Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"All right, finish. It's time to get to work.
"We've had fun but there's cleaning that needs to be done. You're going to help me by starting with the rooms.
"I'm giving each of you a key. These keys will work for the bathrooms and closets in each. Start with the rooms next to Olive's."
"All I ask while I'm gone, is that you don't go near my office."
Right, like that is going to happen... Here is the publisher to point out precisely why you should never tell kids NOT to do one specific thing, because, well, duh...
"Open the door. Adventure awaits.
Olive and her adopted siblings, Charlotte and Darwin, are spending the summer with their estranged grandma at her creepy hotel, and it is all work and no play. They're stuck inside doing boring chores until they stumble upon an incredible secret... behind each door of the hotel lies a portal to a strange and mysterious place.
The simple turn of a knob transports them to a distant magical world filled with space pirates. Behind the next door are bearded wizards. Down the hall is a doorway to a cotton-candied kingdom. But once the doors are open, worlds start colliding, and only one family can save them before the hotel tears itself apart.
This world-hopping fantasy tale breaks down the door to imagination and dares you to embrace the idea that family is everything."
Which all sounds a bit too much, but actually, this is a jam-packed, joy-filled romp that works perfectly once the wider conceit behind it all is brought into play. Terry Blas practically rips the kitchen sink off the wall and throws it into the mix as he pens the tale of a very typical untypical family learning the hard way that there's nothing like bickering relatives, blood or otherwise, to help you deal with the imminent collapse of all the realities in the universe.
As crazily complex as AMULET - just compacted into one frenetic volume - this does indeed focus on the message that without some good old fashioned teamwork, whether you like each other or not, disaster awaits. Perhaps someone could explain that to our politicians? (See BAD ISLAND by Doug TenNapel by the way for more 'dysfunctional family that plays together, saves the day together' fun.)
Artistically, there's just as much going on! Claudia Aguirre, who truly has a flare for dramatic facial expressions, is clearly relishing switching from sci-fi to fantasy to real world and back again at the swing of a dimensional door. She a lovely light touch on her linework and some of the group action figurework and posing put me in mind of the LUMBERJANES.
Madcap, frenetic fun for all the family. Even the ones you don't like. Perhaps especially for the ones you don't like.