April 12, 2009

Courtney Crumrin in the Twilight Kingdom

Courtney Crumrin is back in this third volume of her adventures. The book opens as she returns to her old neighborhood, where she lived with her parents before they were invited to move to the huge old Victorian house in another town and live with her eccentric old uncle. Her parents have been unable to sell their old house, and while they are wheeling and dealing, Courtney hooks up with her old best friend. Being with him makes him realize how much things have changed for her - and how the decisions she has made, for better or worse, have changed her life.

Things are still not easy for her - particularly now, as a rift has formed between her and Uncle Aloysius following the events that occured at the close of the previous book. As if that weren't bad enough, she must now attend "Saturday School" with other magically gifted children. She quickly discovers that she doesn't fit in any better there than at regular school. When a curse one of the other students casts, just to show off, has disastrous consequences, Courtney feels obliged to help fix the situation, even though it means returning to the very dangerous Twilight Kingdom.

In previous volumes, Courtney has taken some rather ruthless steps to see that justice (as she sees it) is served - edging very close to the darkest side of the magical world. Here she is thrust into a new position of responsibility, and it is fascinating to see her maneuver through these new demands and ethical choices. She has been on her own, for the most part, in the previous volumes, but now she is with - gasp - some...could they actually be friends?

This is fast becoming one of my favorite graphic novel series. I love the dark humor, the striking illustrations, the moral ambiguity that is explored throughout, and most of all, smart, feisty, no-nonsense Courtney, whose character is further developed in each volume of this compelling series.

Books in the Courtney Crumrin series:
1. Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things
2. Courtney Crumrin and the Coven of Mystics
3. Courtney Crumrin in the Twilight Kingdom
4. Courtney Crumin's Monstrous Holiday

And also:
Courtney Crumrin Tales: Portrait of the Warlock as a Young Man
Courtney Crumrin and the Fire Thief's Tale
Courtney Crumrin and the Prince of Nowhere

Courtney Crumrin in the Twilight Kingdom (#3 in the Courtney Crumrin graphic novel series) by Ted Naifeh (Oni Press, 2004)

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