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The Unwritten, Vol. 2: Inside Man

(The Unwritten #2)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  10,943 ratings  ·  449 reviews
In this volume, Tom arrives at Donostia prison in Southern France and falls into the orbit of another story: The Song of Roland. Unfortunately for Tom, it's a story that ends with a massacre. .Tom discovers the true meaning of "out of the frying pan" after his escape from Donostia jail takes him to Stuttgart in 1940, a ghost city inhabited by the master liar of the Third R ...more
Paperback, Trade, 168 pages
Published August 17th 2010 by Vertigo
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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 ·  10,943 ratings  ·  449 reviews

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Sep 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
So what would happen if Harry Potter became a real boy?


And then grew up with no knowledge of who or what he was, signed the books he thought his dad wrote for him for a while, found out his father may have forged his birth certificate, became a social pariah, and then was promptly framed for committing mass murder.
Now he's awaiting trial in France.


So, a lot of my friends weren't all that impressed with this volume, but I think I liked it even better than the first one. Maybe because I knew a bit more about wha
Dec 01, 2015 rated it liked it
This volume, unfortunately, did not improve my views on the "the Unwritten" series. I still cannot relate to any character and feel entirely engrossed in the story (probably due to its complexity).I wanted to love this series because it sounded so interesting, but I just like it. Hopefully the third volume will change my mind.
I felt like this story jumped a notch or 2 and it's getting better. It also jumps into the story and we see Tommy finally understanding that he really is the character from the book and he begins to accept that, slowly. Tommy is framed and put in prison where he escapes while people around him all die. It's going to be a bloody story.

I think this is what you call meta. I wonder when the meta craze started and it this was at the beginning of the wave, 2010. I know Community did quite
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Teresa by: rhea
This installment started off as a 3, but picked up considerably by the middle, turning it into a 4 for me. The questions of the nature of narrative in our lives; the (un)truthfulness of stories and whether the veracity or lack thereof makes a difference (using the The Song of Roland as a reference point); and the effect on the work itself when it's been 'tortured' into its opposite by those who twist it into something it isn't for their own purposes: All elevate this story.

The last few pages concerni
GrilledCheeseSamurai (Scott)
Apr 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, vertigo

Right. So, in this volume we have:

A typical prison tale.
Children that can't differentiate fantasy from fiction.
Rocket launchers.
Nazi stormtroopers.
A foul mouthed bunny rabbit.

And this is all just pretty much scratching the surface.

I really enjoyed the whole 'power of the story' message that gets hammered home over and over again in this one. There is power in words - there is power in a story.

This se
Feb 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, comics
The first few issues are a bit of a slog. Tom is now in prison, after being framed for a mass murder. And really, I just wanted to get those over with. Once he escapes, into a ghostly reality built around a book that's been twisted, the story picks up considerably. This is the sort of thing that I'd been hoping to see from Unwritten, thoughtful metafiction. The last issue is a sort of side story, about a man trapped inside a Beatrix Potter-like animal world, as a rabbit. It can be very funny, an ...more
December 2015:

"When a book is read, an irrevocable thing happens--a murder, followed by an imposture. The story in the mind murders the story on the page, and takes its place."

"'Every story has a negative space, Mister Rabbit. Things it can't acknowledge. Truths it can imply or flirt with, but never say out loud.'
'Do I look like I give a flying fuck? Let me go!'
'One way of writing for children--her way--is to try to be a child yourself. And then, if you do that . . . the negative space is enormous. Grief. Pain. Betrayal.children--
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites-books
Wow know this graphic novel isn’t for everybody and that is ok but I absolutely love and enjoy this graphic novel series so much! I love that each volume gets darker and darker and I love graphic novels like that. I love the graphic design in the Unwritten series it is not beautiful designs but it has a great dark and gritty look to it and I am all game for graphic designs like that. I don't want to go into too many details about the second volume of Unwritten, but it does start right off were U ...more
Tim The Enchanter
There is no denying that these books are cerebral. There are many layers that the reader can pull back and many connections to be made. One one hand we have Tommy's life mirroring, in many ways, the books for which he was the inspiration. On another level, Tommy is within the orbit of anther well known tale that gives context. Beyond this, Tommy is part of a story that is currently being written. While I find this to the most appealing aspect of this series, the execution leaves something to be ...more
Aug 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
The people who wrote this series are mad geniuses! If this series keeps up this level of writing, it should become one of the greatest series ever written. It's an astonishingly good story!
Tom Taylor, found alone at the scene of a massacre at the Villa Diodati, is shipped off to prison in France. The prison warden's two children are intense fans of the Tommy Taylor books and the warden plots to off Tommy to spare them from seeing their fallen idol. Tom begins having visions straight out of "La Chanson de Roland," and with the help of his cellmate Savoy (a reporter) and Lizzie Hexam, they escape the prison using a magic doorknob straight out of the Tommy Taylor books. They end up i ...more
Continuing to really enjoy this series, getting a few answers but also definitely more questions as well. Overall I feel like it's a very interesting world and I just love the book-within-a-book trope so I'm definitely here for it especially since it has so many layers in this particular series. Also I always have to mention this sooner or later but I feel like Carey has a very good grasp of story structure in general, and also specifically with regard to comics in that he really knows how to se ...more
Dec 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
The next installment of Unwritten deepens the mystery and becomes MORE intriguing as the motivation of the players in #1 get a bit clearer. The mechanics of reality inside this world get more interesting and I just can't wait for the next one! Definitely darker and more subversive than I expected, this series is just soo good!
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
Eh, it's safe to say that I didn't like Inside Man as much as the first volume in this series. I still enjoy the idea, because metafiction is very fascinating to this avid reader. I just had too many moments of trying to figure out what where the writer is going with this book. I feel that this volume lacked the clarity I could see in the first book.

As before, the artwork is lovely. I liked the use of mixed media and textures to convey the story. The layout includes illustrated representations
Tyler Hill
Jun 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
This started out a little slow to for me, partially because it has been probably a year since I'd read the first volume (and needed to re-familiarize myself with the characters and concepts), and partially because it just gets more interesting and effective as the story moves along.

With this series, Carey's developed the perfect way to balance commenting on the nature and power of "the story" while also weaving a powerful narrative himself. He's managing to have his cake and write about it too.
Superior to the first volume as Carey begins to reveal the full extent of his vision and the story moves along at pace.
Mar 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
This post/review is going to be chock full of spoilers, and is really written for those people who have already read the first two collections. For that reason, I want to sum up my overall view and suggestion of The Unwritten now, so if you’re the kind of reader who doesn’t like to know too much about a story, you can still get something out of this post:

If you didn’t like the first collection because you felt like it was more promise than substance, then read the second collection b
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics-fantasy
Every good guy needs a bad guy to fight and Tom seems to get exactly that. He also seems to accept the magic that surrounds him. He is becoming more and more like the fictional Tommy by gathering a couple of allies and embarking on a quest for the truth.

Tom's trial is moved from Geneva to France while pretty much everyone starts hating the guy with a vengeange, even before his trial. Just like people to switch from seeing him as a messiah, straight to wanting to string him up in the
Michael Barron
Sep 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Tommy Taylor is a boy wizard and hero in a billion-dollar fantasy series.
Tom Taylor is the son of the author and has spent his life living in the shadow of his fantasy counterpart.
After a series of bizarre and deadly events, Tom realizes that there is more of a connection between him and Tommy than just their names.

By far one of the best written and freshest comic book series to come along in years. Think Y: The Last Man meets Sandman.

It did take me a bit to get used to Tom. At first h
May 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is the first time I can remember where the meta narrative is used to such effect in a graphic novel, and though the set up is intentional, every moment is thrilling and packed with detail. Every time I think I have Tom Taylor figured out, the story throws up three surprises in a row to keep me guessing. Mystery, fantasy, and folklore lovers alike can feast upon this story, and I love the way the story keeps acknowledging itself (about as meta as it gets). The real one-two comes from how rea ...more
Mur Lafferty
Sep 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011-books
This was nominated for the 2011 Hugo Award, and while it was pretty good, I didn't see it as award-worthy. The book starts a bit confusing and slow, and doesn't really pick up till the end, when you discover it's brilliant. I still think the underlying truths could be hinted at more effectively, ie I know we're to be kept in the dark as much as Tommy is, but if I'd been reading this via comic book instead of graphic novel format, I'd probably have lost interest.

