Wednesday, December 31, 2008

In the Small by Michael Hague, a graphic novel book review

What you're going to read from me over the next few days are a few graphic novel reviews, I am currently going through a stack of some that were either recommended to me or sounded interesting.

Today I am going to review In the Small, by Michael Hague. In the Small is the debut for Hague and is likely the first in a story series. In the Small is a post apocalyptic story about a blue flash that envelops the earth, turning humans 1/12 their normal size. Of course, you can imagine the panic that sweeps the world, as life as humanity knows it ceases to exist. Animals once thought benign are now predators on the largest scale, and years of technological advancement are for nothing, because humans are no longer large enough to use any of it.

This is a great premise, an interesting take on the whole apocalyptic story, certainly a departure from the celestial event or nuclear bombing that is the hallmark of 90% of all books and/or movies in this genre.

The first thing I noticed about In the Small is that I didn't care much for the delivery of the story in Hague's artistry or word choice. The story was highly contrived, based around mysticism a little bit too much, and was one of those stories where basically one family does all the work on two separate fronts and everyone else just satisfies themselves with being background players.

The graphics were rather gory, which isn't a problem, and actually comes with the territory, many graphic novels that are classified as young adult appropriate have a fair amount of blood and death, but this one was sensationalized a little bit at times.

I felt that the story was weak, and if I wasn't trying to get through it in order to have the whole story to look at (or the fact that it only took about 20 minutes to read the whole thing and gather my thoughts on it), then I may not have finished it, it couldn't hold interest and was just odd.

If you are a teacher (or just a reader) and have a love for apocalyptic fiction, or your students enjoy it and want more, I guess this book can be tried. I don't know how well received it will be by students, because it's getting highly mixed reviews in the literary world. I can just say that I won't personally recommend it, because I didn't care for it.

This book should carry a high school reading level, I would say 9th grade and up for the language usage, but probably 11th and up for the content, but that's just my opinion on that.