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Author Topic: Your Top 5 Graphic Novels  (Read 1730 times)
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Crawley
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« on: December 10, 2011, 08:30:23 PM »

The last few years I've started to get in to graphic novels and have been purchasing them more regularly as I've been discovering good ones to read. So I'm hoping others will post their Top 5 and help me (and others) discover a few good reads.

To start off with here are my Top 5:

1) Y The Last Man: A plauge hits the planet and every living thing with a Y chromosome dies at the same time (e.g. males) leaving only a female population left to carry civilization forward. A single 20 something guy and his pet monkey are spared for some reason. While he's in New York his fiance is in Australia so he sets off to find her.

The 5 books in the series blew me away. It reads like a blockbuster movie. And although the setup is grim, and there are some pretty grim things that occur during the series, the main tone of the series is light with a fair amount of humor. It has a perfect cast of characters, each one fully realized. And the artwork is fantastic to boot.

It's one of the few series I've read multiple times.

2) Locke and Key: A family moves in to a mansion where the kids discover certain doors can be unlocked by special keys that give the person different powers - or allows them to do different things.

Probably one of the most creative series I've read. You just could not tell where it was going to go next. There are also some amazing splash pages that will make your jaw drop.

The series is still going on so I don't know how its going to end but up until now its been just great.

Fox created a pilot for a TV series but the series never got greenlighted. You can check out the trailer for the pilot here which covers the setup of the story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_KmKC5K8QU

3) Morning Glories: Here's another series that hasn't finished but has become one of my favorites. It gives me the same sense of mystery that Lost did but instead of taking place on an island it takes place at a private school.

6 brilliant students arrive at a private school where very odd things occur. The students there don't behave normally, there's a deadly ghost roaming around, former students are locked up in the basement and experimented on, oh and the teachers don't have any problems harming or even killing the students.

There's only two books in the series so far and I still don't know exactly what is going on at that school but am loving the mystery of it all.

4) The Sword: A girl, who is a paraplegic, watches helplessly as her family is killed by three individuals who have strange powers. The girl survives the attack on her family and uncovers a sword that not only restores her ability to walk but gives her amazing strength. With this she scours the world seeking revenge.

This novel is just pure action that rarely lets up. The violence that occurs is sometimes so shocking I was saying "holy shit!" out loud. There's actually a decent story behind all the action and a nice twist in there too. The artwork is a bit odd as it looks computer generated but I got used to it.

I purchased the Deluxe Hardcover edition which is just amazing to behold as its not only a huge book in size but it weighs like 7 pounds.

5) The Walking Dead: This almost didn't make my top five. I've been buying trade books off and on for awhile. I loved the first book but the next few didn't do much for me. Then I read book 4 and it floored me. An incredible payoff to a series I was becoming disinterested in.

I won't go in to it anymore as I think most people are familiar with it from either the comics or the TV series.

Honorable Mention: I also wanted to mention the series The Unwritten. If I didn't purchase the first 3 trades I would have stopped this series right after the first one. The story wasn't grabbing me and was moving too slowly for my tastes. I also didn't care much for the main character. But at the end of the second trade there's a chapter called "Willowbank Tales" that just blew me away as it takes place in a world that's from either "Frog and Toad" or "Winnie The Poo". From there I was hooked. And thankfully I was as in the 3rd trade there's chapter that's a Choose Your Own Aventure type. I've never seen that in a graphic novel before. Its not only very creative but a whole lot of fun directing where you want the story to go.

The story is this. Tom Taylor is the son of a famous writer who has gone missing. Tom's father has basically written the equivalent of the Harry Potter series with Tom as the inspiration for the main character of the series. Tom is living off his fathers inheritence and fame from the series when strange things start to occur. Strange people who look like they're from the books want to kill him and there's a mysterious orginization that's keeping tabs on him.

As I said a very slow start but with some big payoffs if you continue the series.


So those are my picks. I'm interested to hear others as I'm looking to try some new series I haven't discovered yet.
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« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2011, 09:46:12 PM »

Not a collector of graphic novels, but wanted to let you know that there are plans to do Y The last man as a movie apparently.
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« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2011, 10:04:03 PM »

I don't have a lot to add but I will always have a place on my shelf for these:

Batman: the Long Halloween
Walking Dead
Watchmen
Sin City
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« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2011, 11:03:33 PM »

Other good ones...

