Lenni Reviews: “Water Memory” by Mathieu Reynès and Valérie Vernay

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Marion’s mom inherits a home after her divorce and decides to move there. As Marion explores around the private beach and the sea, she finds strange carvings and a cranky old sailor, Virgil. Rumors and legends about the carvings are everywhere and the reclusive Virgil is hesitant to reveal a single word but Marion is determined to find out more.

This is a lovely little story. Marion is a fearless little girl and her character is written realistically for a kid her age; smart but innocent and not creepily wise beyond her years. And in keeping with the water theme, most of the book has a blue tone. This book is short and gets to the point, well drawn and fun; perfect for a young audience. 3.7. out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Dreadnought” (Nemesis – Book One) by April Daniels

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*I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

*This review is cross-posted at Otakus and Geeks.

Danny is out secretly buying nail polish and ends up thrust into the middle of a superhero battle. Defeated, Dreadnought transfers his powers to Danny, giving him super human abilities but the female body this transgender teen has always wanted. But not only does Danny have to deal with coming out as the new Dreadnought, she also must come out to her strict parents, the Legion of other heroes, and content with Utopia, the cyborg villain who killed Danny’s predecessor.

After reading “Black Angel” I was a little nervous about another LGBTQ YA novel. However, this book is much like “Rebel Genius” in that I was hooked and entertained for most of this despite being a sorry old lady outside the target demographic.

This novel touches on the good and bad about being a trans teen with the added flight of fancy that if anyone bullies you for being trans, you can pummel them into the ground. Danny is such a great kid, you can’t help but root for her and just outright DESPISE what she’s put through. And, as a comic book geek, this also makes for an awesome superhero story. There is genuine peril Danny has to deal with as a budding super-heroine and despite the world ending consequences; the story doesn’t feel like it gets bogged down when dealing with the issues surrounding a transgendered individual. Some reactions are almost TOO evil but I think that’s just the part of me that is desperately holding on to a shred of hope in humanity. It doesn’t pander, it doesn’t preach; “Dreadnought” is a well-written, wild ride, and if it’s the start to a series; I look forward to more. 4.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Rebel Genius” by Michael Dante DiMartino

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*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review.

*This review is cross-posted at Otakus and Geeks.

When I was poking around and saw this book was written by co-creator of the animated shows Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, I clicked it immediately, not even realizing it was a YA book meant for kids 8-12 years old. But much like those shows, this book can absolutely be enjoyed by adults.

They story centers around Giacomo, a young orphan who lives in a world where artists have entities much like familiars called a Genius which can not only inspire them but turn their art into magic. A tyrant named Nerezza has hunted down all the artists she could find and appointed herself Supreme Creator. After an accident, Giacomo finds himself with his own Genius and is discovered by other children who have been hiding from Nerezza’s threat. They embark on a journey to find these artifacts called The Creators Tools what may help them overthrow Nerezza and bring art back to the ruined nation.

I love how there are sketches in the book and the way they are included, it’s implied Giacomo is the one drawing them. It added extra charm to an already fascinating story. It’s also worth noting that even though this story is labeled YA, it doesn’t shy away from some pretty dark stuff. There’s a real sense of danger and urgency to the mission and you do wonder if all the characters will make it or even succeed at all. But towards the end after the big twist, it got into some predictable plot points but hey, I’m a voracious consumer of fiction so it’s not a major drawback to the story overall. I’m just much more likely to catch tropes, however, I can see it surprising a kid who’s reading this.

You can absolutely feel the creative energy and love from the Avatar series in this book. The concept of art manifesting as physical magic is compelling, the adventure is tense and action-packed, and the characters are unique and fun. I am super curious to find out what happens next in what could very well be a rollercoaster of a series. 4.5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Songbird Thief” by Skye Allen

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*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review.

Lee is half fae with a magical voice. When she sings, she can control people; a talent she has only used so far to steal little things here and there. After escaping her abusive step-father, Lee is torn between wanting to know more about who she is and heeding the warnings of her late mother’s friend, Sonja; who knows the fae were responsible for Lee’s mother’s death. But the fae are very interested in Lee’s magical voice and their promise of answers may be more than Lee can resist.

This book is classified as a Young Adult LGBTQ fantasy but it didn’t feel like a YA novel; if that makes any sense. There’s this maturity to it. I had to keep reminding myself that Lee is 15 not 25. She describes things in beautiful detail, she’s put into some really tough situations, and despite having zero clue what to do half the time, she makes some mature decisions.

The fairy world is described well and the technique and word choices expect effort from the reader. It’s not dumbed down and doesn’t pander. Lee is a nice kid and a real character just trying to do the right thing in a world full of bad choices; all culminating to a bittersweet ending. Despite being the second in a series, this book stands firmly on it’s own and is a welcome diversion from most YA I’ve read. I give this a 4 out of 5.

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