Pandemonium by Chris Wooding and Cassandra Diaz
This is by far my most favourite graphic novel I have read so far in my graphic novel reading quest (which is shortly going to lapse into a Batman reading quest, just so you know…). Anyway, Pandemonium – fabulous book.
It’s the story of a teenage boy named Seifer in a place called Pandemonium where everyone has wings and horns. He’s just a small town boy who desperately wants to do more with his life than his family expects (which is excel at a game called Headball and eat weird things like Stinkbug). His father is furious when he finds out that Seifer is secretly reading books and Seifer decides to go visit his eccentric grandfather who is determined to eat his cat. On the way back home he is kidnapped by the secret service, called the Velvet Spies, and taken to the Queen. It turns out that the Prince Talon, the Defender of the Realm has gone missing and the enemies of Pandemonium are starting to move against the Queen. Seifer just happens to look exactly like the Prince Talon so he’s going to pretend to be the Prince until the real one can be found.
Hilarity and also awesome narrative ensues.
Seifer is supported by an awesome adviser who comes up with the most creative threats ever, a young noblewoman called Cassie who has a mysterious past as well as powers, the two princesses who are Talon’s sisters, and an enormous red cat that wants to eat Seifer.
So this book is awesome. It’s funny, like laugh out loud funny, and sure some of the humour is totally burp jokes (for the boys) but some of it is not. The wording is clever, whether or not all kids will understand it, as an adult it’s hilarious. The pictures are brilliant and beautiful just to look at, never mind the words and the characters are genuine. Of course it follows a fairly standard arch of character development for Seifer, that is he starts to win the hearts of the people through his bravery and kindness, to traits the real Prince Talon lacked but the characters, the situations and their reactions all piece together the archetypal story in a super readable, enjoyable way.
I was reading it across the counter from my Mother and she said something about how graphic novels probably didn’t teach kids to read in the same way. Although she might be right, this novel makes a pretty compelling argument against that. Each character has a different voice and the vocab is hard. “Fathom” comes up, and I’m just saying, that’s probably a little outside of most ten year olds’ vocab which means that by reading this book they are totally getting new words and new contexts and that’s awesome.This book doesn’t make assumptions about it’s readers. It’s (relatively) easy to read but it’s got hard words. It’s got boy humour but also girl humour, strong male and female characters. Dark panels but a light story. Essentially, there’s no one who shouldn’t like this book.
And if you do, I will beat you up
Last movie I watched: Batman Beyond and the Return of the Joker. ‘Cause it’s awesome.
Last TV episode I watched: The last episode of the first season of a Batman cartoon from the 2000s I think. It was delightful.