Linda Medley lives in Portland, OR, where she is currently working on the Castle Waiting series.
A set of linked nouveaux fairy tales, this graphic novel extends the story of Sleeping Beauty into a modern, feminist Chaucer for happy people. After Sleeping Beauty leaves with the prince, the three ladies in waiting, Patience, Prudence and Plenty, stay on in the castle, a hobgoblin-infested structure that becomes a refuge for those in need: a pregnant woman fleeing her abusive husband; Sir Destrier, a horse-headed knight who wants a place to rest between adventures; Beakie, a kindly bachelor merchant; and Sister Peace, a bearded nun. The ladies do things like dye their hair red with henna, but mostly they tell stories of their lives. The art is full of humor; we know each character as soon as we see them. The faces are particularly expressive. The stories of the bearded nuns go on a mite too long, but there's still plenty of humor in their invention of a whole order of nuns dedicated to showing up the idiocies of men. Medley's art is both exquisitely detailed and fantastically lighthearted. Though appropriate for all ages, this one-of-a-kind graphic novel is likely to appeal most to smart women in their 20s and older-much older-and to any man who believes in feminism and knows how to laugh. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Castle Waiting creates a vibrant fantasy world not unlike The Lord of the Rings' Middle-earth but with a focus on the lives of women. Gorgeously illustrated in black and white, fun to read and look at, Castle Waiting will enthrall fantasy readers of both genders.
Drawing on Sleeping Beauty and The Canterbury Tales for starters, this revisionist, picaresque Harvey Award- and Eisner Award-winning fantasy loads in numerous sly references to other fairy tales and myths. After Sleeping Beauty's prince sweeps her off to his homeland, the kingdom is deserted except for a handful of retainers remaining in the castlewaiting. Later and elsewhere, a young pregnant woman departs under mysterious circumstances for Castle Waiting, by now a legendary sanctuary. The tale follows the lady Jain as she reaches the castle and makes friends with its eccentric residents: the outspoken and warm-hearted cook, the aging ladies in waiting, the stork-headed steward, a taciturn blacksmith, a horse-headed knight, a reclusive scientist in a bird mask, and the bearded nun Sister Peace. Gradually, the story focuses on Peace's unusual and entertaining reminiscences. The charming black-and-white art evokes medieval-style woodcuts but with a much more playful mood. Featuring talking animals, romance, demons, magic, and miracles aplenty, this is a sophisticated and delightful saga for all ages. A new series just began this past July. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Gr 9 Up-With its quiet blend of fantasy, folktales, and character-driven storytelling, this charming collection brings the first 12 issues of an Eisner Award-winning comic-book series to a wider audience. It opens with "The Brambly Hedge," which gives the origin of the castle itself. In a comic retelling of Sleeping Beauty, a medieval castle and its loving inhabitants are abandoned when the princess wakes up, finds her Prince Charming, and rides off into the sunset with him. The castle transforms into an outpost of sorts for the unusual, the unwanted, and those just needing a place to hide from the world. Talking chivalrous horses, pregnant mothers on the run, and nuns who were once bearded ladies in the circus are just a few of the colorful inhabitants whose stories fill the remainder of the volume. Medley's storytelling becomes more assured and complex as the series progresses, and she uses flashbacks and stories-within-stories in a manner that creates a rhythm that is both fun and gripping. Hard-edged lines with simple forms create black-and-white artwork that melds nicely with the fairy-tale feel of the stories. This volume is accessible for younger readers but filled with enough layers and depth to satisfy those looking for a bit more sophistication.-Matthew L. Moffett, Ford's Theatre Society, Washington, DC Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.