Reading Level: Middle Grade
Genre: Graphic Novel/Fantasy
Size: 160 pages
Publisher: Graphic Universe
Release Date: January 1, 2013
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Rating: 4/5 stars
I originally saw this on NetGalley for review and wanted to read it, but missed the chance to get a review copy. Then I saw it at the library and decided to pick it up. It is a very well done young adult graphic novel with decent artwork and an excellent fantasy story.
William, his sister, and his mother are being forced to relocate to their stepfather’s (Brifaut’s) house after the death of William’s father and the remarriage of his mother. Then William’s sister, Helise, disappears. Helise believes that their father lives and goes off searching for him. William ends up going on a journey to find Helise and their father. What follows is an adventure and dream-like journey in which William explores many truths behind death and betrayal.
The place this graphic novel really shines is the story it portrays. This is an excellently done, well thought-out, and magical story. It is also fairly complex with layers and layers of intrigue, deceit and betrayal.
William is an admirable character who wants to do what is right. He is accompanied on his journey by two more questionable characters, a self-proclaimed knight and a strange troubadour. Things get even odder when a goat joins their party and William is grievously injured.
After William is injured things get very surreal; he journeys to a different realm with some fantastical and crazy creatures. There is a lot of adventuring and a lot of allegory going on here.
The artwork is decently done. While I didn’t find it to be all that artistic or beautiful, it does a good job of showing the story in a way that is easy to follow. It was never confusing, and the art is very detailed and interesting. Again, I just didn’t find it particularly stunning.
I was a bit surprised to find this book in the juvenile section of the library. I think it would be appropriate for young adult and older, but there are some parts in here that are a bit mature for middle grade readers. At one point the knight and troubadour get in a bit of an argument about who will get to the spend the night in William’s aunt’s bed. Also at one point William wakes up to find the knight and his Aunt in a compromising position of sorts (not sure if younger kids will realize what is going on here, but I certainly had no doubts). So yeah, just be aware of those things.
Also younger readers might not be able to follow all of the double-crossing, deceit, and the dream-like allegories that are going on throughout this novel.
Overall this was a well done fantasy graphic novel. I enjoyed reading it a lot; it is an excellently done and complex story. The artwork is adequate and easy to follow, it’s just not all that stunning or spectacular. It is in full color which was nice. William is an admirable character, but the characters around him are all more shades of grey. I would recommend to those who enjoy fantasy graphic novels.