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The Wrenchies Paperback – July 15, 2014
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From School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—In the far future, demonic Shadowsmen rule over a grim wasteland. They inflict adults with despair, corrupting them into zombies—or worse. Bands of fierce, foul-mouthed children fight against this oppression, and the Wrenchies are the greatest of these gangs. An ancient and arcane comic book creates a portal between our time and this bleak future, allowing a lonely outsider named Hollis to join the Wrenchies on their crusade. Together they embark on a quest to destroy the source of the world's corruption. Kind, sensitive Hollis feels out of his depth, not born to battle like the rest of the gang. He wrestles with his hopes and fears for the future. Readers will connect with his need for belonging and delight in the acceptance he finds among the Wrenchies. The plot unfolds in a stream-of-consciousness, reality blending with dreams, mystical visions, and drug-induced hallucinations. Dalrymple's art vibrates with violent action, awash in colors alternately lush and lurid. His masterfully detailed panels reward careful study, from devilish grotesqueries to intricate architectural cutaways. With its abundant violence, profanity, and drug use, The Wrenchies is not for the squeamish, but offers breathtaking adventure for those with a strong heart and a stronger stomach.—Tony Hirt, Hennepin County Library, MN
“Readers immediately enter a world where epic violence is the norm, science fiction tropes abound, and kids may save one of a few different times/world - if they aren't murdered first . . . Fans of Rapp's Ball Peen Hammer will be equally enthralled by this nightmarish but impeccably rendered look at a few overlapping world and the kids who seem doomed despite their efforts.” ―BCCB
“*Dalrymple takes a deep affection for comics and role-playing games and a deep distrust for adulthood itself and combines the two in an offering unlike anything else in the field today. For a certain demographic of angry, alienated, and demoralized older teens, this graphic novel will resonate powerfully . . . as vibrant and disturing as if David Lynch directed The Goonies.” ―Booklist, STARRED REVIEW
“*The Wrenchies introduces readers to a twisted futuristic world filled with nonstop action, a bit of magic, and graphic battles against gruesome monsters, brought to life with Dalrymple's complex full-color art . . . a high-quality, original graphic novel.” ―VOYA, STARRED REVIEW
“Dalrymple's art vibrates with violent action, awash in colors alternately lush and lurid . . . With its abundant violence, profanity, and drug use, The Wrenchies is not for the squeamish, but offers breathtaking adventure for those with a strong heart and a stronger stomach.” ―School Library Journal
“Dalrymple's art is impeccable . . . It's beautiful, dreamy and nightmarishly violent . . . Not for the faint of heart, but what a ride for those who go with the flow.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“Incredible. A deeply personal epic…a book that calls for rereadings.” ―Craig Thompson
“AMAZING. Beautiful drawing and painting, great characters--it's pretty much everything I could want a graphic novel to be.” ―Mike Mignola, author of Hellboy
“I've been a very enthusiastic admirer of Farel Dalrymple from the first moment I was introduced to his wonderful work. Now here comes his most epic work with The Wrenchies! This book is a stunning and original piece of work. The characters are richly authentic and their world is simultaneously exciting and horrific, filled with hauntingly beautiful detail. The Wrenchies is a masterpiece that will knock your socks off!” ―Michael Allred, Madman
“Tremendously masterful, as to be expected of Farel Dalrymple. A work of art with fevered imagination and lush nightmares that should haunt every reader.” ―JH Williams III (Sandman, Batwoman, Promethea)
“The years of love dumped into The Wrenchies is apparent on every page, every panel a work of high art. Lush worlds and fascinating characters drenched in originality and childhood nostalgia. The story is heartfelt, wildly imaginative and engrossing as Farel achieves something all too often lost in comics--pure fun. The Wrenchies is a game changer. I couldn't love anything more. ” ―Rick Remender (Black Science, Deadly Class)
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Top Customer Reviews
The Wrenchies is a sprawling quest novel in comic book form. I knew zero about the plot going in and so I'm not going to taint anyone else's reading experience by spilling the beans. Suffice to say that it is a very dark science fiction story about adolescence, and how the problems of adolescence can stick with you long after it's supposedly passed.
There is an almost Perdido Street Station number of concepts at play in this book. And because the story takes its time, I was never really certain where it was headed (by which I mean I experienced a constant series of revelations rather than a sense of bewilderment). It moves from battles, to conversation, to extended meditations on childhood loneliness and religion's capacity to terrify children. I feel like The Wrenchies is a distillation of every bit of pop culture Dalrymple has ever absorbed. After one read I picked up subtle nods to Adventure Time, Lord of the Flies, The Warriors, Superhero comics, Tablet Top roleplaying games, maybe even The Wrath of Khan. But The Wrenchies doesn't feel like any of those things. Those things form its vocabulary, but's it's very much its own fever dream of weird, dark, beautiful science fiction.
The art, like the story, feels like it comes direct from the heart. It has immediacy and deep, deep emotion. It's gritty, not polished—a cleaner line would have no place in the decaying world the Wrenchies inhabit. The art is full bleed which makes for a lot of movement on the page, but sometimes it disappears into the gutter. Nothing is lost, but the way Dalrymple draws gives you the feeling that there's always more to see. And you want to see it.
Once all the pieces began to connect, I slowed down my reading and studied each page. I wanted to remain in it as long as I could. I began to feel very connected to certain characters as embodying aspects of myself (always the case when characters feel real). The resolutions of the final chapter began to feel like knots untying in my brain, putting some of my own thoughts into perspective. In fact, the final bit of epilogue between Sherwood and Marsi put it right there on the page for me.
A bit much to put on a comic book perhaps. But if a story doesn't have something to say about life, why read it?
TL;DR The Wrenchies is full of awesome art, sweet battle scenes, cool monsters, and strong characters. Buy it and read it and think about it.
I didn’t love the Wrenchies – more often than not, I was lost as to what was going on. It took me a good part of the book to realize that there was a parallel universe, and I never really felt that I “got” the entire story. I just didn’t connect with it, nor did I connect with Dalrymple’s style of art. This would be a great read for a teen/YA post-apocalyptic fan who prefers a less linear storyline.
As far as the story goes, I would describe it as far flung and complicated. There are timelines that weave in and out of one another, and plot elements that you sort of suss out as you go. I found it sort of a complicated read in that sense. And I'm sure when I read it again that I'll discover something new that I missed before. The book has layers.
The main setting is post apocalypse. Cities are in ruins and there is evil afoot. As one of the characters reports: "Much of the scientific knowledge I possessed was now useless. This world was ruled by strange magic from beyond this realm making technology unreliable and erratic." And yet technology persists in pockets, and the children continue to fight the good fight against the dark forces.
That's the big question. THE WRENCHIES has fabulous art that almost anyone can enjoy, but it's also got a very convoluted plot. It's multi-dimensional and multi-timelined. The story is broken up into chunks. If you aren't used to this style of writing it could definitely throw you off. (I was forewarned and so I was expecting something difficult. I'm thankful to my reading buddy because their advice really allowed me to enjoy this book.)
So maybe adults and maybe young adults.
►►WHAT YOU MIGHT WANT TO KNOW as far as younger readers is that there is a lot of gore and violence. The F-bomb is dropped a few times though I don't remember any other anglo-saxon naughty words being used. There are drugs and drug usage. One of the characters is named Stoney. He has earned this name.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved the art. It's both gorgeous and grotesque and, often, both.Read more
The Wrenchies isn't a coming of age tale about a kid named Hollis nor an action-adventure story about a gang of demon-fighting...Read more