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Courtney Crumrin Volume 1: The Night Things Special Edition Hardcover – April 24, 2012
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Thankfully, Courtney Crumrin is a plucky female lead. She's completely no-nonsense, and she's a twenty-first century child, despite feeling older than her years. She makes the older fantasy elements of her story seem fresh again. Disenchanted with her parents' stupidities and bullied by her peers, Courtney embarks on a tentative friendship with her mysterious granduncle, who occasionally saves her from her own mistakes.
Appropriate for younger readers, Courtney is probably a character many children can relate to and appreciate. She's not a Hermione Granger. She doesn't have the answers to anything beforehand. Yet she emerges from each scrape a wiser person, with each chapter seemingly a cautionary tale on messing what one does not comprehend. Courtney doesn't fully understand the magic she's dabbling in, and her uncle is not going to spoon-feed her any answers. Thus, her own solutions to her problems are amusing and imaginative. This volume is a solid start to a series that one should read to the kids.
(This review previously appeared in the San Francisco/Sacramento Book Reviews.)
I started out much less impressed by the story. Grumpy girl, with foolish parents, makes wisecrack comments, has trouble fitting in and just spreads gloomy sourness around. Her creepy uncle is a "type"; the rich girls at school are all mean; the oblivious parents are dopes, and the wisecracks were all clever, but still sort of predictable. I kept reading though, because I just got the feeling that there was another, better book right around the corner.
Then, a quarter of the way through the novel just takes off and one's patience is rewarded. (And I've read all of the later volumes; the quality remains sustained throughout the series.) SPOILER ALERT. Once Courtney starts to interact with her great-Uncle the narrative begins to perk up. The trip to the Goblin market really fills out and sells the fantasy side of what was, up to then, just a grumpy teen grumble fest. This is where the best and most detailed graphic work really shines. And best of all, once that episode wraps up and it feels like the tale is winding down, a whole new chapter starts up. This second independent tale very slyly turns the tables on the whole sour Courtney angle, wakes up the Courtney character, and builds momentum for and interest in the next Crumrin volume.
So, while I can't pretend to be a graphic novel connoisseur, it certainly seems like this effort is toward the high end of the genre, and would be a very nice place to start if you are in the mood to sample or experiment.
Please note that I received a free electronic copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a frank review.
The art style is fantastic. I highly recommend the color versions because the black and white doesn't do it justice. The creatures are drawn very strangely and they are like nothing else, not gory and horror like, yet still childish in a way. The spidery art style is similar to maybe Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events, but with its own twist. Towards the end Courtney sees what kind of powers she has and also how dangerous they are. It's nice to see her want to go back to being her normal self instead of being power hungry, but you get to go deep into her head because the whole narrative is her thoughts. That's something very different and unique about this comic compared to most.
The 4 part series feels like a mini-adventure and it will have you hooked and coming back for more. Courtney may be the only main character, but the writers made Uncle Aloycius so mysterious that you really want to know more about him. He seems like the cool and mysterious old uncle that everyone wants, but you're not quite sure. The only issue with this series is that it seemed to hit a few dry spots here and there, but at least they didn't last long. Night Things is an amazing comic for people who want something that's not full of scantily clad women and super heroes.
Reviewed by Jessica for Book Sake.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great series, reminds me of the times when there was imagination in stories.Published 2 months ago by Judson Conley
I am in love with this series so far. I happened to stumble on it at comic-con and read the whole thing in a night. It's dark but not gory and has to do with warlocks, goblins etc. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Bingitslola
I had read this comic several years ago, and coming back to it...after almost experiencing a complete change in tastes, was a blast.
In reading this novel again... Read more
Could use more monsters and NIGHT THINGS instead of talk the authors mouth off about 'whats to come'...just get to the point already and give us spooks in the nite... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Dimasaurus
I'm on my third book in the series. It is extremely addicting! Courtney is definitely not your typical "hero" though. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
The story takes some interesting turns and the art is wonderful throughout. Full color and a nice hardcover make for a superior visceral reading experience.Published 17 months ago by M. Corley
I would rate this as a must get if you're the fan of the series. I've read this book many time already but it was a whole new experience seeing the comic in color.Published on March 13, 2014 by Toan Vuong
Don't confuse this graphic novel with Amulet, as its not appropriate for the 8-14 crowd. With colorful and well-rendered characters using words like "lame-asses" and... Read morePublished on December 3, 2013 by R. Hines