Monsters Beware! is the long-awaited sequel to Giants Beware! and Dragons Beware! and it is AAAAAAMAZING!
Rafael Rosado and Jorge Aguirre's middle-grades graphic novels Giants Beware! and Dragons Beware! are two of my family's favorite books: Rosado and Aguirre's character design, comedic dialog, plotting, and scenarios are so charming, so funny, so overwhelmingly, compulsively great that we've re-read these dozens of times; now we've got Monsters Beware, the third volume in the series, where the mysteries of Mont Petit Pierre and the intertwined lives of the huge cast of characters from the previous volumes come together.
Claudette, Marie and Gaston have been tapped to represent Mont Petit Pierre in the Warrior Games, fighting against all the kingdoms of the land for the honor of their town. Lucky for them, the Marquis -- Marie's dad -- isn't going to let them get hurt, so that means that all the competitions have been replaced: instead of slaying monsters, they're competing to find forest truffles and milk cows.
But that doesn't stop the other teams from mysteriously vanishing -- thanks to the Sea Kingdom, whose adorable children can secretly transform into all-consuming sea-beasts that devour the other combatants whole when no one is looking.
The mysteries of Mont Petit Pierre have been lurking around the edges of the first two volumes, but in this one, we really come to grips with them. It's a brilliant advance to the series, and well worth the wait, which isn't to say that I'm not already impatient for book four.
Monsters Beware [Rafael Rosado and Jorge Aguirre/Firstsecond]
Kickstarting Dream Askew and Dream Apart, no-dice, no-GM RPGs about radical justice, queers and Jewish shtetl life
Dream Askew and Dream Apart are "no-dice, no masters" RPGs where players collaborate to tell stories together without dice or dungeon masters: Dream Askew uses the system to create campaigns in "a queer enclave enduring the collapse of civilization" and Dream Apart is set in "a Jewish shtetl in a fantastical-historical Eastern Europe."
In Gregory Scott Katsoulis's All Rights Reserved, we get all the traditional trappings of a first-rate YA dystopia: grotesque wealth disparity leading to a modern caste system, draconian surveillance to effect social control in an inherently unstable state, ad-driven ubiquitous entertainment as the only distraction from environmental collapse -- but with an important difference.
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