Review: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

24376529Title: A Madness So Discreet

Author: Mindy McGinnis

Publishing Information:  October 6th 2015 by Katherine Tegen Books

Genre: Historical fiction, mystery, horror, thriller

Series Information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 376 pages

Source: Obtained an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss

Recommended For: Readers looking for an atmospheric and character driven novel filled with mystery and drama. Especially for fans of Cat Winters and gothic literature.

I loved this novel. Immensely. Months after finishing it and I still can’t stop thinking of about it. In fact, I keep checking for ANY recommendations that may come close to this gritty, suspenseful novel. I expected A Madness So Discreet to be a little creepier, just look at that cover! However I wasn’t disappointed as the setting and tone of the novel were unbelievably realistic and rather dark.

“Quite the opposite; my definition is too broad. I think we’re all quite mad. Some of us are just more discreet about it.”

The characters in this novel were fleshed out, detailed, and felt very real. I found myself feeling something for each of them, and there was more than one occasion that I found my heart broken and raw over something happening on the page. Grace had particular strength and I was completely invested in her story. Though I felt more connected to the secondary characters, Grace still shone as our main character. I loved Nell so much, she was forward with her sexuality, strength and took as much control of her own life as she was able, living confined as she was. Dr. Thornhollow was also just phenomenal, he reminded me of Sherlock in a way so clearly I loved him. I was a little concerned that he and Grace would fall in love and therefore fall into a familiar trope but NOPE McGinnis steered clear and though there were some moments I found myself swooning for the doctor, I am glad that things were kept platonic. I think in keeping things on the friendly side with these two we were better able to appreciate each character and see how well they worked together. The relationship was fitting, and deeper because of their lack of romance. Also super quick shout out to Adelaide, Thornhollow’s plucky, fantastic and blatantly feminist sister…

“So then the National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association merged to create the National American Woman Suffrage Association, which personally I think is rather a mouthful,’ Adelaide said as she set down her wineglass.
‘I’m sure others have much shorter terms,’ the doctor said, sawing into his steak with more vigor than necessary.
‘Such as?’ Grace asked.
‘There are plenty who just call us bitches, dear.”

There was a lot going on in this novel, many different threads weaved together to create something truly fantastic. I will say that there are many triggers in A Madness So Discreet. The beginning of the novel may be very hard for some to get through as it is appalling in how horrifying these patients are treated. Horrifying being my thing, I was hooked from the first sentence, but I promise that things even out a bit and it is completely worth the read.

Shelf Talker: Fantastic. The story built on itself, was never boring, and I really cared about the characters. In fact, I want more from these characters, but I saw that coming as they all complement one another and really create a great story. The ending delivered in a way that brought great closure. Though it is much more, I would say in terms of atmosphere and great characters, A Madness So Discreet can be summed up by saying, “it’s Sherlock Holmes meets Cat Winters novels.” I really, really enjoyed it.

 

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Review: Slasher Girls and Monster Boys

19364719Title: Slasher Girls and Monster Boys

Author: Various, edited by April Genevieve Tucholke

Publishing Information:  August 18th 2015 by Dial Books

Genre: Horror, short stories, paranormal, fantasy, myster

Series Information: Standaone anthology

Format: Hardcover, 385 pages

Source: Received from the publisher via Edelweiss

Recommended For: Fans of literally any of the authors in the anthology or those of you looking for some creepy reads that will leave you wanting more.

I am not usually one who enjoys short stories, but this seemed right up my alley so I decided to give it a go. I am so happy that I did because it opened my eyes to some new authors and I thoroughly enjoyed most of the anthology. I am going to share a quick glance review with some blurbs about each of the stories:

  • The Birds of Azalea Street by Nova Ren Suma was creepy in a real sort of way…3.5
  • In the Forest Dark and Deep by Carrie Ryan was excellent. A retelling of sorts of Alice in Wonderland, it gave me chills and somehow made me sad. 5 stars
  • Cat Winters delivers another fantastic historical ghostly tale in Emmeline. 5 stars
  • Bardugo’s story somehow makes celebrity rehab surprisingly creepy. 4 stars
  • I liked the lore of the story by Megan Shepherd, the harbinger of Death is always a go in my book! 3.5 stars
  • I still don’t love Danielle Paige’s writing…but she wrote about basically my favorite thing ever so I dig it. 4 stars
  • April’s story was probably my least favorite. Very “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” and very dull. 2 stars
  • The Maberry story was dull, and was too prequel like for my tastes. Zombies. Meh. 2 stars
  • OMG the Jay Kristoff story was awesome. 5 stars
  • Stefan Bachman’s was interesting enough…3 stars
  • The Girl Without a Face by Marie Lu actually creeped me out a bit which is a feat in itself! Vengeful ghost for the win! 5 stars
  • A Girl Who Dreamed of Snow by McCormick Templeman was quite good, and almost fable-like. 4 stars
  • Stitches by A.G. Howard is not for the squeamish, but it was fantastic. 5 stars
  • I like the vengeance in Kendare’s story. 4 stars

