Disclaimer about this Another Kind review: I cover a broad spectrum of content here at Mr. Dave Pizza, so please understand that everything here is not on the same level as this book. The intended audience of this book is “all-ages,” but this blog, although pretty darn wholesome, is not. This particular review is quite harmless though. Thank you.
I’m thrilled to bring you another installment in my comic/book reviews, which really needs to be here to fulfill my general body of knowledge, since, me being a writer, you can imagine I like books as much as games! Without a doubt, I’m tirelessly releasing indie game reviews. So in addition to games, let’s start a new trend by talking about this debut graphic novel from creators Cait May and Trevor Bream and publishing project Harper Alley known as Another Kind, a story about a group of cryptid youth government compound runaways on a mission to find safety and also learn more about their identities. This sounds like a game I’d play, but it’s definitely a book! (For the record, I was just kind of looking for something light to read during some traveling, and this looked fun.)
Maggie, Clarice, Nent, Jaali, Sylvie, and Omar
I’ve already seen a bajillion reviews saying this is Runaways with cryptids. I suppose that is a good analogy, and sure to catch some attention, especially with the new film from Marvel coming soon. Just to be factual and everything though, Maggie is the daughter of an eldritch god, with little Cthulu wings, and also hilarious. C’mon that’s creative. I really just cherished every single one of these characters though. From Omar the yeti, to Nent the kid reptilian. Are reptilians cryptids? Doesn’t really matter too much, because these characters have so much personality and find brilliant uses for their abilities. I even really adore Clarice who carries a seal pelt that turns her into a seal when she swims, but otherwise is mute and communicates in drawings.
For the record, the characters go through many labels throughout their journey. The most common is “irregularities.” Admittedly, it does have a very Marvel feeling to it. Especially when they learn that they’re not alone in their uniqueness at all!
It’s also fun to learn the dynamics of the species of each character, especially Sylvie the will-o-the-wisp, which I don’t know the full backstory on but has a vital role in the group. Every one of them has a profound ability to be helpful in the mission they’ve embarked upon.
Who’s Who in Another Kind?
For, clarity. Here is a list of each character and their alternate identity.
Omar: half-human teen, half yeti, broad fangs and what I’d call a combination of wisdom and strength, or instinct if you will, and a half-human appearance.
Sylvie: a freckly blonde will-o-the-wisp who becomes a mesmer capable of supernatural insight and manipulation, but at a cost.
Jaali: a shapeshifter, or were-bear who takes on the form of a bear, hoping to reunite with his father, also a were-bear.
Nent: A charming little reptilian alien estranged from a cunning race but instead an ambition to have a heart as warm as his human friends.
Clarice: Always kind of lurking in the background, but shapeshifts into a beautiful seal with her magic pelt, but also probably has one of the warmest hearts of them, I absolutely loved this character.
Maggie: And of course, Maggie! The show-stealing eldritch daughter of the king of the ocean. You will miss out if you don’t see her explain the backstory in washable marker graphics that take up the whole page. This was one moment that made me love this book.
There are also several other characters who take on mostly minor roles, and also the uber-creepy villain that drives the story’s conflict.
On The Road in Another Kind
So, the way things start out, the kids are staying in this confined housing where a team cares for them in the ways contemporary society has no room for outside. Without saying too much, the kids find themselves fairly soon taking things into their own hands. They wander through cities, forests, meeting friends and foes, there are even whole plot lines within plots that drive the story.
I found Another Kind really easy to follow along and read, which is one reason I chose it. Things just flow so naturally in this story, and I was constantly impressed by the fact that obstacles were quickly and thoroughly solved by the characters almost as soon as they had arrived. That is of course besides the major plot that influences everything in the story. That, of course, is not dealt with until much later on. The reality behind this is all the main characters are kids and teens, so of course, there’s not too much antagonism. It’s one reason this makes a good all-ages book. It also avoids the major cliche of kids getting angry and entitled for no reason, a common trope. These kids are good people, and I really enjoyed reading about them.
Cait May’s Brilliant Illustrations
You can tell by the illustration of the cover that this book has some fantastic art. Also, heads up, the art on the inside is just as awesome as the cover, which doesn’t always happen. My eyes and brain were just loving the way everything looked. There were many visual references, like Jaali’s were-bear transformation that goes totally Animorphs. I really enjoyed the character art though, and I highly recommend her website if you want to see more. Or of course, read the book.
If I had to choose a few favorite illustrated moments, I’d probably go with the bus ride and the Mothman. Gosh, there are so many good scenes in Another Kind. There are these small details attended to that brought on the feels so hard. And inside gags, that for seasoned geeks like me were totally apparent and really appreciated! It made me laugh at all the right moments. Visually and verbally.
I found this book on Google Play. It is available pretty much everywhere you get books or comics. It’s available in print and ebook. Oh, by the way, this book JUST released 3 days ago. That’s one of the reasons I chose it as a Halloween read, although it doesn’t necessarily have to be. This book is released from a new publishing house called Harper Alley that wants to publish all-age graphic novels. There’s some great stuff from there, so search them out to find more.
I know a lot of people are here for the games, but I will return with those too. In the meantime, I hoped you enjoyed this reviewed read. Thank you Trevor and Cait, this was an absolute treat!
And to you, dear readers! Thank you so much for reading Mr. Dave Pizza. This is a personal project of mine to cover new chill games and content and support the indie movement.
Available at your local retailer, also available online. Here is the Harper Collins link: