It should be noted straight away that QUEST FOR THE SPARK is a prose novel with only a few illustrations throughout. But seeing as how Jeff Smith's Bone epic is one of the greatest graphic novels of all time, schools, libraries and bookstores would do well to tie this book in with the graphic novels from the same series. There is an opportunity for young readers to discover something new here, and hopefully it will be used to good advantage. Whether it's a reader of prose discovering a new appreciation for comics or a comics reader learning that he or she can truly appreciate longer-form prose, Bone is a wonderful entry point for all kinds of readers.
Writer Tom Sniegoski expands on Smith's rich mythology in this book, taking many of the characters and utilizing them to wonderful effect. The protagonist of the story is 12-year-old Tom Elm, a turnip farmer whose family falls sway to a dangerous sleep brought about by the evil Nacht.
Tom's best friend is a raccoon named Roderick, and the rest of the cast is equally colorful and diverse, especially the intriguing Percival Bone (many favorites from the Bone series make an appearance, too). Smith steps in to handle all the illustrations throughout, firmly solidifying this book in his extensive Bone universe.
As you would expect from a book in the Bone series, there's plenty of adventure as Tom and his cohorts go in search of the spark that will help them defeat Nacht. There's action and suspense (always kid-friendly, but adults will be held in suspense, too) aplenty throughout, plus a load of intriguing and endearing stories of friendship, courage and loyalty.
It 's nice to see that Bone lives on in this impressive first novel in a series. If you are at all a fan of the original work, you will be pulled once again into the world of Bone and find a welcoming home here all over again.
Reviewed by John Hogan on February 1, 2011
Bone: Quest for the Spark, Book One