Random House has jumped on the young adult graphic novel craze with several titles coming out next year. So far, I have read three out of four reader copies I found. The first bombed for me. The second, Aster and the Accidental Magic, captured me and the third one someplace in the middle. The fourth and I will meet for a reading date soon.
Thom Pico has a modern, quirky, story about nature and myth, which he wraps up into one crazy coming of age story.
First blush: this story seems science fiction; a more “futuristic” tale as humans have destroyed the crows nesting area to the point of almost extinction. You then get mythology of a more Native American aspect. Flash forward a bit, what you get are these peacock-wanna-be-chickens. But when you meet the Woman of the Mountain Heidi comes to mind.
At second blush, it is a story about a girl whose family has moved from the city to the middle of No Place Mountain. Her brother can return to go to college, while Aster is stuck in a dull town. Her mother is more interested in trying to stop the crows from coming to the village and destroying everything during the migration and her father is just trying to get some bandwidth, so he sends Aster outside to play. What comes from this is Granny (do not call her that, or old) whom has some interesting surprises up her staff, wooly dogs who give wool, Buzz, a wooly dog with no wool, one Trickster Rapscallion who grants three wishes, monsters who are nice but stinky and magic. Lots of magic.
There are two stories in this one novel. The first is Aster learning about the magic of her new home, always be careful what you wish for and video games have their merits, but do not always translate into real world practically. The second Aster meets some of the Magic Beings of the Mountain: the Kings of Autumn and Winter, The Chestnut Knights, the Queens of Summer and Spring and Buzz has a few new tricks. This time the adventure focuses on what Aster learned about herself and magic and how she is tied to it all.
Karensac’s illustrations continue the unusualness of Asters world with triangle noses, dogs that look more like flying circles and some perfectly, but simplistically detailed pages.