An achingly beautiful book, so perfect in its depiction of youth and fleeting summers. What I applaud mos...more4.5 stars. So close to a 5 star book for me.
An achingly beautiful book, so perfect in its depiction of youth and fleeting summers. What I applaud most about this book can be summed up in three things:
1.) It's subtle. So many YA books and coming-of-age tales like to beat you over the head with their message. This one has a message, but it's quiet. It's messy. It's hard and it's a bit sad. But you come to the message on your own. It's so well-done.
2.) The dialogue. So much of the story is told through dialogue. Through what's said, and often, what's not. The dialogue is just so *real* here, not forced at all. If you've ever tried to write something, you know how absolutely impenetrably hard that is.
3.) The art. The blue inks, the landscapes, the lines... It's just a gorgeous style that accompanies the writing so well. (less)
Saw this at the library last week and was drawn to it by the cool cover. Who says you can't judge a book by one?
This little story is fantastic - just...moreSaw this at the library last week and was drawn to it by the cool cover. Who says you can't judge a book by one?
This little story is fantastic - just really human. The art and writing are both understated for the most part, subtle and "real"-feeling. The characters are fully-realized, the plot is nothing earth-shattering (and that's the true beauty of it) but is well done personal drama. Really, I could rave for awhile about this one...
I liked it enough that I will probably seek out a copy for myself. I see that the original version included more stories... hmmmm...(less)
What an amazing book. With art that is reminiscent of Dave McKean while still retaining it's own identity and a deeply literate and emotional story, t...moreWhat an amazing book. With art that is reminiscent of Dave McKean while still retaining it's own identity and a deeply literate and emotional story, this graphic novel fires on all cylinders.
Buy it. You won't regret it.
I put it up there with watchmen, the sandman series, and rising stars.
Really liked this one. I loved the simple lines of the art and while the story was a bit overwrought, it was sweet and really fit the age of the chara...moreReally liked this one. I loved the simple lines of the art and while the story was a bit overwrought, it was sweet and really fit the age of the characters. I'm a sucker for coming-of-age stories and for slice-of-life vignettes. This sort of hit the spot for me in both ways. Not nearly as good as Craig Thompson's Blankets, in my opinion, but still quite good.(less)
When I started reading this series, I was blown away by the first few volumes and couldn't wait to buy the next one to see not onl...moreI am very impressed.
When I started reading this series, I was blown away by the first few volumes and couldn't wait to buy the next one to see not only where the story and characters were going, but also to experience the depth of writing.
After a few volumes, though, I felt that the plot and characterization both lagged a bit. While the plot slowed, the characterization didn't really pick up. Some of the middle volumes felt slow and lost.
These last two really picked up the pace, the characterization, and the mystery.
While there are a few small things in this final volume of the series that really irked me at the time, when I was done reading it in its entirety, though, I realized they were very small things. If not for the epilogue, I probably would have felt a bit cheated at the end, but the epilogue is fascinating and emotionally touching in a way the series hadn't quite reached before. I absolutely loved the epilogue and it made the slower parts of the ride well worth it. I would easily recommend this graphic novel series to any one of my friends.
P.S. a couple of months later, and I am changing the rating from 4 to 5 stars. I find myself still emotionally affected by and thinking about the epilogue. That alone has propelled me to change it. The ending is heartbeaking enough that it sticks with you. That is enough for me to consider it worthy of 5 stars. (less)
I refuse to read any other reviews on this series before I post this. Therefore, I may sound either stupid or prescient. Or maybe a bit of both. Perso...moreI refuse to read any other reviews on this series before I post this. Therefore, I may sound either stupid or prescient. Or maybe a bit of both. Personally, I am leaning towards stupid, but...
Friends have been telling me to read this series for quite a bit. They said "you like literary comics, so..." or "You're obsessed with end of the world plague sort of stuff that presents humanity in a different light..." or "you took women's studies classes in college, so you might find it interesting..."
Well, to be honest, I never read it because it was written by a man. No matter how idiotic I think the 'war of the sexes' can be, somehow I thought that a man could not write this series and make it serious, make it meaningful... Really, a man writes a story about the last man on earth? How original.
