April Graphic Novel Roundup

That’s right, I’m still not quite caught up on my reviews. Here’s an attempt to get a few written and cross one more thing off the to-do list. (Ahhh, the crossing off feels SO good…)

In Foiled, a graphic novel for teens from First Second, the fantabulous Jane Yolen–writer extraordinaire of a myriad of books for children and young adults–branches out into the comics arena with the story of Aliera Carstairs, a girl who doesn’t fit in anywhere at school but can fence like nobody’s business. But when uber-cute new student Avery Castle shows up and starts actually talking to her, she finds she might be interested in more than just fencing foils, reading, and role-playing games…and that’s when the REALLY strange and inexplicable things start to happen. This book has a great premise and story–one that I really wish had been fleshed out more, actually–and charming and fitting illustrations by Mike Cavallaro. I requested a review copy from the publisher.

Buy Foiled from an independent bookstore near you!

The New Brighton Archeological Society, Book One: The Castle of Galomar, by Mark Andrew Smith and Matthew Weldon, is a classic-style story of kids who wander into a strange world of fantasy and adventure, chock-full of misunderstood goblins, homicidal fairies, and monsters of the evil and not-so-evil persuasion. Cooper and Joss, and Becca and Benny, have been orphaned after their parents were killed on an exploration trip. When they go to stay with their godparents, they stumble upon their parents’ magical secret world—and the reason for their parents’ deaths. The exciting and colorful artwork and adventuresome themes will appeal to elementary and middle-grade readers. Though the story doesn’t contain anything particularly new, it’s got fun, humor, and—a special bonus—multicultural characters. I requested a review copy from the publisher after an initial inquiry by the author.

Buy The New Brighton Archeological Society, Book One from an independent bookstore near you!

Pride and Prejudice: The Marvel Comics Graphic Novel. What can I say? I was startled to see it in my library, so naturally I had to pick it up. Classic works of literature can be great candidates for graphic novelization, though—as a kid I had graphic versions of Macbeth and The Devil’s Dictionary, and I read them just as eagerly and repeatedly as I read my other books and comics. This adaptation of Pride and Prejudice by Nancy Butler and Hugo Petrus was really well-done, particularly in terms of the storytelling and layout. I was surprised how well the story lent itself to a graphic novel format, and I guess that’s kudos to the author who adapted it. The character art was a little odd, in that the Bennet sisters all looked like 1980s magazine pinups to me, but generally speaking, I liked this one. The artwork appropriately supported and enhanced the text, making the language easier to follow—that, to me, is always a plus with graphic adaptations of works written in a more formal style. I checked this book out from the Stanislaus County Library.

Buy Pride and Prejudice: The Graphic Novel from an independent bookstore near you!

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  1. I am pretty conflicted on Foiled. It started strong and I love the protag, her family, her joy in fencing but once the boy was introduced and it spun into a fantasy it really didn't hold up well for me. The fantasy sequence in particular felt rushed and convenient. I just felt like the book could have been a lot tighter and the timing was off – my review will be up next month and I will read the sequel but I'm a bit let down. (And did you see Twilight similarities? Kelly & I both did.)

  2. I didn't have time to write in-depth reviews this time, but I felt much the way you did about Foiled. I loved the idea, and the main character was GREAT, but I was startled by the pacing as the story progressed…it felt like whole chunks were missing (hence my comment about wishing that part had been fleshed out more).

  3. I got FOILED, and won't be reviewing it because I'd have to give it a negative review. I LOVED the idea of it, but the execution was sloppy, the internal logic was flawed, and the "extra wrinkle" at the end seemed both unnecessary and gratuitous. My library was happy to have my copy donated to them, however!

  4. It all starts in science class – Avery is exactly Edward (mysterious/babe magnet/etc.) and yet there is heavy foreboding in the class that he is not normal (did ya see the crows outside the class window) and then, of course, he is oddly obsessed with her…etc.

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