Shelf Talker: As you can see, I really enjoyed most of these short stories, which was a fantastic surprise for me! If you enjoy even a few of these authors, pick up this anthology and give it a go, it was the perfect creepy read that got me excited for more from these authors.

On the Same Page: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

11408650Title: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Author: Michelle Hodkin

Publishing Information:  September 27th 2011 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Genre: Fantasy, paranormal, romance, mystery, supernatural

Series Information: First in the Mara Dyer series

Format: Hardcover, 452 pages

Source: Bought for my personal library

Recommended For: Fans of books that you can’t put down due to the wtf is happening factor and those of you who want some swoons galore.

Related Posts: Check out Amy’s review and Brittany’s post on bingeable series!

Hey there, friends! Truth be told I read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer years ago, before book one and two were even published, and I remember finishing it and thinking, “what. just. happened.” When I finished it this time I immediately picked up book two and three and finished the whole series in just a few days. The series left me with an array of emotions, and so many swoons. There are great mystery aspects to these novels but I’ll be honest with you guys and admit that I kept reading for Noah and the swoons that surrounded him. So with that in mind I put together a Pinterest board with different swoony quotes from the novel and found some awesome playlists on 8tracks for your listening pleasure!

 

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LOVED this dedication so much, and here is a playlist to go with:

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Review: Beastly Bones by William Ritter

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Title: Beastly Bones

Author: William Ritter

Publishing Information:  September 22nd 2015 by Algonquin Young Readers

Genre: Paranormal, Mystery, Historical Fiction

Series Information: Second in the Jackaby series

Format: Hardcover, 304 pages

Source: Received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley

Recommended For: Readers interested in a novel with a paranormal mystery, slight macabre, cheeky and interesting main characters and yes, those of you who love Sherlock and Doctor Who.

Related Posts: Check out my review of Jackaby

I am sure that you all remember me singing the praises about Jackaby last year. I went on about how much I loved the quirky and entertaining adventure between Abigail and Jackaby. I am so excited to tell you that Beastly Bones was just as fun as Jackaby, and even more endearing. Beastly Bones sends Jackaby and Abigail to a new location. They are headed out to where the now exile Charlie Cane resides, and much to Abigail’s excitement, their new case revolves around newly unearthed dinosaur bones.

One of my favorite parts of Jackaby was the mystery, and the way in which it reminded me so much of Sherlock meets Doctor Who. Beastly Bones brought me a different joy than Jackaby in that we were able to meet new characters, as well as see more of my favorite characters. We are introduced to Hank Hudson, a skilled trapper who has a long standing friendship with Jackaby, and Nellie Fuller who works hard to catch THE story of the year. These characters only add to the fun of the story and I would absolutely love to hear more about the Jackaby and Hank shenanigans from back in the day. As mentioned, Charlie is central to this novel, and he and Abigail take part in some very sweet moments. Along with many other readers, I look forward to seeing how their romance blossoms. Jackaby was especially endearing in relation to these romantic developments as he reminds me so much of my father in his, “please let’s not discuss you dating” way with Abigail, but when she really needs some encouragement, he is right there to help.

Now, the main storyline was intriguing and fun, but if I’m being completely honest, my favorite parts of the novel were the parts that centered around Jenny and the story of how she came to be a ghost. I loved the way William Ritter added the twists of her story to an already interesting plot, and the cliffhanger of the novel kept me absolutely needing more. From what I have gathered, at least one more book is coming, but no other details have been shared.

Shelf Talker: William Ritter again gave us an interesting, mysterious, and all around fun novel in Beastly Bones. Wildly entertaining, Beastly Bones is a fantastic follow up to Jackaby. This novel was full of wit, and intrigue and I loved every minute. I can’t wait to see what’s next for Jackaby and company!

