Caramel reviews Robotech Visual Archive: The Macross Saga edited by Matt Moylan

In his last review for 2021, Caramel wanted to share some of his thoughts on one of his favorites among the recent book acquisitions of the book bunny household: Robotech Visual Archive: The Macross Saga, a large-scale book edited by a team of artists and writers led by Matt Moylan. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Caramel reviews Robotech Visual Archive: The Macross Saga, edited by Matt Moylan.
Caramel reviews Robotech Visual Archive: The Macross Saga, edited by Matt Moylan.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, you wanted to talk about this Robotech book for a while. So here we are. Tell us about it.

Caramel: This book is about Robotech! As you could tell, obviously, from the title.

S: So what if some of our readers don’t know what Robotech is? Can you tell us a bit about it?

C: It’s a bit hard to explain. I mean, it is an animated TV show from long time ago. I think it was the 1980s…

S: Wait, that is not that long ago! Sure, I was a young bunny back then …

C: I know. That was a long time ago.

S: Okay, I guess I have to accept the fact that time is moving forward and I am getting old.

C: No. You’re only getting wiser!

S: Thank you Caramel, you are very kind. So let us get back to Robotech. Robotech was a TV series from the 80s. In fact we can put a link to the Wikipedia article for those who want to read up on it And here is a link to the first episode:

Robotech The Macross Saga 1985 Episode 1 Boobytrap – from YouTube.

S: But why don’t you give us a quick summary?

C: Okay, that is going to be a bit hard. But let me try. So we are on Earth, and there is an alien ship that crashed on the planet. And humans discovered it and tried to decode the technology it used. They called that technology robotechnology. So the name Robotech probably comes from there.

S: Okay, so is this what happens in the series?

C: No, this is the background. The series starts with some aliens trying to get that alien ship back. Actually it is not theirs, either, but they want to claim it. and so there is a big war, which destroys most of the Earth in Episode 27–

S: That is terrible!

C: Oops, yes, and it is a pretty terrible spoiler if someone wanted to watch the series and did not know anything about it beforehand. I’m sorry!

S: Oh well. I suppose that was kind of difficult to avoid. This book that you are reviewing today is not only about the story though, right?

C: No. There is a lot more in it than just the story, but there are actually pages for each of the episodes, and they summarize what happens in each episode.

S: I see. Yes, there is a full page for each episode, with the episode synopsis and several screenshots from the episode.

C: Yep, pretty neat!

Caramel is reading about Episodes 05 and 06 of The Macross Saga in Robotech Visual Archive: The Macross Saga, edited by Matt Moylan.
Caramel is reading about Episodes 05 and 06 of The Macross Saga in Robotech Visual Archive: The Macross Saga, edited by Matt Moylan.

S: Okay, so for the thirty-six episodes there are thirty-six pages–

C: Nope, some episodes have two pages!

S: Okay, but other than that, other than the episode pages, what else is there in the book?

C: There are several pages for each of the main characters. There is a whole section called “Character Designs: Humans” which has many many pages for each of the main human characters. And then there is a section called “Character Designs: Zentradi” for the alien race.

S: I’m guessing the Zentradi are the aliens who are fighting the humans?

C: Yes. But they are humanoid and there is a very good reason for why they are humanoid. But I won’t spoil that much.

S: Maybe that is a good idea.

Caramel is reading about Max Sterling, his favorite character in the series, in Robotech Visual Archive: The Macross Saga, edited by Matt Moylan.
Caramel is reading about Max Sterling, his favorite character in the series, in Robotech Visual Archive: The Macross Saga, edited by Matt Moylan.

S: So tell me more about the book then. What else is there?

C: There are the mecha designs pages for the United Earth Forces and the Zentradi forces.

S: And I am sure you love those!

C: Yep. I love the mechas, especially the VF-1A.

Caramel is reading about VF-1A, his favorite VeriTech mecha in the series, in Robotech Visual Archive: The Macross Saga, edited by Matt Moylan.

S: So I did not know what a mecha was before you told me about them. But apparently mechas are typical anime constructs, they are large robots that usually have a human pilot in them that is steering them.

C: Yes. And most of these transform. They can be humanoid robots but they can also be fighter planes or something in between.

