Tag Archives: fashion

Spotlight on Steampunk: Mini Reviews!

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Today for Spotlight on Steampunk: Two mini reviews! Firstly, there’s the manga adaption of Soulless by Gail Carriger, which I reviewed yesterday. Also, I have a mini review of Anatomy of Steampunk: a great non-fiction steampunk collection that I won at the MCM Expo in October! (:

Soulless: The Manga

Story by Gail Carriger, manga by Rem.

Soulless: The Manga, Vol. 1 (The Parasol Protectorate Manga)Goodreads Synopsis: The life of a spinster in Victorian London isn’t an easy one on the best of days, but such a life becomes infinitely more complicated when said spinster is “soulless” – a preternatural bridging the gap between the natural and supernatural worlds. Miss Alexia Tarabotti has this unique distinction, and when she is assailed at a formal gathering by a rove vampire, an encounter that results in the death of the half-starved creature, her circumstances become exponentially more complicated indeed! Now caught up in an intrigue with life or death stakes, Alexia must rely on all her talents to outmatch the forces conspiring against her, but it may be the man who has caught her eye – Lord Conall Maccon – and their budding flirtation that truly drives her to her wit’s end!

My Review: If you’d like to read about the story and character, click HERE! In this review I’m going to be talking about the artwork.

The Soulless manga was really fun! I read it straight after the actual book, so the story was already fresh in my head. Maybe that wasn’t a great idea, because then I knew what was coming and couldn’t enjoy it as much… oh well! This was a really fun read, though. Everything was adapted, so well. I was expecting for a few parts to be left out, but everything seemed completely accurate, which was awesome. The drawings of the scenes were exactly the way I’d imagined them to be in my head, reading the novel!

The artwork is extremely pretty. Very often, I had to stop and read over a page, just because I wanted to drink in the illustrations all over again. Especially, the parts like the scene near the beginning with the airships in the park: so pretty! So steampunk-y! I loved it ;D Rem has done a brilliant job in conveying all of the details and the witty dialogue beautifully. It did seem to move a bit fast though, for me, but then again I’m probably reading at the wrong pace. I haven’t read manga in ages and I’m so used to non-illustrated stories that I went through this too quickly, I think. But, Rem has created a gorgeous manga, that I think I’m going to buy along with the next two (I borrowed this from a bloggy friend)!

My Rating:

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I borrowed a copy of Soulless: The Manga Volume 1 from Nina at Death Books and Tea. Thank you so much for letting me read it, Nina! (:

Anatomy of Steampunk: The Fashion of Victorian Futurism

By Katherine Gleason, published by Race Point Publishing.

Anatomy of Steampunk: The Fashion of Victorian FuturismGoodreads Synopsis: From formal outfits to costumes crafted for the stage, from ensembles suited to adventure to casual street styles, steampunk fashion has come to encompass quite a few different looks. But what exactly is steampunk? Originally conceived as a literary genre, the term “steampunk” described stories set in a steam-powered, science fiction-infused, Victorian London. Today steampunk has grown to become an aesthetic that fuels many varied art forms. Steampunk has also widened its cultural scope. Many steampunk practitioners, rather than confining their vision to one European city, imagine steam-driven societies all over the world.

Illustrated throughout with color photographs of the dazzling creations of numerous steampunk fashion designers, Anatomy of Steampunk is an inspirational source-book. In addition to presenting the looks and stories of these creative fashion artists, the book also details ten steampunk projects for the reader to try at home. Allow steam to power your imagination!

My Review: What a brilliant book! I’m so glad I got to read this- I absolutely loved it. Over the past couple of week,s I’ve been dipping in and out of it: Reading a few parts every few days. It’s such a brilliant book, and, like the manga reviewed above, I kept going over the same pages, staring at the pretty pictures. I didn’t realise, when I received this, that it was entirely about Steampunk Fashion- I thought it was about a few other things too- though it was still really great.

It’s basically a non-fiction anthology of fashion designers and steampunk/gothic models. The passages of writing about them are really fun to read, but I think the most captivating part of the book were the pictures. There were some amazing photographs, of some absolutely beautiful steampunk fashion designs. (Also, DONNA RICCI! I LOVE DONNA RICCI’S STUFF. Excuse the capitals. You may recognise her name because she is the gothic steampunk model who features on ail Carriger’s books) Every few ‘chapters,’ there are step-by-step guides to designing different parts of Steampunk outfits: From steampunk goggles to trousers to top hats. They’re’re all really brilliant, and looking over them, I really want to make them! Overall, a great in-depth introduction to steampunk fashion. It’s an awesome source for costume ideas or art inspiration: I’m definitely going to be taking inspiration from in to use in my drawings!

My Rating:

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I won a copy of Anatomy of Steampunk: The Fashion of Victorian futurism from Aurum Press at the London MCM Expo. 

GLOSS

By Marilyn Kaye, published by Macmillan.


GlossGoodreads synopsis: 
New York, 1963. 
Fashion, music and attitudes are changing, and there’s nowhere in in the world more exciting. Sherry, Donna, Allison and Pamela have each landed a dream internship at Gloss; America’s number-one fashion magazine. 
Each girl is trying to make her mark on New York and each finds herself thrown head-first into the buzzing world of celebrity, high-end fashion and gossip. But everything isn’t as glamorous as it seems – secrets from the past threaten to shatter their dreams. 
They’re finding out that romance in New York is as unpredictable and thrilling as the city itself.

