Kayt's Reviews > Hollow Fields: The Complete Collection

Hollow Fields by Madeleine Rosca
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Mar 20, 12

bookshelves: graphic-novels
Recommended for: Children, people who want a cute story and don't want to think about it
Read on March 21, 2012

NOTE: for anyone under the age of 12, this is probably fine. Pretend I gave it 3 or 4 stars for that age group.

But I'm not a preteen and it's a ridiculous plot-hole-filled mess.

LET ME EXPOUND ON ALL THE PROBLEMS THIS BOOK HAS, AND IT HAS A LOT.

I'm not going to touch on the obnoxious main characters. Lucy drove me nuts by hitting virtually every cliche in the book (clumsy but cute! Unknowledgeable but determined! Manages to learn an improbable amount of things very quickly even *with* secret help! Believes the best and is nice to everyone!), but so did every other character.

So basically, you have a 9-year-old who's sent to a new school, by herself, and is expected to find the way from the dock she arrives at to the school, which is not in the immediate area. And if you were giving directions to said 9-year-old girl, would you tell her the correct route, then tell her about a shortcut but that she shouldn't take it because the forest is dark and evil?

And then she gets to her school--it's not her new school, of course, it's another secret school for the children of mad scientists! During her introduction, there's a whole lot of "As you know, Bob," exposition. And she signs a contract to live here--before she realizes it's the wrong, school of course AND THIS IS WHY WE DO NOT LET 9-YEAR-OLDS WANDER AROUND EVIL FORESTS ON THEIR OWN--so when the head of the school finds out that a non!scientist's kid is now here, they can't kill her. Because she signed the contract so they can't kill her unless she steps out of line, like all the other kids.

This is so arbitrary. Minors can't sign binding contracts for Pete's sake. Her parents didn't know where she was. The only witness to the signing was the headmistress's right-hand henchgirl. Except for their own obsession with contracts of dubious legality, there is really nothing that actually stopped them from disposing of Lucy before the other students even knew she was there.

Headmistress Weaver and the rest of the teachers are are held together by stitches, which makes this even weirder: Weaver's boobs are stitched on. At some point in the past, she had to make a decision and say "Yes, I want these improbably-lifted-and-separated-things reattached. Moreover, I want them put on in a way that thrusts them and my stitches into my prepubescent charges' faces. And I refuse to wear a dress that covers them."

The entire series is about mad scientists, but I'm still not sure what the point is. There are a *lot* of kids at this school, if all their parents were bent on wreaking havoc the world should have noticed by now.

So, theoretically this story has its [in-story] roots "80 years ago," which is when the foundation for all this stuff was laid and oooh mysterious backstory. See, it seems that (view spoiler) First, 80 years ago is portrayed as Victorian or Edwardian--but that would place the story earlier than current day--which is when the story seems to be set, and the manga was first published in 2007.

And the clothes they were wearing in those scenes? Implausible and distracting.

Also, at the end, (view spoiler)

Also: Miss Weaver's hands. Where did those come from? We know that originally (view spoiler) Artistically, though, they add a lot to her imposing image and look cool, but logically I'm not sure what the point would be.

Let's talk contracts again before I get to their consequences: what parent is okay with the whole "the kid with the most academic problems gets taken to be a lab rat and never seen again" scenario? There's a throwaway line near the end that "of course you're here because your parents don't care about you," but that's such a plot device. Really, every single child in the entire school is just an unwanted nuisance and their parents don't care anything for them? Although it would explain why the school hasn't been destroyed by angry relatives in its decades of existence.

Now, for the consequences and detention and WHAT REALLY GOES ON: (view spoiler)

Speaking of which: WHY CAN THEY FLY? We're told that the process of (view spoiler)

And after all that, the ending. For one thing, the number of students seems to have dropped drastically. For another (and another, and another), (view spoiler)

Also: the 4-panel cartoons in the back were cute, but with Lucy writing to her parents, all I could think was THEY DON'T KNOW WHERE YOU ARE, LUCY. Either they will send things/write back to the wrong address and discover you aren't at your intended destination, or they will notice right away you aren't at your intended destination. You should not have lasted long without them claiming you.

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