Wednesday, June 24, 2015

More Stories...

I've been meaning to re-read Elfquest for awhile. One of those things that I kept thinking about but not doing. Then I realized I was 5 books behind in my reading challenge for the year and thought, I can make up 5 books and get a little bit of padding by tearing through the 8 Elfquest books. (I keep picking up these 800 page books so instead of getting credit for 2 books, I get credit for 1 even though I'm still reading a ton!)

So yes, it's gaming the system a little, but it's my game so it totally counts. If I get behind again I've been meaning to revisit Sandman as well so I'm covered there.

Okay, so anyway, I've talked about the books before. That I really think as much as anything else they shaped my world view. My belief systems. I was young enough when I read them the first time, published every 4 months as comics, waiting ages for each new issue instead of being able to devour them in a few settings like I do now, anyway...young enough when I read them the first time that they really resonated with me.

I was never in to Dungeons and Dragons and honestly (and I know this is sacrilege) I found Lord of the Rings to be dull. But Elfquest? Those were my elves. Especially the Wolfriders. Maybe the Go Backs a little...but mostly the Wolfriders. I had a crush on Skywise, I thought being a healer like Leetah would be incredible but Nightfall was who I wanted to be when I grew up. I spent a lot of time reading and re-reading those books. Writing fan fiction in my head where I was part of that tribe. Cutter's quest was my quest.

Reading them again is like rediscovering an old friend. There is still comfort there. Knowing what happens, where they end up, who makes it and who doesn't. The stories are familiar. Being older I see that it's all the same story that we all tell over and over in all of the big stories. The hero's journey right? But Elfquest was my first real hero's journey. The first one I felt the earth move for when I read it. The first one that didn't just entertain me, but changed me.

Now the funny thing is that on Goodreads you rate books after you read them. Five stars is the top. So far I've re-read three of the books and they are all four stars. You would think that for something that shaped me as much as they did they would have to be five right? But nope, they get four. Four is really good. The illustrations are beautiful. Though there is no wonder between Barbie and the Elves that I have never been happy with the way I look, why can't I look like pretend things? The story is good. But it's a little weak. Not something that I noticed at 10. And part of the weakness is due to the original format. There are reminders all through out the story of what has come before, but they are awkward, a character will think to himself, "Oh that's why there was an owl in the woods." I get it, you want me to remember the owl from two issues ago, or 5 issues ago, but trust your reader to remember. Or to go back and rediscover it on a second reading. (The Harry Potter books are great for that, re-read them all and follow clues you didn't realize meant something the first time through) But because of these awkward asides the story is just really good instead of great.

But as a whole? For the series? For the way it shaped me? For the resonance it has held in my life? I give it the full five geek stars. It's my lodestone. My holt. My soft pretty thing. And I will howl for the tribe in my dreams...

And I will catch up on the books I am behind in my Goodreads challenge. Whew...

And I still wouldn't mind growing up to be Nightfall.

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