Reading Level: Middle Grade
Genre: Graphic Novel/Fantasy
Length: 192 pages
Release Date: August 27, 2013
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone, potentially more books?
Source: Borrowed from Library
Rating: 5/5 stars
I saw this at the library and was immediately drawn to the haunting artwork on the cover. This was an excellent dark fantasy graphic novel full of mystery, adventure, and a bit of creepiness. This looks like it will be the first book in a series.
Nate has been forced to move into a new house in a new town with his parents. He’s not happy. But then he finds an old tape recorder under the floorboards of his room. As he listens to the tape a mystery of a lost boy who discovered dark fey in our midst is unraveled. Nate, along with a local girl named Tabitha, starts to dig into the mystery in hopes of finding out what happened to this Lost Boy. However, with their dabbling Nate and Tabitha awaken dark forces in the woods near the town.
What starts out as a creepy mystery turns into an action packed adventure through a dark forest infested with wondrous creatures. When I started reading this book I wasn’t sure what to expect, but as the story unfolded I found myself really drawn into it.
Ruth has built an excellent world here and a fascinating mystery that is both intriguing and a bit creepy. The whole story is definitely more dark fantasy, than fluffy fantasy. I would say it’s appropriate for middle grade and older, I think it would be too scary and intense for younger kids.
Nate starts out as your typical kid who’s all whiny and mad about moving to a new town. However the difference between him and other kids it that he is willing to believe the strange things he hears about on the tape recorder.
At the beginning of this book the pages alternate between having a white and a black background. The white background panels are ones dealing with Nate, the black panels are showing what happened in the past…basically what Nate is listening to on the tape recorder. This was slightly confusing at first, but then once I understood what was going on I thought it was very clever.
Tabitha is also an interesting character. She has known about the magical things in the forest but has kept it a secret from everyone. She is cautious and relieved to find that Nate can see the magical creatures too. Tabitha is also a bit obsessed about solving the mystery behind The Lost Boy. She is a somewhat anti-social, but is smart and ends up being a good adventuring companion for Nate.
Along the way Nate and Tabitha are joined by many good magical creatures and they encounter many more evil ones as well. There are some startling truths revealed about the Lost Boy. There are also some absolutely awesome creatures and scenes throughout the book.
The illustration is all in black and white. I usually prefer full color illustration, but for this book I think using only black and white worked better. The illustrations are detailed and beautiful and add a ton to the story. I really, really enjoyed them.
The major story presented here is wrapped up well. However, there is some foreshadowing at the end which makes me think that there are more books planned to follow up The Lost Boy.
Overall a stunning story and stunning illustration. I loved the mystery, world-building, and fantastical creatures that we meet throughout the story. This is definitely a creepy story and dark fantasy, but it should still be fine for middle grade and older readers. I think the story will appeal to a large range of ages. This was an excellent blend of mystery, adventure, and magical creatures. I really look forward to reading more books by Ruth and hope there is another book in this series. Highly recommended to graphic novel fans who love creepy mysteries and dark fantasy.