Amazing art style with interchanging media gives a lovely insight to the world of the Crow, the story of a man who is brought back to life to...more4.5 stars
Amazing art style with interchanging media gives a lovely insight to the world of the Crow, the story of a man who is brought back to life to avenge the deaths of himself and his wife, Shelly.
Read this when you get the chance. Like the art style, the story is gritty, uncaring, and sculpted into a fine piece that I'm proud to have read. Shelly is based off O'Barr's own wife who he tragically lost, hence got him to create The Crow.
Fabulous story, and unlike Black Hole, the high contrast didn't bother me. Maybe because I loved the designs of O'Barr more than Black Hole. That'd do it for sure.
Also, pretty fucking sure Christopher Nolan was inspired by the Crow for his Joker makeup. Look at the two are them and tell me I'm wrong. GO on.(less)
The one star in this review is dedicated to Miranda Leek’s beautiful artwork. This story is terrible, but Miranda’s illustration work is gorgeous and I want everyone to at least take a glance at this really talented artist.
This is a story where you will cry with laughter at how bad it is. This is a story where nothing makes sense because the world forgets its own rules. This is a story where the characters are so paper-thin, you’ll remember them forever.
I can’t tell you what the plot is, because I need to discover for myself. We’re going to figure it out together.
We are introduced to a 35 year-old poor man by the name of Rodney, a recently fired engineer from the local cake factory. Rodney is broke. He is so broke. Wanna know how broke this boy is? He’s got a sports car. And Rodney - this poor guy - needs a job, because he’s been out of one for a WHOLE MONTH and his bills are piling up!
So he comes across a classified ad that is calling for a roller coaster engineer at a place called Mystic Park. Hot dog! Roller coaster engineer!
Roller coasters, I knew so much about them. I had never actually seen one in person, but I knew more than most who were “coaster junkies”. I acquired all the information that I knew from books, television, and the internet.
As does everyone else in the world, Rodney. Moving on, he needs that job badly, and over the phone he lies to Woody, the park owner, about working on coasters before because let’s face it, reading about roller coasters and actually fixing one are one in the same! Truly! So he goes to Mystic Park and talks to Woody, an old geezer with unnatural white hair...because old people can’t HAVE naturally white hair. He’s also the painfully obvious Old Wise Man archetype.
Ooooooh dear oh dear. But get this, on page 13 of this beautifully-crafted adventure, Woody takes Rodney on a coaster. He doesn’t question Rodney’s skill with engineering. He tells Rodney that he’s a roller coaster himself, and if the rails make him feel invincible. Woody’s real name turns out to be Thunderbark, and he is really a wooden coaster. Does it sound ridiculous yet?
“Don’t mock our names they are warrior names.” Woody said crudely.
Right sorry, Thunderbark, I’ll fix that soon. Rodney turns out to be the legendary red steel coaster by the name of Railrunner! And in order to get the feel of his roller coaster self, Thunderbark activates Rodney’s ride form. He simply lays on the tracks and BOOM, he can transform into a coaster.
He then goes into full roller coaster attack mode and basically destroys the town he lives in and completely skeeves out his girlfriend, Clare. It’s pretty terrifying. The grammar in this section, I mean, not the actual action. The action plays like a slapstick comedy from the overwhelming stench of cliché it gives off. Pretty fantastic.
But get this: THE P.O.V. SWITCHES when this happens.
We’re following Rodney in first person, but then when he goes Railrunner Mode, it becomes third person! Like his roller coaster self is a different entity! This happens on more than one occasion, and even goes to first person with a carousel horse character by the name of Merrylegs!! WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN?! Does the author actually think this is clever and okay?! I DON’T - WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! Narration all over the place!
Let’s move on. Rodney wakes up from this nightmarish transformation, unable to remember a thing:
I took my index fingers and placed them just under my eyebrows to massage the area for my head throbbed horrendously. Was I on a hangover?
Didn’t know people actually go on hangovers. I thought they just HAD them. Rodney, you are 35. You should know the difference, but I guess you can’t if your creator doesn’t know about going on hangovers. But that’s okay, because Rodney no longer can get drunk! His super roller coaster abilities allow him as such, and other things too!