My review: 

GLOSS was a seriously great read. I requested a copy because it looked like a really good introduction for me to a genre I don’t normally read.  I wasn’t quite sure if I would enjoy something that wasn’t fantasy/set in the modern era, but GLOSS was brilliant!

The story started off with Sherry, the first of the four new interns at the 60’s fashion magazine, GLOSS. I didn’t really like her character from the first chapter. She was portrayed as the kind of girl who was popular, and a bit of a show-off. However, as I got to know her a bit more throughout the story, I grew to like her much more. The same went for Pamela, another intern. The other two protagonists, Alison and Donna, I really liked straightaway because of their unique personalities that made them different to the other glamour-loving GLOSS interns. All four main characters were likeable once I’d gotten to know them. I felt sympathy for them and they really did feel like real, three-dimensional people that lived off of the ages. They all had brilliantly developed backgrounds that were just so realistic- one especially was terrifying. Everything about them was in detail, also the author has written their stories perfectly. The novel’s focuses were shared out equally between the four interns with chapters that had switching between characters.

I think the idea was really great, and there’s really not anything like it on YA store bookshelves at the moment. The story is set in 1963, where fashions are changing rapidly and four teenage interns are about to start summer working at the offices of GLOSS, the biggest teenage fashion magazine of the decade. I’ve never really ever come across Young Adult books set in the sixties, despite it being a pivotal decade for teenagers. GLOSS has captured the era perfectly and effectively. It’s the perfect setting for the characters and the plot. The offices are in New York City, where each of the girls have their own place of interest to explore. I think that the setting was really effective because the four teenagers discovered so much about the city that never sleeps- the good and the bad aspects.

The plot played out really well, and I enjoyed it so much. The plot covered teenage love life, sixties fashion, journalism, and so much more in a brilliant story-line. I think that the flashbacks to Donna’s past were really gripping and moving. They added a kind of haunting hint of nostalgia to a bit of the plot. The other events played out really well. Many parts were very shocking and unpredictable- a lot of things were going on at once between all four characters but I think that just pulled me in and kept me reading.

Overall, GLOSS was such a great read, and I’d really recommend it to fans of contemporary fiction and real-life dramas. At some points, it felt modern. At others, it was like a flashback to the most brilliant musical, fashionable moments of the nineteen-sixties. The whole story, I think, was probably really hard to pull off- four different girl’s separate adventures in one book could have easily been confusing and too jam-packed for a single novel. However, I think Marilyn Kaye has written the book really, really exceptionally well. From a teenager’s point of view, it was uplifting, gripping, and shocking all at once. I loved all of the characters, especially Donna, and I was thinking about them long after I put the book down. A great read for teenage girls with an interest in vintage fashion or pursuing a journalism career!

My Goodreads rating: 4/5!

I received GLOSS from the publisher, in exchange for a review.

Verity Fibbs

By Cathy Brett, published by Headline.

Verity Fibbs

Publisher’s synopsis: Reality can never quite compare with the online world of Demon Streets for Verity. There she gets to learn new demon fighting skills and have fun. In reality she goes to school to learn useless skills and her fashion designer mother, Saffron Fibbs, is operating punishment by chores (for a small boy related misdemeanor).
As ethical is the new black when it comes to fashion, Verity’s mum’s recycled fashion venture is the hottest thing ever and she has to go to New York to publicize it giving Verity three days of total freedom!
But someone else is just as keen to see Saffron Fibbs leave home and when V and her friends find themselves on the wrong side of a very unethical enemy it seems that her online gaming skills might be the only thing between her and a very real Game Over…

My review: Verity Fibbs  was a pretty fun read! I had no idea it was existed until a few weeks ago, and picked it up in a bookshop, and couldn’t wait to start it. The story was all about fashion- definitely not my thing- but it also had a tie-in with supernatural video-games, which interested me. I think Cathy Brett made this book really interesting  and I absolutely loved it, even though I don’t know one thing about the latest clothing brands like Verity, whose mother is a world-famous fashion designer. Despite being the total opposite of the rather ironically named Verity Fibbs, I really loved reading her story. She was a really unique protagonist with lots of likeable aspects. I really loved Verity’s outgoing personality, especially because that’s how she landed herself in an adventure with a boy who lies just as much as her. Speaking of the boy she meets, I didn’t actually like him very much. (I can’t really give him a name, because he had so many). He seemed a bit wimpy and didn’t really defend Verity at all. I had no idea why Verity liked him!

I really loved the whole idea for the story. Cathy Brett has managed to combine two very different things – Role playing video games and ethical fashion- and mixed the two together to make a really clever story. I so wasn’t expecting for the fashion industry to link to Verity’s favourite video game! Not only did I get to walk through the Demon Streets, her fave game, but also there are the slightest little details in that RPG that went unnoticed for me, but played major factors in the ending. It was all really clever!

Overall, Verity Fibbs was such a fun read. It was a bit over-the-top, but in a good way. I think that Verity Fibbs was a really great, and realistic protagonist. The plot was crammed with action and I couldn’t put it down. Again, as in her other books, Cathy Brett has brought her story to life in a way many authors haven’t- with some fantastic illustrations! They were so great, and portrayed the story and characters really well. The video-game screen shots were brilliant too! So, Verity Fibbs was a very fun story, which is great for around ten/eleven and up. Because so many pages were full of drawings, it’s a rather quick read; perfect to curl up with in the evening!

My Goodreads rating: 4/5!

I bought Verity Fibbs from a local charity store.