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News Review

Tri-City News: A Good Read
Posted Date: September 07, 2018

If Monty Python and the Holy Grail has shown us anything, it’s that women in ponds distributing swords is no basis for government, and that fantasy can be delightfully funny.

If you crossed Monty Python with Dungeons and Dragons, you would get The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins. Based on the McElroy family’s hit podcast with an introduction by no less a fantasy boss than Patrick Rothfuss, the graphic novel illustrated by Casey Pietsch brings to life the misadventures of Taako the vain wizard; Merle the incompetent cleric; and Magnus, the fighter who is good at everything. Riffing on the traditional epic quest, the trio enter a spooky mine in search of glory, hidden treasure, and a mysterious figure named…. Barry Bluejeans. 

Have you heard of the Gloomies? Definitely not the 80s cult movie with pirate treasure that you’re thinking of but the other one. Wilder has spent her entire life surrounded by the Gloomies movie’s hoaky legend which was filmed in her hometown, Cannon Cove. And she’s had enough. She can’t wait to leave the small town and find real-life adventure. But when an old map detailing a treasure beyond belief falls into her possession, Wilder knows that this is no movie prop. Misfit City is a graphic novel by Kurt Lustgarten and Kiwi Smith (screenwriter of Legally Blond) and illustrated by Naomi Franquiz.

From the angels in Old Woman Josie’s yard to the library staffed by blood-thirsty claw creatures, Night Vale is just your average small town in the desert. It Devours! by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor is set in the world of their wildly popular podcast, Welcome to Night Vale. Darryl, a faithful acolyte of the Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God, is concerned. You wouldn’t know it from his constant toothy grin but he is worried that his cult might be up to something. Nilanjana is a scientist and a newcomer to the town where time and space are a little more… flexible. Together, they team up to investigate the cause of the mysterious tremors heading closer and closer to city limits. 

In Theodore Goss’s brilliant The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, Mary Jekyll is shocked to discover that her late mother had been paying for the upkeep of someone named “Hyde” for years. The name brings a shiver to her spine as Mr. Hyde was Dr. Jekyll’s frightening lab assistant and a suspected murderer. Wishing to uncover her family’s dark secret, Mary brings the case to the doors of 221B Baker Street. Witty, irreverent, and fiercely feminist, Goss’s book weaves together some of the greatest characters in Victorian literature for a wonderful romp. The sequel, European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman has my vote for the best title of 2018.

Many of us read Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel Jane Eyre and had a lot of questions. Namely, why on earth Jane would stay in musty old Thornfield Hall? Isn’t Rochester way too old for Jane? Doesn’t she notice that he is bad boyfriend material – stringing poor Blanche along and then making fun of her at a dinner party full of strangers? Why aren’t there more ghosts? Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadow’s and Brodi Ashton’s uproarious supernatural YA retelling of the classic book, My Plain Jane answers all those questions and more.

Find these any other great fantasy titles at your local library.