Let’s talk about the terrific trilogy I just read! Presenting…
Holly Black excels at creating beautiful yet dangerous faerie worlds in her novels, and here she does so in graphic novel format.
Kin, Kith, and Kind tell the story of Rue Silver, a seemingly normal high school student whose life starts falling apart when her mother disappears. When her father, a folklore professor at the local university, is accused of murdering a student, things gets decidedly weirder.
Rue sees odd visions — people with horns or wings, a creature in the tree outside her house — and remembers all the slightly bizarre things about her mother. Like, for example, how her beautiful mother never seems to age, and how she hangs out naked in the garden, and how the flowers seem to respond to her.
The truth is slowly revealed: Rue’s mother is a faerie, making Rue only half-mortal. And it turns out there’s a plot afoot: Rue’s grandfather Aubrey is a faerie king, and wants to claim the entire city as a world for his people.
These books are such fun! There’s drama and danger, romantic love, passionate encounters, and familial love and loyalty at stake. The story builds, with Rue evolving into a force to be reckoned with, the more she claims her birthright and power.
I really liked the illustrations, which are in black and white throughout the three books. Rue and her friends are all distinct and well-drawn, and I love Rue’s depiction as a cool, funky, rebellious girl, in looks as well as in actions. The inhabitants of the faerie world are visually wonderful, with wings or fangs or talons, beautiful and menacing, and each one different and unusual. The details are terrific, and I particularly love the pages with crowd scenes, where all the various denizens of faerie (or the human world) appear as individuals, even when the page is teeming with them.
The story starts small, focusing on Rue and her personal dilemmas, and grows to a much wider scale, culminating in a fight for survival between the human and faerie worlds.
These books are a quick read, and ideally should be read right in a row for peak enjoyment. I found the Good Neighbors trilogy a really nice treat after a lot of heavier reading, and recommend them as a (dare I say it?) magical diversion when you’re looking for something a bit different to spend your time with.
Title: Kin (book 1), Kith (book 2), Kind (book 3)
Author: Holly Black
Illustrator: Ted Naifeh
Publication date: 2008 – 2010
Length: 128 – 144 pages
Genre: Graphic novel