Return of the Dapper Men – A Book Review

Most of the books I review here are ones I discovered in days long ago. Truth be told, I don’t have a lot of time for reading these days, between work, the kids, the dog, the rat, and just general chaos.  So, imagine my delight when I found a new book at the library, and ripped right through it. Amazing, right?

Okay, before you get too impressed, it’s a graphic novel I found in the kids section at the library.  So, the fact that I finished it quickly shouldn’t be too amazing. That said, I was very pleasantly surprised. It was one of those moments where you’re wandering the shelf, you glimpse a cover out of the corner of your eye, and give it a try.  There’s no way to know how it will end.  Today, I will share my discovery with you.

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Please, allow me to introduce Return of the Dapper Men, by Jim McCann and Janet Lee.

Ahem, allow me a little liberty in setting the scene here…

Two households, both alike in dignity, In Fair Anorev, where we lay our scene…. Okay, so it’s not quite Shakespeare. The story, however, at least at start feels somewhat similar to that of the great bard.  Our story starts in Anorev, a land without time.  The children (for there are no adults) all live underground and do nothing but play and create, although play has lost meaning and feels more like work.  Above is the land of the robots who work, although that work seems to have lost it’s meaning as well. Neither side interacts with the other, for the feud is ancient.

However, as in all good stories, there is an exception.  Ayden and Zoe are friends that defy the norm.  Ayden is a curious young boy who asks questions, even though he doesn’t really understand what the questions are.  Zoe is a silent robot with a massive destiny that no one seems to know how to start.  No one, until the Dapper Men arrive. With the return of the men comes the return of time.  With the return of time, comes the end of time.  Or maybe it’s the beginning?

Who should read this?

Oh man…that’s a tough question. I really enjoyed this book a lot, but it’s a bit harder to pinpoint why.  The prose is beautiful. The whole book reads like a poem, slowly drifting through the pages and revealing a bit more of itself with each line and each page. The art is stunning, at times simple, and others spectacular.  Both together…

If you are an adventurer when you read, read this book.  If you want a book to drift through, read this book.  If you want something very different from pretty much anything you read last…read this book. It’s worth it.

Who shouldn’t read this?

If you’re not comfortable with being a bit confused for a while (if not the whole time), then I really would not recommend this one.  While I found the storytelling style to be interesting, I can definitely see how others would find it incredibly frustrating.  Even when our protagonist finds out exactly what’s going on, we the readers have no clue.  It’s definitely a mystery the whole way through.  Or rather, a journey.

Another note, while I found it in the kids’ section at our library (and the words themselves are not too complex), the story style might be a bit difficult for some readers.  Honestly, I haven’t decided whether I’ll recommend it to my daughter even, because it tends to wind about itself quite a bit.  If you have a kiddo who’s still working hard on their reading comprehension, you might want to shelve this one until later.

Also, obviously, if you’re not a fan of graphic novels, this one isn’t likely to be your cup of tea.

And with that… I say give it a go!  As I said, I was pleasantly surprised considering this was a random grab.  In fact, I intend to read it a few more times before I return it because I suspect it will be the sort of book that keeps on giving.

And if you do read it, let me know what you thought!



Edit: I did end up giving this to my daughter to read and she decided she really loved it.  When I asked her why, though, should couldn’t say.  So, yeah.  Good book but it’s really hard to pinpoint why!

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