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The Unwritten, Volume 5: On to Genesis (The Unwritten #5)

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  4,147 Ratings  ·  191 Reviews
A New York Times bestseller!
Before his mysterious disappearance and untimely death, the world-famous fantasy author Wilson Taylor helped bring two enduring creations into the world: Tommy Taylor, the fictional boy wizard who starred in his best selling book...and Tom Taylor, his real-life son.
Armed with his father's journals, Tom Taylor begins a journey to uncover the trut
Paperback, Trade, 144 pages
Published January 17th 2012 by Vertigo
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Apr 01, 2014 Sesana rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, comics
Not sold on the On to Genesis storyline. For a forbidden love affair that Wilson was willing to risk everything to maintain, there's a distinct lack of passion between him and Mari. I was dissatisfied with the aftermath, too: (view spoiler) There's a bit of handwaving, but I wasn't satisfied with Carey's explanation. Still good enough to keep going with the se ...more
Sean Gibson
Mar 30, 2015 Sean Gibson rated it liked it
We'll call it 3.5 stars.

This series continues to perplex and frustrate me, but only because the first volume was so unbelievably fantastic--when I read volume 1, I thought to myself, "Self--at last, we've found one! A worthy successor to Preacher/Transmetropolitan/Fables/etc. in the grand scheme of epic and imaginative graphic novels that I will devour repeatedly in perpetuity!" Alas, each subsequent volume has been up and down, and none have approached the peak of vol. 1, though I'd say vol. 5
Scott (GrilledCheeseSamurai)
Sep 19, 2015 Scott (GrilledCheeseSamurai) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, vertigo
The 'source' of power is not in the actual books or the words written - but in the people that the story affects.

Soooo...crowd sourced super powers?

That's pretty f'ing cool!

And that is what this series is. Really, really, fucking cool!

You know what I love most about The Unwritten? I'm sitting there reading the actual comics and enjoying myself and all is great. I finish the comic and go on with whatever else the day has in store for me. Throughout the day, it's like my brain is absorbing the s
December 2015: This one didn't work for me as well this time around, but it's still pretty great. Not every book in a series is going to be five stars. It's not even that I can necessarily point to anything in particular as a reason for my reluctance to give out that five stars like I did the first time I read it, it's just it didn't seem as good as the previous four volumes. Each of those left me going YES YES YES and this one, while still excellent, merely left me going "yes". You know, singul ...more
Jun 22, 2012 Teresa rated it really liked it
Recommended to Teresa by: rhea
When I was a kid, I read the occasional super-hero comic book -- I have 4 brothers, so those kinds of comics were around -- but I've never considered myself a fan of the genre. Even so, I enjoyed the super-hero connection and twist to this installment as we are taken back to Depression-era Brooklyn.

The auction, the journals and the return of the Tommy Taylor websites were fun too. The plot thickens!

Ari Eris
May 07, 2013 Ari Eris rated it it was amazing
I'm having a hard time writing reviews for Unwritten. Is it sufficient enough for me to say that by now this is one of my favorite series and that you should high-tail it to your local comic shop to grab it right now? I hope so. :)
Mar 25, 2015 Miriam rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, graphic, books
More of Wilson's history is revealed, and there is a blessed absence of the disturbing sub-story with the horrific realm of the poor talking animals.
Jilly Gagnon
Dec 11, 2015 Jilly Gagnon rated it it was amazing
The further I get into this series, the more I love it. The concept is so smart, and layered, and unlike anything I've ever read before. For the first couple books, I felt like I was getting my bearings--trying to simply understand the contours of the world Carey was building--but now everything feels fully formed and realized, and I'm simply able to enjoy an incredibly clever, erudite story.

And the deeper I go in this series, the more I appreciate that quality--the refusal to talk down to read
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Julie Hayes
Sep 23, 2012 Julie Hayes rated it it was amazing

With Tom Taylor presumed dead and Wilson’s estate up for auction, what else can Lizzie and Savoy do but try to steal what they need from it? Specifically Lot 57. Lizzie provides a diversion so that Savoy can surreptitiously photograph the layout of the auction house where everything is on display for inspection. And while they are mulling everything over in the safety of a small diner, the wayward wanderer himself unexpectedly returns after his absence of three months, bursting on the scene fro
Geoff Sebesta
Feb 28, 2014 Geoff Sebesta rated it really liked it
I'm continually going back and forth on this book, and it makes me wish that I used four stars as sparingly as I use five, because the Unwritten is so close to classic and not just there.

