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Swamp Thing: Twin Branches

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Twins Alec and Walker Holland have a reputation around town. One is quiet and the other is the life of any party, but they are inseparable. For their last summer before college, the two leave the city to live with their rural cousins, where they find that the swamp holds far darker depths than they could have imagined.

While Walker carves their names into the new social scene, Alec recedes into a summer school laboratory, because he brought something from home on their trip—it’s an experiment that will soon consume him. This season, both brothers must confront truths, ancient and familial, and as their lives diverge, tensions increase and dormant memories claw to the surface.

187 pages, Paperback

First published October 13, 2020

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About the author

Maggie Stiefvater

88 books168k followers
New York Times bestselling author of The Shiver Trilogy, The Raven Cycle, and The Scorpio Races. Artist. Driver of things with wheels. Avid reader.

Maggie Stiefvater plays several musical instruments (most infamously, the bagpipes) and makes art in several media (most generally, colored pencils).

She lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband, their two children, many dogs, a bunch of fainting goats, and a mating pair of growly tuner cars.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 791 reviews
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews155k followers
December 8, 2020

New Month, New Tierlist BookTube Video is up - click the link to check out my August Reading Vlog!
The Written Review

3.5 stars

Twin brothers - Alec and Walker Holland - are as opposite as they can be. One loves to party and the other loves the quiet life of botany.

But their last summer before college is about to be uprooted in the worst way.

They discover their father has been cheating on their mother and with barely time to catch their breath, they are shipped off to their country cousins.

Alec, the plant-obsessed brother, is working on a secret project to access the memory of plants and allow humans to understand them.

He obsessively continues his work in the countryside, but the farther he delves into this new world, the less likely he will make it back in one piece.

The comics certainly represent a new avenue for Stiefvater and....I quite liked this one.

Not as much as the Raven Boys or Call Down the Hawk but DEFINITELY more than her Shiver series.

The plot was unique and interesting - the way Alec's formula affected the plants, the various "swamp things" and the interpersonal conflicts.

I liked the dynamic of the twins and the love-interest was mild but believable.

The botanical aspect was by far my favorite part and I loved watching all of that play out. However, I wish there as more to it.

We spent a lot of time establishing the "normal" world but the "new" world (with the plants) was so much more exciting that all I wanted was to keep learning/reading about that.

A quick note - the illustrations were gorgeous and the color pallet was stunning. The creatures were well-drawn and really added that extra spark of excitement.

Overall, I did enjoy this one - but I definitely wish it was longer!

A huge thank you to Maggie Stiefvater, Netgalley and DC Comics for sending me a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads
Profile Image for jv poore.
612 reviews204 followers
November 29, 2021
There have been innumerable iterations of DC Comics’ super-hero, the Swamp Thing. The monster that most resembles a mobile mound of plant matter first appeared in a comic book the summer of 1971. Inspiring films, television shows, an animated series and even participating in a Public Service Announcement; he generally fought to protect his Louisiana swamp lands, the environment as a whole, with hope for humanity.

Ms. Stiefvater’s graphic-novel, Swamp Thing: Twin Branches, illustrated by Morgan Beem, does feature an Alec Holland, albeit the youngest one I am aware of. Alec and his twin, Walker, are high-school students unexpectedly spending their summer in the dismal swamps of Virginia. While the two brothers seem to be as different as dark and light, collectively they are worlds away from their wilder, rambunctious cousins.

Walker will always be ready for more friends and tons of fun. Alec is entirely engrossed in his scientific experimentation of isolating plant memories and experiences from his beloved Boris and transferring them to a new seedling. Preoccupied and prickly generally, Alec was snarly about having to upend and move his fragile work. Transportation tumult adversely affected not only all of Alec’s hard work, but also the canine companions of his cousins.

As Alec focuses on resurrecting a year’s worth of work, he is surprised to meet like-minded folks in his new, communal, lab. Through his new acquaintances, he learns that these swamps have harbored their own secrets for quite some time.

I feel like this could be the introduction to a simply stellar Swamp Thing series. If so, I am all in.
Profile Image for Lauren Lanz.
688 reviews248 followers
October 24, 2020
I've always said I'll read anything Maggie Stiefvater writes, and a graphic novel from her was a pleasant surprise. Swamp Thing was a strange and intriguing tale in all the best ways.

~★~ What is this book about? ~★~

Twin brothers Alec and Walker couldn't be more different. Alec is introverted with a love for studying plants, and Walker is the life of any party. Despite their differences, the brothers are inseparable, and in their last year of college they leave to live with their cousins.
Alec takes this as an opportunity to work on his botanical experiment, which soon leads to some bizarre discoveries regarding the swamp nearby.


