Featured Review: Swamp Thing: Twin Branches (Maggie Stiefvater)
About This Book:
#1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater (the Raven Cycle series) and artist Morgan Beem unearth the primal power of memory and how it twists the bond between two brothers.
Twins Alec and Walker Holland have a reputation around town. One is quiet and the other is the life of any party, but the two are inseparable. For their last summer before college, Alec and Walker leave the city to live with their rural cousins, where they find that the swamp holds far darker depths than they could have imagined.
While Walker carves their names into the new social scene, laboratory, Alex receds into a summer-school laboratory, because he brought something from home on their trip--it's an experiment that will soon consume him. This season, both brothers must confront truths, ancient and familial, and as their lives diverge, tensions increase and dormant memories claw to the surface.
From #1 New York Times bestselling authorMaggie Stiefvater (the Raven Cycle series) and artist Morgan Beem comes a story of shadows, both literal and imagined--and those that take form and haunt us.
*Review Contributed by Olivia Farr Staff Reviewer*
SWAMP THING: TWIN BRANCHES is a graphic novel about finding yourself, remembering history, and forging your own path forward. Alec and Walker have been trouble-makers, and this summer before they head to college, when they discover their father having an affair, their parents send them to stay with their rural cousins. Once there, Walker quickly joins the social scene, while Alec is consumed by his science project.
A year before, Alec developed Type 1 Diabetes after the flu, and he has been questioning all the changes in his life since. He is performing experiments with plants to see how they communicate and share memories, hypothesizing that it may be linked with glutamate. On the trip, his experiments take a tumble and expose the growth medium he is using to pass along plant memories to various animals with strange effects.
Although Walker wants to spend his time partying, Alec would rather spend time with his plants and experiments, and this creates new divisions between the two who used to be so close.
What I loved: There is some really intriguing science here, though fictionalized, that presents a new way of thinking about ourselves and the world around us. I loved the other characters we meet in the science lab and hearing about their projects as well. Alec is coming to terms with his diabetes and the differences that separate him from others who can be so carefree and extroverted. I appreciated the dual perspectives we view of Alec and Walker. Part of growing up is finding your own path, and we really see Alec questioning and defining himself through the book.
This story is quite imaginative with borderline horrific imagery as animals take on the memories of the plants through the medium. I was really intrigued by the concept, and I love the fantastical way it came to life through the illustrations. The colors used in the book suit Alec and his mood perfectly, and while there were some panels that were a little more challenging to follow (with several characters close together and a lot of speech bubbles), the art does a lot of the talking in the book.
What left me wanting more: The only thing I could want more of here is more! I feel like a huge event happened at the end, and we don't yet get to see the after, and I would have loved more backstory for the other scientifically inclined characters, as I found them all intriguing.
Final verdict: An intriguing and thought-provoking graphic novel about finding yourself and your own passions and paths, SWAMP THING: TWIN BRANCHES is an engaging and compelling read. Highly recommend for fans of science and character growth.
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