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Mike Carey & Peter Gross – The Unwritten, Vol. 4: Leviathan

February 29, 2012

20. Leviathan by Mike Carey, Peter Gross, Vince Locke, Al Davison (2011)
The Unwritten, Volume 4

Length: 144 pages
Genre: Fantasy

Started / Finished: 18 February 2012

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? New installment in one of my ongoing graphic novel series.

Looking for the source,
Tom Taylor finds himself a
whale of a problem.

Summary: Tom Taylor is hunting for the source of his father’s power to bridge the gap between fiction and reality, following a note on his father’s map that features a picture of a whale. Soon, he finds himself trapped inside Moby Dick, while his accomplices, Lizzie and Richie are stuck in the real world, but facing a nasty new adversary with some special plans just for them.

Review: Every time a new volume of The Unwritten comes out, I’m reminded just how badly I need to start buying the series so I can re-read them, since I have a terrible memory and there is just so much going on, even in a short volume like this one. I was able to get back into the main storyline pretty quickly, but I feel like there were hints and clues, particularly about the ultimate goals of the bad guys, that were just going over my head because I can’t remember the hints and clues from the last volume well enough to piece everything together.

I wasn’t as crazy about this volume as I was about the first or third. In part that may be because I haven’t read Moby Dick, and so didn’t have that as an “in” to the story. But I think that it’s mostly because the source of Wilson Taylor’s power, when it’s revealed, is kind of unexceptional. It wasn’t so obvious that I figured it out on my own, and it makes good sense with the rest of the story, but it also didn’t blow me away or leave me going “oh, that’s *cool*” the way other elements of this series have. The story is (of course) jam-packed with all sorts of literary references, and lots of little funny throwaway lines and sight gags that you have to be paying attention to catch. While I wasn’t head-over-heels for this story arc, I still enjoyed reading it, and I’m definitely intrigued to see where Carey takes the series next. 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: The Unwritten as a whole is highly recommended for anyone who likes Sandman, Fables, literature-based metafiction, or any kind of stories about stories.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

Vocab: (see the whole list)

  • p. 23: “Morality tale or epic adventure, nekula or political fable, this vast novel is like the whale itself, a blank slate on which critics project…” – calling a soul to consult about the future using a sacrifice.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 29, 2012 12:12 pm

    Yes, having not read Moby Dick sort of killed my enthusiasm for this particular volume, but it was still a good read. :)

    • February 29, 2012 12:44 pm

      Right? I haven’t read a lot of books that this series references, but it’s great nevertheless.

  2. February 29, 2012 7:58 pm

    This was my least favorite of the volumes so far and I HAVE read Moby Dick. Twice actually. I don’t feel like it gave me an in, particularly, although that could be because I hated Moby Dick a lot both times I had to read it for school. But yeah, definitely still excited to see where Carey takes the story next.

    • March 6, 2012 9:31 pm

      Jenny – You had to read Moby Dick twice for school? Ouch. But I’m glad to know I’m not terribly, terribly missing out here.

  3. March 1, 2012 6:53 am

    I feel you about the rereading—part of the joy of having it in its monthly issues is the fact that I can go back and start at the beginning whenever I wish. Ahhh.

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