Thursday, June 24, 2010

book clubbing in June (1 of 2)

Graphic novel month for the library book club...

Castle Waiting by Linda Medley

We read the first collection of Linda Medley's Eisner Award-winning comic-book series, Castle Waiting. I had to rush through it a bit as I didn't get my hands on a copy until last Monday (book club meeting was on Wednesday), but I enjoyed it nevertheless. And, I'm happy to report that the general consensus of book club members was positive as well.

Castle Waiting begins with a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. After the princess awakes, she runs off with her prince leaving her castle waiting for new tenants. The castle becomes well-known as a refuge and the series follows the stories of the individuals who find their home in it.

Castle Waiting is full of literary references both overt and subtle. As I was reading I kept thinking that I wasn't catching everything making me think that the volume could stand up to many rereadings.

The collected volume ends at a bit of a weird place, leaving it unbalanced as a stand-alone: far too of the narrative is spent on the backstory of one of the characters. That being said, full backstories of the other characters should be forthcoming in the next volume.

I was intrigued by the order of bearded nuns (apparently this idea has some basis in history) and by Lady Jain (I really wanted to know more about her and how she came to be in the situation she was in). I loved the little hobgoblins that infested the castle (especially the one that looks after the baby).

My biggest complaint had to do with the format. The pages were shrunk down to fit into a binding that looks very much like one of the Series of Unfortunate Events books (evident from the image I chose for this post). Our resident graphic novel expert brought his copies of the Castle Waiting comics and flipping through them I realized just how much the reduced page and panel size changed the experience of reading the story.

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