S: I can see why you would find them fascinating. You like space ships, you like planes, and you love robots and transformers. Just perfect for you!

C: Yep.

S: So I know you have watched a lot of the Robotech series. Do you think you would have liked this book this much if you had not?

C: It would not make much sense but the ships and the robots and so on are still cool.

S: So what do you want to tell our readers about the show itself?

C: I like the plot and I love the mechas, and I like the song Minmei sings:

Robotech, Minmei singing “We will win” during the Final Battle – from YouTube.

C: but there are some parts where I covered my eyes–

S: Yes, there was some nudity in there I think.

C: Yes. So I am not sure that everyone should watch it. But the ships are awesome! So the book is really awesome! I can just look at the robots and the ships and read about them, too.

S: That is great Caramel. So I think this is probably enough for this review. Would you recommend this book?

C: Yes! All bunnies young and old, who like starships, robots, and especially Robotech, will like this book!

S: Sounds just about right to me! Okay, Caramel, this is your last review for 2021. And then we take the month of January off, like we have been doing. So what do you want to tell our readers?

C: Happy new year everyone! And stay tuned for more book bunny reviews, coming to you in February 2022!

Caramel loves perusing the pages of Robotech Visual Archive: The Macross Saga, edited by Matt Moylan, and recommends it to all bunnies young and old, who like starships, robots, and especially Robotech.
Caramel loves perusing the pages of Robotech Visual Archive: The Macross Saga, edited by Matt Moylan, and recommends it to all bunnies young and old, who like starships, robots, and especially Robotech.

Marshmallow reviews Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander by J.K. Rowling

Marshmallow’s first review for this blog was a review of Harry Potter and The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling. In her last review for 2021, she revisits the Harry Potter universe and writes about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander written by J.K. Rowling.

Marshmallow reviews Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander by J.K. Rowling.
Marshmallow reviews Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander by J.K. Rowling.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you liked some of J.K. Rowling’s other books, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary: This is a book about all of the fantastic beasts that inhabit the world of Harry Potter. There is an A-Z list of a lot of the amazing creatures in the Harry Potter world, though not all of them were mentioned in the original series. The A-Z list has a paragraph about each creature. There is a rating of how dangerous the creature is, with X meaning “boring” and XXXXX meaning “a known wizard killer / impossible to train or domesticate”. Each creature’s paragraph describes what they look like, where they live, and then some more. Sometimes there is a sketch of the animal.

The purported author of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Newt Scamander, is a wizard who appeared in several movies based in the American Wizarding World. Newt Scamander is a wizard from the 1920s, so the book is written from the perspective of a wizard. We first hear about this book in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, where it is a textbook Harry needs. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them also contains an About The Author segment where we learn more about Scamander.

The foreword is written as if it were meant for wizards, and at the beginning Scamander writes, “To appear only in ‘For Wizards’ version” and at the end, there is another handwritten note: “Editor’s note: for Muggles edition, usual guff: ‘obvious fiction—all good fun—nothing to worry about—hope you enjoy it’”

The foreword and the introduction are not something to skip; they are funny and explain the definition and origin of the label of beast. They explain the format of the book too. The author’s note also explains how wizards have kept the magical creatures in the Harry Potter world hidden. The book itself divulges the truth about the Yeti, the Loch Ness monster, and more. 

Marshmallow is reading Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander by J.K. Rowling.
Marshmallow is reading Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander by J.K. Rowling.

Marshmallow’s Review: This book is a must-read for every Harry Potter fan. It is a light read, and doesn’t have a plot, so bunnies of all ages can read it. The author, Newt Scamander/J.K. Rowling, is humorous all throughout, which makes the book fun to read.

On the back of the edition I have it reads: 

“Proceeds from the sale of this book will go to Comic Relief and Lumos, which means that the dollars you exchange for it will do magic beyond the powers of any wizard. If you feel that this is insufficient reason to part with your money, one can only hope that passing wizards feel more charitable if they see you being attacked by a Manticore.”

I really enjoyed reading this book. It made watching the movies a lot more fun. Here is the trailer of the first movie in the Fantastic Beasts franchise:

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Official Teaser Trailer #1 (2016) – from YouTube.

Here is the trailer for the second movie:

FANTASTIC BEASTS 2 Trailer 2 (2018) – from YouTube.

