ICv2 Stars: 4.5 (out of 5)
Posted by Nick Smith on August 18, 2020 @ 6:33 pm CT
Publisher: First Second Books
Release Date: August 11, 2020
Creator(s): M. T. Anderson (writer); Jo Rioux (artist)
Format: 208 pgs., Full-Color, 6"x8.5", Hardcover
Age Rating: 14-18
ICv2 Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5
This is a serious and clever retelling of a traditional folktale from Brittany, basically their version of an Atlantis story, and why certain places are named the way they are. Anderson first encountered the traditional version of the story, and decided to explore it in the form of a "why would this have happened" version of the tale. Previous work by the author has been in prose form, and that work won several awards. The artist is new to doing this form of sequential art, and her style is jarring enough that her work may be an acquired taste, but is very good.
The suggested age rating is due to a small amount of sex and quite a bit of violence occurring in the book, the latter graphic enough that the book really isn’t suited to younger readers. Adults, though, will also enjoy this complex story of love, power, and love of power, as the king and one of his daughters do some awful things in the name of preserving their magical realm. As the story progresses, the reader will probably figure out what could go wrong slightly before the characters do. In traditional Celtic style, the price of power can be very high, and the penalties for failure to pay even higher. The only quibble a reader might have is how slow Princess Dahut was to realize how doom has arrived. Her character is complex, though, and perhaps not fully realized because of the brevity forced by the graphic medium.
Only the jarring nature of the artwork kept this from a fifth star, because not everyone may appreciate the other-worldly style that the artist used, even though it is appropriate to the tale and the style of the telling.
--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.
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