Dungeon Monstres 1: The Crying Giant
by Lewis Trondheim
Translated by Joe Johnson;
Review by Paul Haggerty
Nantier Beall Minoustchine Publishing Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781561635252
Date: April 2008 List Price $12.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
The Dungeon series tells the story of a massive dungeon, with sub-series telling stories from it's creation to it's downfall. Built by monsters, for monsters, the Dungeon serves as a way to bring adventurers from all over to die in the most efficient manner possible. The Dungeon Monstres series focuses on background adventures experienced by some of the secondary characters. In this volume we have two stories, the first being a tale of William Delacour, a scam-artist chicken, and his fateful meeting with the sweet, simple-minded monster, John-John the Terror. The second tells the story of the wizard Alcibiades, ordered by the ruler of the Dungeon to stop the wizard's magical eye from flooding the dungeon with its incessant crying.
John-John the Terror is illustrated by Mazan, and tells the story of how John-John the Terror and his fellow monsters are growing desperate in their way-out-of-the-way Inn, where they wait desperately for visitors to come so they can eat them. Of course being out in the middle of nowhere, and a business model that eliminates the possibility of repeat customers, or word of mouth advertising, is causing them all to go hungry.
Enter William Delacour, recent acquirer of the magical blade, the Sword of Destiny. William is on the run, as usual, and stumbles across the monster's Inn in the woods. What follows is the lavishly illustrated con pulled by William in the desperate attempt to save his own life. Of course, not content with only his life, William seeks to use the monsters to increase his profits.
The Crying Giant is illustrated by Jean Christophe Menu, and tells story of Alcibiades the wizard and Biscara the Giant. Years ago, Alcibiades came across Biscara's left eye, which gives Alcibiades the power to scry remote areas. The fact that Biscara's crying is causing the Dungeon to flood is no match (in the wizards opinion) for the usefulness of the eye. But the Dungeon's Keeper feels differently and Alcibiades and his friend, Horus, are sent out to find out what's going on and to cheer the giant up.
The problem is that Biscara's tears are caused by a broken heart. Unfortunately, the love of his life is a cruel giantess that uses men as simple tools and discards them just as easy. Can magic and rational thought come up with an answer to one of life's oldest conundrums? Our heroes had better hope so or they'll have to make choices that even magic won't make any easier.
The Dungeon series is not for children. Older teens should have no problem, but be advised that there is a fair amount of blood splattering and limbs being sliced/torn off. It is a book about monsters, after all, and they're not known for being kind, gentle, or solving their problems by sitting down over a cup of tea.