Reading Level: Adult
Genre: Graphic Novel/Post-Apocalyptic
Size: 304 pages
Publisher: First Second
Release Date: July 15, 2014
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: ARC through Amazon Vine
Rating: 3/5 stars
I got a copy of this book through the Amazon Vine program to review. It was an interesting read. I thought the plot was way too convoluted and at times way too wordy. While I enjoyed some of the irony in the story in the end I don’t think it is something many people will enjoy.
These two kids wander into a cave and one of them, Sherman, gets an eyeful of evil and acquires an evil amulet. Then we are transported to a story in the future where the world has ended and a gang of kids dubbed The Wrenchies is struggling to survive and outrun the Shadowmen. They stumble upon an old copy of the original Wrenchies comic and embark on a quest to decipher the message hidden within this comic and save the world.
Okay the above is a decent synopsis but the plot is much much much more complicated than that. I got it but I am not going to go in to everything because, you know, spoilers. And I don’t want to deprive anyone of the pleasure of struggling through this mess of plot to discover the story on their own (I am being sarcastic here, it really was a mess). Let’s just say it involves time travel, multiple realities, and the whole “whatever you think can become real” (if you have an evil amulet) school of thought.
So, I am being pretty nice in the above statement…my initial reaction was “Holy crap the plot is a f***ing mess”. Seriously, it’s all over the place and confusing as hell. I think I ended up understanding what was going on but who the hell really knows what was going on here. There are a ton of characters and it is hard to keep track of them all. To be fair the author does provide a key with their illustrations and names at the front of the book. I didn’t really enjoy any of the characters, you don’t really get to know them because there are so many of them.
I wasn’t a fan of the illustration style. It is definitely a unique style and it depicts the dark and depressing story well. But honestly I think you will either love it or hate it. I feel like Dalrymple went out of this way to make characters and surroundings super ugly and disgusting. Things are meant to look awful and disturbing throughout and the illustration style does convey this well.
Then there is the whole drug use thing…all of these kids are always hopped up on a million drugs. Apparently the premise is that the Earth is so polluted that the extra pollution from the drugs helps them to survive…but whatever. I thought it was kind of unnecessary and didn’t really enjoy reading about it.
My last complaint is that the whole story also digresses waaaayy tooo much and is seriously over wordy at times. There were portions where I was absolutely losing it and falling asleep. Especially once The Scientist enters the story, that man can pontificate like no one’s business.
All the above negative being said I do think there is an interesting story at the core of this graphic novel, I just wish it had been told in a way that wasn’t so schizophrenic…but maybe that’s a sort of charm that will appeal to some readers?
Overall okay, but convoluted and hard to get through. I definitely recommend taking a look at the illustration style before buying to see if the grotesqueness appeals to you. There is a clever and intriguing story here, but it takes some work to read through this book and understand what is actually going on. So if you like a very convoluted story that twists on itself a millions times and has tons of characters to keep track of, you might enjoy it. I thought the story was overly complex and could have been told in a much better way as to not be so confusing. I also thought it got very wordy. My initial gut reaction was to give this 2 stars, but after I thought about it a bit there is some interesting material in here, so it gets three stars…just barely.