Review originally posted here
.Why I Read It:
I read and ended up really enjoying Smith's Bone
series earlier this spring/summer so I knew I had to read the prequel at some point. Spoiler-free review ahead.
A prequel Bone
comic with Gran'ma Ben (though she's a strapping young lass here and nowhere near a grandmother) as the main character? HELL YES!! I was quite excited to read this, especially since the original comic series doesn't touch on the past with Rose and Briar all that much. You know it happened, but they never go into very much detail.
One thing I immediately appreciated about this story was that it was fairly self-contained, despite being a prequel. There's a little preamble at the beginning that talks about some important stuff so that readers who have never read the original Bone
series shouldn't be lost. I do still highly recommend reading the original series though as you're likely to enjoy the story more, I would think.
The story itself was pretty good and made good use of the page-count it had, but there was something about the writing that was strange. It was written by Jeff Smith (despite not being illustrated by him -- more on that in a bit), but it didn't read like the original series at all. There was something about it that felt like it was written for a younger audience. One of the things I loved about Bone
was that it *wasn't* written in this way, but was still appropriate for children as well as adults.
The drawing style used by Charles Vess for this story didn't really work for me either. His water-colour backgrounds were beautiful, but the way he drew characters was just... blehg. The proportions of the characters' heads looked all wrong, and it was not pleasing to the eye at all.
This review is shaping up to be pretty negative, so I want to make it clear that I *did* like this and I am glad I read it. It just wasn't on the same level as some of the later volumes of Bone
A solid one-volume prequel to a really good series. I think fans of the series will like this volume, but I'm of the opinion that it wasn't as well-written or illustrated. The writing style felt like it was aimed at a younger audience, and Vess's art style wasn't my favourite. I'm still glad I read it though, and would be more than happy to own it (whenver I get around to buying the rest of the Bone
series for myself.)