Jack Gemini might be a soulless, wisecracking psychopath, but even he was weary to accept an invitation to Kausia. It's not a vacation destination, unless you are a mutant that enjoys being stalked by canibals. Still, Jack was in no position to disappoint Shuffle, a sinister Shadow Walker with ties to the occult. Plus, he was curious about the fate of his old compadres, Ernest and Frank. They disappeared after searching for a cursed artifact, the mythical Blue Flame. Now Jack must continue their mission. Will he too become an instrument of darkness? Or will he succeed in extinguishing the Blue Flame.
This might be the way forward for me - graphic novellas. Much as I like a good graphic novel I actually find them harder to read than a 500,000 word novel. Something about the amount of illustrations fries my circuits (yes, I know this is weird.)
This was refreshing in that you got good chunks of narrative replete with description and nuance as well as fabulous illustrations at about a 65:35 ratio. That worked for me.
The story was basic but done in classic horror fashion - there should be more books that hark back to that instead of piling on gratuitous gross-out horror. Jack Gemini isn't exactly alive but he's up and about and still pretty (comparatively) which puts him way ahead of the curve of most of the rest of the cast! An intriguing protagonist - both mercurial and pragmatic with odd lite tweaks of honour. Shuffle on the other hand isn't really a bad guy - or technically a guy at all anymore - but he had his reasons for doing things. Both characters were entertaining. I read this in one sitting - or should that be devoured? ;)
The illustrations suit the subject matter; there is a visceral, raw quality to them that on first glance might make you think they're a tad crude. I invite you to look again. The postures and motion captured by the artist really communicate the story and emotions of the characters - not easy with a number of non human or ruined visages. Overall they fit the story perfectly.
Add to that some pitch black humour and plenty of high stakes jeopardy and you've got a cracking short read - perfect for taking an hour or so out by yourself to visit the creases in the human spirit.
The only real criticism I have to level is that in places the narrative is a tad overwritten. It's a fine balance using repetition for emphasis. Occasionally the guys fall over the edge into merely repetitive - in certain descriptions less would be more, especially as it's illustrated.
However that was a minor niggle. I intend to read the first one now and I'll certainly be following Gemini's further adventures.
*Note: This book was given to me by the author for the purpose of reviewing* Blue Flame: Extinguish was even better than the first book in the Blue Flame series. It had a perfect mixture between words and illustrations. The newest character, Jack, was a soulless guy who was insanely sarcastic. He was really interesting and fitted perfectly into the story. In this second installment of the Blue Flame story, things heat up as Jack is convinced to come to Kausia by Shuffle for the purpose of stealing the Blue Flame. Many of my questions from the previous installment were answered and many more raised. The plot thickens and things are only just beginning to happen. I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I wasn't sure what to expect but the book exceeded my poorly formed expectations. It was worth reading, especially if you have read the first book in the series. The next book will be out soon and if the series follows in its trend, it will be even better.