”Now a roller coaster has powers beyond humans understanding. We can bend lightening and fire; posses super strength and agility. We can predict when things will happen, exept death, and sense trouble.”
“A neat thing about that is, a roller coaster can hold its breath underwater for about thirty minutes.”
See how that death prediction is taken out and put in the spotlight by those commas. Rodney is totally predicting death later on because he’s the red coaster. He is the badass of Amusement Park Between. Rodney takes this information with a wave of his flawless hand and goes on a date with Clare…to an amusement park. Despite the constant warnings from Woody/Thunderbark of the hell that will happen if he goes.
Rodney suffers from another transformation, but since this one will be during a full moon, then it’ll complete the cycle and he’ll soon be able to control himself in roller coaster attack mode. I think?! But don’t think too hard there, because again, these world rules will surely break. Clare finally gets the idea that Rodney is in fact a roller coaster monster from hell, and flees back home.
Rodney tries to apologize to Clare, and Clare manages to hide an ENTIRE KITCHEN KNIFE, up her sleeve without any chance of piercing or poking out. Rodney explains how he feels so powerful and refreshed as a roller coaster beast, but Clare gives him the deets on her feelings toward this situation:
“Railrunner, our love is - forbidden. We can’t carry on any longer. A roller coaster cannot be in love with a human!”
Aw nuts. Now what’s Rodney gonna do?! Well, instead of trying to avoid his Railrunner Mode, he magically embraces it when a mugger on the sidewalk threatens Clare. He kills the guy, but in third person not in first.
CALLING OUT YOUR P.O.V. SWITCHIN'. Anyway, Railrunner ends up getting caught due to stealing an amulet known as the Augu Ra. This bling bling allows the Red Coaster to transform at will rather than just under the moonlight. Rodney ends up in a prison cell, and Thunderbark visits to tell him than he can only bend wood because he’s a wooden coaster, like how Rodney can bend steel! Oh! They are benders now! Okay! :| Anywho, Rodney takes this advice and does this when Detective Black comes to nag at him about how much of a murderer he is.
Detective, they say I am a damned soul, but it is yours that is dark and bleak. And there is something else, Detective.” “What might that be?” I held out my wheels, and extended them apart. Black’s body froze and his arms hung in the air like a puppet. He looked at me in horror. “You need to watch your iron intake.”
That’s right. He pulls an X-Men 2 Magneto escape and just gets out. And it is NOW that they finally decide that going to the Amusement Park Between will keep them safe and out of whatever harm that's in their way. And so they go, where the currency is, cleverly enough, the g. Some really small points to Leek there for incorporating roller coaster measurements into currency.
I wish more roller coaster vocab was put in here, like the use of g-forces or s-bend uppercut punches or something ridiculous like that. That would've at least shown HOW MUCH Miranda Leek loved her roller coasters.
Rodney learns about this new world and how rides that have been destroyed and discontinued somehow manage to get up from their demolished areas and make their way here. They then travel to the Temple of the Red, a temple specially made so the red coaster can basically claim his birth right. But how does Thunderbark know this? What’s the backstory of the red coaster?
"After a red dies; a few years later a female coaster is selected. She is chosen because she is the purest and has the nicest heart towards others. Amusement Park Between summons her to the Temple of The Red. The whole time she is in a trance and doesn’t have a clue what goes on or happens. Some spirit thing occurs, but I not entirely sure on that one. Next morning she returns home with amnesia. Then its twelve months of patience, after that the red is born and all hell breaks lose.”
PARDON ME? EXCUSE ME? WHAT?
WHAT ARE YOU IMPLYING? That some sort of Rosemary’s Baby actiony shit takes place during this trance?! This motherly roller coaster monster goes through some bizarre, fucked up hell to have this coaster? Why can’t they just sex since they’re already anthro beasties with gold chainz and big teeth and werewolf transformation schedules?!
