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Hinges Book One: Clockwork City Paperback – March 10, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 4 Up—McClaren's fantasy graphic novel, originally posted online, is an aesthetically pleasing but uneven introduction to this clockwork world. Orio is a doll-like girl, newly awakened in the city of Cobble. She and her strange, skull-faced pet, Bauble, travel the city attempting to find a job that will suit Orio. Each prospect turns disastrous quickly, and Orio suffers from strange nightmares and broken memories. Meanwhile, an ominous presence skulks in Cobble's shadows. McClaren's art is beautiful but accessible, with hints of a Japanese style. The environment is interesting and engaging, reminiscent of the settings in Jim McCann's Return of the Dapper Man (Archaia, 2010), though much starker. However, with a lead character who never speaks and a sequence of events that is sometimes hard to follow, the novel only succeeds as basic introduction to the story to come in later volumes. Older readers will feel shorted of any real narrative upon finishing this volume. VERDICT An additional purchase for collections where fantasy graphic novels are in high demand.—Amy Diegelman, Vineyard Haven Public Library, MA
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Top Customer Reviews
First off, the art is lovely, it's very simple lines but they manage to convey movement and emotion beautifully, the colors are simply amazing, I can spend forever just observing the gradients, and the palates for specific moods, and just everything. The spacing is broken up in interesting ways, the word boxes have interesting angles leading back to the speaker that gives a little more variety to the to the scene, the font is thick but it doesn't feel too heavy or mismatched against with the characters or the tone of the story.
Ok onto the actual story. This is a town of dolls, or puppets, I'm not fully sure yet considering Orio has iron bolts in her joints but Senior Orderly Margo seems to held up by strings, where the strings end and how they manage not to snag when leaving rooms or going on different floors still baffles me but this is fantasy so we're just gunna go with it. And whenever a citizen is born, as in wakes into consciousness they are sent to choose an Odd, somewhat of a companion, they're made of some material, alive but not organic. She finds a strange Odd [haha] which looks more alive than the others, "Bauble" as that is what tag it takes on demands to be chosen by Orio, and now they are on their way to get proper housing and acquire a job. But there's something wrong with the happy little town of Cobble, and Bauble may not know the whole story but they play a big part for something so small.
It was interesting to read, just from the imagery alone and the curious nature of these living material people, the whole mystery of what Bauble really is, and what's going wrong around town makes you wish more pages would magically appear after you reach the end of the graphic novel.
This story is pretty interesting, and quite unique compared to a good majority of what's out there so I'm hoping more people give it a try. If you're impatient like me read it online, and if you like it PLEASE support the artist and author so that she may continue to make amazing stories.
BRAVO MEREDITH! BRAVO I SAY!
Mary Fortner Smith
Comics.....Resistance is Futile!
As Orio tries to fit in and develop a routine in Cobble, Bauble is there to seemingly cause chaos at every turn. But is he doing it to cause problems, or does he sense what Orio’s real purpose, or talent, is, and is leading her to it? It’s an interesting path to watch.
I LOVE this book. Meredith McClaren has artist and writer duties on this book, which was the recipient of a successful Kickstarter back in 2013. There’s not a huge amount of dialogue, allowing the reader instead to use his or her imagination to flesh out the story as it unfolds on the pages. How did Orio arrive in Cobble? What’s this business with the Odds all about? I’m sure answers will come, but it’s great fun to think about possibilities in the meantime.
The artwork is beautiful. Largely sepia-toned, with splashes of color for effect, the characters draw you in with their huge, expressive eyes and facial expressions. Bauble is an adorable scamp, but seems to have his new mistress’ best interests at heart, as we see throughout the story. There’s a steampunk feel to the book, also enhanced by the sepia art.
Younger fans will love this book because there’s a cute, Stitch-type character leading his young companion on adventures, with an overall mystery as to her origins wrapped around the entire book, like a bow on a present, waiting to be opened and discovered. Tweens and teens will be drawn in by the beautiful art.
The world Orio enters is a puzzle to her, a place of regimented, bureaucratic rules and unfamiliar customs. And clocks, of course, since it is a clockwork city. Orio walks through it in silence. In fact, Orio hardly utters a word in the entire volume. Sometimes she falls but she always gets back up. There's probably a lesson in that.
There are pages and pages near the end that are all art, no words. That's cool, even if I spent a lot of time in an unsuccessful effort to understand the scenes depicted on the page. I think maybe the story is about finding yourself, accepting yourself, accepting your Odd, but I may be entirely wrong about that.
I enjoyed Hinges although I would have to say that at least half the time I had no clue what was happening. The expressions on Orio's face are nearly enough to make the volume worthwhile. The rest of the art is whimsical but purposeful. Had I understood the purpose I might give this 5 stars, but out of shameful ignorance I'm giving it a solid 4.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What’s strange for me is that while I liked the artwork because all of it...Read more