Fables
Invincible
Deadpool and Cable&Deadpool (humorous)
Justice League International (old and silly, but I love it)
Ultimate Spider-man
Booster Gold
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WorkingMike
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« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2011, 11:30:25 PM »

Alan's War and Local.
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« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2011, 03:52:18 PM »

Hellboy
The Goon
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kronovan
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« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2011, 04:31:07 PM »

I actually prefer manga to graphic novels, but there's a few GN series I've enjoyed.

B.P.R.D. - the anacronym stands for the Bureau for Paranormal Research & Defense, which is essentially the team in the Hellboy movies. It's a much more interesting group and universe in the GN's though.

Star Wars Tales of the Jedi - Dark Horse comics 1st series set in the Old Republic. The 1st story lines are a bit too retro, but the rest are very good. Like most DH Star War series you can get it now at low cost in a 2 volume omnibus.

Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep - a graphic retelling of Phillip K Dicks story. Only 3 volumes out so far, but its proving to be good. It contains all of the text from the original story and I believe its going to cap off at 4 volumes.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2011, 04:46:41 PM by kronovan » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2011, 09:40:11 PM »

Quote from: kronovan on December 11, 2011, 04:31:07 PM

I actually prefer manga to graphic novels, but there's a few GN series I've enjoyed.

B.P.R.D. - the anacronym stands for the Bureau for Paranormal Research & Defense, which is essentially the team in the Hellboy movies. It's a much more interesting group and universe in the GN's though.

Star Wars Tales of the Jedi - Dark Horse comics 1st series set in the Old Republic. The 1st story lines are a bit too retro, but the rest are very good. Like most DH Star War series you can get it now at low cost in a 2 volume omnibus.

Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep - a graphic retelling of Phillip K Dicks story. Only 3 volumes out so far, but its proving to be good. It contains all of the text from the original story and I believe its going to cap off at 4 volumes.

I really BPRD as well, although now that we're moving more to the end game, I'm a bit worried about how things are all going to turn out.

Spoiler for Hiden:
If it ends up with everyone dead and the world taken over by the Ogdru Hem I'm going to be pissed.
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« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2011, 11:20:00 PM »

From Hell is absolutely my #1. Incredibly detailed and researched, with fantastic art.  Unfortunately it got made into a bad Johnny Depp movie which tarnished its overall reputation I think.  I think the book is an incredible piece of work.

Other ones that bear mentioning are of course Sandman, Watchmen, and Maus, all somewhat classics in their own right.  I have some of the Y: The Last Man books but have trouble getting into it.  Yorick is such an immense idiot sometimes.  I've enjoyed what I've read of Transmetropolitan so far a great deal.  I've also enjoyed some graphic novels in more of the autobiographical vein.  Blankets is a great book, as are the two Persepolis books.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2011, 11:24:01 PM by kathode » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2011, 11:57:23 PM »

I spent way too much time tracking down a hardcover version of From Hell.  Fantastic work.
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« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2011, 09:15:17 AM »

Quote from: Crawley on December 10, 2011, 08:30:23 PM

To start off with here are my Top 5: [...]

Super, thanks. I checked out Y The Last Man and The Sword on my iPad (comiXology) and was pleased with both of them.

I have been following Ultimate Spider-Man the past few weeks. It has been much better than I expected it to be, taking its time to tell the story and with a lot of focus on Parker's private life (at least in the beginning). There are even whole issues where we don't see him don the spidersuit at all. As an old time Spider-Man fan (back when I was a kid) it was great to see the series invigorated like this.
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« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2011, 04:04:41 PM »

What there IS of Age of Bronze is wonderful. I don't believe he will ever finish. I know, I know he's still working on it. It's been 13 years and he's not quite a quarter of the way through. YOU do the math.

Nausicaš of the Valley of the Wind is much better as a trio of graphic novels than the film shows. I don't believe all the loose ends are knotted up and the t's crossed, but what's there is beautiful. An editor would have helped, but then an editor might have destroyed what made it to the page.