No really, this is beyond anything you read in this book. This is just utterly horrifying. I had no idea that I'd be coming across this total bullshit at all. How wrong. How very wrong of this to be placed in a book that, from the beginning till now, has been just stupid, ridiculous, and incoherently structured.
This is where the book began to lose me severely, so I’m gonna try and make sure we all understand.
Anyway, Rodney/Railrunner chooses now, after learning about his role as the red coaster, to start getting all sadface about his identity and life in general. He loves Clare! Clare is the best girlfriend ever! Their love is TRAGIC and MEANINGFUL like Romeo and Juliet! Who cares about stupid satire?
And Clare, meanwhile, is under constant interrogation about Rodney and how he was an orphan and stuff we already know. Clare learns more about Railrunner and decides “Omg I totally love him even though he’s a roller coaster and I tried to stab him with a Cutco knife.”
Back in APB, Rodney learns about his sworn enemies, King Ironwheel and the Fallen, rides that were apparently sent away from APB? Or something? Malfunctioning rides? They just kinda call them Fallen and I dealt with it. Rodney gets into a cat fight with a Fallen coaster by the name of Freakshow, who is Ironwheel’s right hand. She’s trying to be sinister and mysterious, but she’s just as bumbly as Thunderbark, who gets captured during their second encounter by the way:
“Lets use him as bait for the red herring!”
Yeah, Freakshow. Like that makes any sort of sense. While torn with going after Thunderbark, Railrunner decides to think about his feelings one again:
I thought about Clare, about the strange dreams, and the fact that everyone thought differently about me because of what I was – a roller coaster.
This man honestly thinks that everyone will instantly love him because he can transform at will into a GaryStu red steel coaster. But of course, if Clare loves him, that keeps him going! But when Thunderbark is taken hostage, Rodney goes through this great turmoil.
Chapter 34 Definition My life: sucks Too bad it lasts forever. Chapter 35
And then they go after Thunderbark at the Fallen’s lair. Along the way, Railrunner gets into a gang fight, dreams about Clare’s death by Ironwheel, and some other pretty stupid things. The fact that he can predict deaths is kinda shocking, but it really isn’t because he’s the main fucking character.
They come across a useless pack of fellow coasters during that gang fight I just mentioned, and Railrunner had been trying to conceal himself this entire time to hide the fact that the red coaster has returned. After his fight with another coaster, Railrunner’s cloak falls off and everyone’s like, “SHIT IT’S THE RED ONE. BLESS THIS GOD.” And Railrunner goes and pulls this shit in some inspirational speech to the lot of coaster people there:
”The reason why I decided to reveal myself fully was because I feel that Freakshow has already told Ironwheel of my presence.”
The pack of rebel coasters agree to help Railrunner’s cause, and they all rage war against the Fallen. They manage to kill ALL of them except for Freakshow, King Ironwheel, and some gothic carousel horse by the name of Bones. Railrunner spills that they’ll never be able to kill Clare, and then Ironwheel’s like, “Lol I’m totes killing your girlfriend instead of just dealing with you right now.”
Railrunner flees back with Merrylegs and Thunderbark to wherever he lives in the real world to warn Clare of her impending doom. She’s completely fine, and to make something sunshine special in an apparently terrorizing climax, Railrunner and Clare go on a date where Railrunner just runs around and Clare rides in one of the seats on his back.
Their love knows no bounds, guys. They are just the perfect loving couple omg.
But Old Wise Man Thunderbark reveals something! CLARE CAN BECOME A COASTER! Oh my gosh! Railrunner’s eyes sparkle like the sun at this beautiful and incredibly convenient deus ex machina. Now we know for a fact that Clare’s going to live, especially when Thunderbark says that Clare can only become a roller coaster if Railrunner bites her on her dying breath.
The entire ending is mapped out at this point regardless of what Ironwheel and Freakshow are doing. But they arrive on the scene anyway, busting moves left and right trying to kill the red coaster like they actually could or something. Then Railrunner simply bites them and scratches them about and they are dead. Just…just dead and gone…pfff
At this point, Donkey Kong could’ve come in and I would’ve been okay with it. I don’t even know what the point was of involving the Fallen! Why is the red coaster important when the King is already established? WHY ARE NONE OF THESE CHARACTERS DEVELOPED AT ALL?!
