Friday, March 2, 2012

Book Review- Giants Beware!

Giants Beware! written by Jorge Aguirre and illustrated by Rafael Rosado is a bit of fantasy epic, classic road trip, and family drama all rolled into one great story filled with lively and colorful action and great comedic moments. The story is about a little girl named Claudette- a rambunctious tomboy with a warrior's heart and attitude to match it. She intends to do what the townspeople should have done years ago- slay the dangerous "baby feet eating giant!"Ironically, her best friend is Marie, an aspiring princess. Marie is everything Claudette is not- dainty, well-mannered, interested in knowing which spoon is used for soup, etc.
Claudette manages to enlist Marie in helping in her quest. She also manages to bring along her little brother, Gaston, who would rather be baking some delicate pastry than tromping through the countrysides looking for monsters. Claudette's most willing accomplice is her dog, Valiant- a tiny pug who acts much bigger than he really is.
Armed with only Claudette's wood sword and Gaston's cooking gear, the team encounters a variety of hazards from the weather and elements to witches, water spirits, and even... giants!
Right behind them are two parties chasing them to bring them home safely- the townspeople, led by Marie's father, and Claudette's father- a former monster slayer who lost his legs and an arm to a dragon, who now relies on his helper Zubair, an experienced monster slayer himself.
Things aren't always what they seem to be at first in this book, and that keeps the tale from turning into "well-done, but been there and done that" territory. Rosado, who is a storyboarder for Warner Brothers and Disney (just to name a couple- you might've heard of one of those studios at least!) brings that style and skill to this graphic novel. The book has a look reminiscent of Jeff Smith's Bone series both in layout and color, and fans of that series are going to enjoy this read.
This book has a lot going for it- great art, good story with several twists, consistent and well thought out characters, interesting monsters (and places with names like Forest of Death, Mad River), backstories for several characters, and openings for more stories from the past, present and future of these characters.
I managed to read this book straight through in one sitting, and at 208 pages, it had to be good to keep me there that long because I don't just read through a graphic novel and glance at the picture to get an idea of the action, I read for mood, with the pauses, and I look at the backgrounds, facial expressions and details as they sneak into the scene from outside of the panels.
What more can I say but that I love this book? This is a great read for adults who want a little fun escapism (this is published by :01 Books- pretty much everything they publish is going to be a quality read for at least adults), but it an even better read for kids of all ages who struggle with fitting in, thinking about their career paths, learning to forgive, and learning about how to deal with the truth.
Pick it up- 208 pages of color for about $15 is cheaper than 90 minutes at the movies!
I rate Giants Beware a 9 out 10!

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