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« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2011, 10:33:52 PM »

Preacher graphic novels were always my favorites.  Whether it's the main character's stories collected into graphic novels or the one shot Saint of Killers or Arse Face...I loved them all.
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« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2011, 12:41:38 AM »

I don't read or collect many graphic novels, but the one that always stands out for me is  X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills.  I don't remember how old I was when I read it, but it just left such a long-lasting impression on me.  And it clearly was a hugely influential story in the X-Men canon, as it influenced multitudes of later storylines and even the movies as well.

The other one I read over and over was Batman: Killing Joke, although I don't remember the details on it as much.
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« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2011, 04:29:07 AM »

"From Hell" was on my wishlist after I heard that one was good - so that's moved up on the list now. "Local" sounds up my alley too. I'll have to look in to the "Nausicaš" manga. I did like the film and the world that was in. The only Manga I have is one I recently purchases - "Uzumaki", which is kinda a neat horror story. I'll probably get the other two volumes of that one.

I'm not big on the super hero graphic novels but was looking at "Irredemable" as a possible one. I like the plot setup of a Superman type hero going insane and deciding to kill off all the other heroes so no one can stand in his way. Anyone read that one?

Another comic book series I was looking at was one from the 70's called "Kamandi" by Jack Kirby. Basically a Planet of the Apes rip-off but sounds like its not too bad. There's an omnibus version of it out now.
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« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2011, 06:55:52 PM »

Quote from: Crawley on December 13, 2011, 04:29:07 AM


I'm not big on the super hero graphic novels but was looking at "Irredemable" as a possible one. I like the plot setup of a Superman type hero going insane and deciding to kill off all the other heroes so no one can stand in his way. Anyone read that one?


I just caught up on Irredeemable and while it starts off great, it just peters out eventually.  It's like a great SNL skit that they try to stretch into a 90 minute movie...it rarely works well...and when it outright fails, it's pretty bad.
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« Reply #16 on: December 13, 2011, 07:16:59 PM »

Oh shit, you didn't mention that Locke & Key was written by Joe Hill.  His novels are excellent.  This is now at the top of my list.

Sandman deserves a place on everyone's shelves.  I have all four of the Absolute Sandman volumes, and they are absolutely gorgeous.
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« Reply #17 on: December 14, 2011, 03:12:36 AM »

Quote from: hepcat on December 13, 2011, 06:55:52 PM

Quote from: Crawley on December 13, 2011, 04:29:07 AM


I'm not big on the super hero graphic novels but was looking at "Irredemable" as a possible one. I like the plot setup of a Superman type hero going insane and deciding to kill off all the other heroes so no one can stand in his way. Anyone read that one?


I just caught up on Irredeemable and while it starts off great, it just peters out eventually.  It's like a great SNL skit that they try to stretch into a 90 minute movie...it rarely works well...and when it outright fails, it's pretty bad.

Dang. That's too bad about that series. I like the setup.

I did see there was another similar one "Last of the Greats" where the planet rebells against the super heroes killing all but one - who managed to get away. But now they need his help and he won't do it without some serious perks. But it's not in trades yet so waiting for that and then to see if its any good.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2011, 03:15:49 AM by Crawley » Logged
Crawley
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« Reply #18 on: December 14, 2011, 03:14:57 AM »

Quote from: Chaz on December 13, 2011, 07:16:59 PM

Oh shit, you didn't mention that Locke & Key was written by Joe Hill.  His novels are excellent.  This is now at the top of my list.

You know I never even thought to see what other work the author did. The "Horns" novel sounds pretty neat.
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« Reply #19 on: December 14, 2011, 04:40:50 PM »

Quote from: Crawley on December 14, 2011, 03:12:36 AM

Quote from: hepcat on December 13, 2011, 06:55:52 PM

Quote from: Crawley on December 13, 2011, 04:29:07 AM


I'm not big on the super hero graphic novels but was looking at "Irredemable" as a possible one. I like the plot setup of a Superman type hero going insane and deciding to kill off all the other heroes so no one can stand in his way. Anyone read that one?


I just caught up on Irredeemable and while it starts off great, it just peters out eventually.  It's like a great SNL skit that they try to stretch into a 90 minute movie...it rarely works well...and when it outright fails, it's pretty bad.

Dang. That's too bad about that series. I like the setup.

I did see there was another similar one "Last of the Greats" where the planet rebells against the super heroes killing all but one - who managed to get away. But now they need his help and he won't do it without some serious perks. But it's not in trades yet so waiting for that and then to see if its any good.

