With An Accent Recommends: Books that need more love

Descender – Recommended by Andrew Santos, Contributor

Published under Image Comics, Descender is a current ongoing comic series written by Jeff Lemire with art by Dustin Nguyen. In recent years Lemire has contributed a wealth of great stories under Marvel, DC, and DC’s Vertigo imprint, including the critically acclaimed series Sweet Tooth, and Descender is a fantastic addition to Lemire’s growing resumé. Nguyen is also an artist who is not to be overlooked, providing a unique style to his work and demonstrating a highly competent use of watercolors and pencils.

Serving as an addition to Image Comics’ collection of science fiction stories, Descender focuses on a robotic boy by the name of Tim-21 who may serve as the key to stopping a gigantic force of invading robots known as the Harvesters. Tim-21 is joined by a multitude of colorful characters as his adventure continues, including the scientist who claims to have created him, a space captain named Telsa, and his bodyguard/friend, a fellow robot named Driller. As the series progress Lemire continues to build a compelling and rich world, space operatic in scope.

Descender #19 hit store shelves on February 22, and you can catch up on the series by picking up the first three collected trade paperbacks currently available on digital platforms and wherever graphic novels are sold.

S. by Doug Dorst and J.J. Abrams – Recommended by Ardis VanMeerten, Contributor

S. is the sort of work that almost seems to be too good to be true. It transcends the typical mystery novel, making the reader an investigator. With notes, photos, and scribbles in lines this story has you enamored from the start. For the price of one book you get three stories. It even has a flipping trailer!

The novel centers on two students, Eric and Jen, who independently find the novel Ship of Theseus in their school library. As they read the book, marking the pages, they begin writing to one another in the margins. They continue to dissect the words before them, adding in research they have done on the author, thus adding another aspect.

There really is no wrong way to read this book. Whether you start with the story of Ship of Theseus, the margins, or even the footnotes all prove incredibly intriguing. It truly sucks you into the pages as you cannot help but flip pages absorbing the lives before you.

Released in 2013, this book was the brainchild of J.J. Abrams so you know it is going to be good. The idea came to him when he found a book beside him on a bench with an inscription. Doug Dorst is the genius behind the words before you. It is the reason why people avoid e-readers. S. truly is a present for you to unwrap at your own pace as you fall into its epic.

Fairyland Series by Catherynne Valente – Recommended by Miranda, Contributor

The Fairyland Series by Catherynne Valente is comprised of five novels and one short story which serves as a prequel to the main series (The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland – For a Little While).

Five books:

  • The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
  • The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There
  • The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two
  • The Boy Who Lost Fairyland
  • The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home

The series is fascinating because it presents a winning combination of a great story, engaging characters, a complex, intricate setting, and relevant themes. If you’re a fan of fantasy and all the books about children wandering into magical worlds and having unforgettable adventures there, you will enjoy the Fairyland Series. While it has familiar elements from other books in this genre (notably Alice in Wonderland, The Chronicles of Narnia, a bit of Tolkien), the series still manages to stand out on its own with the creative use of mythological creatures and literary allusions, and with introducing readers to well-developed, relatable characters.

The main protagonist is a young girl (“ill-tempered and irascible enough,” and “somewhat heartless” as described in the first book) named September who longs for a more exciting life. She is whisked away into Fairyland by the Green Wind and so begins a series of amazing adventures, going on quest after quest, learning more about Fairyland, both how beautiful and how cruel it can be, and making many good friends along the way. Her closest companions are A-Through-L, a wyverary (a cross between a wyvern and a library), and Saturday, a Marid who can grant wishes and who lives in and out of time. Along the way she meets a host of colorful characters, both allies and foes, but in Fairyland, nothing is ever black and white.

I have to mention that the fourth book doesn’t feature much of September but focuses on the character of Hawthorn, a troll who finds himself stuck in the human world. But this only helps better develop Fairyland and show more of the books’ excellent world-building.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the series is its sympathy for “monsters” because the books show creatures (yetis, shadows) who would usually be presented in a negative light, as misunderstood beings with good intentions. Even the “villains” September encounters are not purely evil but are well-rounded, complex characters. In particular, September’s nemesis, The Marquess, has a very bittersweet backstory that helps us sympathize with her despite all her misdeeds. The connection she shares with September is not to be ignored, and this knowledge guides September’s decisions in the later books.

While Fairyland explores the usual “coming of age” themes, it interestingly also presents the idea that “growing up is its own kind of magic” and that even when a child gets older, she doesn’t have to forget the magic of her adventures in Fairyland. Adults are still allowed to visit, and continue to have their adventures there. The lessons September learns during her quests help shape who she is and though she has to pay a price for her time in Fairyland, she finds that it is one well worth paying.

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