Review: ‘The Good Neighbors: Kind’
[[[The Good Neighbors: Kind]]]
By Holly Black and Ted Naifeh
Graphix/Scholastic, 120 pages, $18.99
The final chapter in The Good Neighbors trilogy brings to a close the story of Rue Silver, a somewhat typical young adult fantasy heroine. She discovers that she is actually a human/faerie hybrid destined to be heir to the faerie throne. Of course, the faerie in general don’t like the humans and there’s a movement at foot that endangers Rue’s friends and neighbors. She’s trapped between opposing forces that have been moving ever closer to a final conflict.
In book one, [[[Kin]]], we met Rue and her friends and author Holly Black displayed a wonderful way of handling teenagers with disparate personalities. Slowly the real story unfolds and we’re intrigued by all that we learn.
[[[Kith,]]] the second volume, was a terrific middle chapter as things are explained but the real danger is presented and our heroine has tough choices to make and little time to make them. Both books, by the way, earned Eisner nominations so clearly they have been well received.
Now, the final volume brings them all together and does so a little too breathlessly for my taste. First of all, being released a year apart, the second and third parts would have benefitted from recaps, a fault throughout most of the Graphix series.
Black has her hands full as the different relationships need to be settled and the climax approached in a taut way so we’re anxiously awaiting to see what happens to human and faerie alike. Unlike the previous installments, this feels incomplete. She may have well set herself with too many threads to tidy and not enough space to wrap things up in a satisfactory manner. There are swift scene changes that leave you wanting more form the previous scene and by the end of the book you’re thinking there should have been more. It ends and then we’re done without much of an anti-climax for the characters.
Ted Naifeh’s effective black and white artwork is as strong here as in the previous volumes, but there are times his storytelling should have been clearer to help the rushed story. There’s actually a lack of visual emotional impact in this chapter, where characters bid one another farewell and the stakes are high.
It does wrap things up and overall, the trilogy makes for a nice read. There’s little new here, beyond Rue herself as a character, but Black and Naifeh provide an entertaining addition to the growing YA fantasy GN category. Still, I was left wanting something deeper or more powerful – or something that lingered longer once I closed the cover.