The jokes are funnier than in volume one, but readers may wish there were more space between them.


From the Stickman Odyssey series , Vol. 2

This graphic novel is an epic at the speed of a flipbook.

Stick figures are easy to draw. Even when hundreds of soldiers are massed around the city of Sticatha, they’re all just circles and lines. The Stickman Odyssey books seem to be based around an obvious joke: Epic quests and fervent romances are acted out by characters with dots for eyes. That would explain the hectic pace. If the adventures are never more serious than a Warner Brothers cartoon, that's OK. Zozimos can be fighting a giant boar god on one page, then wandering the desert, then—somehow—turn into a goat. But this book has actual themes: Zozimos has to learn to control his anger and balance his desires for peace and war. And stick figures aren’t good with themes. Their little dotted eyes can convey only so much emotion. The nuances might come through if Ford slowed down the action from time to time. There’s a late scene where two characters, sailing a warship across the ocean, just stop and talk about their love lives. It’s a touching moment, one of the few in the book. Thrilling as the story is, when Zozimos says, “There’s always another adventure!” it begins to sound like a bit of a threat.

The jokes are funnier than in volume one, but readers may wish there were more space between them. (Graphic adventure. 11-14)

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-399-25427-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 21, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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Not much forward momentum but a tasty array of chills, thrills, and chortles.


From the Peculiar Children series , Vol. 4

The victory of Jacob and his fellow peculiars over the previous episode’s wights and hollowgasts turns out to be only one move in a larger game as Riggs (Tales of the Peculiar, 2016, etc.) shifts the scene to America.

Reading largely as a setup for a new (if not exactly original) story arc, the tale commences just after Jacob’s timely rescue from his decidedly hostile parents. Following aimless visits back to newly liberated Devil’s Acre and perfunctory normalling lessons for his magically talented friends, Jacob eventually sets out on a road trip to find and recruit Noor, a powerful but imperiled young peculiar of Asian Indian ancestry. Along the way he encounters a semilawless patchwork of peculiar gangs, syndicates, and isolated small communities—many at loggerheads, some in the midst of negotiating a tentative alliance with the Ymbryne Council, but all threatened by the shadowy Organization. The by-now-tangled skein of rivalries, romantic troubles, and family issues continues to ravel amid bursts of savage violence and low comedy (“I had never seen an invisible person throw up before,” Jacob writes, “and it was something I won’t soon forget”). A fresh set of found snapshots serves, as before, to add an eldritch atmosphere to each set of incidents. The cast defaults to white but includes several people of color with active roles.

Not much forward momentum but a tasty array of chills, thrills, and chortles. (Horror/Fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7352-3214-3

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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Who can't love a story about a Nigerian-American 12-year-old with albinism who discovers latent magical abilities and saves the world? Sunny lives in Nigeria after spending the first nine years of her life in New York. She can't play soccer with the boys because, as she says, "being albino made the sun my enemy," and she has only enemies at school. When a boy in her class, Orlu, rescues her from a beating, Sunny is drawn in to a magical world she's never known existed. Sunny, it seems, is a Leopard person, one of the magical folk who live in a world mostly populated by ignorant Lambs. Now she spends the day in mundane Lamb school and sneaks out at night to learn magic with her cadre of Leopard friends: a handsome American bad boy, an arrogant girl who is Orlu’s childhood friend and Orlu himself. Though Sunny's initiative is thin—she is pushed into most of her choices by her friends and by Leopard adults—the worldbuilding for Leopard society is stellar, packed with details that will enthrall readers bored with the same old magical worlds. Meanwhile, those looking for a touch of the familiar will find it in Sunny's biggest victories, which are entirely non-magical (the detailed dynamism of Sunny's soccer match is more thrilling than her magical world saving). Ebulliently original. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 14, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-670-01196-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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