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Spring (Miki Falls) Paperback – March 1, 2008
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Crilley, probably best known for his Akiko novels and comic books, weighs in with the Miki Falls series, about lively, curious high-school-senior Miki, ready for adventure and romance. Attractive new student Hiro Sakurai piques Miki's curiosity, but he is not interested in making friends. Stubborn Miki, however, refuses to take no for an answer, which leads to a surprising revelation about the secretive young man. Except for an odd twist at the end (which, presumably, will be developed in future volumes), there are no surprises here. Crilley's manga-inspired illustrations, on the other hand, are terrific. Ranging from crisscrossing sequential panels to spot art, varied in size and artfully connected to further the plot, the pictures cleverly instill the story with abundant emotion, humor, and drama. An overlay of light shading and almost delicately rendered facial features and details give the book a softer feel than much manga. Despite the age of the characters, this will attract more middle-schoolers than older comics fans. Stephanie Zvirin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Mark Crilley is from Detroit. After college, he spent several years teaching English in the Far East, first in Taiwan then in Japan. While living in Japan he wrote his first comic: Akiko on the Planet Smoo. The Akiko comics quickly became a success and in 1998 Mark was named one of the '100 most creative people in entertainment' by Entertainment Weekly. This led to a deal with Random House for a graphic novel series aimed at younger readers. Miki Falls, which draws on Mark's experiences in Japan, is his first graphic novel for teenagers.
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You know that the story is great when you're hooked in. I had read a bit before dinner and gone to watch TV. It wasn't long before I came back to this because I had to know what Miki's next move would be. 3/4 of the book later, my TV is still on pause and I'm tempted to order the next volume.
1. It's cliched and the introduction reminded me of Twilight: Girl changing her attitude towards life, mysterious guy shows up, she obsesses with him and sh*t his the fan, eventually things go south and blah-blah-blah.
2. He could have done it better: Crilley's art on YouTube is AMAZING most of the time. The level of detail is astonishing, the perspective magnificent, the anatomy mostly accurate and the line art very well controlled. However, the art in Miki Falls feels far too rushed and, sad to say, really far from an actual manga style. Though I did like the style a bit, it could have been a lot better.
3. Too much narrative: Crilley relied too much on narrative boxes to explain what's going on rather than showing it, which only made it feel even more rushed. However, this would be more acceptable if he weren't attempting to create manga, since in comics narration is key. Yet, in manga, narration is very limited and most of what happens is shown through the character's movements, actions, expressions, etc. and much of this is missing in Miki Falls.
Those were my main three issues with this, and giving this 3 stars was already biased by my liking for Mr. Crilley. However, I can't be blind about this, so yeah, that's what's up.
I enjoyed this a lot. Though the book is obviously fast-paced, it does a good job portraying the characters and their feelings. I admire that they are true to their personalities, and for being fiction that the book does mix in some realistic aspects. Looking at the drawings in each panel, I thought the artwork was beautifully done and I admired Mark Crilley's unique layouts for each page. It was very easy to read and follow along, and each page held it's own surprises.
Overall, this was a fun read and I would read it again. This, for me, is the equivalent of a chick-flick, except obviously it's a more of a chick-lit. I could not wait to finish the series, and now I own all four books and would easily recommend the series. If only Mark Crilley would make more!!!
If you like manga, or would like to give it a try, this is a great place to start! Mark Crilley is an amazing artist, but he has also done a wonderful job creating an interesting story.
Content (For Those Who Wonder):
This book is very clean, but I did make notes for anyone who would like to know.
Language: "I swear to God" (pg 22), "Oh my God" (pg 46), and "Jeez" (pg 52).
Other: One of the characters talks about a "goddess of love", but it is only briefly mentioned (pg 144).
She finished all three books on Christmas morning! Then read them again. And again!
I've read 2 of the three we have and the story is sweet and interesting. It's a love story lite, with likable characters and a good but simple plot.
I'd recommend this for tweens and up.