Flash forward to Christmas this year. A good friend of mine (who should not have gotten me a gift...) bought me this. And because a friend bought it for me, I had to read it. And...
What a fool I have been. I have maintained for a long time that good sci fi/fantasy/zomie/apocalypse fiction exists to make us examine ourself in ways that it is difficult for other literature to approach quite as directly. (And those who know me and my penchant for poetry and 'slice of life' prose know that I do not mean to belittle any other forms.)
And this book maintains that tradition. I have no idea where the series goes from here, but I am very impressed with this volume. There is a fantastic sense of history here, not only of this country, (I learned several things that I had never heard of from the revolutionary war period, especially) but of the world and how men and women are treated within it. I feel like I am a male that understands a good deal about gender dichotomy in this world and I have no regrets in saying this taught me a thing or two.
Maybe it is better that this story is written by a man -- because only a man could understand the idiocy of a man's place the way this author does. Again, I turn myself over to the gender 'war,' but there is a sliver of honesty there. There are so many moments in this book handled so deftly and subtly. In other hands, I'm sure they would have knocked you over the head or else simply gone over the head of many readers. With so many comic readers being male, perhaps a bit of a male viewpoint was needed to really shatter the male viewpoint.
That is not to say that there aren't some comic book story traditions that aren't upheld too rigidly and some cliche story elements that don't creep in... And that is where the stupidity or prescience creep in. Those of you that have read further into the story can laugh at my hope for this story or say that I saw this glimmer of brilliance despite the small cliches present. Either way, I am glad that I was 'forced' into reading this first volume. I will definitely be pursuing more. So far, I am impressed. I hope to remain that way. (less)
What can I say? I absolutely love Craig Thompson. I think he can honestly do no wrong.
I was a little nervous about this one as I had heard that it was...moreWhat can I say? I absolutely love Craig Thompson. I think he can honestly do no wrong.
I was a little nervous about this one as I had heard that it was very scattered with little narrative. Either I didn't notice that or else It was a beautiful enough collection that it just didn't bother me.
The art was gorgeous (I love his style). The thoughts written out really gave you a glimpse inside of Thompson's head and life and a great view of American culture in comparison to European culture. There were some deep thoughts (and I say that in a sincere manner) and quiet moments.
Loved the mention of "Raina." I told Caroline that Blankets was such an effective love story that you can't help but fall in love a little bit with the Raina character yourself. She didn't agree so much. ;)
Rising Stars book one is one of my favorite graphic novels - probably the best super hero story I've read in graphic form other than Watchmen, and if...moreRising Stars book one is one of my favorite graphic novels - probably the best super hero story I've read in graphic form other than Watchmen, and if it didn't owe so much to the Watchmen, I could easily say that it was a far more human, and therefore powerful, portrayal of a super hero story.
I re-read volume 1 tonight before I dived into volume 2 and was once again blown away by it.
And I think that's why I was so disappointed with the first half of volume 2.
Yeah, I know... I'm dishing out a 5 star rating, but we'll get to that.
The first half of the story, dealing with the Chicago siege, loses so much of the focus on character, so much of the humaity of the story, so much of the powerful personal connections and contact. At the same time, the way that it deals with the action sequences seems disjointed and not in the way that the story intended. A lot of cliche creeps into the story at this point as well. I was feeling disappointed, let down completely from the heights of volume one.
And then came the second half. Once we're away from Chicago and that storyline, the narrative bares itself again, opens itself to a more personal level at the same time that it broadens itself across the globe. The writing becomes, once again, intensely powerful and the art seems to pull into focus as well. I can't say too much without spoilers, but I was once again entranced by the story, by the characters... It made me think about my own life and the world around me in a different way. And this is what a truly good story should do.
An so far, this story has been a fantastic definition of what good fiction can do. Sure, it is inconceivable that these characters could every truly exist in reality, but this story makes you look at our reality and how each of us can impact it in a completely different way. Absolutely brilliant. (less)