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Scooter Girl Paperback – February 21, 2017
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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Story: Ashton is gifted - everything he wants or needs is thrown into his lap through supreme luck. He bags the girls, has hordes of admirers, and enough money to do what he wants, when he wants. And yeah, he's pretty smug about it. That is, until Margaret Ashton rides by and becomes the perfect poison. His life spirals out of control as he loses everything thanks to Margaret being his Kryptonite. But poor Ashton, he just wants to bag her and he's sure that once he's had her, his luck will return and he can go back to chasing skirts and DJing/partying. Thing is, Margaret thinks he is a tool and is (supposedly) too smart to fall for our narcissistic hero. Even a hitman on Margaret won't dispel his bad luck or get him into her bedroom. Perhaps a move to San Diego is the answer. Until a few years later Margaret shows up and spoils everything yet again.
What this book feels like is self indulgence; a little fantasy (Mary Sue) for author Flores where she gets to be the cool chick and control/cause the downfall of the cute and rich boy who gets all the girls. It's far fetched - we should at least get a chance to like the antihero so we root for "tsundere" Margaret. But that never happens and even Margaret comes off as very caustic and unpleasant. Shouldn't there be at least one likable character in a story to offset all the vanity?
There are a few side characters, including a brother for Margaret. He spends most of the book being emo and moping - fairly pointless to be honest. The plot meanders and changes tones a bit too often to be engrossing; it's a strange transition to go from playful annoyance about a girl to hiring someone to kill her. And the 'redemption' at the end just thuds at our feet like a deflated zeppelin. It's very odd and unbelievable.
The artwork is an odd mix between the Archies and Japanese manga; bright Western bold colors contrasted with quite a few anime/manga conventions. The 'mod' flavor is decorative - this is a contemporary setting where people are obsessed with mod culture for some reason or other (I have no idea why everyone is mod obsessed). I think it would have made more sense setting this in the 1960s, when being macho was still a thing and the mod scenery makes sense.
The story and stylings are fairly unique - but not necessarily in a good way. What we have is a fairy tale for gen Xers with substance and a moral ending completely and inexplicably stripped. In many ways, I can't help but think of a car crash on the highway; you don't want to look yet are strangely drawn to the carnage and unpleasantness of it all. Then it is out of your mind ten minutes later. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.
Suddenly, he’s a klutz. Nothing unusual about that — many boys become tongue-tied and stumble-footed when they meet a beautiful girl and develop a crush. Ashton, though, gets it bad. Cosmically bad. He wrecks his ride. He falls down the stairs. Girls start breaking dates with him when they find out he’s fooling around with everyone in school. Worst of all, Margaret refuses to go out with him. Soon, he’s lost all his friends, his life is ruined, and he blames her.
He becomes obsessed, determined to win her and thus demonstrate his reclaimed mastery. In order to spend time in her presence, he hires her brother as his tutor. He’s still so in love with himself that he’s convinced that just being around him will change her mind. Continued rejection sends him even further off the deep end, leading to black comedy and idiotic choices. Although presented as a romantic comedy, this story is really the tale of how Ashton grows up. Because it’s a fantasy comic, everything’s exaggerated, but underneath, the emotions and motivations are honest.
Clugston draws amazingly well. She populates her world with gorgeous people, illustrating them with lots of detail given to their clothes and expressions and postures. She even provides a soundtrack for events, captioning panels with song titles. Inserts of historical fantasies and stories of family secrets also keep the book lively.
Clugston has two essential gifts that make her books work so well. She has the ability to convey her loves, whether of music or mod fashion, in a way that invites sharing and understanding. In other hands, a reader might feel left out or preached at (“this is so cool! you should love it too!”) instead of welcomed and involved. She also creates characters that in other hands would seem pretentious, putting on airs to make themselves special, a collection of back-cover-hype-friendly traits with nothing behind them. Instead, the people that populate her stories are charming, sometimes in spite of themselves. They’re human, interesting people you want to meet. (Review originally posted at ComicsWorthReading.com.)
When it comes down to it, that's about it really. If you're into teenage love tales, this may suit you. Clearly illustrated (although sometimes it is difficult to distinguish some of the male characters), it is quite fun – but, in the end, a bit fluffy.