Starfish Girl by Athena Villaverde
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Inside of an underwater dome in a post-apocalyptic world, Ohime, a young girl with a starfish growing out of her head, meets up with an assassin with sea anemone hair named Timbre. Together, they wander their undersea world, pursued by the fiendish Dr. Ichii, in search of a ship Ohime's deceased parents helped develop, a ship that will take them to the fabled world above the waves. Can Ohime and Timbre reach the ship before Dr. Ichii?
I have to admit, I had my doubts when I first saw the cover but Athena Villaverde's story in the Bizarro Starter Kit made me eager to give Starfish Girl a try. Am I glad I did? Yes. Yes, I am. Starfish Girl is part fairy tale, part cyberpunk, part anime, and all bizarro.
The setting was pretty unique. Even though post-apocalyptic tales are getting more and more common these days, the undersea setting choked by yellow algae is something you don't see very often. The villains were suitably vile, especially the villainous Dr. Ichii and his goons. A shark man with sawblades on his back? A swordfish man with a giant honkin' blade on his head? The barnacle-encrusted Dr. Ichii? Good stuff.
The innocence of Ohime is nicely offset by the violent worldliness of Timbre, the assassin with sea anemone hair. I could understand Timbre growing fond of Ohime despite her rough exterior. I found myself getting attached to Ohime by the end. I thought for sure I knew how the end was going to go down but I was pleasantly surprised.
Even though I described it as a fairy tale, some really weird shit goes on. It turns out the Starfish Girl has some starfish-like abilities. As for Timbre... let's just say you shouldn't make a woman with sea anemone hair do anything against her will. I won't forget the eel-man's fate for quite a long time.
That about wraps it up. I think this would make the perfect first bizarro book for readers who are a little intimidated by the genre as a whole.
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