Saturday, April 17, 2010

Book-A-Day 2010 # 73 (4/17) -- Nightschool: The Weirn Books, Vol. 3 by Svetlana Chmakova

I've written before about Chmakova's urban fantasy comics series -- I covered both the first and second volumes in reviews for ComicMix -- and I'm still enjoying it in this third volume, as answers begin to explain some of the mysteries. (And that's as it should be -- a creator can only raise so many questions before she hits the point where she has to start answering some of them.)

This volume opens with a focus on Daemon (the tall scary guy with tight cornrows) and his Hunters -- he's fighting an army of werewolves in their home (lair? den?), while another army of werewolves attacks his safe house, where the three young folks on the cover defend their compatriots who were knocked out by Alex Treveney back in the first book. The Hunters are pretty much what you'd expect they would be, given their name and the background of the world, and they're just about tough enough to handle anything. (The "just about" keeps it interesting.)

Eventually the story finds it way back to Alex, who is still attending her first day night at Night School -- though she doesn't manage to attend a real class in this volume. She does learn a few things along the way, though -- particularly about her missing (and almost entirely forgotten) sister Sarah. Also learning things is the ridiculously powerful teacher Mr. Roi, who doesn't manage to show up for Alex's class because he's too busy explaining things at great length to another member of the cast.

So this volume is mostly concerned with filling in backstory -- but Chmakova gives us a big fighting-with-werewolves scene to start off with, so backstory is welcome about then. (And there's more than a bit of megadeath in the backstory, too.) This book sees things getting somewhat too melodramatic -- there's one character whose anguished dialogue is really too much, even for a pop-fiction comic about werewolves and the folks who hunt them -- and some of her names are a little silly. But that's not substantially different from the wave of pure-prose urban fantasy (and its epic counterpart), so I can't really fault Chmakova on that account. I am hoping that the explanation for the supernatural stuff gets a little more distinctive and interesting -- it's a bit doomy and second-hand for my tastes so far -- but this is still a reliably entertaining and engrossing chunk of modern fantasy.

Book-A-Day 2010: The Epic Index
Listening to: Oingo Boingo - Elementary Physics
via FoxyTunes

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