 included a page imploring the reader to purchase issue #5 in July 2018. While issues frequently employ cliff-hangers, it is rare and frustrating for collected volumes to do so. Because of this slight-of-hand, Spectacle Vol 1 receives 3 stars.

Thanks to the publisher, Oni Press, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Graphic Novel, Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: ,