I was sceptical about the art style in Swamp Thing going in (I’d seen panels beforehand) -which is funny considering I ended up completely obsessed with it. Morgan Beem’s illustrations are odd and enticing in ways I hardly could’ve imagined.

It was so great to see a protagonist with diabetes represented, especially one as awesome as Alec. His character carried an essence that was just so Stiefvater, I couldn’t help but love him. The magic plants and cool cars and creative cursing brought me straight back to The Raven Cycle, my all time favourite series.

There isn’t much left to say. I learned a whole lot of cool facts about plants, and had a damn good time following these twins. Swamp Thing was exactly the kind of graphic novel I’d expect from Maggie Stiefvater, and I’m overjoyed it’s here.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,470 reviews9,633 followers
November 29, 2020
I knew this wasn’t going to be like the original Swamp Thing (I love the old school movie and own it btw) just from the synopsis and it being ya. But I loved it. The artwork was awesome for me. The storyline was great, I mean I would have liked to see him look more like the original Swamp Thing, but it’s all good 😉

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Profile Image for Chad.
7,734 reviews869 followers
September 4, 2020
The best part about this book is its striking cover. It's a YA graphic novel based on a super hero where nothing happens and Swamp Thing doesn't even appear until the last 10 pages of this 200 page book. If your idea of exciting graphic novels is to listen to the main character drone on and on about plants, then this is the book for you. It's awful. I know Stiefvater is a big-time YA author, but if this is any indication, she should stick to prose. Morgan Beem's art looks indieish and amateurish, so even that wasn't very good. This was really disappointing.

Received a review copy from DC and Edelweiss. All thoughts are my own and in no way influenced by the aforementioned.
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,440 reviews78.1k followers
September 22, 2020
All I've got to say is that I need more of this type of story from Maggie! The color scheme, artistry, and layout of this graphic novel is incredible, and the story was fascinating and complex. Honestly, I could have gone for another 100 pages of Swamp Thing: Twin Branches, as I wasn't ready to part with these characters and the unique agricultural world the author created. I'm usually more of a Marvel girl, but the publication of more DC stories like this one might win me over full time.

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.
Profile Image for Reading_ Tamishly.
4,297 reviews2,295 followers
February 21, 2021
This one is fairly easy to read. Too easy to read fast for a graphic novel.

The cover art is pretty well done. Well....I wish I could say the same for the actual content. No, I feel like the artists are different.

The art could have been much better regarding the sequencing and the dialogue presentation. Even the expressions turned out to be really tiring and half baked.

Plot wise. There's nothing much to it.

I wish the characters were better represented and yes, I wish character development was there.

The characters seemed like either trying too hard or not trying at all. They all seemed pretty clueless and bored.

I am sure the script is much better than this.

I want to read the book instead. I wish I could at least like one of the twins. The book is about plants and is quite nerdy. My heart is breaking because it didn't work out inspite of these 🤦
Profile Image for Kadi P.
785 reviews98 followers
April 3, 2022
Art? Horrifyingly ugly.
Storyline? So bare it's non-existent.
Characters? Flat and 2D.
Cares I give? None. Absolutely. None.
WHAT THE HELL WAS THE ENDING.... WHAT ON EARTH WAS THAT?!?!?! The levels of stupidity are so high they're touching clouds. This is just dumb. Throw it away. Don't waste your money on this.
A major major no from me.
Profile Image for Teal.
597 reviews190 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
October 15, 2020
DNF at ~50%

It's entirely possible the problem is with me, not the book, but somehow the text and the illustrations aren't coming together into a coherent story. The time jumps aren't helping, either. Plus, a couple of major secondary characters are so repellent that I'm not eager to spend any more time in their company. I find the art appealing, but that's not enough to keep me going. YMMV.
Profile Image for Devin W..
375 reviews28 followers
October 15, 2020
well that was fun.
gorgeous art, well constructed story, interesting characters - for a fairly short graphic novel i think it was excellent? there obviously wasn't the length for completely fleshed out plot and characters, but it definitely did the best it could with the pages it had.

my only complaint lies with the ending. it felt kind of rushed and a bit unsatisfying... i don't know what else should have happened? but it just felt... pretty abrupt -shrugs-

overall, i loved it 🖤


pre-release thoughts jan/2020:

me in the past: swamp thing seems like a really dumb superhero, what were you thinking DC? o.O

maggie stiefvater: -writes a ya graphic novel about swamp thing-

me: i am sOLD
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,608 reviews1,481 followers
October 7, 2020
This review was originally posted on Books of My Heart

Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

3.5 hearts

I just want to preface this review by saying I do not normally read Graphic Novels and so I don’t have a lot of background to judge them.  I am however, a huge fan of Maggie Steifvater and love her writing.  Swamp Thing: Twin Branches is an origin story and tells the tale of twins who ended up on very different paths.

