Sunday, January 19, 2014

Gunnerkrigg Court Review

Gunnerkrigg Court, Vol. 1: Orientation

Book talk:  Gunnerkrigg Court is unlike anything Antimony has seen before.  Strange things are always happening, like the time when she discovered she had a second shadow and helped it to escape, or when she went to research Greek myths in the library and ended up finding the actual Minotaur.  Gunnerkrigg Court can be a dangerous place, but it was her mother's dying wish that she go there.  When she discovers that her parents met at this strange institution, Antimony becomes determined to get to the bottom of its many secrets.  Assuming she can survive the school year!

Rocks my socks:  I loved hearing the Minotaur's side of the story: "See, when I was young, it was hard to meet people my own age, being stuck in the middle of a giant death maze and all."  The book is infused with this dry humor and often satirizes the magical boarding school genre.  For example, at one point when Antimony is lost she conveniently finds a sign reading "Secret Train To Large Animal Holding Cells: Very Hush Hush. You know."  There are many other pleasant surprises that doubtless come from the fact that it was first published as a webcomic and so Siddell didn't have anyone telling him that he couldn't do this or that.  At one point a character appears for a brief storyline who only speaks Spanish without any translation provided.  Naturally my favorite character is the demon that ends up trapped in Antimony's stuffed animal and bound to her will.  He's so adorably evil! Siddell plays on the inherent comedy of his situation like a virtuoso.  The ever-optimistic robot comes in a close second.  Then there's the shadow many characters to love!

Rocks in my socks:  It was a bit hard to follow the over-arching plot at times.  There are so many stand-alone stories and the information about the world is given in drips and drabs.  I enjoyed all the stories so much though that I didn't really mind being a bit lost on occasion.

Every book its reader:  I'd give this to fans of fantasy and humor.  I'd say it's fine for 4th grade and up.


You can find the webcomic, with a free archive back to the beginning, at

Someone has animated the first chapter of the comic, and it makes a good, though long, book trailer:

Source: school library

Gunnerkrigg Court by Thomas Siddell: buy it or check it out today!

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