Review: ‘Explorer’ Series Edited By Kazu Kibuishi

‘Explorer’ Book 1: The Mystery Boxes

Edited By Kazu Kibuishi

Purchase Locations: Amazon  Book Depository Booktopia

‘Explorer 2: The Lost Island’

Edited By Kazu Kibuishi

Purchase Locations: Amazon Book Depository Booktopia

‘Explorer 3: The Hidden Doors’

Edited By Kazu Kibuishi

Purchase Location: Amazon Book Depository Booktopia

‘Explorer 1: The Mystery Boxes’ Edited By Kazu Kibuishi

Explorer: The Mystery Boxes is an exciting anthology of short graphic works by established artists and innovative newcomers in the comic and animation fields, who have each created a unique story on a central theme: a mysterious box and the marvels, or mayhem, inside. Collected and edited by Kazu Kibuishi these well-written, beautifully illustrated stories reflect a range of styles from the humorous to the fantastic. 

‘Explorer 2: The Lost Islands’ Edited By Kazu Kibuishi

Explorer, the exciting graphic anthology series which launched in Spring 2012 with The Mystery Boxes, continues with an incredible roster of comics artists who create amazing new stories around the theme of hidden places in volume two of the series, The Lost Islands. Edited by the New York Times bestselling comics creator, Kazu Kibuishi, this new collection includes well-written, beautifully illustrated stories by Kazu (Amulet), Jason Caffoe (Flight), Raina Telgemeier (Drama and Smile), Dave Roman (Astronaut Academy), Jake Parker (Missile Mouse), Michel Gagne (The Saga of Rex), Katie and Steven Shanahan (Flight), and up-and-coming new artist, Chrystin Garland. Explorer: The Lost Islands is bound to generate the same kind of reviewer and bookseller enthusiasm as the first volume did. 

‘Explorer 3: The Hidden Doors’ Edited By Kazu Kibuishi

Explorer, the graphic novel anthology series that launched in Spring 2012 with The Mystery Boxes and continued with The Lost Islands (autumn 2013), returns with a roster of comics artists creating new fantasy and science fiction stories around the theme of hidden doors both real doors and imaginary. Edited by New York Times bestselling comics creator Kazu Kibuishi, this latest collection includes clever and beautifully illustrated stories by Kazu Kibuishi (Amulet), Jason Caffoe (Flight), Amy Kim Kibuishi (Flight anthologies), Johane Matte (Explorer: The Mystery Boxes), Jen Wang (Koko Be Good), Steve Hamaker (well known as the colorist for Jeff Smith’s Bone) and Faith Erin Hicks (Friends With Boys). The Hidden Doors is sure to receive the same critical attention and bookseller enthusiasm as its predecessors. 

I loved this series. It was a short quick read. Each graphic novel contain short stories that pertain to a theme, so in the mystery box each short comic incorporates that some how.

This is a great series of graphic novels for middle grade readers! I really wanted to give them a go to see if they’d be a good fit for my new year 3 kiddos and I was not disappointed. Each short comic is contains new characters, different art work and a completely different story. This fits in well with how our readers workshop runs and gives the girls a chance to reflect on each individual story and what they author and illustrator are trying to get across to its readers.

I feel that these texts would be great for slightly weaker readers allowing them to use the images to give them clues as to what the dialect is telling the reader.

The art style of each comic is unique and really helps to tell that individual story.

Plot: 8/10
Ease of reading: 10/10
Character Development: 4/10
World Building: 5/10
Quality of Writing:  6/10
Stars:  4.5/5

Would love some more graphic novel suggestions! Are there any you recommend?

Christmas at Hogwarts Read-a-thon Update

Ok, so i know no one is keenly awaiting an update on the Christmas at Hogwarts read-a-thon, but I thought I would post one anyway.

So far I have completed:
* ‘Finish your course work‘ which was a prompt to finish your current read.
* I then decided to ‘Help Hagrid decorate the trees’ which was a book with gold detailing on the cover. Originally I was going to read ‘Shadow and Bone’ By Leigh Bardugo but since it took me longer than I anticipated to finished my current read I chose something a little easier to read and went with ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Crimes of Grindewald’ the Official Screenplay by J.K. Rowling, which I’ve now finished.

*Next was ‘Visit the 3 broomsticks for Mulled Pixie Wine’ which was a prompt to read a book that would take a day to read for this I was originally going to read ’50 ways to Yay’ by Alexi Panos but decided instead to read ‘Explorer: The Mystery Boxes’ By Kazu Kibuishi’which was definitely a good choice as I really enjoyed it.

*The 4 the prompt I chose from the 3 options and chose ‘Attend the Yule Ball’ which was read a book you’ve been preparing yourself for. I intend to stick with ‘Throne of Glass’ By Sarah J. Maas.

*The final reading prompt has 2 options and I am still sticking with ‘Use the invisibility cloak to sneak into the restricted section’ which is to read a banned book. For this one I am sticking with ‘Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone’ By J.K. Rowling.

Thats the update on my first ever reading challenge! Are you participating? How are you going with your reading challenge?

Review: ‘Even the Darkest Stars’ By Heather Fawcett


‘Even the Darkest Stars’
By Heather Fawcett
Book #1 in the Even the Darkest Stars Series

Publisher: Blazer and Bray
Publish Date: 2017
Pages: 427
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Fiction
Genre:  Fantasy
Purchase Locations: Amazon and Kindle Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks QBD

“I also knew that most stories were like the shadows painted by the late afternoon sun: deceptive and exaggerated. I wasn’t going to be afraid of stories” – Kamzin


Kamzin has always dreamed of becoming one of the Emperor’s royal explorers, the elite climbers tasked with mapping the wintry, mountainous Empire and spying on its enemies. She knows she could be the best in the world, if only someone would give her a chance.
But everything changes when the mysterious and eccentric River Shara, the greatest explorer ever known, arrives in her village and demands to hire Kamzin—not her older sister Lusha, as everyone had expected—for his next expedition. This is Kamzin’s chance to prove herself—even though River’s mission to retrieve a rare talisman for the emperor means climbing Raksha, the tallest and deadliest mountain in the Aryas. Then Lusha sets off on her own mission to Raksha with a rival explorer who is determined to best River, and Kamzin must decide what’s most important to her: protecting her sister from the countless perils of the climb or beating her to the summit.
The challenges of climbing Raksha are unlike anything Kamzin expected—or prepared for—with avalanches, ice chasms, ghosts, and even worse at every turn. And as dark secrets are revealed, Kamzin must unravel the truth of their mission and of her companions—while surviving the deadliest climb she has ever faced.


I’ll be honest, I definitely found this book a touch slow at the beginning. for the first 50 pages or so I struggled to get into the story and commit to wanting to know what happened to the characters. Once I passed about the 50 page mark though, I was in.

There are some names that are difficult to decipher, which could 100% be something that’s totally on me.

I ended up really loving the characters and really felt that both Lusha and Kamzin are great determined female characters, which I absolutely love.

A lot of this book is traveling, however it’s kind of the main point of the story so is to be expected.  There was great description of the different locations that our expedition of characters passed through and there were moments where I really felt like I was there.

There is a great glimpses into the culture of the people within the book and a solid structure to the world we are being introduced to, everything makes sense in this world with no outlandish areas that make you question the fluidity of the world.

Overall I enjoyed reading this book and am really looking forward to picking up the sequel in a few weeks time!


Plot: 7/10
Ease of reading: 5.5/10
Character Development: 7/10
World Building: 9/10
Quality of Writing: 7.5/10
Stars:  4/5

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Have you read ‘Even the Darkest Stars’? What were your thoughts?


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