Monday, February 25, 2013

The Ride Home

Nodo is a van gnome. That means that he lives in a van, hiding for the most part and tidying up when the humans aren't around. One day, on the way to a visit to the vet, the family cat gets at him and he is forced to abandon ship. Out in the world, Nodo, who has an absolutely horrible memory,  attempts to find his way back home. On his quest he runs into a great many interesting characters, including another van gnome named Flora, a sewer dragon, a tribe of forest gnomes, a couple of trolls, and some cows. Some of these creatures are more helpful than others, and a few are downright dangerous.

I found this book charming and wonderful. Its internal logic and magical creatures make up a fun and exciting yarn. It was created by Joey Weiser, a cartoonist who has published a few other books and mini-comics, including Tales of Unusual Circumstance, Cavemen in Space, and the forthcoming Mermin. He speaks more about The Ride Home and his early career in this interview.

This book was Weiser's debut effort, and I enjoyed it, but some reviews I have seen online have been rather harsh. Publishers Weekly found it stiff and concluded that "the story never takes off." Brian Gardes found it derivative and wrote that it contained "way too many coincidences for me to look beyond this pale imitation of Bone." Johanna Draper Carlson offered a counter view, calling it "a wonderful, engrossing all-ages story for anyone adapting to a new environment," and adding, "It’s a lovely reminder of the importance of friendship, too."

This book was published by Adhouse Books, who provide a preview here.

For the more frugal or those who want more of a preview, the author has posted the entire book here on his official site.

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