Reading level: Middle Grade/Young Adult
Genre: Graphic Novel/Fantasy
Size: 128 pages
Publisher: Oni Press
Release Date: October 6, 2003
Stand Alone or Series: 2nd book in the Courtney Crumrin series
Source: Gift for Xmas
Rating: 5/5 stars
This is the second book in the Courney Crumrin series. I absolutely love this series. In this book Courtney has to face a darker foe than ever before and it was a fun and exciting read.
Courtney Crumrin is settling in to both her new house and new school. She is learning how to deal with the Night Things better, but when a new and more horrible Night Thing threatens their community the local Coven of Mystics blame it on a Night Thing named Skarrow. Both Courtney and her uncles suspect that Skarrow is innocent, but they need to both protect the village from the horrible new Night Thing and prove Skarrow’s innocence before the Mystics find and take him into custody.
The story for this installment in the series was a lot more complicated than the last series. There were also a lot of fun things that happened. Courtney is a great character. She is tough and smart and sarcastic and funny. She grows a lot in this book too and finally starts to realize that it might be better to try and make some friends at school than always be by herself.
Her uncle tries to keep Courtney out of many of the conflicts, but Courtney is stubborn and always involves herself. In the end she usually does more good than bad so it is all good. I really enjoy the relationship she has with her uncle; they both help each other out and really seem to care about one another.
Uncle Aloysius is an awesome character. He has a good dry sense of humor, really cares about Courtney and can seriously kick butt with both his magic and his sword.
There is a lot of action in this series and I loved how each chapter had an independent story as well as building on a larger story arc. I enjoyed the new types of Night Things we meet, I enjoyed Courtney’s stent as a cat, and I enjoyed when she wandered down into the realm of the Night Things.
The first book in the series I got as an ebook to review and that was in full color. This book was in black and white only and that made the illustration more lackluster than the full color version I had seen for the first book. Naifeh does an excellent job conveying facial expression and I never found the drawings or story confusing. The style of drawing is pretty cartoony for the characters’ bodies, although the backgrounds are very detailed. In general the illustration did a good job of supporting the story; I just wish we could see this in full color like the first book.
Overall I really, really enjoyed this book. It has an interesting and fun story that is complex. Courtney grows a lot in this book and begins to come into her own as a witch. We get to see a lot more of Uncle Aloysius in action; he is an awesome character. I highly recommend this for fans of fantasy graphic novels; this book is appropriate for middle grade and older. If you liked this book I would also recommend checking out Kazu Kibuishi’s Amulet series or Jeff Smith’s Bone series.