Friday, February 21, 2014

Susan's Book Review: Amelia Cole and the Unknown World by Adam Knave

Full disclosure: I know this graphic novel exists and read it because I went to college with D.J. Kirkbride, one of the authors. I was worried I wouldn’t like it and would end up lying to him about it, but I’m super happy to report that I enjoyed it! It’s unlike any other graphic novel I’ve read, yet it definitely has some familiar elements. Amelia is a mage who lives in two different worlds: a magical and a non-magical. Only she and her Aunt Dani can cross between the worlds, until one day when Amelia runs into a demon in the non-magical world. Dani decides the risk of crossing is too great and seals the portal forever, dying in the process. Just before she passes, Dani confesses that there aren’t just two worlds and in fact, Amelia is from a third. In shock and on the run from police because of magical disturbances, Amelia locates a glowing door in Dani’s basement and uses it to escape into what turns out to be the unknown world.

The door is one-way, so she’s stuck there, reeling from the loss of her only family and dealing with the knowledge that this new world even exists. She needs a friend, so she uses her magic to conjure a golem out of the rubble where she landed. She goes exploring and finds that this world seems like the other two realms smashed together. There’s magic, but not everyone has it, and some people stare when she uses it. She has nothing, but quickly lucks into a job as the super of an apartment building (which conveniently comes with a studio apartment) and she makes fast friends with some locals.

Unfortunately, drama follows Amelia and it’s not long before she’s gotten the attention of local police and someone known as the Protector. There’s also a shadowy figure governed by some sort of council who’s pulling the strings of the Protector. Aunt Dani said she promised Amelia’s parents she’d keep her safe and that’s why she kept the world a secret, so chances are Amelia is someone more important than she realizes.

I really enjoyed the character of Amelia. She’s smart, sarcastic, and genuinely wants to help people. I like how that’s a natural drive of hers and I don’t need an origin story to know why, it’s just the way she is. Lemmy, the golem, can’t speak, but he’s a loyal and selfless companion who is also a hard worker, so I’m a big fan! I had a little trouble following the story with a bunch of narration happening via caption boxes, but I think that’s more an issue with me and how I process the panels. I’m excited for Amelia’s next adventure and might even seek out the monthlies!

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