 

Review: Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett

Title: Blood and Salt

Author: Kim Liggett

Publishing Information:  September 22, 2015 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Genre: Horror, fantasy, mystery, romance

Series Information: First in a duology

Format: Hardcover, 352 pages

Source: Was gifted a copy by Cassi of My Thoughts Literally

Recommended For: Fans of atmospheric novels that make you feel as if you are caught outside on an October evening. For fans of Kendare Blake, The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle and Gothic novels filled with beautiful writing and unforgettable characters. 

Ash is plagued by memories of her ancestor, Katia, which harken back to the town’s history of unrequited love and murder, alchemy and immortality. Charming traditions soon give way to a string of gruesome deaths, and Ash feels drawn to Dane, a forbidden boy with secrets of his own. As the community prepares for a ceremony five hundred years in the making, Ash must fight not only to save her mother, but herself—and discover the truth about Quivira before it’s too late. Before she’s all in—blood and salt.

It is hard to say what I loved most about Blood and Salt. This might be silly to say, but the whole scary corn aspect really added to the atmosphere for me. You see, I grew up in a house right across from a farm, and they had a GIANT cornfield. A cornfield where we would often play hide and seek, or dare each other to go into at night. Honestly, very few things are scarier than being in the middle of a cornfield on a chilly, windy evening. That being said, the atmosphere of Blood and Salt was stellar. I loved the creepy cult vibe of the whole settlement, and I kept waiting for the veil to drop. Let me tell you, did that veil ever drop. I was equal parts sad for the inhabitants of the settlement, and horrified at their mentality. As little tidbits came to light I was shocked by some of the revelations and absolutely couldn’t put the book down.

Now, what about the romance, eh? The first thing that I am going to say is that there is no love triangle in this novel. To be quite honest, I am unsure what book other people were reading when they noted that there is a love triangle. It isn’t even like there were blurred lines here, there is no love triangle to speak of. At all. Second little thing to note about the romance is that the Romeo and Juliet aspect comes (not at all from a love triangle) but from the aspect that Ash & her beau come from different family lines who are forbidden to be together. You know, like Romeo and Juliet. Okay, so the thing that there is, however, is some serious instalove happening. As we read on the we come to understand that there are REASONS for this sort of thing, but there was a certain burning desire between these two characters upon seeing one another and at first glance it totally set me off. As I said, things become more clear throughout and things got a little achy and there were yearns and I enjoyed it, but in the beginning the romance wasn’t my favorite part of Blood and Salt. However, and I can’t say too much here, Ash’s reaction to the relationship near the end of the novel was stellar. It felt real, and it felt strong.

“When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it into the deepest ocean. You will be all in—blood and salt.”

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On the Same Page: Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

Title: Midwinterblood

Author: Marcus Sedgwick

Publishing Information:  October 6, 2011

Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Mystery, Horror, Romance

Series Information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 272 pages

Source: Bought for my personal library

Recommended For: Fans of books that make you think, and love that moves beyond time.

Related Reviews: Amy’s post on the many moons of Midwinterblood, and Brittany’s review

Have you ever had the feeling that you’ve lived another life? Been somewhere that has felt totally familiar, even though you’ve never been there before, or felt that you know someone well, even though you are meeting them for the first time? It happens. In 2073 on the remote and secretive island of Blessed, where rumor has it that no one ages and no children are born, a visiting journalist, Eric Seven, and a young local woman known as Merle are ritually slain. Their deaths echo a moment ten centuries before, when, in the dark of the moon, a king was slain, tragically torn from his queen. Their souls search to be reunited, and as mother and son, artist and child, forbidden lovers, victims of a vampire they come close to finding what they’ve lost. In a novel comprising seven parts, each influenced by a moon – the flower moon, the harvest moon, the hunter’s moon, the blood moon – this is the story of Eric and Merle whose souls have been searching for each other since their untimely parting.

“It’s not even as if she is beautiful, not in the way people usually mean. She’s more than pretty, that’s what he can say, but it’s not that that has caught him. It is simply her face, her eyes. The moment he saw them something clicked. He suddenly realized what it was. He recognized her face. As if seeing an old friend, long forgotten…”

Okay, so you read the blurb right? You get the gist? Two people are slain and it echoes multiple lives they have lived together, moments where they keep finding and losing one another as time passes…deep stuff. This was a hard book for me to read for many reasons, almost all of them personal, but I read it and honestly am not sure that I can put into words how deeply it affected me. As you know we Gals on the Same Page write non-traditional reviews for this feature, but what I am going to do is try and put into words why this book affected me on such a personal level. We are about to get a little personal!

