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Seconds: A Graphic Novel Hardcover – July 15, 2014
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“The cartoonist, best known for the Scott Pilgrim series, delivers one of the most enjoyable reads I’ve had all year with this magical graphic novel. I dare you to not read it all in one sitting.”—Whitney Matheson, USA Today
“Seconds arrives with high expectations, and it meets them all, delivering the style and humor of [Bryan Lee] O’Malley’s past works with greater emphasis on mood, detail, and complex character relationships.”—The A.V. Club
“Richly imagined and vibrantly drawn, Seconds is a funny, surprising, and enchanting read.”—Publishers Weekly
“In Seconds, Bryan Lee O’Malley plays the angst of youth against the fabric of a larger epic. In doing so, he enriches both. A great ride!”—Guillermo del Toro
“Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Seconds is adorable, haunting, funny, and beautiful. A perfect recipe for a great graphic novel.”—Scott McCloud, author of Understanding Comics
About the Author
Bryan Lee O’Malley is the creator of the bestselling Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series, which was adapted into a major motion picture, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, in 2010. He lives in Los Angeles, where he continues to make comics.
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As for the characters, I thought Katie was a cool protagonist but she's kind of a clone of Bryan Lee O'Malley's previous leads, Max was boring and forgettable(I never got why Katie loved him , aside from good looks), Andrew had the potential to be a better character but Bryan Lee O'Malley never capitalizes and seems to loose interest in him by the end, Lis is cool and charming without even trying, and Hazel is pretty cool- but the book isn't long enough to provide proper development for her(this is the case for most of the secondary characters).
In the end, after a four year wait I expected more from the story and characters, but... Seconds is still a charming and stylish little tale with awesome artwork that's totally worth purchasing( I just couldn't get with the ending). I hope Bryan's next graphic novel shakes up the formula we've come to expect from him though.
Katie Clay, the main character is a chef who runs a hip and popular restaurant. Her vision is to open another restaurant with a new vision, a new idea, and a new start. She feels like she is in limbo as she looks forward but feels trapped in her current life. When she sulks in her bedroom, one night, she finds a strange and foreboding box in her dresser. She opens the box and finds a kit for undoing her bad decisions. Step one: write down your error in the little notebook. Step two: eat a mysterious red mushroom. Step Three: go to sleep and when you wake up, your life is changed. Sounds simple. Katie is a successful professional, but not the most mature, friendly, kind person. While most of the time, her missteps and regrets are minor, she begins to think that the box in her dresser can change all that. Before things get too far out of hand, she meets the “house spirit” who warns her that she should not be meddling her past as it will certainly have grave impacts. This graphic novel even breaks the fourth wall, in a playful, innovative vision of storytelling. The art work, retains O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim style, but it is enhanced in some unique and focused storytelling areas. Described as a manga-style, it is the artistic vision of this comic that makes it different, compelling, and better than some of the other time altering stories. It is about an empowered woman who wants to change parts of her life and win her vision of her life, but with it comes the sacrifice of those specific changes.
The good news, this is not Ground Hog Day, in fact, O’Malley is much more innovative and fresh with the idea of possessing god-like powers to undo mistakes. Katie is well crafted artistically and narratively in that she would appeal to a teenager or an adult equally. While the character is illustrated in an O’Malley style that makes her seem young, she has the life and sass of an adult. Pushing the character to cover that much space allows more people to identify with the protagonist. Katie sometimes feels like a bossy seventeen year-old, but she also has the responsibility and the vision of her adult self. This is a graphic novel that will draw you in. You will want to finish it in one sitting, even though you know you should slow down and savor it a bit. There are a lot of different elements to like here, colorful and dynamic art work, compelling storytelling, and a time shifting story that is innovative and fun to read.
I found Seconds to be a wonderful read that I couldn't put down. The story was fascinating and the characters were intriguing and witty. I thought the ending could have been a little stronger but overall the story was fantastic. The artwork was very well done and the coloring fit perfectly.
The presentation of the physical book was great as well. The pages are very thick which gives the book quite a bit of weight. The slip cover was a little odd since it doesn't cover the entirety of the book which I haven't seen on other books but it fits very well.