Bone, Volume 7: Ghost Circles by Jeff Smith
Graphix, 2008. 978-0439706346
Synopsis: A long-dormant volcano explodes, blacking out the sun, mowing down trees, and filling the land with soot and ash. The Lord of the Locusts has been released. Against this apocalyptic backdrop, the Bone cousins along with Thorn and Gran’ma Ben struggle to reach safe haven in the city of Atheia. Meanwhile, Lucius Downs lies severely wounded and trapped with the villagers in the camp at Old Man’s Cave. – from Amazon.com
Why I picked it up: The end seems to be near…or is it?
Why I finished it: If you’ll permit me a brief parallel, this is the portion of the saga that is vaguely reminiscent of Gandalf and Pippin’s ride to Minas Tirith in The Lord of the Rings. The cousins are reunited with Thorn and Grandma Ben, but there still remain two factions of valley dwellers: those in Atheia and those confined to Old Man’s Cave. The mysteries continue to abound as our quintet makes the dangerous journey across the valley, and a key piece to the puzzle is revealed…in a roundabout way. Well, actually, a couple of them, but it’s still hard to see what some of these clues mean to the bigger picture. This volume also sees the return of Bartleby the rat creature, who helps our heroes escape yet another onslaught by his people. I’m also starting to see Smiley’s role in the story as comic relief. It’s well-balanced comic relief, though: he uses humor to diffuse tense situations – particularly between his cousins – but he will also offer some logic on occasion that will make his comrades think more about what they are doing. Smith is using Smiley to help bring some much needed laughs to a desperate situation in this book, especially since most of the world has turned into a dark and barren landscape. The art is somewhat grittier to match the tone, but still retains the curved lines and soft edges that are linked to the hope we have that everything will work itself out. True, there is bound to be more trouble before things get better, but , like Smiley, I have faith that nothing can stop them.
Other related materials: Bone, Volume 1: Out from Boneville by Jeff Smith; Bone, Volume 2: The Great Cow Race by Jeff Smith; Bone, Volume 3: Eyes of the Storm by Jeff Smith; Bone, Volume 4: The Dragonslayer by Jeff Smith; Bone, Volume 5: Rock Jaw: Master of the Eastern Border by Jeff Smith; Bone, Volume 6: Old Man’s Cave by Jeff Smith; Bone, Volume 8: Treasure Hunters by Jeff Smith; Bone, Volume 9: Crown of Horns by Jeff Smith; Bone, Prequel: Rose by Jeff Smith; Bone: Tall Tales by Jeff Smith and Tom Sniegoski; Bone: Quest for the Spark Books 1 & 2 by Jeff Smith and Tom Sniegoski; Zita the Spacegirl series by Ben Hatke; The Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi; Knights of the Lunch Table books by Frank Cammuso; Cleopatra in Space series by Mike Maihack; Nnewts books by Doug TenNapel; Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel