Little Monsters, Vol. 1 by Jeff Lemire
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Release Date: October 11, 2022
Get Speechify to make any book an audiobook
It’s vampiric Lord of the Flies in a dystopian wasteland. Checks a lot of boxes. To begin on a positive note, I loved the character development in this book. Each of the kids is distinct and one rapidly develops an affinity for some of them and a distrust of others. Long story short, you want to know what happens to these kids, and why they’re in the situation in which they find themselves.
What I didn’t like is what I call the “resolution to hook” ratio. When something is written with serialization in mind, it’s a challenge to provide a satisfying story arc. There’s an incentive to end with a big hook, so as to draw readers farther down the line, and often the whole climax-resolution-conclusion bit is skipped or glossed over. Often, this leaves no (or a weak) resolution, such that reading the volume doesn’t scratch the itch that good stories do. Steamrolling through the end of the story arc to end on a cliffhanger may attract some continuing readers, but for those of us wary of the sunk cost fallacy (giving into an investment made with the assumption that it will eventually turn out positively,) it’s a sign to move on to the next story. (Lest one be Lost-ed – i.e. to be drawn in by a brilliant and inventive story only to see it become increasingly muddled, ultimately to end in a sad crash landing.)
The art is somewhat crudely rendered, but I suspect that was a conscious choice to achieve the desired atmospherics. And, I think it worked. The art clearly conveys the action.
If you have faith that you’ll eventually get that narrative itch scratched, you may want to check this one out. It does have a lot of potential. For my part, I’m once bitten, twice shy.
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