Sunday, October 26, 2014

Ray's Reviews: Seconds by Bryan Lee O'Malley

  "Seconds" by award-winning author/artist Bryan Lee O'Malley
(Ballantine, $25) is a highly entertaining graphic novel full of
        In today's world of graphic novels, the unassuming reader
doesn't really know what to expect - but O'Malley, creator of the
best-selling Scott
Pilgrim series, isn't disappointing.
        When you pick up the book, it's easy to see that the
dust-jacket is cut rather oddly - it's missing the bottom inch.
Naturally, the curious
reader is likely to take it off and see what's lurking underneath.
        It's not your usual plain cloth cover - instead, it's a bright glossy
design with an image of a young woman floating against a starry
background, surrounded by other characters, mushrooms and more.
      If you're shaking your head and saying "Huh?" - welcome to the
crowd - but after a brief introductory prologue, the quirky, unusual
saga begins.
        It focuses on the plight of Katie, a talented chef and the successful
owner of "Seconds", a popular restaurant. She's got plans to open another
location, but things aren't working out quite as she'd like; her
ex-boyfriend returns, a new relationship sours and her best waitress is
        She gets an unusual opportunity to change things, when in a
dream she meets Lis, a mysterious spirit. Lis offers Katie a second
chance to do
things over by taking a magical mushroom. She must, however, abide by a
list of rules:
1: Write your mistake.
2: Ingest one mushroom.
3: Go to sleep.
4: Wake anew.
        Katie does that, and just like the main character in the
"Groundhog Day" movie, she starts the day over again.
        Unfortunately, things don't get better, but worse; Lis says that there's
a limit of one mushroom, but Katie discovers more, decides to break the
rules and try again.
        That's when the tension begins to increase and the intensity
accelerates. Talented O'Malley uses bright retro manga-type images and
brisk dialogue to keep the reader entertained.
        There's never really a dull moment as the storyline progresses to a
satisfying conclusion; the graphic novel is broken down into short
chapters that are easily absorbed.
        Rife with flashes of dark humor, O'Malley's masterful tale deftly
captures the emotions, angst and worries of his intriguing cast of
        Tough to put down, "Seconds" is quite captivating and enjoyable.

        Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing's Curious Book Shop, has
reviewed books regularly since 1987.

Find this book and other great titles
at the Curious Book Shop, an independent 
book shop in East Lansing, founded in 1969.

Curious Book Shop
307 East Grand River Avenue
East Lansing, Michigan

This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on October 26, 2014.

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