Saturday, December 20, 2014

Book Bingo: The Garthim Wars

Wow, did I miss a lot of time! Sorry about that! I wish I could say I was taking a vacation, but I was actually working more. My supervisor left the store, and I got a promotion! Hopefully this was a temporary lapse, but no matter what, I'm here just in time to review some books I've read before the end of the new year!

The Garthim Wars by Barbara Randall Kesel is part of the Legends of The Dark Crystal graphic novel series. It's illustrated by Heidi Arnhold and Max Kim. If you've ever seen the movie The Dark Crystal, this is a prequel to that storyline. In a fantasy world that is ruled by evil Skeksis (vulture-like creatures with magic), two Gelflings (a more peaceful race--big fans of music, craft, and animals) whose towns have been destroyed set out to rouse others of their kind in defense of their homes. In this novel, the Gelflings are fighting Garthims (giant cockroach and crab-like creatures), but who knows what lies ahead of them next?

(picture taken from Goodreads;
cover art by Jae-Hwan Kim)

First Impression: I'm a bit confused by the pace. There's a lot of action right at the beginning,  and then it dies down for the council discussion in the gelfling cave community. I'm concerned that this storyline won't fit very well into the timeline of The Dark Crystal and its other prequels. I like that the authors included dream-fasting--that's a nice little tidbit from the movie. The art is pretty good and its fairly accurate to the style of Henson's puppets. I like the different outfits, hair, and everything they pulled in to make the characters unique, but I wish the faces were a little more varied, as well. This would make a huge difference, especially since the art is all black and white.

Conclusion: Lahr and Neffi had good interaction with each other as well as other characters. It's interesting to see how the gelfling society traditions conflict with wartime--for example, all of the older gelflings are constantly trying to discuss Neffi's search for a husband, but she is more focused on necessary defense tactics. The story would have been more unique if the authors had chosen two boys or two girls to be the main characters rather than a boy and a girl. As it is, the graphic novel reads a bit like an attempt to copy Jen and Kira from the movie. I was surprised that the book ended where it did, but it's apparently the first volume in a sub-series of The Dark Crystal timeline. Stories set in war time rarely grow old, even if the war is fictional and/or unrealistic. Many of the issues remain the same, and the primitive setting of this story puts an interesting spin on war and Henson's fantasy world. This is, in fact, an official graphic novel from the Jim Henson Company--not a separate one as I originally thought. I enjoyed it more that I thought I would, though I'm still unsure how it will fit in the complete storyline. I will probably read the second one if only to know what happens next.

The Garthim Wars is my tenth "Series" choice for the 2014 Book Bingo Challenge. I don't usually write reviews of graphic novels, but I read them fairly frequently, and I figure I can use as many books crossed off my bingo sheet as possible at this point. I can't believe the year is almost over!