AccentUK now have copies of their newest graphic novel Who On Earth Was Thaddeus Mist for sale in their online store.
“Acclaimed picture book publishers of Her Majesties Empire Accent UK present a visionary gothic novel! A burial in eight bold parts! At the funeral of her mysterious and eccentric husband, widow Zelda mourns for the man she never knew: Thaddeus Mist kept a lifetime of secrets. She confronts each guest in search of the truth but flawed memory and imagination moulds the tales told: grave robbing, cannibalism, murder in the jungle. Seven stories, seven different men. These confessions disgust, inspire, and scare her, but it falls to Zelda to decide, Who On Earth Was Thaddeus Mist?”
The book is a ‘collaborative graphic novel’, one story told in chapters, each one by a different creative team. My chapter is Where On Earth?, beautifully illustrated by Jack Tempest.
Empire State by Adam Christopher
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Another abandoned book. The idea of ploughing through more of this turgid and characterless drivel is just too much.
Now, I should be the target audience for this; I love science fiction and superheroes, I love steampunk and deadbeat detectives - I even love smog and airships. But all that Christopher has done in Empire State is to loosely string these tropes and cliches together - there’s no plot, and what there is is amateurishly assembled; the complexity of the world is inconsistently handled and little makes sense. The fact that there’s an alternate universe only nineteen years old, filled with people and buildings and technology many years older, where NO ONE questions this anomaly, is ridiculous - and saying that the anomaly causes this acceptance is cheating.
Most of the 278 pages I have read consisted of characters relating the plot to each other; and these characters are 2D creations, and frequently infuriating - the sort of characters that COULD explain the questions the protagonist has, but don’t. The protagonist is an idiot. If you read the blurb at the back, the author reveals all of the character names gleaned from Pixies songs - that’s the sort of book this is; a clever assemblage of better work by better creators, little more than fan fiction.
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Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
After the author’s stellar debut (the astonishing The Gone-Away World) Angelmaker seems something of a disappointment. It’s a fizzing, sparkling merry-go-round of a book, though that may be part of its undoing - it doesn’t really inhabit a world that ever feels real, and events go from dark to light, and from apocalyptic to whimsical, in a heartbeat. And while it was a book that I read quickly, and enjoyed along the way, it never seemed to be about anything, and crammed incidental invention and quirkiness in every crack in the plot, none of which seemed to help hold the thing together.
I imagine that I’d have enjoyed this book much more without the weight of expectation I’d placed upon it, but it really did seem to have an ‘Everything AND the Kitchen Sink’ approach to that awkward second novel.
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“At the funeral of a mysterious and enigmatic gentleman, newly-wed Zelda Mist mourns for the husband she never knew, for Thaddeus Mist kept a life-time of secrets. In her grief she approaches each funeral guest to discover details of the strange life he lived.
“As they each tell the tale of Thaddeus Mist their flawed memories and individual imaginations shape their stories into mundane fictions and fantastical truths. These accounts disgust, scare, entertain, and inspire her in equal measure, but it falls to Mrs. Mist to decided which version of the tales was the one lived by her late husband. So… Who On Earth Was Thaddeus Mist?”
AccentUK has posted a full press release for this book on their blog, with full details and a list of creators, which you can read here. My story is Where On Earth, and is being illustrated by the capable hands of Jack Tempest (sample art above). He has some challenging things to draw, and he has my thanks, condolences, and very best wishes.
- Andrew Cheverton.