Review: New York Four

The New York Four – Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly

I still have enough hope that books in the now-defunct Minx line will either be interesting or interesting failures to pick them up as they trickle into the library. I liked what little of Wood’s DMZ I’ve read, and I obviously like to read books set in New York. But for all that, the only thing this book has going for it is its art. The depictions of New York are realistically detailed and as far as I can tell, spot-on accurate. I found everything else about it insufferable. It comes across like a morality play about technology (don’t forsake the real world for an online, ersatz one) and young-womanhood, but written by a middle-aged man (who, at least in this instance, seems to be of the school that writing interesting female characters is nothing more than throwing together collections of “quirky” traits.) The sum is that instead of being relatable, none even approach likable or mysterious (as he seems to be going for with a couple of them). I also found the NY 101 asides patronizing and unnecessary. Or maybe I’m just bristling at the characterization of my neighborhood and borough: “Park Slope, Brooklyn. (NY 101: As good as Brooklyn gets)” The plot is also a bit all over the place, theoretically because it’ll be part of a series (which may continue even though Minx isn’t), but I don’t believe these characters enough to find out what’s really going on with them.

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