Friday, October 02, 2009

The Good Neighbors (Book 2): Kith

Holly Black & Ted Naifeh
While I was utterly enchanted with the first book in The Good Neighbors series, the spell seems to have worn off a bit with the second graphic novel. The story follows Rue, who has discovered that she is half-fairy. And while she has declined joining her mother's magical family, she must fight her evil uncle, who schemes to remove Rue's entire town from the human world, and claim it as a refuge for fairy folk. In order to carry out his plan, he has a timeline to follow involving turning people into trees as a perimeter for his spell, a timeline that Rue seeks to disrupt. Meanwhile, her boyfriend is being seduced by merwomen, another friend is being tempted by a witch to use a love potion, and another friend, Ann, was changed into a tree and now seems to be something else. There's a lot going on, but it doesn't have the same impact of Rue's initial discovery of the fairy world that she belongs to, and her initial introductions to the magical characters. Naifeh's art, likewise, doesn't have any stand-out scenes like the first book had (and by stand-out, I mean those perfect panels that you stop and stare at because they're so beautifully rendered), even though it is certainly competently illustrated and is the type of story that he was born to draw, completely Gothic and dark. One place the book went that I enjoyed seeing was the fairy's caverns, but even that was a little underwhelming from what I'd imagined. I hope that the plot twist that presented itself at the end of this chapter will reinvigorate the story and prove that this was just one of those in-between set-up chapters. I mean, this book did have a story: a mystery and resolution, but it seemed like an extension of the first book, not like its own thing, and the story presented in this volume just wasn't enough to carry an entire book on its own. It was a little...boring. But like I said, I'm hoping it's just an off-chapter because there was so much promise in the first book of the series that I'd hate to see it just fizzle out.

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