Regardless, Clare gets stabbed or something and Railrunner bites her so she can become a sassy purple swirly steel coaster.
WOW NO ONE SAW THAT COMING OH MY GOSH NOW THE LOVE BIRDS CAN BE TOGETHER FOREVER. The burning passions of their love is obvious because Clare can now live with Rodney forever. Omg better love story than twilight.
If they love each other so much, why aren’t they married? Or even engaged? This is an important question. Or how about, if the Fallen are now defeated forever, what the hell is Rodney gonna do? Is the line of red coasters going to cease to exist now? How does that even work?
IT DOESN’T HAHAHAHAHAHA. NOTHING IN THIS WORLD IS DONE CORRECTLY OR CONSISTENTLY. IT’S ABOUT AS CONSISTENT AS THE P.O.V.
Look at the research put into this winner:
This time Merrylegs covered up, too. She wore a cloak that looked like it was from India. It was red and yellow with patterns all over the fabric.
YEAH THAT’S EXACTLY INDIA. RIGHT THERE.
This book made me laugh till I cried. It was so incredibly bad. Tommy Wiseau would be very proud of this book because not ony is it so Room-like in its quality, but it’s the most quotable book I’ve found in a long time.
I went up to my roommate once, who read alongside me or a bit, and I said, “We need to activate you ride form.” Terrifying I know, but I have that much fun with the utter bullshit nonsense that goes on in this book. It got more annoying towards the end as it became more plot-oriented, but this is the silliest fucking thing I’ve ever come across.
I can guarantee that you will at least chuckle at something that is done poorly in this book. For me, it was the ride form quote, and then the P.O.V. switching. The sheer absurdity of that happening made me lose it and tell me just how low my expectations should be for this “book”.
So going back to my first statement on this: what was the plot of this one? I think it might have been the character study of a red chosen werecoaster, but it might have been something about stopping rides that didn’t do anything to you from doing something bad.
Overall…….no. There is no overall because I just told you the entire story. However...I have a challenge for all y'all.
Can you tackle this? Can you handle the sheer stupid, odd monster that is Twisted!? CAN YOU RIDE THIS RIDE? Because not everyone...is tall enough to ride! (They just keep coming I'm sorry)
Read this bad boy ALL THE WAY THROUGH...if you dare!!
Just remember. Red Coaster is watching.
“For all we know that coaster could be right under our noses.” Sly announced. “Watching our every move.”
Fuck, I don't want this to be over. I have nothing new to look at!! If there's no third season in the future, my heart will just leave my chest and say...more
Fuck, I don't want this to be over. I have nothing new to look at!! If there's no third season in the future, my heart will just leave my chest and say, "I'm fucking DONE."
This was an awesome side arc of the Darker than Black series, starring some badass people, including my handsome boy, Hei.
Unf unf, Hei, unf unf.
MOVING ON, the manga followed the simple structure of any actiony tale. Something's doing something bad, turns out there's more than meets the eye (for this series, it's way fucking more), and then all of Hell's Gate breaks loose. AHAHAHA. Bad joke, sorry.
On to characters! I loved the newer characters: Parcel, Harvest, Champ, and Azuka. They all developed great personalities and I was sad to see some of them go. Also, I fucking love how you can just guess the payments that contractors have to make within them straight up saying, "Yo I have read a book page every time I want to read someone's mind." You can figure it out just by seeing it. Yay character actions!
I still wish Mao had made an appearance here, but I'm not too upset about it since Yin was just everywhere and Hei was so cute with her and I never want them to ever be separated. THEY ARE SO FUCKING CUTE TOGETHER. OTP. I've never been a rabid anime fangirl before so please bear with me. LIKE JUST LOOK AT THEM FOR A SEC.
SO MUCH HUGGING! Fucking precious.
Read this manga (but watch the anime first since it starts there). The English dub is actually decent, too. Nicely done! I could listen to English!Hei for DAAAYS.
