Courtney and her Great-Uncle Aloysius take a European vacation together in this fourth volume of the Courtney Crumrin series. This one is a departure from earlier books in the series, which focus on Courtney coming to terms with her developing magical powers against the backdrop of her small town, school, and less-than-stellar parents.
In this volume Uncle Aloysius is constantly at a loss as to how to best take care of his independent and often angry little niece. At every turn it seems that Courtney encounters adults in situations, usually of their own making, that are spiraling out of control for what appears to Courtney to be ridiculous reasons. While Aloysius tries to keep her safe and discourages her involvement, Courtney just can't help herself. She has a fierce sense of justice and does all in her power to make things right, even when the consequences are ultimately disappointing - and occasionally devastating.
This book is divided into two separate parts, one set in Romania (that involves werewolves) and another in Germany (that involves her ancestral home and some nasty vampires). I love the artwork, first of all - it is evocative and perfectly conveys the dark atmosphere of Courtney's world. Who would have thought that a noseless face could be so wonderfully expressive? And I adore Courtney. She is a tough and insecure, angry and loving, impatient and impulsive, intelligent and often lonesome. She is wise but inexperienced, and she makes mistakes because of her inexperience, but she always makes them for the right reasons. The books are dark but also have moments of humor, which is one of the reasons I love them so much - and this one no exception.
It was interesting to see Courtney far from her usual setting, and to see her spending some "quality time" with her uncle. I am eagerly awaiting her further adventures.
Neifeh, Ted - Courtney Crumrin series:
Courtney Crumrin and the Coven of Mystics
Courtney Crumrin Tales: Portrait of the Warlock as a Young Man
Courtney Crumrin and the Fire Thief's TaleCourtney Crumrin and the Prince of Nowhere
Courtney Crumrin's Monstrous Holiday (#4 in the Courtney Crumin series) by Ted Naifeh (Oni Press, 2009)
Also reviewed at:Beyond Books: "It was different from the other volumes, and although I still enjoyed Courtney and the writing, I found the flow of the story to be… odd. I like reading about Courtney’s life in her Uncle’s house and with the kids at school."