Cheryl and Tweed have very busy monster hunting lives. Zombies, vampires, and mummies are the stock in trade for these young heroines.
This first part in the series is aptly called How To Curse In Hieroglyphics (and when you get to the section where this title makes sense you will giggle) and very quickly gets us up to speed on the who and the what of Cheryl and Tweed. These “twin” preteen girls live and party and work in the small town of Wiggins Cross, where they babysit ankle biters and help their grandfather with his Starlight Paradise Drive-In movie theatre. The specialty of this particular entertainment venue is good old fashioned, non CGI, firmly grade B horror movies, which the “twins” are totally enthralled with.
The tale of tension of the “twins” who are not “twins” but are really “twins” (or something like that) is rolled out before us early on in How To Curse In Hieroglyphics, and very neatly sets up future plot ideas for sequels. We also have the introduction of Cheryl and Tweed’s target of fun and games, a nice young fellow named Artie who is occasionally an unearthly creature, maybe. Also, a slightly older boy named Yeager whose family history is entwined with the “twins”, takes on the mantle of the sanest person in the room whenever he is with Cheryl and Tweed.
Into this slightly controlled insanity comes Dudley’s World-O-Wonders, a third rate carnival which sets up shop directly across from the “twins” beloved Drive-In. Feeling the vile evil of the carnivals very existence, Cheryl and Tweed set out to prove something is up with Dudley’s not so do right venture. Cue spooky music, scary creatures from time immortal, and the perils of a thrown baseball, all to start a rollicking hair raising adventure for the quartet of quirkiness.
Livingston and Llyr propel this story forward at lightspeed, packing more action, dialogue and exposition into each page than most books, young reader or not. In fact, sometimes they seem to be channeling the best tactics of Michael Chabon, all in order to make the lives and world of Cheryl and Tweed feel more vivid. Also, to help create the mood and give genre fans a thrill, the writers fill the story with genre references from obvious to obscure to just plain made up, and lovingly populate every part of this journey with them.
Some of the geeky part of this mission are illustrated by special sections interspersed throughout How To Cure In Hieroglyphics by artist Steven Burley. These parts, where the “twins” and occasionally their cohorts act out variations of movie adventures, are storyboarded cartoon versions of whatever Cheryl and Tweed are kinda sorta dering-doing.
The popping adventure feel, the zipping by references and in jokes, and the lurking danger of the “twins” mysterious backstory, add to the appeal of making this story into an animated feature of some sort. Hopefully Hollywood is noticing the goings on at Wiggins Cross.
If you are a young reader, you will love this fun book. If you are an adult reader, you will love this fun book. If you are a genre reader, you will love this book. And if you are a small furry creature from Alpha Centauri reader, you will love this book. But first ya gotta find a translation to Alpha Centaurion.
…is currently resting from reading and enjoying Christmas with Googliebear.