The Unwritten Vol. 1 by Mike Carey and Peter Gross

Rating: **** (4 out of 5)

Background: I will admit this right from the beginning: I got this book because of its cover. It’s deceptively simple and quite brilliant. And the phrase that’s pictured coming out (or going into) the book really piqued my interest: Stories are the only thing worth dying for. Food for thought.

Wilson Taylor is the author of the most celebrated fantasy book series in the world. Surpassing even Harry Potter’s popularity, the Tommy Taylor series follows the adventures of a boy wizard, his friends Sue and Peter, and a magical flying cat as they battle an evil vampire called Count Ambrosio (the similarity to Harry Potter’s storyline is evident). The author’s son, Tom Taylor, is believed by fans to be the model for his father’s stories, and when Wilson Taylor disappears, his son tries to cash in on his father’s legacy in any way he can. However, he is haunted by abandonment issues and resentment at being looked at only as a fictional character. When doubts are raised about his past, and whether or not he is truly the son of the missing author, Tom Taylor is thrust into a lot more trouble than he could conceive.

I liked the story, the premise is interesting, and all the literary references make this a true pleasure for any book lover. I had a few problems with the execution – for example, I thought that the story evolved quite slowly, with the main character not figuring out things that are made quite obvious to the reader. I guess this is fairly true to reality – after all, if you were in the main character’s shoes, just how easily would you believe you were actually a character made flesh, or that all the literary mumble-jumbo your father taught you would be useful to battle enemies you’re not even aware of? In that sense, the character of Tommy is believable, even if he’s a bit insufferable (at least to me, he came out as whiny and kinda spoiled).

Even so, I found it a bit confusing, which I guess is the result of only reading the beginning of the story (when the book ends you feel like the story has only just started) and the bits of information that is thrown in in the form of blog entries, chat discussions, and back story. Still, I kinda liked the vibe of mystery-to-be-solved this gave, and I’m really looking forward to the next issue. Also, the fact that stories are presented as being the thing that makes the world go round is really interesting.

Overall, thought-provoking and out of the ordinary. If you like fast-paced, action-driven comics, then I guess this one isn’t for you. But if you’re a passionate writer or a reader, I’m sure you’ll be able to connect with this book.

What’s Next:
Will definitely check out the next volume.

Next I’m thinking of reading Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics. It’s a subject that interests me more and more.


2 thoughts on “The Unwritten Vol. 1 by Mike Carey and Peter Gross

  1. André Nóbrega says:

    You have now convinced me that it is worth saving some time to read Unwritten. And I’m looking forward to know what you’ll think of Understanding Comics, as I am definitely interested in reading it. Keep up the good work!

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