An imaginative contemporary tale reminiscent of the Brothers Grimm.

SPARROWHAWK

What if Alice’s Wonderland was full of gothic savagery rather than curiosity and whimsy?

The illegitimate, mixed-race child of a white naval captain and a brown, enslaved mother she has never known, Artemisia has been mistreated and neglected by everyone around her except her sister, Caroline. She finds herself unwillingly pulled into another world so unlike her own that she realizes she must become someone—something—else in order to survive and return to her old life. In need of direction, she happens upon Crispin, a furry, antlered creature who is a most unreliable escort. With unknown but clearly ulterior motivations, Crispin volunteers his services to Artemisia. Our young heroine soon learns that she must fight and best beasts and monsters of this new world in order to escape. But will she have to become a monster herself in order to defeat one? Dawson (No Country for Old Gnomes, 2019, etc.) creates a captivating, dark, and violent world of faeries and other magical, mythical creatures. Acceptance, identity, transformation, and the conundrum of human nature are prevalent themes in this story. Readers follow Artemisia as she toes the line between holding on to who she is and becoming that which she detests. The artwork—while occasionally confusing—is vibrant, enhancing the otherworldly feel.

An imaginative contemporary tale reminiscent of the Brothers Grimm. (author’s note) (Graphic fantasy. 13-adult)

Pub Date: Aug. 20, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68415-395-4

Page Count: 128

Publisher: BOOM! Studios

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

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THE ODYSSEY

Hinds adds another magnificent adaptation to his oeuvre (King Lear, 2009, etc.) with this stunning graphic retelling of Homer’s epic. Following Odysseus’s journey to return home to his beloved wife, Penelope, readers are transported into a world that easily combines the realistic and the fantastic. Gods mingle with the mortals, and not heeding their warnings could lead to quick danger; being mere men, Odysseus and his crew often make hasty errors in judgment and must face challenging consequences. Lush watercolors move with fluid lines throughout this reimagining. The artist’s use of color is especially striking: His battle scenes are ample, bloodily scarlet affairs, and Polyphemus’s cave is a stifling orange; he depicts the underworld as a colorless, mirthless void, domestic spaces in warm tans, the all-encircling sea in a light Mediterranean blue and some of the far-away islands in almost tangibly growing greens. Don’t confuse this hefty, respectful adaptation with some of the other recent ones; this one holds nothing back and is proudly, grittily realistic rather than cheerfully cartoonish. Big, bold, beautiful. (notes) (Graphic classic. YA)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4266-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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A sure winner for any reader with a yen to become permanently terrified. Brilliant.

THROUGH THE WOODS

A print and Web comics artist offers five creep-out chillers (four new) with folk-tale motifs and thoroughly disquieting art.

Well-placed lines of terse, hand-lettered commentary and dialogue reinforce narrative connections but are also as much visual elements as are the impenetrable shadows, grim figures, and stark, crimson highlights in Carroll’s inky pictures. Making expert use of silent sequences, sudden close-ups and other cinematic techniques to crank up the terror, the author opens and closes in a dimly lit bedroom (much like yours), bookending the five primary stories. In “Our Neighbor’s House,” a trio of sisters are taken one by one by a never-seen smiling man. In the next, a bride discovers that “A Lady’s Hands Are Cold”—as are the other pieces (seen in close, icky detail) of her husband’s dismembered but not entirely dead former wife. Two cases of supernatural possession (“His Face All Red” and “My Friend Janna”) follow. The collection is capped by a true screamer in which a teenager’s memories of her mother’s tales of a cellar-dwelling monster with a “sweet, wet voice” segue into a horrific revelation about her pretty new sister-in-law. Lonely houses, dark woods and wolves? Check. Spectral figures with blood-red innards? Check. Writhing tentacles bursting from suddenly inhuman mouths? Check!

A sure winner for any reader with a yen to become permanently terrified. Brilliant. (Graphic horror. 13-18)

Pub Date: July 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-6595-4

Page Count: 208

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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