The Holland brothers couldn’t be more different.  One the life of the party and at ease in all social situations.  The other more reserved and happier in a room of plants than one with people.  Alec thinks plants have memories and is working on a way to use that to make better plants.  Like any comic with a science experiment, things get weird and Alec progresses down a path that will make him into The Swamp Thing.

This was a fun break from my normal reading.  All the graphics are very green, which seems fitting to the story.  Since this is a graphic novel, the depth of the plot isn’t what I’m used to but the overall story was interesting and I liked this version to the story of the swamp thing.  If Maggie Steifvater decides to do more in this format, I would be interested.
Profile Image for Marnie  (Enchanted Bibliophile).
821 reviews122 followers
July 8, 2021
"The world goes too fast. I want time to watch and think about what everything means, but other people always want to talk. And words make everthing wrong."

Boris 74

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one. Yet another YA author trying their hand at a Graphic Novel. Is it some trend? Did I miss a memo somewhere?

Overall it was entertaining with just a pinch of horror strewed here and there. I would say it’s a decent starter, and would pick up the next one in the series. But I can’t find that it is part of a series, or that there will be more to come.
And this is definitely not sufficient as a stand-alone. There is way, way too much I still need to know.
Someone, anyone tell me there will be more!
Profile Image for Rod Brown.
5,302 reviews174 followers
November 17, 2020
I find that plants can be rather terrifying if you get into the science of how they move, communicate, and regenerate. This book opens with some of that, setting me up for some organic horror, but then the author just fritters that potential away in this YA reboot with lots and lots of pointless teen angst.

Alec and Walker Holland are twin brothers on vacation with cousins in Virginia the summer before starting college. Walker's the outgoing and popular one. Alec is the intellectual obsessed with his science experiment. Other characters in the book assess him thusly: "He's kind of a cheesedick." "He could be just shy." "Or introverted." "Or a cheesedick." I side with team cheesedick.

There's a cool girl named Abby Arcane who wrongly sees Alec as not a cheesedick. There are bullies who exist only to somehow make something occur in this snoozefest, because left to his druthers, Alec would sit like a potted plant on a shelf and do nothing but brood.
Profile Image for Emma.
913 reviews870 followers
August 26, 2020
The ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

3.75/5 Stars

Before this graphic novel I was completely unaware of anything related to the Swamp Thing DC world, but I'm so glad I got the chance to discover such an interesting and unique story. As you may guess, I requested it because of Maggie Stiefvater whose writing I adore. I could totally see her touch in this story and I really enjoyed this aspect. The illustrations were great, especially how the colors were used.

I really liked reading about the Holland twin brothers, Alec and Walker. Walker's outgoing and always ready to make new friends, especially now in their last summer before college. Whereas Alec is more of an introvert and wants to spend time researching for his experiment that's all about plants, how they think and their memories. The experiment element was such a cool thing and it made me really invested in the story. I won't spoil the ending, but I think that in a way it was fitting to the storyline that we were presented.

Overall it was a very unique and enjoyable read, I totally recommend it if you're a Stiefvater's fan or even if you just enjoy fantasy graphic novels.
Profile Image for Erica ♋️✨.
477 reviews77 followers
January 6, 2021
I picked this graphic novel up at Barnes and noble because it was by Maggie stiefvater and the cover is gorgeous. I had no idea what this was about and let me say i am honestly really surprised on how much i actually enjoyed this. It’s definitely a unique story and the art work was honestly my favorite i loved how the green just pops and the writing of course was beautiful because it’s Maggie Stiefvater. if your looking for a quick graphic novel i would recommend this.
Profile Image for James DeSantis.
Author 19 books1,126 followers
October 26, 2020
I think this was fine. Kind of surprised some people so harsh on it.

As a Swamp Thing book it's not really much about him. He's there in the overall presence but doesn't make his grand entrance till the end. Instead it's about the Holland brothers story of living their teenage life trying to be who they are. And it's kind of cool to see the comparison of people to plants and how we live and bloom similar to certain flowers.

This is a YA story if I ever read one. Kids being dicks, kids falling in love, lots of cursing, sexual tension. All the good stuff. As far as a YA story it's solid enough, characters act like teenagers I know. I also thought the art was cute when needed to be, and the display of the Swamp Thing was terrifying when it needed to be.