The third installment of the Darker than Black: Jet Black Flower manga successfully keeps the story heated past its two previous volumes. Like serious...moreThe third installment of the Darker than Black: Jet Black Flower manga successfully keeps the story heated past its two previous volumes. Like serious, this is constantly good. I love this stuff so MUCH. (view spoiler)[CHAAAAAAMP! ;A; I'll miss you and your chainsaw arms and your cyborg-dollness! (hide spoiler)]
I'm just going to reiterate how much I love Hei's character and how Iwahara perceives him. His determination and surefire tactics are awesome to watch. The action in this is just as good as its anime parent as well, which is a major MAAAAAJOR plus.
Also, pages like this just melt my heart:
One last thing for the record: I've never been such a fangirl for something since freakin' Resident Evil back in 2009. Darker than Black deserves all its praise.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
These have manga covers why are they not here on GR? :(
This is a great continuation of the story. I miss my Mao intake, but I'll manage, especially wh...moreThese have manga covers why are they not here on GR? :(
This is a great continuation of the story. I miss my Mao intake, but I'll manage, especially when Hei/Yin is thrown around SOOOOOO much. This pleases me greatly. Thank you, Iwahara. Thank you for granting us fans this lovely manga.
Only thing I have to go on about (in a good way):
(view spoiler)[THE FUCKING BLACK DANDELION ITSELF IS A CONTRACTOR?! BADASS. No wonder everyone's getting Contractor-like powers from the flower. Fucking awesome. Also Harvest fucking scares me. He's a good antagonist. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
In between The Black Contractor arc and the Gemini of the Meteor arc, Shikkoku No Hana takes place one year after the Tokyo Explosion, and follows a s...moreIn between The Black Contractor arc and the Gemini of the Meteor arc, Shikkoku No Hana takes place one year after the Tokyo Explosion, and follows a strange black dandelion that gives Contractor-like powers to those who come in contact with it.
My favorite part about Darker than Black in general is the idea of Contractors. Basically it's superheroes that have a "payment" in order to keep using their powers. There are also dolls that act as mediums. They are usually emotionless and programmed. Yin, Hei's blind doll, is different. She can remember her childhood and her time before becoming a doll. She starts evolving and makes her own decisions and opinions. Yin, in short, is a badass.
I think my crazy attraction towards Hei is his mask, his physique, and his sheer badassery. Honest to God, this guy has a figure/stance/face that is the exact one I want for my main antagonist. The fact that he's got a mask that has a small essence of "Phantom of the Opera" in it just melts me further (esepcially when it cracks GAHH). Hei is a fabulous character.
I am excite. This stomps on the shoujo DtB so hard, ESPECIALLY with the character designer himself doing the manga. It's everything I love about the series done correctly on paper. Yaaaay! x3(less)
“All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this. One day when she was two years old she was...more“All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this. One day when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful, for Mrs Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, ‘Oh, why can’t you remain like this for ever!’ This was all that passed between them on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end.”
How’s that for an opener? Holy hell.
This book was pure good. A huge course of emotions is what J.M. Barrie decides to bring to the Classic Literature Dinner Table. It is placed right in between Gaston Leroux’s mask-shaped brie and crackers, and Dumas’s sweet revenge dessert platter.
This is a story of magic even more magical that I could even imagine in my wildest dreams. The best part? It’s good-hearted nature and utmost ridiculous explanations of the magic presented made this story one of the best, the elite.
We all know Peter Pan, at least, we know Disney’s super duper fluffy version, or maybe even the Jeremy Sumpter version (and personally I can only handle Robin Williams’ version because of Dustin Hoffman....and Robin Williams).
Anywho, Peter Pan is a small boy who can never grow up. Why? Maybe it’s because he lives in Neverland, or maybe it’s because his mother forgot him. A boy who became dead to the world he deserted. He takes the Darling children - Wendy, John, and Michael - to the Neverland, where theirs dreams all come together. They fly there using Tink’s fairy dust, to the second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning.
Oh my god this book.
