Tuesday, March 01, 2022

Wingbearer and Minecraft

Liu, Marjorie M. and Issakhanian, Teny (Illustrations). Wingbearer
March 1st 2022 by Quill Tree Books 
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Zuli was orphaned as an infant and is being raised by birds and the bird spirits in the Great Tree. It's an idyllic life, and she gets to watch as the spirits of birds who have died reappear as leaves and then venture forth to be reborn. When no bird spirits seem to be leaving and the leaves on the dry are shriveled and brown, the community worries. Reluctantly, it is agreed that Zuli should venture forth into the real world to see what is happening. The owl, Frowly, accompanies her. The other world is destroyed, with wreckage everywhere. Zuli is attacked, but saved by Orien. Frowly is leery of their new friend, since he is a goblin, but he offers to take the two to the Nainai of his people to try to find out what is going on. Zuli, whose bracelet marks her as a special member of a long lost people. She is also being hunted by a Witch-Queen, who is sending all manner of dastardly creatures after her. Zuli holds her own, keeping her quest to find out what is happening with the birds foremost in her mind despite all of the obstacles the new world throws at her. Will she be able to survive giant spiders, dragons, and wraith-like creatures in order to put the bird world to rights? Another book is needed to finish this story!
Strengths: This was a great, philosophical fantasy adventure about existence and identity, offset by plenty of action and adventure. Zuli is an appealing character who loves her world enough to leave in order to save it. This has all of the good parts of a hero's quest story, and Zuli bravely travels all over the unaccustomed world, gathering supporters, following clues, and finding out secrets about her own past. The illustrations are bright, with heavily saturated colors that really make the scenes pop, and the facial expressions on the characters add a lot to the story. There is still a lot we need to find out, so I assume a sequel is in the works. 
Weaknesses: Frowly looked a bit like... Archimedes from Disney's The Sword and the Stone? I couldn't quite pin it down, but it bothered me. Orien didn't look like a goblin, but more like Malificent from Sleeping Beauty. Young readers will not have these previous examples of animated characters wedged so firmly in their memories. 
What I really think: I don't quite understand this, since it combines two things with which I personally struggle; fantasy and graphic novels. Still, it is well done, and will be appreciated by fans of Amulet, Aldridge's Estranged, and Stevenson's Nimona.

Okay. I try. I have read all of the Minecraft novels by Del Rey books, and I even understood some of them, even though I have never played Minecraft. I somehow missed the first book in this subseries (but will read it when it comes to my library), so started the second book without realizing there was a first. There were a lot of characters, a LOT of Minecraft details, and an ill-considered trip into the wilds because the village was boring that had me worried as an adult. Did I read Never Say Nether? Yes. Did I understand anything that happened? Not really. 

I have ordered the entire series, shelved trying to shelve them under MIN so they are easy to find, and the eight that I have (I have the remaining four on order) are never on the shelf. The students who read them tend to be video game obsessed, so they understand everything about the Villagers, Illagers, and Pillagers, and I figure that if they are READING about Minecraft, they aren't PLAYING Minecraft. 

So order these, even if you don't understand them. 

Dawson, Delilah S. Mob Squad (Minecraft)
September 28th 2021 by Del Rey Books
Haven't read yet

From the Publisher:
Come with the Mob Squad on an amazing adventure through the Overworld in this official Minecraft novel!

The village of Cornucopia is practically perfect in every way. Plenty of food, cozy homes, and a huge wall to keep everyone safe from the scary world outside. What more could a kid possibly need?

Well, a lot, actually.

Mal, a fearless girl, needs adventure, and her friends are right there with her: Lenna, a dreamer whose family underestimates her every day. Tok and Chug, brothers who love to build stuff (Tok) and smash stuff (Chug). They're best friends, and in a town whose grown-ups value safety over bravery and fitting in over standing out, they're the bad apples.

But when a mysterious mob sneaks past Cornucopia's defenses, the village is in huge trouble. And nobody knows what to do. Finally faced with the adventure she's always wanted, Mal and her friends defy the rules their elders have always followed and set out beyond the wall for the first time.

On their journey across the Overworld, they discover wonders they've never dreamed of and dangers they've never imagined. To save the day, they'll have to prove they're more than bad apples. They're the Mob Squad!

Dawson, Delilah S. Mob Squad: Never Say Nether (Minecraft)
March 1st 2022 by Del Rey Books
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

From the Publisher:
An official Minecraft novel continuing the adventures of the Mob Squad.

The next exciting Minecraft novel from Del Rey and Mojang Studios, starring the heroes of Minecraft: Mob Squad as they journey further than ever before into the unexplored wilds and perilous depths of Minecraft's world.

1 comment:

  1. I have to say, when my kids were still young enough that I worried about the video games they played (they're all adults now), I was always glad when they were playing Minecraft. It's so creative and collaborative. They would show me their houses and gardens and the stores where they sold the things they made from the things they grew in their gardens, and I was pretty impressed. My greatest astonishment was when my son made a machine that played Joplin's "The Entertainer": it was quite complicated to get the pitches and timing exactly right.

    Was any of it good for them in the long term? Who knows! I'd still rather they be reading!