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Unwritten Vol. 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity Paperback – January 12, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
A taut thriller that slyly plays off the real-world mania for imaginary ones like that of Harry Potter, Carey's new series undercuts the mythology of such all-pervasive media-hyped creations while at the same time hinting at a brilliantly imagined one of its own. Tom Taylor is the son of Wilson Taylor and the unwilling namesake of the protagonist in his dad's wildly popular 13-book fantasy series. The Tommy Taylor cottage industry of movies, video games, and geek-ridden conventions is given an extra dash of drama by Wilson's having mysteriously disappeared years before, leaving a cynical Tom (who inherited none of his millions) to eke out a grubby living at paid appearances. Carey's story (solidly illustrated by Gross) picks up speed fast when Tom realizes some elements of Wilson's stories might not be made up. By the time the first story is done, Carey has not only created a brisk and addictive story, sketched with crafty allusions to classic literature, but also neatly subverted the celebrity-worship manias of fantasy fandom and questioned the very nature of storytelling itself. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Tom Taylor makes a respectable celebrity living as the presumed former model for the boy hero of his father Wilson’s 13 fantasy novels, which enjoy a Harry Potterish fandom. He’d as soon not be so identified with the character, though, especially when fans insist he must still possess his fictional doppelgänger’s magic. When it’s announced that he isn’t Wilson Taylor’s biological child, after all, any relief he might get is complicated by having to dodge lynch mobs of former worshipers. Then, when he survives, unscathed, a would-be murder-by-bomb, the tables of his public identity resume their original setting. So he absconds to the Villa Diodati in Switzerland, where Mary Shelley dreamed up Frankenstein and he lived until his father’s disappearance when Tom was 12. Thereafter, things get very interesting, indeed. Appending an explanatory flashback featuring Rudyard Kipling, scripter Carey and artist Gross confidently launch The Unwritten with a first arc that boasts the most breathtaking gut-punch ending since that of The Fugue (2008), the dumbfounding first arc of Michael Alan Nelson’s unpredictable Fall of Cthulhu. --Ray Olson
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Top customer reviews
There is a story here, it's unique and if you're someone who loves to read the literary inferences will please you (and not just Harry Potter, there are many many more). The summation of the plot above and by other reviewers is a good indication as to where this goes; Tom Taylor, the son of an infamous author whose insanely popular boy wizard has taken the world by storm gets thrust into the thick of an otherworldly mystery involving secret details hidden in works of literature, a mysterious map, a sect of very dangerous people who will do anything to keep this mystery and fictional characters breathing and being in the actual physical world. Sound interesting and exciting? I thought so and I was pleased with the overall presentation. The book itself is a solid introduction, not many extras to speak of, but a great way to jump into the story line and a firm grasp for what's ahead.
This premise is really quite clever and I think this would make a fine film, if not a franchise. The art is fine and while some remark it is text heavy, I think this story is not your typical panel action type of comic and you can expect it to remain text heavy through out further volumes.
Give this a try, you might find you enjoy comics/graphic novels. Now with them being available for the color tablets, it's even easier to collect them.
I recommend these as well:
American Vampire Volume 1 American Vampire Vol. 1(Scott Snyder and Stephen King re-imagine the first Vampire, really great writing and a wonderful art, also adult.)
Sweet Tooth Volume 1 Sweet Tooth Vol. 1: Out of the Woods(a really great post-apocalyptic story that just came to an end so if you're looking for something that just won't go on infinitely pick this up, it's fantastic, the art isn't as advanced but the story will leave you satisfied)
The Unwritten is a sort of hybrid of Alan Moore's League of extraordinary Gentlemen and Gaiman's Sandman. The Unwritten focuses on how stories affect how we interpret the world around us and the sweeping changes they can lead to. And it features a tone of nods to famous works, like Harry Potter and Catch-22.
The artwork is especially good, with a few special panels that mimic internet news sites perfectly.
The only issue I had with this book is that it was mostly set-up to a plot that has yet to fully kick-off. I want to wait until I finish the next volume before declaring this one of the best things I've ever read.
My only caveat is the expense for the series. At around ten bucks per book, I've spent seventy on what I assumed was the entire series. And then I reached the last page of volume 7 - and discovered it very clearly wasn't.
This is not to say everyone concerned with the making of the series doesn't deserve worthwhile remuneration - they do, but buyers should be aware that if they begin, enjoy and want to continue the story, it's a not inconsiderable cost, especially for the Kindle version which, let's be honest, we 'owners' are effectively leasing from Amazon. I'd recommend dropping the price for the Kindle version to make it more affordable. Those wondering about the more expensive hard copy might be making a better investment. Either way, it's an entertaining read and I'll probably fork out for volume 8.
Well done, thanks and congratulations to Mike Carey and all those involved.