J.M. Barrie knew his audience, and he knew how to develop characters before even a word was spoken from their mouths. I’ve yet to see such detail in these characters since the Dursley descriptions in the first Harry Potter book. In one paragraph, I knew everything I could possibly know about Mrs, Darling’s personality, Mr. Darling’s, and their relationship as a couple. Having read through this, I understand why we dove into Mrs. Darling so deeply, but I’m so amazed at how beautifully written this whole story was.
It was short and sweet, with many points of laughter, suspense, pride, jealousy, and of course, a giant ball of sadness that it was far too difficult (for me) to get past. Barrie was a genius, a damn smart genius. Who needs scientific logic sometimes? Fairies are born when babies laugh; that’s logical enough for me.
Barrie is exceptionally smart about what the story’s about. We follow the tales of Peter through the Darlings, and we know them the best before Peter’s arrival, but it’s obvious that the book is about Peter, and no, we can’t figure that out simply from the title; that’s silly. Wendy Darling is our human connection to the ageless boy clad in skeleton leaves.
Peter Pan is a riot. He is sadistic, selfish, cocky, and mischievous. He enjoys killing pirates after waking them, and he basically makes the Neverland the universe that it is. This is not because Peter is a god, but it is because he is gay, innocent, and heartless. Only those like him can make it to the Neverland.
This book is a pure treasure, and I can only say that my feelings for this book cannot be completely written down. So here’s a few gifs to show my range of emotions in Peter Pan:
“There could not have been a lovelier sight; but there was none to see it except a little boy who was staring in at the window. He had ecstasies innumerable that other children can never know; but he was looking through the window at the one joy from which he must be for ever barred.”
This basically sums up Peter’s conflict, one that he can’t bring himself to resolve. And it’s okay, because as a boy who never grows up, he isn’t able to develop to a high enough level to overcome the loss of his own mother.
Oh my, this book did many things to me. And I can’t wait for them to do it again.
Why haven’t you all read this yet? And if you have, why aren’t you freaking out at the people who haven’t read this yet? Read this book now. Buy it. Read it. Tell everyone about the boy who can’t grow up.
Snuggle Piggy is the shit. His Aunt Daisy makes him this EPIC BLANKET where his sewn on buddies COME TO LIFE and they dance the night away and do some...moreSnuggle Piggy is the shit. His Aunt Daisy makes him this EPIC BLANKET where his sewn on buddies COME TO LIFE and they dance the night away and do some awesome things. I will always reread this, no matter how old I get.
JUST FOUND THIS AGAIN. STILL GOOD. Right up there with Goodnight, Gorilla. Best stuff.(less)
Edit 4: My love for this book knows no bounds because I managed to get this hard copy of the graphic novel. Signed and hand-numbered (there were only...moreEdit 4: My love for this book knows no bounds because I managed to get this hard copy of the graphic novel. Signed and hand-numbered (there were only 500 of these going out).
Edit 3: Did I just buy the ebook of this? Yes I did. Gotta be safe in case I lose the paperback copy. <3333
“The great gray beast February had eaten Harvey Swick alive.”
The most fabulous opening line I’ve ever read. In all seriousness. It shows that there will be beautiful writing in future pages. It is inevitable.
I’ve praised this book for such a long time. Long enough that I forgot huge chunks of it. They started to jump at me and wonder why the hell I haven’t reread them. It made me think "Why DID I love this book?" when I was 12, in 6th grade, and hated hated hated reading? Maybe my subconscious was telling me something the day I finished The Thief of Alwaysnine years ago. Sixth grade was a magical year. My reading teacher deserves just as much praise for introducing me to this book.
I’ll say it again: Originality wins me over no matter what. Originality and I are two peas in a pod. Can’t have my love without having originality. It’s completely cool if you were to make an homage or even say that a particular character or event was influenced by something else, but if the overall idea is doing a great job at being original, high five to you. I was more than happy to see that my lil’ 6th grade self didn’t try to shadow this story to be any less than it was. My little self knew what it was talking about for once.
