Take two separate, but equal stories that run separately from one another. Imagine yourself balancing scary, unknown creatures and World War II. Finally, imagine yourself being haunted by something you don’t understand. Mix all three ingredients together and you get the premise of Nook by Caleb Thusat, Marcelo Biott, Rob Cannon and Dr. Warren D. Lerner. This story contains scenes that aren’t suited for younger readers. This is my only warning before I go on with this review.
As mentioned above, Nook is about a little girl named Avery. She recently moved to France’s countryside to avoid Nazis invading Germany. While Avery is a bundle of energy, she meets a little black cat who leads her to a small door beneath her stairs. Avery can never seem to catch her cat. But as she gets closer to catching her cat, she finds herself getting closer to a stranger that always follows her when she’s near the cat.
The story is not another rendition of Coraline. While the tale does feature references from the book, it’s able to stand on its own. One difference is that Avery faces trials with the supernatural and real world. Avery is a little girl while Coraline is a bored teenager. While the black cats in both stories are intelligent, only one of them can speak. Coraline’s path always circles back to the balance of innocence and reality. Avery’s path is the opposite as she has to deal with World War II. These differences that are subtle, yet they make the biggest difference in the end. Thusat did the homage very nicely and was even able to deviate far enough to make his tale stand as its own. It’s often a difficult thing for writers to do and he deserves a round of applause for maintaining a delicate balance.
Little Girls Clinging to Caution
Avery is a cute girl who craves adventure even when she’s lonely. She clings to any type of life she can find to satisfy her boredom. But just because she has a taste for adventure, that doesn’t mean she’s fearless. Just like her parents, she knows how to cling to caution. When something threatens her or her parents, she launches into an instinctive state just like any other child. She’s a sweet little girl with two loving parents. It’s obvious from the start that readers will be rooting for her family. Her parents are slightly overprotective with their traditional roles. They luckily weren’t bland pancakes, but they disappeared in the background.
Suspenseful Yet Not Scary Enough
The supernatural elements resemble traditional horror stories. Without exposing too much, something is stalking Avery. Avery gets scared of being stalked and is stalked when she is near a black cat. While Avery eventually learns to stay away from danger, that doesn’t stop her from finding adventure. I think the horror plot points were mysterious enough to engage my attention. They weren’t scary, rather they were intriguing and provided enough suspense to keep my mind running wild. The elements would be scary for a little girl, but not for an adult. The realistic side to it was a little cliche as it used World War II as its setting. But it was nice to see an angle where the family wasn’t a victim. They were just another family trying to evade war and survive another day.
I think the art style was really cool. I like the way the black and white balanced each other out. I also like how Biott used lines shape the shadows within the story. I also really liked the coloring of the background. The main reason I liked it was because it forced readers to focus on the panels more. Overall, the art style kept me engaged with the story.
The story has a nice beginning to it and I really like Avery as a character. The homage to Coraline was a very nice touch. While the story isn’t scary enough for my taste, its sense of suspense and survival keep me on my toes. Overall, I can’t wait to see the next volume of Nook. If you want more information about their Kickstarter, click here.