Monday, April 21, 2008

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 208
Number in Series : #1 Return to Labyrinth
Reason for Reading : Spring Reading Thing Challenge, Extra for Once Upon a Time II Challenge, I loved the film and was interested to see what happened to Toby next...

"... in a kingdom far away, there lived a beautiful princess. Life wasn't easy for the young princess... for her wicked stepmother worked her life a slave. The princess was forced to slways stay home and watch over her baby brother, so she could never leave the castle. But what no one knew was that the King of the Goblins had fallen in love with the princess and given her certain powers. The princess knew that if she wished it, the King of the Goblins would keep her brother in his castle forever and ever and turn him into a goblin. So one night, when the princess coudl take the burden no longer, she called to the Goblin King for help. "Goblin King, Goblin King! Wherever you may be, take this child of mine far away from me!" she said. The King of the Goblins granted the princess' wish and took the baby to his castle at the centre of a vast labyrinth. Too late, the princess realised that she still loved her baby brother, and so she pleaded with the King to return him. "What's said is said" the Goblin King responded, for he took a promise very seriously. But the Goblin King did not have it in his heart to refuse the princess for he still loved her a great deal. "You have thirteen hours in which to solve the labyrinth before your baby brother becomes one of us forever." Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, she fought her way to the castle beyond Goblin City to take back the child that had been stolen. The Goblin King offered the princess her heart's every desire if only she would bow to him. But her will was as strong as his and her kingdom as great. He had no power over her. The princess returned home with her baby brother, confident that she had seen the last of the Goblin King. And sure enough, the Goblin King never troubled her again. Her brother, however, was not so lucky..."

And thus we are introduced to a new manga series which picks up where Jim Henson's film left off. Toby is now in high school and has his every wish granted. This hasn't won him any friends and seems to only get him into bigger and bigger trouble. One day he is sent to the principals office and meets Jareth who claims to have given him the world. Toby replies that he never asked for it and all he wants is to be left alone. That evening he is doing his homework without magical assistance, when he sees a goblin making off with the printed essay. As the power on his computer went off without him having saved it first, he follows the goblin to retrieve the only copy of his work.

Toby comes out of a pipe above the Labyrinth. He enlists the help of a fairy whose wings have been pulled off, her puppy Stank and goblin thief Skud to journey to the castle and get back his homework. Along the way they battle a water cat and travel through a secret garden meeting many strange creatures as well as narrowly escaping being beheaded. Upon reaching the castle they learn that the Goblin King is resigning and is about to announce his heir. The Queen of Cups is adament she or one of her two daughters rule and if it isn't awarded to them she is prepared to take it by force. The Goblin King announces his decision before disappearing and leaving Toby stuck in the castle leading nicely into the second volume.

It was beautifully illustrated and was a great start to the series. You get to catch up with old friend Hoggle (now a Prince as promised but not quite what he was hoping for), Ludo and Sir Didymus and his stead Ambrosius. There are some great new characters including a human girl called Moppet who is passing as a goblin. Fans of manga, fantasy and the origianl film will love this new series.


chrisa511 said...

OK, I'm absolutely getting this one and I wish I would've read your review before I placed my book order last night! Oh well. I've been craving The Labyrinth lately and this one sounds cool. I was hesitant about it for awhile, but I like the premise of it. I saw this one and The Dark Crystal Manga awhile ago in the book store but passed on them thinking they'd be pretty bad, but you convinced me otherwhise!

Ana S. said...

It's great to hear that the story lives up to the art. I need to get this one.

Jeane said...

I saw that film when I was younger and it was really cool. Now I don't think I could stand the music involved, but a manga series based on it? That sounds like it could be pretty cool, too.