CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 5 . . . .October 27, 2006
The Emerald Curse.
Simon Rose. Illustrated by Cynthia Nugent.
Vancouver, BC: Tradewind Books, 2006.
151 pp., pbk., $9.95.
Comic books, strips, etc.-Juvenile fiction.
Grades 5-9 / Ages 10-14.
Review by Ruth Sands.
"With the heroes gone," Tanya explained, "my father's power has become unstoppable, and it turned him into a sadistic monster. After discovering that some nearby villages were linked to the resistance, he ordered them erased from the map. You saw the plumes of smoke in the valley? All the townspeople-men, women, children and even animals-were slaughtered and the villages razed to the ground as if they had never existed."
"That's horrific!" He thought for a moment about the poor villagers and the hopelessness of their situation.
"Our people live in fear. Those who dare to join or help the resistance are condemned to a life on the run. Their families are often eliminated as a lesson to others. My Uncle Mathias led the resistance until he was killed a few months ago. My cousins are now in charge. When my mothertried to help them, she paid for it with her life."
"She betrayed your father?" Sam was shocked. Baron Midnight's wife, Anastasia, had always been extremely loyal, blind to her husband's evil.
Simon Rose's latest book, The Emerald Curse, is an interesting foray into the surrealistic world of the comic book. Charles Kelly is a famous cartoonist thanks to the deal he made with the resident of a mysterious pen. Charles unfortunately reneges on his part of the deal and is pulled into one of his own comic book creations.
Sam is excited to be moving into the home of his grandfather who mysteriously disappeared two years earlier. Sam is on his way to being a brilliant cartoonist himself and quickly discovers what happened to his grandfather when he spends an evening in the artist's study. A strange pen, a relic from ancient Troy, pulls Sam quite literally into one of his grandfather's comics. Sam then embarks upon a fantastic adventure to rescue his grandfather from his grandfather's own creations.
Rose has very carefully crafted his book to imitate the surrealist feel of comic books. The comic book story isn't particularly new, and it could be any of a thousand comics, but Sam's interaction with the characters in the story is novel.
The illustrations by Cynthia Nugent are a perfect addition to the tale, lending an even stronger feeling of comic bookishness to the story.
While not overly complex, the writing is clean and perfectly suited to the comic book genre. Sam is the perfect hero. Intelligent, he overcomes great adversity, and everything turns out wonderfully well for him in the end. With fantastic creatures, a damsel in distress and solid action, this book will especially appeal to young males.
Ruth Sands is a freelance writer from Vancouver, BC.
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