City on the Other Side is a fun adventure of a graphic novel. It tells the story of a girl who feels ignored by her parents and finds her place on the "other side" of a city where creatures of all kinds work together to stop a fairy war.
This second instalment of the Brooklyn Brujas series was SO MUCH BETTER than the first! Where the first book felt too fast and missed opportunities, BRUJA BORN was WONDERFUL! I felt so much closer to this character, Lula, then I did to Alex. Where Alex was quick-tempered, Lula was thoughtful. She felt how things would affect not just herself, but her family, which was one of the things that I didn't like about Alex, but all three of the sisters seem to have grown in this book.
Lula, the oldest of the Mortiz sisters, has just been broken up with before boarding the bus to the district championship soccer game with her friends and teammates. On the way to the game, there is a terrible accident and everyone is killed except for Lula. In the hospital, she and her sisters stop death from coming for Macks, Lula's (ex) boyfriend and create a much bigger problem than 28 dead teenagers-they end up keeping them all from fully dying and creating an army of "casimuertos" or non-dead people who live off of human hearts and can't pass on. Lula has to figure out how to help these casimiertos move on from this world BEFORE they destroy all of New York, and free Lady de la Muerte-Lady Death-who is trapped between worlds.
The whole "having to find the Spear of Death" piece of the story honestly felt a bit unnecessary, but I see how it made the family and community have to come together to help Lula. The scenes leading up to finding the spear and returning it to La Muerte felt rushed, but great and anticipatory nonetheless.
Overall, the book had a very familiar feel as the movie Practical Magic, but with more culture and history embedded which I appreciated. Strong female lead characters, a great family theme, and plenty of magic gave this book five stars. My favorite thing about this book that the first didn't have was how there are other magical groups at play in New York that are both for regulatory purposes but also that help keep the non-magical people safe as well as some hinting as to where Lula and Alex' father was while he was "gone."
Zoraida Cordova outdid herself with this story; my only complaint is having to wait for the next one!
I have not read THE GOLDEN COMPASS novel, nor have I seen the movie, but for someone who has always wanted to understand the hype around the series, but hasn't had time to read it, this graphic novel was PERFECTION! The illustrations are gorgeous and make keeping track of characters much easier than having to remember all of the names. I had no trouble at all understanding and following Lyra's story. It begins at Jordan College where she is under the care of the "Master" and overhears Lord Asriel speaking about "dust" to the other scholars. Roger, her best friend, gets taken by the "Gobblers," who are the General Oblation Unit, who we later learn are trying to find a way to separate children from the daemons (outward extension of their soul) to use the energy and dust created from the separation to find a way to get in to the "other world." This was where I got confused and had to do some digging, but thankfully, as the book goes on, we learn more about dust and this other world that is referenced. When Roger is taken by the Gobblers, Lyra sets out to bring him home but meets Mrs. Coulter (who is actually her mother) who is charming and buys Lyra nice dresses, but Lyra thinks that she is hiding something and wants to take the alethiometer from her, so she runs away. Lyra meets a band of "Gyptians" who tell her about her origins and who her true parents are and why she is being hunted by the General Oblation Board, she also meets their astronaut, Lee Scoresby, and an armoured bear named Iorek Byrnison. With these people, she sets off to the North (the Arctic) to find all of the children who have been taken by the Gobblers as well as setting Lord Asriel (who she learns is her father) free from the armoured bears. Lyra's team is a great way of showing readers that people of all different backgrounds (and species-haha) can work together successfully.
While the story was a bit hard to follow at times and required A LOT of re-reading, I thought the graphic novel was amazing. The pages displaying the aurora borealis were absolutely stunning. When Lord Asriel explains what Dust is to Lyra (and the reader) it is easy to understand with a visual explanation that the graphic novel offers. Overall, I give it four stars for amazing illustrations and a great story.
Whoop whoop! Spring Break! I finished 2 books!