Sunday, June 9, 2013

The War at Ellsmere/Zombies Calling Review

DUO REVIEW! Because both of these are short, graphic novels, written by Faith Erin Hicks, that I read over the course of a half an hour, it seemed better sense to stick them together. This is a little tough because I have met Ms. Hicks and she is super fun and super nice so I don't want it to seem like I'm just gushing (even though I am, a bit, because I just love her art), but I also don't want to say less than positive things because she is super fun and super nice. Luckily, she hasn't given me reason to say too many less-than-positive things.

The War at Ellsmere


Juniper (Jun) is the new scholarship student at prestigious (and expensive) Ellsmere Academy. She befriends her roommate, the weird girl, and goes head to head with the bitchy rich girl who is mean to everyone.

Okay, so maybe that description doesn't quite do the story justice. So, We've all seen this plot before. But then, technically, we've see EVERY plot before. At this point, it's all about execution. I always tend to give graphic novels a bit more leeway in terms of literary ability because I feel like they exist in a space where it's slightly easier for me to suspend my belief because of the pretty, pretty art.

I suppose my main beef is that it's so short! There was good build-up, and while the wrap-up was cohesive and mostly comprehensive, I feel like there could have been more. More build up! More character depth! MORE PRETTY PRETTY ART. It seemed this story really just scratched the surface of the characters and the setting and then it was suddenly over. I think there could have been a lot more to it and the ending does seems a little contrived, though Hicks has admitted this herself. But it's a fun, quick, read.

Read-a-Likes: The Dreaming by Queenie Chan


 Zombies Calling 


So we jump forward from high school to college in this one. I'll admit, when I first picked this book up, my initial reaction was "Oh god, another zombie book?" Because lets be honest, I feel like zombies have reached a certain market saturation point. But Zombies Calling is fully aware of this and part of the point is that the characters are aware of and utilize zombie-tropes.

Joss loves zombie movies and has the "rules" of the genre memorized. Which is lucky for her because suddenly there's a zombie outbreak on her college campus and now she and her friends have to try to stay alive, using the "Rules" of zombie movies that Joss knows.

It's a pretty simple story and delivers exactly what it promises.As with The War at Ellsmere, the story has a decent amount of build-up, but then the ending sort of rushes on, right after a great deal of exposition about what it all means. This is her first (formally) published book (Ellsmere was second), and she says her main goal with this book was so that she could have some tangible piece of accomplishment at the time, and so with that in mind she met her goal.

I would definitely say that she has improved as a writer and an artist, and if you're interested in getting in to her work, start with her graphic novel Friends with Boys, which is a later work of hers and reflects how she has stylistically grown.

I'd say 2.5/5 for both, but toss in an extra .5 for the art so 3/5 Fancies.

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