Friday, 20 March 2009

‘Bone: Eyes of the Storm’ – Jeff Smith (Scholastic)

The thing about having a comic book drawer, instead of shelves, is that you sometimes forget what’s in it... Not a lot I can do about that really apart from try to work out where to put new shelves. Anyway... Last night I suddenly remembered that I still had one more ‘Bone’ book to read (in the pack that I bought a while ago) and this seemed like the best way to wind down to the weekend (‘The Caryatids’ isn’t great so far but more on that another time).
I was right, reading about Fone Bone’s adventures is the best way to say goodbye to a rotten week...

The Great Cow Race is over for another year and various repairs are going on in the aftermath of the rat creature’s latest attack. There’s still plenty happening though. Not only are Fone Bone and Thorn having weird dreams but these dreams seem to be connected, and what is the red dragon doing in them? Phoney Bone has another money making scheme up his sleeve while Smiley Bone is living in a world of his own but having a great time doing so. Everything is about to change though. The rat creatures are stirring in the woods and Gran’ma Ben’s reaction to Thorn’s dreams show that there is a lot more going on than there initially seems. These two incidents are connected and it might just mean that Fone Bone, Thorn and Gran’ma have to leave the farm forever...

‘Eyes of the Storm’ is the moment where the ‘Bone’ series suddenly opens up with new possibilities. The glorious landscape that Fone Bone first encounters in ‘Out from Boneville’ suddenly comes across as quite limiting in scope, there is so much more out there that we are still to see... After two books introducing us to the valley, this revelation comes at just the right time and I’m definitely keen to find out what happens next.
It’s the movement of the rat creatures and Gran’ma Ben that sparks the change and these moments are handled superbly. The chase through the storm is really tense with black panels suddenly being illuminated by lightening and showing just how close danger really is. The confrontation between Thorn and Gran’ma is also highly charged and compelling, especially once you find out what is really going on. The book ends on a real cliff-hanger and, like I said, I’m eager to find out what happens next.

The artwork is as gorgeous as ever and really adds to the mood. I can’t find the picture to post (and believe me I spent most of the morning looking!) but there is a frame where Fone Bone is lost at sea and the red dragon’s head suddenly appears... It’s a lovely picture (trust me on this), very dreamlike which is apt considering that Fone Bone is dreaming!
The antics of Phoney Bone and Smiley Bone make me laugh every time I see them (especially some of Phoney Bone’s more bizarre money making schemes) and also serve to emphasis how serious the other events are. The pursuit of money, at the expense of all else, can only end sadly though and this is another reason why I find that I have to keep reading this series. Will Phoney Bone change his ways? Does he even want to...?

‘Bone’ ends here for me but only until I can lay my hands on more of the books. Hopefully that won’t be too long, I’m really enjoying the series and ‘Eyes of the Storm’ more than meets the standards set by the first two books...

Ten out of Ten

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