**spoiler alert** I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of Clariel. I've been waiting... and waiting... and waiting(!) for this book, as much as an**spoiler alert** I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of Clariel. I've been waiting... and waiting... and waiting(!) for this book, as much as any other fan of the Abhorsen series. It was worth the wait. This prequel, set several hundred years before the birth of Sabriel, explores the history of another member of the Abhorsen line, Clariel. For those of us that have read the Abhorsen series, we know her better as Chlorr of the Mask. And while this wasn't the story I was expecting, it was still incredibly enjoyable and fits well into the world of the Old Kingdom.
Clariel is not the most likable of characters, but I sympathized with her and was surprised at how much I cared about her as the story progressed. In a way, she reminded me of Katsa in Graceling, by Kristin Cashore. Clariel isn't like Sabriel or Lirael... she's not comfortable with Charter magic and really doesn't care to learn about it Nor is she a noble figure. She has an exceptional temper and a strong will that will play a part in her undoing. She's been recently uprooted from her home in Estwael and wants nothing more than to leave the city of Belisaere and return to the Great Forest, where she feels most at ease. As her story unfolds, she becomes more desperate to leave Belisaere, making choices that lead her further down a path that will end... well, it'll end with Chlorr.
I enjoyed seeing the Old Kingdom during a more orderly time, though we're also seeing what complacency does to the Kingdom. You get a good does of politics, free magic creatures, and leaders who are content to let their responsibilities slip. We see Belisaere in detail and explore the Abhorsen's house. Mogget plays a pivotal role in Clariel's story, and I enjoyed seeing one of my favorite characters at his worst.
We see Clariel really struggle with her desires and her anger throughout the book. It's so rare, I think, to find a book that has a strong female character who isn't sacrificing herself for others and has this incredible flaw. And by the end, the problem isn't solved or controlled. If you've read the other books in the series, you know that things will, in fact, get much, much worse. And I liked (and hated) seeing an Abhorsen who was wretched at his work. Things are so turned on their head in this book compared to the figures we see in the rest of the series; while this was a bit disorienting at first, I enjoyed the change and grew to appreciate that not every person is cut out to be an Abhorsen, a Charter Mage, or a hero. I think that Nix did an excellent job, particularly with Mogget and Aziminil, at making you realize that these are not sympathetic characters. Or that the act of revenge lives up to the idea.
I was a bit surprised by the ending. That direct connection to Chlorr is not there, but rather hinted at. We know what is to come, but this story really shows you where Clariel starts down that path, not how she gets there. And while I had a problem with that as I finished the book, the more I thought about it, the less I minded it. ...more
I really loved the Scott Pilgrim series and I wanted to see what BLoM did next, particularly as a standalone piece. Katie's story is all about doing tI really loved the Scott Pilgrim series and I wanted to see what BLoM did next, particularly as a standalone piece. Katie's story is all about doing things over and trying to right what we consider to be wrong... except Katie's not perfect. In fact, she's pretty shallow, selfish, and mean. She's retreated into her own little world at the start of the book, with a focus just on getting away from her old life. I really enjoyed her as a character - she's flawed and she wants the world to change around her. Until, of course, it does start changing around her, and not for the best.
O'Malley's writing style continues to be amazing... if you like that sort of thing. There are many instances where the wall between narrator and characters is broken. The little asides are funny,and the dialogue is excellent.
The art was one of the few things in this story that tripped me up, and it was really just Max's character that bugged me... he looked too different from everyone else. Katie also stood out, in that she seemed a little less realistic, but I can give that a pass because she's the main character. The layout to me was cleaner and less cluttered than Scott Pilgrim was, and I liked the way the pages were paced. The hardcover is beautiful - great colors, clean pages, and a great use of the architecture in the restaurants. ...more
I was first introduced to The Last Unicorn through the movie. I think my sister and I watched the VHS until is was ragged. And then in high school I fI was first introduced to The Last Unicorn through the movie. I think my sister and I watched the VHS until is was ragged. And then in high school I found out that the movie was based off of a book. I have bought multiple editions of this book because I love it so much. I found out about the comic adaptation a little more than year ago when one of the teens at my library very sweetly bought a copy of the first volume for me. All that is to say that I went into this book pretty much prepared to love it. And I do.
The story sticks close to the novel, not the movie, which I appreciated. I love the movie, but I also know that it's cheesy and has some grimace-inducing scenes - oh, the singing! The singing. So instead we get more of Schmendrick's history, the story of Hagsgate, and Lir is a little more fleshed out. Dialogue is often taken straight out of the novel.
The artwork does seem inspired by the movie, but cleaned up and less ridiculous. Parts are absolutely gorgeous - check out the Midnight Carnival and the cover for that issue with the creatures tangled in Mommy Fortuna's hair. I got choked up during the final battle with the Red Bull - the art just has an excellent sense of pacing. When I got to the guest art featured at the end, I couldn't imagine the book looking any other way than it does with Rene De Liz illustrating.
If there's anything I missed in this book, it was the way that the story is told in King Haggard's castle. I feel like that part of the story is glossed over in both the comic and the movie. Haggard is a fascinating but unexplored character, Amalthea is losing herself and falling in love at the same time, and Schmendrick and Molly are both trying to solve the mystery of the Bull's location. But this section of the tale gets rushed to the moment of finding the clock and the passageway and the final confrontation. I don't know if that's to be helped, but that's my complaint.
This is definitely on my wish list - time to try collection more of the individual issues!...more