Nut Ink. Mini reviews of texts old and new. No fuss. No plot spoilers. No adverts. Occasional competency.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Unwritten: Vol. 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity (2010)

Author: Mike Carey | Illustrator: Peter Gross | Page Count: 144

“…you auditioned to play yourself and didn't get the part.”

The Tommy Taylor™ books are a cultural phenomenon.  Tommy™ is a boy wizard with a small group of friends, whose adventures have spanned 13 books.  They routinely save their world from the kind of villains that populate children's literature.  The author of the books is Wilson Taylor.  It's a well known fact that Wilson based the lead character on his own son, Tom Taylor.  Consequently, Tom has grown up in the public eye.  He's not a writer, and had no direct input in the books, but people love him regardless.  He attends conventions and answers questions from fans; some of whom can't separate reality from fiction.

If you're thinking Harry Potter crossed with Christopher Robin then you're on the right track.  But that's merely a stepping stone into a much larger ocean of unpredictability.  Carey has used that simple premise to craft something that brings together all the tools of storytelling available to the modern writer, from the earliest times when tales were told at the fireside to travellers, to the modern era of public signings, film adaptations and the distribution of information via internet communities.

He uses his skills to build a world that is itself fictional but tied invariably to reality at every turn.  If you're interested in the machinations of storytelling as much as in a story's ability to entertain a reader, you'll find much to adore in the work.  I was hooked from chapter two.

If words have power and belief has power, then belief in the power of words must be an even more potent force.  Carey proves it.

The book collects together The Unwritten, issues 1 - 5.

4 map pins out of 5

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