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Download Joe Golem and the Drowning City: An Illustrated Novel epub

by Mike Mignola

In 1925, earthquakes and a rising sea level left Lower Manhattan submerged under more than thirty feet of water, so that its residents began to call it the Drowning City. Those unwilling to abandon their homes created a new life on streets turned to canals and in buildings whose first three stories were underwater. Fifty years have passed since then, and the Drowning City is full of scavengers and water rats, poor people trying to eke out an existence, and those too proud or stubborn to be defeated by circumstance. 

Among them are fourteen-year-old Molly McHugh and her friend and employer, Felix Orlov. Once upon a time Orlov the Conjuror was a celebrated stage magician, but now he is an old man, a psychic medium, contacting the spirits of the departed for the grieving loved ones left behind. When a seance goes horribly wrong, Felix Orlov is abducted by strange men wearing gas masks and rubber suits, and Molly soon finds herself on the run. 

Her flight will lead her into the company of a mysterious man, and his stalwart sidekick, Joe Golem, whose own past is a mystery to him, but who walks his own dreams as a man of stone and clay, brought to life for the sole purpose of hunting witches. 




Download Joe Golem and the Drowning City: An Illustrated Novel epub
ISBN: 0312644736
ISBN13: 978-0312644734
Category: Fantasy
Subcategory: Fantasy
Author: Mike Mignola
Language: English
Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (March 27, 2012)
Pages: 288 pages
ePUB size: 1191 kb
FB2 size: 1806 kb
Rating: 4.3
Votes: 187
Other Formats: rtf azw txt mobi

Joe Golem and the Drowning City, by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden is not the first book I have read by either author. These authors are two of the most ingenious writers when it comes to fantasy, and horror. I was eager to devour this one, and it did not disappoint.
Imagine an alternate NYC, devastated by rising waters and earthquakes. Lower Manhattan has been flooded, and is now inhabited by a poor and degenerate population. Every thief and dark element of the population has found its way there, and life is meant only for those who can survive by quickness and sharp wits. The crumbling buildings are half submerged and their roofs and spires stab through the dark waters. The lower portion of Manhattan is living in the shadow of upper Manhattan, which continues to thrive and prosper. Here's a glimpse of the flooded city:

"A light rain speckled the glass, but the waves on Twenty-ninth Street were only a light surface ripple. A steam taxi clanked loudly as it ferried its passengers through the canals of the sunken city. Chinese gondoliers often piled the waters in this neighborhood, but Felix could see none of them today." (From the book.)

Here, in the `drowning city,' we meet Mollie and Felix.
Felix Orlov has befriended Molly McHugh, and he is the only father she has ever known. Felix considers himself a conjurer, a magician and seer, but he is much more than that. He is more than he envisions, more than his dreams tell him he is, but he doesn't realize it. Sometimes it is difficult to see where dreams end and reality begins. One evening, Felix is torn away from Molly by the gas-men, and she has to flee for her own life. Joe comes to her rescue.
So who is Joe, and what is a Golem. Joe is a brute of a man, an assistant to a Victorian detective named Mr. Church. Mr. Church is another character in the story who is so much more than he first appears. A Golem is a clay figure that has been brought to life by magic. Joe Golem is having dreams, and those dreams speak to him of a former life, a life where he is made of stone and kills witches, but he can't quite put the pieces together. He doesn't realize what he is.
There are steam punk elements in this book that fascinate and pique the imagination. There are bizarre characters, like the gas-men, who aren't really men at all, but some sort of evil creature who follow commands of the evil Dr. Cocteau. Dr. Cocteau fancies himself to be much more than he is, and aspires to be made into more than he deserves to be. He will do anything necessary, including bring destruction upon the city, to get what he wants.
Transformation and change are major themes throughout the story, and the ingenious plot propels you forward. You turn the pages, and advance toward the final, phantasmagorical climax where everything will be revealed and changed. Everything that is, except Molly, who is steadfast and strong.
If you have not read anything by Magnoli and/or Golden, this is a good start. It is fast paced and not terribly long. And although it hints of the possibility of a continuing story, it does stand well on its own.
Only Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden would have the audacity to try and write a Victorian literature-inspired, Lovecraft-themed children's book. And only those two would have the talent and charm necessary to pull it off. They throw everything in here; Victorian spiritualists and conjurors, Jewish monsters, steam-pumping Sherlock Holmes stand-ins, magical objects, and a giant tentacle monsters coming from between space. And they make it all fit together.

