Sunday, December 10, 2017

Review - One Trick Pony

One Trick Pony
by Nathan Hale
Date: 2017
Publisher: Amulet Books
Reading level: MG
Book type: graphic novel
Pages: 128
Format: e-book
Source: library

The aliens have arrived. And they’re hungry for electricity. In the Earth of the future, humans are on the run from an alien force—giant blobs who suck up electrical devices wherever they can find them. Strata and her family are part of a caravan of digital rescuers, hoping to keep the memory of civilization alive by saving electronics wherever they can. Many humans have reverted to a pre-electrical age, and others have taken advantage of the invasion to become dangerous bandits and outlaws. When Strata and her brother are separated from the caravan, they must rely on a particularly beautiful and rare robot pony to escape the outlaws and aliens—and defeat the invaders once and for all.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

First, let's get the weirdly sexist blurb out of the way. This book is not about Strata and her brother. In fact, it's not even just Strata and her brother who get separated from the caravan. Their male friend is with them as well. I have no idea why the blurb makes it sound like a brother/sister act, because in reality, Strata saves the day while the boys do nothing helpful; in fact, they manage to get themselves captured and nearly killed.

So, setting that aside, what do we have? A pretty entertaining graphic novel. It's funny that I picked this up at the same time as Doug TenNapel's Ghostopolis. Both had a sequence with an unusual horse saving its teenage rider from a group of monsters using the exact same trick. The panels were almost identical! Whether Hale read Ghostopolis and decided to use the same sequence, I don't know; I just thought it was an amusing coincidence.

Unlike Ghostopolis, this is a darker story, even though it's intended for a younger audience. The post-apocalyptic landscape was creepy, and the aliens (called pipers because of the pi-pi-pi noise they make) were downright horrifying. I'm kind of glad this one was done with a monochromatic scheme, because full colour might've given me nightmares.

The story was quite imaginative, and I liked the whole idea of the world that was built here. I do have one major complaint with the story, however, and that was the ending. It was way too abrupt. If there was ever a book that needed an epilogue, it's this one.

My other complaint is about a minor (but still irritating) issue. This graphic novel had the smallest text I've seen so far. I couldn't even read it on a 21" monitor without having to zoom in. That's part of the reason why it took me so long to get through it, even though it's fairly short. Zoom, scroll, click... It was kind of a waste of time. And it's not like there wasn't room for larger text. I have a feeling that if I'd read this in physical form, I would've needed a magnifying glass.

All in all, this is a cool story with decent characters and some wonderfully horrible villains. Oh, and a title that makes perfect sense once you read the book. But I won't spoil that for you. Go check it out for yourself!

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
Pace: 3/5
Writing & Editing: 3/5
Illustration: 3/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall Rating: 3.25 out of 5 ladybugs

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