27 July 2011

27 July 2011–Good Vs. Evil Two-fer

The Awakening
Written by Donald Lemke; Illustrated by Claudia Medeliros
Stone Arch Books, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4342-3444-5

Alien Snow
Written by Michael Dahl; Illustrated by Roberta Pares
Stone Arch Books, 2011
ISBN: 978-14342-3443-8
The AwakeningAilen Snow
Before I begin, I’m tweaking to format a little for this review, as I’m reviewing two books using the same hook (discussed at length in the analysis section)

The Awakening –
Set in 1984, the dual stories of a young man and an Oni (Japanese demon) are affected by music from a cassette tape.

Alien Snow – Early 2010 finds a boy discovering the spaceship toy he’s been looking all over for, while at the same time, an alien invader has discovered the next addition to its collection.

Two of the four inaugural books in the new Good Vs. Evil series from Stone Arch Books. Each book in the series follows the same format: two parallel stories that weave together, telling both sides of the story from different points of view.
One story is always the “blue story” (my definition), easily defined by the complete use of blue tones and hues to tell that point of view. The second story is always the “red story” (again, my definition), and is basically the same as the other story, except, as the name suggests, everything is red.
At the beginning of each book is the suggestion to read one story line, then go back and read the other story, then go back and read both stories together.
Seeing this at the start of the book, I was extremely excited to get right in and start reading. However, by the time I got halfway through the first read through, I was growing weary of forcing myself to keep my eyes to one story. After finishing the first read through, I felt a little dread and apprehension going into the second story – not that the writing is bad, but it’s so trying on the eyes to not roam all over the page.
Powering through the second story, I managed to catch a second wind, now excited to read the entire story.
The third read through put everything in perspective and overall, the story felt much more cohesive. The individual stories felt disjointed and incomplete, becoming difficult to read, as certain major aspects are addressed in the opposite story.
  Overall, the artwork is top notch, which always seems to be a given. Their artwork is always inviting and accessible to readers, while the writing is solid as well, but feels a little hampered by the format, however, at the same time, it feels a little liberated from conventional storytelling tropes.
Final Thoughts
While the format has the potential for some fascinating storytelling, the format setup is probably not going to set well with younger readers, and many will read both stories together, or just give up on the book all together.
All in all, I love the concept, but the execution still feels a little rocky and uneven. Currently, it’s a fascinating concept, and worth a look, but I fear it’s a little too far ahead of it’s time to catch on with target audiences.

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