The Road to Epoli
The Road to Epoli

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Annotation: A walking, talking, singing skeleton minstrel who has mysteriously retained his soul departs his dungeon prison with his sidekick, a gelatinous monster, to investigate clues about his identity in snippets of a song he hears in his dreams.
Catalog Number: #141290
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Graphic Novel Graphic Novel
Copyright Date: 2017
Edition Date: 2017
Pages: 208
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-399-55614-1 Perma-Bound: 0-605-97776-3
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-399-55614-2 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-97776-1
Dewey: Fic
Dimensions: 25 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Rickety Stitch is not like the other skeletons. Instead of being a mindless drone, Rickety is a skeleton with a soul, a wisecracking minstrel on a mission to discover his past, how he managed to escape the fate of the other skeletons, and what is so special about the mythical road to Epoli, a place he keeps dreaming about. Coming along on his journey are Gelatinous Goo, a sentient, wobbly blob that only Rickety can understand; a two-headed troll that blackmails Rickety into kidnapping a kindly gnome; an insecure imp; and a host of other fantasy creatures, some of which speak in ill-considered dialects. The world that's been created is a gorgeously realized homage to fantasy-quest conventions, complete with knights in armor, unicorns, suspicious villagers, and ghostly evil presences, and the artwork reflects that in its bold colors and lively character designs. The jokes, on the other hand, are modern, funny, and sometimes bawdy. The first of a planned trilogy will have readers eagerly awaiting the next installment of Rickety's adventure.
Kirkus Reviews
A minstrel skeleton and his wobbly companion embark upon an epic quest to learn their origins in this gloriously ribald graphic tale. Unlike the other, dronelike skeletons, who never tire and soundlessly work, Rickety Stitch has both a soul and a song in his heart. Cast out from his dungeon into a dark and mysterious wood for his ineffectiveness and nonconformity, he and his faithful companion—a silent, shopping-bag-shaped creature named Gelatinous Goo—soon find themselves tricked by a snarky little imp. Goo is imprisoned by a two-headed giant who demands that the imp and Rickety bring him a pure-hearted gnome to eat. The plan goes awry, and hilarity ensues (along with the more-than-occasional cheerfully caustic joke). Rickety has no memories of his human life, and in addition to rescuing his friend is determined to track down something from his past. Costa and Parks' script is imaginative and laugh-out-loud funny, unafraid to crack a well-timed, verging-on-naughty joke. Costa's art is unfalteringly, vibrantly buoyant, with many sight gags that effortlessly turn the profane into something adorably laughable. A cliffhanger ending leaves readers poised for the sequel—they will be clamoring. For those who loved Noelle Stevenson's Nimona (2015) and have struggled to find something similar, this may scratch that itch. Don't be fooled by the cheery illustrations; this is irreverent, bawdy, and lots of fun. (Graphic fantasy. 13-adult)
Publishers Weekly
Rickety Stitch is a skeleton bard who can-t keep a job; his dreams hint at who he was in a previous life, but he remembers little upon awakening. After getting fired from a dungeon, Stitch sets out for answers in Epoli, a place that surfaces in his dreams. His blob of a sidekick, Gelatinous Goo, accompanies him, and their adventures throw them into contact with imps, gnomes, trolls, and other creatures; some befriend and help him, while others have less benevolent plans in mind. The kaleidoscope of characters is complemented by the full-color artwork, which establishes a rich fantasy landscape and contrast starkly with the barren b&w eeriness of Stitch-s dreams. Amid many slapstick moments, gross-out gags, and edgy jokes--You-re lucky you didn-t rip my blouse,- wails the skeleton after getting stabbed during a bar fight, -this thing-s vintage!--Parks and Costa impressively evolve their tale into a compelling epic quest with deeper themes than the initial chapters hint. This trilogy opener is ideal for Nimona fans looking to see tried-and-true fantasy tropes get hilariously upended. Ages 12-up. Agent: Daniel Lazar, Writers House. (June)

School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 6 UpRickety Stitch is a skeleton minstrel who travels throughout the fantasy realm of Eem with Goo, his jiggling cube of a sidekick. Unlike the other reanimated skeletons in this world, Rickety retains his personality, but he has no memory of who he was when he was alive, and the only key to his past is a song whose fragments come to him in a dream. So in true buddy fashion, the duo venture on an epic quest to find the plucky troubadour's origins. Drawn in stark black-and-white lines with somber gray shading, the dream sequences contrast beautifully with the lurid colors and chaotic art style of the rest of the book. The art brings the story to life, making the characters believable and adding dimension to personalities. The plot is an exciting blend of creepy and humorous, with a truly amazing amount of world-building and history, making the setting every bit as captivating as the characters. VERDICT Conjuring up an entertaining bard's tale, this adventure is sure to appeal to anyone who loves high fantasy punctuated with comedy, especially older fans of Jeff Smith's "Bone."Kelley Gile, Cheshire Public Library, CT
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
A minstrel skeleton and his wobbly companion embark upon an epic quest to learn their origins in this gloriously ribald graphic tale. Unlike the other, dronelike skeletons, who never tire and soundlessly work, Rickety Stitch has both a soul and a song in his heart. Cast out from his dungeon into a dark and mysterious wood for his ineffectiveness and nonconformity, he and his faithful companion—a silent, shopping-bag-shaped creature named Gelatinous Goo—soon find themselves tricked by a snarky little imp. Goo is imprisoned by a two-headed giant who demands that the imp and Rickety bring him a pure-hearted gnome to eat. The plan goes awry, and hilarity ensues (along with the more-than-occasional cheerfully caustic joke). Rickety has no memories of his human life, and in addition to rescuing his friend is determined to track down something from his past. Costa and Parks' script is imaginative and laugh-out-loud funny, unafraid to crack a well-timed, verging-on-naughty joke. Costa's art is unfalteringly, vibrantly buoyant, with many sight gags that effortlessly turn the profane into something adorably laughable. A cliffhanger ending leaves readers poised for the sequel—they will be clamoring. For those who loved Noelle Stevenson's Nimona (2015) and have struggled to find something similar, this may scratch that itch. Don't be fooled by the cheery illustrations; this is irreverent, bawdy, and lots of fun. (Graphic fantasy. 13-adult)
Word Count: 12,850
Reading Level: 3.1
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.1 / points: 2.0 / quiz: 189629 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:3.2 / points:5.0 / quiz:Q71737
Lexile: GN360L
Guided Reading Level: T

Nimona meets Adventure Time as a singing skeleton searches for his origins in this full-color graphic novel series kickoff!
 
Meet Rickety Stitch . . . a walking, talking, singing skeleton minstrel. He’s the one skeleton in the dungeon who seems to have retained his soul, and he has no idea why.
 
His only clue to his former identity is a song he hears snippets of in his dreams, an epic bard’s tale about the Road to Epoli and the land of Eem.
 
His sidekick and sole friend is the gelatinous Goo, who Rickety alone can understand. Together they set out in search of Rickety’s past, with abundant humor and danger galore.
 
Dazzling, inventive and fun. Ben Costa and James Parks manage to both spoof and pay homage to the fantasy tradition, while creating characters we care about. A tour de force.” —Jason Shiga, author of Meanwhile and Demon
 
“Rickety Stitch is full of wonderful characters and pacing . . . and what surprises! Storytelling stripped down to the bare bones.” —Stan Sakai, creator of Usagi Yojimbo


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