Thursday, January 15, 2015


Seconds carries a lot of weight, as it is the next work from Bryan Lee O'Malley after his wildly successful Scott Pilgrim series that was adapted into a major motion picture. I really loved the Scott Pilgrim comics because they were fun, clever, and they combined sequential art and video game aspects into some excellent storytelling. The good news with this volume is that all of those expert artistic chops and narrative flourishes are also used to great effect. In particular, the use of a variety of panels and sound effects to drive the story is outstanding.

This book plays on some familiar themes for O'Malley fans, of growing up and becoming an adult and also of dealing with a cast of quirky characters. Instead of looking at the egos involved in a music scene, here we get to see the egos involved in the restaurant business. The main character is Katie, a 29-year-old head chef who has created a hugely successful restaurant named Seconds. She is having a secret relationship with a co-worker, which gets complicated when an ex-boyfriend pops back into the picture. She is also in the midst of a transition, trying to save money so she can open a second restaurant, this time so she can retain ownership. Being economical, she lives upstairs in a spare room at Seconds, and there she has some  encounters with a strange being that seems to live in the top drawer of a dresser in her room.
The new restaurant appears to be a money pit, and when an opportunity to change one mistake in her life arises, Katie takes it. It may be that she is just hallucinating because of stress, but she eats a magic mushroom and follows a set of directions because she finds herself at her wits end. Not to spoil things too much, but when she wakes up the next day her life is different, and she sets a very complicated series of events in motion.

All of the reviews I have read about this book have been positive. Oliver Sava commented that this book "arrives with high expectations, and it meets them all, delivering the style and humor of O’Malley’s past works with greater emphasis on mood, detail, and complex character relationships." Jesse Schedeen wrote, "while it's easy enough to predict the general course of the plot, O'Malley keeps things interesting through a combination of wit and creative storytelling." Matt Little gushed, "I cannot say enough good things about this book. I put it down and immediately wanted to read it again."

Seconds was published by Random House, who provides a preview and much more here.

No comments:

Post a Comment