Amazing. Challenges every superhero story standard, blurs the line between hero and villain, and poses ethically ambiguous life questions that deal wi...moreAmazing. Challenges every superhero story standard, blurs the line between hero and villain, and poses ethically ambiguous life questions that deal with morality, responsibility, and sacrifice. Fantastic writing, juxtaposed effectively with artwork. Off to watch the movie.
>>movie not as good. loses some complexity in the translation. Rorschach and John still great. some of the acting is pretty bad (Laurie). definitely read the book.(less)
Ghost Knight is a fun story filled with murderous ghosts, medieval history, and school children sneaking around ancient cathedrals and dark crumbling...moreGhost Knight is a fun story filled with murderous ghosts, medieval history, and school children sneaking around ancient cathedrals and dark crumbling cemeteries in the dead of night (no pun intended). After behaving badly towards his mother's new boyfriend, Jon Whitcroft is sent off to boarding school, where four ominous ghostly figures call him by his mother's maiden name (how did they know!?) and threaten his life. His endeavors to escape them lead to a friendship with beautiful Ella, daughter of a local ghost tour guide, and together they work to solve the mystery of the ghosts' determination to hunt Jon.
Some of Cornelia Funke's other works (the Inkheart series, The Thief Lord, and Reckless) have become favorites of mine, but Ghost Knight just didn't measure up. I'm not sure if Funke was targeting a younger age group, but it lacked the complexity of her other works and failed to conjure up a vivid illusion. The story seemed a little hazy, which made it difficult for me to feel as if I was experiencing its unfolding events along with the characters. For example, Jon attends an old cathedral boarding school, but we hardly see any of this part of his life. We watch him sneaking out of his bedroom window at night and we witness brief, ultimately meaningless conversations between Jon and his roommates, but get nothing of life at a boarding school. I think the story needed this scenic backdrop, this context, to anchor it.
Funke seems to leap from event to ghostly event with little build up between. Many opportunities to create suspense weren't taken advantage of. We're just told, "Here's this guy and this is what happened to him." There's very little mystery, nothing to keep us wondering. No drama, no build-up, no suspense. We are simply pelted with ghosts.
That's the thing I didn't like about this book. It's a light and entertaining read, but it led me to believe I was getting a ghost story, and I didn't. Ghost Knight was rushed. It was shallow. I never felt like I got to know anyone besides Jon and Funke failed to cultivate that eerie mood where fear creeps around you like a mist and it always seems that someone (or something) is just out of sight, watching and waiting. My favorite thing about ghost stories is the mystery, and Ghost Knight provided very little of this.(less)
Yay a new Sendak! I went to a bookstore today just so I could read this. I like the pictures much more than the story. It's interesting to compare the...moreYay a new Sendak! I went to a bookstore today just so I could read this. I like the pictures much more than the story. It's interesting to compare the style of the art in this book with Sendak's earlier work. Bumble-Ardy is illustrated with a fluidity that contrasts with the precisely drawn leaves and fur in books like Where the Wild Things Are and Little Bear. The chaotic intertwining of subjects in the two-page spreads made me think of Guernica, with the mournfulness replaced by a gaudy celebration. The illustrations possess an artful childishness that marries endearingly to Bumble's story, though I get the impression that there is more lying beneath the surface of the story that I have not yet completely grasped. I would like to read it again, but this time much more slowly.(less)
When Peter's orphanage dumps him and several other parent-less boys onto an old ship called The Never Land, he becomes involved with a secret, ancient...moreWhen Peter's orphanage dumps him and several other parent-less boys onto an old ship called The Never Land, he becomes involved with a secret, ancient battle between Starcatchers and Others to be the first to capture the powerful shooting stars that fall to earth. The story offers a magical, star-powered explanation for the existence of Barrie's Neverland in all of its delightful enchantment.
The writing is simple and repetitious, with lots of "he said, she said, he said," which, in my opinion, somewhat limits target readers to those who have not yet acquired a taste for more sophisticated prose: either the very young or the non-reader. I say this as someone who still loves reading children's literature. I didn't just pick up a kid's book and say, "Aw this writing isn't mature enough for me." When I look at the intelligence and humor and dexterous descriptions in some of my favorite children's books--books I enjoyed as child--I can't help but hold other work up to that same standard. Just compare this with Barrie's original.
In many ways, Peter and the Starcatchers is similar to Percy Jackson & the Olympians. Both stories feature a young boy adventuring with friends. Percy learns about Greek Gods and goes on a Quest with Annabeth and Grover. Peter learns about Starcatchers and, in a questlike manner, attempts to protect a magical item from falling into pirate hands with Molly, Alf, and the other orphans. Both tales are told with a degree of silliness. However, as I read on, it became clear that Peter simply does not possess the same depth as Percy Jackson. The characters felt like characters instead of people and Peter lacked much of his Peter Pan-ness. One might attempt to justify this with: "but he's not Peter Pan yet... Of course he started out as a normal boy!" But I won't buy it. I want the cocky impish child from Barrie's novel and Disney's films. This Peter was too ordinary to be Peter Pan.
Here is another similarity between Peter and the Starcatchers and Percy Jackson & the Olympians: both are based on pre-existing stories. Percy Jackson is based on mythology, which includes countless tales of all the gods that have been twisted and changed through generations of repetition. It's difficult to remain loyal to such varying myths that have already been interpreted and reinterpreted so many times and in so many different ways. The story of Peter Pan is much younger and has a specific source. I love the novel by J.M.Barrie and find it hard to completely accept the way that Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson have claimed Peter Pan and his world as their own and almost audaciously invented a story of origin that conflicts with Barrie's own novel. I feel much the same as I do when I book I like gets made into a movie that doesn't fit my interpretation.
Despite all these complaints, I still enjoyed the book. It was a fun, youthful adventure and its simplistic narration often gave way to moments of lovely description. Peter did not offer the same cleverness or whimsy as Barrie's Peter Pan or the same pull as Percy Jackson & the Olympians but it was a quick, entertaining read and I will very shortly begin the next in the series, Peter and the Shadow Thieves.(less)