First, it is imperative to let you know that a few years ago someone close to me was murdered. As you can imagine this sort of thing affects you for the rest of your life, it is something that absolutely changes the way you view the world and there isn’t a day that goes by that it doesn’t affect me in some way. Second, I should explain to you that I am not a religious person. This is an understatement, believe me, but I believe “to each their own,” and therefore won’t get into my reasons or debates. Well it is no question that when my friend was killed I quickly spiraled down into a very dark place, I obsessed over the trial and hate and pain consumed me and I found it hard to even be around other people. One day I was at work making a cup of coffee and I just couldn’t stop thinking about the trial and about my friend. I hadn’t told anyone what had happened at work but my co-worker came into the break room, looked up at me and said, “Alyssa, Matt wants you to stop reading the articles, you are going to be stuck in the dark.” I felt like the world came crashing down in the at moment all over again. I just started sobbing and somehow managed to ask her “how” and “why” she was doing this to me. To make a long story short, this woman was a Psychic Medium who specialized in past life experiences. I know some of you are probably going to stop reading here due to disbelief and bias, and that is totally fine, this is a no judgment zone. I am not going to get into details about what this woman told me, except that I will tell you that she said we have traveled many lifetimes together, each time missing the mark where we can be together, each time he was lost to tragedy in order to move us forward toward an unknown goal. I am not going to explain to you how she helped me bridge a gap that I so desperately needed and how she gave me something to believe in again. I am just going to tell you that it forever changed me, and though I may not believe 100% in anything, I believe that anything is possible and I believe that everything happens for a reason. Continue reading

Fortnight of Fright: Review The Book of Bad Things by Dan Poblocki

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Hi friends! Welcome to week two of Fortnight of Fright! This week we will be sharing a few reviews of creeptastic books with you, and a guest post by Cat Winters!! Make sure you check out what we had last week, A guest post by Dan Poblocki, Eldritch Black, some awesome bloggers AND a giveaway! Also don’t forgot to check out what Amy and Brittany have for you on their blogs!

Title: The Book of Bad Things

Author: Dan Poblocki

Publishing Information:  August 26, 2014 by Scholastic Press

Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Mystery

Series Information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 256 pages

Source: Obtained an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley

Recommended For: Readers looking for a horror novel that is just the right amount of horrific, fans of Anna Dressed in Blood and Cat Winters

Related Posts: The Ghost of Graylock Review and The Bad Place Guest Post by Dan Poblocki

One kid’s trash is another kid’s terror in this spooky supernatural mystery.

When Cassidy Bean leaves New York to spend the summer upstate, she’s disappointed to find that Whitechapel is not the quiet, pleasant suburb she remembers. Ursula Chambers, the strange old hermit at the end of the cul-de-sac, has passed away under mysterious circumstances. And the townspeople are shocked to discover that Ursula was a hoarder: Her farmhouse is teeming with stacks of newspapers, piles of furniture, mounds of antique dolls and taxidermy animals.

Cassidy watches as the people of Whitechapel descend upon Ursula’s farmhouse, claiming her abandoned treasures for their own. She listens as rumors spread that Ursula’s vengeful ghost is stalking the town with a warning from beyond the grave. And when Cassidy resolves to uncover the truth behind the strangeness, she learns there are more bad things in the world than she ever suspected. . . .

Cassidy was a wonderful main character, it was easy to love her and I can’t tell you how much I adore how real Dan Poblocki’s characters feel. Cassidy certainly doesn’t have it easy in New York, and I really felt for her and the way that she needs this escape to Joey’s house and family. Joey is dealing with some issues of his own, most importantly the loss of his dog, and the belief that his neighbor Ursula Chambers isn’t all that she seems. Joey’s next door neighbor, Ping, was incredibly refreshing and fun, I loved the way these three interacted with one another and stood together to face down the “bad things” in the neighborhood. Probably my favorite part of the novel was the addition of Hal and his antics, I enjoyed his character thoroughly. Continue reading

On the Same Page: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Title: Burial Rites

Author: Hannah Kent

Publishing Information:  September 10th 2013 by Little, Brown and Company

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Crime

Series Information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 314 pages

Source: Obtained an ARC from the publisher at BEA 2013

Recommended For: Readers who enjoy historical fiction with vivid setting and to be quite honest, no hope throughout.

