So, The Unwritten.
It’s really hard to describe why I love this series so much. In fact, it’s really hard to describe this series, period. It is fantastically complex, but not in a confusing way, and not in that way that “smart” things tend to be, where you just know there’s something you should be getting, but you just . . . aren’t. It’s the kind of story that has layers, and if you want to read it as a straight-up adventure, you can certainly do that, but past the surface thriller stuff, this series has meat, ya’ll.
Here, let me steal from the Amazon.com description:
“Tom Taylor’s life was screwed from go. His father created the Tommy Taylor fantasy series, boy-wizard novels with popularity on par with Harry Potter. The problem is Dad modeled the fictional epic so closely to Tom’s real life that fans are constantly comparing him to his counterpart, turning him into the lamest variety of Z-level celebrity. In the final novel, it’s even implied that the fictional Tommy will crossover into the real world, giving delusional fans more excuses to harass Tom.
When an enormous scandal reveals that Tom might really be a boy-wizard made flesh, Tom comes into contact with a very mysterious, very deadly group that’s secretly kept tabs on him all his life. Now, to protect his own life and discover the truth behind his origins, Tom will travel the world, eventually finding himself at locations all featured on a very special map — one kept by the deadly group that charts places throughout world history where fictions have impacted and tangibly shaped reality, those stories ranging from famous literary works to folktales to pop culture. And in the process of figuring out what it all means, Tom will find himself having to figure out a huge conspiracy mystery that spans the entirety of the history of fiction.”
But even that description doesn’t do it justice. And yes, Harry Potter is obviously the connection to make here, but I think it’s worth noting that what Mike Carey actually had in mind was the life of A.A. Milne’s son, who was the inspiration for Christopher Robin in Winnie the Pooh. In an interview with SciFiPulse.net, Carey noted that:
“Milne grew up feeling that his father had stolen his childhood from him, turned a profit from it and then given it back to him in a form he couldn’t use. Our Tom is very much in that situation when we first meet him, although we take his identity crisis a fair bit further than that.”
What The Unwritten does is explore the lines between fiction and reality, and it does so in really creative ways, with absolutely gorgeous artwork to boot. Volume 5, “On to Genesis,” in particular takes that concept one step further, as we get justhismuch closer to learning how Tom Taylor came to be, through the backstory of an anonymous comic writer Wilson Taylor — Tom’s father and creator of Tommy Taylor — fell in love with back in the 20’s. He met her at the behest of the mysterious collective he was working for at the time — the same collective that would later murder him in an attempt to control his stories, which in turn control the world (it sounds complicated, but trust me, it’s awesome) — but he fell in love with her instead of co-opting her story for the nefarioius purposes he was supposed to.
If you’re looking for a new graphic novel series to become obsessed with, check out The Unwritten first, but don’t tell me if you don’t like it because then I’ll have to go away and cry in a corner.
[Link to original review here.]