Books with Pictures: The Raven Girl and The Hypothetical Gentleman

I don’t have deep thoughts about either of these books, but I figured I’d let you know that they exist and are pretty cool!

Raven GirlThe Raven Girl, by Audrey Niffenegger
It is a true fact that I will read basically anything that Ms. Niffenegger publishes, because even when it’s weird it’s usually pretty good.

Well, this is very very weird.

In this story, which is meant to be a sort of modern-day fairy tale (and is in fact shelved in the fairy tales section of my library), a postman and a raven fall in love and somehow (NOT ASKING) produce a part-human, part-raven child whose mother says she is lucky to look human, even if she can only speak in raven, but who does not actually believe that. Our raven girl wants to be a raven, and will do whatever is necessary to make that happen even if society (in the form of a classmate) objects.

There’s a pretty sweet and easy moral to the story — that we all need to be who we are inside no matter who we are on the outside — but this fairy tale is decidedly more Grimm than Disney, especially with the modern-day attempt to become a raven that I still totally agree with the classmate about (well, if our girl were a human, anyway). It’s got pretty pictures and is a quick read, so I’d say if you can get your hands on a library copy you should pick it up.

Rating: 7/10

Doctor Who, Vol. 1Doctor Who, Vol. 1: The Hypothetical Gentleman
So I had thought that this would be one long story like the other Doctor Who comic book I picked up at the same time from the library, but as I figured out, say, halfway through, it’s actually two separate stories. So the first story disappointed me a bit in ending much sooner than I had expected, but I’m not sure I can actually fault the story for that.

In this first and titular story, the Doctor, Amy, and Rory go to hang out at the Great Exhibition, but when they arrive they meet with a strange football, a stranger machine, and a couple of possible clairvoyants. When the machine starts freezing people (including the ever-unlucky Rory) in time, the Doctor puts on his investigating face but (spoilers!) is frustrated in his attempts to figure out what is going on. I am frustrated also.

In the second story, called “The Doctor and the Nurse,” Amy decides that Rory and the Doctor need to have some bonding time, so she drops them off at a pub and goes off to explore on her own. The Doctor says to heck with that and attempts to skip himself and Rory ahead to the end of the evening but of course does not get there as planned. Meanwhile, Amy finds herself following an operative of the Silence and then minimizing the death toll of the London Beer Flood that said operative caused.

I’m not sure how these stories fit into the comic series overall; it seems that the series is full of short two-issue stories but I have no idea if they’re supposed to stand alone or not. As stand-alones, I found them amusing but not terribly good or exciting, though I did notice a running thread of “The Doctor does a lot of unnecessary things” that would be interesting to delve into in more detail, so maybe that’s a thing? I don’t know. Maybe I’ll find out someday?

Rating: 7/10