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Mike Carey & Peter Gross – The Unwritten, Vols. 6, 7, and 8

April 17, 2014

24, 25, 28. The Unwritten, Vol. 6: Tommy Taylor and the War of Words, The Unwritten, Vol. 7: The Wound, and The Unwritten, Vol. 8: Orpheus in the Underworld by Mike Carey and Peter Gross (2012, 2013, 2014)
The Unwritten, Volumes 6, 7, and 8

Length: 240 pages, 144 pages, 176 pages

Genre: Fantasy; Graphic Novel

Started/Finished: 01/02 April 2014; 03 April 2014; 10/11 April 2014

Where did they come from? The library.
Why do I have them? New Unwritten!

Stories have power,
but the extent of it is
greater than we knew.

Summary: In Volume 6, Tom Taylor, the son of the author Wilson Taylor (the creator of the Tommy Taylor series of children’s books about a boy wizard) is finally embracing his power. Whether it actually is his power, or something given to him by his father, or something else entirely, Tom starts using the magic from the Tommy Taylor books – and he’s going to use it to bring the fight right to the doorstep of the shadowy Cabal that’s been pursing his father – and him – across the decades. In alternating chapters, we get scenes from Wilson’s diary, explaining what he knows about the history of the Cabal.

Volume 7 picks up about a year after the end of Volume 6. With Leviathan wounded, fictional worlds are bleeding into each other, and humans in the real world are losing their ability to tell stories. Australian detective Didge is investigating the disappearance of several young people that seem to be linked to a Tommy Taylor cult, when she realizes that there are still a few people out there with the ability to manipulate the power of words… and many of them seem to revolve around Tom Taylor himself.

At the beginning of Volume 8, Tom has realized that Lizzie may still be alive – or at least not entirely gone – but that he needs to find a way into the Leviathan to save her. Pullman’s glove is no longer working, but Tom, Richie, Didge, Danny Armitage, and their unicorn figure out a way to get Tom into the world of fiction. But once he’s there, he must find Lizzie and save them both from the Underworld and those that inhabit it – if he can remember who he is.

Review: Volume 6 was as fine of a piece of fiction as I have read in a very long time. There is a lot going on in The Unwritten, enough that I usually have trouble remembering all the details from previous volumes when I pick up the next one. I was particularly afraid that was going to be a problem in this case, seeing that it’s been almost two years since I read Volume 5. But either I remember more than I thought I did, or this book does an excellent job of reminding me, because all of the various story threads all come together so incredibly satisfactorily. The historical chapters from Wilson’s journals were particularly a highlight – they’re good stories in their own right, and they add to the story as a whole, and by the end, I finally – finally – felt like I had a handle on what was going on in the Unwritten universe… and the big picture is crazy and awesome and imaginative and a little bit mind-blowing, and with something important to say about how the world works. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

After the awesomeness that was Volume 6, and the wrapping up of many of the story arcs from the first part of the series, it was kind of inevitable that Volume 7 would feel like a bit of a let down. There’s been the big climax, and then a pause, and now Carey’s picking things up a year later, and introducing new characters and new story threads that are going to carry us forwards. Don’t get me wrong, though – there are still a lot of interesting things going on, and it feels new but not disconnected, and I like Didge and Danny (and I love their vaguely prophetic unicorn). But I will be curious to see where this new arc takes the story. 4 out of 5 stars.

I can’t even talk about Volume 8. The only thing I want to talk about is the brain-breaking (but also awesome, but also infuriatingly cliff-hanger-y) ending, and why do I not have Volume 9 in front of me right now, and also: What the what??!? But in the interest of avoiding spoilers, I will do my best to have something to say about the rest of the book besides the last panel. And the truth is, I liked it. I liked it quite a bit. Greek mythology is always a favorite, and as you might be able to tell from the title, Greek mythology plays a substantial role in this story. Some familiar characters recur in this one – familiar both from The Unwritten, and some from elsewhere in literature making hilarious cameos – and some more loose ends are tied up/explained from plot threads earlier in the series. And then the ending, which: What??? Argh! WHAT??? 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: If you like stories about stories, and about the power of stories – Neil Gaiman comes to mind, but also things like Fables – you should be reading The Unwritten. Immediately.

Volume 6: Review on LibraryThing | Book on LibraryThing | Book on Amazon
Volume 7: Review on LibraryThing | Book on LibraryThing | Book on Amazon
Volume 8: Review on LibraryThing | Book on LibraryThing | Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Tif Talks Books (Vol. 6), Whimpulsive (Vol. 6, Vol. 7, Vol. 8)
Have you reviewed these books? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 17, 2014 10:02 pm

    I really need to catch-up in this series!

    • May 10, 2014 7:09 pm

      Kailana – It was really nice reading them all in a bunch instead of strung out over every six-to-eight months.

  2. April 18, 2014 9:46 am

    Oo, I’m excited to hear that Volume 8 leaves you with many questions and exclamation points! When an amazing comic series wraps up one of its major plotlines, it’s always such a question whether the author will be able to pick up a new one that’s as interesting. Sounds like Vol 8 takes good steps in that direction?

    • May 10, 2014 7:13 pm

      Yeah, I wouldn’t say that the main plot of Unwritten wraps up quite as thoroughly as Fables did, for example, so there’s still a lot of threads carrying over. And the bit at the end of Vol. 8 is in keeping with the rest of the story, but was just so unexpected that it kind of blew my mind.

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