Tag Archives: Action & Adventure – General

Rose

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Bone: Rose [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Jeff Smith, a prequel to the Bone series.

Smith Bone Rose

This “prequel” to the Bone comics series is focused on a particular stratum of the layered story that Jeff Smith had composed in the original comic. It is entirely trained on the intrigue between the royal princesses Rose and Briar. There are no Bones from Boneville in this story, and the closest thing to comic relief is provided by Rose’s two dogs, with whom she has frequent conversations. But, especially at the end, these aren’t comic at all. 

Although far more intricate and poised than Smith’s drawings in the original series, Charles Vess’ art is wonderful and well suited to the subject matter. Smith’s characters are very recognizable, even in their decades-younger forms and in a far different style. The dragons are all appropriately awesome.

The lettering actually put me off a little. It is a sort of unical script with little highlights in each letter, which seemed too busy and distracting for my taste. The word balloons for the dogs (and for Rose addressing them in their ‘speech’) were blue instead of white, which was a very efficient convention for indicating linguistic difference.

On further reflection, it occurs to me that Rose follows a sort of rough Star Wars episode 3 plot trajectory with respect to the Bone series as episodes 4-6: think of Gran’ma Ben as Ben Kenobi and the Hooded One as Darth Vader. (But it’s something of a stretch to think of Fone Bone as Luke Skywalker!) The Lord of the Rings comparisons that seemed so obvious early in the original run of Bone have no place here.

Crown of Horns

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Bone: Crown of Horns [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Jeff Smith, book 9 of the Bone series.

Smith Bone Crown of Thorns

The final volume of the Bone series doesn’t have many surprises. All of the plots that were set up in the earlier numbers play out in a way that seems pretty inevitable, if not outright predictable. There are a few jokes, and lots of chasing and fighting. Comeuppances and rewards (including a hero’s burial) are distributed according to the characters’ merits established before.

I had been holding out for some exciting backstory on Ted the bug, but I was disappointed there. Maybe it’s in one of the prequel supplements: Rose or Stupid Stupid Rat Tails.

Treasure Hunters

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Bone: Treasure Hunters [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Jeff Smith, book 8 of the Bone series.

Smith Bone Treasure Hunters

Treasure Hunters is really only readable as a serial installment of Bone, but it is a pretty good one, centered on intrigue in the royal city of Atheia. It ends with a gargantuan cliffhanger.

Well, that was the thing with humans. They liked to be around each other and cram themselves three or four in a den if they could, then cram their dens in together as close as house martin nests. Leave a human alone for too long and it would get weird and sad.

T Kingfisher, Minor Mage [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]

Hermetic quote Kingfisher Minor Mage humans liked around each other alone too long get weird sad

Old Man’s Cave

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Bone: Old Man’s Cave [Bookshop, Amazon, Publisher] by Jeff Smith, book 9 of the Bone series.

Smith Bone Old Man's Cave

Old Man’s Cave moves the story of the Bone series along at a galloping pace. Although I don’t see it noted here, one of the earlier collections I read showed this series grouped into trilogies, and there does seem to be a significant multi-volume conclusion in this sixth book. By its end, there has been a resolution of much of the central conflict, but there is an intimation of more to come. 

Smith’s art continues to be effective, and his storytelling engaging. There are hardly any new characters introduced in this sequence, but there are some major revelations about the ones established earlier in the series. The reader learns by stages exactly who the evil Lord of Locusts is, and why he is interested in Phoney Bone, not to mention surprising revelations about the Hooded One.