I really loved this installment. This is one of my favorite series, and I find myself enjoying it more and more as the story unfolds and the mysteries unravel. It should go without saying that this is not an entry point for new readers. Heck, if you're a new reader coming in any later than the second volume, I'm not sure what you're thinking. This is definitely a series worth reading and worth reading from the beginning. To be honest, I felt like the series started off a bit slow for me and didn't really hook me until the 12th issue.
Notably, the 12th issue was a bizarre one-off story that departed from the primary narrative to tell the story of a foul-mouthed bunny "trapped" in a children's storybook. It was strange and fascinating, and it instantly drew me into a series that was unraveling too slowly to hold my interest. But that chapter was more than enough to get me hooked, and I'm very glad it did. Appropriately enough, here we finally get the resolution to that story. It all makes sense now, and it was worth the wait. The more this book unfolds, the more satisfying it is. I couldn't put this volume down.
As a side note, I can't get over the finishes for the middle two issues of this book. Peter Gross is a strong storyteller. His art is generally entirely solid, if unspectacular. One thing I like about it is that it doesn't get in the way of the writing, which for me is the star by a long shot. To be honest, at times even the colors by Chris Chuckry outshine the line art. It definitely gets the job done, but it's not flashy and not usually much to look at. But these finishes by Dean Ormston were an absolute treat. I don't know how Gross would feel about an inker/finisher transforming his work as drastically as Ormston did (a few panels aside, it basically looked nothing like Gross's work) but the result is some of the best comic illustration I've seen in a long time. Bold, distinctive, moody, textured. A lot of things Gross is not. I just wanted to sit and stare at the pages, which I can rarely say of The Unwritten.
It feels odd writing a review of the eighth volume of a finite series (I believe it will comprise 11 volumes in total) because at this point I think if you're still reading you'll be in it for the long haul. But I found this volume to be supremely enjoyable. There are three stories here. There's some smaller payoffs here and a real sense that we're heading towards a truly rewarding conclusion. The book ends on a cliffhanger where Tom lands in the Fables universe. As someone who doesn't read Fables, I'm pretty ambivalent about it, but I'm sure readers of that series couldn't be more excited for the next volume. I'll be along for the ride, and I'm excited to see where this story ends up. Little payoffs like the ones in this volume go a long way towards keeping the momentum going.