Like most intelligent human beings, I am a huge fan of Mike Mignola's Hellboy. His particular brand of folklore-based, pulp-infused serves up exactly what I want in a comic. I had trepidation about reading him as an author--a good comic book writer does not a good book author make. But he found a solid partner in Christopher Golden, and their Hans Christian Andersen/Decameron-inspired fable Baltimore,: Or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire was a brilliant book. I have been enjoying their comic book version even more, which has become a favorite.

So I was excited by this follow up novel, "Joe Golem and the Drowning City." I had no idea of the story, but I knew I was in for a treat.

The story has a slow start, and doesn't grip you right away. Little Molly McHugh makes for a good lead children's character--she is smart and resourceful, and not without an edge. She knows about evil. Although it isn't said right out, she spent most of her time growing up in the Drowning City avoiding being raped. She finds sanctuary with Felix Orlov AKA Orlov the Conjuror, an anachronistic spiritualist with can actually speak to the dead. Felix and Molly make an odd couple, with the kind, withered old man carrying for the spritely young girl, and vice versa.

Everything speeds up when Simon Church and Joe Golem appear. Simon Church is a Sherlock Holmes avatar (loved the little nod to "Beeton's Christmas Annual," by the way) who has been kept alive for a hundred or more years via a complex combination of magic and steam-science. As with Holmes, Church "must have his Boswell," and has cycled through a series of partners over his prolonged lifespan (which leads to one of the best scenes in the book, when Church holds court with the Ghosts of Partners Past). The hulking Joe is his latest and greatest. They seek to stop the villainous Dr. Cocteau from finding the Lector's Pentajulum and using its power to summon the Old Gods to earth, and thus destroying the world.

Even if you made it though that description, I bet you still don't know what happens in the story. Mignola and Golden may have borrowed heavily from multiple sources, but they didn't feel beholden to any of them. I was honestly shocked with some of the twists and turns the story took. I never knew where the story was leading, and every guess I had was wrong. It's a nice talent to make something so familiar feel so fresh and new. And that's what they do here.

If there is a theme to the book I would say it is about transition and transformation. Like a magician who can place an egg in his hat and pull out a rabbit, almost everyone in "Joe Golem and the Drowning City" is not the same character at the end of the book that they are at the start. They transformations are not always for the best, and not always for the characters we would wish. But they are necessary.

Part of the draw of Mignola/Golden collaborations is Mignola's exquisite illustrations. Anyone expecting full-page, full-color artwork is going to be disappointed. The most gorgeous piece is right there on the cover. The interior art work is smaller and more intimate, looking almost like details from a larger piece. The illustrations are in Mignola's typical style, with heavy blocks of black and thick lines to were the images almost look like carved woodblock prints. I loved the interior art (although I admit Mignola was a bit overzealous with his signature. Yes Mike, we know it is you), but I can see how some might be disappointed if they are expecting something else.

A fantastic book over all. I don't know if they will continue with this series the same way they have with "Baltimore." There is an additional short story, "Joe Golem and the Copper Girl," which is so-far only available on the Kindle or in the Deluxe Edition. I don't have a Kindle, so I hope they will make that story available some day.

And the next Mignola/Golden collaboration is Father Gaetano's Puppet Catechism. I can't wait!!!
The story is enjoyable, the characters are likable/hatable as appropriate, and the art is a great match for the story. The spunky heroine is actually spunky, a thinker, and does her best to do the right thing; Joe Golem himself is . . . a puzzle, and I wish we found out more about him. We find out his story, but not as much actually about Joe as he lives and exists today, which is a shame. However, the book is an enjoyable read, even if it won't be a frequent reread.
I'm a big fan of Mike Mignola; love his work in comics, have been following his stuff for a good 25-30 years. Christopher Golden is hit or miss for me, not his biggest fan. I previous read their collaboration BALTIMORE and was not very impressed. I wouldn't have bothered with this one, but got the free ebook short (well, it's a $0,99 Kindle Single but they had it for free for a limited time last year) and thought it sounded interesting and was free, so why not?

I loved Joe Golem and the Copper Girl so much I bought this book. IT's FANTASTIC. I want more.
happy light
I was glad to see that the quality of this book matched Golden and Mignola's Baltimore with it being a hard cover and having a deckle edge. While I didn't enjoy Joe Golem as much as I did Baltimore (5 stars) it was still a good read. To me if felt like book one of a series, while still being it's own book. You can definitely see the parallels between this an Mignola's Hellboy. It's worth checking out if you like Lovecraftian monsters, post apoc. cities and strange sci fi. Or if you simply like Mignola's art and his style of story telling.