Thursday, May 7, 2009

Emily the Strange: the Lost Days by Rob Reger and Jessica Gruner

I have to say, I’ve never been a big “counterculture” fan, but this newest installment of Emily the Strange is quite good. I like Emily, even if she is a little creepy.

In this new book, Emily has a tough case of memory loss. Now she’s on a mission to figure out why she has the memory loss, who did it to her, and what she needs to do in order to fulfill her duty. Emily awakes in a town where she’s never been (or so she thinks) and sets out on an adventure to solve the mystery of her amnesia. When clues lead to something bigger than herself, Emily must figure out how to defeat her enemy and save the day. Can she do it in time, or will the unnamed enemy win and send her packing without answers?

Emily is one of the strongest and best developed characters I have read lately. I imagine her slightly deadpan, but even that has a biting sense of humor to it. It is also to the writers’ credit that Emily is a strong, smart, independent, fearless girl who loves science, technology, and solving mysteries. It is rare that all those qualities can be found in the character of a young girl of today’s literature.

The plot of the book was interesting and gave enough clues to guessing, but not too many that the mystery was “easy” to solve. The missing pages of the diary are affixed at the end, so the readers can fill in the gaps that Emily can’t fill herself (or perhaps she can, since she reads them too). There were so may set-ups and pay-offs right at the end, that it seemed almost like the readers had amnesia right along with Emily. Who could have known that Raven was good at driving AND taking impossible dares? Readers find out what Emily knows when Emily knows, thus the genius of the book. However, readers are likely to see all the clues add up before the dénouement if they think of the book in retrospect: clever.

Emily the Strange: the Lost Days will keep readers interested with its mystery, oddball characters (and I don’t mean Emily!), strange science, and witty commentary done in diary style. This will be a must-read for fans and newcomers alike.

Rating 4 and a half pages

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