Friday, January 7, 2011

Book Review - Shannon Hale's Calamity Jack

Calamity Jack by Shannon Hale
Published by: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: August 19th, 2008
Format: Hardcover, 144 Pages
Rating: ★
To Buy
While Jack and Rapunzel were victorious after their great battle with Mother Gothel at the end of Rapunzel's Revenge, something still weighs heavy on the shoulders of Jack. Sure he got the girl, sure life is looking up for all the people in Gothel's Reach... but there's that whole business of a beanstalk back home and him crossing the giant Blunderboar leading to the end of life as he knew it. But now with Rapunzel he's ready to face the music as it were. But things are even worse, the city is under attack by giant ants and the giants are the only ones saving the city. Jack's mother is still in the employ of Blunderboar as his personal baker making his bread with his "special" bone meal, which Jack suspects has a secret "human" ingredient. But nothing is as it seems and nothing is well, Jack isn't even sure of Rapunzel anymore... maybe she'd not like him if she knew the whole truth. So it's time for Jack to do some giant killing, hoping he doesn't loose his head in the process.

While the first installment in this series, Rapunzel's Revenge, was funny and fast paced, if I had issues with the world building, this just took everything and magnified it. Instead of fixing what was wrong, there just seemed to be more things that didn't work. Jack was a boring narrator. Punzie had spunk and cute slang and jargon and made you smile. Jack was dull as dirt. It was a slog to get through this short comic. Plus there's so many different styles and time periods clashing together you don't know which way is up. Now it's leaning more in a Steampunk direction but with Giants... it just didn't work for me. What it most felt like was the atrocious remaking of The Wild Wild West with Will Smith. It's just wrong and weird and I really felt that at any moment Kenneth Branagh would show up as a half spider man and side with the Giants in the skyscraper. What time period is this again!?! No really really big skyscrapers in the wild west folks. Build your world right from the start because otherwise, the seams that start to show in the beginning will fully tear in the second outing.


uhoh, sorry this one didn't live up!

That's the way it is with me and Shannon Hale, either love it or hate it.

That's too bad. My daughter and I are currently working our way through Rapunzel's Revenge. It's the first lengthy graphic novel she's had the chance to look at and she seems to be enjoying it. Helps that the main character is Rapunzel.

I'm sure if I had read these when I was younger I would rank them as my top books. They are the prefect bridge books for younger kids and just the kid I devoured when younger. Like those illustrated classics, the one with classics done as cartoons, I loved those so much!

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