Saturday 26 January 2013

The Ten Rules of Skimming by Zelda Compton & Jess Swainton

The Ten Rules of Skimming
Published by Mogzilla in September 2012
176 pages with illustrations
‘Adam opened his eyes lazily, his grandfather’s muttering was proof that breath still made it in and out of his lungs. He sat perfectly still, trying to prolong the dream. He’d been so cold. But now the heat was creeping through him, inch by inch spreading upwards into his arms and into his hands. Hands that lay encased in his grandfather’s hands. How had that happened?’’
Summary from Mogzilla site
Half book, half graphic-novel The Ten Rules of Skimming is the debut novel by Zella Compton. It has artwork by artist Jess Swainson on almost every page. 
Ever had the shivery feeling that someone is ‘walking over your grave’? It’s someone skimming your soul. Adam finds that skimming brings an amazing rush but joy-riding across minds comes with risks.
When he meets Jenny-Ray, he learns about the Board, with their list of approved ‘hosts’ to visit. The consequences of disobedience are terrifying.
Zella Compton’s first published novel is a dark and imaginative story with an intriguing central premise. What if you could slip into other people’s consciousness, leap from one mind to another?
 The format is also unusual –like Henry Tumour by Anthony McGowan & Andy Horan, or Slog’s Dad by David Almond & Dave McKean, there are black and white illustrations throughout. These break up the text and give breathing space for some pretty extraordinary ideas. It would be interesting to see this as a larger format, full-on manga.
 The identity of the sinister Questioner is not revealed till the end making for ongoing mystery and threat. The element of psychological peril increases as Adam’s interrogation proceeds and a small cast of distinct characters make the storyline easier to follow. There is a nicely drawn relationship between Adam and Spod, and the family tensions with his mother and little sister Marion come across well.
This book would particularly suit older 10+ readers looking for big ideas presented through a mix of text and graphics: it’s not as visual as a graphic novel but far less intimidating than long blocks of text in a more traditional format. Distinctive, interesting and likely to appeal to gamers.

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