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I Kill Giants: A Character Study About an Odd Girl Who May or May Not Be a Great Giant Killer

Updated on December 2, 2018

I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly

So I have been seeing these ads for a movie called I Kill Giants lately. And it looks so charming and whimsical and right now with all the craziness in the world, this looked like the escapism I need. A nice little fantasy. But it’s not playing in town but I learned it was based on a graphic novel. So I decided to give it a read. This is my review of I Kill Giants written by Joe Kelly and illustrated by J.M Ken Niimura.

So what is it about? It is about this extremely odd outcast nerdy girl. She’s bullied at school. She has no friends and has family issues. And is very defensive about everything. But at night she protects the town from giants with a great hammer, or so that is what she believes. This girl, Barbara, as the story goes it is revealed not to just be odd, but is ( there’s no other way to describe it) somewhat disturbed. And a big element of this story is the question of if she really is giant killer, or are the giants a metaphor for something she needs to face? Also, it about her opening up to their people. When a new girl in town decides to be friends with Barbara and thinks she’s cool, Barbara learns that she does not live with all the walls built around her and can find happiness.

The good? This at the heart is a wonderful drama and examination of a truly unique character. Though many reviews on this book at Goodreads said they could not finish it because they found her hateful, I didn’t see it that way. Immediately I saw her differently than that because it brought memories of myself in middle school. I remember too well how many girls were obsessed with the silliest things I couldn’t care less about. So much so, that I was just annoyed by many of them and buried myself in writing exciting fantasy stories and reading books instead of being with them and pretending I like the same things. I thought I had better things to do and grew thick skin so the mean ones wouldn’t use me as a target. So in a lot of ways, Barbara is middle school me. I was never aggressive as Barbara though and never got into fights. But I related to her and because of that, I found her fascinating. The more that learned about her the, more interesting she becomes.

The bad? This book is a story that’s been told many times before, only this is in a different wrapper. Though told well, by the end I didn’t find it impactful or amazing. So many reviews said the ending made them cry. It’s sad, but it did not pull any heart strings. Also I thought the artwork in this book is downright ugly. I did not like the style at all. I even had second thoughts about reading it when I saw the artwork. The way I look at, the most interesting about graphic novels, is that there is gorgeous artwork that accurately paints a picture of the world. But this is a very minimal cheap looking manga art that just was not pretty to look at.

Overall, the story is an intriguing character story of odd girl with a fantastical mystery elements thrown in. The art is not that great. I think that pulls down the book a bit, and it will be a turn off of many readers. So in the end, it’s worth a read, but not a must read.

3 smoothies out of four.

Overall Rating: A Character Study About an Odd Girl Who May or May Not Be a Great Giant Killer

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