Related Reviews: Brittany’s Post on Historical Fiction and Amy’s Post

Here we are back for another On the Same Page post from your Gals on the Same Page. I realize that we usually do something a little different for these posts and I would but unfortunately I can’t bring myself to do anything creative with something representing this novel.

In truth, it is hard for me to put my feelings into words in regards to this novel as the novel itself invoked very little emotion in me as I was reading. I can’t write a ranty review for you, because the novel didn’t anger me, and it surely didn’t make me weep as it did so many others. At the most I felt frustration that it was taking me so long to get through the whole thing, and upon completion couldn’t help but think, “FINALLY, I AM DONE!!” along with, “that was it?” Clearly going into this novel one knows how it ends, so I didn’t expect it to make me cry as I prepared myself for it to be sad. I did, however, expect the novel to make me feel compassion toward our main character, Agnes. In truth, as I neared the end and got the final tidbits to the story I did have a moment to think about how sad the situation was for this character but I couldn’t help but think that circumstances surrounding her situation were brought on by her own choices. Maybe I am overly judgmental but she made specific choices to be in that place at that time, and I just can’t believe that she was as “strong” and “intelligent” as people said due to these choices.

In addition to our main character we are introduced to a few other characters first hand, a reverend named Toti, who helps Agnes find God before her execution, who reminded me of a besotted school boy, letting his feelings cloud his judgment. The family who Agnes stays with are not viewed in depth despite them being with Agnes daily, though I did have a fondness for the mother of the family as she seemed no nonsense and rather strong. The character Natan is clearly a very important character in this novel, as it is his murder Agnes is being tried for, and despite viewing many memories of him through Agnes, I still couldn’t feel much for him. I am sure some readers will believe that “he had it coming,” as he was highly unfavorable, but I just couldn’t help by judge Agnes more by the company that she was keeping. The secondary characters of Sigga and Fridrick could have used some more detail as well, though to be fair I can see that despite them playing an important part in Agnes’ life, this was her story and not theirs.

One thing I can say about this novel is that it was haunting and the landscape was vivid in my brain as I was reading. I did feel the cold, vast world as Agnes felt it. I understood her overwhelming feelings of loneliness in such a wide open world, and her desire to run away. If anything stuck with me after finishing Burial Rites, it was most definitely the setting.

Shelf Talker: I always hate being the odd one out, the one who wonders if she has read a different book than those who came before. Such is the way with Burial Rites. While I went into this novel preparing myself for overwhelming emotion and heart wrenching characters and what I found was a dull novel filled with characters I couldn’t connect with. I hate that it happened – trust me because it took me ENTIRELY TOO LONG to get through this book – and I wish that I had connected more. I do believe that it is an atmospheric read and therefore you may have to be in the “mood” to read it. Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t connect with Agnes or her heartbreaking story, and had I not been obligated to read it for my blog feature, I probably would have DNFd it early on.

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On the Same Page is a feature here on Books Take You Places that I am hosting along with two of my very dear friends, Amy (Tripping Over Books) and Brittany (The Book Addict’s Guide). Essentially, we will be reading one book a month together and then doing a non-traditional review such as a playlist, character analysis, and so on…To find out more about this new feature, head on over to its dedication page!

Review: Jackaby By William Ritter

Title: Jackaby

Author: William Ritter

Publishing Information:  September 16th 2014 by Algonquin Young Readers

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Mystery, Historical Fiction

Series Information: Book one in what I believe is a planned series

Format: Hardcover, 304 pages

Source: Obtained an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss

Recommended For: Readers interested in a novel with a paranormal mystery, slight macabre, cheeky and interesting main characters and yes, those of you who love Sherlock and Doctor Who.

 Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane–deny.

Raise your hand if you are annoyed at the way in which books are being described as “The next Game of Thrones,” or “The Hunger Games meets The X-Files,” and so on. *looks around at the plethora of raised hands* Me too. Now, raise your hand at how many of those crossovers have been successfully dubbed “The next Game of Thrones,” or “The Hunger Gams meets The X-Files.” Oh, no one? That’s what I thought. My point is that when I saw Jackaby was being described as “Sherlock meets Doctor Who” my head was screaming “NOOOOOOOO!” while my heart was screaming “PLEASE SIR, MAY I HAVE SOME MORE?!” So in an nutshell, I was wary to pick it up. Well let me tell you, I am so glad that I did, because Jackaby absolutely delivers.

