Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Early Graphic Novel Review - The Bramble by Lee Nordling and Bruce Zick (3/5 stars)

Reading Level: Middle Grade/Childrens’
Genre: Fantasy
Size: 32 pages
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
Release Date: September 1, 2013
ISBN: 978-0761358565
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: eGalley from NetGalley for review
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

I got a copy of this book to review through NetGalley(dot)com. Thanks to Carolrhoda Books and Netgalley for giving me the chance to review this book. When I saw this graphic novel about a boy finding monsters in a dark forest I was hooked and dying to read it. It ended up being an okay read, a little confusing at parts and the drawings were more sketches and seemed a bit incomplete.

A young boy is being teased and bullied by some older boys when he can’t catch them during a game of tag, then he falls into the Bramble. The Bramble is a mysterious world full of friendly monsters and an evil dark wave that threatens them. When he helps the monsters defeat this evil dark wave they celebrate with him. Soon he has to journey home, there he uses what he learned in the Bramble to deal with the bully he was having trouble with and to make new friends of the human type.

The illustrations are cute but have an unfinished feel to them. They are done mostly in muted browns and blues, which match the tone of the story well. Still the sketchy feel they had to them bothered me a bit, like maybe the illustrations weren’t quite all they could be.

There are very very few words in this book, it’s mostly told through pictures. Giving the sketchiness of the illustrations and the complete dependence of the story on these illustrations, you end up with a story that is kind of confusing at times. I had to go back and re-look multiples times to try and figure out what was going on in the story.

Still once I figured the story out it is a cute one. Basically the boy befriends the monsters and then uses his own strengths back in his own world to make new friends with the kids that were mean to him before. It’s a good story about friendship, using your strengths, and forgiveness. So there’s a good message here if you can follow the story.

Really this book comes across as a bit of a Where the Wild Things Are but for the middle grade age set.

Overall an okay book. I love the theme and the idea here and really enjoyed the positive story. I was disappointed in the unfinished feel the illustrations had and a bit disappointed at how hard the story was to follow. This was a bit like a Where the Wild Things are but for the middle grade crowd...and with poorer illustration. I would recommend taking a quick look at the illustration of the book before buying just to see if it appeals to you.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- Graphic Novel Reading Challenge
- 150+ Reading Challenge

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