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Pants' Books & Stuff!

Hi there! I imagine you must be wondering what the heck is up with my blog name. The short answer is, Pants has become my internet handle in a lot of places where I hang out (somehow). I mainly read YA and comics, and I also frequently read speculative fiction of pretty much any kind. My other hobbies include watching anime and playing video games. Other random tidbits: I have a Bachelor's degree in English Literature and a Masters in Library and Information Sciences. I also have an affinity for tea.
Bone, Vol. 1: Out from Boneville - Jeff Smith
Originally reviewed here.

Why I Read It: I never knew about Bone until I started working at Chapters five years ago. After being there for a bit, I noticed that it was a ridiculously popular series with younger kids. I then later learned that this series is actually critically acclaimed and loved by adults as well as children. Being the lover of graphic novels that I am, I've been meaning to read it for years but just never got around to it.

I'm going to be perfectly frank: this first volume of this series didn't impress me all that much. I *liked* it well enough, but I wasn't in love, nor was I chomping on the bit for the next volume (though as you can tell from my sidebar I obviously kept reading it anyway).

One thing I found weird was the pacing. The story starts in media res, with the three Bone cousins wandering the desert after they've been kicked out of their home, Boneville. They almost immediately get separated and Fone Bone, the main protag of the story, finds himself stumbling into a valley. There was something about this first bit that felt off; everything happened too quickly and is abruptly cut off when winter falls (literally) onto the Valley. From there, the pace then felt kind of sluggish.

It didn't help that I absolutely HATED Phoney Bone. I don't know if his stupid schemes and exploits are meant to be funny, but the guy never learns a friggin' lesson and he's a huge jackass. Thankfully there's Smiley, who's weird as hell, but he IS amusing. Fone Bone is cute, but I found his attraction to Thorn kind of weird.. maybe because he's just this naked walking white smooth thing.

I feel like I'm focusing a little too much on the negative aspects, so I'll try to shed some light on the things I *did* like, because I did like this novel as a whole. For one, I enjoyed most of the humour. This series is obviously geared for children with the hopes of age crossover appeal and while I think the balance is tipped mostly for the children's humour, there's enough to make it charming for adults too. I did find the one rat creature who constantly goes on about wanting to eat quiche kind of annoying though -- the joke was funny the first 2-3 times, but after that it got kind of tiresome.

There's a lot that's not explained in this volume either that kept me intrigued enough to want to pick up the second volume. Name, the dragon. I needed to know what that was about.

Also, I really like the art. The comic was originally published in black-and-white and it looked quite good, but Graphix (an imprint of Scholastic) did a really great job at bringing the world of the valley to life in colour. The character designs are great (I especially like Grandma Ben and Lucius) and you can see how classic comics and cartoons influenced Smith's style.

Final Verdict: I wasn't completely enamoured with this first volumme: the pacing felt kind of weird, and the series suffers for having a really unlikable character who's supposed to be one of the "good guys". Thankfully there are enough awesome characters from tipping the balance too much and a healthy dose of humour that's perfectly suitable for children as well. It also helps that not everything is explained either, leaving just enough mystery to keep me intrigued. And the nice art helps as well.