Friday, November 21, 2008

Kin by Holly Black


Title: Kin
Author: Holly Black
Illustrator: Ted Naifeh
Publisher: Graphix
Publication Date: October 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover Graphic Novel, 144 pages
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: The Good Neighbors (Book 1)

Although I do not normally read graphic novels I won a copy of Holly Black's Kin as part of my prize package from a contest on Brooke Taylor's blog. I'm so glad Brooke introduced me to this graphic novel because I probably wouldn't have found it any other way.

Rue Silver's mother has disappeared and when a student at the local college is murdered Rue's father becomes a suspect in both cases. As Rue struggles with her mother's disappearance and wonders whether her father was involved, she begins to see things in a new way. People and places look different as she sees what is truly there and not the normal images that the faeries want the humans to see. In order to save her mother, Rue must unravel family secrets and discover her true heritage.

Holly Black does an amazing job at writing very sparse narrative that conveys a complex story. Rectangular text boxes let the reader in on Rue's thoughts while conversations take place in the conventional word bubbles. The characters' motivations are complicated and Black reveals the drive behind the characters' actions with a measured pace that fits well with Rue's investigation.

The black and white illustrations by Ted Naifeh fit Black's dark story perfectly. Each frame fits with the mood of the characters and shadows are used heavily to convey the unknowing. The characters are often sharp lines and angles with heavy facial expression.

The narrative and illustration work well together in expressing the depth of Rue's emotions as she struggles with so much uncertainty.

Kin is the first book in The Good Neighbors series and I can't wait to read the rest and find out how Rue handles her new knowledge and what happens to her mother. The second book is scheduled for release in 2009 and the third in 2010.