After my last comics roundup, I bought two more. I intend to explore as many as I financially can. I bought Vera Brosgol’s Anna’s Ghost when I saw it on Book Outlet. It’s mentioned in many Booktube videos and I thought I should give it a try because I liked the cover. And since I was curious about Kazu Kibuishi’s comic series, I bought Amulet: The Stonekeeper to give his stuff a try. Again — Book Outlet prices aside — comic books are friggin expensive though these are just two.
This is a young-adult, paranormal comic about a girl who’s haunted by a ghost. Anya and her family are Russian immigrants, something that Anya is self-conscious about along with her body. She attends a private school but often skips classes to smoke with her friend. One day, while walking through the park she falls down a well, where she meets the ghost of girl who was supposedly murdered about ninety years ago. The ghost becomes Anya’s friend but isn’t as friendly as she seems.
My thoughts: (minor spoiler)
I don’t have much to say about this so this section won’t be long. The story was okay. It wasn’t what I expected. I assumed that it was a middle-grade story because of the illustration on the cover so I was surprised to discover that it’s YA.
I thought the plot was weak but I liked the twist that the ghost isn’t as innocent and well-intentioned as she initially seemed. It’s a simple plot and I think it would have functioned better as a middle-grade story rather than a YA one. But the issues that Brosgol touches on — insecurity due to body image and feeling like an outsider — are things that teens can relate to.
The twist was the only interesting thing about the story. There were a few side conflicts but they didn’t overpower the story. They were only included to highlight the protagonist’s selfishness and to show how much she develops through the story. For some reason, I felt as if those conflicts were unresolved when I completed the book. I guess that’s because they quickly melted away as soon as they popped up and because we are supposed to assume that once Anya became more selfless, her relationships with her friends and family healed. But that’s a lot of assumptions, I find.
However, the story is about how Anya becomes a better person because of her weird experience with a ghost and I do like that by the story’s end, she begins to appreciate her Russian roots a little more. As a fellow immigrant, I can relate to her feeling like an outsider at school but I always think it’s better to take pride in your background than to hide it.
The artwork is simple. It’s not spectacular but I like it, especially the characters’ faces, which are really round. I think that’s cute.The color scheme is simple — black, grey, and white.
The story is okay and the art is okay. Nothing spectacular. Just simple. And, as stated before, the intended audience is young adults.
After a fatal car crash, Emily and her family move into their grandparents’ home, which is in disrepair. While helping their mom clean, Emily and her brother find an odd amulet, which Emily decides to keep. That night they are all wakened by a weird noise coming from the basement. When their mom goes to inquire what the noise is, she disappears. Worried, Emily and her brother go looking for her and finds themselves in a different world (I’m not sure if it’s a different world or alternate universe or something). With the help of the amulet, they try to rescue their mom.
I love Kibuishi’s illustrations for the updated Harry Potter covers so I wanted to try one of his comics to see if I would still like his work. As far as the story goes, things are being set up in this installment of the series so I wasn’t enthralled by it since I wasn’t sure what was going on. I guess the plot takes off in the other books. Not that this book wasn’t entertaining. There’s a good bit of action included when Emily tries to rescue her family and venturing in the new world is quite an adventure but it feels as if there’s much more to come and we are just given a taste in this installment. As such, I thought this installment was just okay. I’m not sure if I’ll continue with the series. I’m not curious about what happens next, but I do wonder if the amulet is evil. I don’t trust it. I would keep reading just to find that out.
As for the artwork, it’s okay as well but I like it. Again, Kibuishi is great when it comes to color. I like the warm colors surrounding the home that Emily and her family moves to and how atmospheric the frame of the weird island house is when we first see it. It looks as if it’s surrounded by fog or mist. The illustrations are nice. They aren’t spectacular but some are cute, especially Miskit. I like the round faces of the characters but I don’t like how the parents are drawn, especially the mom. Her head is so long.
Both the story and art are okay. The story seems interesting but in this installment, things are being put in place so I guess it will take off in other books. I might continue with it. I think this one is a middle-grade comic.
Discover more comics and read other thoughts on the ones above
- Why should people read graphic novels? (leonieg2.wordpress.com)
- Mini Reviews — Graphic Novels: Amulet: The Stonekeeper and The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil (leaningtoweroftomes.wordpress.com) [I shortened the title.]
- Book Review: Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol 5/5 (ellietaylorbooks.wordpress.com)
- Amulet, vol. 1 [Review] (comicreviewsbywalt.wordpress.com)