Is your child bored? Did his father get locked away in the asylum? Does hanging out with tentacle monsters from the deep sound like fun?
Then do we haveIs your child bored? Did his father get locked away in the asylum? Does hanging out with tentacle monsters from the deep sound like fun?
Then do we have the thing for you. This Christmas we're offering the Black book, otherwise known as the mad Arab's Kitab al-Azif, that's the Necronomicon to you folks, for half price. You heard right! We're offering this one time only deal on the Book of the Dead for half off. Your kid will be summoning Great old ones in no time and if that's not enough he'll have the run of the city of the black abyss, R'lyeh. Who knows, maybe he'll even get to meet the one and only Cthulhu!
Further to this we're including a one time only invocation. If the favorite pet dies that's no big deal just chant the invocation and skippy'l be running around like never before. (H.P.l. Corporation takes no responsibility for furniture ruined by rotten flesh nor for accidental mauling by said pet). Order now or Yog-Sothoth will get you!
Yay for black magic!
-- Now that that's done let's take a look at the graphic novel Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom. In this book we meet little Howie who's father's been locked up in the crazy bin. Mom decides it's a good idea to take Howie to visit dad on Christmas eve but unfortunately the warm family gathering is shattered by dad screaming at his son to 'Destroy the Book!' Back home mom decides to sooth little Howie by giving him an early Christmas present. Lo and behold the book that made dad crazy, The Necronomicon! Apparently mom couldn't find How to be a Serial Killer at the bookstore and went for second best.
Here is where what seems to be a fun and interesting premise starts to crumble. Howie is transported to a magical wonderland which has been cursed with perpetual winter. Oh yeah, this land is called R'yleh (the misspelling of R'lyeh seems to me to be indicative of the rest of the book). From here on we have a bland buddy story, the buddy being an octopus thing with a surly temper but which quickly makes friends with our protagonist, and which then degenerates into a 'you are the chosen one' premise. The author, Bruce Brown, makes an honest attempt to make fun story for the whole family based on the Cthulhu mythos. There are a few problems though with the execution.
First is the writing, especially the dialogue. Brown doesn't make it easy for himself by starting with a quote from Poe.
"Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December, And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor."
Following that you expect top notch writing. Although perhaps adequate for the uninitiated, Lovecraft fans, who undoubtedly will be the ones attracted to read this book, expect high prose from any work that seeks to use Lovecraftian lore to the measure which is done here. Which brings us to the second point, if you're going to base your stuff on the Lovecraft mythos, do it right. The biggest discrepancy is R'lyeh, described by Lovecraft so: "The nightmare corpse-city of R'lyeh…was built in measureless eons behind history by the vast, loathsome shapes that seeped down from the dark stars. There lay great Cthulhu and his hordes, hidden in green slimy vaults." While Brown tries to make R'yleh sound ominous phrases such as "...kingdom described as an unholy marriage of fairy tales and nightmares" simply fail to evoke anything close to Lovecraft's skin-crawling descriptions. Nor does the winterland subsequently shown or the characters that inhabit it seem to have much in common with their inspiration or at least they don't seem to stay true to it. The thing is this whole problem could have been avoided if Brown had chosen to honor Lovecraft in a more subtle way. An example of this is Terry Pratchett's Discworld where in a few of the series books he pays homage to Lovecraft by creating spooky, and funny, creature-monsters while still making them his own creations. Neil Gaiman on the other hand shows in A Study in Emerald (http://www.neilgaiman.com/mediafiles/...) how to use the Cthulhu mythos in a way that is highly original but which stays true to the original source.
Although it may be unfair to use Pratchett and Gaiman as examples it seems to me that the book could have been much better if the author had just allowed himself more time to work on the nooks and crannies of his story. That being said the book does manage to redeem itself a bit in the end which is why it got three stars instead of two.
I should add that book artist is Renzo Podesta and although his penciling can be a bit uneven, though still good, his coloring is excellent. In his use of color and texture he is reminiscent of Dave McKean (cover artist for the Sandman series).
Finally for those of you who have no idea what the hell I'm talking about here is one of the best introductions to the world of Cthulhu that I know of: http://youtu.be/FOHJUrcVdJk ...more
For people who have kids and can relate in a deep way to the subject matter this is probably a great book. For me it was pretty meh... There are a lotFor people who have kids and can relate in a deep way to the subject matter this is probably a great book. For me it was pretty meh... There are a lot of children's books that are able to appeal to both kids and adults and as such are very enjoyable. Having worked in a kindergarten and being pretty much a grown child myself I think I have an ok eye for these things. You wouldn't read this book to a kid nor does it compel you to read it more than once. Extra star for being read by Samuel Jackson in audio version....more
The first book was just ok. It had some interesting moments but the characters and story just didn't grab me. I've heard the series gets better as itThe first book was just ok. It had some interesting moments but the characters and story just didn't grab me. I've heard the series gets better as it goes along so I'll read the next book in the series to see if I'm going to continue it or not. Being a big fan of the Covenant series I'm hoping this will get better....more
If one is interested in improving one's English skills then this is a great book but as regards plot and ideas this book is exceedingly boring.
I thinkIf one is interested in improving one's English skills then this is a great book but as regards plot and ideas this book is exceedingly boring.
I think Ballard's ideas about the psychology of man are very much in line with the time in which the book was written but unfortunately his ideas do not make for an interesting read today. As for the plot it is long winded and doesn't really go anywhere.
His environment is very much enjoyable but does not raise the storytelling out of its drudgery. ...more