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‘Unicorn Boy’ (review)

Written and Illustrated by Dave Roman
Published by First Second

 

“Dude! You have a unicorn horn on your noggin! That’s so amazing!”

While I am not the target audience for this book, I have to admit there is a certain charm and a certain thrill in reading this. The writing style and the art style are both pretty simple.

However, it makes the book easily accessible to anyone who might be interested in reading it. It is also pretty accessible to those who may not immediately be comic book fans as well. The book has an easy way of being digestible and engaging for any reader out there, no matter their interests and previous tastes.

Brian Reyes is just an average boy at the beginning of this book.

On the very first page, he is with his parents who remark just how ordinary their child is.

The plot point of Brian being ordinary is repeated quite often in the first few pages. Dave Roman wanted his readers to know that his main character is ordinary and goes to pretty great lengths to show us that.

Everything is pretty ordinary. That is, until Brian starts to sprout a unicorn horn on top of his head. That is when things go delightfully out of control.

Brian’s life goes out of control from that point on. We get to see how his friends and family react to this new development in his life. Some of their reactions are pretty hilarious. The ways in which Brian’s world start to change are pretty hilarious as well as pretty sad. Brian tries to ignore the horn on top of his head a much as he can. Yet, he is taunted by proper name calling him. They start to call him “Unicorn Boy.” He has to deal with a lot of exterior elements as the story continues. Some hit him pretty hard emotionally.

He also has to contend with a talking muffin. The talking muffin becomes his friend as his life begins to change even more. He grows a pink and purple mane. He even gains the ability to fly in the air. We get to see him test his new abilities. Through it all, he does have a best friend named Avery Henson.

Avery is very supportive of Brian. He is with him no matter what and had previously been a protector of Brian, who was always a bit shy. The bond of their friendship is one of the book’s strongest plot lines. It is handled authentically and with a lot of charm and a lot of heart.

Avery then falls into a vortex in the backyard. This is when Brian must use his abilities to help his friend and save him. The dynamics of their friendship are reversed here and it really does flip the script quite well. Brian goes into the vortex and it leads into the underworld . He has to travel pretty deep to find his lost friend and save him.

He meets a cast of crazy characters along the way too, including a talking cat! As he goes further and further in the abyss of this dark underworld, Brian soon finds that he will have to confront the being known as the Skull King if he is going to be able to save his friend. Can he do it? Or will both of them be stuck down in this crazy place forever, never to return?

The book takes some crazy and unexpected twists. I don’t want to spoil it, but let’s just say that it doesn’t always look like Brian and Avery are going to make it out of this dark and dire underworld. Or, at least not both of them. I was genuinely engaged in what was happening and I loved the way the story always kept me guessing.

By the end of the book, the characters have really been put through their paces quite well. I loved where this all went and I enjoyed that it didn’t hold back on the peril that these characters faced. It was a bit of a thrill ride.

The writing and the artwork are both great. The writing is perfectly paced and the characters are strong. Likewise, the artwork is very nicely executed and streamlined perfectly. It works in every sense of the word.

I may not be the target audience for this, but I really did enjoy reading it.

Much better than I anticipated for sure. It is a good story that is accessible for everyone.

RATING: A-

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