Monday, August 12, 2019

Review - Cheshire Crossing

Cheshire Crossing
by Andy Weir
illustrated by Sarah Andersen
Date: 2019
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Reading level: YA
Book type: graphic novel
Pages: 128
Format: e-book
Source: library

The three meet here, at Cheshire Crossing--a boarding school where girls like them learn how to cope with their supernatural experiences and harness their magical world-crossing powers.

But the trio--now teenagers, who've had their fill of meddling authority figures--aren't content to sit still in a classroom. Soon they're dashing from one universe to the next, leaving havoc in their wake--and, inadvertently, bringing the Wicked Witch and Hook together in a deadly supervillain love match.

To stop them, the girls will have to draw on all of their powers... and marshal a team of unlikely allies from across the magical multiverse.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is just painful. I thought perhaps it would be a decent graphic novel. After all, it's Andy Weir (of The Martian) and Sarah Andersen (of Sarah's Scribbles). Aside from the decent illustrations, though, this is just bad fanfiction.

I can't take historical fiction seriously when it's this modern. The story takes place in 1910, so the inclusion of Dorothy, Alice, and Wendy all make sense, as their stories were published before that time. The inclusion of Mary Poppins is questionable (her story may be set around that time, but she wasn't written about until decades later). Even accepting that all these characters fit in this time period, their speech often does not. The characters "swear" (usually represented by "#%$@&" or something similar). At one point, Wendy uses the word "turd". Dorothy says, "Holy crap!" And there's even a reference to Planet of the Apes, which... I don't even know.

If you love the characters in the original stories, you might not be too pleased with what's been done with them here. The Wicked Witch of the West is beautiful... presumably so she can have a relationship with Captain Hook. Alice has black hair, which really messed with my head (as she's usually portrayed as blond). Peter Pan has a mishap and grows up, at which point he gets super horny and "needs" to have sex. (I wish I were kidding.)

The writing is just... really bad. I know it's a graphic novel, but that doesn't mean you can throw grammar and punctuation out the window. Combined with the overly modern speech of all the characters, it's just a painful book to read.

Andersen's illustrations are probably the best thing about this, although (as I mentioned before) I don't like the way Alice is drawn. Or Wendy. She's had a haircut since her time in Neverland, and wears pants. This isn't really commented on, but it would be highly unusual for a young girl in 1910 to dress like that. It's almost as if there was an attempt to modernize the story by doing this, but since it's historical fiction, it's not really necessary. (Also, take the dark-skinned Captain Hook as another example of trying to modernize the story and add diversity... while trampling on the tradition of the original story. The only way this would've worked would have been if Wendy had been dark-skinned as well. There's a tradition in the original play to have Captain Hook and Wendy's father played by the same actor. It's some sort of statement about fathers and daughters... and it's completely ignored here with the artistic choices that were made.)

So... it's basically bad fanfiction, written by people who don't appear to be that familiar with the original stories or their nuances. Fanfiction is fine, of course... but if I wanted to read it, I would do so. I kind of feel like I got duped into reading this one.

Plot: 1/5
Characters: 1/5
Pace: 2/5
Writing & Editing: 1/5
Illustration: 3/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 1/5

Overall Rating: 1.63 out of 5 ladybugs

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