Not the greatest swamp thing story or anything but overall a fine YA story that includes Swamp Thing. A 3 out of 5.
Profile Image for Renata.
428 reviews280 followers
November 7, 2020
I loved it! Listen the moment I arrived at the page where Alec looks out to see his glucose level and there's a diabetes sensor? I knew I had to keep reading and just love it. My little sister has diabetes type 1 and you never see mentions about diabetes or any type of illness if it's not too bad, and I really appreciated it. Like really, thank you.

Beside that point, I think this was about imagination and recreate what you just imagined it'll happen, I don't think there's a better way to put it into words. I loved the twins and how it was reflected their life in the life of a plant, in the end that's actually what we as humans are and do.

I really liked it so if you can give it a try, go for it because it's quick to read and I promise you it'll be something totally different than you can expect.
Profile Image for L. | That_Bookdragon.
252 reviews12 followers
October 28, 2020
3/5 ⭐️

Thank you so much to DC Comics for providing me with a free e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest opinion!

This graphic novel is so weird and creepy, perfect for spooky season! The art style also adds to the creepy aspect of the book with its vibrant colors. This was quite entertaining even if I thought it would take a different direction.

My Bookstagram
Profile Image for Hamad.
1,012 reviews1,334 followers
November 15, 2020
Actual Rating: 2.5 Stars

I did not know there was a Superhero named Swamp Thing by DC. I was excited to get to know him through a comic book and it is written by Stiefvater! I think Stiefvater's endings don't work for me, the books always seem trying too hard to sound deep and complicated but simplicity would have been a better thing here.

The story here is about two twins and it is the origin story of Swamp Thing, I think the story here was not new, I have seen the different twins trope in TV series, in anime, in books and in everywhere and it always seem to go in the same direction which made it underwhelming here.

The art style is meh, I find myself critical when it comes to art styles reading this kind of books, just because some books makes me feel like a lot of effort has been put into them and some of them feel like quick drawings to kill some time and I think you can guess which one I thought it was here.

I found the whole read very average and it did not add much to my reading experience. The Google images of Swamp Thing looks very cool and I always liked plants but this seemed too tamed down to impress a specific type of readers.
Profile Image for Ashley (gotbookcitement).
710 reviews83 followers
November 5, 2020

I received a free copy for honest review from the publisher. Thank you DC Comics for giving me the chance to read this one early.
This was weird. I am probably at a disadvantage because I know next to nothing about Swamp Thing. I don't know the backstory, the current story, nothing. I really didn't know what I was going into.
So this story has twins, Alec and Walker Holland, who are sent to stay with their aunt and cousins for the summer. Walker is Mr. Popular, he can make friends anywhere. He likes to party and live life. Alec is an introvert and a scientist. He's obsessed with his research regarding plant feelings. Walker tries to pull Alec out of his shell, to have some fun.
I don't know how I feel about Alec. As a fellow introvert, I can definitely sympathize, but he seemed to take things to the extreme. It was like he didn't try. I just felt kind of distant from his character.
There was also a lot of science plant stuff in here which I didn't always understand, or found the most fun.
There was a lot of weirdness in this story and I don't know if it was good weird. It was kind of like, what's going on? And just to put it out there, I would side with Alec's cousins about what happened to the dogs. You don't mess with dogs. Alec could have shown a lot more sympathy about that.
The art was okay. It was its own style, which I didn't hate. The colors were good too.
The ending was very weird, almost off the rails strange. It probably wouldn't have come as much of a shock if I actually knew things about Swamp Thing. That was probably my number one problem.
This comic was strange, weird, and I'm not sure I loved it. I should have had more Swamp Thing knowledge before I read this.

Profile Image for Dark River.
140 reviews61 followers
September 4, 2020
I have to start by saying that I am both a big fan of Maggie Stiefvater and of DC, and seeing both come together in Swamp Thing like this was equally unexpected and fantastic.

At first I thought the art style wouldn't be for me, but I was wrong. 10 pages or so in, and I fell in love with Morgan Beem's work as well. Especially the color palette that was chosen for this graphic novel. It is STELLAR! So bright, downright trippy at times - it perfectly underlines the whimsical atmosphere of the story (and all the GREEN!)

It was great getting to know both Alec and Walker; two very different yet equally lovable twin brothers, in this unique origin story, and my only wish would be for the ending to be slightly slonger.
Maybe another 10 or 20 pages to wrap things up and I would have had zero complaints at all.
But then again, I'd gladly take a follow up to continue the story as well. Fingers crossed.

