Monday, April 23, 2012

Dark, weird, sort of dystopian fantasy detective story: Review of Joe Golem and the Drowning City

For my birthday I got Joe Golem and the Drowning City, an illustrated novel by Mike Mignola (the Hellboy creator) and Christopher Golden, NY Times bestselling author of The Myth Hunters, The Boys are Back in Town, etc.

The setting: Lower Manhattan, submerged under more than thirty feet of water. The streets are now canals and people must live in the upper stories of buildings. It's a gritty, dangerous existence for the inhabitants.

Okay, they've got a cool concept, but what about a story? Prepare to be pleased. You've got a dark, weird, sort of dystopian fantasy detective story with emotional impact. Sounds like some strange mashup, but it really makes sense in the story. I couldn't put the book down, it was so compelling.

A fourteen-year-old girl, Molly, working for a magician/psychic medium is our heroine. When her boss/father figure, is abducted by men in gas masks and rubber suits, she is determined to rescue him. One of those helping her is a very Hellboyish character, Joe Golem, with a mysterious past. He's a hulking private detective with strong fists and a big heart who is unsure about who/what he really is. This is my kind of hero.

Don't forget, because this is a Mignola novel, you get awesome illustrations.

Maybe you're asking yourself, "What is an illustrated novel?"

Well, it's a novel--you know a fiction book with chapters--with illustrations. I didn't count up the pictures, but this book has one on almost every double page. This is Mike Mignola we're talking about, so that's quite a bit of black ink. ;)

You can get Joe Golem and the Drowning City at Amazon. Or if you want just a taste of the character, Joe Golem, check out the ebook for Kindle of the short story Joe Golem and the Copper Girl.

Oh golly, I didn't even see the short story until I looked up the novel link for you. I must order it now!!! :)


Joylene said...

Happy Birthday, Amanda! It isn't today, is it? Mine is. You sold me on the book just with the title. We used to call them picture books when I was a kid. My brother says that's just a fancy name for comic books. He is so wrong.

Amanda Borenstadt said...

Happy Birthday! Mine was on the 13th. Now it's almost my twin girls' birthday. On Saturday they'll be 11.

Yeah, I guess you could call it a picture book. LOL My husband thinks I'm silly for reading illustrated novel and comics. But he teases me for reading most of what I read- from novels to Christian writings.
He mostly reads bicycle magazines, but I'm not going to read those. LOL

Kara Hartz said...

I was just wondering to myself why Amanda didn't have new blogs for awhile now. Then I realized that I just haven opened my feed reader in a long time. Oops! All caught up now.

I'm reading a short story collection of urban fantasy that all have a sort of noir detective slant to them. I'm enjoying it so far. I got it from the library. It's called "Down These Strange Streets" if you like that kind of thing.

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In 1925, earthquakes and a rising sea level left Lower Manhattan submerged under more than thirty feet of water, so that its residents began to call it the Drowning City. Those unwilling to abandon their homes created a new life on streets turned to canals and in buildings whose first three stories were underwater. Fifty years have passed since then, and the Drowning City is full of scavengers and water rats, poor people trying to eke out an existence, and those too proud or stubborn to be defeated by circumstance.

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