The art by Peter Gross is competent without being amazing -- the best way to describe it is "Average Vertigo art." I can always tell what's going on, which is very nice, but for me, a great comic needs a page or a panel every five or six pages that makes you gasp in awe. Not every shot can be, or should be, clas
Scott Lee
Oct 26, 2012 Scott Lee rated it it was amazing
Carey and co. continue to provide top notch comic entertainment in the fifth volume of The Unwritten, On To Genesis. The title is, of course, a play on words referring both to the stories pointing toward a new beginning (by the end Tommy seems truly ready to take an active rather than reactive posture toward Pullman and the Cabal) and ontogenesis--a word referring to the entire cycle of growth and development of an organism from birth to death--a reference to the stories further clues about Wins ...more
Aug 13, 2013 David rated it it was ok
It may be that the novelty of the story is starting to wear off, but I found this volume to be pretty weak. There were several lines and plot twists where I thought, oh yeah, this is a comic book. The early issues didn't really feel like that to me. In the earlier issues, it seemed like the fascinating storyline transcended the commonly weak writing of comics. In this volume, however, it seems like the creators had lost some of the passion they had for it or something.

Some of the methods they u
Alan Chen
Mar 16, 2016 Alan Chen rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
Origin story time! Lizzie finds out that Wilson's things are being auctioned off and Tom sneaks in to steal his father's journals. He finds out that when he reads them at the places the incidents occur the scenes materialize for him in real life. Somehow Wilson was alive in the 1930s and was working for the Cabal. He was sent to kill the woman who was writing the Tinker comics, a precursor superhero, but falls in love with her instead. They have a child who appeared to die in childbirth but turn ...more
Dec 30, 2015 Megan rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, comics, meta, vertigo
The story is snowballing and becoming more cohesive, and with that more interesting. Things are making a lot more sense, now that Leviathan concept and the source of Tommy's powers.

There's a bit of fuzziness on whether it's a two-way street; a bit of a chicken or egg argument brewing, however, in terms of reality vs. meaning. But the story doesn't seem to want to drown in that philosophical conundrum, which I'm thankful for. But it leaves things rather confusing in terms of Tommy, and nearly in
[Name Redacted]
I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this one. It was good, it built on the revelations from the previous volumes, and it explored the potential of media which academics and ivory tower types refuse to take seriously... But it felt a bit patchwork, and there was a trifle too much exposition this time around. I suspect the author recognized this, because he included this marvelous exchange in the final chapter:

LIZZIE: "Th-thank you, Tom. this really--?"
TOM: "If we start in with the expo
Mar 27, 2012 Steven rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: bibliophiles, Harry Potter fans, Sandman/Gaiman fans
If you're a writer or someone who likes to think more deeply than just the immediate text, you may really like this series. I can't remember who recommended this to me, but it's an amazing read on a number of levels.

This series keeps getting stronger and stronger...and it's now at a point where I may break my habit of waiting for trade paperback collections and go hunt up any issues after this one just so I don't have to wait to read more.....
James Lawner
Pretty much read this in one day and I really enjoyed it.

Some crazy stuff happens that makes you go, WHA--??! And overall, it was really good and seeing a bit of Wilson Taylor's past was interesting, too.
Three and a half stars.

I didn't find this one quite so amazing as the previous collections -- there are a few threads that feel just a little flat to me, and I'm hoping they turn out to have a Point -- but it's all still pretty gripping and mostly unexpected.
Wing Kee
Oct 30, 2016 Wing Kee rated it really liked it
Focused, nostalgic and poetic.

World: The art is what it is but that's fine. The world building this time around stole the show. The entire second story was all massive world building in the highest order with info and reveals thrown left and right. Story points and character building is my. Best part of this arc.

Story: World building heavy but with a point. There was not a lot of info dumping but it was still dense as hell. The amount we learn this arc about Tommy and his father was wonderful
Nov 08, 2016 Rachel rated it liked it
Still not sure what I think about this story. I like how they weave a literary pattern with other stories inside the original story. I'm not a big fan of the violence, pretty violent.
I will continue to read, have to find out about what happens to Tom Taylor....hopefully he doesn't die.....
Oct 17, 2016 Pewterbreath rated it liked it
Mostly a linking story--the art here is pretty good, but the pulpy feel isn't something that particularly brings me in. Some minor revelations about Tommy's father and where he came from, however, this set really feels like it's winding up for a bigger story. Pretty good, but I certainly wouldn't start here.
Oct 17, 2016 Rachel rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, comic-books
I didn't love this one as much as previous 4 volumes, but the story moved forward in potentially interesting ways.
Aug 27, 2016 Jani rated it liked it
The fifth The Unwritten album takes the reader deeper into the conception of Tommy/Tom Taylor. It also ventures, perhaps surprisingly, into the world of comics for the first time in the series, answering possible the question why this story is told not only in words, but in pictures as well.