Either way, 5 stars because I honestly enjoyed every second of it.
A must for Stiefvater fans.

-*-Thank you to Netgalley and DC Entertainment for providing this ARC. Opinions are my own-*-
Profile Image for Hilda.
1,086 reviews134 followers
December 16, 2020
Death? Sleep? It's not always easy to tell which one you're looking at when plants are involved.

*I've never seen or read anything related to the Swamp Thing. This is my first.

I liked the cover and some of the story. But I can't help to dislike all the bullying and constant abuse towards Alec Holland because he is different. And even though Walker, the other twin, keeps saying "The Incredible Holland Bros forever!" I can't help but feel like that statement and this story was the complete opposite. I know that Alec thought he was saving his brother but This story made me very sad.
Profile Image for Cassie.
343 reviews65 followers
October 18, 2020
I... don’t know how to feel about this. I expected this to be a story about the characters finding Swamp Thing and figuring out what to do with it.

But, this.... was nothing like that. It was essentially about two twin brothers and their life. How they deal with being so different from one another, bullying, trying to fit in, etc etc. Typical teenage things. So, because of that, I’m disappointed.

It also kept flipping back and forth at times, which was fine, but sometimes it didn’t tell you when you were back in the present. So, it was weird and left me confused at points.

The art style was amazing. Very colorful and vibrant. The story was written well, but because I expected one thing but completely got something else, I did not like it.

I was here to meet Swamp Thing and see how this story handled a giant beast made out of gross swampy stuff, but instead got a story about two brothers trying to find their place in the world.

This is why I always read the synopsis before I read the story. So, because I didn’t this time, it was definitely a situation of it’s me, not the book.

2.5 ★’s
Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 31 books5,634 followers
December 3, 2020
Creepy and crazy origin story of the titular Swamp Thing. Loved the characters, was really, really freaked out by some of the monsters. Not the Swamp Thing, some of the other "side effects" of the experiment gone wrong. A lot of story is condensed into this slim graphic novel, which makes sense considering who the author is. And I loved the art!
Profile Image for Shannara.
436 reviews81 followers
September 5, 2020
I cannot believe I’m rating a Maggie Stiefvater book two and a half stars. I just excepted more. The Art was really good, the plant life especially. The details were great. The story wasn’t terrible either, but I was expecting so much more. I was actually bored for almost the entire first half of the. Nothing exciting happened, well ever, but I was only mildly interested in the last half. .

I even liked the love interest and the dogs were pretty creepy, but I felt like that could have been condensed into 100 pages and been more concise and interesting. Ugh!!!!

I guess what I’m saying is that it wasn’t for me. It just fell flat when I really, really wanted this to be the best graphic novel. While I can’t recommend this myself, my advice is, if you’re going to read it, don’t expect it to be awesomeness.

Thank you to NetGalley and DC Comics for the opportunity to read this for my honest and unbiased opinion.
Profile Image for Mr. Cody.
1,468 reviews25 followers
October 19, 2020
Ugh. I wanted to dislike this book because of it’s ugly artwork and cliche characters, but it wasn’t so bad as far as stories go. I know I’m not the desired audience and that’s cool.
Profile Image for Emily.
1,265 reviews334 followers
October 10, 2020
Swamp Thing: Twin Branches is an upcoming YA graphic novel from DC Comics, and it was an enjoyable read! It was colorful and intriguing. I've read Alan Moore's original Swamp Thing run, but not anything later than that besides Twin Branches. I thought this was an interesting spin on Swamp Thing, and it worked pretty well. I hope this draws new readers to the original comics, and the TV show (which I still need to finish). The main character in this one has diabetes, and I don't think I've seen that representation in many books. If this continues with another book, I look forward to checking it out!

CW - cheating, experimentation on humans and animals, diabetes
Profile Image for Amber J.
899 reviews59 followers
December 18, 2020
So that was interesting. I learned a lot about plants. That's really all I can say about this. Now, this is my first introduction to Swamp Thing. I just want to make it clear that I know nothing from any other story, book, movie, comic, or otherwise. This is about a twin boy who is mostly an introvert who loves plants. You learn new things about plants. He's also diabetic but I'm not sure how much that really played into this story.

In the end, it wasn't bad. I guess I just don't get it really. Maybe you need to understand more of origins and such from the original story to understand this book. As it stands though I'm going to give it a 3 star. Considering this took me an hour to read, I can't say it wasn't worth trying. I'm glad I got this one from the library instead of paying for it though.
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