23rd Sep2016

‘Towerkind’ Review (Graphic Novel)

by Chris Cummings

Created by Kat Verhoeven | Published by Conundrum Press

towerkind-cover

Towerkind is a weird book, let’s get that out of the way before we get into the meat of this review. It’s odd, at times confusing, and a little bit mismanaged in terms of the plot. That doesn’t mean I hated this book, because I didn’t.

Towerkind is set in Toronto’s St. James Town, a neighbourhood of high-rise apartment buildings, and we follow various children from the local area amidst a backdrop of an impending end of the world. On paper it sounds great, and it is one of the reasons that I was so eager to check it out. The experience of reading it, though, didn’t tick the boxes I’d hoped it would. The diversity of the characters in the book is one of the positive elements, and the simplistic black and white illustrative work works well. The book is small, almost pocket-sized, and it was a cute way to display the panels, with each page only featuring a couple, sometimes only one.

The plot, considering how deep and complex it can sound when attempting to describe it, felt awkward and confused, and not in a good way. Confusion in stories can be interesting, it can result in some twists and turns and revelations that are fulfilling and exciting, but that just didn’t happen here. The characters are fairly one-dimensional too, though it’s forgivable merely due to the lack of space. There is little space for any extra depth that could have really been put into them.

I did enjoy the artwork in a way, and some small elements of the story, such as the character who believed himself to be the “king of the neighbourhood”. If the tale had perhaps just focused on this, and the other kids battling with this bully, then maybe it could have been saved, but I felt disappointed and bewildered when I turned the final page of Towerkind and read it’s last panel.

A book sure to divide opinion, I didn’t really like it much, though that’s not to say that some people won’t dig it. It’s a shame, I was pretty excited to read it. Oh well.

** 2/5

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