If you can find a copy of Alan Moore's Miracleman, grab it.  I'm not sure if there's a graphic novel collection of the series still available, but it's just superb from beginning to end.  Granted, Miracleman isn't insane like the character in Irredeemable, but he's very, very human and possesses all the powers of superman or Captain Marvel (which the original character is based on).  With that comes some very complicated problems...including an encounter with Kid Miracleman who makes the villain in Irredeemable look like a boy scout at times.
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« Reply #20 on: December 14, 2011, 10:27:58 PM »

I'd like to dive into some good graphic novels.

Unfortunately the series mentioned here seems to be the "going forever and have dozens of writers" type.

I'm looking for a good, deep and *self-contained* graphic novel that has a beginning, middle and end. It's okay to be long (hey, I endured through all the Wheel of Time books so far!), but I want it to have a ending, and have one author behind it.

So... any recommendations?
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Crawley
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« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2011, 01:44:01 AM »

A few of the ones mentioned fit the bill. They may be more than a single book but have a begining, middle and end. The ones I know about listed here include:

Y The Last Man (5 books)
Lock and Key (4 books with a final 5th book due out at some point)
The Sword (single expensive book)
From Hell
Local
Alan's War
Batman: Killing Joke
Batman: the Long Halloween
Watchman
Sin City

And probably others mentioned I missed.

I've read a few one shots that I liked but are not at the my top of my list for reccomendations - and they probably wouldn't be good reccomendations to start with.

You might want to read up one some of the ones reccomended here and see what sounds interesting to you. And if still hesitant watch for when the books are cheap. I notice prices on graphic novels fluctuate quite a bit (at least on Amazon). For exmaple The Sword is now up to $96. I bought it at $75 and have seen it go down to $65 a few times. The Walking Dead books will routinley show up for $19 or lower for short periods of time. I typically don't buy until the prices are low and I have gift cards to use. biggrin
« Last Edit: December 15, 2011, 01:45:52 AM by Crawley » Logged
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« Reply #22 on: December 15, 2011, 02:08:53 AM »

I don't have many:

Batman: The Killing Joke
The Dark Knight Returns
V for Vendetta
Sandman: Season of Mist

Oddly enough they're all DC, where as for monthly comics I'm more Marvel.
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« Reply #23 on: December 15, 2011, 05:18:22 AM »

Crawley, I hate to disagree, but I've got 8 volumes of Y: The Last Man sitting on my shelf. 

The Sandman series is finished, has only a single author (though multiple artists), and is contained within 10 trade paperbacks.
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« Reply #24 on: December 15, 2011, 02:47:00 PM »

you may also want to check your local library. Mine has an entire aisle for just graphic novels. That plus interlibrary loan gets me about 80 percent of what I want to read.

They reissued Savage Sword of Conan in omnibus form. I would recommend those, they were a pretty big part of summers during my childhood.
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Crawley
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« Reply #25 on: December 15, 2011, 07:19:29 PM »

Quote from: Chaz on December 15, 2011, 05:18:22 AM

Crawley, I hate to disagree, but I've got 8 volumes of Y: The Last Man sitting on my shelf. 

Those are the paperback trades. There's 5 hardover "deluxe" editions which cover the entire run.
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« Reply #26 on: December 16, 2011, 10:01:12 AM »

_Locke & Key_ is one of the more impressive graphic novel series i've read. art is flawless (for its style) and the story is solid, with effective use of parallelism, analogy, symbolism, pacing, etc ... i have some quibbles with it, but you won't be disappointed.

and really, if you haven't yet read Neil Gaiman's _Sandman_, you are missing out on a legendary bit of storytelling in modern comics.

not yet mentioned:
Alan Moore _Promethea_
Katsuhiro Otomo _Akira_ (incredible, painstakingly-drawn art)
Osamu Tezuka _Buddha_
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« Reply #27 on: December 16, 2011, 10:05:35 AM »

not in my top five, but i just wanted to mention the last series i read -_Oldboy_ (Garon Tsuchiya/Nobuaki Minegishi) was a fantastically-paced thriller. i haven't seen the movie adaptation, but from what i've read, they take very different approaches to the plot.
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« Reply #28 on: December 16, 2011, 08:48:21 PM »

Here are six:

Lucifer -- The story of the Devil after he decides to step down from the throne of hell.  Technically a Sandman spin-off, but completely its own story.  11 volumes.