The third movie will come out in April 2022, but I will be back here in February. Till then, enjoy the holidays and the new year, and read lots of books! I know I will!

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander by J.K. Rowling 100%.
Marshmallow rates Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander by J.K. Rowling 100%.

Caramel reviews Cleopatra in Space: The Golden Lion by Mike Maihack

Caramel has been reviewing the Cleopatra in Space graphic novel series by Mike Maihack, and he has already reviewed the first three books. (You might find it useful to check out his reviews of the first book Target Practice, the second book The Thief and the Sword, and the third book Secret of the Time Tablets before continuing on.) Today he talks about the fourth book in the series: The Golden Lion. As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Caramel reviews Cleopatra in Space: The Golden Lion by Mike Maihack.
Caramel reviews Cleopatra in Space: The Golden Lion by Mike Maihack.

Sprinkles: So Caramel tell me about this book.

Caramel: The book is about Cleopatra and the Golden Lion. The Golden Lion is a star that fell on to a distant planet and Cleo wants to find it. But I am not sure it is really a star, because a star could not really fall on a planet and both still continue to be.

S: I understand. You are right. Stars are also almost always bigger than planets. Maybe it was a comet–

C: Or maybe it is a neutron star. Those can be smaller.

S: Good point! So why does Cleo want to find this Golden Lion?

C: I am not sure. I think it is in the prophesy about Cleo. But if you want the general summary of the book, let me read you the description at the back cover of the book:

Cleo is back at Yasiro Academy, recovering from the tragic events that occurred on planet Hykosis. She feels responsible for the death of her friend Zaid, and trains nonstop. And when she learns that the Golden Lion — a star with immeasurable energy that could destroy them all if weaponized — has been located, she goes alone to the snowy, icy planet Cada’duun to find it. There, she faces off with a new enemy who has been instructed to destroy the Golden Lion…and her.

S: Hmm, that sounds interesting, so she is trying to protect her friends and the Yasiro Academy, right?

C: I think so.

S: Apparently some aliens in the book speak in equations. What did you think of that?

C: I am not sure it makes any sense.

S: Why not? A lot of people say math is a language.

C: But there are so many things you cannot say with equations.

S: Like?

C: Like, where is the pizza?

S: Hmm, maybe there is a variable for pizza and the question template “where is …” is a function w(..), then you could say w(Pizza)?

C: I don’t think that makes sense.

S: That is probably because you do not know algebra yet so algebraic notation seems confusing.

C: That is true. I do not know algebra. But coming back to the book, Antony is back and he is a litter bug.

S: Who was Antony? Is this the Antony who marries Cleopatra in the real history?

C: But this is millions of years in the future, that does not make sense.

S: But I mean you told me earlier that there was a character named Antony who was a thief, right?

C: Right. That was in The Thief and the Sword. It is the same thief.

S: I see. I understand there is a surprise twist at the end?

C: Yes, but I’m not going to tell you about it. You need to read it yourself.

Caramel is reading Cleopatra in Space: The Golden Lion by Mike Maihack.
Caramel is reading Cleopatra in Space: The Golden Lion by Mike Maihack.

S: So what do you think of Cleo? Do you find her relatable? Do you like her? Do you understand how she feels when you read her thoughts and actions?

C: Yes. I like her. But I think she does not always make the right decisions. Kind of like Harry Potter who also makes wrong decisions, and she goes off to do things on her own without getting help from friends.

S: I know, right? But if the main character always did the right thing, the stories would be less interesting and much shorter I think. So some readers say that this was the most intense book of the series so far. What do you think?

C: I think so. She is in big trouble here, someone is trying to kill her. And it gets a bit tense.

S: I see. So what are your three words to describe the book this time?

C: Colorful, exciting, and fun.

S: Are you looking forward to the fifth book?

C: Yes, but it will have to wait till next year. I do not have the book yet.

S: I know. And we are wrapping up this year, you have only one more review to do, and then we take off for January.

C: Yes.

S: Okay, so this is your penultimate review for 2021. What do you want to tell our readers?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel really enjoyed reading Cleopatra in Space: The Golden Lion by Mike Maihack, but will likely need to wait till the new year to read and review the next two books in the series.
Caramel really enjoyed reading Cleopatra in Space: The Golden Lion by Mike Maihack, but will likely need to wait till the new year to read and review the next two books in the series.

