Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Kin: The Good Neighbors, Book 1

I have read and enjoyed Holly Black's YA faery stories Tithe, Ironside and Valiant, and I absolutely adore Ted Naifeh's Courtney Crumrin graphic novels, so I was delighted when this graphic novel they co-wrote arrived at my library. The premise is not an unfamiliar one (particularly in Black's dark world where the land of faery is enmeshed with the human world, unbeknownst to most people): Sixteen-year-old Rue has suddenly started to see very strange creatures, things that none of her friends can see, and she has no idea what is happening to her.

That is only one disturbing element in Rue's very troubled life. Her mother disappeared three weeks earlier, following a huge fight with her dad. Now her father sits alone, depressed, in the dark at home, and Rue worries (although she says she doesn't) about where her her mother is, and when - or if - she's coming back. When a young university student is found murdered, and her father, a professor, turns out to be the last person who saw her alive, things get even worse. He is taken away by the police, and Rue is faced with a very spooky, intimidating man who claims to be her grandfather and wants to take custody of her...

Naifeh's arresting black-and-white illustrations are a perfect fit to the dark, brooding nature of the storyline. Rue is an intriguing character - she stands on her own two feet and doesn't let herself be swayed by her own fears - or her friends. The tale - at this point - is not a huge departure, plotwise, from other such stories. But it is an interesting beginning, which ties up some plot strands but leaves enough unresolved that I'm very curious to see what happens in the next book.

Kin (The Good Neighbors, Book 1) by Holly Black and Ted Naifeh (Graphix, 2008)

Also reviewed at:
Book Nut: "It's all set-up, no action, no resolution. And just leaves you feeling weird. However, I'm going to have to get the next volume if only because I'm curious what happens to Rue."
Charlotte's Library: "...because the story is broken up into frames (it is, after all, a graphic novel), which feels like a very jumpy way of story-telling to me, I felt that I shared Rue's confusion and lack of a coherent reality in a very immediate, empathetically engaged way."
NineSevenEight Book Reviews: "The plot is perhaps a bit complex for the short format--at times I found myself a bit confused as to what, exactly, was going on, but aside from that, the book works both as a cohesive whole and as the beginning of a longer story."
Rhinoa's Ramblings: "Beautifully drawn, I fell in love with this tale straight away. I warmed to Rue, as usual Holly describes very realistic characters with real flaws you can truely empathise with. She makes the fantastic feel so much more mundance and possible."


  1. I just read this, too. I wasn't super impressed because it is really a book that doesn't work without reading the sequels. It was mostly just set-up. I will be reading the next book, though.

  2. Kailana - I agree. It's always better when you discover them after the first few have been written, isn't it? I'm hoping for things to get more interesting in the next one...and I'm betting they will.

  3. This looks excellent! I've got it on hold at the library - but I may just pause the hold until the second one comes out. I get way too impatient for sequels :) But thanks so much for the review!

  4. Joanne - I kind of wish I'd waited, too, so I could read the second one right away. The good thing about graphic novels, though, is they are such quick reads. It won't be any hardship to reread this in preparation for book #2!

  5. Your review is another reminder that I should be reading some Holly Black books sooner than later.

  6. Amber - I have enjoyed all of her books that I've read so far. I hope you will, too!

  7. AnonymousMay 29, 2009

    I reviewed it here as well:

    I really liked this and can't wait for Ted to finish the artwork for the second book.

  8. Rhinoa - How on earth did I miss your review? I remembered it as soon as I saw it - thanks for the link! I am impatient for the next book too, particularly after the way this one ended.


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