Do you love the quirks of Sherlock? The way in which he finds the so called “ordinary” insanely boring, and the impeccable way in which he can tell where you have been vacationing simply by looking at some loose thread on your coat? How about the way in which The Doctor doesn’t take no for an answer, or his knack for collecting strong and witty companions you can’t help by envy? Take all of these things, add in a bit of the paranormal and you’ve got R.F. Jackaby.

Our mystery was set in New England, which I loved and the novel was narrated by a smart, spunky, and strong young lady, Abigail Rook. Abigail was a gal after my own heart, running away from home, winking at little old ladies looking down their noses at her, catching the eye of a handsome detective…yep, sounds like me! The secondary characters were also superb, though I felt as if I didn’t get enough of them. I sincerely hope that with more novels comes more backstory on Charlie, Jenny, and Douglas! Although I figured out the big twist early on in the novel, I still found it enjoyable to see how it played out and was not at all disappointed.

To give you some insight into how fantastic this character (and obviously, author) is, take a glimpse at some of our twitter chats..

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Isn’t that just the most fun? It really added to my enjoyment of the book and you guys, it shouldn’t be surprising to you that I think I have a little bit of a crush on R.F. Jackaby.

Shelf Talker: Jackaby was absolutely everything that I wanted it to be, it was fast paced, and funny, with the perfect amount of mystery and macabre. I read it in nearly one sitting and eagerly anticipate much more from this quirky character.

Review: The Unwritten Series by Mike Carey

Title: The Unwritten Series

Author: Mike Carey

Publishing Information: Volume 1 published January 12th 2010 by Vertigo

Genre: Adult, Graphic Novel, Fantasy, Mystery, Horror

Series Information: 10 Volumes

Format: Paperback, 144 pages

Source: Borrowed from my local library

Recommended For: Readers who enjoy the Fables series by Bill Willingham, or those of you looking to foray into reading graphic novels without being overwhelmed by back issues and superheroes.

Related Reviews: Fables by Bill Willingham

Tom Taylor’s life was screwed from go. His father created the Tommy Taylor fantasy series, boy-wizard novels with popularity on par with Harry Potter. The problem is Dad modeled the fictional epic so closely to Tom’s real life that fans are constantly comparing him to his counterpart, turning him into the lamest variety of Z-level celebrity. In the final novel, it’s even implied that the fictional Tommy will crossover into the real world, giving delusional fans more excuses to harass Tom.

When an enormous scandal reveals that Tom might really be a boy-wizard made flesh, Tom comes into contact with a very mysterious, very deadly group that’s secretly kept tabs on him all his life. Now, to protect his own life and discover the truth behind his origins, Tom will travel the world, eventually finding himself at locations all featured on a very special map — one kept by the deadly group that charts places throughout world history where fictions have impacted and tangibly shaped reality, those stories ranging from famous literary works to folktales to pop culture. And in the process of figuring out what it all means, Tom will find himself having to figure out a huge conspiracy mystery that spans the entirety of the history of fiction.

The series starts off great, upon finishing volume one I immediately wanted to continue on in order to find out where the story was going. I loved Tommy as a character, he is incredibly flawed but perseveres through the continuous trials he is put through. Richie and Lizzie are secondary characters in the series but they are both given thorough story arcs that I loved. Lizzie is given a great backstory and Richie is provided an excellent story arc that really makes his character change and grow. Basically, no one is safe, which I love!

The best part about this series is that while telling a new story (that maybe has underlying aspects found in Harry Potter, just a little), Carey also brings in fantastic aspects from “classic” literature such as Moby Dick, Aesop’s Fables, and The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Obviously, as an English major, this was right up my alley!

If I am being completely honest, it was volume 9, The Unwritten: Fables showing up on Netgalley that originally got me to start the entire Unwritten series. I had never heard of The Unwritten, but I am a lover of the Fables universe by Bill Willingham, so naturally when I saw that they were doing a crossover I had to jump on the chance to read it. I quickly ran to my library and checked out The Unwritten volumes 1-8 and read them in very short time. I am happy to say that I am now a lover of the series and I anticipate when volume 10 will be available.

For those of you who are debating trying out graphic novels, or for those of you looking for a unique and creative twist on some classic literature, you should definitely pick these up as soon as possible! Although they didn’t take the cake for my favorite graphic novel series, they’re certainly coming in at a close second.

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