As the name On to Genesis plays around with this album is all about beginnings and the subsequent development. As Tom, Lizzy, and Richie continue to search for clues about Wilson Taylor's plans and at the sam
Trevor Durham
Sep 20, 2016 Trevor Durham rated it liked it
I just wish this tale would go into literature older than two hundred years.
Thomas Hettich
May 24, 2014 Thomas Hettich rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
Yet again, there was not a quick gratifying understanding to be learned from this book. As with volume 3 and 4 the most rewarding part came after having read the book and starting to think about how it was relevant to me (i.e. what aspect of story-telling it is illuminating, what meaning I could derive from it).

Confronted with artefacts of childhood, Tommy is starting to understand what his powers are and starts using them. Savoy starts a blog and Tommy, for the first time, takes on a literary t
Mar 04, 2015 Marika rated it it was amazing
I have actually been working my way through these, starting with volume 1, over the past two months. I hope to finish this last one up tonight or tomorrow. These are quickly becoming my favorite, even over Lucifer. The sad thing is that I'm not sure I am well-read enough to fully enjoy them. They are simply so ... full... of literature.

The theme The Unwritten explores is the possibility that significant literature does not merely reflect the culture of its time, but can actually shape it. The st
Alexander Case
Sep 10, 2012 Alexander Case rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
I started reading this today, and blitzed through it. This series, thus far, has been absolutely awesome, and I simply cannot wait for volume 6.

That said, I can't help but have one minor little quibble. The Cabal Of Arbitrary Evil - if they already all but rule the world, what purpose do they have in trying to quash humanity's will (which has clearly been their goal since volume 2)?

Wouldn't it be less expensive, in the long run, to more gently shape humanity's will to fit their purposes, then to
Marcos Olmos
Jun 18, 2012 Marcos Olmos rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tpb

Comencé leyendo el nro 1 de The Unwritten y me cautivo por la mezcla de conceptos, medios narrativos y abundante información que contenía. Luego fui comprando los tpbs hasta que hoy termine de leerlos de corrido.
Hay que decir que la serie parte despacio, detallando las características de los protagonistas, dándose tiempo para explicar sus motivaciones e ir presentando personajes secundarios y villanos paso a paso. A medida que pasan las historias la vida de Tommy Taylor (el protagonista) comien
Tom and co. investigate Wilson Taylor's past, which leads them into the history of comic books. The most interesting thing about this volume is probably the way the idea of a comic book character, who can be written and drawn by dozens of different people over his or her lifespan, fits in with and expands on all the ideas about the power of story already explored throughout the series, as well as the collective unconscious concept Tom discovered in volume 4, Leviathan. At least, I found that to ...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.
Mike Carey was born in Liverpool in 1959. He worked as a teacher for fifteen years, before starting to write comics. When he started to receive regular commissions from DC Comics, he gave up the day job.

Since then, he has worked for both DC and Marvel Comics, writing storyli
More about Mike Carey...

Other Books in the Series

The Unwritten (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • The Unwritten, Volume 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity
  • The Unwritten, Volume 2: Inside Man
  • The Unwritten, Volume 3: Dead Man's Knock
  • The Unwritten, Volume 4: Leviathan
  • The Unwritten, Volume 6: Tommy Taylor and the War of Words
  • The Unwritten, Volume 7: The Wound
  • The Unwritten, Volume 8: Orpheus in the Underworld
  • The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the Ship That Sank Twice
  • The Unwritten, Volume 9: The Unwritten Fables
  • The Unwritten, Volume 10: War Stories

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“You know what pulp is, Mr. Tallis? It's the flesh of a luscious fruit, mashed down into an incredible, half liquid richness. so saturated with flavor that it fills your whole body, not just your mouth.” 5 likes
“Some kind of worship of the state, as though the state was somehow different from the schmucks who run it. Can't say I'm keen.” 0 likes
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