Reading Level: Middle Grade
Length: 128 pages
Release Date: June 3, 2010
Stand Alone or Series: 2nd book in the Okko series
Rating: 4/5 stars
This is the second book in the four book Okko graphic novel series. The illustration in this series has been top notch; this volumes continues some wonderful world-building and has a very well done plot.
This book follows Okko and his companions Noboru (crazy fighter in mask), Noshin (the sake loving monk) and Tikku (young boy from the first book) as they continue on their quest to hunt down the pirates/demons that took Tikku’s sister. In this book they arrive at the City of Blasting Powder and find they must navigate a series of seven dangerous monasteries. During their travels they find that the monastery they seek lies outside of the sevens monasteries and is a mysterious eighth monastery on the Roof of the World. At the eighth monastery they must find the Forbidden Library if they are to continue on in their quest.
My favorite part about this graphic novel was the amazing illustration and the excellent world building. The whole story takes place in the Pajan Empire which has a very Asian feel to it. The characters are all mysterious and interesting. The majority of the story is told from Tikku’s point of view (he narrates the story but from the future looking back into the past).
There are some crazy demons and the characters stumble upon a number of perils during their journey; so as you can imagine there is a lot of action in this story. We also meet a new female samurai and she was a great addition to the story.
I do have a couple of complaints. There are a lot of characters in here that look similar, so sometimes it is hard to keep track of who is who (you really really have to concentrate and pay attention). Additionally text and drawings are a bit small and hard to see/read. I have to read these books under really good bright light or I have trouble seeing detail in the drawings. I am reading this as a hardcover, so it should be full size.
This story ends at an excellent point and I am curious to see what the third book, The Cycle of Air, has in store for us.
Overall this was a very well done fantasy graphic novel. The illustrations are amazingly detailed and beautiful and I love the world created here. The characters are mysterious and engaging as well. The characters do look a bit the same and there are a lot of them, so sometimes the story is a bit hard to follow. I would recommend this series to fans of historical fantasy graphic novels. If you like Okko I also recommend Vinland Saga which is a historical manga that I love even more than the Okko series.