Marshmallow reviews The Demigod Diaries by Rick Riordan

Through the years, Marshmallow has reviewed quite a few books written by Rick Riordan. Today she revisits the world of Percy Jackson, a Greek demigod whose adventures we have read about in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, and his friends whom we met in the Heroes of Olympus series. In the review below, Marshmallow tells us her thoughts about The Demigod Diaries, published first in 2012, written after the completion of the first series and before the completion of the second.

(Marshmallow reviewed three books from the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series; check out her reviews of The Lightning ThiefThe Sea of Monsters, and The Titan’s Curse. Caramel reviewed the graphic novel versions of the same three. See his reviews of  The Lightning ThiefThe Sea of Monsters, and The Titan’s Curse.)

(Marshmallow also reviewed all five books of the Heroes of Olympus series: The Lost HeroThe Son of NeptuneThe Mark of AthenaThe House of Hades, and The Blood of Olympus.)

Marshmallow reviews The Demigod Diaries by Rick Riordan.
Marshmallow reviews The Demigod Diaries by Rick Riordan.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you liked some of the other books by Rick Riordan or enjoy books about Greek mythology, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary: This book consists of a couple short stories placed in the Rick Riordan world, games about the Rick Riordan world, special pictures, and one interview with George and Martha, the snakes on Hermes’s caduceus. There are four short stories: “The Diary of Luke Castellan”, “Percy Jackson and the Staff of Hermes”, “Leo Valdez and the Quest for Buford”, and “Son of Magic”.

“The Diary of Luke Castellan” is written from the perspective of Luke Castellan, a major character in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. The story details how his friend Thalia found her shield (Aegis) and how they together met a seven-year-old Annabeth, one of the most important characters in the two series involving the Greek and Roman gods and goddesses.

“Percy Jackson and the Staff of Hermes” is written from the perspective of Percy Jackson. The story is about Percy Jackson’s mission to recover Hermes’s caduceus.

Marshmallow is reading The Demigod Diaries by Rick Riordan.
Marshmallow is reading The Demigod Diaries by Rick Riordan.

“Leo Valdez and the Quest for Buford” is about Leo Valdez’s search for Buford, his trusty table friend. We met Leo Valdez in The Lost Hero, the first book of the Heroes of Olympus series. Leo is a son of Hephaestus, a skilled mechanic, and a goofy but faithful friend.

“Son of Magic” concerns a half-blood who chose to side with Kronos during the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. The half-blood is in trouble, being chased by a monster, and he needs the help of a mortal. This story was written by Riordan’s son Haley Riordan.

In addition to the four stories, the book contains an exclusive interview with George and Martha, the two snakes on the caduceus of Hermes. There are also some trivia games and a word search puzzle.

Finally, the book includes several full-color full-page illustrations of several of the main characters from the two series. In particular there are full-page images of Annabeth, Percy, Luke, Piper, and Leo, and some illustrations of specific places. The colored illustrations were made by Antonio Caparo and the black-and-white ones were by Steve James.

Marshmallow is looking at the portraits of Annabeth and Percy in The Demigod Diaries by Rick Riordan.
Marshmallow is looking at the portraits of Annabeth and Percy in The Demigod Diaries by Rick Riordan, drawn by Antonio Caparo.

Marshmallow’s Review: I really enjoyed reading The Demigod Diaries. I think it makes a great addition to my Riordan collection, and it really explained some things that happened in the main books of the two series involving the Greek and Roman demigods. Some of the events in this book were mentioned by the main characters in the main series and it was good to have the full stories be told.

I enjoyed the games and thought that the images were really well-drawn. The stories fit right into the world that Rick Riordan created in his two main series, and it was nice to reconnect with the characters from them.

The Demigod Diaries does not involve the later series by Riordan such as the Trials of Apollo, Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, or The Kane Chronicles. I haven’t read the Magnus Chase books or the Kane Chronicles yet, but this was fine; the stories in The Demigod Diaries take place before these other series, and so I think there are no spoilers.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.  

Marshmallow rates The Demigod Diaries by Rick Riordan 100%.
Marshmallow rates The Demigod Diaries by Rick Riordan 100%.