Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Vögelein

Vögelein is a most unusual creature: she is a faerie, a tiny, beautiful person with functioning wings, yet she was constructed by a human and is made of clockwork. She thinks, talks, and experiences emotions - and as the story opens, she is frightened.

Vögelein's mechanism runs down periodically, and she needs to be wound, or she will stop working - and even if she is wound up again, she will lose memories. And as those she loves most are dead and gone, that is a horrifying thought to her: losing her memories means losing her identity. The man who has been winding her - she can't do it herself, because the key fits into her back - has died. It isn't an easy thing, finding a trustworthy human to do the one thing that keeps her from being independent. To make matters even more complicated, Vögelein runs afoul of a nasty faerie - who hates her for being what he once was, before the metal and pollution of humans warped him into a different sort of being altogether.

This is a charming story with a dark underbelly, an urban fairytale with substance and a sense of wonder. Vögelein is an admirable heroine, trying to find her place in the world, strong yet vulnerable. This story should appeal to fans of Charles de Lint, and while my library shelves it in the YA section, adult fans of graphic novels are sure to enjoy its compelling story and evocative artwork as well.

For more information about this graphic novel and its sequel (Vögelein: Old Ghosts), check out the Vögelein website. This is my first book read for this year's Graphic Novels Challenge, and I feel I'm off to a great start!

Vögelein: Clockwork Faerie by Jane Irwin and Jeff Berndt (Fiery Studios, 2004)

Also reviewed at:
Biblio File: "Lovely. I especially liked Midhir, and how much our modern world has corrupted him. The line, "even the iron doesn't hurt me the way it once did" broke my heart."
Comics Worth Reading: "The beautifully moody, painted greyscale art is well-suited to the subject matter. There’s a lack of typical comic tricks, like sound effects or motion lines. The influences here are clearly books like Sandman and Watchmen: thoughtful, artistic comics with literary antecedents."

16 comments:

  1. Great review, Darla! I've only read one graphic novel earlier, which I didn't like, perhaps I'll give this one a try. Sounded good to me :)

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  2. What an unusual story! Sounds sad. Great review, thanks.

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  3. Ladybug - Oh, please don't give up on graphic novels yet! There are SO many wonderful ones out there. This one won't take you long to read, which is one great thing about many graphic novels - you don't have the same investment as with a regular text novel, so it's easy to give different ones a try. I hope you enjoy this if you decide to read it!

    Mariel - It has poignant moments, but it's a pretty happy story, in the end. I'm interested to see what happens in the next one - I'll keep you posted. :)

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  4. I won't give up, I promise ;) Just have to find something that appeals to me.

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  5. Ladybug - I'm glad to hear it! You should check out the graphic novel challenge site for lots of great ideas and reviews. I believe that if you can just find the right kind for you, you will come to love them as much as I do. :-)

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  6. Ooooh! You've done it again, DarlaD! I have to find this book now!

    Heck, I'm still searching for that blasted Harry Potter board game which I now believe you just made up. hahaha

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  7. Cat - Yes, I completely made the game up, just to torment you, mwahaha! :-)

    I will check to see if they have it the next time I go to the bookstore where I got it. Want me to get it for you if they do?

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  8. This looks interesting! I have never heard of this book before.

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  9. Cat - Okay! I'll let you know if I find it.

    Kailana - I happened across it when I was looking for a book for a patron at my library. I love when that happens!

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  10. I was already liking the sound of it, and then you mentioned Charles De Lint! I'm in!!
    now,the problem will be...where to find it:P
    for now, it goes on the wishlist:)

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  11. Valentina - I hope you're able to track it down. I'll be (optimistically) looking forward to your thoughts!

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  12. Oh how cute! I've always loved stories about faeries. Which reminds me, did you ever get a chance to read Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston? I bought the sequel last weekend (and then won it from a blog the next day but I told the owner to re-draw) but I haven't started it yet.

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  13. Ladytink - No, I haven't read that yet, but it sounds really good. I'll be looking forward to hearing what you think of it!

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  14. This sounds like alovely story, just my kind of thing. I love bittersweet tales.

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  15. Rhinoa - I enjoyed it very much - and I have the sequel waiting for me at home for when I return from our ski vacation. I'm excited to read it!

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