Don't get me wrong, it
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Books have power. They can sway thoughts, change minds, cause revolutions. What if someone were to tap into all of that raw power?

Tommy Taylor's father was a well-known author whose Harry-Potteresque books featured a main character also named Tommy Taylor. Because of this, Tommy himself is hugely famous and has been living off of fees from appearances and talk circuits since his father's disappearance many years ago. At the latest convention a woman openly states that Tommy is, in fa
Apr 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, mystery, comics
The hits just keep on coming for Tom Taylor and those around him. In my opinion, one of the most profound aspects of the story collected here is that of the prison warden, Governor Chadron, and his two children, Cosi and Leon. Chadron reads the Tommy Taylor series to his children and supports them in their belief in the reality of fantasy because he views their innocence through the lens of his work in the French prison system where innocence has been lost such a very long time ago. (view spoiler) ...more
Mar 03, 2013 rated it liked it
The second collection of The Unwritten takes a while to get rolling. The entire first arc, to be exact. You would think that having our intrepid hero accused of murder most foul and imprisoned would be a bit more exciting but, in the end, I spent most of these issues waiting for something to happen. All we are really given is a couple of breadcrumbs, a child with an unhealthy imagination and the feeling that something else should be going on.

The Inside Man arc concludes with a bang,
Oct 09, 2010 rated it liked it
Unfortunately, though the story is really well-thought-through, and the plots are suitably mysterious without being too murky, it's starting to feel like a chore to read.

I enjoy that the protagonist feels really authentic to me - I can easily imagine acting like him in his shoes. However the rest of the characters, despite Carey's best efforts, aren't quite there. I don't know exactly what's missing - the warden is conflicted and has a decent home life but he seems capricious at work
The intro was really interesting and helpful but also made me think that maybe I'm not smart enough to really understand this series. But it sure made me want to try.

There was something really beautiful about Tom finding and helping Jud Süss find redemption from the canker Goebbels and the Nazis turned it into. It was a great example of the real power of stories. 

The story at the end about Willowbank Wood was really twisted. 

The cover and occasional full page
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
There are things that don't quite work for me here. One is the Watchmen-style interspersed media coverage, including social media discussions and the like. I just think they're full of rather obvious, banal points. I see why they're there but I can think of better ways they could have been handled.

On the other hand there are some cool things happening here. I love how Tom totally deconstructs the legend of Rolan - only to have the Roland of legend appear, horn and all, at a pivotal moment in th
Mar 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Mike Carey, who is also a published novelist, is helping to keep the tradition of literary fantasy alive at Vertigo. Tom Taylor is supposed to be the basis for his father's best selling series of YA fantasy books about boy sorcerer Tommy Taylor (yes, I assume all Harry Potter allusions are intended). But this is much more than a Harry Potter pastiche. Tom has been framed for multiple murders, and this had lead to an examination of his role in the world's popular culture and unfavorable examinati ...more
Apr 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Wow this was dark. Like SUPER DARK. And I loved it. The premise is unique. The characters interesting. The plot twisted. But dark.

So many more questions were brought up in this volume, and some questions answered but not as many as I had hoped.

Seriously this series might even be better than the Fables series. I cannot wait for my library to get the next installment in so I can keep reading.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.
Mike Carey was born in Liverpool in 1959. He worked as a teacher for fifteen years, before starting to write comics. When he started to receive regular commissions from DC Comics, he gave up the day job.

Since then, he has worked for both DC and Marvel Comics, writing stor

Other books in the series

The Unwritten (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 3: Dead Man's Knock
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 4: Leviathan
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 5: On to Genesis
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 6: Tommy Taylor and the War of Words
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 7: The Wound
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 8: Orpheus in the Underworld
  • The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the Ship That Sank Twice
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 9: The Unwritten Fables
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 10: War Stories
“When a book is read an irrevocable thing happens — a murder, followed by an imposture. The story in the mind murders the story on the page, and takes its place.” 19 likes
“Beliefs are collars to which leashes can be attached” 3 likes
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