259. Gunnerkrigg Court: Orientation

Orientation by Thomas Siddell (Canada ) - (US)
Gunnerkrigg Court, Volume 1

Pages: 291 pgs.
Ages: 14+
Finished: Dec. 15, 2009
First Published: 2008
Genre: YA, graphic novel, fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5

First sentence:

My name is Antimony Carver.

Acquired: Received a review copy from the publisher.

Reason for Reading: A Cybils Award nominee.

Summary: Antimony's mother has recently died and her father has sent her to a remote British boarding school where she soon makes a best friend, Kat. Strange things happen right from beginning as she finds herself with a second shadow who asks for her help, she meets a friendly robot, finds a room that contains an entire outside meadow, meets up with demons, ghosts and the like all during her first year at Gunnerkrigg Court.

Comments: A delightful book! First off, the book itself is beautiful: a small, thick hardcover with glossy full colour pages. The artwork is gorgeous, having an animation feel to it. The story itself has it's obvious Harry Potter similarities but they are only alike superficially, and let's not forget JK did not invent the British boarding school fantasy. The book starts out with each chapter being rather episodic and I was wondering if that was all there was to it, but at a point previous characters start to show up and an overall plot began to develop and slowly unravel, hence my brief summary above. It's better not to know too much going into this book. Antimony is a fabulous main character. I found her somewhat over precocious at the beginning but as she becomes close to her friend she becomes more likeable and Antimony is a character that truly grows and develops from start to finish. The magical/fantasy elements of the story are a lot of fun and as the plot reveals itself become mysterious and hint at dangerous things to come. The book is infused with plenty of humour but there are also moments of brilliant pathos in some of the individual encounters Antimony and Kat experience along the way. One note of caution: there is some textual s*xual innuendo, not a lot but enough that I would be remiss in not mentioning it to those who are concerned about that sort of thing. I do highly recommend this book and am looking forward to Volume 2 which will be released in January, 2010.


  1. This sounds interesting. Must see if the library has it!

  2. Oh, this sounds great!! Will definitely have to add to my list. Would be great for the Graphic Novels Challenge for next year!

  3. I read this as a webcomic and ended up buying this hardcover copy for my 11 yo for Christmas because I loved it so much. Glad you liked it, too!


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