Thursday, July 10, 2008

Iron Arkwright

And the Blogger Buddy seems to work fine. Don't know if I'll use it very often buts it’s a handy little device for when I can't be bothered to sign in.

Just finished Iron Angel by Alan Campbell, this is definitely a book 2 kind of book. It feels like you are in the middle of something and you need to have read book 1 (Scar Night - one of my top trumps of last year) to understand what is going on while the whole book ends without really ending at all, but sets itself up for book three.
Like the first it’s probably classed as dark fantasy and as the plot spends most of its time in hell then lightness is not something you expect to come across. It is perhaps this rendering of hell that is of most interest. Campbell's imagination must have been working over time (or else he's been drinking too much coffee) as it’s beautifully rendered and unlike any version of hell I've ever read about before. It is a truly horrific place where every construct is a damned soul warped to a gods imagining.
The first story was personal while this is vast and that is perhaps my only concern. Because so much was happening across such a vast world to a myriad of characters I felt it was harder to connect with the story (plus Carnival is missing, which is shame. I liked her). It's epic but looses some of the heart of the first book.

Also read the Luther Arkwright series by Bryan Talbot (who I'm seeing in August at the festival). I read this on the back of Alice in Sunderland which was one of my favourites of last year. It's different but also just as ambitious, plotting a story across multiple versions of the same world called the multiverse (which I think I'm heard used before in Interworld (goes to check), it is! I wonder if this was homage or just a result of minds thinking alike by Gaiman and Reaves).
The simple black and white drawings help the complex language and ideas expressed which take some time to adjust to. This is not a graphic story without heart or brains and you have to bring your intellect to the party. It takes a little time to get into it but stick with it, it's worth it.

Read this week:
Iron Angel by Alan Campbell
The Adventures of Luther Arkwright Book 1, 2 and 3 by Bryan Talbot

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