Cecil Castellucci inspired me with this book.  After finishing the last page and glancing at her credits, I thought aloud, “I really need to get involved in writing children’s books“.  I tore through ‘The Year of the Beasts’ in just a couple of hours, anxious for the emotions that previous reviewers said would come exploding out of my chest.  I wanted those tears.  My patience was rewarded with the thought that young people today, young readers, must be grossly misjudged in their ability to interpret and contemplate literature.  The only thing positive I can say about this work is that Nate Powell overextended himself in forming character depth with what Cecil Castellucci’s writing gave him.  However, that overextension comes with its consequences.  Why the obscure mythological references? Outside of Tessa(the protagonist of the story) having insecurity issues with her incorrigible curly hair I see no correlation to her as a Medusa metaphor. If you must use that trope, then why conglomerate it with a Minotaur and a Centaur. Classical mythos just got bastardized.  Yeah, the corn maze ending isn’t lost on me, but, at this point both artists in this half prose half graphic novel exercise are just reaching. We never really learn anything about the characters involved outside of slight sibling jealousy and kissy kissy early teen ‘I want a boyfriend’ mentality.  Throw in a tragedy and patch it up quickly with an unfounded re-emergement into the light and you have yourself, ‘The Year of the Beasts’.   I want to gather all the kids and adults who have read this book, run back into the corn maze, and try to find another way out.

Hugo Schoen

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