This story is about a ten year-old boy by the name of Harvey Swick. Harvey is bored out of his mind at home in Millsap, and wants to do something fun that’ll hopefully kill the rest of the days in February. Then along comes Rictus, a yellow-skinned sir with an obnoxious grin and an urge to take Harvey away to a fun place called Mr. Hood’s Holiday House. Harvey says, “Sure why the fuck not?” and joins Rictus through a wall of mist that leads him to said wonderland. Harvey spends a great first day, but then things start going downhill, and Harvey says, “Looks like it’s up to ME!”
Let’s break it all down now:
There is greatness in this story through the writing alone. Clive Barker, known for Hellraiser and other such horror tales, knows how to use his words. And use them to throw me the craziest defined image of the Holiday House I’ve ever witnessed in my brain. When I was 12, I didn’t care for this stuff, I was more along the lines of, “This place is cool can I have more please?”
THANKFULLY, having an urge to pursue the need to publish a series as a sort of American Dream, rereading this with the knowledge I now have just makes this story that much more impressive. Never was I so blown away with writing. Like other authors I’ve mentioned, Barker’s got a knack for pacing and how to make someone grimace by description alone. He is also a fabulous wielder of context clues, because I found words in this reread that got me going, “WHAT DOES IT MEEEEAN?” And there he was, telling me with his writing. I thank ye, Barker.
I think this short book took me so long because of the fact that I reread passages over and over again. I loved the sound of them, the images I received, and the way the plot was driven through the characters.
Another thing I want to mention before I move onto the characters is Clive Barker’s multiple talents. Barker can surely write, and he can most certainly illustrate. That’s right, he did his own illustrations. If the illustration of the wall of masks (where there is one of Hellraiser’s Pinhead) wasn’t enough to tell, I’m sure it’s written in somewhere that he did them. The illustrations drawn do a wonderful job of showing a chapter’s motives, but not enough to tell you how or why something’s happening. My all-time favorite illustration was Harvey as Barker’s version of a vampire (probably one of my favorite scenes, too):
This is just beautiful. I mean, the composition, the stance, the great contrast of the shadows, that SMIRK UNF (oh god what’s wrong with me). Also I’m burning this particular image into YOUR SOUL. Damn it’s amazing.
All the pictures have meaning in this fable. They are beautiful, horrifying, and almost tense you up for particular scenes. Perfect example of that was the illustration of Carna, before you’re even introduced to it. The description comes and you see the picture again, and you say, “NO NO NO HARVEY RUN. GET OUTTA THERE!” It made me scared for Harvey’s life.
I am heavily tempted to make my own illustrations for my series again. I had thought it once before, but I thought it’d be too much work. After Barker’s illustrations and seeing how much of a punch they made, I want to make my own.
Needless to say, I would like to point out that the pictures do not make this story. They are a nice accent, but even without them, this story would still thrive.
Let’s meet some characters. Our story goes through a single month and a few days through the life of 10 year-old Harvey Swick. It’s because of this TEN YEAR-OLD BADASS that I refuse to glance at some YA heroines that have puked their way to the spotlight. Did I mention that he’s fucking ten? Okay. Just making sure.
Harvey is a normal kid. He likes to run, likes the summertime, hates being bored, and is always up for an adventure. O ho ho good thing Rictus found ‘im! Harvey grows significantly throughout the tale of the Thief. At first, he loves being away from home, but it’s like someone always said, ‘Once you notice one bad thing, you start seeing them all.” And that’s exactly what happened. Things started getting iffy, and Harvey started sniffin’ around, like ANY MAIN CHARACTER WITH A BRAIN SHOULD.
Then he started to judge. He knew he had to get out. SO ALONG COMES WENDELL.
Wendell. Little brat Wendell. He was Harvey’s first friend and not the best at that. I didn’t mind him though, because he actually helped Harvey take initiative and become stronger, and I am a-okay with that! Wendell was a lil’ chubster, he’d sell out Harvey in a second, but when times became more terrifying, he stayed loyal to Harvey (view spoiler)[that is, until the Holiday House used its magic on him. CURSE YOU, HOOD. (hide spoiler)].
