Thursday, November 06, 2014

Middle-Grade Review: Ghostopolis

I’ve mentioned here before that I haven’t read a lot of graphic novels, though I’m gradually becoming more of an aficionado. I previously read and reviewed Cardboard and Tommysaurus by Doug TenNapel (and enjoyed them), so I’ve been eager to read another of his graphic novels, Ghostopolis, and thought that Halloween was the perfect time for it! When I saw it in the window of our local used bookstore, it felt like fate. Ghostopolis shows the same creative story telling that was evident in TenNapel’s other books, and I enjoyed this graphic novel perfect for the season.

Garth is a young boy with a great imagination who lives with his mom, but he has an incurable and fatal disease. His mother would do anything to save him, but they seem to be out of options. Meanwhile, in another part of town, Frank Gallows works for the Supernatural Immigration Task Force, finding ghosts, nightmares, and other supernatural beings and sending them back to the afterlife where they belong. He is experienced but seems burned out and is barely holding onto his job.

Frank makes a mistake and sends Garth to the afterlife, when a nightmare shows up in Garth’s house. The nightmare, a skeleton horse, helps Garth explore the afterlife and try to find a safe place. Along the way, they meet a young boy named Cecil…who is Garth’s grandfather. As Garth, Cecil, and the skeleton horse make their way through the different areas of the afterlife, back in the real world, Frank’s boss is putting a team together for a search and rescue mission.

In the afterlife, Garth discovers he has special powers, but the evil ruler of Ghostopolis, Master Vaugner, wants Garth and his powers to strengthen his own supremacy. Garth and Cecil try to get away from Master Vaugner and find a way to get Garth home, but it seems hopeless until Frank shows up to help them and fix his mistake.

Ghostopolis is a very creative story, filled with all sorts of creatures and interesting places in the afterlife and two strong main characters in Garth and Frank. It’s a classic good versus evil battle but set in a mysterious place, with a spooky (but not scary) atmosphere. The full-color, detailed pictures enhance and add to the unique storyline. All fans of fantasy – and  especially middle-grade boys – will enjoy this fast-paced supernatural adventure.

266 pages, Graphix (imprint of Scholastic)


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