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Graphic Novel Twofer – Agnes Quill: An Anthology of Mystery / Take What You Can Carry

August 24, 2012

89. Agnes Quill: An Anthology of Mystery written by Dave Roman, illustrated by Jason Ho, Dave Roman, Raina Telgemeier, and Jeff Zornow (2006) and 91. Take What You Can Carry by Kevin C. Pyle (2012)

Length: 130 pages / 176 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Short Stories / Historical Fiction

Read on: 12 August 2012 / 15 August 2012

Where did they come from? The library.
Why do I have them? Random browsing.

Agnes Quill: An Anthology of Mystery: Agnes Quill is a sixteen-year-old orphan who uses her special ability to see ghosts to solve mysteries in the Victorian-esque city of Legerdemain. This book contains four different short stories dealing with Agnes’s various cases, and involves spirits who won’t move on, a monster in the sewers, a horde of zombies, a mad scientist, an underground society, and other strange things. Each story is written by Dave Roman but illustrated by a different artist. It’s a great idea, and I really like the setting. However, it’s somewhat strangely executed. We’re given little to no background on Agnes or her past, or who any of the recurring secondary characters are… but after all the comics, there’s a written section a bunch of character profiles and selections from Agnes’s journal. It’s a weird way to organize things. I also was only so-so on the artwork for the stories. Raina Telgemeier’s artwork I loved, as I was expecting to, but hers was the shortest piece. The piece that was drawn by Roman himself had a similar style, though, so that was nice. The other two were very detailed and lifelike, with a heavy use of blacks, which tends to come across as too busy for my tastes. So, in general, I loved the concept, and would happily read more about Agnes, but this collection didn’t entirely work for me. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Take What You Can Carry: This book tells two stories in alternating chunks: one involving a Japanese boy whose family is moved to an internment camp at the outbreak of World War II; the other one involving a teenaged boy who moves to the suburbs in the 1970s and becomes a daredevil and shoplifter. I was a little confused for most of the book as to how (or whether) the two stories were going to intertwine. But they eventually did, although not quite how I would have expected. It’s visually very interesting; as on the cover, the two stories are told in two different colors, and with slightly different art styles. The internment camp story is also told entirely through images, which added an interesting element to the story, although it meant that I couldn’t always tell what was going on in some panels. Overall, a quick and interesting read that’s a bit of a departure from my normal graphic novel fare. 4 out of 5 stars.

Agnes Quill: This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon
Take What You Can Carry: This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Waking Brain Cells (Take What You Can Carry)
Have you reviewed either of these books? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 25, 2012 5:41 am

    Hmmm… Niether of those sound particulary exciting, but are also the kind of thing that would intrigue me, if I saw them in the book shop…

    • August 29, 2012 10:08 am

      Bart – That’s about where I was. I’m more-or-less out of series installments to read, so I’ve resorted to random poking-around in the graphic novel section of the library.

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