Lulu was a good example of a insta-characterized character. A few sentences from her and I immediately knew the way she was. She was simple-minded and precious, helpful and isolated. Harvey and she knew each other fast enough for Harvey to develop feelings for her. I thought this was fantastic! Lulu has an interesting arc in this book, one that I can’t elaborate on or I’ll spoil horribly and I don’t want to do that. But I grew to like her a lot, and she was the character I remembered all these years (besides Harvey).
Mrs. Griffin was nothing short of a sweetheart. She, like the other children, was a prisoner in the House of Hood. Her backstory was fabulous, short, and sweet. She was a precious woman who couldn’t cry and I never wanted anything more than to be friends with her. Harvey was so good to her, my heart melted every time they spoke to one another.
Mr. Hood was a good example of an antagonist working behind the scenes. With his lackeys in the Quartet of Horrible-Looking People (I named them myself HAW), Mr. Hood could continue to flood his magic into everything from the grass to the seasons to the food in the kitchen. He was hungry for children’s souls, and I loved the take on the vampiric ways of said hunger. Barker gave him the Vampire King title, and I just thought, “Ohhhhh that makes some sense!”
Rictus was also a good antagonist. He was the little bastard who brought Harvey to Mr. Hood in the first place. The dude could fly, but when things got more rough, he constantly tempted Harvey with sweets and gifts and enlightenment. (view spoiler)[He turned on Mr. Hood of course when the House came tumbling down. Serves him right to get his head SNAPPED OFF HIS SHOULDERS HOLY SHIT. (hide spoiler)]
The plot behind this story was very simple. Child goes to wonderland, wonderland is a haunted wasteland, child runs away, finds strength, comes back, and FIRES ZEE MISSILES. I’m only summarizing the basic skeleton of course. But because it was simple, Barker said, “I’m just gonna have a field day with this. Pardon me,” and proceeded to make this story excellent and original in his own way.
I would also like to point out that plot structure is almost visible in this novel. No seriously. Each climax is basically cut PERFECTLY. You see the start of Harvey’s suspicion, you see his conflict of having to go back to the Holiday House, and you see him be the badass that he is. You get different emotions at different points of the novel and it’s just brilliant! Barker planned this bad boy so well. It makes me giddy to be able to see it as I read it. I missed that feeling. Good books are important to have after a while of snarking.
The use of time is used wonderfully here and works as a nice motif. Time is always mentioned and it turns out to be the moral of the story. Time is something to be treasured. You can’t mope around and waste it all the live long day. You have to use it to your benefit. It's a great message to us, old people.
Overall, this book was a getaway from reality, but at the same time, Barker gave us the realism of the Holiday House’s nightmares. We are with Harvey all through his adventures. We care about him.
There is a very good reason for me to say that this is my ultimate favorite novel in the history of the world. It has all the elements I could ever want: beautiful writing, interesting and accented illustrations, wonderful characters, excellent plot, great antagonists, a not boring as fuck romance, and no need to milk out a sequel.
I think this was the first book I ever really sat down with and said, “Whoa. What a story.” This book is my kind of perfection. It may not be yours, but it is most certainly mine, and I beg you all to at least give it a shot.
I don’t care if you end up loathing it in the end; as long as you tried, I’m gonna be so happy. I will close this novel of a review with another fabulous quote. I plan to add it to the list of quotes for this book once I figure out how to do it.
"We're both thieves, Harvey Swick. I take time. You take lives. But in the end we're the same: both Thieves of Always."
WHY IN GOD'S NAME DID THIS LOVELY STORY FAIL TO HIT PRE-PRODUCTION TWICE UNDER THE FILM GODS? That's so heart-wrenching! This story is BRILLIANT and would be such a beautiful film! Oh I'm crying inside. CLIVE BARKER, you're a director! Make. This. Happen.
Edit the Second:
You know what? I'm a year and a half away from flying to L.A. and begging for animation jobs. I will make it my duty to pitch this will all my heart to Dreamworks/Illumination Entertainment so it can finally be done. And it'll BLOW EVERYONE AWAY.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)