Thursday, October 6, 2016

Courtney Crumrin, Volume Three - The Twilight Kingdom

My reading has taken a bit of a slow-down this month due to the play that I'm in (rehearsals in October, open in November), but I am managing to sneak a few books here and there...

This next book takes me back to the dark and brooding world of young Courtney Crumrin - I, for one, was extremely glad to get back! With each graphic novel I read, I kick myself for never picking these up back when these books first came out.  How in the world did I miss out on such a well-written, thoroughly engaging book like this?  (Well, I can tell you how - I was put off by the rather off-beat art - something I have learned to get beyond and, in fact, appreciate!)

"The Twilight Kingdom" sets our young heroine on a new journey - discovering just what it means to be a friend and to actually have friends.  The first chapter sees Courtney returning to her hometown with her parents as they try to sell the family home - and Courtney hopes to rekindle her friendship with Malcolm.  But she discovers that not only has Malcolm changes - so has she!  There's actually very little supernatural element to this first tale, but its most poignant because it shows that sometimes, you really can't go home again...

The remaining three chapters in this book bring Courtney back to Hillsborough, where she finds herself attending Saturday School at Radley Hall.  This was a secret school for children of witches and warlocks to have the opportunity to freely express their heritage and powers and learn more about themselves.  Courtney is once again an outsider, but when she steps up to help a young boy that is being bullied into having a curse put upon him, she finds herself pushed further outside when the boy casts aside her help, standing beside his brother and their friends.  Surprise, surprise - they don't listen to Courtney and end up placing a curse on the boy that cannot be undone. can be lifted!

The remaining chapters find Courtney, against her better judgment, helping the other kids by journeying into the Twilight Kingdom to obtain a specific fruit that, when eaten, will restore the boy to normal.  The others bully their way into joining her into the Twilight Kingdom, they get separated, and it winds up falling upon Courtney to, one-by-one, save each of the kids, calling in a number of favors to do so.

But creator Ted Naifeh is a crafty enough writer to not make the story a simply rescue mission.  Scattered throughout the chapters is the ongoing unrest with the council (with one in particular taking a specific dislike of Courtney).  He is out to put an end to Courtney for the evil he believes she has unleashed - but his attempt to exact revenge on the young girl results in a very surprising defense by the kids who had, up until then, been her worst tormentors.  And (spoilers here!!!!) Courtney discovers that her good deeds (such as they were) did not go unnoticed, and she suddenly finds herself with friends she never asked for, or even wanted.

Begging the question - where will Naifeh take Courtney from here?

This is one graphic novel series that I cannot recommend enough - for kids, for adults for comic fans, for fans of supernatural stories - really, it's just plain great storytelling that engages you and keeps you coming back!

RATING:  10 goblin markets out of 10 for providing not only some of the best storytelling I've seen in comic form in many years, but for breathing such life into each of the characters that I find myself rooting for them!

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