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Graphic Novel Twofer: The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects / Black is for Beginnings

September 9, 2014

73. The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects by Mike Mignola (2010)

Length: 104 pages
Genre: Fantasy/Steampunk/Sci-Fi

Started/Finished: 30 August 2014

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? Picked it up while randomly browsing.

Summary: This is a collection of short pieces. In the titular story, the Amazing Screw-On Head (which is basically what it sounds like) is summoned by President Lincoln to keep Emperor Zombie from taking over the world. There’s also a take on Jack and the Beanstalk, a story of what happens to a witch’s puppets when she dies, and a story that features murderers, ghosts, and Martians.

Review: I picked this up totally randomly from the library shelf; I haven’t read Hellboy or any of Mignola’s other work. This volume was… I can’t really say it wasn’t what I was expecting, since I wasn’t expecting anything in particular, but it was definitely odd. The worlds Mignola created felt like wandering around in his imagination, if his imagination were an antiques store crammed with dusty Victoriana and the trappings of multiple steampunk horror movies. The stories themselves were entertaining, if bizarre, but I was a little disappointed that there weren’t longer stories, or that the stories weren’t linked. Overall, this was enjoyable enough for a quick read, but I doubt it’ll be particularly memorable. 3 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: I’m going to assume that this would appeal most to Mignola’s existing fans; it didn’t really inspire me to seek out more of his work.

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

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

75. Black is for Beginnings by Laurie Faria Stolarz (2009)

Length: 160 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Started/Finished: 02 September 2014

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? Picked it up while randomly browsing.

Summary: Stacey’s had prophetic dreams of impending danger – to herself and others – practically all of her life. Her visions have started again, and what she thinks they’re telling her is that she needs to go spend some time with Jacob, her ex-boyfriend (or maybe that’s just her friends telling her that). Jacob is recovering from a bout of amnesia, and although he also has prophetic dreams, he’s struggling to remember Stacey or anything about their life together. Can they find their way back to each other before it’s too late?

Review: I didn’t know this when I picked it up, but this is apparently a graphic novel continuation/summary of a series of regular novels. That may have worked in my favor, though, since this book does a very nice job of introducing the characters and their relationships, and fleshing out their backstories, so I had no problem getting into the story. The structure of this book threw me a little – about 1/3 of the way in, it switches from Stacey’s journal to Jacob’s journal at kind of an odd point in Stacey’s story. But otherwise, I thought this was really nicely done. The ending felt very “YA Romance”-y, and I am not a big fan of 19-year-olds declaring that they’ve found their “soulmate” as though their relationship, now that it’s gotten through this one tough patch, will never have problems again and they’ll stay together forever. The characters maybe were not as thoroughly rounded as I’ve seen (although neither were they flat), but a lot of their interactions felt believably real (particularly involving Jacob’s ex-girlfriend). I also really liked the artwork, it’s a nice blend of realistic and cartoon that uses the graphic medium to good effect (I particularly liked the side-bar callouts listing the rules of candle magic or illustrating the instinctual parts of Jacob’s brain.) 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: I don’t know how this fits in with the novels (although I liked this enough to be willing to read them to find out), so I can’t recommend on that front, but this works just fine as a standalone, and should appeal to fans of YA romance with a touch of magic.

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

Other Reviews: Back to Books, Tez Says
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

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