Kin: A brooding otherworld

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews YA, young adult, Holly Black The Good Neighbors 1. KinKin by Holly Black

When I first opened Kin by Holly Black, I was surprised to find it was a graphic novel. Once I started reading, I was absorbed in the story of Rue Silver, a slightly punk college student who is facing an unexpected crisis in her life. Her mother has disappeared, and her father has been arrested for her murder, and the murder of one of his grad students. And to make matters worse, Rue has started seeing people — or more precisely things — that shouldn’t be able to exist.

Kin follows Rue as she tries to find the truth behind the allegations plaguing her father, and her sudden ability to see into the realm of Faerie. Holly Black has created a main character that will resonate with the YA readers of this tale, but may seem a bit angsty to anyone who has left their college years in the rear view mirror. Graphic novels are an interesting variation on the fantasy genre, because so much of the story is actually told in the artwork, making the author’s job much more focused on dialog rather than exposition. Black’s writing sometimes gets overwhelmed by Ted Naifeh’s amazing artwork. The book is so beautiful to look at that it is easy to overlook the relatively short storyline that is advanced. When I finished, I felt that I had read the first two chapters of a really good novel, rather than a completed work.

Even with a beautifully written story, and darkly elegant artwork by Naifeh, this is a fairly standard opening of a fairy tale. The characters all feel like they are playing out stock roles, rather than having any interesting depth of their own. However, I am hopeful that the next book in Black’s The Good Neighbors series will flesh out the variety of potentially interesting characters in this promising start. Black and Naifeh have opened up the door to a brooding otherworld, and I am interested to see where they will take this tale in future installments. Kin is recommended for YA readers, or anyone who feels like they just do not fit in.

The Good Neighbors — (2008-2009) Young adult. Publisher: Rue Silver’s mother has disappeared… and her father has been arrested, suspected of killing her. But it’s not as straightforward as that. Because Rue is a faerie, like her mother was. And her father didn’t kill her mother — instead, he broke a promise to Rue’s faerie king grandfather, which caused Rue’s mother to be flung back to the faerie world. Now Rue must go to save her — and must also defeat a dark faerie that threatens our very mortal world.

Holly Black The Good Neighbors 1. Kin 2. KithHolly Black The Good Neighbors 1. Kin 2. KithHolly Black The Good Neighbors 1. Kin 2. Kith 3. Kind


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RUTH ARNELL (on FanLit's staff January 2009 — August 2013) earned a Ph.D. in political science and is a college professor in Idaho. From a young age she has maxed out her library card the way some people do credit cards. Ruth started reading fantasy with A Wrinkle in Time and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — books that still occupy an honored spot on her bookshelf today. Ruth and her husband have a young son, but their house is actually presided over by a flame-point Siamese who answers, sometimes, to the name of Griffon.

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