Twelve-year-old Twig lives in Sidwell, a small town in Massachusetts rumored to have a monster, a flying creature that steals things in the night. TwiTwelve-year-old Twig lives in Sidwell, a small town in Massachusetts rumored to have a monster, a flying creature that steals things in the night. Twig knows there's no such thing as monsters, particularly since the Sidwell Monster is her brother, James. Her family lives with a two-hundred-year-old curse, where every male child is born with wings. For years now, Twig and her mother have kept James a secret, living like recluses on their apple orchard. But when a family moves in to a nearby house - the one that was occupied by the witch who cursed their family centuries ago - Twig's life changes. For the first time she can remember, she has friends. Do they bring the chance to break the family curse, or just repeat it?
Nightbird starts out so promisingly. The writing is beautiful and Twig is such an interesting character. The town is populated with unusual characters, including an awesome librarian, and Hoffman's descriptions of the town, the woods, and the food (so much baking) makes you feel like you know the place. But there's just too much going on here for such a short book. For as strong as Twig's relationship with her brother is supposed to be, you hardly see or hear from him. Her mother, while playing a strong role at the start, fades into the background. Important characters to a secondary plot, about saving the forest and a special breed of owls, are dropped in during the second half of the book, neatly solving the problem. There are so many plot threads here - Twig's relationship with her mother, her friendship with the neighbors, finding out the identity of the real Sidwell monster, hoping for the return of her missing father, saving the owls, helping the friend she forgot she had, and breaking her brother's curse. And they're all neatly tied up by the end of the book!
I thought the book was a shrug, but reluctant readers looking for some magical realism may enjoy this. The writing, particularly in the early part of the book, is beautiful, but the plot leaves a lot to be desired.
Upper elementary, maybe for 7th or 8th grade, if they prefer younger reads....more
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Okay, I will say I honestly picked this up because it had Minsc on the I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Okay, I will say I honestly picked this up because it had Minsc on the cover. I played both Baldur's Gate games when they first came out and adored Minsc. So the idea of a comic starring him was exciting. Unfortunately, this mostly seemed like a rehash of some of Minsc's best lines from the games. There was no character development for any of the main characters. I had trouble understanding why they even came together beyond mutual need to avoid the city guard and the Flaming Fist. The story moves along far too quickly - I remember the city of Baldur's Gate taking such a long time to explore, and you never get a good sense of the size or scope of it in this book. And for as serious as it takes itself, this book seems to miss some basic D&D aspects. I'll pick on Minsc, since I love him so. He is a ranger. He's referred to throughout the story as the Beloved Ranger. But he's treated as a fighter in this, and drawn as some sort of hulking giant. Okay, I remember him being a lousy ranger in the game. He was terrible at sneaking. I regularly threw him into the fighter role. But it wasn't what he was built for. And he certain,y isn't playing the ranger role in this book. And I guess that leads me to my last point... I don't know who this book is intended for. Is it for those of us who've played the game and want to see more of characters we loved? Or to introduce newbies to the characters and hope they pick up the re released game? Or just fans of D&D and Forgotten Realms? There were far too many in-jokes for me to think it will appeal to those who aren't familiar with the series. And the majority of it seems like we've heard it before if we have played the games. I will say the artwork is decent, with several funny panels, particularly when they feature Boo....more