Demo and Demo 2-- Collections of standalone stories about young people reconciling their superpowers with their mundane lives.  Sounds emo and dull, but is actually emo and excellent.

Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth -- The parallel stories of a socially maladapted man and his socially maladapted grandfather.  Sad, honest writing paired with utterly brilliant art.

Summer Blonde -- Collection of standalone stories about people grappling with romantic relationships and their own emotional short-sightedness.

we3 -- Animal test subjects from a military experiment escape and try to find their way home.

Maus -- Already mentioned several times, but I couldn't leave it off the list.  A great work of American literature.


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« Reply #29 on: December 19, 2011, 08:47:42 PM »

No one mentioned The Crow which is unforgettable for me.
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« Reply #30 on: January 19, 2012, 10:34:23 PM »

Digging this back up to mention another series I just started reading I'm really enjoying. Those books are "Northlanders"

Northlanders is a bunch of books about Vikings. You got your snow, ice, uncompromising acts of violence, sex, and a lot of tough talk. Each book is its own thing so you could technically pick up any of them and have a nice story but I'm reading them in order. Here's a quick recap of the first three books I've read so far:

Book 1: Pretty much everything you want in a Viking story. Sven leaves home at an early age but when his father, the king, dies he returns to claim his inheritence. But his uncle has been ruling in his stead and doesn't plan on giving it up anything. Sven is both a tactition and brutal and uses both traits to wage a one man war against his uncle. Its a fun read and certainly sets the tone for the other books.

Book 2: A father, along with his young daughter, are killing off the Nords that are occupying his homeland, Ireland. The Nord king sends out the equivalent of Viking Sherlock Holmes to track the murder down.

For some reason this book has gotten some bad reviews but I loved it. An entertaining story along with some nice artwork. Plus you got Viking Sherlock Holmes! That there is a must buy. This guy looks at all the evidence the murder leaves, draws deductions to help him track him, and because he's a Viking he doesn't mind being as violent as his prey during the persuit.

Book 3: An anthology of 4 stories. The two notable ones from this are the "Shield maidens" about three wives who are persued by Saxon warriors. They can't lose them so they have to attempt to hold them off. Then the final story brings back Sven from the first book - which I can't really say more without ruining some of the first book. But its a nice stand alone story about that character.
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« Reply #31 on: January 22, 2012, 10:40:04 PM »

2112 by Byrne (this thread is going to make me dig it out again)
Watchmen
The Dark Knight
The Killing Joke
Rising Stars (I guess it was a series technically and I only really liked the first third of the series - but it initially read like a graphic novel/miniseries) - there was also another series that was more in line of what this thread was meant for I think... midnight nation)
« Last Edit: January 22, 2012, 10:46:39 PM by notrich » Logged
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« Reply #32 on: January 25, 2012, 10:10:39 PM »

I've never read a Graphic Novel before, but thanks to the forum effect I'm working through Plague Y and have the Northlanders lined up next.  Great recommendations.

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« Reply #33 on: January 25, 2012, 10:12:58 PM »

I just finished Locke & Key vol 1 and it's downright fantastic. Thanks for the recommendation
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« Reply #34 on: January 26, 2012, 05:32:56 AM »

Yeah I'm itching for the last Locke and Key book to come out. Looks like it'll be sometime after March.

I did read Northlanders Book 4: The Plauge Widow, which is now my favorite of the series. It's a complete story where the plauge is going around and a small town takes the unusual step, at least to the towns people, of sealing the doors so the plauge victims can't get in and spread it. It's a horrid winter and things go from bad to worse as the town cut off from everyone tries to survive with what they have.

It's great stuff where the old ways (religion) and the new ways (science) do not mix in an already dangerous situation. Plus you got Vikings.

So as a first Northlanders book to try this one would be my reccomendation. If you don't like it you probably won't enjoy the others.
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« Reply #35 on: January 26, 2012, 01:21:25 PM »

Quote from: Crawley on January 26, 2012, 05:32:56 AM

Yeah I'm itching for the last Locke and Key book to come out. Looks like it'll be sometime after March.


June 26, according to Amazon.
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